Monthly Archives: July 2011

Prayers for healing

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Please pray for Abigail, the other family’s little girl who is staying here with us. She has had a really tough time so far with many medical problems. Yesterday her mom asked me if her drinking red Kool-Aid could cause her stool to be red. I said it would not. I asked to see it and it was very bloody. Abigail was treated for worms like Mila and after some research, we found that bloody diarrhea can be seen with worms. Abigail’s mom called their pediatrician at home and she described the amount of blood and the doctor said this was not related to the worms and Abigail needed to be seen by a physician asap. Things are very different here. You don’t just run your child to After Hours or the ER when something serious is going on. We have been told to avoid the hospital at all cost, because this is where people go when they are dying. Our lawyer said the place wreaks of death.

This morning Abby’s mom, Brandi, talked to one of the missionaries staying here and she suggested taking her stool sample to a lab to be tested. They just got back from there and we should know something in a few hours. I am not sure what the next step is when results come back. Our translator, Jules, said going across town to the doctor was not really an option today. I am not sure if it is because it is Saturday and traffic will be even worse. We so take for granted the conveniences and luxuries we have at home. We can just run to a doc-in-the-box whenever someone has a tummy ache or a fever. Not the case here.

I know her mom is scared. She looked to me for answers about what could be causing this and I just don’t have them. I don’t know, but I know that this much GI bleeding is not a good thing. I will keep you updated on any progress. Please pray that Abby’s parents will be led to the best way to get her well very soon and that they will have peace in knowing God is in control of this and every situation, that the doctor’s and lab personnel will be able to diagnose and treat her, and lastly, that she will be able to be treated without being admitted to the hospital. Our lawyer told Brandi last night that she needed to take her to the hospital and plan on staying for at least a few days-obviously this is not what we wanted to hear. The other serious issue is a possible need for a blood transfusion. This is one of the biggest no-no’s here. You do not want to get a blood transfusion because it is very unsafe and not regulated like it is in the US. Please pray that this will all be resolved very soon and Abigail will be healed by our Great Physician.

Vis a vis

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When thinking about a cute title for my post I thought vis á vis, cute, but what does that mean? Yeah, I am not the brightest bulb, so I looked it up. It means “face to face” in French. Perfect! French is the primary language spoken in DRC and today the US Embassy granted Mila her visa and our family will be  face to face again here soon. We will not be able to pick up the visa until Tuesday because it was too late today, and Monday is a holiday here in DRC (Parent’s Day or something). Once we have that though, we will send both of our passports to immigration for her exit letter from Congo! Like I said before, this could take a couple of weeks, but then we will be on our way.

Today came with some really high highs and a lot of low lows. We’ll start with the highs. Mila called me “Momma” without any prompting today. I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth and Mila came walking down the hall calling for me “Momma, Momma”. It took me a minute to even realize that this was the first time she actually was needing me and called me that, not just repeating me saying it. Good stuff. We also went out to eat for the first time, a little South African restaurant called Nando’s. It was tasty. Missing some real American food though…apparently “burger” on the menu does not always mean hamburger, sometimes it means chicken burger, who knew?

The lows were many, many tantrums today, 90% food related. We eat in the room the majority of the time, and this really helps, however when we don’t, things can get ugly, fast. After many Google searches and chapters read on adoption and food hoarding, the same thing kept coming up over and over, make a snack basket, so we tried it today. This basket is supposed to help her understand that she can always have food when she needs it. It reinforces trust issues with food, letting her know there will always be enough now. This did not prove to be  a good idea for Mila. I think with her age and the language barrier it is not really doing us any good in the trust department. I cannot explain to her that she may have a snack if she is hungry like you can to a 5-10 year old English speaking child. She just sees food and wants it. I think she has eaten all day long. We are going on 6, maybe 10 poopy diapers today so far. I’ve lost count, and I’m praying at least the majority of it is out of her system because we are about to hit the hay. She slept through the night last night. What an awesome blessing.

Mila’s hand looks 100% better today. As I am typing this, she is trying to pull the scab off. Probably part of the reason the place was so infected looking in the first place.

It is amazing how crazy she can make me one minute with shrill screams and inconsolability, and then scrunch up her nose, and grin with those pearly whites in the same thought, and melt my heart like butter.  She sure is cute and smells so yummy. I love just sticking my nose in her hair. It is so soft and smells de-lish. Haven’t figure out what to do with it yet, but it is really pretty, just curling up on it’s own. I can throw a headband in it and it looks ridiculously cute. She is laying on my chest right now, in nothing but a diaper, sweating like a pig, twisting her little piece of hair that soothes her and puts her to sleep. God pours out blessings in the little things like that. It has been a tough day, but it’s ending well. Missing home, missing Daddy. When we Skype, she holds up her arms for him to pick her up. We’ll be there soon Dad. Good night… 

Missing Daddy

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We are now on day  12 in DRC. We are missing daddy somethin’ awful.   Having a second set of hands, and a shoulder to cry on (both for me and  Mila) made a world of difference. I am rolling solo now, so every time baby girl needs to be held, fed, changed, walked / bounced / rocked to sleep, it’s all me  and my puny little arms. I think a good night’s rest and some muscle building exercises are in order.

On a very happy note, we just heard that Mila’s visa should be ready tomorrow!! Big yay! Step one almost complete.  Tomorrow will be the 10th day since our embassy appointment, which is the longest it should have taken. I pray the exit letter’s progress is much speedier. It can take 10 to 21 days.

As for a medical update, the Lord has spared Mila so far from catching the mumps, or bacterial parotitis, not sure which one, from our roommate’s little girl. I’m still watching closely for chipmunk cheeks, but so far, so good. Mila has a sore on her hand that continues to look worse. The doctor thought it was an old tick bite, but I am not so sure. The cream they gave me seems to be doing nothing. I started her on some Bactrim tonight (thanks for the Rx Lindsey), so hopefully that will help. We may go back to the doctor to follow-up on Friday. I am also not sure she even had worms. The doc told us that we would see them in her poop and I never have. She had her first almost-solid poo today. :O) I know that may be TMI, but this is a huge thing for us. I think the majority of her tummy issues are simply diet change and food hoarding.  We have been eating almost every meal in the room and it really helps her control her intake. When we eat at the table w/ bowls of food sitting out, she eats, and eats, and eats, and throws a fit when I finally take her from the table. She is getting better w/ the texture issues too. We have added fruit (mango, orange AND pineapple), and a hamburger patty to her menu last night. She would not touch any of these the first time they were served. Ah, the little hurdles, they are so rewarding. We just had dinner in the room again and she actually handed me her plate, like  she was saying “Done!”. I am thrilled, you have no idea. I decided to try some “food therapy” (that’s what I am calling it anyway) and have her walk with me to hand the plate, with food still on it, to the kitchen staff. She did it, without a fuss! Amazing! I rewarded her with lots of praise, and a cookie. She deserved it. Hopefully her tummy will do better tonight. She had 2 episodes of diarrhea during the night last night, one requiring a sheet change. Not fun by flashlight at midnight.

We’ve found that Mila has a significant issue with animals of the feline persuasion. She scolds them and seems pretty scared of them. Hopefully she will not have the same reaction to her canine brother and sister back at home. She seems to like Jackson on Skype. But who wouldn’t?  Now Annie may be a different story. We will soon see. For anyone who does not know these two, Jack is the most adorable yellow lab, pretty much ever. He should have been in commercials, especially as a pup, and Annie is a weenie-huahua with all the attitude of both breeds. A mess. She is my baby though and I miss her snuggly self so much that I cry when we Skype. Is that weird? I don’t really care. She has been my only baby for years now, so I can cry if I want to. Hope to have some awesome visa news tomorrow. I’ll try to keep you posted, if the internet access will cooperate.

Prayer requests:

A restful night tonight

Strength for me to withstand the coming days without my dear husband

Health for Miss Mila Mae

Momma’s neck, and back pain to subside and her muscles to strengthen in the days ahead.

11 Crazy, Weird, Disturbing, Awesome Things We’ve Seen In Congo

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1. A bat living with us in the guest house. It buzzed Dylan.

2. Tiger the owner’s cat jumping through the screen w/ a bird in his mouth. He ate it right in front of Dylan. Bone-crunching and all.

3. A Mila temper tantrum. Quite disturbing. Sounds like a wild hyena.

4. A UN worker getting an AK-47 pointed in his face while getting beat by an angry mob, all over not backing his car up 4 feet to help traffic move.

5. A dead body on the side of the road, thankfully only Dylan saw this one.

6. Most of Mila’s poopy diapers. I was like, what was that???

7. How quickly a child can mimic you and repeat EVERYTHING that comes out of your mouth. Unfortunately “crap” may be one of Mila’s first words.

8. Cab rides. Don’t know how we have not run over someone or wrecked… actually, I can’t say for sure whether we’ve run over anyone or not.

9. Men selling water in plastic bags on the side of the road. Not sure where that came from. No thanks.

10. Tuesday night, there was either a disturbing ritual going on outsite our complex or someone was watching Ace Ventura When Nature Calls. The power went out in the middle of the night and we realized that the fans blowing were not only keeping us cool, they were drowning out the crazy African noises outside our window.

11. Such quiet beauty behind a fence and then a loud, angry, sad, and exhaust-filled world on the other side of it.


Waits, Worms and Wicked Nausea

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I wise friend recently reminded me that His mercies are new every morning. And wow, yesterday the Lord proved this to be so true. After an exhausting day of tantrums on Thursday, Friday Mila had an appointment with a doctor for her final medical exam. Dylan and I left here around 11-11:30 and arrived at noon to find that the doctor was not in yet. I would estimate that there were already about 25 people waiting to see him. So we sat. The room continued to fill and no one was going anywhere except the few that gave up and left after sitting for hours. Thankfully I had remembered plenty of snacks and we had plenty of water because 4 1/2 hours later, we still sat. To all my ENT friends: Our patients think our wait time is long? :O) To top off the hours upon hours of sitting, and rocking and climbing stairs to entertain little Mila, Momma has some serious tummy issues yesterday morning. Nothing was happening, but just severe nausea and abdominal pain. I had my “Frogg Togg” cooling towel, cold and wet. BTW, if you do not have one of these, you need one (thanks for the recommendation Glenda). This warded off the nausea for a bit, but it would just return. I just began to beg God to relieve this nausea and also for us to be able to get this appointment done that day. If the doctor did not show soon, we would have to reschedule, meaning I would have to do this all again, and do it alone. I was desperate to feel better. Of course there is no A/C and you know how it feels to be hot and nauseous. Add to that a little one needing to be held. Note: I call her my “little furnace” for obvious reasons, and no she does not have a fever, believe me, I’ve checked. I did not want to put her down though because this place was pretty sketchy. No one smiles, it’s dark and hot, and they were doing some kind of construction so there were strange noises. I realized around maybe 2ish that I had not had anything to eat all day. I forced a cracker or two down, and felt a bit better. As the day was getting late and the clinic was to close soon, Mila started to have her first and only meltdown of the day. It came at the perfect time. A precious man in a white coat, Dr. Ahmed, was running up the stairs and saw us trying to console Mila.  He stopped and asked us, first in French then in English, if we were there to see the doctor. We said yes, and he seemed pretty perturbed and said follow me.  He then proceeded to take us to the counter where he jumped all over the lady at check-in for not informing him that there was a baby that needed to be seen. He was not the doctor that we were supposed to see, but he took us right back. Past all of the many people waiting, we walked straight into an exam room and took care of business. He was truly a Godsend and I let him know that. I seriously wanted to hug his neck. Not only did we get the final paperwork needed for the U.S. Embassy to complete Mila’s visa, but we had a few other questions answered as well.

Mila’s been having some crazy poos, like I’ve never seen before. I told him about that and about her itching her skin. He told us to hold on a minute and he goes and gets another doctor, a pediatrician. They agreed that the itching of her skin, the diarrhea, and Mila’s distended belly, were all signs of worms. I never thought I would be so glad to hear my child has worms! He just wrote a script for some “anti-worm” medication and something for itching, told us to call him if we needed ANYTHING, and sent us on our way. I cannot tell you the relief we both felt when we walked out of there. The sketchy building with the stinky bathroom that I tried to vomit in but couldn’t, turned out to be a place that I was glad to have visited. And an added bonus was that we made it home before dark-which is what you want to do in Congo. We had supper and made the night last as long as we could. Dylan left this morning. Every time I type it or say it, tears flow, but we are doing okay. We had a rough night w/ Mila’s tummy, but it was really a blessing. She is such a trooper. Each time she woke up with a loaded diaper, it gave Dylan a little extra time to nuzzle his baby girl and give her kisses and lots of love before he drove away today. It was the saddest goodbye for all of us, but I know we will be together again very soon.

Prayer requests for today:

1.Strength for both me and Dylan as we are away from each other

2.For our paperwork to be speedily completed so that we can return home very soon

3.For the Lord to continue to use our time here to remind us of his sovereignty, love and provision

4.For our time apart as a family to strengthen the love we already have for each other

I have entered an alternate universe.

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This post is long due to my lack of time to write anything down for a while, and really random because I am REALLY tired, but I wanted to get something up. Alternate universe is the best way I can explain it. It almost seems like time is standing still, but flying by at the same time. I have no responsibility except Mila. It is really, really weird for me. God’s perfect timing for our family to start has come. It is truly amazing, and He is so good. Today came with it’s share of ups and downs though. I’d give it a 6 out of 10 with the highs definitely outweighing the lows.

Mila went into meltdown mode multiple times today and once in the middle of night last night. These tantrums include the following:  #1 shrill screams, over and over and over, #2 not wanting to be held or to not be held, #3 possible face slaps (always a bonus), and #4 a state of complete inconsolability. We are making progress, but man it is tough. Mila’s 2 personalities were at war all day . The majority of the time she is a ball full of joy, and fun, and happiness, and then issues from Mila’s past rear their ugly head and I have never seen tantrums like it before in my life. Insane!!! One problem is that she has food issues due to the lack of having enough of it before. Now there is plenty of food, which is wonderful, but it also causes quite a shock to her bowels, and some pretty big issues with getting her away from the table. Her little belly looks and feels like it is going to pop after she eats. Still working through some ways to resolve this one as well. It is going to take time and some serious patience on our part.

Trying to figure out how to parent a toddler in her almost Terrible Two’s with abandonment issues will wear a girl out. I think we are doing okay at it though. She’s so much fun. I can’t really explain how funny she is and the video uploading would take hours (yes hours, for like a 10 second video to load) so we will not be able to share that until Dylan gets home. I can’t wait to show you this girl though. I don’t think a kid has ever made me laugh quite like this one. HilArious!! She is so random. Singing, dancing, giggling, mimicking everything I do, repeating pretty much anything you say to her. She is going to be all over some playing dress up and loves playing kitchen. I am “ma-ma” and she likes to say it. She calls Dylan “dad-doo” and/or “papa” right now. She’s so smart. I caught her acting like was locking up the closet in our room with my keys. This is what I have to do whenever we leave. She also does this sort of Stevie Wonder impression where she sways her head back and forth, you know what I’m talking about. It absolutely kills me. I got that on video for later. She’s all that and a bag of chips. Then out of nowhere, if she does not get her way, dun, dun, dun… major meltdown screaming fits that rival any tantrum I’ve seen before.

It’s going to be really tough to see Dylan go. He has helped me deal with the tough times so well. I’ve had a few breakdowns of my own and am just praying for strength when I am doing this on my own for the next few weeks. She’s brought me to tears many times because I just can’t make it better. I know she is scared, misses her foster momma, can’t understand our language and then on top of that, she’s a baby and they just are hard to handle sometimes. I will need lots of prayer for figuring out how to discipline her without hurting the trust we are building, and for just emotionally dealing with her meltdowns. My other struggle is that the only time I have to communicate with the outside world is when she is asleep and that is not very often. When she’s awake she is in my lap or on my hip. This is a really good thing, believe me I am not complaining, but makes it very hard to do much else. When she does go to sleep, I am so exhausted from the constant holding, playing, chasing, comforting, feeding, and wiping hiney all day, that I can hardly keep my eyes open. I know, some might say, welcome to motherhood, but going into it for the first time with an adopted almost 2 yr old is cRAzY!! It is also so good, such a blessing. I never thought she would be this wonderful, and I would not trade it for the world. She is ours and we are hers and it all makes so much sense. We are really having an amazing time starting our family.

Oh, and here’s a little tidbit of fun info…Dylan’s flight was supposed to leave on Tuesday, and yes, he is still here. We both have been so caught up in this whole parenting thing that he missed his flight! It was truly a blessing, it was just supposed to be this way. It was kind of an expensive mistake, but I have never been so glad to have to spend a few hundred bucks. He will be here until Saturday now. I know this was God’s plan the entire time and Hallelujah! I am so happy to have him around for a bit longer, and he is sooooooooo happy to get to stay with us, even for just a few more days. :O)