12 February 2016

Process Update Pt 1

I know my posts have been mostly serious and fairly somber, but there's a lot of fun and a lot of normal going on. Cooking eggs, mopping the floor (not because I'm a tidy person, but because of the ants invading), reading books. Washing clothes I'm not willing to let a man I don't know wash for me. [okay, maybe that last one is less normal in America.]

Our house and my little confident girl. #adorbs
As I type, the girls are playing with towels they stole from found in my room. I'm really glad we get days like this, because it's much more true to real life. We won't be zipping in cars and waiting in offices for hours at a time at home.

Okay, this ended up not being a process update bc they're asking me to take pictures of them. #soadorbs

11 February 2016

Matoke and Posho

We found (okay, Linda found for us) a little restaurant we eat at pretty frequently. They make all the food the girls are most familiar with, and I want them to be able to have matoke, posho, and the like while we're still here.

That I get to have chapati may also be a factor.
This restaurant is around the corner from where we're staying. Unfortunately, the street we're living on is both narrow and busy, and people are really scary - one bodaboda driver who was carrying some boards knocked Mirah's arm while he passed by. The cars aren't better. They get so close to you, sometimes even when there isn't a car passing the other way.

What's Lusoga for smorgasbord?
It's nice to go in order to get out of the house as well. Because we're staying in a house, there are no other families nearby (who speak English). Just across the street is the market. Americans, I don't mean a grocery store; think a flea market but with food vendors. So much gorgeous food!

Oh my heart! What a little stinker! Love her spunkiness.
Tonight was a little difficult because I'd actually made dinner, but I used a pepper I didn't know, and it was incredibly spicy. I think they were habañeros... #oops
I didn't have time to make something else, so to the restaurant we went, at the busiest time on the road.

On the way home, I was hurrying because both of the girls needed to potty, and a car came really close to Stella (who was walking, holding my hand). A man walking the opposite way on my side gave me a dirty look and said, "take care of that girl!"

I know it shouldn't have, but it made me cry. Really hard. I have gotten angry and hostile looks, but no one has said anything to me until today. And I know a lot of Ugandans don't like foreigners adopting because they don't know the adoption process; many believe we can just walk into Uganda, shower people with money, and walk out with a kid. So it makes sense that they would be suspicious.

And that man doesn't know how hard I'm trying to "take care of that girl," or how close the one I was holding came to dying because others weren't taking care of her. That man didn't see how his face and tone affected "that girl" after he said those words. I wonder if he would care. I know to some, I'm a thief; I'm stealing children. To some, I'm a trafficker. Really.

And I in no way want to make light of all my daughters will lose by leaving their home country, and have lost already by my involvement in their lives. But to those people, I wonder what they would say if I were to ask them: would it have been better for Mirah to have died at the age of two of a treatable disease in her home country, or grow up to deal with that loss as she matures?

Maybe I'll ask her. In thirty years.

08 February 2016

Be Essalto

First, watch this video:

After looking for some music for them to listen to while I wash dishes, I found this lil gem of Watoto children's choir. The girls have started singing it, but they're just starting to learn English words, so it ends up being something like "be essalto o Lohd ah God, ohres u reign" and it's reeeeeally cute. It's nice that there are few words in the song, since that's about what they can do right now. But they've really started to mimic; I'm hopeful they'll be using more English words soon.

I was so glad we've watched that video a few times, because we were at the embassy for two HOURS today. I'm just saying, make a two year old and a four year old be calm and quiet for two hours! Almost an entire hour of that was just sitting, waiting for the embassy worker to get the documents I had to fill out. So when they would start to get crazy, I would hum a little bit of it and start them singing. And dancing a little too. Man, they're cuuuute.

I felt so frazzled this morning. I think the embassy appointment went well, but I really cannot tell either way. I had all the documents she asked for except for Mirah's passport, which is being fixed right now because it has her birthdate as one day after what her birth certificate says. The worker didn't say when she would be in touch, so I don't really know what to expect. They will want some family members to come down for the interview soon; I believe that is our next big hurdle.

We video chatted with the boys right before bed tonight, and Stella kept saying "bye, Ezrat" all through brushing teeth. I'm really excited for them to meet in person and start being brothers and sisters. And by that, I think I'm really excited for them to be able to play, and quietly preparing myself for learning a whole new level of appropriate refereeing.

Please be praying the process with go smoothly. The expected timeline seems like the very earliest we could be going home would be the 21st. But that's based on one other person's experience, so it could be different for us. Which is a little daunting to think about for me, being here in Uganda alone, caring for two kids without any breaks, and in a house where there is no one else to talk to (that speaks English).

07 February 2016

An Unhurried Attachment

Today has been a really good day so far (it's noon here as I type). Yesterday was really tough because Mirah wasn't feeling well, and she was also really tired. And you know, tired toddlers are just hard. They don't know what they want, but they kind of want to sleep, but they don't want you to put them to bed.

But I don't know Mirah very well yet. Something would happen (sometimes I wouldn't even know what it was), and she would start crying, and then she'd scream if I tried to pick her up, hold her, put her in my lap, even touch her. I thought at first she was having some difficult emotions about leaving the foster home and being with me, which would be understandable, and it was really hard to not personalize the feeling of her rejecting me. I did pretty well by just focusing on her and not on me, but it was a difficult three hours.

Turns out, I think she just didn't want to go to sleep. She's been falling asleep on me a lot, so when I was trying to hold her, she was thinking I was going to put her to bed. And she was just really tired but wanting none of that. I felt so much better when she woke up, ate a good meal (pictured below), and started happy yelling again! In the afternoon, she took another nap, but she didn't fight it. And last night she hardly fussed about bedtime!

This first meal I cooked for them. No vegetables were eaten. But happy faces!
It was hard to not feel very excited about parenting her yesterday. I had to keep reminding myself that I would feel the same way if my sons were acting like that, because I don't enjoy the sound of crying or whining, and I don't really like it when someone asks me for something and then gets upset when I give it to them (the way of the tired toddler, amiright). Still, I was feeling really tender and a little scared, despite my rational thoughts.

While the girls play together, I've been (very slowly) reading An Unhurried Life by Alan Fadling, and God definitely used it to remind me that I don't need to rush our attachment. We have the time to let it grow and bloom. I have the Spirit to help me nurture and parent the girls, just as I do with the boys. Just because I don't currently feel as attached to my daughters as I do to my sons, doesn't mean it will be this way forever. But, when I'm not reminded, I think that's where my mind strays.

As I was holding Mirah just now for naptime, I was studying her face. She has been sometimes studying mine the past few days. And it's something I've loved to do with the boys, especially since bedtime is often a difficult couple of minutes with them as well. I think watching kids sleep is a great way to fall in love. She has such delicate little features. I cannot believe I have four beautiful children.

I mean, how could you not adore her?

05 February 2016

Day 2

Today was a lot of good and a fair amount of please-don't-make-me-do-this. I woke up at 3am and couldn't go back to sleep, so my own fatigue was definitely a problem. I also forgot to plug the fridge back in last night, so the meat I bought (for 3 meals with leftovers) was spoiled. The girls did a great job playing, and they ate breakfast really well (6 eggs for two children, and toastnjam, and half an apple, and half an avocado). But we were waiting to be picked up to go back to the grocery store all day (there was a mixup with the drivers). Which sounds like not a big deal, but I was never sure I could make them a meal without it being interrupted, or put Mirah down for a nap, it was just an extra stressor.

I had to start really telling them no to things, even giving Mirah a time-in for hitting (it's like she was destined to be a Muenich. both boys are hitters). UGH I DON'T WANT TO DISCIPLINE. It's the lamest part of parenting.

And Mirah cries at bedtime and the wise part of me is all like "it's really not a big deal" but the whiney part is like "I don't waaaannaaaaa." But this morning, I went into their room right as Mirah was waking up, and she just laid her head on my lap and started dozing again. And when we finally went to the store she had just woken up, so she climbed in my arms and wouldn't be put down. Which, you know, she's pretty heavy to carry all around a grocery store, but it was sweet that she sought comfort from me.

I purposefully didn't take pictures today because I didn't want to make the fun things we did into something else. We blew up these ridiculously big balloons shaped like a swizzle stick, and the girls had a blast with stickers, and taking the caps off the markers (there was some drawing but not that much). They played with the balls we got at the store and started peeking through the hole in the gate at the front. They devoured their dinner and they sing and talk to each other all the time, including many different variations on "how are you?" and each other's names. During Mirah's nap, Stella and I started practicing letters.

So I think good things were done today. The girls seemed to generally be comfortable here and with me. Obviously I have no regrets about being here. I think really I just miss my boys and Stephen's coparenting. On the business side of things, Mirah's birth certificate was issued today, praise the Lord! We're going to finish filling out the forms tomorrow for our I-600 filing appointment on Monday. So excited to get the documents for the girls. There are so many blank spaces in their stories that I don't know; I'll be so glad to have even a little more to share with them when they're older.