Today is the day! The day I've prayed for and dreamt about since I first met Natalie. I can't wait to lay my eyes on her again and hold her in my arms.
Shortly after breakfast we checked out of our hotel and headed to the orphanage, literally right around the corner from the hotel.
As we walked down the familiar pathway towards the front of the building I imagined what she was doing. Little did she know her life was about to change forever.
Here I am with my Mom waiting for her to be brought in.
The door opened. Anxious to see her face, it was only the director.
As the director began going over Natalie's paperwork she had to let me know how much I offended her on my last trip by asking to watch Natalie actually being weighed. I was speechless and did not offer apologies. I wasn't sure what she expected. When I get a report of Natalie at one weight, and then the next report is of Natalie weighing less, and then the next report is of her weighing even less, and then when I get there and ask again because she is so tiny and they tell me a weight that is a few pounds more than the last report, I think it makes sense to see the scale myself. Don't you think? Did they even keep track? Did they not notice her skin and bones? Were they weighing her right after she ate or when she had lots of clothes on? It just didn't make sense and it was obvious that she was severely malnourished, so I wanted to see her get weighed. If anything I was the one offended when they didn't allow me to see her get weighed since that and watching her eat were my only requests.
"So how much does she weigh?" I asked.
Which is about 24 pounds.
My jaw dropped. I couldn't wait to see her!
And get this!
The director said she was now spoon fed and ate yogurt before bedtime.
I. could. not. wait. to. see. her.
A few minutes later the director returned with a chunky Natalie. Yes I said chunky! I had to do a double take!
Natalie looked so good, much better than I expected. God had most certainly answered my prayers all these months. I prayed that the women pay more attention to her, and that she get stronger and healthier. I prayed that she be filled with His Spirit, however that may be. And perhaps my offending them turned out to be a good thing.
What a doll! Angel! Gem! Princess! Or as John calls her-- Sweet Pea! She is most definitely a Sweet Pea! Right off the bat, she was much more interactive than she was back in June. I'm not saying that she did not display institutional behaviors, but I noticed a difference.
I got to dress Natalie.
When I tried to put on the head band Julia crocheted, Natalie began to cry. Okay. Forget the head band.
Look at her long eyelashes!
Shelly and I were excited to bust our kids out of the orphanage.
Good-bye forever to orphanage
Hello love, family, stimulation, purpose, opportunity, laughter, education, and life!
Within minutes of driving Natalie began to cry inconsolably. I had noticed when getting her dressed how swollen her tummy was. It looked huge in comparison to the rest of her body. I held her and began to pat her back with hopes of calming her down. Within minutes she burped a few times and then stopped crying.
We stopped for lunch and asked the waitress to puree her some potato soup. Natalie refused it although she did let the spoon touch her lip.
When we got back to Sophia I set up this area for Natalie to stretch out and look out the window. She immediately began showing off her new skills.
She could also sit up now.
At dinnertime she hardly drank, let alone ate. She refused yogurt, and pureed vegetable soup-- both by spoon and bottle, but I did manage to get her to drink 4 ounces of milk mixed with rice cereal and carnation instant breakfast. I figured that was enough for her first day with us since it appeared that the caretakers had stuffed her prior to giving her to me this morning.
Look-- Natalie can already sign, "Mama!"
Just kidding. This is a repetitive behavior (perhaps a form of stimming) that she has. She watches her slight finger movement out of the corner of her eye.
Despite the massive change going on in Natalie's life right now, she is a sweetheart through and through. I've gotten her to smile and laugh numerous times and as the hours pass it is becoming more and more commonplace for her.
Each moment I am learning more and more about my daughter and what makes her tick. She needs a lot of reassurance and encouragement-- but she is thriving!
Her first bath did not go so well. Though I did not run the tub water with her in the bathroom, the whole bath experience overwhelmed her. She could not wait to get out. Perhaps I will get in the tub with her next time.
I massaged baby lotion into her legs and tummy and made an attempt to clean her ears. She pushed my hand away when I cleaned her ears, so I did not push the issue. We have lots of time.
I moved her crib next to my bed so she could see me since she did not want to actually lie with me. She immediately began rocking and gnawing her hand as I am sure she has done for most of her life. She was crying too-- looking distressed so even she was unable to calm herself. I picked her up and rocked her while standing up and though she did not like this very much either, she did resist less and less. After about 10 minutes I laid her down and she fell right asleep. She slept all night.
Despite eating and drinking very little with me yesterday, she woke up with wet pajamas, diaper full.
God is good.