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leaps and bounds

Hello from Virginia. 

It sounds so good to finally be able to say that we are in our home state.  After a long drive yesterday, we eventually arrived in VA.  Today we have a short two hour drive and then we’ll be HOME!  To say that I can hardly wait is an understatement. For those of you who have e-mailed me and asked, yes, we did used to live here–and now the Lord has brought us back.  More about that later.

Okay, so I have been exceedingly blessed in my life–I have traveled the world and seen over thirty countries. Yesterday I saw beauty that is definitely up there on my list of most stunning places in the world–West Virginia.  Oh my goodness, the Appalachian’s are spectacular, absolutely breathtaking!  I marvelled at Father God’s creativity as we drove along–and to think that He did it all just for our pleasure and enjoyment is amazing to me. What a God of wonders we serve.

I wanted to stop in here quickly before we hit the road for the final leg of our journey and share with you a little about Hailee and the things we are witnessing.  Goodness gracious, we are so amazed at how our little sweetness is blossoming before our eyes.  We always knew that inside her teeny, tiny, malnourished body was little girl just waiting to blossom.

Isn’t she just as beautiful as can be?  Her hair is even starting to grow a little.  I look at this picture and can already see how Hailee is changing–in such a short period of time. It has only been three weeks since I took them out of the orphanage in the Ukraine.

Since the first time we saw Hailee’s picture, we knew that adopting this precious little girl would be like adopting a baby.  We knew that her needs and delays were significant, and that she would have to be taught like a baby. But we also felt certain that most of her profound delays were not due to her Down syndrome, but simply from sheer neglect. 

~~~  All Hailee ate in the orphanage was porridge (morning and evening) and some sort of mushy soup stuff for lunch.  That’s it.  No variety at all.  The same food day in and day out. It’s no wonder she only weighs sixteen pounds at five years old, she has had no nutrition at all. When we got home I had to feed her baby food, she was just not interested in anything solid.  If I tried to put anything hard in her mouth she literally spat it out.  She had no idea what solid food even was, let alone how to chew it.  A couple of days ago I thought I would try solid food again.  I was feeding Harper some pasta and offered Hailee a spoonful.  You know what?  She actually took it.  She mashed it between her teeth and tried to break it up in her mouth.  She did it.  Before I knew it, she was opening her little mouth like a bird and wanting more, more, more.  She has been pretty adventurous with trying new foods ever since.  This is HUGE for her. Victory!

~~~  In the orphanage all the kids are fed by spoon.  That’s all they know.  Harper has not struggled with it, but Hailee has NOT let us put anything in her mouth from our hands. I even had to put tiny pieces of bread on a spoon in order for her to take it.  She has turned her head the other way every time we have tried to offer her something to eat if we’re holding it.  But that has also changed.  She allowed me to do it once (okay, so I bribed her with a piece of cake), and that was that.  No more having to load spoons with anything and everything in order for her to actually eat it. 

~~~  Bath time is no longer the complete nightmare that it has been.  Oh my word–you would have sworn she was getting the worst punishment known to man the way she screamed and stiffened her little body every time I bathed her. These angels had clearly never been bathed in their lives. Thankfully, the tears and screams have faded and she is actually starting to relax a little in the bath tub. Hallelujah.

~~~ The car seat is definitely becoming less of a drama.

~~~ The feel of grass is not so scary anymore.

~~~ Her wounds behind her ears are slowly starting to heal. The one is almost completely healed, and the other is looking so much better.  We still have to keep the little pilot hats on her to prevent her from scratching.  Hopefully soon she will no longer feel the need to scratch there until it is raw and bleeding. We’re praying that every institutional behavior will be gone forever, in the name of Jesus!

~~~  She laughs!  Oh my does she love to laugh.  I’m talking giggling that comes all the time when we do silly things to her. It’s like music to our ears.

HOPE!

There is such HOPE for each and every child–no matter how delayed or severe their special needs are. Every child has the ability to learn and grow, all they need is a family to love them and help them reach their full potential. It’s just that simple.

This is only the beginning for our darling Hailee, her healing has just begun.  I can hardly wait to share more with you as time goes by and she continues to amaze us.  

Thank you for journeying with me, friends.  Thank you for rejoicing with me when the victories are sweet, and for pointing me toward Jesus when things feel overwhelming.  I appreciate it more than you will ever know.

For now, it’s time to pack the car, load up the troops, and take one last journey to complete our marathon trip across state.

In His amazing grace.

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