Thursday, June 2, 2011

Trials and smiles

What a whirlwind this has been!  We have only been in "Region" since yesterday morning and yet it feels like its been a week!!! 

I now need to play catch up, so if you wanted details, here you go! If you just stopped by for pictures, you can scroll down now:)

Monday morning we had our SDA appointment. It was very short and formal, they asked why we wanted to adopt and why we wanted children with special needs. I wasn't prepared for the wave of emotions I had after seeing my boys baby pictures (they have them attached to their original information on file).  We learned that Gabe's parents really wanted to have children and had Gabe after failed attempts and a miscarriage. However after he was born they saw that he had down syndrome and left him at the hospital and signed over their rights. They were 27 & 28 years old.

The only information they had about Levi is that he was brought back to the hospital when he was 3 months old and left there by his mother. They do not have her name or any other information. We believe that after the mother had him home and realized that he was down syndrome she brought him to the hospital because she felt she could no longer care for him.

Monday night we were able to meet up with four other Reece's Rainbow families. We had a wonderful evening at TGIF's hearing each others stories and talking about our families.

Tuesday we knew we needed to be at the SDA office to get our referrals by 4:00. We decided to sleep in Tuesday since we hadn't really tried to catch up on sleep from the plane ride and time change.  We slept till 11:30 when we got a phone call telling us we needed to be out of our apartment at 12:30.  We quickly all showered and packed our mess of bags. I was hoping to nicely organize everything for the transition to "Region". That didn't happen!  Our driver met us and put all our luggage in his car until that evening at the train station. We spent the next few hours at a cafe having brunch and trying to connect online.  

4:00 came and we got our referrals. Niko then drove us to the train where we had to wait for several hours. Usually we would have another facilitator helping us but they were all tied up with other families so Niko took their place for a bit. He ended up riding the train to Region with us and starting the adoption process Wednesday. He was a wonderful companion and we were spoiled to have him along to translate for us.

The 10 hour train ride was better in some ways and not in others. We ended up in first class cause that's how we ride;) Niko said they were sold out of the others and since he was coming along Guy and him shared one room and Genesis and I in another. I tried desperately to sleep but the constant complete screeching to a halt stops over and over made that near impossible. Last I looked at the time it was after 2am and I woke up at 4am. 

By the way, the sun sets here at 9:30pm and rises at 4am.

We crammed ourselves and our luggage into a taxi like clowns in a clown car and arrived at the Catholic Church where we will be staying thanks to some wonderful friends suggestion! I will write about our stay with pictures soon.

We had less than an hour to shower and get ready to meet our boys.

We arrived at the orphanage and found it full of activity. There were adults and children everywhere and the outdoors was decorated with streamers, balloons, chalk drawings on the roads. They had the children putting on a musical complete with costumes and dance.  We were told that June 1st is "children protection day". 

Because we had Niko as our stand in facilitator our first day wasn't near as crazy as it could have been. We were able to have a good amount of time with the boys and many of the workers were around talking to us and telling us about the boys. 

When we first met Levi he came running out to us. They told us that he is very active. They also said that he is kind, sweet, and happy. 
On our second visit that day (we get to visit twice a day for 2 hours each visit) Levi was so excited to see us. He came right out and gave us each a big hug. They told us that he had been "searching" for us after our first visit. 

We have now had 4 visits. Levi loves to go outside and we are blessed to be allowed to take him all around the orphanage grounds. While we walk around, anytime a worker goes by they yell out Levi's name and wave and talk to him. They seem to really enjoy him here.  We don't feel he is as hyperactive as they made him seem. He will sit on our laps peacefully or sit still if we need to put his shoes on and such. 
Levi is 5 years old and probably the size of a small 3 year old. He seems to be healthy. He doesn't talk at all but does understand when spoken to. He is so full of life, and smiles and laughs constantly. He has totally captured all of our hearts. We can hardly wait to get back to see him in between visits and we find ourselves sitting around talking about all the cute things he does. 

Gabe's visit was very different. After yesterday I wasn't even going to post about it. I was scared and not sure what to do. BUT today was a better day thanks to the many prayers that went up for him after I personally shared with a few friends and family. I honestly believe God answered and gave us wisdom today.

On our first visit they brought Gabe to us and he screamed the moment they walked in the room to us. He is 6 but probably weighs 20 pounds. He is long, about the same length as Levi. He is very,very thin. 
I took Gabe hoping to calm him down but he continued to cry. He would wring his hands constantly and he looked absolutely terrified.  Finally they said that they would lay him back in his crib so we could look at him because the crib is the only place he doesn't cry. 

Here is the video I didn't want to post yesterday

On the next visit we decided to take him outside. He again was terrified. He screamed and cried, tears rolling down his little face the whole hour. His tiny body trembles the entire time as if he is in the worst kind of pain. If I even slightly touched his foot he would scream and withdraw it instantly. If I put my hand near him he would shove it away. 
I came away from him yesterday worried and drained. I worried mostly about how in the world we were going to get him home with the long train and plane rides. I was desperate to know what I could do to help him not knowing if he needed space or should I be forcing him to be close to me. 
We have no internet until late in the evening so I couldn't even look things up online. Needless to say it was a very hard day with a few rays of sunshine from our Levi.

Today's first visit with Gabe went the same. He screamed and trembled in complete fear the whole time. Our facilitator asked us after seeing him with us if we are sure that we want to continue with his adoption. If we felt this wasn't what we were hoping for we needed to back out now. She said that if we don't adopt him he will go straight to the institution (where we know he would die within a year) but she wanted us to be sure we were happy with whatever we choose.
Guy told her that we committed to him 5 months ago and he was our son then, and still is. 

After that visit I began thinking of one thing I had noticed. While watching the ladies get him dressed he was fine while he was in his small room, even with me in his sight. As the ladies walked him out and turned the corner to the lobby, that is where he instantly began to cry. I had thought it was after seeing us since we were new faces, but it seemed to be the room.  I asked my interpreter if on my second visit I could call her and have her ask the ladies if I could please stay in his room while we visited. Now, they never let you do that normally. They do not like people to be back in the rooms at all and will make them stay in the lobby only. Thank God though that they agreed to let us come back. We sat right in the small hall by his crib and when they handed him to me he acted a little afraid, wringing his hands strongly and on the verge of crying. We sat very still and talked quietly to him. He slowly started to relax as Guy made silly faces at him and copied his little movements. Then, amazingly, he LAUGHED.

I honestly didn't think he even connected to people. We sat there for an hour not moving him and he began to relax more and more, even stopping wringing his hands. Eventually I would touch his face and after a few times of him moving my hand away he actually took my hand and placed it on his face. 
His eyes are severely crossed and flutter constantly, I don't know how much vision he even has like that. I am also sure that his ears are bad. 6 years of laying in a crib drinking a bottle cannot be good. 

We plan to spend half our visit tomorrow in his room again and then the other half we will walk to the next room. If that works we will do it again on the next visit and start moving further and further from his room. My hope is that he will find his comfort in us and not fear when we take him away from the orphanage. We will also try some music tomorrow, maybe the constant sound will help him. 
Gabe will definitely need a lot of care. But after today I believe that he will one day flourish. He seemed to connect with us and bond after just an hours time. Imagine what weeks will do. 
Please keep Gabe in your prayers. Pray that he will continue to bond with us. Pray that we can get him home without major problems. Pray for direction for Guy and I on what the best treatment is for him to help him feel secure and safe. 

I just went and read all the post from many of you on Facebook. I am now sobbing thank you very much. I could not ask for a more sincere, loving, encouraging, AMAZING group of friends and family. Your words about Gabe will carry me through this journey and I will hold on to the promises of my faithful, loving God. With Him, and your help, we will see His will be done in our lives and our boys.

Love you!!!

And now for the best part

How can you not smile around this boy???

Gabe warming up to us

He was very comfortable with Daddy

Daddy kept making him laugh, music to our ears

Sissy wanted to hold him so badly and so we tried it with the last 5 minutes of the visit. I'd say he didn't mind at all:)

Levi LOVES to go for walks! He has these shoes, (girls sandals but we won't tell him) they squeak when he walks and he gets such a kick out of them.



He discovered the flag today and all he wanted to do was stare at it. He would get up to walk away from it but then turn right around and sit and stare.


Levi makes this sound that I said sounds like a rapper so daddy started to do it and then would yell his name "Levi!". He would just laugh hysterically!!


I think someone is in love:)



Debbie June 2, 2011 at 5:13 PM  

We just read your post and watched the videos. (Tom wouldn't let me watch until he got out here by me).
Both of our hearts are so touched by these sweet boys. Thank you for sharing all that you did. We will continue to lift you up in prayer and now have a much better idea of ways to pray.
Lindy ~ these are your boys! They will love you, they will call you "mommy", they will bring you joy, they will run and play with their brothers. I believe these things with all my heart. And you all - all 7 - are now and will continue to glorify God with your lives. God bless you! Love you guys!!

ouradoptionjourneywithBryceVanya June 2, 2011 at 5:43 PM  

Hang in there Lindy! It will all work out. Both the boys' laughs are just contagious and put a smile on your face. One day you'll look back and can't believe the roller coaster you were on; each day goes by and you watch in amazement how our children blossom and become incredible kids! We are thinking and praying for you all! Can't wait for you to get back to FL and we can get our "U" princes together. The Baumanns, Kim,Tom & Bryce

Becca June 2, 2011 at 6:19 PM  

Lindy, this is just so incredible! Thank you so much for sharing with us! I bet Levi is going to have a blast with his brothers! I'm so sorry you struggled with those first few visits with Gabe -- but what a gift of wisdom God gave you in that moment when you realized that it was perhaps the room. We will be in constant prayer for the journey home -- like you said, that Gabe will find his security and peace -- his "home base" with you and Guy very quickly. Thank you, again, for keeping us posted!

Nan and Dan June 2, 2011 at 6:36 PM  

praying sweetie!! Each day will get better, he will learn to trust you!! love the pics :) love to see the smiles :) pics bring back memories :)

Mel June 2, 2011 at 7:03 PM  

Lindy, I'm not sure that you realize what you did... you found a simple solution to a HUGE issue that was causing YOUR SON pain!!! YOU... his Momma!! You rock! :) I think I posted this on FB, but I have to tell you... Levi reminds me SO much of Timothy!! His craziness... his "hyper-ness". JUST like Timothy!! He's even th same size. :) We are praying for you Girlie!! I love your honesty, and thank you for sharing your videos today too. God knew what He was doing when He gave you your new boys. Hugs!!

Traci June 2, 2011 at 7:05 PM  

I am crying buckets here for sweet Gabe. It breaks my heart to watch him crying and upset like that. The poor dear is probably so afraid outside of that room and bed that he is confined to and just doesn't know how to enjoy himself outside of it. He is so tiny and malnourished and that has to be part of his issues too. You guys hang in there and everyone will be praying for all of you! Praise God for husbands like yours!
Big hugs to you! Traci

Jayne June 2, 2011 at 7:31 PM  

Congrats!!! I will be praying for your family!

Jennifer June 2, 2011 at 7:50 PM  

Your boys are precious! Congratulations! I found your blog through RR a week or so ago. :) I will be praying very, very hard for your Gabe!

liz kulp June 3, 2011 at 2:18 AM  

what beautiful boys you are adding to your family! prayers to you from another family in U...

Sylvia June 3, 2011 at 3:26 AM  

Congratulations! Just thought I'd share that when we met our little boy (home 2 years now) that he screamed and threw up for 2 hours. The senior staff finally asked us to take him back to our unit because it was upsetting their social workers. It's not always easy but he is definitely ours! I'm sure time and love with God involved will bring more and more joy and happiness to you all.

Lizzy June 3, 2011 at 4:43 AM  

My heart is so moved my the pictures, you words, the videos, your realization, the pure glory that you are rescuing two little boys from the most unpleasant life and giving them the best life possible. Praise God!

The insight you gained about Gabe is priceless. It will be will be so worth it. He will be like a little bud that will mature and blossom in his own time with love, prayer and patience. Again, Praise God.

The scenes are so neat to see and so I would love to go back there. I know exactly where you are and picture myself sitting there being with you. It's funny how after walking the circles sooooo many times you could probably do it with your eyes closed.

Praying for you.

Gretchen Thibault June 3, 2011 at 4:45 AM  

Oops...that last one was me...not Lizzy.

Sabrina June 3, 2011 at 6:03 AM  

I am in tears reading your post. Amazing and touching. God brought just the right people to Gabe...HIS Mom and Dad. I will pray for you all.

Rochelle June 3, 2011 at 11:21 AM  

Praying for you and for the boys transition to your family! Thanks for putting it all out there Lindy. It isn't always an easy first meeting and we all should be prepared for that, as we travel to country next week we will continue to pray for your boys and for our meeting Dariya for the first time.

Lauren June 3, 2011 at 11:55 AM  

Wow wow WOW!! Your trust, your love, your life - amazing grace! The hope, reduced fears, VICTORY! Praying for you guys!

G-Zell June 3, 2011 at 1:04 PM  

Awwww your boys are just precious. God bless you!

Jo's Corner June 3, 2011 at 3:12 PM  

I felt such deep pain and sadness when I saw Gabe wringing his tiny hands. But, when I began to pray, I felt G*d tell me that he is taking care of all of you, just like He did with Kirill and his family. I immediately felt a Peace come over me. I believe that little guy is going to melt his little body into yours, Lindy. That he is going to find strength and comfort and Healing in your arms. Love to All of you! ~ Jo

annie June 3, 2011 at 3:31 PM  

Oh, I cannot imagine. They asked you if you wanted to change your mind about Gabe, knowing that he'd be immediately transferred?! They just don't understand, do they?

God bless you on your anointed journey to bring hope and love and FAMILY into the lives of Levi and Gabe. Thank you for sharing your experiences. You all are in my prayers!

Beth & Tom Marshall June 3, 2011 at 6:48 PM  

What a wonderful post! Thank you, so much, for keeping us up=to=date on your two little boys. We will pray especially for little Gabe. God loves him and wants him happy and I KNOW He will provide the patience and the wisdom for you! We will keep praying!


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