Monthly Archives: August 2011

A Week of Firsts

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I am now going into week 7 with Mila, and week 2 at home. The past week has been a fun week of firsts.

1st time cooking with Mommy. We don’t get too fancy in the Taylor house. Step 1, open the Duncan Hines Blueberry Muffin Mix box. 

1st walk in the yard, dodging Jack and Annie landmines.

1st taste of the delicious Barber’s French Onion Dip. Why is this stuff so good? We finished off a 16oz tub in one sitting, not that I’m bragging. 


1st ride in the car in a carseat. She does really well considering she had never been in a carseat in her life. 


1st stroll with her dolls. I’m not sure she’s ever seen a double stroller, but her little brain can figure things out pretty quick.

 

1st meal of Chick-Fla-La (as we call it in the Taylor house). The girl can work some ketchup.

1st drink from the hose. One of the many blessings of having clean water.


1st
 time making someone a great grandmother. 


Mila was loved by all at the family gathering Sunday. She is the first great-grandchild, and the first baby in 19 years on this side of the family. Can you say, somebody’s gonna be spoiled?


1st
green veggie. She will try most things that she watches me eat, except all things green, until now. We shared our first salad. I think it being covered in cheddar cheese and ranch helped some. Get it girl!


1st taste of Oreo Blast Breyer’s ice cream.

1st mini photo session with Mommy. So glad to be home with my SLR, external flash and lenses.

1st cry for Dá-dee during the night last night, followed by a one-of-a-kind Mila Squeals snuggle.

 

1st doctor’s visit…

see the next post on the contents of that visit.

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Week One

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Yesterday was our first Saturday together at home. It started with some blueberry muffins, and ended with Mila letting Daddy put her to bed for the first time. Mila went to her first friend birthday party and had her first meal that we’ve actually cooked, (thanks to all of you who have generously brought meals by). Veggies are still an issue, but we’re working on it.  The week has been crazy busy, but really awesome, and we hope to get a little relaxation in today. Nights are going well. Mila is in our room in her pack-n-play sleeping pretty soundly for 10-12 hours at night, aside from a few whines and some sleep giggles. I’ve never experienced the sound of sleep giggles before and they’re awesome. She’s napping in her crib in her room, like a big girl. We are so proud. This morning was our first worship service with Mila. She did okay. She went to church many times in Africa, as she was fostered by a pastor’s family. Church services are a bit livelier there though, and keeping her mouth shut, is not her specialty.

We have introduced Mila to lots of friends and family, and she continues to be quite the charmer…

  • She will dive into almost EVERYONE’s arms, including complete strangers like the receptionist at my doctor’s office, AND the doctor. She can also hug your neck like none other. While very cute and adored by all whose arms she ends up in, Dylan and I have a feeling we will be told that the passing around of Mila Mae needs to stop after we see the International Adoption Clinic MD on Monday. More on that after the appointment.
  • She will repeat any action she sees, and then wants to do it all by herself. In Africa, she figured out how to put on Daddy’s ankle socks and sports them like legwarmers.
  • Her other new skills this week are “spitting her toothpaste in the sink”, aka spitting saliva on her outfit, “sneezing” like                                                                              Mommy, which is more like a                                                                        scream, and “lotioning up”.
( I’m pretty sure there is still a little confusion on the difference between lotion and yogurt though. )
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She is a gem. Precious and priceless. I still feel like I need to pinch myself sometimes to be sure this is real. I love her more than words and am in awe of the magnitude of God’s precious gifts. I try and imagine her when she is 6 or 16 and it gives me butterflies. This is the beginning of a relationship like none other. I can’t wait for every moment God gives us with her. 

Man, It’s Good to be Home

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I’ve gotten to sleep in my own bed, with my own pillow, with my whole family, all 5 of us for the past 2 nights. Mila is getting adjusted to Jack and Annie. At the beginning of the day yesterday, I was having to carry her around the house because she was scared of being on the ground with them. But by the end of the night, she was playing on the floor on her own, with  both dogs frolicking about. Jackson just walks around kind of ignoring her, which is totally what we expected. Annie, however is crazy about her, which is a complete shock. I have never seen Annabelle treat a child like this. She is so intrigued by her presence, won’t stop licking her all over, and hardly barks at her at all. For anyone who has ever been around Annabelle, especially anyone with children in tow, you know this is not the norm. It’s like she knew Mila was here to stay, like it or not. I’m thinking she actually likes it. This morning, I woke to Anna nuzzled up to Mila in the bed. It warmed my heart. My two little girls getting along and all of us snuggling. It was so nice. I am not sure if Anna is in love, jealous or just trying to keep her enemies closer, but whatever it is, I’m not complaining…

Mila’s first day in America was a busy one. My first doctor’s appointment led directly to a second doctor’s appointment with a plastic surgeon. This doc wants to see how things progress this week with 3x/day wound care. He will decide Friday if it will need to be closed surgically, or if the wound will be able to heal on it’s own. Either way, this will be one of those battle scars with a big story behind it. In case anyone is wondering, it feels so much better. :O) I’ve lost my limp, and I actually laid on my left side for the first time this morning while I was trying to go back to sleep at 2:3o. Unfortunately, it did not help, and I’ve been up unpacking, washing clothes and trying to catch up on emails, etc. ever since. I’m fading fast now.

Mila is such a trooper. I cannot explain the absolute blessing of how she dealt with the flight.  Nothing seems to phase her. 24+ hours of flying, long lines in airports and customs, a carseat for the first time in her life, a new home in a new country, and a whole bunch of new people. It never ceases to amaze me how she handles it all. She cried once. Yes, I said once during all 5 flights, and it was when I went to the restroom and she could not see me. There were some serious prayers going up for that flight because it was just not normal how well she did. She fell asleep for every single flight as we taxied down the runway. All 5 times we took off. We were super spoiled on the long legs of the flight home. Not only were we able to have both me and Dylan to make the flights easier, but the only seats available on the flights that would get us home in time for Dylan’s meeting Monday, were in business class. For those of you who are not familiar, me included until Saturday, Business Class is the only way to fly halfway around the world with a toddler. We had no idea what we were getting into. It was AWESOME!!! Thanks to the Fanning Clan for scheduling our flights and for all those who helped financially. We are eternally grateful to all of our friends and family for their generosity. Take a gander at these photos to get an idea of what we were working with. Five course meals, hot towels for our faces, fully reclining chairs, and so much more. We were in hog heaven.

            

(Yes, that’s Mila in the little basket.)

And then if an awesome flight wasn’t enough, God blessed me with some of the crazy coolest skies I’ve ever seen. Pictures don’t do it justice.

My incredibly talented photog friend Allison posted something really sweet on her photography blog today. Check out some awesome shots of our homecoming and a quick story of the beginning of some very dear friendships@ Allison Lewis Photography. Thanks Allsion.

Goodbye Congo…

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We spent our last night in Congo with the other adopting families, our new friends. We had to say our goodbyes to the Pentzer’s who live in Idaho. We will not see them much, but some, hopefully. They have 2 new bebe’s to add to their brood. Micah, aka “Fat Albert”, “Chub-A-Lub”, or “Big-Un” as he has been called, and Benjamin, who is the older of the two apparently, but 1/2 the size of his younger brother, literally. The Pierce’s, Abigail’s mom and dad, live much closer, in Mississippi, and I know we will see them again soon. Unfortunately the 4th family, the Callahan’s had to leave us a few days ago due to a death in the family. Their sweet daughter Lilly was the ringleader when all the girls got together. We plan to reunite all 4 families at some point.

For the first time, I felt a bit sad about leaving last night as we drove through DRC in the dark one last time. Africa has this sort of pull on you. No matter how ready you are to go home, you know when you get there, you’ll miss Africa. You can’t come here and not be changed by it. The Congolese people were different than those Dylan and I met elsewhere in Africa. They are hardened and worn down. I guess years of war, violence and oppression, mass poverty, lack of clean water or waste disposal will do that to people. You will find children begging, homeless in the streets, more trash, pollution, dirt/dust/ash that you could fathom. More people than I ever imagined walking the streets, selling goods, trying to put food on the table. They just go on, and on, and on.

I will not miss the burning trash, or the exhaust. I will not miss the spiders, black flys, or the mosquitos. I will not miss our uncomfy beds, stinky towels or having to brush our teeth with water out of a pitcher.  I will not miss the open sewer system. I will not miss the weak coffee, runny peanut butter, or the strange menu that stays the same week after week. I will not miss the potties, or wondering if there will be toilet paper.

I will miss the crazy Congolese, and sometimes American music we listen to while piled high in a van or hatchback. I will miss our new friend and translator, Jules who has been worth his weight in gold here. I will miss the trees, the parrots, the beauty of survival, and the strength of these people. It is awe inspiring. I will miss having my time with Mila, alone.

I hate that Mila will not remember her home country, her native language, or her foster family, especially Pastor Loma who loved her dearly. I hope she remembers the dancing because it is hilarious. I will try to document this place the best I can, bring home memorabilia, and talk to her openly and often about her heritage. I will bring her back here someday to see it for herself.

I am absolutely amazed at the way God chose to bring us all home. Just a week ago, we thought I would be leaving here without Mila and Dylan due to my wound. Then, we thought Dylan would have to leave us here to get back for his meeting Monday. We felt like the exit letter would never come through. My hope in ever getting out of here was beginning to dwindle. But God used the spider that bite me, the infection that followed, a precious Embassy worker, and a pastor’s kind heart to plead my case to DGM,  to bring us all home, together, as a family, sooner than expected!! We aren’t sure why He works in the ways He does, but I will not question Him. He is Good, He is Mighty, He is Lord of ALL, and I am thankful that this is not in my hands. Lord willing, we will see everyone very soon.

Leaving On A Jet Plane

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We’re leaving tomorrow!! It seems so surreal. I am so excited, so ready to be home. I don’t have much time to explain it all right now, but I will. Everything came together at the very last minute.

We will be arriving to Birmingham on Sunday at 4:30p.m. on United Airlines.  Anyone is welcome to come to the airport. It should be an exciting homecoming.

Mama, I’m Coming Home

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Never thought I’d be quoting Ozzy Osbourne, but I couldn’t help it in this situation,

“Mama, I’m coming home”!!!

We just got news that our exit letter is ready and will be picked up tomorrow!!!

We are working on getting home sooner as we speak so Dylan can keep his job. :O) That’d be nice.  I’ll keep you posted. 

While I’m Waiting…

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Today is one of those days that I wish I could see through God’s wide-angle lens, because when looking through my finite little mind’s eye, things are just kind of, well, blurry.

Dylan arrived safely on Saturday, and surprisingly, it seems life has gotten busier. I thought it would slow things down having another set of hands, but I guess I have wanted to divide my time between him and Mila, and Mila is not requiring any less of Mommy right now. I am so thankful for her response to Dylan. She seemed a bit shy right when he got here, but within minutes, she was in his arms, playing and giggling, calling him Da-Dee’, with her sweet little accent. Things just fell back into place. She is still not ready to be without my presence for too long, but she will stay with him and hang for a while now. So glad. It is amazing to watch the Daddy-Daughter interaction. I have so much to say about that, but will have to save it for a post of it’s own. Here’s a little snippet of their cuteness.

We decided to go to a different doctor Monday to get a second opinion on my fleshy hip wound. We were referred to this clinic by my new friend at the Embassy, and wow, am I glad I took her advice. The doctor was so kind, and I was shocked at the difference in the amount of pain I experienced when he changed my dressing. It was like night and day. See, here in DRC, life is very, VERY different. Sadly, the people are very hardened. They have probably experienced more pain in the first few years of life, than most of us experience in 32 years. The women that have been changing my dressings at the hospital would tell me to stop crying, they laughed at me, and were SO rough, ripping my bandage off, cramming gauze down in my leg, well, you get the picture. The physician I saw yesterday is from India, was trained in the States, and just had a different outlook. He actually understood the term bedside manner, and had a great one. He explained to me what he was going to do. He cleaned my wound very thoroughly, and I did not experience a fraction of the pain I had the days before. He did give me some bad news though. He told us it will take at least 7 weeks to heal, and will require daily dressing changes. This was not what I wanted to hear. I knew it was bad, but I needed someone to tell me how bad…and he did. He agreed that it would be best to just get home and get treated there. Yesterday he said there was a little “infection” in the wound, I guess he means pus, and Monday there was none. We will see what this afternoon holds, and that, plus any news from immigration, will determine our plans from here. The thought of leaving Mila after this month of major progress, attachment and bonding, just does not seem worth getting home a few days earlier. That being said, Dylan, as the head of this family and protector of me, will make the ultimate decision of whether I stay or go. Yes, I want to be home. Yes, I will do whatever is best for our family and if that means leaving, I will go. I submit to Dylan’s headship, (I learned my lesson about not doing that, when he told me to go to the doctor days before I actually went), so when he tells me it is time, I will go. Until then, I am going to try to stick it out until that much anticipated letter comes through, and we leave here a family of 3.

On the subject of Mila’s exit letter, we are still waiting to hear something. I believe they have at least reviewed our case, thanks to a graphic photo of my hip and a little help from the U.S. Embassy, We hope to hear something today. A lot gets lost in translation, so I am not sure exactly what stage we are at, and how much longer it will take.

If you have a weak stomach, don’t scroll down, I am attaching a picture of my hip below.

Prayer Requests:

1. Today will be the day that the immigration office gives us news regarding our exit letter

2. That I will get a good report at the doctor today

3. That we will be open to see what the Lord is revealing to us about Himself as we walk through these trials

4. That I will be reminded of the Lord’s goodness in bringing our family together, the mercy He shows me everyday, and that He has purpose in ALL things (holes in legs, and painfully slow government processes included)–I know this, but I need it preached to me sometimes.

Working in Home Health I have seen much worse, but it is pretty nasty. My guess is it is 1 1/2″ in diameter, and 3/4″ deep.