We haven’t publicly shared pictures from our “gotcha day” time with Emily. We shared pictures and video with James because, well, it went really smoothly. He was definitely nervous and unsure, but he held his emotions very tightly and came right to us with a cry of “Mama” “Baba”. Emily on the other hand, was terrified. She’d been cared for very, very well by her nannies. She had a particular nanny that was her favorite who she was very attached to. She had also lost those nannies once already when she was taken to Beijing for surgery. We learned that she’d actually been in the Beijing care home for 6 months. And while there she had a nanny that lovingly cared for her. That attachment was disrupted in April when she was returned to her orphanage and she connected again to her caregivers there. So, to be disrupted from them again was purely terrifying for her. And of course it would be! We were total strangers – we looked, smelled, and sounded different and confusing in every way. It killed us to see her so scared and hurting. We all cried that day. I will never forget the moment when that little bottle of water I’d brought along, finally gave her a moment’s rest from her grieving and she allowed me to hold her close as I’d longed to do for months. The feeling of her close and relaxed in my comfort is still visceral memory. But it’s a moment we’ll keep private to our family because the videos and pictures are still painful to see. Still an all too vivid reminder of her loss, of the pain involved in her story to that point. Which is why it is so amazing to take in the child she is today. It’s truly difficult to try to quantify or describe the healing that has come. The little one that cried in fear when her own Daddy walked in the hotel room because she was afraid he would take her from her new Mommy, now squeals with delight when he walks in the door, yelling “baba! baba!” and wanting so badly to crawl all over him on the floor in fits of giggles. The little one that would cry out in terror when I left the room is happy to play with her siblings, chase the dog around, or explore independently knowing her Mama will be there to meet her needs when she needs her.
Every child’s journey of healing is uniquely crafted by God, the restorer and redeemer of all things. Emily’s journey is very, very different from James’. On the hard days, God alone is our Hope because He alone has the power to work this healing. He uses us, but it’s only by His grace and strength that it happens. But healing does come. Change does happen. We hold steadfast to this Hope.
Some fun “firsts” and milestones over the past three months:
- First plane ride and several car trips to Philly, Scranton, Baltimore and Wilmington for medical appointments and family visits.
- Several English words – “Flash” (pronounced as waaash”), shoes, hi, bye-bye, nigh-night, car, down (sort of – more like “dow”), book (the ‘k’ isn’t so clear), car, James (pronounced like “Jame), Mama, Baba/Dada, peas (for pLease) and just today she’s trying to say “more-ning”
- A lot of first foods – her favorites right now are yogurt, eggs, oatmeal, carrots, crackers and sausage.
- A new AFO for her club foot!
- 3 new daily medicines for bladder/bowel management that are working well so far
- First time to the beach and a park playground
- Going to the church nursery each week (with me staying around still)
- Playing with Play-doh, play food and dishes, and magnetic puzzles
- Discovering the fun of bubble baths and swimming pools!
Emily’s surgery is 2 weeks from Thursday. We’d be so grateful for your prayers as we prepare for our hospital stay and post-op days at home, and prepare the home and kids for staying here with their Mimi and Aunt. New family pictures to come soon!