Hardly seems like the beginning anymore. Liam and Cora have been home three and a half months now. Time sure flies when you’re having fun…and we have been! Of course, that fun is a choice we make. The days are not always easy. In fact, many of them are more difficult than I imagined they’d be. You see, a big part of the reason that I haven’t blogged since our family was united on Christmas Eve is because of the struggles. I remember while I was waiting for them to come home I would cling to blogs of others whose children arrived home so I could learn what to expect. I guess when it was my turn to share, I became anxious. Not because of the families still waiting, but because of those of you who’ve not walked this path. Some of you have already made comments to the effect of “well you chose this” or “what did you expect bringing in kids from Africa?”. Those comments are far more loaded than you may comprehend. I don’t blame you for that, but the reality is, it’s true. Our daughter landed in America a VERY sick little girl. Within 3 days of coming home, she was admitted to the PICU at our local children’s hospital, where she & I rang in 2012 together while Sam was home with the other 3 children. I wasn’t prepared for that. None of us were.
Cora had life-threatening pneumonia (among other things) and because of the geographic region she had previously lived, was treated for tuberculosis as well (though it has now been confirmed that she did NOT have TB). Cora handled the transition amazingly…especially considering she didn’t speak a lick of English! The only struggle she had was the NG tube being placed to collect sputum cultures to test for TB. Otherwise, she was just happy to have her new Mommy by her side. Liam, on the other hand, struggled greatly with all of the commotion. He had just flown across the ocean, leaving the only life & people he’s ever known to come into our family…and just days later his sister (whom he’d NEVER been apart from) was gone for nearly a week! He was in a new country, with this new family, trying to speak a new language, and eating new foods. A journey he was excited about, but his only sense of comfort & familiarity was ripped away when Cora was hospitalized.
Sweet Liam. Sam had traveled alone to pick up the little ones in Ghana…then he stayed home with Liam & the big girls while I stayed by Cora’s bedside that first week home. By the time our littlest princess was released from the hospital, Sam had to return to work and Liam was now left in my care. Cora was still sick, but no longer needed hospitalization and I was managing her treatment at home, while also caring for the 3 bigger kids…which included a plethora of doctor appointments, homeschooling and the overall integration of 2 new family members. I’m not complaining…just exhibiting how difficult those earliest days were…especially for Liam. He had been with Daddy for weeks, and now he was left with Mommy, who couldn’t (as much as I wanted to) ignore the other 3 children in the home in order to give him the exclusive one-on-one attention he so craved. We made it through…but Liam & I still have to work, and work HARD, on our relationship. He is very strongly attached to Daddy, and that’s FABULOUS, but our daily routine requires him to obey me far more often than Daddy, and he’s still struggling to show me the same respect he shows his father. That’s ok. We’re a work in progress.
Beyond those first weeks, the rest of our first three months as a family of six is pretty much a blur. We’ve struggled to find routine…but we’ve found it (sort of). We’ve grown in our attachments. Our children all treat each other as though there was never a time without being together.
There are still daily struggles…over food and hair care and appropriate behaviors/attitudes and respect…but all-in-all, life is great. Really, REALLY great! As I sit here trying to finish up this post, all four kids are running around the house, using pretend names & playing silly games. The raucous laughter is filling our home and my soul.
The journey was long. It was hard. It was financially burdensome. It was the most emotionally challenging time of my life. It brought us them…and it was worth every tear, every penny, every prayer, every effort it took to get them here…because now they’re HOME. Liam and Cora are ORPHANS NO MORE! THANK YOU JESUS!!!
Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. ~Deuteronomy 7:9