Sunday, December 30, 2012

Lauren's Baptism - with pictures too!

At times I'm hesitant to post about our doings, only because I know so many of you are still waiting and I can recall how very difficult that wait is, especially around the holidays. I also recall a friend Nikki posting after they returned with their daughter, and that gave me a bunch of hope to see that yep, this does eventually happen.  So below is a post of life today with Lauren and the Blunt family..... I pray this post brightens your day and gives you hope too..... that one day, you will be with your children... those entrusted to you by God to raise and teach and love.  I pray that day is very, very soon for you.  Meanwhile, hugs to each of you in the waiting.

December 30, 2012- Lauren is baptized.
Our church believes in infant baptism and our Pastor Chris also felt that we could have Lauren baptized under this belief even though she is already three years old.  So today, she was baptized.  She did remarkable in front of the church while we stood and received a prayer on adoption and then also the liturgy and reciting of the a family and then also as a church family. 

She ruffled Joshua's hair most of the time, it was so sweet....this must give her great comfort.  (I think he secretly likes it too....although the pics might not appear so).  When it was time for the sprinkling of water over her head, she wasn't crazy about it and then crawled tighter to Brad's neck.  Pastor Chris took her to present to the congregation for a brief moment, and she was starting to she reached for Brad.  He took her - and we laid hands over her to pray.  She then wanted me to hold if to say, "daddy, under your care you let me get water on my head"..... "so I think I want mommy now". 

She was so sweet and then after church didn't want to be near Pastor Chris and even started to cry again.  We all hugged on our Pastor, saying... "he's a good guy".... then later in the fellowship area, when Pastor Chris sat down on a chair and we were talking, Lauren went up to him and laid her head on his lap/belly and wrapped her arms around him as if to say, "ok, I forgive you.... I like you again".... it was so cute.  One thing that I've learned from this tiny little 3 year old is not to hold a grudge.  It's amazing; she is the most forgiving person I know!!  When Joshua does stuff to her that makes her mad, or bothers her, etc.... she gets on him with her ranting and raving Marathi and then a few minutes later she looks for him to give him a great big hug, ruffle his hair, or kiss his cheek, hug his neck.  She is teaching us all grace at a whole new level.

We wrapped our time up at church with a few family pictures, etc... Nana was there too!!  Yea!  And then the children's pastor, Mrs. Brenda came upstairs and we got a picture of her too.  She also held Lauren tight and poured love into her.  We are very blessed to have Mrs. Brenda.  Enjoy the pictures of our blessed day.  We are once again reminded that God is our Father and without him in our lives we would be lost.  We see such amazing work of the Father in Lauren's life as she continues to grow in her forever family.  I pray we continue to hold her up in prayer and that her precious life continues to be a reflection of God's grace, love, and provision. 

She's thinking.....not sure what all this is about..........

When in doubt with surroundings, ruffle "bye-ah's" hair .... it's so soft and floppy.

We love Pastor Chris......

 More rubbing of his head.......

Great, I could use a drink of water about right now.....

Wait....what's he doing???

I am out of here the first chance I get.....

Praying and laying on of hands......mommy has my hand... it's all ok......

Yikes...what is he doing with me???

I think I'll stick with mommy for a bit.....

 Nana was there too......

We love Mrs. Brenda..........

and she loves us right back too.........

Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012

If you recall our last year Christmas card had our family's tennis shoes, minus one with a waiting empty pair.  Well this year, those shoes are filled..... and our family is complete!! Here is this year's card and Christmas greeting.  Much love to all those PAPs and adoptive families.... hang in there... God is good through the entire process. :) God speed in 2013. 

The Blunt’s Family Christmas Letter for 2012

As 2012 flew by, this year has been a year of family adjustments and intense growth.

Lauren Anjali Blunt!

After 2 years and 3 ½ months we finally were able to bring our daughter home from India. We thank each of you for your faithful prayers for our little girl. Lauren Anjali Blunt arrived in the U.S. on September 14, 2012, which just happened to be her 3rd birthday! Our trip to India was a trip of a lifetime and God’s presence and faithfulness was abounding; read more on our blog of daily journal writings in September 2012.

What started as a shy, quiet, unsure little girl has turned into a little firecracker, full of laughter, love and kindness….well most of the time. In many ways she is a typical 3 year old, wanting her food immediately when hungry and going through the pains of learning to share or not touch things that are either dangerous or valued possessions of her brother’s. No doubt about it, she has brought great joy to our family, along with a few challenges, but God is faithful and bigger than any issue we may experience. Lauren loves dogs, especially Nana’s dog Riley, she loves to chase him and fondly refers to him as “bi-ee”, she is very slowly learning the English language, with favorite words like, “shock-o-lot” AKA chocolate and “no!”, along with “go, go, go” when cheering for our Kentucky Wildcat Basketball team. She also absolutely LOVES Joshua and he’s growing to feel the same for her each day. She really is an amazing little girl.


Joshua grew up this year in so many ways. We spent spring break in Hilton Head and he enjoyed building things in the sand and hanging out with his friend Trey. Over the 4th of July weekend, he finally decided it was time to ditch the training wheels from his bike and of course when he did he got to experience the true joy of riding a bike… even though his knees were nearly in his chest because the bike was so small. :) Joshua also spent time over the summer at Grandma Blunt’s house, without his mommy and daddy! This was quite amazing and Brad and I both had to learn how to connect in new ways without Joshua for over a week! We both missed him terribly but enjoyed some couple time all the while. Joshua on the other hand was totally and utterly in LOVE with being at his Grandma’s and followed all the rules and remained a good house guest while away from home.

Joshua had a great 7th birthday in October in picking out his very own first “big kid” bike and rides it with great joy; we’ve been blessed with a beautiful fall, so we spent quite a bit of time outdoors and he on his bike. Joshua continues to LOVE soccer and Kentucky Wildcat Basketball. :) Joshua is thriving at school and church, as he’s learning to read and growing in his faith. He broke out in spontaneous prayer for Lauren during one of our bedtime routines reciting the Lord’s prayer – which surprised and warmed our heart! He is also forming strong connections at church through time with his small group. This has been a blessing to our family as he has worked through adjustments dealing with having a new little sister. Joshua has had “water” thrown on him during this transition and like the amazing little boy he is, has adapted very well….well with a few exceptions of some typical sibling stuff :)…. This little boy is certainly growing and stretching socially. Can you tell we are very proud of him?


Brad remains a contractor for the state and truly enjoys his job. He continues to thrive in a men’s small group and loves growing in Bible study and time with the Lord. Brad had a wonderful time in India, check out the story of his most amazing adventure riding in a rickshaw :) (posted under the October folder of our blog as India journal writings Sept 10, 2012 and Sept 11, 2012) … God is so faithful.

Brad has been amazing with Lauren, being patient with her during the early days when she was “afraid of men” to recently being one of the most favored people in Lauren’s world. She LOVES her play time with daddy…. He is always good for a swing in the backyard, a shoulder or horsey ride, game of Beyblades, or bouncing on the therapy ball. Brad is a great playmate and friend, and I think he secretly will tell you the most favorite part of his day is when he gets home from work and Lauren runs to him with joy and excitement looking for her daddy time of swinging, bouncing, and tickle attacks. “Daddy’s little girl” is an understatement. Of course jealousy is a new emotion for our family, so Brad remains faithful to carve out time for him and Joshua too. Their most favorite pastime over the summer is Holiday World, as they “endure” a full day of water slides, so that is certain to be in store for 2013.


Honestly Renae has had a year of “out of sorts”. The waiting and anticipation of Lauren coming home this year has been challenging, but Renae continued to stay connected with other adoptive families through her blog and continues to serve as support to friends across the country currently in the adoption process. Renae and Brad soaked in being a family of three with Joshua for most of the year, while waiting with full excitement when the call to travel to India came in.

Now with Lauren home, expectations have been thrown out the door and any resemblance of control is clearly gone. :) God is certainly chuckling joyfully waiting and watching for these growth opportunities. Initially Renae stayed home with Lauren, but eventually returned back to work on a part-time basis while Lauren attends Lexington Hearing and Speech preschool. Lauren has transitioned very well to this school and loves it, which brings great relief to our family. Renae works hard at balancing a family / work schedule that involves also running kids to school, events, doctor’s appointments and Lauren to weekly physical therapy. Renae continues to adapt to the new normal of being a mom to two children instead of one, and also has carved out “date night” with Joshua to ensure he’s not left behind in the changing family dynamics. The new family phrase is, “this is a marathon, not a sprint” which in the right reflection allows space for God to work in our lives in ways we couldn’t have even imagined.

As we look back over the year, we once again stand in awe of our Lord’s love, comfort, and provision.

Much love to you for a blessed 2013 ~ The Blunts

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Quick Katie update -- Our Lord is still in the miracle business!!!

Just a quick note on Katie, the daughter of a family in our adoption support group.  Katie was struck by a car while at college and has a brain injury....well, I'd say bleeding and swelling, but it seems as they continue to test her and perform MRIs, they keep getting good news.  Katie has no DAI and no neck tendon injury - this is a miracle!!  They have taken her off sedation to get her to wake up -- and removed her neck brace to make her more comfortable.  She has remained calm as her mom and dad pray over her and sing to her, previously she would be combative when the sedation was turned down (her dad says she's a fiesty one)...but today she was calm.... such power in prayer.  Furthermore, the expectation of her not waking for two months has now turned into them trying to wake her today as they took her off sedation to see how it goes..... well, she opened her eyes a short bit - barely open and even moved her eyes! It seemed from her dad's update that even the medical professionals were surprised. Her mom and dad continue to be by her side as well as others and amazing friends from her college hold prayer vigils and take turns staying over night..... the power of the Body of Christ is intervening in mighty ways for this young woman and it seems that He is certainly still in the miracle business.... please continue to pray!! Please also pray for family on both sides as this must be taking a toll on even those at home caring for other younger family members. Keep praying!!!

At times like this I have to wonder....... who in their midst will certainly accept Christ by watching this amazing Christian family hold up their daughter with hope and courage and faith???  Who is our Lord calling right now to the Body of Christ, a particular nurse, a doctor, a college student, someone in the cafateria, or maybe housekeeping?  There is always a reason for times like this ... so you just have to wonder, don't ya?

Faithful prayer warriors -- continue to pray.... also, there is a Jeremy that had the same thing happen to him there at the hospital also.... he doesn't have the same level of support -- add him to your prayers, perhaps there is life changing events in his family's midst. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Today at Physcial Therapy

We had a great day today at PT.  Joshua woke in the middle of the night last night saying he didn't feel well and thought he had to throw up.  He never did get sick and went back to sleep.  So this morning I wasn't surprised to hear him say he again thought he had to throw up.  (Of course this was after I mentioned that Lauren was staying home with me today because it's PT Day and also that I had to go to work for a Christmas Cookie exchange.) So Joshua stayed home from school today.  He still hasn't got sick and continues to give me his "sick rating" -- this morning he started at 30, at noon he was at 55 before he ate, then he said he went back to 50 after eating :) so who knows..... anyway.... so he got to go to PT with Lauren and also to my office this morning. 

He was such a great help at PT; Lauren would do literally anything the therapist asked because of course Joshua did it first. But during this visit we got to see little miss doing all her skills that we've been working so hard on:
  • Balance beam
  • Jump with both feet
  • Swing
  • Trampoline
  • Scooter Board
  • Belly time playing Cootie Bug
  • Bean Bag toss
  • Wagon ride and also wagon pull (she and Joshua took turns and she actually pulled him around too!)
  • Balance on beam while hitting balloon in the air
  • Fine motor puzzle / coupled with balancing exercise
  • We did some tall knee playing, all fours, and belly time
  • She continues to get up with one foot then another off of her kneel time - which is great!
And at the end when she didn't want to leave she headed for the Mr. Potato Head......

Today she was all about it!  But we cold also see how far she really has come.  While on wagon ride, we were singing the ABCs.... I have to take a video and figure out how to post on here.... it is soooo cute.  It goes something like this, "AB, AB, AB, A........ AB, AB, AB, A"  ..... too funny :)  I'm on a waiting list for an afternoon appointment time, so Joshua could come each week.... we both think this would be beneficial, but meanwhile, we continue to go to PT on our own and she also still wears her feet braces every day.  She is gaining such strength!  One of our friend's little girl said recently, "man Lauren is getting some abs!" - of course I don't believe it's that noticeable - but she sure is getting stronger.  With strength also comes confidence and that is really fun to watch as she tries new things and cheers herself on :)

Some pics from an earlier visit :)

On another note - I've had such a heavy heart in recent days.  A family from our adoption support group - it's a blended family with grown kids and now foster kids in the family too.  The dad's college-age daughter was hit by a car while at school and has a severe brain injury along with many other body injuries.  My heart is just breaking because they say she may not wake up for two months - and she will likely be in an inpatient rehab therapy hospital for 2 years.... and that is assuming other surprises don't come up along the way.  She's in PA and her dad has been by her side day and night.  Please pray for Katie.... I am really praying for a Christmas miracle! It is so very hard to imagine such a tragedy in ones family ...... it takes my breath away just thinking about it.  And I'm reminded that our time on earth is like a grain of sand on the beach of eternity and while on earth we are not promised a pain free life (although I cry out to the Lord, make it so)....losing a child or even having such a tragedy...experiencing such pain and terror...... I just can't imagine and I don't like it one bit....makes me want all my family to go to heaven at the SAME time! People all over the US are praying for Katie - and even around the globe....won't you join us?  I sooooo want a miracle..... Lord Jesus, show your healing power and we give you ALL the glory!! 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Certificate of Citizenship and some updated pics

So excited - we got Lauren's Certificate of Citizenship this week from US Immigration. Her sweet little passport photo attached is a reminder of how far we've come!  (Physically and emotionally).  Her look of fear in that photo has faded to laughs and giggles and her hair is growing like crazy making her a curly headed beauty :)
Lauren and Joshua continue to bond and it's a joy to watch.  See pics below of Lauren moving her plate to Joshua's side of the dinner table to "join him", feed him, and mess a bit with his hair.  I think she LOVES ruffling his hair - it's so soft to feel and I guess she sees me touching his head often ..... she's a great little mother to him... it is downright hilarious.  Brad and I both say we can't wait until she speaks more english, because she is going to mother Joshua like crazy.  Recently when I was trying to get Joshua to wake up and get ready for school (with no success), she came up to him and clapped her hands three times and rambled off a long string of Marathi - it was adorable....we cracked up.  Our little obedient, determined, rule follower is too cute.... wonder if she will always be this way???

It starts out simple - just a seat change - and she brings her plate too. Can I sit on your lap bye-ah?

Then it turns into a "can I get behind you and hug your neck?"

Then...."how about it I feed you??"

"Oh bye-ah, your hair is so silky soft- let me ruffle it up a bit"

True brotherly / sister love. (of course I wouldn't take a picture of the wrestling and annoying each other scenes, now would I?)

Here is also a recent picture at our church Christmas pagent.  Lauren was a sheep and Joshua was a shepherd. She had the ears on for about a second :)  No big deal .... who needs silly sheep ears anyway when you are naturally this cute?!!  Besides, Bye-ah's shepherd head piece is falling off too, see below..... we march to our own little drummer boy :)

Life is busy yall, what can I say.....tis the season.  Praying for several families in India right now picking up their children / or going to court.  What a special Christmas gift to have these children.....we are blessed.  

Monday, November 26, 2012

Lauren's first Thanksgiving

As Thanksgiving weekend comes to a close, I am ever thankful for my family.  We spent Thanksgiving at a friend's house with their family and had such a great time.  My mom was invited too, so that was nice.  Our day was filled with food, hanging out chatting, watching some football, a little dozing on the couch, and then also kiddos playing football in their back yard.  I'll update with pictures on another day. 

Lauren was so great that day, sitting like a big girl at the "kid's table", eating her turkey and mashed potatoes, and later running the back yard along with the football game of kids verses daddys. Our friends have "tween" girls, I think 10 and 12 or so years old, so they LOVE to play with Lauren.  She just follows them right along. They also have two dogs, which Lauren LOVES.  Lauren also followed the boys to the basement for a game of wii - so all in all, she had a great day. 

Her day was wrapped up by her "finding" daddy in the middle of his football game in the back yard, and motioning for him to walk the creek and they ended up in the park next door.  About 20 minutes later, Brad came in the house from the front door without Lauren.  I was like, "where is Lauren??" His reply was, "she's asleep on the couch in the living room" -- when he took her to the park, she feel asleep in the baby swing and he carried her all the way home asleep!  That girl was just totally worn out!  It was so cute - she continued to sleep through the second round of eating and more football games, but this time on TV.

It was an all around great day!

The rest of her weekend consisted of play time with Joshua and daddy, while I got some shopping done.  As a family we went to the Lexington Children's Museum - she LOVED that!  She helped my mom and Joshua put up our Christmas tree (while Brad and I slipped out to Panera for some mommy/daddy time), and we wrapped the weekend up with a pot luck at church last night to celebrate advent.  She helped, along with all the other children, decorate the church Christmas tree.  I think she's got the Christmas tree-thing down. :) 

I have to say, I'm not a big fan of decorating for Christmas.  Not crazy about putting up a tree, etc.... but because of Joshua and my mom, we do it -- well, they put it up...we just allow it in our home. :)  It seems like so much work and I've never really been a fan of decorating a Christmas tree.  But I can see that for Joshua and now also for Lauren, it's important -- they LOVE it - and lay on their belly just watching the lights and the train circle around the tree.  Lauren particularly likes to take off one ornament that has a picture of Joshua from last year and she walks around with it - telling anyone who will listen, "bye-ah, bye-ah" - which is brother in Marathi.  She LOVES her bye-ah.   I've found myself wondering this weekend what is she thinking when it comes to all this Christmas stuff and decorating trees.  I pray her little heart is filled with the love of God - so that she knows how very much SHE is loved by us and by our Lord. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Anjali is legally Lauren Anjali

Not to discourage any of you PAPs out there, but guess what….even when you get your child home there is STILL more paperwork! If you are a JOH family, never fear, they send you a packet of information once you get home and they guide you through those steps, I’m sure other agencies do the same.

Today, we went to court in our county to file for a Petition of Name Change. This is just one of many processes you have to go through in our state, probably yours too. (Next once we get her citizenship certificate, we have to get her US birth certificate, social secuirty card, and file with insurance her new name, etc).... But for today, this court appearance was easy….. very easy! We didn’t even use an attorney. We just waited our turn and then when the judge called us up, she read our petition (the form we filled out when we asked for the court date) and then asked a few questions and then Brad was sworn in to answer a few further questions under oath….and that was it…. Anjali officially and legally became “Lauren” – Anjali Blunt. She now has a first and middle name!

On the name change, so many people ask…. Are you changing her name, what does your agency think about this??? Why are you changing her name from such a beautiful name like Anjali?

So I thought I’d share the story for anyone new to this blog. You can also check out a post from the past (April 2011 - What's in a Name post) that talks about this topic….although doesn’t give all these details. :)

So when we received our referral and we were told her name was Anjali, we instantly liked the name. Names in India always have a meaning, unlike here in the U.S. In the U.S. a name may have a meaning, but we don’t put as much “stock” in a person’s name and any meaning behind it, if there is any. We looked up the meaning of Anjali….. it means, “an offering or a gift”. While this may be a beautiful idea, we truly believe she is a gift to us that has blessed our lives; however, as an orphan child, she may not want to be thought of as “a gift given away”. This is also a strong Hindi / Sanskrit name and some definitions consider the name meaning as an “offering to the gods”, emphasis on godS. In India, the people worship MANY gods. So as a result of this research, we struggled with the idea of keeping her name the same for two reasons: 1.) All the research says don’t change a child’s name if they are older than 2 years old, I believe. 2.) We have always in our mind thought our daughter would be named Lauren. Actually, Joshua was going to be named Lauren if he was a girl :) Our hearts and our minds have prayed for a child named Lauren well before we even knew about Anjali. So as we’ve had “the adoption world” highly encouraging us to keep her birth name…. Perhaps the only thing her birth mother would have given her…. We also have our own faith and beliefs tugging at our heart. So what did we do??? We prayed….and prayed. Brad and I talked at length….and we prayed. He was convinced we change her name…. I needed more time.

So during this time (which looking back was Divine timing), I was in a Bible study called BSF (Bible Study Fellowship)… it is a fabulous bible study. We were studying Isaiah. I was deep in the study, all in the context of the questions and the historical references and meanings of what was happening at the time in the Bible and when studying passage Isaiah 62, specifically verse 62:2-4 and in the middle of lecture on that Wednesday morning out of the blue (I wasn’t even THINKING about Anjali at the time), the Holy Spirit said to me, “give her a new name, she is no longer desolate, nor abandoned”… I couldn’t believe it – these words, although not audible…. Were so very clear in my mind, that I KNEW it was the Holy Spirit. So what does any good Christian girl do when something like this happens???? Contact a trusted Christian mentor and talk it through. So I emailed a friend and we set a lunch date.

THEN a few nights later, I woke up in the middle of the night and it’s as if the Lord was speaking to me again and said, “we are all adopted, I value adoption, but these adoption books and academics are missing one thing….. ME, the Lord, the I AM”…. “you have longed to write a book… how about start with a children’s book on adoption and the name change??” And I literally went down stairs and wrote the ENTIRE narrative of the children’s book! This was April 28, 2011, and I just checked the file time saved on my computer and it was 2:15 a.m. So what do I do with that??

I had lunch with my trusted friend and she was so encouraging and excited and she reminded me of all the times in the Bible that God gave his followers a new name and she challenged me to study those times and pray on the significance of changing a name. She read my first draft of the book, listened to the story and then in the only way she knows how….she spoke some truth to me. She said, “Renae, are you ready to give this to the Lord, in His timing, all for His glory….Renae are you ready to obey?”…. and then she added, “I think you also need to add a John 3:16 moment in the book….but that’s just what I’m thinking listening to your story on this unfold”. So on May 4, 2011, I felt particularly inspired and I edited the book to add her suggestions. And then I saved the file and I told God – it’s yours, so when YOU are ready, I am ready. You must open the doors when you want me to pursue this further.

In the meantime, I’ve met a few artists, and I’ve checked on self-publishing, but all the while I haven’t felt that God has opened the door that I’m waiting for…. It is all for Him. Self-publishing isn’t that expensive (maybe a few thousand dollars), but selling books and being a no-name author isn’t that financially rewarding either….so I wait on Him! One offer to illustrate is Joshua’s art teacher…so I may consider talking to her again and have her do one page to see if it fits the style we have in mind. We also wanted Anjali to be home, safe and sound in her environment – and settled…. Certainly don’t want to exploit her in ANY way….or take on a huge project that may take away time from her. So meanwhile, we wait for God to take the next step on this call and open that next door. We do feel compelled to offer something to the adoption world that may not be fully present on this topic…..something of God….something of another perspective.

I don’t mean in any way to diminish anyone who has kept their child’s birth name – I do see this as a family decision, but for those that do want to change their child’s name… I also think there are ways this can be done in connection with building a strong identity in Christ. Certainly only time will tell if Anjali is sad or hurt by this name change, and that is why we left her birth name as her middle name to allow her the option in the future to use her middle name, merely out of respect for her (right now she seems to like “Lauren” and smiles and responds when we call her by this name). For now, we are really praying she finds all her identify in our ONE true God and that one day she too will be adopted into the body of Christ by her own longing and desire…her own free will.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

One lesson learned with little miss

So maybe I'm a slow learner (or perhaps maybe I think I can change the way things are??) - but one thing I've learned about Lauren Anjali -- don't plan things around nap time or lunch time (unless it's a nap or LUNCH!) :)

I've had to really work hard at getting all the "stars" aligned before her PT session each week --- when everything is in sync, this girl LOVES physical therapy...... no lunch, .... no session, it's just that simple, she just won't cooperate.  The timing of her appointment is really right at lunch time, so I've tried to get through the appointment and then have  So now we have lunch a bit early and then go to PT - works so much better.  

And today, we had our family photo session for the holidays...... oh, was that a challenge -- well the first outfit session was great (but again it was before her normal lunch time).... she was in a good mood, all was well.  Quick change of clothes and oh my, she was all "sensoried-up"  - that's my made up word for sensory seeking.... out of sorts.... crazy .... kookie.... AHHH get me home behavior.  But what did we do, we changed clothes and the photographer just kept trying.   And then again changed clothes and got a few shots of her and Joshua.... only a book finally calmed her. 

On the way home she fell asleep and is still asleep now -- without even eating lunch!!  She is going to be one hungry little girl when she wakes - but that's ok, we have left over rice :)  She is so strict in her routine and I think preschool is also heightening this.  When I was home with her, sometime she wouldn't nap on schedule... she generally always eats on schedule :)

One bit of other news... her preschool did a hearing screen and discovered TWO ear infections.  I felt awful; she hasn't been running a fever or fussing, so we didn't even know it.  It makes me wonder if she's used to a certain level of discomfort and accepts that as "the way it is".  Anyway, I think she's already feeling better from her medicine.

Excited to have a friend over and her family tonight for pizza.  She was in my bible study a few years ago -- and is now adopting from India!  She lives here in Lexington, so that is really exciting for us too!  I think I'm off for a quick nap - since little one is getting one -- and Brad and Joshua are practicing for the church variety show - they are doing their David and Goliath puppet show with homemade paper puppets taped to a straw. :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - pics

Ok - you all know I can't be totally wordless...check out some pics and captions :)

                                                              Halloween party at neighbors
 (mommy had the cutest fairy costume, but I was NOT about to wear it when I could be Luigi to my big brother's Mario! When I saw his hat, I had to have one of my very own - thankfully Ms. Ali next door happen to have one!)

Lauren Anjali and Riley (Nana's dog)

Catch the toy "i-ee" AKA Riley

Love my girl!

Lauren Anjali LOVES Riley

Let's play hairdresser!  Daddy's first...... Lauren Anjali's turn .... Joshua is either going to be a mechanical engineer or a hairdresser :)

C-A-T-S (Check out the TV - great unplanned timing :) )

                                                                     Cats! Cats! Cats!
                                                    It's official, we have a Kentucky girl!

                                          Quit taking pics ..... while we watch our CATS!

Because of Election Day - Joshua and Daddy didn't have school or work and got to see Lauren at preschool! 
                                                  Makin' Mr. Potato Head.

                                                 Home in the kitchen on my scooter!

                                            All done, now off with this helmet!  :)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

One Happy Mom

So no doubt about it - we've had our fair share of challenging moments during this transition bring Lauren Anjali into our family.  At times Joshua has struggled, I've struggled, and I think even Brad has struggled.... we know our little one has also struggled.  The hardest thing at times has been when anyone leaves the house she cries.  But it seems like we might be making some good progress in this thing called SECURE attachment.

Today - a local church, where we are part of an adoption support group - held an orphan Sunday event - basically booths set up and interested families can come and ask any questions about adoption, foster care, orphan care.  I volunteered to serve at the support group table.  So right after church, we all came home, I grabbed a quick sandwich and made my way to this event.

Lauren Anjali fell asleep in the van on the way home from church.  Brad carried her in and put her on the couch where she is used to napping.  I took off for the adoption event.  Brad would have the kids for at least three hours.  When I got home, Brad, Joshua and Lauren were all at my mom's house.  She has a dog - Papillion named Riley -- Lauren LOVES him.  I worked on laundry until they came home.... he ended up having them for about 5 hours!

Joshua ran into the house and said, "we are home, guess what when she woke up from her nap she didn't cry!"  I was like -- "that's great".  Then Brad came in and Lauren came in too -- she ran to me gave me a quick hug and then tackled Joshua who was laying on the floor right in front of me in the family room.  He laughed, she laughed ... it was all good.  So I said to Joshua, "so, do you think you like your sister now? remember when she first came home - you weren't so sure about her when she bugged you, got into your stuff, etc."... his response made this mom - one happy mom!!  He said, "when she first came home I liked her - then the jar went a little empty -- but now it's back full again".... that is his way of saying, "yep, I like her"... I love the heart of this little boy who has always been a bit quiet, sometimes hesitant to really share his feelings (we've worked hard on that one)... but now, as I see how happy he is when he's playing with her -- AKA rough housing, sword fights, even sometimes legos.... it makes me so very happy.

So today - I got THREE hours of adult time talking about adoption topics, which I love - with great Christian families - all in various stages of the process... or still considering it.... Brad had the kids played with them and then visited my mom for more fun times.... I got some laundry done in a quiet house for another 1 1/2 hours! ... and now Brad's off to his small group -- and all is well at home.  When Brad left, Lauren gave him her typical goodbye, "bye ki-ee" -- have no idea what this means - at first I thought she believed everyone was named "Kelly" -- but it's her goodbye -- and tonight she said it to Brad with confidence, AND security that he would be back....and there were no tears.  This little one is making it....and she has a brother that is continuing to love her more and more  :) 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Decision: No OT for a period of time

Thanks SOOO much for your insight to my previous post.  Today the decision was made to stop OT for a period and I feel so much relief about it.  As I looked at our calendar it just seemed to be too much to add to an already busy plate.  Anjali is doing very well at preschool and I want to just focus on PT and getting her stronger.  I'm sure we will visit OT next year - perhaps in the spring - but I feel good that at this time it's the best decision for us.  I totally agree - she just needs to be a kid for a bit (actually a LONG bit since she's just 3 - but you know what I mean) -- and she has lots of time to catch up.  It's a delicate balance going for ALL the suggested treatment versus just growing closer at home and knowing time is still available for treatment later..... We just love our kids so much, we want them to reach their full potential.... but the best indicator is, when she falls asleep nearly all the time when we get in the car ... this girl is toooo busy :)  She used to LOVE PT sessions - and now seems to fuss a bit (because it's the same place as her OT visits - which she clearly didn't like all that much).  So here's to hoping her love for her PT returns, we all have more down time, and she continues to thrive at preschool.  Meanwhile, we've learned just enough from OT to help us add sensory inputs when needed to settle her seeking heart.  

Thanks to you for such great comments, and to my friend Mer who added encouragement too on the phone. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

To OT or not to OT

So - a bit has been going on in our world.  Anjali has started preschool - and she seems to really like it I'm told by her teachers....and other staff that stop me in the hall with all these cute stories about her.  She still cries a bit when I leave her - but I recall Joshua doing that as well, and I'm told that's all normal.  She stops crying before I even leave the area :)  - and last week she hugged her teacher when we left.

Our biggest challenge has been the busy schedule.  She goes to preschool on Monday, Thursdays, and Fridays, and we have been having PT and OT on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  But now I'm wondering about the OT.  When we go to our provider of these services, she LOVES the PT activities and seems to hate the OT time.  I totally get the need for her to have PT -- I can see why, and I am fully bought into the idea of PT, this girl needs to build a strong core -- she falls alot and needs muscle building.  But OT, I'm not so sure -- so this is where all of you come in -- please post ANY advice you may have.

They say she is a sensory seeker -- at times I question whether or not she's just a child, three years old, exploring her new world....which let's face it.... is DRASTICALLY different than where she lived before for the first three years of her life.  She has transitioned so well.... and we've really asked a lot from her when you think about it:
  • Long trip home across the ocean
  • She attends church service (plays either in the nursery or the 3 year old room - depends on her mood - and everyone is fine with that :) ....LOVE our church
  • She goes to small group on Wednesday nights with Joshua at church
  • She has stayed with her Nanna while Brad and I have went out for dinner a few times
  • She goes to preschool
  • She's met a bunch of people
  • She shops with me
  • She plays inside and out
  • She plays with other neighborhood children and families
  • She loves to help with cleaning dishes
  • She is trying tons of new foods
  • She has a different bedtime routine than most of her life
  • She has a new brother -- who at times picks on her a bit - in a loving brotherly way -- but is someone she adores
  • She's still warming up to her daddy -- honestly she LOVES when he comes home because he does this special swinging activity with her
  • She met two new grandparents when Brad's parents came to visit .....
and I'm sure this list goes on and on..... so I have to this girl adaptable???  Yep, I think so.  Can she be rigid - like her LOVE for "shock-o-lot" (Chocolate) - her opinion that rice and rice and more rice is her preferred food... that SHE likes to peal a banana -- please let her do it her self -- and even more recently her desire to use the toilet -- and actually want to pull the step stool to the toilet HERSELF so she can get up on the toilet -- keep in mind this kiddo is somewhere around 25 or 26 lbs. She is tough, she is strong... she is smart... she is determined....she is eager to please.

I'm told, she needs OT - because of her sensory seeking behavior that she will have trouble learning, writing and fine motor skills (don't really believe that, given she can easily hold a pen or pencil the correct way), and she will struggle focusing on a single task that her teachers will want her to do that she may not prefer....... sound familiar about ANY child age 3-23??   So I struggle to what extend do we keep pushing her??  I'm not saying I don't see the sensory seeking things she does, I do -- but I feel now that we know what it is, we can better respond -- and when we give her inputs, she does very well.  Will the life skills come with overall daily activities?  How important is OT at this very moment??  (The care providers seems to put on the guilt by saying things like, "if you don't get OT now, you will be back later for it" and "it's so much better to do this now than when she's in school and grades matter", etc, etc..... ).   So I continue to struggle with this decision.  And of course she's verbal and jabber, jabber, jabbers alot -- problem is, it's in Marathi - so I have no idea what she's saying.  Here is what I do know, she's happiest at these times:
  1. When she sees Joshua first thing in the morning
  2. When we pick Joshua up from school
  3. When she's having pretend sword fights in my kitchen with Joshua, having horsey rides with him, playing on her scooter, or playing with almost any of his toys
  4. And I'm told she's happy around the other children at her preschool. 
  5. And she's happy when all of her family is together

I'm trying not to be one of these "blinded - biased" parents -- but at some point don't we just let kids be kids?  Help me here if I'm off my rocker -- and from any of your experiences OT was the best route early on..... what do you think the criteria should be before sending a child to OT?.... help me with this abstract service - because at times it just seems like they are just playing with children -- and isn't that what we as parents are supposed to be doing?  So can this sensory stuff go away through the normal course of growing up - and playing - being in a family???   What about the brushing - what would you say is the criteria for a child to begin brushing? We give lotion massages at night - and she seems to really enjoy it -- plus her skin NEEDS it so badly this often. So does anyone know of any good website discussing this, have experience on this topic, etc?? I want to be able to cancel OT for a few months, maybe even until spring - but don't want to make a mistake that we regret down the road...any thoughts??       

Friday, October 26, 2012

Confirmation we are on the right path

So, since taking Lauren to preschool, it has been really hard for me.  When I drop her off she cries..... I need people in my life to be happy.  So this is killing me.... EVERYONE tells me, this is normal, and actually good because it shows she is bonded to me.  (I know Joshua cried when he went to daycare - but it's been a very long time ago and it's hard for me to remember all those feelings)..... I know they all get used to the separation, but still it's hard...and you always wonder, are we doing anything to harm her??  So far she's been 4 days.... well today, she barely cried any length of time at all... each day I stand in the hall to hear how long she cries.  I know they would call me if she is having a hard time settling down.... but still it is great to hear yourself that she has stopped crying.  She's really taken to Ms. Anna, so when I dropped her off today and Ms. Anna took her from me.... she fussed and cried, but really just for a moment.  I was so happy. 

This allowed me and Joshua to have our own day together -- his school was closed for parent-teacher meetings.  He received a great report from his teacher.... and we went bike riding, and played putt-putt golf.  It was a great day.

So when we came to pick up Lauren..... she was in such a great mood!  And she jabbered ALL the way home.  I also got great stories from her teacher of how she's connecting with the other children.  She sits and participates during circle time and they even made no-bake pumpkin cookies yesterday and got to eat them today....she LOVED both days (cooking and then eating the rewards too!). 

So for now, my heart is at peace knowing we are doing the right thing.  I can't wait until she has a great big long list of english words!  We are so very proud of her!!  She's pretty cute carrying her backpack too!!  Battery charger is on order -- hope to get next week :)

Monday, October 22, 2012

You must tread your own path

So I write this post merely from our perspective and it is NOT to suggest that any other family is doing things the "wrong" way.... or that we have it all figured out.... because we clearly don't.  But one thing I'm learning about parenting Lauren Anjali - is that we can certainly look to the adoption books and training for guidance...but at some point, we have to allow the Holy Spirit, our gut instict, and our own thoughts to help us know what is best for her.  I write this post only because we are a family of rule followers - if the BOOK says you "stay home with your child for 6 months"...well, we are going to do what we can to make that happen.  If the BOOK says don't allow people over to your house for 2 months -- well, we planned on doing that :)  Keep in mind, sometimes the book (although based on research and perhaps a lot of wisdom) doesn't fit every child.  I have had considerable guilt over the need and desire to return to work - and some of my closest friends have said, "you just might be a better mom if you are able to return to work on a part-time basis"....... So after knowing Lauren Anjali 49 days, here is what we have found.....

Lauren Anjali is a child that LOVES to be around people.  She loves to go, go, go .... explore, see sights, be outside, she loves to learn.  In India we picked up on this a bit because when we would play in the hotel room, at times she'd point to the door.  She loved exploring the elevator, going to the mall... and even seemed to be ok with taxi rides through the busy streets. 

So now that we are home, we noticed early on when some dear friends of ours came over with their girls, she LOVED playing with them.  When Joshua played outside with friends -- Lauren Anjali would "hang out" with the boys in the back yard, chasing them... trying to play along with the soccer game, or sometimes just playing on the playset and watching them.  At church, she didn't want to stay in the sanctuary, but instead wanted to go where children were -- we tried the infant/nursery because we THOUGHT she was too young and it was too early to leave her downstairs with the 3 year old children.  But because Joshua goes downstairs to HIS classroom, she wanted to go downstairs too -- and went right into her 3 year old class.... enjoys the toys, playdough, etc.  This girl NEEDS people...little people :).... which is great, because we have agonized over how we would transition her to preschool / daycare -- and all my friends have said, just pray about the timing, it will all work out. 

So today, we had physical therapy this morning and then I dropped her off for a very short FIRST day at preschool.  She really seemed to LOVE it.  She did cry for a brief moment when I left (I went next door to the business I could hear her).... they comforted her and she quickly quit crying!  When I picked her up two hours later they said that she did great....and was getting ready to take her shoes off like all the other kids for nap time.  After recess time she did cry/whine/fuss just a bit when they came in for circle time before lunch....but get this .... she had a great lunch and even asked for a napkin to help clean off some food that one of HER CLASSMATES got on HIS shirt..... they all got a kick out of that.  Yep, that's our girl the great helper, the loving friend.   

Now we will watch her closely and make sure she doesn't emotionally regress in any way.  But I wanted to share this with all you PAPs out there - because at some point books and opinions of other families, etc.  really can be taken and filed away for consideration for sure .... we have totally relied on the advice of many of you....but at the end of the day... being intune with your child, you will know exactly what he or she needs.....and that is when you may find yourself treading your own path. We also place a huge emphasis on prayer, and this little one was totally covered in prayer for her first day of "skaala" (school).  So thankful for that!

p.s. speaking of prayer - you should see her at the dinner table -- we hold hands around the table and pray -- she loves this and at the end she sayes, "ah-men" with her sweet little accent!  Sometimes she encourages several prayers throughout dinner by motioning for us to hold her hand again, and again....and she even bows her head :) 

p.s. - hope to post pictures soon -- lost camera charger so need to order a new one ;) 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Complexity of God's Creation

Just a short note to share -- how I stand in awe of the complexity of God's creation of humanity.  We were created to be held and loved eye to eye with a momma (God's design was breast feeding, so you get my point here of saying momma and not daddy :) )-- we were created to explore and process our senses with the loving comfort of our parent -- we were created for connection -- one-on-one engagement and connection -- we were created to crawl, because our brain grows and develops a certain way when we crawl--and our neck muscles and arms and upper body muscles grow and get stronger from crawling just in time so our "core / trunk" can support our body just in time for us to walk.  Isn't all this interesting???

So we can understand when a child is raised in an orphanage from an infant - it is very easy to understand how certain things may not be developed the most effective way, due to overcrowded care, or lack of crawling.  (Even in the most effective, loving, wonderful orphanages....this can happen).  We are created for family....and living and learning life together.  I am ever thankful for research and study of child development that will help us catch our little one up.  She's doing great -- and once we figured out OT a bit -- what "sensory seeking" looks like -- and how WE can help provide inputs .... once you figure this out folks, life gets sooooo much easier :)  At a later day, I'll post some techniques and tips.

On another topic: tried our childcare/ preschool last week.  Things had changed a bit since we first reserved our spot --- anyway, Anjali would be with 23 kids (and two teachers!!).... I just knew in my gut that this place didn't feel right.  So I've been on a mad dash to research other places.  Well today, we went to a very special place.  It's called Lexington Hearing and Speech Center -- and they have a preschool.  It was amazing.  Some kids have hearing and speech delays, but not all children have a special need.  The ratios are low and teacher engagement is very high -- rooms are really engaging, and surprisingly calm.  I think when the teacher is "present" it makes kids so very happy!!  So we are waiting to hear what spot they might have for us....some kiddos are shuffling around a bit - but I think Anjali may actually be with the preschoolers -- her little brain was just ticking along in that class room -- they also have a sensory birdseed bin, a child's computer, and all kinds of other things.  I asked her when we left, "did Anjali liked her school and have fun??" and I got a quick yes nod of the head :)  And at one point, she waved to me goodbye while she played in the preschool class and blew me a kiss.  This makes me so happy. So I guess here -- we are just plugging along through life.

Tonight she's at her small group at church -- she seems to be really doing well....and when she gets home, I'm sure she's gonna run to me to be picked up ....and guess what, momma has some rice made up for her nighttime snack.    God is so very good.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Trip Home must have

Forgot one thing for the trip home must haves ....

My friend Nikki recommended lap pads for the trip home.... that was a great tip!!  We took a waterproof lap pad with us and Anjali allowed us to change her diaper ...right there in the seats.  We didn't care what others may have thought :)  We tried our best to use a blanket to cover her up -- and when it was dark - no big deal.  But the lap pad was great to use while at the hotel too....or out during our travels, etc....because it "signals" to the child it's time for a diaper change.  So by the time we got on the plane for our trip home, she knew what the "lap pad" meant for her :)  ...also, the waterproof lap pad will protect you in case your child does sleep and leaks through a diaper. 

Also, you may have noticed the scarf I had on in the pictures from the previous post -- just a cotton plain scarf.  That was actually quite helpful to wipe those tears during the trip home.... I didn't care what condition it was in when we got home....and let's say after those long hours - it was quite damp - but was a nice way to keep myself somewhat dry - and to have a cloth handy at all times.  Just a thought. ...Plus it dressed up a plain grey t-shirt -- because all other clothes were dirty :).  I can also see the scarf being something that could keep out some of the light for your the event they do sleep :)

We also took dumb dumb suckers for the flight when our ears were popping.  I heard other people ask for cotton for the ears - I'd check into that. 

Some have asked .... our flight was United Airlines from New Delhi to Newark -- nonstop and was about 15 hours.  We really liked the fact we didn't have a layover in Europe.  We took off around 10 pm at night, hoping we could all sleep the majority of that flight to the US...... ha, ha, ha.... no such luck for us...but maybe would be for you. 

As far as jet lag -- it was interesting... we were tired when we got home, but it was weird.  It didn't seem like any of our "clocks" were off with the time zone difference.  We just kept to our same routine and everyone was able to sleep as usual. Brad and I didn't feel our best for a few days when we returned, but we still could sleep at our normal times.

As I think of other things... I'll post. I can't wait for the day when one of you get to travel :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Last India journal writing - Sept. 13, 2012

Thursday – September 13, 2012

Well I’ve been struggling to write this last India journal post – mainly because how do you describe the stress and challenge of getting a sweet, timid, unsure child home from all the way across the world….and throw in a few security check points – and it’s total and utter chaos. But hey, we got through it – we all get through it… only through God’s grace. We’ve also been pretty busy around here – as you might imagine. Anjali is a joy…a challenge… a bit stubborn at times… very sweet… smart… she’s a normal 3 year old with a few extra added special attributes :) - so it’s been very busy. Mainly we’ve had Joshua’s school activities, soccer, Anjali doctor’s appointments, a PT evaluation, and an OT evaluation…. and now looking at about a year of therapy to get her caught up… throw in the language barrier to communication, a stuck knee in the slats of her crib, sleeping musical chairs for all our family, ….did I say sleep ??? (I mean “sleep” for some of us….not so much for others!!)… and now a new toddler bed delivered just today that needs assembled and transitioned in to…in the weeks and months ahead, and welcome to our life :) -- So here goes my best attempt at being real about our trip home and our final day in India.   I will still blog on life with Anjali (Lauren Anjali) ...but maybe not quite so often :)  Email me anytime.... you can private message me on facebook.

It's 5 am in India and when everyone wakes this will be our final day here. We leave tonight and get to Lexington at 10:15 am Friday morning (9/14). It's bittersweet to think of leaving - it's like a good book you don't want to put down, yet you know you must move on. It's been amazing and I am absolutely so thankful that we built in to our trip several down / rest days…..folks, my best advice is ….don’t rush this trip!! Little miss is great, funny, and even somewhat predictable :) and on a rigid schedule of eating and sleeping -which is great. So we got up today as usual and went to the restaurant for breakfast like every other morning….we said our goodbyes to the restaurant staff and began our last day here in India. I packed and organized the room a bit – and separated things that we were leaving behind for someone else – like too small clothes and shoes we brought along not knowing for sure what size Anjali would wear. After breakfast, we decided to go to the mall – we shopped a bit, and then went to the inside play ground area. Anjali, after about 20 minutes of watching other children go down the slide, finally worked up the courage and went up ONE STEP towards the slide, then another, and then another, until finally she went down the slide. When she did finally go down, she loved it – and went many times over. This was a good way to spend our last few hours here.

Let me just stand here and watch them for a bit first :)
If I take this one step will you come get me so I won't fall?

I can do anything NOW!

The BEST part is moma getting me at the end......

....and "throwing me in the air"..... and cheering me on....:)

Again....please :)

And still more..... times.... please :)

We finished play time and returned back to our room and continued to pack and straighten up the room. We organized carry on bags and made sure all paperwork was ready and available for airport security. Finally the time had come when we were to go to the airport. We get to the front desk and there is an issue with our bill, we had about a $100 phone call on our bill. Which I called Joshua one time and only talked a very short time – so I was expecting about $20 on the bill. They had to do research on the call – so we waited. Our bags were loaded in the driver’s car and we continued to wait. We finally got that cleared up, but with traffic and this delay we were very close to the time where panic would set in to catch our airplane. What is it with us…we can’t seem to get to the airport early!!

We get there and we must show all our paperwork to the OUTSIDE check-in guys… we finally convince them we have all our paperwork in order, tickets, adoption papers for Anjali, etc. Then we go to ticketing to check in. Again we must show our paperwork. They seem ok with everything. We go through security and there is yet another security check point in which we are asked, “Do you have a letter authorizing you to leave India with this child”….. I was like, well other than a court order, the immigration packet, her passport and VISA, her medical records, etc, etc. Finally, I recall a letter that Bal Asha wrote that mentioned something about – us being escorts to Anjali and that we are her parents… or something on those lines. We give the letter to the person behind the counter – he must take it to his supervisor…. They stand over talk and talk; make a phone call ….. Brad and I were seriously wondering if they were going to let us leave with her..... it was so stressful!!!  Brad kept, not so much... fear was setting in......and finally he comes back and says we can proceed.   So we run to the gate…. Anjali at times wants to be held, sometimes wants to walk – sometimes throws herself on the floor…. I am dripping in sweat and all we really care about is getting to that gate before it’s too late. We get to the gate and I’ll be darn if we don’t have to pull ALL our paperwork out for her AGAIN! It was a total of four times! Finally we were allowed to get on the plane and get settled.

On the plane Anjali never got comfortable…. Our flight was taking off about her bed time so I really thought she’d sleep most of the way home …. Or at least to the Newark connection…. (the 15 hour long part of our trip)…. but not really. She could not get in her “normal” sleeping position – because she sleeps so stretched out and there is only so much room in an airplane seat – so she slept for about 20 minutes and cried for 40 minutes --- and pretty much did that for the entire 15 hours! :) When breakfast came she was starving – and ate the eggs quickly and wanted more – and there was no more – even the flight attendant was looking for more for her – and they didn’t have any more. They gave us a chicken meal and she did not want that… so now I have a hungry, tired, child. If I would have known myself, I wouldn’t have eaten my egg… but it all happened so fast that mine and Brad’s was gone before we realized this serving size would not be enough for her. She got her own plate, since she has her own ticket – it just wasn’t enough for her hunger to subside. It’s a real balancing act eating on those trays with a child, etc. – so we normally ate quickly to get rid of the mess. In hindsight – I wish I would have gone without so she could be content. Because of our late arrival to the airport – we didn’t have time to get a banana or anything past the security checkpoint--- and she was just about sick of Gerber snacks at this point. This little one’s world about ends when she’s hungry – so this wasn’t good at all, but we survive.

An Indian woman in front of us at one point tells us, “she’s bothering me”….and I couldn’t believe it – I wanted to say, “really?? I would have thought you would ENJOY a screaming child in your ear, kicking your seat, and putting the table up and down 500 times”…but instead I said, “I realize that, I’m trying here”. And at one point the stares got so bad around us that I got up and walked her in the aisles and I actually said to anyone looking in my direction at the time, “you all, If I could control this....I WOULD"….. they still showed little empathy. Benedryl doesn’t work for her -- we tried that while still in India one day because she wasn’t feeling well… it didn’t make her drowsy – so we decided not to try it on the plane. Our doctor also said that in about 1% or 2% of kids that Benedryl actually “ramps” kids up instead of makes them tired. We did give her Children’s Advil – that seemed to calm her a bit. There really was very little soothing…..I wish I could say something worked…. It just didn’t.

So we get to Newark – and I’m reminded quickly that I am back in the go ole’ USA. We had to get bags and put them back on a transfer belt – a nice gentleman helped us as Anjali was attempting to roll on her belly down the carpeted ramp on the floor…. It was nuts! Anyway, and we had to go through security AGAIN! Only this time, guess what – her bangles were setting off the alarm at a level that required her to be separated from me….. yes, that’s right…. they took her from me – made me go through the body scan – while Brad held her and she screamed!!! Keep in mind – at this point in our trip – she WILL NOT allow Brad to hold her, or barely touch her. So for her to be on the other side of a full body screen machine – with Brad was quite traumatic for me …and her. I was crying – and they wanted her to walk through this other screening part by herself ….NUTS! They had no sympathy for the screaming of Anjali or my tears. At one point, I yelled, “Just give her to me!!” They finally gave her to me – Brad went through gathered our carry on bags – and Anjali and I waited while the “supervisor” did a pat down of Anjali and tested for some sort of dust on my hands – and tested her BANGLES!! Unbelievable….but a sign of the times we are living in.

We caught our flight from Newark to Chicago by moments only – and we are settled onto the final two short legs of our flight. Connection in Chicago goes fine – again it’s a fairly close one and we are finally on the flight from Chicago to Lexington – and Brad and I look across to each other in our seats with a great big smile – we are about an hour from home! We get to LEX airport and we know folks are waiting for us – so we clean up a bit in the bathrooms, change clothes…and head for the escalator to be greeted by our Joshua, Nana (my mom) – and who ever else decided to come by :)

Are they coming yet?
 So thankful for our friends and family.......
 Love Mrs. Brenda - our children's pastor - she's in the black shirt :)

Reese's pieces and a windmill.... she loves both -- just no so sure right here at the airport -- but later, look out!

Love this look!  Another adoption mom - who happens to be a professional photographer came to take pics for us at the airport!  Her kiddos are from Ethiopia -- twins!!

Our family is complete.

It was great seeing our Joshua – he had to have grown over the last two weeks – he seemed huge compared to Anjali. It’s Friday morning (September 14th – it’s Anjali’s birthday – we are exhausted and on display :) ) – Joshua doesn’t know what to think of Anjali – and vice versa. We make our way to the van and within 6 minutes we are home ….. within about another 20 minutes Anjali rips one of Joshua’s school projects – I mean rips it right in half…. And that is the beginning of being reunited with our son :) and the introduction between these two siblings. It’s hard, it’s good…. And thankfully God is sufficient.

p.s. – since we’ve been home a whole bunch of stuff has happened with our bonding with Anjali – Joshua is getting better at having a sibling – and she is absolutely nuts over him and does what ever he does….and is always excited to go pick him up from school. She also calls him bye-ah – which is “brother” in Marathi….and I think secretly he really likes that. Honestly, he is not sure he wants a sibling (but we are told that is all very normal, especially for an only child (that was the center of the family :) )) – we are working hard on ensuring that we don’t lose Joshua’s sweet heart in the process. And even though she annoys him at times, gets into his leggos, etc… he still displays spontaneous affection for her – like in the morning when she wakes up, or when we pick him up from school…. And he loves playing chase with her and Brad around the house. We make sure that he has some alone time with us – and we do all our normal activities like soccer etc. Believe it or not, the night we got home (Friday, Sept. 14) at 6 pm that night Brad, Anjali, and I were on the soccer field watching Joshua’s practice!! Yep that’s right the day of returning from 20+ hours on an airplane we find ourselves on the soccer field. And the next morning – we all got up to attend his game. So we are working hard at balancing the parenting responsibilities of having TWO children. And guess what, my need to please EVERYONE has subsided and I’m resigned to the fact that I will certainly disappoint many people including those I love. Yes, we are growing and I pray it’s in the direction that our Lord and Savior wants us to grow. In the hard times, I hang my hope on Him and I’m reminded of ALL his faithfulness and provision on this trip….. so I am SOLD OUT on the idea that Anjali is ours, meant to be…. And we are solid in HIS will for her joining our family. Plus I’m SOLD OUT on total and utter LOVE for her…. So for now….. soccer mom – becomes….soccer / therapy mom – and we take things one day at a time. Each day there is progress…..and each day there is grace.

p.s.s. – this little one tends to want to bite me on occasion – and it’s weird it is not an aggressive bite – it’s like she will come up and hug my leg – and just take a chop out of my arm before I know it. I talked with JOH’s Lisa a bit on discipline since we got home – I can’t tolerate biting….and it’s getting better – she just needs to know I will not accept biting….and I’d say in the time since we’ve been home she’s done it maybe 3 or 4 times….so it’s not every day, thankfully. Well today, she did bite me….and it was around dinner time – so I think she’s hungry…anyway… I started crying and I sat her down as discipline… which does happen with her periodically….anyway, she got up and got a tissue out of the trash and wiped my arm, she looked up at me and almost had tears in her eyes and she wiped my tears a bit… then she went and got Joshua’s remote control for a ATV little car and man….and tried to “repair” the bite with the antenna of the remote control. I could see in her little heart she had remorse…. and THAT makes all the biting worth it!

p.s.s. – for all the challenges I share, there are many more joys….rest assured it is good.

Daily trip must haves:

Food for the airplane!!!

Organized paperwork – we had our papers in a three ring binder – each page in a clear sleeve cover – it was great to find what we needed quickly. We also had our baggage ticket receipts and all our boarding passes in a zipper pouch inside our three ring binder.

Daily lessons:

For all that is hard, there are many more good and blessed things for today and times ahead.

Don’t be too optimistic about what folks in India may say about the development of your child – American standards are probably stricter.

Don’t let a child get hungry, and make sure a small snack is available before dinner :)

Throw out conventional wisdom of parenting and follow your heart and the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Remember – even these kiddos need discipline, structure, and authority – if you don’t get it early on – prepare yourself for a long road ahead (this little one responds very well to redirection and discipline – she doesn’t like it – but she responds and really does want to please…she’s just testing her boundaries).

Get to the stinking airport EARLY!