Friday, September 21, 2012

Meeting Sweet A

Okay so now we are on to Tuesday. We get up, have a very yummy breakfast (buffet, thank goodness) in our hotel restaurant, and we are off with our translator, Anna, to the Ministry of Social Development. We have an appointment with the Director, and we are quite excited!

During this meeting we are told very clearly that Sweet A has severe developmental delays and growth issues. We state clearly that we still desire to visit her, and we are granted permission to visit. Next we are off on the 1 1/2 -- 2 hour drive outside of town to her orphanage. This was a very long drive. We were so eager to meet the little one that it felt even longer. But finally, we arrived.

Now, the orphanage was not at all scary looking to me. However, as we drove up, we saw that there were iron bars to the entrance. The secondary entrance was guarded with security officers. So, not exactly the welcoming committee, but it made me feel good that the kids were clearly protected.

We entered a fairly large room where the older children have various activities. There was a stage and a sound system in this room, and when I asked, I was told that the kids often put on plays and programs in this room. Cool. We met the Head Doctor, the Director, another Doctor and a couple of Social Workers. After a few minutes of Q and A, in walked Sweet A's caregiver, carrying her like a sack of potatoes!  It was quite cute, actually. Little A was dressed in a blue dress with blue tights, and purple sandals. She looked at me, and was content to come to me, though she clearly preferred her caregiver (good news that she has made a bond with her). I took her and was instantly surprised at how tiny she was. She looked and seemed much more like a toddler than a 5 year old.

Rob was literally swooning at her!  "SHE IS PRECIOUS, ISN'T SHE," he gasped!  I was tickled at him and how very instantly he fell in love with her. I was, very honestly, still in a bit of shock.

I sat down on the floor and sat her next to me so I could "check her out." Moms do that. Moms can do a head-to-toe check in about, oh, uh, 2 minutes flat. I noted that the back of her head was flat. Her hair had been cut off, but it was okay--kinda matched what a toddler's might look like. She had a sore on the left side of her nose, she had a bad rash on her hands, and she had a pinpoint rash on the back of her neck. I decided (for my own good mental health) that it was not scabies, just the rash that kiddos with DS often have.Her little legs were very floppy, or hypotonic. Those purple sandals did not match, and her tights were too big for her (oops, time out for a fashion check). She could stand a bit, but could not walk. She used her right hand quite expressively, but in a strange, (but curiously cute) sort of way. She babbled but had no words. She grinds her teeth.The thought that most described my thoughts:  She. Is. A. Baby.

After that quick 2 minute head to toe, I began to look into her sweet eyes, and observe her personality. By now, Rob had scooped her up and she was discovering his facial hair. It was a sweet, sweet sight as she looked quite closely at his chin hair, and softly touched it with those tiny hands. (Kids in orphanages don't see men very often, and so I informed him of this immediately so he would not get the big head and think that she liked him more than me...)

We brought crayons and a coloring book. She was totally unimpressed. (and I did some hard shopping for just the right coloring book too). But then...I got the dolly out. It was not that impressive to me, just a soft doll I got at Big Lots. But she LOVED it!  She chewed on the arm, chewed on the tag, chewed on the leg. Okay, maybe she just loved chewing on it, but she did love it. Since our luggage was MIA, these were the only toys that I had put in my carry on, so that was the end of toys for the day. The doll didn't leave her arms (or mouth).

When I had seen her referral picture, she looked so very sad to me. I wondered if she ever smiled. You could have knocked me over with a feather the first time I saw that sweet smile. It is unadulterated joy. Our Heavenly Father is so so good to us! He has preserved her joy!  She smiles, oh yes sir, she smiles!

Towards the end of our visit, I was holding her and accidentally tickled her. Out of her mouth came the most precious laugh! Well, I wanted more!  So I tickled her and tickled her. I kissed on her neck and I tickled her ribs. We have some of the most adorable video of her giggle. And yes, if you ask me I will certainly whip out my iphone and show you!

It was hard giving her back to her caretaker, but we knew we had three more visits. And we were tired (and yes, hungry too). So, we left and began to make our way back to our hotel in town.

Now I am going to be very, very honest with the emotions I had as we drove home. They are not pretty. You can judge me if you want, but I will not sugar coat how I felt. I think it is essential to tell the whole story with truth.

As we rode home, the weight of the past 6 months fell heavy on me. I could not control my crying. I tried, but the tears came down with abandon. (Rob was on the top of the world at this point, and so he was quite puzzled at my reaction). All I could do was to repeat Proverbs 3:5-6 over and over and over and over again in my head. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart"...okay that means that there is not a corner of my heart that I can withhold trust from my Father..."And do not lean on your own understanding" understanding says we are too old, we don't have enough money, we have adult children, this is weird, "In all your ways acknowledge Him"...You are with me, You are with us, I acknowledge that you are here..."And He will direct your path."...Direct our path, direct our path, please, please direct our path. When we finally got to our hotel room and were able to talk in privacy, I came unglued (and I don't cry pretty).

You see, Rob and I have been married for 27 years. And guess what?? We didn't say to ourselves, " Hey, let's wait until all our kids are grown, after we are in our 50's of course and our knees begin to creak when we walk up stairs, and let's go to a far away country and adopt a child with multiple disabilities!!" Nope we didn't. Never did. Not the plan. So, suddenly, here we are--we have flown on three airplanes, taken an almost two hour car trip outside of town, and met a 5 year old who weighs 23 pounds. I mean, really God? HOW DID WE GET HERE? I CANNOT DO THIS. I HAVE  A JOB. I CANNOT DO THIS. I HAVE THREE OTHER CHILDREN WHO NEED ME. THIS IS NOT A 5 YEAR OLD CHILD--I SIGNED ON FOR A PRESCHOOLER, NOT A BABY! WE CANNOT DO THIS. WE CANNOT DO THIS.

And then I told Rob I had something to say that didn't sound nice. I wanted him to understand I really needed to say it. I didn't want to say it. But I needed to say it. So through choking tears, I said it. I said, out loud, "I don't wish we had never met her. She is amazing and I already love her. But I wish I could go back to before I ever saw her picture. Our lives were easy, predictable and we were almost done with raising kids. I cannot do this. We cannot do this. What are we going to do? We cannot leave her here. What are we going to do? We cannot do this." 

I know, shocking and not pretty. Not too "motherly" either. Honestly, I think Rob was pretty shocked too. But, true to his typical form, he comforted me and did not judge me. Thank God. He also did not try to talk me out of my feelings. He simply said, "We are being obedient. We can do this." Then, we took a nap.

I so hope that as you read this, you understand that I was as shocked by my feelings as you probably are. I truly never thought I would have these (what I thought were horrible) feelings. What I learned from that evening was important. First--God was not disappointed in me for having these feelings. Rob was truly "Jesus with skin on" to me that night, and reflected God's perfect love for me, His imperfect daughter. God has redeemed me and He is not going to reject me when I am not pretty. Or nice. Or something to be proud of. He has covered me with His precious blood and He has redeemed me. I am loved. End of story.

So what now? Well, I kept on and kept on meditating on Proverbs 3:5-6 as I drifted off to sleep late that night. And somehow, from no work or act or anything of myself, I was absolutely thrilled to get up the next morning to go see that 23 pound little person. God is good, and His Word heals.


  1. We plan on checking out that Iphone tomorrow!

  2. hello, i just stumbled on your blog and HAD to comment:) i know where you are coming from and i, too, had those exact feelings (what have i done????) after our adoption. SO normal!!! praying!

  3. Absolutely normal feelings!!!!! Praying for you! Gets lots of pics and video! It'll help you through your wait to go back!

  4. Totally the shock of going from the picture to the real thing. I liken it to a first date meeting where you know a life long commitment is already a done deal! My husband and I had almost the same convo and I'm now just days away from springing our girl from the orphanage and very sure the panic will set in again when I head out into the world with her, fear of the unknown. Good thing God already knows. Hugs. Thank you for being real.

  5. Awesome post and I just want to say that I think you are wonderful for being honest!! I had the same feelings after our first trip to meet our girl. I almost turned myself inside out with anxiety and "what have I done" thoughts. My husband, too, was my rock in those dark times (and still is)! Thank God for amazing husbands! :o) I had to come to the same conclusion--I am being obedient. God doesn't want my life to be easy street, where my comfort is priority one. He wants me to realize this life is not my own, and it's so short. I have to serve Him fully in this short time here. Anyway, keep fighting the good fight!! What beautiful servant hearts you and your husband have!

  6. ah. i love reading these updates. thanks for your honesty. no judgement here. it's all part of your story, process and another transformation of God. can't wait to read more.

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  8. I came on here to give my complete support & see 1st hand this comment from a troll like I've only heard about. Rob & Donna, you are the perfect family for Anastasia--I have no doubt. Your feelings are absolutely normal.
    What I see in "Freddie's" comments is deep unhappiness in his/her own life. That's so sad. Unfortunately when there's unresolved anger/bitterness/unforgiveness in someone's life they often lash out at others. I'm sorry you (& others) at such an emotional time have been the recipients of venom.
    In Jesus' name, do not take this personally (I pray the same for the other families mentioned & others that have received messages like this). Something is seriously hurting in the heart of this troll. Offer it up to the One who Heals, Protects, & Comforts.
    God's richest blessings to you.

  9. well? i keep checking for an update and pictures... how are things going????

    prayers from indiana

  10. Hi, I just wanted to add that you are very lucky that you and your husband see eye on this because as it happened to us, God spoke to me but not to my husband. He's trying to spportive in some ways but in others he has not given himself to this idea of raising another child after our three children are not grown. They are still at hoome but they do have their own lives. He's looking forward to the kids moving out and having an empty nest, I am not. I even think we could give some or our time, love and energy to another child. I'm even open to special needs but he is not. There is something that holds him back because he keeps saying we can't do this but I know of course that we can. Good luck to you with your little, one, I look forward to your updates as the 'older parents' of a younger child with special needs.

  11. No updates for a long time....Everything ok? God bless!