Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Looking back to appreciate what's ahead

I don't know what it is about looking back that inspires me for the journey that's ahead. We have just passed our 2yr "gotcha day" mark and the twins are by our records getting ready to turn 4. (Even though we just found out from their parents they turned 4 a couple of months ago). Many of you know our story and some of you are new. I still don't have an inspirational tear jerker adoption video put together. Still on my list. Just like finalizing the adoption here in our state. Many of my friends not only have done all the above, but then God lead them to more beautiful children. It's hard sometimes as a mom and woman not to compare our stories, victories and struggles. Yet, I know all of us are different and called to different things and our stories are different. I am not the type of mom to spend money on maternity pics, newborn pics, 1st birthdays...heck..I don't even have wedding pics. I don't scrapbook and I failed after my first child to create a memorable babybook. I don't buy school pics, sports pics or Easter dresses for my girls. If I really think about it..I pretty much suck as a family matriarch. Instead my money goes to other peoples adoption, different causes, BEMM, tons of videos for the kids because we choose to not have cable, an occasional facial, seeing friends..I never want to be in a position to choose between a new pair of jeans and feeding kids in Uganda. Don't get me wrong...I am blessed and at times able to do both. BUT for the lack of photo books, videos, and tangible memories..it comes down to time. My time for the last 14 years has been dedicated to survival. Every moment I get...I choose not to spend doing things that I know I will totally love and appreciate in the future..instead..I take a deep breath, ignore all that's around me and try to focus on what's ahead. Which is sometimes just dinner, or the laundry:)... Seriously WHO has time to try and be perfect? I am terribly busy surviving. Because I seem to lack the capacity to create beautiful visual things or am too cheap to buy them, I need to sometimes spend a few hours looking back...and remembering with my heart the tragedy that God made beautiful....Without my understanding...HE chose to give us these two children who were not lucky to find us...but we were lucky to find them.

Diezel on his way to the hospital in Addis. I remember being so worried about his bottom lip. He had the hardest time holding his lip and his tongue in. They both atrophied from his sickness. We spent the next year learning ways to strengthen the muscle tone that was lost due to malnutrition

Diezel(11 pounds) age 2. One of the few times he sat up unassisted while we were in Ethiopia

Xia age 2 (10 pounds)at the hospital in Ethiopia. I had to hold her head up. I kept her head covered in the hoodie while there. We got stared at a lot and many people turned their backs to us in fear. The pictures do not show the massive open wounds on her face and head where her skin starting eating itself. My dr. told me..if we were even a few days late getting them..they would both be dead.

Holding my babies in Ethiopia. We were all exhausted and tired. At this point..I had hope they were going to live. Our biggest hurdles were the embassy and the plane ride home.

This picture was taken 7 days after my arrival to Ethiopia and after 7 days of food and a trip to the hospital. She was looking much better, but had yet to smile. She was not sitting without help.
Again she is two weighs roughly 8-10 pounds. Is wearing a newborn diaper.

This is Adam meeting the twins for the first time. After I learned they were sick. I left early. We had already lost one baby to death in Liberia...I wasn't going to take a chance! Diezel is in size 3 month clothes..He is 2.

This is how Xia was most of the time. She was either half awake or screaming.

This is her passport picture

If you are interested in the rest of the story here it is...
We adopted 2 year old
twins. It has been quite the journey, in many ways not like I expected. Adjusting has been difficult to say the least. Please know if you actually finish reading this post, it is not meant to be negative. On the contrary I hope to encourage. We went through so much before we finally found our twins. One referral died of malaria, one taken back to their village and one here in our own state pulled two weeks before placement. All of them I loved. Our referral of the twins was nothing less than God's plan. Our paperwork arrived the same time the twins were taken to the orphanage. When I first saw their pic I was filled with fear. Fear of another loss. Much to our surprise the process with our new agency went lightning fast. I was set to travel 3 months past the date of first hearing of them. Then a week before I was to leave I got a call. They were sick, but would be okay. Not wanting to take any chances, I left the next day without my husband. Not what I planned, but obviously what God planned. I will never ever forget what I saw when I walked into the orphanage. Two kids looking the shell of my first photo of them. At 22 months they weighed a mere 10 pounds. They looked like the kids from the late night infomercials. The ones whose faces haunt you. They had the skeletal frames, sunken eyes, and dead expressions, but they weren't the kids on the aids fliers and infomercials, they were my babies. It suddenly felt less like a gotcha day and more like a rescue mission. Every day I was there was so painful. The fear was intense. Are they going to live? If they do what are the life long effects going to be. My heart screamed for them, for our kids at home. Our first attempt through immigration, and we were denied the ability to bring them home. Our agency messed up. Again tears. By that time my husband was in Ethiopia. Praise God he was there to fight that battle. I was so overwhelmed with the twins state. Our little girl cried all the time and our little boy was so sick. In the midst of all of this God still had bigger plans. We met an amazing couple while we were there. God spoke, "Help them." She was pregnant with their second child, the first one died months before in utero at 8 1/2 months. They were terrified of losing this one. With help from another amazing family that was with us to pick up their own daughter, they covered her plane ticket to the states and we agreed to care for her. Our flight home was painfully long. The twins cried most of the way and the pregnant woman that was with us was sick. When we got home the twins were hospitalized. We didn't know if our son was even gonna make it. We were told over and over again that they were knocking on deaths door. In the meantime we have four other kids at home that haven't seen me in weeks and now I'm in a hospital room with their new brother and sister. I didn't want to leave them and yet I knew my other kids needed me to. As each day went by, I felt my own strength leave. The twins doctors would comment on how bad I looked. Only now do I realize the full extent of God's hand in my life during that period. I ended up having Typhoid fever, Hep A, Giardia, and tissue parasites. The twins were released a few weeks later. I continued to be sick for three months. Needless to say the last five months have been challenging. I still feel robbed in a weird way of how I thought our adoption experience was to go. I now have six kids at home that are still trying to figure out how to be a family and a pregnant Ethiopian woman that is now my best friend and is due in a month. So in a few short months we have gone from a family of six to a soon to be family of ten. NOTHING went as I planned, but EVERYTHING went as God planned.


Paula said...

To see them a few weeks ago, and compare them to those pictures... that's a miracle. Wow. I love the music with that post, btw.

Lindsey said...

I LOVE your warrior spirit!

Nikolyn said...

wow what an amazing story. good to meet you on blogger-ville. my 9-month old adopted baby who is sick today is asleep on my lap and its very late and I was feeling very sorry for myself. thanks for the inspiration and I hope to check in more often!

Michelle said...

I was just watching the video you posted the other day... It is so amazing to me. At 7 months old, Liam just hit 10 lbs. His Papa would always comment about how strange it would be if he was walking and talking at this size.. and then I watched the video of your little ones and that is what it would be like!

It is amazing to see the changes in them.

Anonymous said...

amazing. I remember all of it - but am still amazed to read it again.

Jen said...

I love you. Nuff said.