Two Months, a Birthday, and Tee Ball

We have been home now for two months as of yesterday.  I guess somewhere between week 6-8 English just erupted ten-fold.  We now have many complete sentences such as “Can I try?”, “Arabelle pushed me”, “Are you ok?”, and her go-to when she has nothing else to say “What are you doing?”.  Many more that I can’t think of at the moment.  I don’t think I’ve heard her speak Malayalam in about two weeks now and I’m now hoping I have videos of it from our first month together.  I think I do, again the past two months have been a bit of a blur so going back through pictures and files will be fun one day in the near future.  We have our first post-placement social worker visit in two weeks which I still can’t believe we’re here.  We went to the International Adoption Clinic several weeks ago and got good reports on attachment, overall health, and her growth!  Based on her measurements at referral last year she was barely on the growth charts here in the U.S. topping the charts at the 3rd percentile.  At the clinic a few weeks ago she came in at the 50th and 25th percentiles for height and weight or head circumference (for some reason I can’t remember exactly).  But point is, she’s growing beautifully and they were amazed and quite pleased with her progress.  Also, after we first got home we had a visit to the cardiologist to evaluate her heart condition.  Based on the diagnosis since she was a year old, there was a 33% chance her heart function would improve, 33% chance it would remain the same (below normal), and 33% chance it would deteriorate further to a potential transplant in the future.  Well, such a blessing, her heart function improved and is in the “absolutely normal” (yes, that’s a medical term) category.  Her function was perfect!!  Such an amazing answered prayer.  The doctor said he saw no reason to restrict her from any activities and didn’t need to see her again for a year.  He said he could tell she had troubles in the past but there were no signs of any complications and he didn’t expect any either.  Really since after her referral and signing our acceptance I didn’t really think about what this could mean.  I researched and talked to people with children with similar conditions and then prayed about it and let it go.  But once we were sitting there waiting for the test, for a few mins a little fear creeped it’s way in and I thought, “What we are about to hear could completely alter so many things in our lives”.  And we got great news and I felt such relief that I didn’t know I needed.  So all in all things are moving along with adjustments and doctor reports at this time.  We have more appointments coming up so hopefully praying the good reports continue.

Sunday was Anjali’s 3rd birthday!  She was so excited.  For about 5 days all we heard was “Anju Happy Birthday?” over and over.  Now she has moved on to “Arabelle Happy Birthday?”.  But Sunday was her day and we celebrated.  A few weeks ago Arabelle asked to look at the photo album of when she was born.  So we flipped through it and pointed at my huge belly and then her first pictures  and named all the people that came to see her.  While looking through that book with both of them pointing, it became so real that our sweet Anjali had no one at the hospital when she was born excited to be the first one to hold her and take pictures and smile and rejoice.  She had a birth Mom though that thankfully chose to give birth and a chance at life and she had a nun who took her in and took the best care of her that she could until her forever family could bring her home.  But it made me so sad to think about the thoughts that will run through her head when she gets older and sees that same scene for Arabelle and wonder why she didn’t have that.  I told her on her birthday that all the people here at our house are the people that would have been there had I birthed her myself.  I didn’t say it in those words to her but I guess more to me.  So we’ll use her first birthday home with her family as her “welcome to the world” photos that Arabelle has.  🙂  On a happier note, she loved the party, she was all dressed up and our theme was My Little Pony.  Saturday they both helped make the cake and loved licking the bowl!  Then Saturday night and Sunday after church we decorated.  Such fun!

More fun, Arabelle had her very first tee ball practice tonight with Daddy as coach.  She’s been so looking forward to it and she looked so cute in her cleats and hat.  It was a bit cold and practice was from 6:00-7:30 which is a late by the time you get home for four year olds.  But it was the first one so it lasted the whole allotted time.  John had fun exercises for them to learn to catch and throw and they were all so cute out there and it took almost all the Dads to corral the kids into each practice session.  It started with just the three coach Dads and then slowly all of them ended up out there helping out, man-to-man coverage is the only way to go for 4-year old tee ball.  Arabelle was super excited and said she loved it afterwards.  So happy, I was nervous she wouldn’t do well with Dad as coach but since all the others chipped in she listened just fine and even practiced grounders which I haven’t been able to get her to do at home.

Pictures of all of the above below….

IMG_1068

IMG_1082

IMG_1086

IMG_1112

IMG_1151

IMG_1168

IMG_1172

IMG_1174

IMG_1202

IMG_1204

IMG_1218

IMG_1220

IMG_1238

IMG_1241

IMG_1237

IMG_1230

IMG_1248

Pictures and a Brief Update

I’ve neglected the blog quite a bit obviously.  My last post was the day we met Anjali.  I’ll have to write some posts to capture more of our time in India and some of the great (and the not so great) things we experienced later.  We made it home on Christmas Eve which was a miracle in itself.  Unfortunately we passed around the flu starting with Anjali (in India), Arabelle got it the night before we left Delhi (poor thing had a 103 degree fever while we were running through the airports to catch our flights), then John and I got it the week we were home.  Needless to say, being sick for two weeks, doctors appointments, adjusting to new family dynamics, and returning to work, I haven’t made time to blog.  So long overdue pictures are in order.

The first few weeks was really hard, just with everything going on and then with adjusting to a new personality in the family.  Arabelle was having a hard time taking in what it really meant to have a sibling in the house every second of every day.  She waited and waited for Anjali just as we did for two years but her 3 year old mind couldn’t comprehend someone coming into the family and not going away ever and being in all “her” stuff.  (Honestly, even our adult minds couldn’t comprehend all it was going to take either).  But each week gets better and now Big Sister is much better and even excited about how she can teach her things especially, “Anglish” (English, my little southern girl).  Anjali has been pretty amazing at adjusting to travelling here and being in a completely new environment.  She just goes with the flow it seems.  Granted we have our typical issues that come with adoption such as food struggles, learning her needs, minor sleep things, but all in all she is happy and the Southern accent is already evident here and there.  It’s cute to hear her call for her sister “Air-a-bay-ull” (Arabelle), she can turn a three syllable word into four syllables with great ease.  Ha.  Her first words she learned with us were luckily a whole sentence spoken as one word but a great one “I-need-to-go-potty”.  That was awesome and we hear it every ten minutes.  We were told they only went to the potty twice a day at the orphanage so now being home and free to potty as needed, it’s often, very often.  So we’re working on it.  She can say that with ease but getting her to say “yes” is a different story.  It just won’t come out of her mouth right.  It’s cute.  So things are progressing, it’s hard and sometimes exhausting, but it’s worth it, totally worth it.  Our family of four is a blessing!

It snowed here this week, hence some of the pictures.  We got about two and a half inches of snow at our house which doesn’t happen often.  Doesn’t seem like much but it’s been called the “Snowpocalypse” which is highly fitting for the misery everyone went through.  I won’t go into all of it but we just aren’t prepared for snow here and usually if there is a good chance of it we stay home and off the roads.  But the forecast was a little off this time and the snow storm hit in our area rather than further south of town.  I was at work 25 miles away and left work when it started snowing and sticking to the roads thinking “I want to go home and see Anjali in the snow for the first time ever”.  Once I got on the roads and it was ice, I said “Oh Lord, please just let me get home.”  The traffic in the city and on the interstate were at a complete standstill.  I watched so many cars go up and hill and slide back down into the waiting traffic on the interstate or slide off into the trees.  I never thought my little Neon would make it but after nearly everyone else gave up or decided not to try anymore and abandoned their cars on the side or middle of the interstate I made it.  Five hours later, I was home and I stayed there for two days.  People slept at their offices, children slept in schools, people in their cars on the side of the road, restaurants stayed open all night and fed people who were stranded, people helped out.  Thousands of cars were left abandoned on the roads which was pretty creepy, hence, the “Snowpocalypse” reference.  People on the outside laughed at us but driving on untreated roads covered in ice is hard for anyone anywhere.  Anyway, just saying another eventful week.  But I got home to my family and played in the snow anyway, once I decompressed from the insanity.  So snow pictures are below too!  It’s finally melted and today it is going to be a glorious 60 degrees, can’t wait to go outside without two layers of clothes on.

Last thing, one of our friends is currently in India meeting and bringing home their daughter!  They waited such a long time and finally they are there.  Please pray for them in this time of transition and excitement! Can’t wait to meet her.  🙂

IMG_0861

IMG_0868

IMG_0882 IMG_0883

IMG_0910

IMG_0927

IMG_0994

IMG_1051  IMG_1048

IMG_1052

IMG_1001

At long last…

Long overdue post, but I have hardly had a chance to relax much less find an internet source to post though I’ve wanted to.  The one I wrote on Sunday just went through and posted today…ha.  We’ve been here now for 6 full days.  Tomorrow we leave Kerala and go to Delhi.  This post will be short but I’ll leave you with some pictures.  Everything went great on Sunday when we met Anjali.  We even got to take her with us a day early!  She and Arabelle are already playing and fussing like sisters.  It’s such a blessing to see and still kind of hard to believe we are finally here.  I brought a huge range of clothes sizes and shoes and come to find out she wears the same size shoe as Arabelle so they’re sharing shoes already.  However her clothes size is about 12 months in pants and 18 months in shirts.  Her waist is just so much smaller, she’s only a couple inches shorter than Arabelle.  Anyhow, everyone is fast asleep except me, and I’m fading out after a long day.  Tomorrow we travel on a plane to Delhi, pray it goes smoothly!Our personal attempt at a family photo.  I have better ones that need uploaded from the camera of course.

 
Our personal attempt at a family photo. I have better ones that need uploaded from the camera of course.

 

IMG_0189 IMG_0195 IMG_0197 IMG_0208 IMG_0234 IMG_0283

We made it!

December 14
It is Saturday night and after so many unknown hours of plane rides and airports we are here!  It’s hard to comprehend that we are really here after nearly two years.  India is amazing already even though it was seen through the eyes of a delirious traveler who can’t sleep on planes. I have never been more tired in all my life. So we (I) broke the jetlag rule and slept for 5 hours right when we got in at 6 am. But it’s bedtime again and i welcome it gladly!  Arabelle did amazing on the plane no real meltdowns at all. I wish i could say the same for myself…ha. She was hilarious when we finally got here, of course everyone was looking at us when we walked out of the airport and we were searching for our driver. He saw us first and then unfolded the big sign with or names on it with a huge grin and wave. Arabelle was riding on top of the luggage cart and when everyone sitting outside was watching us she said “look mommy, all our friends are here, look!” And she waved vigorously saying “hey friends”. Of course everyone waved back and just smiled big smiles.

The hotel we are at, for only tonight, is on one of the rivers here in Kerala, i couldn’t understand the name but will look it up later but it’s really beautiful. We finally mustered up the strength and mental awareness after sleeping to go for a walk around the resort. We went down to the river and walked all around. There’s some type of tree (shaped like a fir tree or something that is in the middle of the courtyard and it’s all decorated with Christmas lights and ornaments. Really neat. And down at the river we saw a ton of bats, big ones! Like i thought they were hawks or some big bird until one flew in the tree next to us and hung upside down. And we looked at one of the infamous houseboats of Kerala that was docked at the edge of the river.

Right now it’s still surreal. Tomorrow afternoon we meet our sweet girl for the first time! The next day we go to court for final approvals…maybe. Pray that everything is great tomorrow and she maybe recognizes us (every adoptive mommas dream) and she at least warms up to us a bit. And pray that Monday is our court date, we are moving forward like it is but there is a chance the judge may not be back in town. Pray he is and that things go smoothly, I’m still nervous about that part!

And sorry, i only have a couple picture on my phone so far, no wifi at this hotel, will be tomorrow. More pictures then.

image

Arabelle eating aKrispy Kreme doughnut at the airport in Dubai

Arabelle eating Krispy Kreme doughnut at the airport in Dubai
image

Backwaters of Kerala

image

Hotel

image

Hotel for tonight

Passport Prayer Request

Please pray that we will be united with our little girl soon!  We have been waiting for her passport for weeks and found out today that they have not even been able to apply for it yet due to some political strikes in the area.  We just want to be with her and bring her home so badly.

I know God’s timing is perfect, I just wish it was now.  Please pray that everything will get back in order and be open for them to apply for her passport as soon as Monday.  I know it can happen!  There’s still a small chance she could be home with us by Christmas…praying for that small chance.

And please pray for our friends who are in India as of today and will be meeting their girls in the next couple of days.  They will also get to meet our sweet daughter while they are there.  I can’t wait!

Pray with us please! 

We’ll Soon be on OurWay!

We are officially a family of four! Though she has been our daughter since the day we saw her face on January 9th, Friday we heard news that the court approvals for our guardianship are complete! Legally making us now a family of four! Along with the news from her caretakers came a beautiful picture of her dressed up in a white dress with red roses and of course a sweet sweet smile.

So the last step is for the orphanage to apply for her passport so that she can travel home with us. The timeframe for this is likely two weeks from when they apply which hopefully will be next week. So our best guess at a travel date to be on the safe side is mid-November which means there is a good chance she’ll be home celebrating Thanksgiving with us in Alabama! What a blessing that would be.

We now are excitedly thinking through all our packing lists and travel details that I have hesitantly kept in the back of my mind for a year and eight months. It’s getting real! Arabelle is so excited too, she can’t wait to have Baby Sister home and be a big sister. She’s going to be a great big sister. She loves other kids, the first thing she ever does at a playground is find a friend to play with. Friday when I came home she was dressed in a princess dress with a crown which is pretty out of the norm for her. The day before I came home and she was wearing a tiny Christmas elf hat that she found, who knows where, from like two years ago so it was squished on her head. She doesn’t wear dresses very often but when she gets the urge, she goes all out. I think seeing Baby Sister in a fancy pretty dress she decided she wanted to dress up too. She even wore it to the restaurant that night to celebrate. So we now have two beautiful princesses!

Throughout this journey I have learned to expect the unexpected and I just pray that there are no more road blocks and passports really only take two weeks! God had been working on me in innumerable ways and I know there is a plan for us in India and I can’t wait to see it unfold! Pray with us through this last step.

image

The Princess

image

image

The Goofball

More

The Final Turn (I think)….

It’s been three months since I’ve put an update out.  I’m a pretty terrible blogger, I know.  But just because it’s been three months doesn’t mean nothing has been going on.  So much!  We had a speed bump back in July while waiting for NOC but after huge prayers, meetings with consulates, more prayers, and a much needed long weekend at the beach, things were resolved and we are moving at full speed again!  We received notice of our NOC on August 27 however, when our agency finally got the paper in the mail the first week of September, we saw that it was actually issued on August 22…John’s birthday!  So cool!  Along with our notice of NOC from the orphanage, we received 18 new photos of our sweet baby girl.  And there is no question about her personality.  It shows on her face so much, I love it.  She is going to be a feisty one that girl.  She showed the sweet smile, the frown, and the classic caught-ya “I wasn’t doing anything wrong” look that transcends cultures.  I love facial expressions for that reason; you can read so much from them and not even speak the same language.  🙂

In the last two weeks we received notice that our case is officially in the courts and they expect to get written orders in October!!  So after that they will apply for her passport which should only be a matter of weeks after court.   We could seriously be looking at travel by early November.  I pray that is the case and that there are no other roadblocks that popup to keep us from our daughter any longer.  I think I can actually breathe a little these days, maybe.  Can I really start thinking about travel, for real?  We don’t expect to hear anything new until October sometime.  I haven’t looked forward to time passing without news during this process ever, ‘til now.

We’ve had some fundraisers throughout our adoption mostly consisting of yard sales and the bracelets we made.  Both were great and a HUGE help on our fees.  But a fellow adoptive momma, also adopting from India, has recently started a fundraiser selling t-shirts.  I think they are AWESOME and am totally getting one. They have to sell 50 in order for even one to get printed.  If they don’t sell 50 then you don’t lose any money. But wouldn’t it be awesome if at least 50 people were walking around sporting cool shirts to bring orphan awareness to everyone on the street?  Below is what the shirt looks like, it comes in soft-tee ($15), long-sleeve tee ($20), or hoodie ($35).  Click here to buy one! https://www.bonfirefunds.com/natasha

my heart is for india shirt

Previous Older Entries