Sad news, Cara news, waiting news and a wedding!

This week I learned that another little girl, an orphan in Eastern Europe, died, waiting for her forever family to come and get her. She had been chosen, and her family was rushing through the paperwork to bring her home. Orphans die every day. This is not news. It is horrific news, but nothing new. It is truly heartbreaking, and just a bit more when you know the family and have seen photos of the child they are rushing to adopt.

Little Susanna was only 6 years old. She had spina bifida. She rarely, if ever, left her crib. She never felt the warmth of the sun on her face, or felt the wind in her hair. She never smelled the deliciousness of spring, or felt the excitement and exhilaration of fresh, cold snow. And she never felt the love of a mommy and daddy as they snuggled her little face against their necks and whispered how much she was loved in her ear. No one to tuck her in at night, read her a story, laugh with her, and cry with her. No one.  Today my family will celebrate Susanna’s life here on earth and find comfort in knowing she is now in the hands of Jesus, whole and healthy, and able to run and play. I take comfort in knowing the scent of spring is far more delicious in heaven than it is here, and the colors far more vibrant. Knowing there is no more pain in a back that was never repaired, and that she finally feels the love of The Father, also gives me comfort. Run fast, little angel! Take it all in! Laugh, and play as you never could before. You will be missed, but your family will meet you there and you will know how loved, cherished and valued you really were down here in this broken world.

Cara continues to blossom! She is speaking English almost exclusively, throwing just a few words out now and again in her native language. She is learning letter recognition and sounds, as well as number recognition and counting. We are not doing anything too structured at this time, just having fun with it and using real life “teaching moments.” She loves to play school and write and copy letters in her books.

The weather has started to get better, so we bought her a bike with training wheels last month. Daddy had to get out and teach her how to pedal and brake (she is still working on that concept) and it is her new love in life! Every morning she gets up and looks outside to see if it’s raining or if the sun is shining. If the sun is out, she runs through the house in absolute excitement yelling “Bike! Bike!” I am always amazed at how little it takes to bring joy to this little girl. The things we’ve had all our lives and take for granted are truly amazing experiences for her. I wish I could have taken video of the first time she saw the stars! She had gone out with daddy to take the dogs out and came running in yelling, “Mama! Stars!!” She took me by the hand out on the deck and with eyes wide tried so hard to count them. When she first saw a full moon she was speechless! And for this child to be speechless…!

I am amazed at how well she is adjusting. She is an absolute sponge for love and so willing to love back. She’s also quite adept at the fine art of manipulation, stalling, and laying on the guilt. If she is not listening to me and I have to get a bit stern with her to make her understand that I’m serious in my request, she now says with fake tears, “Mama no like Cara!” The first time she said that she really got me. I was mortified! However, when I was telling Ron about it later that evening, she laughed and repeated what she said. She got me, once, but not again! My response to that now is, “I love you, but I don’t like your behavior.” I may be slow, but I’m not stupid!

A tantrum is so rare now it takes me by surprise when it happens. There is no longer any violence in the tantrum. She is learning self control, and learning to trust our love. Seeing this happen has been an overwhelming experience for me. Watching the trust develop over these few months isn’t something you realize until it’s there. It is nothing short of a miracle at how fast she has come to trusting and having faith that we will love her and take care of her.

I have enjoyed watching her as she has learned to play. Not just with us, but with her toys, especially her babies. Watching her nurture them, feeding, holding, and loving them is a great indicator of how she is feeling nurtured herself.

She is finally getting all the necessary dental work done on Friday, June 7th. She did not receive any dental care in the orphanage, and consequently she needs major work done. She has to have two abscessed molars removed, spacers put in to hold their place for her adult teeth, a crown, five fillings and her teeth cleaned. In order to make this as easy as possible on her, and get the work done all at once, she will be hospitalized on an out patient basis and the work will be done under anesthesia in the O.R. As much as I hate the idea of her being under anesthesia, it is necessary to avoid the trauma of multiple dental visits and Novocain. The two bad molars have been hurting her a great deal the past two weeks, and she is currently on antibiotics to quell the infection and ibuprofen for the pain. We’ve been told she will feel so good after the surgery and experience little to no pain at all because the root system in the baby teeth is so small. I pray they are right and she will come home ready to eat again. She’s struggling right now because the bad molars are on both sides.

We have news about Emma, but we still wait for someone in her country to do what is best for her.  I can’t remember if I mentioned that last December another family had started their paperwork to adopt our little girl. We were heartbroken that she may not come home to us here, but overjoyed at the same time that she would be released from her prison crib and have a family. That was our wish for her from the very beginning. We did not stop our process and lawsuit to have her placed with us because we were unsure how quickly the other family could get to her.  There is also the possibility that the family will reject the child when they travel to meet them, and refuse the referral This is exactly what happened when the family went to meet Emma. For some reason they rejected her and she has once again been listed on the government website as “available.” I have very mixed emotions over this. It saddens me that the family did not see her value and potential, her perfectness in the eyes of God. But it sure gives me reason to believe that she is coming home to be Cara’s sister, and our second daughter. It has been a little over a year now since we first put in our paperwork to be matched with Emma, and were turned down. It makes me sick that this child has been confined to a crib for 6-8 additional months because we were turned down. She would have been home with Cara if all had gone as expected. Home receiving all the therapy she needs to get stronger and develop. That this child was used as a pawn in the sick game of a corrupt government angers me to the point of physically shaking! Their sick game affected Cara’s homecoming too. She waited longer as we waited on the courts to see if we could bring them home together. Both girls should have been home by Halloween of last year. The positive side to this is Emma has now had 3 failed attempts at a family. I know that doesn’t sound positive, but it should certainly make us OLD people look better in the eyes of the government!  The one and only family that has stood strong in the desire to bring her home and love and cherish her is us. The family her government says is “too old” to be adequate parents for her. They feel she is better off being transferred to an adult mental institution where 85% of these children die within their first year, than being loved by older parents. Insanity at it’s finest. Maybe now they will be a little less insane and do what is best for this child and allow her to come home to older parents who will love and cherish her.

Children’s House International, our U.S. agency has asked our attorneys in country to approach the IAC and once again ask them to reconsider our request to adopt Emma. If they are successful, we will not have to go to court on June 5th and should receive a referral shortly. If that happens we may very well have this little girl home before Christmas! What a gift that will be!

Because of this news, we have again entered the realms of “crazyville.” This past week I’ve been rushing to get the paperwork finished to get our home study updated. Updates for  our background checks faxed to the appropriate agencies, financial report filled out, and  appointments for both of us to update our physicals. Everything our home study agency needs to get the update done and approved and once again off to USCIS!

My beautiful, beautiful daughter, Alexandra married the man of her dreams on Saturday, May 25th. It was an absolutely beautiful wedding, and she was a stunning bride. Her happiness and joy that day were so evident in her smile and in her eyes. Was it hard for me to see my “little girl” get married at 18? Yes!! But, I believe she is happy, and that makes me happy. The hardest part was watching her and her new husband, Derrick, drive away on Sunday to their new home in Oregon. Derrick took a job with the railroad and they will be living in Eugene once his training is finished. Having her so far away is terribly difficult for this mama! I miss her every day, but am so grateful for technology and my ability to skype with her! I wish the two of them a lifetime of happiness and joy! And a couple of grandchildren someday for me to spoil! 🙂