What a day it was...seeing Ivy open a present for the first time in her life. She wasn't even sure how to do it. She kept acting surprised that this celebration was really all for her! Even the cards were such treasures to her. She continues to look at them several times a day. I don't know who had more fun, Ivy, or her family, who witnessed the surprise and joy in her face.
"Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names.
They are easier to ignore before you see their faces.
It is easier to pretend they're not real before you hold them in your arms.
I see the remarkable changes in Ivy each and every day. But when I saw this photo of her I saw it in her face..like a flower that just opened. What a joy to watch her blossom. The toil of tending the garden is so rewarding.
“I am waiting and God is teaching me this: I beg Him to bring me close to His heart, to even transform my heart that it might be more like His. I think orphan care gets us close, because He sees us as orphans. I think adoption gets us close, because this is how He brings us into His family. The poor, the beggar, the widow, the prisoner, they get us close to His heart because these people are so dear to Him." Katie Davis..Kisses from Katie..A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption
It's hard to believe we've been home a week. Ivy has done remarkably well in many ways. She is developmentally delayed in some areas, due to lack of exposure. It's hard to imagine an almost 5 year old that has never seen 'stuff' just lying around, such as a picture frame, house decor, toothpaste, anything and everything. So everything needs examined for the first time just as a young child would do. She has no reference for the stove being hot, knives being sharp, or the idea that some things are dangerous to put in your mouth. Have you ever tried removing White-Out from a child's eyelids and lashes? It's not as easy as it sounds! The stuff is not water soluble. But she is very smart and learns quickly. She is extremely advanced at observing details and emotionally sensing situations. She doesn't miss anything! I'm sure these are things survivors learn to do.
Her hardest adjustment is sleeping. The first couple nights she slept out of total exhaustion. Now we are facing sleep issues that are very common in children with this type of history. Fortunately she is allowing us to comfort and cuddle her. There are many hurts to heal. We are privileged to be the ones that get to teach her what love and family are all about. Every sight, sound, smell, taste and person in her world is different. That's just plain scary. Clearly she enjoys so many new things in our home, but feeling safe and secure will take time.
Ivy has mastered the following English words: Hi, Bye, Potty, Eat, Doll, Good Job, Uh-oh, All Done, Apple, Banana, I Love You, and here's my two favorites.."Amen" and "Are you Okay?" We were shocked when Emma tripped and Ivy asked her if she was Okay! The other night she did something, and I said to Dan, "She's really bright". Ivy immediately repeated, "She's really bright!". She often says an unidentifiable Chinese word in front of "Mama". It sounds like she's saying "Crazy Mama". Everyone gets a laugh out of that. It's an appropriate title these days! She hums 'Jesus Loves Me' throughout the day, and can identify her head, eyes, nose, mouth, hands, knees, tummy, feet, and her water cup. She loves all the foods we give her, even green smoothies which she begs for. The kids get a kick out of that and try to give theirs to her! The only food she's rejected so far is avocado. She acted like that was pretty strange. She begs for fruit of all kinds which is like dessert to her. Tonight some sweet friends brought us Chinese food, and boy or boy did Ivy enjoy dinner. It was so entertaining to watch her gobble it up.
We will post our airport pics once we get them. Here's a couple backyard shots for now. Running in the grass and playing on the play set are the highlights of her day.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit -Psalm 34:18
“As I do what I can, I am able to watch Him do what only He can.”
from 'Kisses from Katie' A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption
Sorry for the silence here in blogland, but we were caught by surprise that the the trip home and the re-entry was the toughest part of the trip! It started one hour into the 11 hour flight from Korea. Dan made a few trips back and forth to the lavatory vomiting. Next thing I knew he was on the floor in the aisle doubled over in pain. We had a stash of meds that we took along 'just in case' and hadn't used them the whole trip. So I said.."Honey..how 'bout I pull out some drugs and you get back in your seat!'. You can imagine the attention we were drawing at this point. He said nope, he needed help. So we called the flight attendant and they soon made an announcement requesting the assistance of any medical professionals on the plane. We ended up with two American EMT's and a Korean Orthopedic Surgeon. They determined that he needed fluids quickly before he dehydrated, as he was now vomiting in the aisle. They suspected food poisoning, and assured me that they would take him upstairs, (yes the Airbus has upstairs) get him on an IV with painkillers and all would be fine. So I remained in my seat trying to keep some peace with the kids and hopeful that people would stop staring at us. About 30 minutes to an hour later they made another announcement that they had a more serious medical emergency and they were looking for an Internal Medicine physician or a General Surgeon on the plane. HELLO? I bolted upstairs after telling Macy to hold on to Ivy and not allow her seat belt to come off. The scene I found was Dan rolling on the floor with four medical people hovering over him. The Korean flight attendant told me that he was much worse, and they didn't know what was wrong with him, but not to worry because they now have found a very competent surgeon! WHAT? I started to fall apart. She said we are now in the middle of the Pacific and we can't land but he is a very good surgeon! I freaked out and asked to use the phone and called home to ask the kids for prayer. When I finally was able to speak to this competent surgeon he explained that he was pretty sure that Dan was passing kidney stones and that there was no medical emergency. He spoke better English than the flight attendant so I was able to calm down. They pumped him full of fluids and pain meds and got him to sleep. They told me an ambulance would be waiting in LA and we would need to go to the hospital. I said, "No Ambulance..we have 7 hours to go, lets wait and see how he is". I was determined to get home and not stay in LA. I called my son again and asked him to fly over to LA and meet us. (can't wait to get the phone bill) I didn't want to face this alone with the kids and all our luggage we had to pick up in LA. Dan slept the remainder of the trip and was able to handle the next short flight home, with the help of our son.
We were greeted at the airport by our precious family and many dear friends. Their love and support was amazing to us. What a relief to be home. We were all complete zombies as the girls only slept about 1 1/2 hours in the 26 hour journey, and I slept none at all. I can't imagine how tough it was on Ivy not understanding all that was happening, and then dealing with sleep deprivation as well. She really did well all things considered. The older kids had the house spotless and the fridge stocked with food. My sweet neighbor had decorated the front of the house welcoming us home. Our son-in-law spent half the night with Dan at the ER and they confirmed he had passed one stone and another remains. So far he's been ok. The term "Jet Lag" somehow doesn't seem like an adequate way to express the extreme exhaustion. Never in my life have I had this much trouble staying awake even while sitting straight up in a chair. Ivy is overwhelmed by everything in the house that is brand new to her. The first night she woke crying really hard for quite a long time. She let me just hold her in bed. The second night she did the same but not as long. I can't even fathom all the changes she is going through. But each day she gets a little more comfortable. She is bonding to me well as evidenced when I'm out of her sight she gets very nervous.
We made our way out to the backyard early in the evening tonight and the fresh air did wonders for us. Ivy is really enjoying the play set.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all of your prayers and encouragement.