Monday, February 4, 2013

You'll kill me...

"You don't tell anyone about this do you?" Kelly asked me toward the end of the first half of our appointment at the UAB International Adoption Clinic in Birmingham, AL. She was joking... well mostly joking... well, maybe half joking. You see, our appointment went really, really, REALLY well.

Daddy and Elli waiting for our appointment to begin.

Elli was relaxed and happy and acted just like she always acts. No manic moments (as sometimes comes in the evening brought on by the Prednisone we are slowly trying to rid from her body). No lack of desire to be obedient. No intentional digging in of heals when I or daddy said "no" or "not now". She just was... Elli. She laughed and giggled and played almost the entire time on daddy's lap. She'd occasionally look up at the muted TV with SpongeBob or Scooby Doo or Dora running across the screen. She'd catch Kelly glancing at her out of the corner of her eye and respond with a wide smile and twinkling eyes, never moving from the comfort and security of daddy's lap.

Kelly loved that about her. Frankly, Kelly loved
everything about Elli. Kelly loved almost everything we told her about our whole adoption experience from "Gotcha Day" until that day 22 days later. It's not that Kelly had never seen such a good outcome so quickly before but it was rare. I desperately tried to pull thoughts and events and feelings from the depths of my memory to share with her in the hopes...yes HOPES... that she would tell me "Oh, well, THAT's a red flag." But, no, there were no red flags.

She was hoping I'd not gone on and on about how wonderfully things were going because she was afraid it would be discouraging to others. It's not that I didn't realize that or that I'd not chosen to keep my mouth shut, especially on the adoption Facebook site I frequent because I knew other moms who were really struggling with A LOT. Of course I'd not want to be the source of discouragement. I know those moms, they'd be so happy for me. But honestly, when you are jet lagged, when you have other children that are making demands of you, when  your newest family member won't let you put her down for even a second in spite of the fact that she might weight 30 pounds and you haven't slept in 2, 3, maybe 4 WEEKS! Well just how much happiness is left in your body especially for someone who just throws it out there that she is experiencing none of what you are.

Hmmm, nope... not sharing a dang thing.

Kate and Elli in front of Blair Batson Children's Hospital

Just 2 days earlier we'd been to see the head of the hematology department at Blair Batson Children's Hospital here in Jackson, MS. Yep, that's another thing I sorta kept to myself. This woman is seriously busy. She is awesome and came highly recommended. It's not like there aren't other docs there that are great too, she's just the one who a few people we asked suggested we TRY to see, if we were "lucky", IF we could get in. We called on Friday, we saw her on Monday afternoon. We weren't expecting that. We didn't assume that. We didn't even ask for that. Her appointment nurse just GAVE us that appointment.

Everyone was right. She is great. She's perfect to work with children. You just know a doctor when he/she should focus on kids. She sees a lot of sad circumstances. Her heart is happy though. She agreed with us that Elli needed to come off the Prednisone and echo'd a friend's comments who's son has Chronic ITP like Elli. "This is no big deal." She spent some time telling us why but it's so not a big deal that there's really not even much to tell. We fashioned out a plan and decided by the middle of March that Elli would be drug free and we'd see where she stood with her platelet counts. Easy Peasy.

Hmmm, yep... NOT talking too much about the whole Easy Peasy part.

I just realized tonight that I was breathing. I mean really breathing... easy. I don't remember the last time I sighed and if you ask my family why I sigh they would say "because that is just what mom does". I realized that I spent the last 12 months being prepared to watch my entire life change completely - I was holding my breath to see what was gonna happen.

It's not happened at all like I thought it would. I thought I was going to fail Josh and Kate second semester. Not fail them because THEY didn't perform in the manner expected of them but that I would be the failure because Elli's arrival would deprive them of being able to learn in the manner they deserved to learn. But no, Elli is as eager to learn as any other 5 year old. She happily sits at the table and traces letters, colors papers, repeats phrases and words that she needs to know and understand. Nope, school really hasn't changed..
The first day back to school. 5 days after arriving in the US

 hmmm NOT sharing that, not right now

Then there was the decision to stay away from church and ministries and well, pretty much everything because, you know, everyone has to cocoon for at least 3 months, right? So MAYBE by the end of March I'd be able to go back to church. So MAYBE she will quietly sit next to me in the sanctuary in "big church" for a month or two. THEN I will sacrifice the summer and attend Sunday night and Sunday morning classes with her so that HOPEFULLY we will all feel comfortable with her starting Kindergarten Sunday school classes in the fall.

Finishing her George Mueller coloring page from her
first evening in Treasure Builders
After two weeks we could no longer stand it. She was so comfortable, so well behaved, so.. well... so able to go to church with us that we just HAD to go. Two Sundays after we'd arrived home in the US we were all sitting in the sanctuary watching and waiting to see how this little girl was gonna handle a contemporary Christian church filled with hundreds of people. Actually EVERYONE was watching her. I am surprised that our Pastor didn't clap his hands to get our attention and point his way and say "I would be the one to watch right now."

She was great. She did exactly what any of us would expect a well behaved 5 year old to do. She was amazing. When it was over she handled the 500 photo ops she had brilliantly as well. The next weekend  (this past weekend) I chose to take her to the Sunday evening class for her age group. I sat in the class but she insisted on sitting with the kids. She was bummed about the big chunky crayons because, after all, she is almost 6 and she colors flawlessly, but THEY didn't know that. After listening to 10 other kids get their name called she realized that each time a name was called a child chose to give an "animal sound". To my amazement when the teacher said "Elli" she responded "Meow"... now really, we are SO ready for this! Next Sunday we will be in 9:30 Lifegroup for the K4's. Oh My she has no idea what's ahead of her.

Of course I will stay with her until she feels like she can go it alone but somehow I doubt it's gonna take until the fall. It's an exciting development but I'd hate to share the ease at which we are adjusting with a mama who is just desperate to feel the physical arms of her women's Bible Study group around her again after being gone for months because her new daughter or son just cannot be left in childcare yet.

The inner rocker came out tonight just under 1 month
from the day we first met this princess
Tonight, as I was getting Elli her bedtime snack she heard Michael and Josh upstairs playing some of the Praise Team sets that they have to be prepared to play over the next several Sundays and Wednesdays. She had just been bathed and it was late, after 9:30. She should have been in bed an hour before.

I messed around in the kitchen awhile, waiting for her to come down to have her snack and then go to bed. She was a no-show; for a long time. So as I've gotten in the habit of doing, I grabbed my phone and headed upstairs to see what was keeping her and low and behold I saw a blur. A blur that had been full-on for 15 minutes and would continue for another 15. She found new ways to dance to Praise music and then... out of nowhere, Josh did what we had not expected... out of the amp came "Gundam Style". Right there, in front of my face, the itty bitty very new Farhart danced You Tube perfection with her big sis as Josh drummed to the song and her daddy and I just stared in awe. She became 100% Farhart at 10pm February 4, 2013.

And I breathed and breathed and breathed. And I realized that was exactly what I was doing.

Don't get me wrong, I, like you, think this has been WAYYYY too easy. Like you I realize there will be a trigger. Surely there's gotta be a trigger. Elli has cried only twice (only once with audible noise) since the day we met her. Some people, kids included, just aren't big criers. After all, she flat out watched the Lab Tech at UAB stick the needle in her arm and take 9 vials of blood. (I swear the number of vials increases each time we tell this story) She didn't utter a sound. She didn't even quiver a lip.

But I suspect that one day, maybe soon, something is gonna happen. Some memory or realization is gonna come storming to the front of her little brain and she is gonna look at me and lose all the composure that she's been so bravely trying to keep all these weeks. But here's the deal... that's ok.


Because yesterday... when I told her "I love you, Elli." Instead of her just smiling and saying "I love you too, Mommy." (which is pretty awesome in and of itself). She smiled at me, leaned into me so that her face butted up against my neck and whispered into my ear "I love you, too Mommy." And then, just for a minute, I stopped breathing. It was then that I got my first, real, "I love you".

So when it comes, if it comes, I'm ready. And maybe it will come totally BECAUSE it's official. She really does love me and she knows what that means and she KNOWS that she can totally lose it all over me and I will hold her through it until she cries out every last tear even if it takes hours. That if she is no longer that amazingly composed, always cheery, "A" game girlie, it won't change one little thing about how I feel about her. I will still think that she is one of the most brave little girls that I've ever had the honor to meet.

I love this girl!

"Oh no. Don't smile. You'll kill me. I stop breathing when you smile." 
-Tessa Dare, A Lady of Persuasion


  1. beautiful.
    i didn't realize that it SHOULD be so hard.
    thanks for sharing a perspective that some of us do not know about.
    and praise, praise, praise
    that it has been so easy.
    God is good.

  2. Make. my. heart. melt.
    THAT must be shared!