Sunday, September 30, 2012

India journal writings - Sept. 9, 2012

Sunday September 9, 2012

When we woke today – we had no idea what a great day it would turn out to be.

Free day…. Got up today and showered – getting ready to meet friends for breakfast – Meena and Colleen, and her friend Linda. Anjali loves to be near Meena and she watches her very closely….Anjali is still very reserved and quiet – but loves to watch her. We had a bit of extra time, so Brad got out some blocks and built a tower for Anjali. With a stuffed animal lamb he began to knock it over (all six of them) – first with the lamb’s arms… she was amused. Although she's sitting quietly with her hands in her lap - it seems she is enjoying this pretend time.  As she grinned, he continued to rebuild the block tower and get more and more silly; next lamb used his ears to knock it down, she chuckled, we did this for quite a while and she was having so much fun. Our hearts jumped with joy! I was so glad to see Brad get the first big smile from her. He’s been so patient working with her and hand feeding her – trying to bond – and she still doesn’t want him to hold her. So the fact that he stepped into her world and got this response…the very first smile response, followed up with a belly chuckle, and even a laugh – I am thrilled for him. He’s very happy too!

What is he doing??  Love those eye brows - she's thinking ---"this is NOT going to work out well"

He's funny.

Check out that eye to eye connection  - kids LOVE cause and effect stuff.

Every great party - has good treats :)

One very funny thing about this whole knocking the blocks down routine – when Brad did it the very first time, he gently hit his head as if to say, “oh no….what happened??” – well guess who mimicked him anytime thereafter when she dropped something… little miss. Now every time she makes a mistake, drops something, spills a drink, etc…. she hits herself in the head – like, “uh – o” - nothing too hard, just kindof one of the “could have had a V-8 moments”, and it’s funny; we all laugh, including her. (She still does it now while at home…. cracks us up).

He continued playing and I grabbed iPad to take picture and she came to iPad and started touching it. I pretended to "get" her with her hand and she laughed more. I accidentally touched her belly and found her tickle spot- oh my stars she wanted to do this over and over as she laughed- we played with her baby keys and kept tickling her through the ring at her "belly spot" - she loved it. Most importantly we unlocked a silly child that explored the room with ease and continued to touch everything; she turned on the blow dryer in the bathroom, touched toilet paper and quietly jabbered a bit. She was so funny. I’m so glad to have this break through with her and Brad. He now can be in the room without her crying at his direction and can usually get within a foot or so of her without her fussing. If he puts his arms out to hold her - still no go and she fusses, but today was great progress. Later at nap time she held her lamb in her hands and she was mimicking lamb knocking down blocks with ears... and just jabbered away….it was hilarious.

She also colored today – she holds the crayon the correct way in her hand (like a pencil) and in her rules, the crayon goes right in the box when you are done. She let Brad color with her and then she pointed to the box to make sure he was putting his crayon away – we cracked up! She’s smart, she’s funny, and she’s a joy!

As a post-journal sidenote – on Sept 28, 2012 – Anjali and Brad really seemed to bond – and now he can hold her – if she’s in the mood for it – but more and more she has warmed up to Brad. Each night after work he comes home and they play in the back yard, go for stroller rides, and /or go to the park. Now she will even ride on his shoulders. And today at the apple orchard, she wanted Brad about as much as she wanted me – she walked around and came up to him and hugged his leg, she let him hold her more…..and I even got to go to the bathroom by myself!!

Daily Trip must haves:

Wooden blocks (about 6 – don’t need a lot)

Stuffed animal with floppy arms, legs, ears

Crayons and coloring books

Baby keys

Camera charged :)

Daily Lessons:

Bonding takes time and cannot be forced or rushed

When a child is fed, and basic needs are met – they long to meet you more than half way to connect

When a child feels safe – look out for all the exploration he/she will do – allow it as they are learning all about their environment

When you unlock a child’s heart – joy will abound!

Kids LOVE cause and effect at this age

Count your blessings daily – tomorrow will bring its own challenges. – Welcome to parenting.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Reflection upon India Culture - a special journal writing

On this particular day (while in India) I began to process the sights and sounds of India – because the culture was heavy on my heart. Here is what I wrote in my journal. Ironically, all you “blog stockers” out there – I pray the timing of this post will bless you and help to prepare your heart for what’s to come….just remember – it is all good. (Plus, it gets much easier at home – I guess in some ways :) - at least you have the comforts of your own home to rely upon). Please know I do read all your comments and I’m thankful if in any way this may help you – I just may not reply because of time limits.  I am always open to an email if you want to write me offline with any questions, etc.

The Streets of India

Here is what you see in India- much like Nairobi, Kenya there are street vendors with bright signs selling everything from fruit to belts, to cell phone chargers – one thing we noticed was they sell mostly necessities. As we were looking periodically for children’s toys – that were authentic India toys – we didn’t find any. Vendors sell what is in demand and what is needed to survive, similar to Kenya. (And in the malls – it’s American –type toys like Leggos and Cars toys – which I refuse to bring home something like this for Joshua). The street side vendors are inspiring to me – both here and in Kenya because of the determination, drive and entrepreneurial spirit. (I guess it’s an extension of the “go out, kill it, bring it home to eat” – mentality.… before business and technology, etc)… humanity went out for their food or grew it in their back yards. – These small businesses are humanity’s way of “making it” – survival, food, prosperity.

These are not the greatest pictures - but it's hard to get out that camera on the streets and take feels so personal and imposing on the people and culture. 

In Mumbai, the rain kept coming; Monsoon season (although it wasn’t as stormy as I would have expected – just wet and gloomy, and grey). The streets are wet and people tend to just walk the best they can – but sometimes right in a mud puddle – it’s either that or get clipped by a motorbike or “auto”. (recall – I don’t think pedestrians have any right of way). The street people (homeless) are present – but honestly tend to blend in because there are sooo many people walking everywhere on the streets. Naked children don’t seem to faze anyone; garbage is everywhere as it is collected by the wind along fences, walls, streets, overpass concrete poles, etc. There isn’t much green here – which makes Bal Asha a really special sanctuary of trees tucked away. On the streets, sidewalks around bridges are often found with a make shift tent of plastic, cloth, and sometimes a board to lean the structure somehow in upright position. And that is what some people call home….each time we ventured out - we would see at least one or two of these makeshift tents (sometimes a row of them along the sidewalk).... it's fairly common. It’s mostly women and children in these settings – but sometimes men too – all a very dirty, dark, and sad sight. But what amazes me about this sight is the fact that the naked baby doesn’t run into the traffic – as the momma sits on the ground just at the edge of the tent, baby is exploring just outside of the tent – playing in the dirt …but doesn’t go further than what is clearly an invisible line….. gridlock traffic inches and feet away going about the daily commute.

When people ask why we adopted from India – (instead of US) – we have many reasons, but I’d like for them to just for one day see the life of an Indian street kid or young woman on the streets. We have poverty in the states – but I don’t see ANY of these poor carrying a cell phone or have cable TV like so many of the “poor” in the US. I don’t want to diminish US poverty – but folks this is a whole new level of poverty in the slums of Africa and on the streets of India.

At a stop light we are approached while in our car – by a young girl – tiny – I’d say maybe 7 or 8 (only because of the maturity in her face) – she is hand washing car windows and begging for change. You can tell she’s of the deepest level of poverty – her hair un-kept and matted, clothes dirty, and no shoes. She’s working for either her family or for herself to eat – and she’s cute. We took off before we could even think about giving her money. She’s not fazed as we drove away – as she smiles back at us dodging out of the traffic as the light changed – she’s rejected millions of times each day. We asked our driver if many people give money to the children on the streets and he said, “no”. The survival –spirit that God gives humanity should not be taken lightly.

Children are also seen in school uniforms walking to and from school – just like Kenya. And the haves and the have nots just seem to blend together in the crowds. I am so thankful that I’ve had the two Kenya experiences because in many ways it has prepared me emotionally to see the sights of India. (As you can imagine – I am a very emotional gal – tough on the outside (yet marshmallow on the inside).

My first day to the village in Kenya on our mission trip, we passed young children – Anjali’s age and size digging through garbage for food – I silently cried just taking in all the sights during our 30 minute drive to the Rift Valley where Mwemotoni Village is located. The van was silent as my teammates were surely feeling the same way. So similar to Kenya, are the sights of India and people sifting through garbage, although in India it’s a bit different because garbage isn’t being burned everywhere – (imagine the Kenya sights with the smell of strong, stinky charcoal everywhere – it is senses overload for sure)…not in India – thankful there isn’t burning garbage to add to the sensory challenges.

As I’ve watched out the windows during our drives – honestly looking at many people’s feet – so taken by the dirt and dust – it’s such a stark contrast to the beautiful women in beautiful sari’s – I’m amazed that they too walk through the dirty streets in their sandals. In the quiet of my heart I hear the Holy Spirit say to me – “I too walked dusty streets in sandals – and I am the “I am” – don’t judge them for the life they have”….. ouch – I love it when I hear a clear message from the Lord, even if it hurts! “recall my teaching on foot washing and serving others” – so with a message like that from our Lord – what do I do with that??? - And as I transfer my journal notes as we speak I can’t help but wonder if the purpose of this message was just what I needed to prepare for the endless servant heart I will have to grow more and more into as I parent Anjali. It’s been 7 years since having a newborn – and Joshua was a very easy baby – he’s independent even now to some extent – so it’s like starting all over again….although she’s not a newborn – needy, but mobile, high energy, and very curious. (AHHHH!).   And I think I may have mentioned a time or two on this blog .... I'm a selfish person!  Honest - I need some me time... guess what, that will have to be on hold because this little child needs me (or at least tabled until those daily naps) - as Brad has put it to me a few times, "you are her oxygen"... no pressure or anything.... :)  I gotta do this right, and guess what I'm certain to mess some things up! "God is good, God is faithful".... keep saying this...over and over, Lord give me your grace. ...enough of the sidebar....see my BLOG even becomes about me!! :)...back to the journal.

Meanwhile I’m reminded that Anjali seems to be a bit obsessed (perhaps too strong a word – but can’t think of another) with having her hands clean, her sucker clean, the lint off the coach in the hotel room, the biscuit crumbs off her side of the bed and I’m thankful that some of her training at Bal Asha must’ve been cleanliness, perhaps a bit of nurture and nature of who she is, but if this is taught – I’m thankful because she’s SO VERY healthy, although I fear at times she may go nuts when seeing our kitchen floor :) - cheerios, goldfish, wheat thin, remnants of cooking, etc. I bet she will be happiest when the cleaning lady comes every two weeks – but hey, that’s when I’m happy too :)

Remember to pray for the people of India – the rich and poor, - the close proximity of people, traffic, and buildings must be an extremely stressful life. I’m longing for my bluegrass and my old Kentucky home.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sick today - no posting

Please pray for me - I was up all night going to the bathroom - with severe abdominal pain.  So thankful for my mom who came to my rescue this morning.  Tyring to spend most of the day in bed.  Little miss has been great and playing with Nana today  - and then while I layed on the couch she came and patted me.  (I think compasion is on my bonding matrix - but too tired to look it up :)   Waiting for a call from the doctor.

Pray for relief.   Had nothing to eat all day - and don't want anything :(

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

India journal writings - Sept. 8, 2012

For the faithful readers - just a few days left in India -- and some exciting events on the horizon :)

Saturday – September 8, 2012

This morning we got up early and got ready to go to Anjali’s doctor appointment. She sat in a high chair at breakfast! She ate well and drank more apple juice; we are stilling working on our little “project” to get some relief. TMI!! :)   I’m dreading her doctor’s appointment because she gets a needle stick for her TB test. As I was holding her in the room after breakfast I could feel her grunt and yippee – just what we were praying for! She pointed to the bathroom. Seriously! Got her all cleaned up and not long after the flood gates were open. :) So happy we don’t have to talk about this issue at the doctor’s office now. She got her shower and all cleaned up and Brad and I got ready and we waited for Madu to pick us up. Brad got our bags ready and even made lunch for Anjali – he’s so thoughtful. We bring bottled water wherever we go – it’s hot here and you have to keep yourself hydrated. Given she’s on a strict schedule – we also have learned to have food available at the right time. She will tolerate her Dora sippy cup – we use to avoid water being spilled everywhere :). In hindsight – with an older child I’d bring a water bottle with a built-in straw. (now that she's home - she's WAY too big of a girl to use that sippy cup!)... but she will use the water bottle with the straw.

Off through the traffic to the hospital / clinic. People were everywhere, and once again I’m reminded how happy I am that we left Joshua at home. The crowds and chaos would be too much for all of us keeping track of each other, etc. People standing in the hallways, sitting in chairs, literally everywhere! The elevator held about 4 people (almost on top of each other) Hallways are narrow, rooms are small…. personal space is a challenge. All the while, people seeming to admire little Anjali and wondering why she’s clinging to me (not crying – just looking around and holding on for her life) – if I could only read their minds. Most were smiling, others seemed to have a look of concern like, “what wrong with this little girl”… I wanted to say – “she’s fine – she’s just experiencing new things and is a little timid”. Anjali did great at the appointment. She cried a bit but mostly because I had to sit her on the nurse’s table, not because of the needle. I honestly don't think she realized they put the needle in, they did it so quick and she wanted me to pick her up so bad her focus was there. Then we waited to see the doctor – finally got called to his office.

The doctor asked me, “does she walk?” – I put her down in his office and she quickly ran to me – “yep, she walks”… he was a nice man – but seemed a bit stoic – very serious about his job. He asked if we had anything “significant” from the orphanage – I wasn’t sure what this meant – so I looked to Madu – she said, he’s wondering if you have your medical records with you – of course I did – it’s hard to navigate – why not say, “did the orphanage give you her medical records??” LOL – I handed over the thick chart that Bal Asha gave us – and he paged through and transferred important notes to his record. We don’t get this record – I believe that is probably part of what goes in the TOP SECRET package that goes to the US Embassy – that we are not allowed to open. :) So who knows what’s in her documents – but he returned her medical record to us that we received from Bal Asha – and listened to her chest real quick. I told him we had been giving her an antibiotic – he said abruptly, “what for”… I said, “well, when we first got her – she had very green mucas from her nose – and seemed to have a fever” – he huffed a bit and said, “ok, continue to give her that”… with a bit of resolve and a bit of unbelief – I really couldn’t read him- was he on our side or not?? We are there – all excited – holding our girl – going through the process – at this point you want to say – “hey everybody – she’s all mine!” – and then you get this stoic, serious doctor – that writes on documents more than he looks you in the eye – or even looks at your daughter. Oh well…. We got through it; maybe I’m looking too much for the love pats we get from pediatricians here at home.

Check out her sleeve rolled up - her needle stick bled a bit - and the clinic didn't have a bandaid - so gave us cotton.  We came right to restaurant for dinner - it was done bleeding by then... but she kept looking at it with those sad eyes - and we continued to love on it :) 

Brad continues to hand feed her as much as she will tolerate.  She's beginning to become more independent and wants to feed herself.  She does still take from his hand - and I know this persistence with pay off and they continue to bond. 

We met another JOH family, her name is Colleen and she’s adopted Meena who is deaf. We had dinner last night and plan to meet them again maybe today. Colleen and Meena are really interesting to watch as they communicate together so well through sign language. Colleen is quite proficient at signing. Anjali seemed to enjoy being around them, and cried each time we left them or they left our hotel room. We were really blessed to share several meals with her and compare stories -- it's wonderful talking with someone right there who knows what you are experiencing.  (sure hope Colleen doesn't mind her precious daughter on our blog :)

Of course I can't sleep, it is the afternoon nap that is throwing me off but this is a great time to journal in the middle of the night. Anjali continues to warm up to Brad - he is basically the only person hand feeding her during most meals. She has taken two bottles from me and given me those “big bright eyes, as Dr. P says” - which is great!!! Prayers are being answered and we are making our way through the challenges. God-given instincts continue to kick in and we are getting better and better at reading her needs. She works hard to please and we affirm her actions with responses from all our Dr. Purvis training. Thankful for all training requirements!!!  I just wonder if this little girl is happy (or if she trusts us enough to open up just yet??) - she hasn't really smiled or laughed yet.......hmmmm? Stay tuned!

Daily Trip must haves:

Apple juice :)

Dr. Brown bottle – just one and a bit of formula – it’s awesome getting that first gaze into her eyes. (We used gentle start – because it’s easy to digest). She struggled with it a bit and I continued to cut the end open more and more.  Such a sweet fragile little child - submitting to taking a bottle - was an amazing sight.

Take medical records (and a bandaid) with you to doctor never know when you need something and believe me you don’t want to have to turn around and go back to make a second trip in this traffic.

Bottled water – plenty available in the hotel room for free – take several with you wherever you go – I think water was one of those things that kept us going!

Child’s water bottle with built-in straw

Daily Lessons:

Comfortable shoes – for when you are trekking down the street making your way from the driver and his car into the medical clinic. Parking is a challenge.

Remember to breathe – when you are carrying your precious bundle through the crowds because she won’t go to anyone other than you – remember to breathe :)
The Lord will give you all the strength you need for this moment.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A special thank you - for Butt Rubbin' BBQ

To Mer and Mike, Colista and Grant, Peter and Nancy, Sarah and David, Cory and Nikki, and Kristen-

You guys have blessed our family these months with encouragement and continuing wisdom, advice and prayers.  I pray one day we can all get together for some fun adoption reunion.  Mer seems to think a rental house in Florida (if I recall).... wouldn't that be great - all of us and umpteen million kiddos running around? 

But your surprise gift certificate from our beloved Kentucky Butt Rubbin' BBQ - just blew us away.... this generous gift will be so helpful for weeks to come when cooking just isn't in the cards.  (I can honestly say, at times we forget to eat - it's so busy and the energy is so high in our home with little Anjali - we're all getting used to it).  She is a handful, but so much fun ....and when she smiles or laughs...there is nothing better. 

So let us thank you from the bottom of our heart for giving us this gift -- see picture below of our VERY first dinner out as a family of four!  Yep - that's a playschool toy on the table - must travel with activites for little miss.  She loved the BBQ - but traded mine for hers once she poured sauce on hers (I hadn't gotten around to putting any sauce on mine just yet)  -- so glad her choice wasn't the totally HOT stuff :)  We traded - all was good.  :)   As you can see Joshua LOVES the restaurant name and takes this opportunity to exhibit bad tasteless manners.  I think he likes it because it allows him to say the word "butt".

Love you guys -
The Blunts.

India journal writings - Sept 7, 2012

Only looking back at these writings do I really see how far our little miss has come in these almost three short weeks.  She's doing great :)

Friday – September 7, 2012

Well today we fly to New Delhi. Brad and I are both anxious and sad to leave Kohinoor. We’ve made friends here like Sandeep from housekeeping – he brought Anjali a going away gift – this little windup toy. (See picture in previous post).  We also said our goodbyes to Rupesh (we called him Rupert behind his back :) ) He is the head waiter in the restaurant that took to Anjali and would make her anything we wanted and always loaded us up with food at breakfast that we could use for lunch time for Anjali. He made us some great fried rice – which she LOVED, and also sweet semolina with pecans (which reminds me of grits – although not gritty) – smooth and sweet with butter and either brown sugar or vanilla – we all loved it. Rupert’s wife, Olivia works at the front desk and they have three boys. We left lollipops and bangles for Olivia and the boys – and gave Rupert a good tip when we left and thanked him…. we later found out that our tip was about a month’s salary in rupees – but only about $20 – he looked shocked and we felt great joy in giving it. Sena (pronounced like Sauna) was another person at the front desk we enjoyed seeing. She allowed us to borrow her cell phone (although we needed to get a sim card – which we never ended up venturing out to do – recall we couldn’t safely cross the street outside our hotel :) - - but it was such a sweet gesture to allow us to use her phone) – even though we didn’t end up using it – we promptly returned it and had a small gift for her too :) - We did end up calling Joshua from the hotel room and just charging to the room – at some point it doesn’t matter the cost when you long to talk to you child. )

Our view outside Kohnioor hotel room - they have a building top garden - and staff pick flowers to be used at the hotel - Anjali liked to look out the window (we'll later learn when we get home how much she LOVES being outside :)

We have been so blessed by the staff at Kohinoor. Rupert brought out the head chef and we felt honored to meet this man. He sat with us at our table and shared his experience working for Carnival Cruise line in the U.S. He is Indian – so moved back home by family – but spent several years in the U.S. and at sea. He managed 80+ workers in the kitchen and was the head chef for the boat! He said on a boat of 3000 guests, Carnival has about 1500 employees! Very interesting gentleman – and a great chef! The food was amazing here. One thing we noticed was that very few people tip the waiters – and they treat the waiter as if servants barking orders for their “two pieces of crisp toast” – even when the breakfast is a self-serve buffet! So it was no surprise we enjoyed all the waiters and they seemed to enjoy us. We tipped and I pray they saw the love of Jesus in our generosity.

Our friend, Rupresh. God has gifted him with a servant heart - he was awazing - even before we ever gave him the first tip - customer service is "who he is".

With Anjali, we are struggling. We can't tell if she is grieving, hungry, sick, or wet! I think we are getting better at some of her signs but other times she is not happy until I sit a certain way and hold her for a long period. She would be happy with me holding her all day and if Brad would leave the room and sleep elsewhere. Neither of these are reasonable ... Seriously holding her all day no trips to bathroom or dinner, etc. (Let me clarify – trips to the bathroom include her on my lap – you’d be surprised what you’d do for this little sweet heart). I love holding her but even I can't hold her 14 hours a day. She is not interested in play (she doesn’t seem to know how to play). We finally turned on TV and for some reason that calms her or at least catches her interest for a period; Bal Asha did say that the kids did get a little TV. The good side of her wanting to be held so much is she did great on the flight today to New Delhi and she slept most of the time.

On a personal note - she hasn't had a bowel movement since we got her – and I honestly wonder if that is on purpose because of a trust issue or if she’s just not eating enough or having too much of the wrong food. We've tried everything. Her doctor’s appt is tomorrow so hoping for help then – if no luck before then. She must be miserable. We emailed Bal Asha to find out what is normal for her – and found this is NOT normal – let’s just put it that way :)

Going thru the airport today was hard. Brad actually walked beside me and took most of her weight off me by holding her under her bottom- she seemed ok with that but she thought I was still holding her mostly on my hip. I long to have Brad hold her for just a bit – but she’s just not ready yet for that - she just gets heavy after a while.

Brad continues to hand feed her and he is also the one giving her the medicine we brought from home (she’s seemed to have a bit of a fever and green mucus runny nose). She is more and more allowing Brad to hand feed her without fussing. We believe this is key to building trust between Anjali and Brad. Right now she's sitting next to me on the bed with her snack watching TV and Brad’s on the other side of me within about two to three feet from her and she's not screaming - that is a good moment. He is ever patient helpful and loving - he unpacked our bags when we got to New Delhi, got me diet coke and got us some popcorn when we arrived. He has been amazing and I thank God for him - I know it's hard for him too.

Praise god for all the great people we have encountered. Airline today let her stay on my lap for the flight:). Housekeeping and restaurant, guest services have been amazing helping us with any need or challenge.

If only I could tap into what is making her content right now -can't believe I've had this much time to journal (as we sit in our hotel room in New Delhi). As she sits crossed legs and hands folded in her lap. She is trying hard I can see that - it's just hard to know what she needs and I hate to see her unhappy. Plan tomorrow is go to doctor and then if we aren't wiped out maybe walk around the attached mall - this hotel we feel is going to be key to getting out with her a bit.

Couple of notes on the trip to the airport – plan for the airport in well advance time!! We nearly missed our flight. Right before we left the hotel it occurred to me that I wasn’t sure which airport we needed to fly out of – Mumbai has two. So at the last minute the front desk called, as the time was clicking. Meanwhile Brad took pictures of outside traffic :) - as I asked. We wanted to take in all the sights of Mumbai we could and our hotel, etc. Our driver waited, we checked out of the hotel, and loaded our bags and raced to the airport. Brad and I (more than once) laughed about this adventure being our Amazing Race. Traffic was crazy as usual – and we got there just 30 minutes before our flight was taking off. Too close for comfort.

When we got to the airport, some bell hops saw the look of fear in us and took our bags in the cart and rushed us to (get this) BUSINESS CLASS! We tipped 300 rupees (which is about $6) – but he was pleased to get it. Then our first guy grabbed another guy to help with our other bags – of course we had to show all our paperwork for Anjali at ticketing – and just as the bell hop was picking up our luggage (from where our paperwork was always kept)… the bag flew open and all of Anjali’s clothes, toys, flew out and the sippy cup rolled along the floor – (Lucy and Ethel does airport for sure).

Anyway – got that put back together, while laughing, sweating, and having little miss on the hip all the while. Too funny! Tipped the other nice fellow and headed to security. Security is interesting – men and women get separated – women go behind a curtain and get the body pat down. Not sure of Brad’s experience. Of course my under wire bra kept setting off the security points – which made for very interesting conversation. (sometimes the ladies even laughed and went, “ooooooh”). Of course all the while holding little miss – and she looked around taking in all the new sights. Had a brief panic – because I couldn’t find my passport – but then eventually found it with Brad’s and Anjali’s in his pouch. We barely made our flight after hopping on a bus – where a beautiful Indian woman sat next to me – (as my sacrificial husband gave up his seat). She asked about Anjali and was very interested in the idea of adoption. On our flight – no seatbelt required for me holding a baby – I thought I’d have to somehow strap her on. She was allowed to sit on my lap the entire time. Two ladies next to us talked to us a bit and admired Anjali. Anjali was served first with water and food – they really catered to her….which I was a bit surprised given the societal order of people and norms.

Arrived in New Delhi without a problem and got right to our hotel – (other than a credit card denial at the front desk – Brad and I both had a bit of panic - we had called the credit card company and them we’d be using this card in India - and had no problems at Kohinoor) – then the front desk guy said, “oh, we’re sorry – we entered it in incorrectly!)…. We were beginning to wonder how the sidewalk was going to sleep for the next week :) The front desk guy chuckled – ha, ha…funny when it’s not you mister :) He entered it correctly and all was well… we went up to our room and with one quick look at the room – Anjali was like, “I’m out of here – this isn’t Kohninoor” – and she pointed to the door. This was our first real understanding that transitions for this little one may be a bit challenging. :) She warmed up pretty quickly after we did a full tour of the room including the bathroom – where she discovered the blow dryer – and how to turn it on. :) All is well.  In all the chaos and transitions - when we went to bed in New Delhi tonight - we had no idea what our day would be like tomorrow going to the doctor's appointment :) 

Daily Trip must haves:
Organized location for paperwork
Plenty of tip money :)

Daily Lessons:
This little miss really has a great ability to adapt

Ask for two room keys – the lights only turn on at the hotel – when you insert the room key into the little box by the door. This was the same in Mumbai – we think it’s a energy conservation thing. (Not a big deal unless one of you needs to leave the room – and the other is left in the dark without air conditioning).

Saturday, September 22, 2012

India journal writings - Sept. 6, 2012

Thursday – September 6, 2012

We started our day in the restaurant for breakfast and then back to the room for some play and bonding time. Shortly afterwards we got a call from Meenal, we need to get VISA photos taken before we get to New Delhi – and she arranged a driver to come to the hotel and literally take us across the street to get them taken. The traffic is nuts and there are no pedestrian rights. There seems to be a hierarchy of who controls the roads – something like this from what I can tell. 1.) Big cars and taxis, 2.) Smaller cars. 3.) 3-wheeler “autos” – rickshaws, 4.) motorcycles, 5.) those on bicycles and 6.) pedestrians. It’s weird – people walking in and out of traffic – I guess I should say people “running” in and out of traffic. Everyone uses their horn – even when stuck in gridlock – it’s as if to say, “look at me, I have somewhere to go, and my car is bigger – so you in the smaller car need to pull aside and let me through”…. And guess what, the small car pulls aside and the bigger car pulls through! It’s wild!! Using your horn in India is polite and expected - so different than in the U.S.

Our driver arrived and we ventured off to get the VISA photos. Brad and I both – unsure about the idea, but decided we had to make a go of it – you see, the driver is waiting in the lobby :) Of course Anjali was scared to death. They allowed her to sit on my lap during the photo session and then they just kept clicking the camera trying to get the required (2X2 size, shoulders, and both ears showing)…. But what about the momma in the background?? Photoshop will fix that – and they finally got the picture they wanted and clipped me out!! Amazing!! For you camera buffs, he had what I think was a VERY nice Nikon :)  Check out her sweet fearful face from her VISA photo. I was shocked they caught her without tears and with her mouth not wide open.  Bless her heart - this girl is tough and has been willing to plow through all these changes and new experiences with such courage :)

Well it's been a couple of rough days but Anjali is doing great overall. She is grieving and that is good . She is already calling for me as her momma which is great (but I’ll later learn she calls Brad, and anyone else momma that will do things for her – or that she connects with and has fun with - she even calls Joshua momma - which is so cute and funny to hear) :) Today she ALMOST smiled (I guess I’d call it a tiny grin) when I blew on her belly changing her diaper that was huge!! And it looked like she started doing, “itsy, bitsy, spider” during diaper changes --- so of course, I went along with that – and did what I remembered of the song – she had the funniest look on her face like, “hey, you know it too!”…. another sign of how Bal Asha loves. We spent most of the day in the room with her and she began to explore a bit and come out of her shell. We did have breakfast in the restaurant and she did great! That’s was our first encounter with the restaurant staff -- who grew to become like family. Tomorrow we leave Mumbai and fly to New Delhi – nervous about the flight and really sad in a way to leave Kohinoor.

Friday, September 21, 2012

India journal writings - Sept. 5, 2012

Hi yall it's nap time - so I get a brief opportunity to update blog - before the mad dash begins to pick up the house and get some laundry going :)  - all before little miss wakes up.  She's a GREAT sleeper - and for that I am blessed to have a brief time to reflect.  Today we went to a play date at church - she didn't really engage which surprised me and I'm reminded this process is in "baby" steps and she's tough, and strong, and resilient, but also so very fragile too.  It's all good.... getting into a good routine of dropping off Joshua to school, having a morning activity, having lunch, then her nap time.  Pick up Joshua from school, and then play time until daddy gets home for dinner.   She played outside on our play set last night and loved it!  Went up and down the slide - and Brad even got to HOLD HER!!  Of course that's because the neighbor's cat came over - but still it was a great opportunity for him to pick her up and she went right to him (I was across the yard visiting with the neighbor).  Daddy is also VERY good on the playset :) and pushing her on the swing - I can't believe I didn't have my camera out ....what was I thinking??  Oh well, next time...there will be many more :)

Wednesday – September 5, 2012 (in India)

Anjali woke this morning and looked at Brad then looked at me and started crying (as if to say, "oh, it's you two again - I was hoping I would wake up and be at Bal Asha"  – then she looked at me again and called out Momma and then was glued to me the rest of the day! We had a pretty good day – we bathed her standing in the shower like at BAT and we washed her hair with lice cream rinse – because we did see a live lice (louse)…whatever. I showered and did a treatment on myself as well, Brad did as welll – as directed by our doctor’s instructions. She did not like to be in the shower – so Brad took her as I finished up. When I was done, she came to me right away… now she’s not wanting to be held by Brad. We had a pretty good day – she’s still grieving – but we are getting through it. She almost grinned during one of her diaper changes. It was a quiet day in our hotel room, trying some play time with cloth books and a few toys. She’s napping and sleeping well, which is a huge blessing. I’m napping too :)

One thing that our agency recommended was for me to leave the hotel room (alone) once a day and leave Anjali with Brad…so she could learn to trust him and bond with him, get used to him, etc. So today I tried it. Our room is on the 5th floor - as I walked through the lobby hallway on level ZERO I could clearly hear her screams through the air vents 5 stories down!! I couldn't believe it. She did go to Brad for comfort and to take her out the door to " look for me" I wasn't gone long but wow was she exhausted and took a long nap, which I did too! I think there is slow progress with Brad. She's eating from him banana, water etc. It was kindof funny when I returned to the room. She was sitting in the corner chair with her baby doll – as quiet as a mouse. I asked Brad, “did you put her there”….he said, “no, Sandeep did – he spoke to her in her language (I think with a strong authoritative voice) and sat her down and she hasn’t moved a bit!”. Sandeep is our housekeeper – he is AWESOME! I think little miss got her first Indian timeout! Then and even more so now do we see that she does need a bit of authority – she’s large and in-charge and needs discipline…of course in a loving way, but never the less…she does much better with boundaries. I’ll jump ahead a bit and share – on our last day when we were checking out of the hotel heading for New Delhi – Sandeep (see below) stopped by and gave her this little windup toy – he was so sweet to her :)  We were so very blessed by the staff at Kohinoor in Mumbai.

Just a bit of advice - if you are traveling for your child any where other than New Delhi - I would HIGHLY recommend that you add a few extra days to your stay for bonding before flying to New Delhi - this is what we did - and we don't regret the extra cost one bit! We believe it made all the world of difference to her in getting to know us before moving locations.  (At first in New Delhi she didn't like the new hotel room and pointed to the door as if to say - let's go back to Kohinoor - but she warmed up pretty quick).

Daily Trip must haves:
Nix Lice cream rinse – several boxes – in case any luggage gets lost :)
Cloth books with hidden flaps, etc. - this one had a ball you could hide inside certain pages or behind or under flaps on each page - she seemed to like "knowing" where the ball was hidden.

Daily Lessons:

If you want to connect - you got to get on the floor at their eye level - thank you Dr. Purvis :)

We all are better off with boundaries.

Children really do want to obey and do enjoy structure.

Certainly fear can provide an opening for bonding – but it’s not the way we chose to do it in the end, while in India  – gradually at home she is coming to Brad to play, etc. and she cries when he leaves for work - but even that is getting less -- especially when she sees him come home every night.  The first night he came home from work you should have seen the look on her face - it was a mix between total shock and great joy...."he came back!!"  She's growing to love him every day :)  and meanwhile, she's allowing me to leave the room for longer and longer periods of time. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

India journal writings - Sept. 4, 2012

Tuesday – September 4, 2012 (Gotcha Day)

We woke up early got our donations and bags in order, had breakfast and waited for Meenal to arrive at the hotel. We were so excited to see our little girl today. We arrived at Bal Asha and found it to be quite amazing. Imagine in the middle of high rise buildings, busy streets, concrete, and commercial business, there is a “compound” – not just any compound, but one with a concrete wall and gate. You enter and you’ve stepped out of the city and into what seems like a small community. We follow the dirt bumpy road through the trees – a lot of trees and small buildings like a doctor’s office, a school for the blind, and other buildings that I couldn’t tell the purpose because of the Indian writing. We pull up to BAT and it’s tucked away in trees and another concrete wall – you protect what is precious.

We were invited into the Director’s office – she’s a strong woman (in the center above), intelligent – outspoken, kind, and direct. She’s candid and clearly in-charge. She seems to be someone who will work hard and advocate for the children and all their needs. She’s a leader and clearly respected. (She enjoyed getting our gifts – bangles and Kentucky carmels – along with a leather portfolio)…she added the bangles to her arm, along with a row of other bangles she already had. What seems to be her right hand person is Sunil (blue dress shirt above). He is amazing. He has a kind, warm, smile and a gentle spirit. He clearly loves these children. He knows about them, their routines, their likes, etc. But he also recognizes that institutional care has its limitations and so he fully supports children being placed into a family where he believes their real personality will blossom. Sunil is a very likable person and someone that Brad seemed to really connect with. We talked at length about Anjali – asking our long list of prepared questions: likes, dislikes, fears, foods, naps, sleep, routines, how she came to BAT, societal issues – single mothers in India society, etc. Soon a worker bought in lunch for us – so we sat on the Director’s couch in her office and ate with them a great Indian meal. Among other things = they had the donut type dessert floating in syrup – we had these one other time at one of Brad’s colleague’s home. They were just as good as I remembered.

They gave us a bunch of paperwork – Sunil clearly up on the details (this will prove KEY in a future post.....keep reading :)  ) and we signed receipt for the papers. Then someone brought in Anjali. She was crying and clinging to her care giver. She is adorable – with the cutest purple, white, and black little outfit – pink shoes, 5 bangles on each arm, and a pearl little necklace. She immediately didn’t like the shoes and we took them off. The Director began saying…”just take her – she’s your daughter”… Anjali doesn’t want to be taken, clearly. I grabbed her despite her wishes as I was told and walked outside – she calmed a bit and continued to reach for a building that I noticed said something like, “Infant care center” – as I saw little children’s faces peeking out the windows – I couldn’t help but wonder what they were thinking. Staff members were lingering among other buildings watching – clearly Anjali is loved in this place. We walked in the courtyard area on the sidewalk because of the rain there was mud mixed in with the grass that led to the play ground area. When she realized that she wasn’t getting what she wanted (to go back to her room), she bit my shoulder – HARD – I pulled her off and she continued to try to bite me. I walked her into the Director’s office and sat her on the back of one of the couches – she didn’t calm and Sunil made his way back into the area. I said, “she bit me” – he had a look of sadness on his face but offered no answer (and did try to assure her it's ok) – there was no answer… this child was in deep fear. The Director kept telling me to smack her mouth when she bit – but I couldn’t find it in myself to do so (I have since "tapped" her mouth when biting or spitting out of defiance - more for the surprise impact and she seems to respond). I took her back outside and walked again - she saw Brad on the sidewalk a bit closer to the area where her room was and she reached out for him to take her! With a look of amazement mixed with fear on his face – he took her. She kept pointing to clearly what was her room – and screamed…. at the top of her lungs. Sunil shared with us – that was her rooming area – so try to avoid that part of the courtyard because she just kept raging. Brad took her outside in the front of the building where there were no other children. As Brad walked her – just as he did almost 7 years ago with Joshua – she finally went to sleep clinging to him with a death grip. Brad is amazing with her and Sunil said, “You are a patient man” – which I knew all along – thank you Lord for giving me my Brad.

Anjali slept all the way to the hotel – even though loud, noisy traffic filled the air with honks and sounds of a busy city. Back at the hotel room when she did awake – she stayed with Brad and cried even more when she looked my direction. She hated me – or at least it felt that way. Brad reminded me that I wasn’t the momma she was used to and looking at me reminded her of her loss. She cried for 4 hours straight with a periodic catnap in between. She was in deep grief. Brad held her while laying on the bed, he just kept patting her back and she began to thump her leg (Brad's back pats were in the identical rhythm of her leg thumps (got to LOVE our Dr. Karyn Purvis training – matching :)) – this is beginning of what we’ve grown to love as one of her soothing mechanisms (she’s our little thumper – although we don’t call her that to her face – Brad and I enjoy it together :) ) I am a mess inside, because I can’t help her. She and Brad sleep, as he continues to hold her – and I go to email prayer partners in the lobby with the ipad – this is the only comfort I can find – knowing so many people are praying. Never underestimate the power of intercessory prayer.
I return to the room after stopping by the restaurant to order room service. Before the food arrived, as Brad was holding her – I remembered that we brought dumb dumb suckers. I gave her a cherry sucker and she looked at me and took it without crying….. Progress. Brad and I caught each other’s eye – we both thought, “yes… we’re getting somewhere”. Just about that time, the food arrived and I got up to get the door and sign the ticket. We brought the food to the ledge by the window and I offered Anjali a bite of bread – and guess what she took it! I continued to hand feed her and she quietly and politely ate as Brad held her. Then we offered rice – she continued to eat. I asked Brad if I could hold her to continue to feed her rice – he stood her on the floor and she walked right to me – I picked her up and she ate more rice….a bunch of it. She also took water from a sippy cup. It was amazing and Brad and I were in shock, amazement, and joy – she quit crying and just ate. She started to look around and when Brad went to the bathroom she turned her head to see where he went – this is good!! After dinner, we talked about how to change her diaper – as Brad said, “that’s taking it up a notch on the intimacy scale – not sure when to try that”. I asked Brad to get the Aveeno Calming Comfort Lotion with lavender and vanilla – (a must have, honest!!). I put a tiny bit on her arm and she clearly liked it. Then I did her feet – she loved it – no real smile or anything like that – you could just tell she liked it and it felt good to her. So I continued to put some on her leg just under her pant leg – we gently moved her to the bed where she allowed me to take off her clothes and change her diaper and put on PJs (all the while moving VERY slowly and gentle). She obediently participated without us even asking lifting her leg to help us take off her pants – she’s smart and she knows what stepping into pants is all about – and taking off her shirt, etc. I find this amazing. She participates in this process – despite her grief.

I brought to her this cloth toddler book – kind of “where’s my belly button” and it makes sounds and crinkles and she seemed to like it. She grabbed it and the most amazing thing happened – she began rocking herself back and forth – it was 9:15 pm and then she rolled over and fell asleep. Sunil said she sleeps at 9 pm – and he was right! They have a very rigid schedule and she is surely programmed just like a clock. This will prove to be a huge blessing :) We survived day 1 with Anjali.
p.s. – as a side note – another self soothing behavior is head banging – I don’t recall anyone in all my training, support group, etc. mentioning head banging – basically she lays flat out on her belly arms over her head, hands folded on top of one another and then she bangs her forehead on her folded hands. FYI – in briefly talking to Lisa yesterday, these self soothing behaviors are just fine and normal – and it’s ok to allow them (ie, not try to break these habits/ behaviors). She said, in public if she ever does them – we may need to explain a bit – or even when she goes to preschool explain them so people won’t attempt to stop her. Between head banging (and I mean it’s not real hard – and it’s on her hands on the mattress, so it’s not like she’s head banging on the coffee table or anything like that), and rocking herself, and thumping her leg – she can regulate and self-soothe quite well at naptime or bedtime.  This is quite amazing to watch for us, we've never seen anything like it, because Joshua never was a good sleeper or nap-taker -- we held him the entire time until he was asleep and I don't think he developed good skills to get into a deep sleep - he's better now, but it's been a long road of challenging bed times. 

Daily Trip must haves:
  1. Aveeno Calming Lotion with lavender
  2. Lollipops
  3. Plain Cheerios (they aren’t used to sweets – she doesn’t like honey nut).
  4. Simple toy – cloth toddler book
Daily Lessons:

God equips humanity in amazing ways: 1.) self soothing, 2.) parental instincts, 3.) protective hearts with compassion

God's creation of humanity is complex - yet fundamental and universal (who needs to speak the same language??) - even Jesus knew that creation is desperate for food - he understood the importance of food and he explained how to connect to him through a food illustration!  Anjali is a great eater - and I think she was well-fed at Bal Asha - on this very day - her evening meal was not on schedule, making her very hungry and giving us a divine opportunity to begin our bonding.    

John 6:35  "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty".

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

India journal writings - Sept. 3, 2012

As promised to some out of town family and friends - I'm going a bit back in time to cover our trip in a series I'll call India journal writings, in date order.  God is at work in all things and it's neat for us, even now to look back and see all the miracles. 

September 3, 2012
We left yesterday with great excitement to enter into this amazing adventure.  We were so excited to get the bags checked and get onto that first airplane :)  Here in the jetway getting ready to board the plane.

We arrived in Mumbai, India what we realized was a day earlier than we expected. Slight panic on the airplane because all we ever talked about was arriving on Tuesday and getting Anjali on Wednesday…so to discover it was actually Monday evening – and we were in India – we questioned each other on whether we thought we’d have a hotel booked for the night. A bit of panic set in.
We got through the airport seamlessly and all our bags arrived, we exchanged money and prayed we’d find a hotel driver holding our name on a sign. Problem is… the location where drivers were waiting is OUTSIDE the airport … and our last chance for a pre-paid tax (if we needed one) was just INSIDE the airport doors. And of course, guess what…once you are OUT you can’t go back IN! I looked out the door the best I could only to see tons of drivers holding signs… it was like the “red carpet” of Hollywood – everyone waiting to see someone…and I couldn't read all the signs from this view. I told Brad, it’s a step of faith – through this entire process JOH has been on top of it in ALL our arrangements, details, etc. They had our flight info. they must have booked us a room for Monday night, right?

I felt incredible peace as we stepped through that last door into the unknown as we began to search for our name… this would be our first step of faith in this journey. As we walked the line, name after name, we finally saw Mr. and Mrs. Blunt – and we were joyful. So happy to see that once again our God provides and JOH is on their toes :)

Brad told our driver we wanted to get a cell phone (we left all our phones at home…. this will be important later in our trip…make note :)  ) The driver said, “yes” and then proceeded to walk us to his car …. Passing by all the various kiosks. I’m reminded that like Kenya, the people say, “yes” when they don’t want to disappoint you and also when they don’t understand you….. we left the airport without a phone.

India traffic lives up to it’s claim. It is crazy no doubt. Cars are tiny, the little motorcars on 3 wheels are everywhere (these are the ones in last year’s season of Amazing Race). Brad and I feel like this journey is our great amazing race… a trip and adventure of a life time. Similar to Kenya there are people walking everywhere and there are cars inches away from hitting each other and street vendors with colorful signs selling all kinds of things…but we clearly notice the products for sale are mostly necessities. India is colorful.

It’s monsoon season so it has rained every day. The street people and homeless are dirty and some even sitting in rain mud puddles – babies in a make shift tent under the overpass run naked as hundreds of cars pass by locked in traffic. It’s amazing how these babies know to stay close to the tent and their momma.

We arrived at our hotel Monday night around 10 pm and soon got a call from Meenal – she’s our Mumbai contact. She said we could go to Bal Asha on Tuesday instead of Wednesday – that proved in the end to be a blessing to have an extra day before flying to New Delhi. Brad and I looked at each other with great excitement of knowing we’d be meeting our daughter the very next day.

Our hotel in Mumbai became a safe sanctuary from the busy streets of Mumbai - plus it was really nice - but most importantly, the people there -- know how to love - they were AMAZING and became our local family.  More on them later :)

Monday, September 17, 2012

A little out of sorts

Ok - so many are asking how I'm doing, etc. In the spirit of full transparency, I'm a little out of sorts. We are all adjusting to having a firecracker at home. We're a fairly quiet, low-key family... so to have the house a bit upside down with non-stop energy and endless eating and changing diapers is a bit .....interesting :) I'm really searching for that full-time servant heart - don't get me wrong, I do find enjoyment in serving people... but I guess it is usually on my terms. {selfish...hmmmmmm}. Dear Lord, please do a work in me.

But here's the good part -- just at the point when running on empty of patience and energy for the next nutty moment....this little girl does something that amazes me.... like just now, she's been playing with Joshua. I made them a snack after school pick up... she came to me clearly with a need... I went through all the common hand signals that we've been able to establish (ponie - = water), (stinky - with point to diaper = need a diaper change), the "more" sign - although she's done that a couple of times... I think she believes she's beyond "BABY sign language" and doesn't have much tolerance for playing along.... she grabbed my hand and walked me to the kitchen pointed to the bread and jabbered... which I clearly understood she needed another bread, butter, jam sandwich. Ok, getting somewhere....she smiled with excitement (and I think even a laugh) and I handed her a SECOND sandwich because she already finished the first one. She checked in with Joshua in the family room and then came to me to sit on my lap here at the computer :) ... for just a second...then back to Joshua (BUT as she hopped off my lap she looked down and noticed her tennis shoes here by the desk....) so she quickly picked those up and put them in their "proper place" -- that she's established. BELIEVE IT OR NOT, she's the ONLY one in the whole house that will pick up their shoes! Seriously.

And after a diaper change, she's quick to either put on herself (or attempt to) or indicate that I needed to put on her pants -- as if to say, "only babies run around in a diaper".

She works so hard to please and she exhibits real patterns of self-care that I'm sure were taught at Bal Asha. I am ever thankful for BAT - it seems they did an amazing job with this little girl. I can see the care they gave by the behaviors that he exhibits....and it is good.

Now this morning, when I unpeeled her banana broke in half and placed in a bowl - only to find out that I must have done it wrong -- she had an all-out melt down in the kitchen floor. So I picked it up and gave her a new one, only started the end and she was happy and finished peeling the banana back piece by piece and then pointed to the door (that has a baby lock on it) that has our trash can kept inside. She wanted me to open it, so SHE could throw away her trash. I just don't remember Joshua being so meticulous at this age. Here is what I'm learning from her --- give her options, ask her IF she wants help -- when she decides, she's often much more agreeable and will even accept help on things she clearly is unable to do...but boy this girl will try anything! Determined and independent. She even put on her tennis shoes this morning....seriously! velcro straps, of course, but still she had them on...and even the right foot.

So I'm caught a bit between having a 3 year old that behaves a bit like the "terrible twos"....I hate that saying, but it seems to be the only phrase to explain my point.... mixed with an infant that can't clearly tell you what they need and someone who has a boatload of diaper changes. and mixed in is a gal that's the life of the party and doesn't stop! Fiercely independent -- yet also so clearly needy...... so as you can see, I'm a bit out of sorts.

We've had some biting (not a bunch, but on occasion).... some spitting too..(this makes me a little crazy, I'll be honest)...along with throwing food and pinching. But I'm learning the more I seek HER direction, she responds well. And like I said, in between some of these little spurts of challenge / melt-downs... she is so loving, and affectionate, and funny.... you can't help but laugh and hold her tight. I'm so proud of her being able to do well in the car seat and the stroller ride. Whenever anyone leaves our house after a visit she cries... she hates to be left behind... I'm not sure what to do about that one...any advice?? The range of emotions is a bit more than I can take at times.... and I'm reminded that God is in control and called us to this little one -- so this roller coaster will smooth out to a flat train ride one day...just praying it's sooner rather than later... and praying we can get a few months behind us at the blink of an eye. Just keepin it real ya! The emotion on this side of the process is so very different than the emotion on the pre-adopt side. And so far all my gal pals that I’ve confided in says "this is all normal" -- and when she laughs during nearly every diaper change because her belly is so ticklish you can't help but laugh yourself. It's all going to be ok…. She’s only been home for 4 days :)

Her very first smile - that turned into a chuckle

We are making our way through the transition home - some days good, some a bit challenging, but we're making our way and each day and moment are better and better.  The story below from our time in India was a major high light of our trip - the day she smiled and then laughed.... it was awesome!

This picture taken in our hotel room in India.  Brad playing blocks with Mr. Lamb and Lauren Anjali - Mr. Lamb started knocking down blocks with his arms, and eventually used his big ears to knock down the blocks, some times he missed, other times he flipped backwards (my Brad Blunt is the greatest playful dad who is very creative, gentle, kind, and patient....have I told you how much I love this man??).  This was her VERY first smile and laugh ... since then there have been many on a daily basis :)   When the blocks fell - Brad kindof hit himself in the head (not hard of course), "oh no, what happened" guess who minics him every time now when something falls, a dropped sippy cup, etc.... she's so cute when she does this, sometimes for the smallest thing.....  hits her head and babbles words like "oh, no"... and then laughs....she cracks herself up and us too.

And now she even mimics daddy with Mr. Lamb knocking down blocks :)  She's one fast learner -- language barrier -- not that big of a challenge during play time... :)  Laughter and silliness are universal...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

We're home and here is a pic where she's smiling :)

So we got home from India Friday morning.  I'll update blog later with daily journal events from our trip - right now our neighbor girls are here playing chase with Anjali after giving her a bath :)  These girls LOVE this little girl, and she likes them alot too -- all laughs and grins here.   She picked up the remote control and put it to her ear and said, "hello" as if it was the telephone :)  too funny, check out Nana in the pic enjoying her new granddaughter :)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

What brings you joy?

I have to say... right before leaving for a trip there is one thing that seems to always bring me great joy...... times when we've had to leave Joshua with a grandparent...right before we leave Joshua is amazing.  You'd think most kids would act out, but not Joshua -- it's as if he wants to soak up EVERY bit of his parents to save it up for the days ahead when he's missing them :)

First you have to know something about Joshua -- he's an extrovert in the body and mind of an introvert -- he LOVES his daddy, he just doesn't always want his DADDY to know it. .... see, there is a bit of "who is the alpha male" in this house going on at times.  Of course Brad is amazing, ever patient -- he's more of a gentle leader, but certainly does take a stand at times....for example recently he blocked Cartoon Network from our cable TV - he just felt like Joshua was watching shows that advanced violence -- so many Bey Blade battles, Ninjago, etc.... always fighting good against evil type shows... Brad didn't like what it seemed to be doing to Joshua - so .... he blocked it... no warning, no discussion...just took action.   Joshua is really a sensitive kid ... so parenting and discipline can be a bit tricky, but we're finding he's smart he does understand we want the best for him.

Well, for the last two days..... he has been NUTs about Brad.  Last night, actually went to bed early, just so his daddy could read a few chapters out of Ralph and the Motorcycle. Right now they are working on some sort of "surprise" for me for the trip...not sure what that is about, all I know is... "it's a boys secret".... and later today, they are going to play disc golf together... Joshua decided to go with daddy instead of running errands and shopping a bit with me!  He LOVES to shop with me.  ..... he's soaking up daddy, every ounce... and Brad is loving it. 

They rough-house, have pillow fights, and all kinds of boy things.... sometimes Joshua gets carried away and doesn't want to go to bed, doesn't know when to stop, won't do his bed time routine, brush teeth, etc and ends up getting in trouble... these are times when Brad has worked soooo hard at getting to Joshua, to teach him how to respect authority, and to learn when enough is enough..... Joshua doesn't always respond well to this redirection -- but lately, he has been great!  He and Brad have a newer deeper bond .... and I think it will only grow deeper once little miss gets home (you know.... the whole "boys rule, girl drool thing" :)  Of course, we won't really allow that attitude in all seriousness.... # 1 priority, boys respect girls in the house, girls respect boys in the house :)    Bottom line is:  right now, my joy is bursting because Joshua and Brad are really bonding and have a great time before we leave....two quiet guys talking, talking, laughing, laughing ...working together on a project, disc golf or perhaps putt-putt golf (one or the other).... warms my heart!!