Monday, October 31, 2011

Counting Down the Days....

One and a half more days until court! I'm starting to get nervous and excited all at the same time! We were unable to meet with the doctor today because our translator was sick :( Hoping for tomorrow! And pray our translator is better by our court date on Wednesday!! Can't do it without her! We did however secure some train tickets on a later train (7pm) Wednesday after court back to the capital. This time the train ride will be almost 17 hours.....pray for us!!! And according to our translator "this train rough...not like train you took here" (Ummm wait I thought that train was rough...oh boy). The good news is that our tickets only cost $47 US dollars for the two of us!! We paid almost $200 for the train tickets on the way down here, which really has me wondering just how "rough" this $47.00/17 hour train ride will be. AIY! It will be a story to tell Mila in years to come I am thinking.

Anyways, Mila was still pretty warm today but acting more like herself. She is now trying to pull herself away from a leaning position on me (when her back and head are resting on my chest) and lifting her head purposely away to be able to see things in her environment. I couldn't believe I was seeing her do that today! This girl could not even hold her head up well with support and now she is starting to do it all by herself! She is tolerating being held upright for longer and longer. The first week she could not be held upright, she simply couldn't tolerate it because she was so used to laying flat. She looks like such a big girl upright. Some of you have commented that she looks like she is plumping up....I don't think the pictures are deceiving...I really do see a change and she is getting some nice pudge around her cheekies and starting to look less newborn-ish. I truly believe she is gaining weight since we've been here. It is probably partly due to the fact that we take time to feed her the entire bottle and give her breaks to let her digest here and there....but I'm thinking a whole lot of these changes are because Mila has finally experienced what it feels like to be loved and nurtured. I keep asking myself if it's really possible to see all these changes after only 2 weeks of visiting her 3 hours a day. Just three hours a day.  It just seems like it can't be that easy but you can't underestimate the power of love. We have a long road ahead of us, of this I'm sure, but seeing so much progress in these last couple of days....oh it gives my heart strength to know that our precious jelly bean is going to be just fine. I truly must have underestimated the power of prayer because seeing her so sick just two days ago to seeing her like this today is truly something only God could have done. I know so many of you have been praying your hearts out, please don't stop! Don't get me wrong my heart still worries sick about her and about leaving her, but I needed this peace. I needed to see Mila's strength that the Lord has given her despite being so fragile. I can't wait to see the personality our little "j.bean" (as one of you so dearly called her) a year from now. God has big plans for this little girl, of that I'm certain.

Can you believe today appeared to be the first day Mila has ever seen outside? We visit every day in this room, but it never crossed our minds maybe she hadn't seen outside before. She was mezmerized just looking out the window. Her eyes were so big and so wide.  It was adorable. I bet she will like trees as much as her big sister! I remember when we took Zoya outside for the first time she just stared at the trees in awe...she still loves them to this day!





So this is where she pulled her head away from my chest and totally started checking out the maitenance guy who was trying to fix the broken crib that was in the room.  She was staring so intently at him!

Tracking his every move, turning her head all on her own and everything!

Then he started banging REALLY LOUD and she looked to her Daddy for comfort :) I think it's safe to say she didn't like the banging noise! Check out the pouty lip!






She discovered her foot again and started wiggling it like crazy just staring at it in amazement! It was so funny to watch!

Thanks again for all your sweet comments and your continued prayers!!! We continue the trek uphill but it's a beautiful thing to stop every now and again and look down and see how much of the mountain we've already conquered!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Better Day Today

Praise God Mila seemed to be feeling so much better than yesterday! She still had her typical 100 degree fever but I could tell at least they are treating her fever and she wasn't as miserable or as pale as she was yesterday! The doctor came in during our visit and they took her away for a few minutes so at least we know she is being monitored even if we have no idea what exactly is going on. Today the same lady that has always let us feed her (well they all let us feed her) took her away to feed her and wouldn't let us do it today, that made me sad and confused. You will be able to see in her pictures she looks a little less pale and a little more wide-eyed today. She wasn't grimacing in pain today either. Yesterday even when she slept she had a grimace on her poor little face. Thank you for your prayers for her, please keep them coming!!

Many of you have asked about the ten day wait....it's pretty much assumed it's not going to happen but after we have our planned meeting with the doctor tomorrow, we will talk to our translator and see if we are even allowed to ask. In some regions you are not even allowed to petition for it to be removed and I'm thinking this is one of those regions. But God is big and He has already shown us miracles on this journey.
















I know the pictures are starting to look the same...we are all wearing the same clothes over and over LOL. Shawn and I had to pack light and well Mila, she doesn't have many wardrobe options LOL. At least this one today fits her and doesn't make her legs scrunch up to her chest. We have a meeting with the doctor tomorrow hoping to get some more medical information on our jelly bean, so pray that it goes smoothly and the medical terminology can be translated so we have a little bit more of an idea of her heart and lung condition. We have been so tired today. Our clocks here changed last night so we got an extra hour of sleep and for some reason we both feel jet-lagged all over again! I just woke up from taking a 2 hour nap and it's 10pm here, guess I won't be going to sleep any time soon. We will arrive home Friday night and get to set our clocks back again in the US...so then I'm sure our bodies will be thoroughly confused.

Some people have had concerns about me leaving for the ten day wait. Some have made comments insinuating that we made this decision as hastily as we would make a decision as to what to eat for dinner or something. Obviously it isn't an easy decision, but really there is nobody better to make this decision for OUR family than US. We've prayed about it and know God will continue to take care of Mila when we cannot be here. Until you've had two children 5,000 miles apart and your heart has been torn between providing for both and until you've been in a foreign country experiencing a rainbow of exhausting emotions for 3 weeks, you aren't really qualified to judge our decision. I'm not sure if the intentions were to make an already guilty-feeling mama feel even guiltier or what but this is a time where we need support, so if you have anything else to offer other than support, then this blog isn't a place for you. My mama always said if you don't have anything nice to say than don't say anything at all. This is my blog and I'm allowed to make the rules so take your negative comments and...ummmm...well just keep them to yourself ;) It stinks that I even have to say that, but I refuse to let a few people make me take the blog private where only 1/4 of you could continue following and witnessing this miracle story.

With that said, thank you to the majority of you for sending love and kindness...your support, prayers, and comments get us through each day and it is that support we will choose to focus on from this point forward!

Tonight I'm going to bed dreaming about the fact that, God-willing, I will be a
MAMA OF TWO BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTERS
in less than 3 days!!!!!!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

15th Day in Country...

Umm first of all....$500 in our FSP ?!?! Whoever you are THANK YOU, oh my I couldn't even believe my eyeballs! It seems that every time we start to worry about the financial end of things God comes through as if to remind us we are on the path He has planned and He will use the generosity of others to see this through. Just amazing!

We have been here just over two weeks and are starting to miss the comforts of home a little. Mostly missing Zoya....okay and a dryer, and maybe some pots and pans to cook with and some silverware, cups, you know all those things that make you feel like you're not camping LOL. Really though having friends here is enough at times to make me forget that we are 5,000 miles from home...such a blessing. So I really can't complain. We had uno night at our apartment last night and tonight we spent some time sharing stories at Anna and Jerad's apartment. Jerad said he would kill Anna if she blogged about how he accidentally signed "I love you" to our taxi driver, which was quite comical. He was trying to tell the guy that we were there to adopt babies, but he needs to brush up on his sign language skills. Hands crossed over chest with a smile looking at the taxi driver....we are wondering if that is why the taxi driver asked if he should stay and wait for us...really I think he was just hoping to wait for Jerad. So since Jerad never said anything about me bloging about his love for the taxi driver, I consider it fair game.

It was a much needed night to relax a little bit after an emotional visit with Mila in the morning. She is definitely sick and unfortunately its not just teething like some of you had mentioned and I had hoped. Her temperature was even higher today almost 103, so we called our translator and asked her to tell the doctor. The doctor came in and felt her head and said no! and then left. 30 minutes later she came back to check her out and she has a fever...I just couldn't believe it (sarcasm noted). They gave her some medicine for her fever which smelled like sugar water. The doctor said it is probably just a cold or the flu. Sorry but with a baby with lung and heart issues I'm not sure there is really such a thing as "just a cold." Prior to all this I had walked in to get her and she was laying in her crib alone quietly crying with tears running down her little cheekies. Oh you can't imagine how my heart hurt again. Then when I held her I could tell she just was not feeling well. She was doing a weird gulping or gasping thing every now and then. I looked at her and almost lost it. I tried to whisper a promise to her that she would never be alone and sick again once she was home, that she has so many people who love her already, that she is wanted and needed and full of worth.  I didn't make it through all the words I wanted to tell her because the burning lump in my throat wouldn't let me. I felt so helpless. I wanted so badly to make it all better. There are so many more emotions and parts to today's story that I don't have words for yet.   Today was a very hard day for me. I've said it a million times but to see the pain and suffering and lonliness orphans go through...well today I honestly felt like my heart couldn't take seeing any more.  Where are all the mommies and daddies for these babies? What else can I do? How can this crisis be fixed?

Just a couple pictures of this sweet little soul......


Thank you to all of you who are leaving friendly, supportive, and non-judgemental comments. It does our hearts good to hear every sweet word from all of you who are cheering us on! Thank you.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Court Date!!!!

Tonight we finally got our court date. It will be Wednesday (November 2nd) at 4:30!! Please be praying that everyone who needs to show up really does and we can have just one court date this time around! It makes me nervous that it is so late in the afternoon.....but praying it all goes smoothly.  We have heard the judge is adoption friendly so that is great!  And within an hour of receiving our court date we have found out that not only Shawn's car is broken again -won't go over 20 miles per hour (Aunt Jen had been driving Shawn's car because her car broke down) but also that MY CAR now will not start. This is insanity. Satan is not happy we are rescuing Mila but he can have the cars as long as we get our Mila girl out of there!

As of now Shawn and I are both planning on returning home because our court decree likely won't be available until Tuesday, November 15th...so our 10 day wait turns into 12 days because this region doesn't count Sundays. I am so worried leaving our Mila bean...but we just have to pray that God will keep her safe. She was not feeling good at all today. Poor girl has had between 100-101 temperature since we've met her. But today I could tell she was not feeling well. She seemed uncomfortable and was sucking on her tongue quite a bit. I thought maybe she was hungry, and she was because she downed her very watered-down bottle, but then she continued sucking on her tongue almost like she was self soothing. She would drift off to sleep but wake up with quiet little moans. Oh I wish I could make it all better. One day we asked the nanny if she had a fever and she took her temperature (Right after we did and it was 100 degrees) and she told me no temperature...but she is clearly very hot. So please be praying for our sweet girl.

I didn't take pictures this morning because she wasn't feeling well and then tonight I forgot the camera card...oops! But I did get a semi-sweet video of our girl smiling just a little....even through her not feeling well :) Hope you enjoy! Thanks for the continued prayers!! Sorry it's sideways!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Beautiful things

 All this pain, I wonder if I'll ever find my way...
I wonder if my life could really change at all
 All this earth, could all that is lost ever be found?
 Could a garden come up from this ground at all?
 You make beautiful things....
 You make beautiful things out of the dust...
You make beautiful things out of us
All around, hope is springing up from this old ground....
Out of chaos life is being found in you
You make me new, You are making me new
*Lyrics from "Beautiful Things" by Gungor

**********************************************************

I cannot even begin to tell you how astounded I am by my fast and furious love for my daughter Mila. God makes beautiful things. Like a beautiful garden growing from an empty ground, my love has sprung. As I sit back and think about what the Lord is doing in my heart it truly is a beautiful thing. I worried I couldn't love another child like I love Zoya. I worried that after losing Laina my heart wouldn't be able to love a child that wasn't her. I laugh when I think about those worries now because I can tell you I already love Mila with the same intensity and depth as I love Zoya. Only a week after meeting our second daughter, my heart is already forever changed. Mila is sewn into my heart in a way that will never be undone.  God is doing beautiful things.

This morning for our visit, I peeked my head in and didn't see any caregivers right away but I saw Mila laying in her crib all alone just crying. It broke my heart. Someone comented about hearing the cries of the other babies in the background. It is heart wrenching to listen to the cries and screams sometimes through our entire visit. This is a good orphanage by orphanage standards. But it is not a home. Love isn't in the job description of the caregivers. They are caregivers, not parents.  There are not enough hands to pick up the babies and love on them...there are only enough hands to get their basic needs met.  Lately during our visits the cries of the other babies have really been piercing my heart. It is so hard to sit there and listen to them cry, knowing they just need love. For Zoya's adoption it was different....her groupa was older....by that point they had learned not to cry for the most part because it never did any good. These babies haven't yet learned that, so they still cry as their only way of communicating their need for love and nurture.

If you've even had the tiniest whisper to look into adoption of orphans in Eastern Europe, please don't ignore it. Oh there is such a need for mommies and daddies for these lonely souls. I wish I could reveal to each and every one of your hearts the pain my eyes have seen in the eyes of orphans. People sometimes feel guilty for wanting to adopt a younger child because maybe they are not facing imminent transfer to a mental institution, but oh how I wish these babies could all be rescued before they begin to understand their fate, before the damage really starts to set in. 

Mila is changing so much in such a short time. She smiled more tonight than we've ever seen before. She still has big eyes taking it all in. Her soul seems so old and so aware. She knows we are her mommy and daddy. She knows that it feels good to be loved and she can't get enough. I am having such a hard time leaving her at the end of each visit, knowing she will just go back to her crib until we come back the next time. I keep telling her soon enough it will all be a distant memory. She watched videos of Zoya on Shawns phone for a good 5 minutes straight without taking her eyes off the video. She smiled when I tickled her. She snuggled her Daddy and stared into his eyes while he loved on her. She looked at me when I said "where's mama?" She is changing before our eyes. As I looked at her tattered and torn clothes with her toe poking through the hole, all I could think was that her outside appearance does not reflect the internal changes and beauty that we are witnessing. Soon enough sweet Mila bean....soon enough.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Some News....

Well we were hoping today would be the day we would find out our court date....and we did.....sort of. How do you sort of get a court date you ask? Well that is just the adoption life over here :) Today we heard that our facilitator secured two spots for our family and The Woods family on Wednesday and Friday of next week :( Not exactly what we were hoping to hear for two reasons....the first being that the dates are further out than we had hoped, knowing other families here have gotten court a lot quicker, and the second being, it really screws up our plans of Anna and I staying through the 10 day wait together and finishing things out with the support of one another...because now one of us will be ahead of the other. We will know Friday which date is ours and which date is Anna and Jerad's, along with what time court will be on whichever day we get assigned.

Right now we are considering what the best plan of action will be trying to balance our needs here and at home, emotionally and financially.  Either way, Shawn has to go back to work (he has been unpaid this entire trip so far).  If I stay here, we will have the expense of child care for Zoya (and figuring out sitters), cost of apartment, food, transportation, the fact that I'd be here alone, but we wouldn't have to pay for an extra plane ticket and I'd get more Mila time.  If I went home, Zoya could get her Mommy and Daddy time before baby sister comes (she's still doing well but got sad on Skype last time we talked and is too sad to watch videos of us with her......wwwaaah!), we'd save money on living costs here, but we wouldn't see Mila....so you can see it's a tough decision. Financially it would cost just about the same to stay or to go.  Emotionally I'm torn between my girls, but not feeling so confident staying here alone for 12+ days. We are leaning toward both of us returning home and me making the 2nd trip alone.  We are hoping the 2nd trip will be fairly quick since this region offers one day passports. I can do it right??? (Looking for your boost of confidence and support here not taking a poll of opinions LOL). It will all work out and this stress will be worth the great gift we are receiving.

Speaking of gifts, our FSP went up over $600 since we got here! All of you who have donated, or who are participating in the $5/day blog challenge, we cannot thank you enough!!! THANK YOU, from us and Mila girl :)

We got an opportunity to share our photo album with the assistant director today (the director is still out of town until next week). She has been very kind to Mila since we have been there. She passes through and kisses her on the head. Today she came through and looked at us with Mila, smiled real big and said "Mila" (big smile) "Mama, Papa." She was saying Mila is happy to have her Mama and Papa....I'm hoping she has been able to see the changes we've seen in a short time.  She was so excited to look at the pictures and she saw Mila's bedroom and just smiled and said something to Mila, likely about how she is going to love her room. We showed her pictures of Zoya and she just shook her head in disbelief like so many others have. I don't think I ever shared the story of meeting with the social worker right before we met Mila. I know I shared about the SDA worker being in disbelief that Zoya still has DS "because she doesn't look like it anymore." But before meeting Mila we had to go and meet with the social worker and answer her questions in order to be granted permission to meet Mila and proceed with the adoption. She asked only one question, "Do you have any other children?" At that point I passed over our photo album and explained, through our translator, that we had adopted Zoya and I pointed out a before and after picture. She almost cried she was so happy. She just kept asking if it was truly the same child. She finished looking at the album and said, "I have no more questions, I see the love you have and I see she is well taken care of." A picture is worth a thousand words....so with that I'll share today's pictures.

Mila is getting stronger by the day and maybe it's wishful thinking but I see some chub on her cheeks that wasn't there a week ago. I wonder how much of her small size is due to lack of love....wouldn't it be beautiful if that's all she needed to start gaining weight? Wishful thinking again, but I really do believe love goes a long way. I have seen changes in her in a week that are not able to be explained by anything else except LOVE!
Chub-a-licious Cheekies :)

She was VERY tired this morning...poor babe. Notice her toadstool outfit again
(I happen to think she looks like the toadstool character from Mario when she wears this outfit, either that or maybe she's getting ready to go hunting??)

"Oh it's my hand again, I forgot I had one for a moment, this hand thing is pretty cool."

Helping Mommy hold the bottle (It took her only 20 minutes to eat today but she kept falling asleep again).

Barely made it to the end of her bottle and gave us one of her trucker burps and was O-U-T!

This is one of my FAVORITE PICS! Look at her working so hard to lift her head up to see her Daddy!
(Outfit change for afternoon visit LOL)

Big Blue Eyes :)

Snuggin' her mama :)


She is holding her head up all by herself :) She couldn't do this a week ago!

Look at that strength!

Mama gave her a mohawk!

It's an awfully cute mohawk if I do say so myself ;)

And a cute little face to go along with it :)

Here is a little video of Mila working on her head strength and control. You can see her head bobbing but she works so hard.  The power of love and attention.....Sweet, sweet girl :)

Some have asked about her name. I did explain on our metcha day but I'm sure you all just skipped to the pictures....tee hee. Mila Hope is the name we have given her. We decided not to keep her birth name, but did stick with a name from her culture. Mila means precious or miracle. She is a precious miracle and it fits her perfectly :)