This post has taken a while to formulate as things here have changed. We have experienced so much new that to share all of it would take years. So this is my attempt as sharing my heart as I reflect about the last 2 weeks or so.
After a long flight where Lily hardly slept we got back to Pyeongtaek where we were greeted by friends with a smile, hug, food and a sign that said welcome Home Haas 3. What a sweet way to be welcomed back. We traveled to our house and when we pulled in we noticed had a new car port. Crazy. We had no idea any of it was happening.
On our door was a sign that said Welcome Home Hope signed by the neighbors as well as a colorful streamer across the door. Lily was so tired and she could not handle the cat crying for attention. So we dropped the suitcases downstairs and rushed upstairs as she was crying. We did this at mom and dads house to. We put her in the bath to make her surroundings small and calm her. We shut all the doors to our room and all three of us went straight to bed. The following day she gradually went into another room of the house. The cat had to be locked up in the guest room for a while. It was so heartbreaking for us to hear him cry. So one of us went into the room once in a while to pet him. Lily was not having it at all.
The second day she helped us unpack. This was helpful for her to see familiar stuff from the states. This calmed her heart more and made her realized it was safe. Baba was able to help her set up her doll bed in her room which helped her realized her room was her room.
Slowly she felt more comfortable upstairs but downstairs still was scary to her. Over the next few days we played a bit more downstairs as we could hear the cat and see him from the patio. She realized she was safe from the cat when she saw the doors and the screens. Slowly with our help she was ok to just look at the cat in his room. We allowed the cat out once in a great while when we could control the surroundings. Now she feeds, plays with and loves the cat. What a change.
It was strange for my heart to be back as a mama! I have never been in Korea as a mama. This brought many emotions.
I have been trying to figure out what to write since I started the first part of this blog post about 2-3 weeks ago. I feel overwhelmed with the amount that I would like to write. But I will attempt to write my thoughts.
I love being a mama! I love being Lily's Mama. It has come much more naturally than I thought it would come. I have loved teaching her new things and watching her heart and face light up when she understands and gets it. What a joy!
Lily is a joy to be around and has a soul that lights up a room. She is sensitive, shy, tender hearted, and musical. Did I mention she loves to SING. She sings all the time. I am amazed how similar her little personality is to mine is so many ways. I am daily amazed that the Lord chose us to be her parents. She cracks us up daily in things she does and says. I just love her. I think its so sweet watching her care for her little dolls. We have named them all. Both Dan and I engage in dolls playing with her but yet love watching her learn to self play.
She continues to sleep well at almost 11 hours a night. She loves to shop with Mama for groceries which usually ends up with a little snack from the store.
I think whats been fun to watch is her sensory issues improve. She was terrified of fleece and anything that wasn't cotton. She was terrified of textures that she had not seen. She also was really jumpy with noises( this is all normal for kids from orphanages as they experience all new stuff and sounds). She has improved so much in all these areas. She's expanding her eating as well. She is a GREAT eater! She loves to eat. Not in a over indulgent way but healthy and normal. She also has never had access to food all the time so she is loving that.
Lily and I bake and cook all the time which I love. It constantly reminds me I need to work on patience as I often want to do it faster. I am learning to relax and let her just be.
We have done art projects (pumpkins, clay ornaments, painting and other things)
It has really just been fun to discover who Lily is and what makes her tick. Cocooning has been wonderful but for my extrovert nature I get antsy to be around adults. The Lord has granted some special times with friends on Thursdays (Dan's solo day with Lily, Mamas day off). I am able to have coffee or lunch with a friend and then head to a coffee shop to work on my Bible study materials that I am a part of on Sunday mornings. A friend is leading the group as we are going through the book (The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace).
Lily's English has improved a ton and she understands us much more when we speak. Dan and I are still trying hard to understand her but its getting better. She talks all the time and sings. We have been going through some preschool videos that teach her letters, shapes, and numbers with songs.
One thing also is we notice the gap in her left brain and right brain thinking. This is common for those older children who have spent significant time in an institution. The bridge from her right brain and left brain really hasn't formed much. So, we are working on improving that connection slowly. The good news is it will keep getting better and better. We noticed she was having meltdowns because she just could process cause and effect type of situations. I have been reading an amazing book that is helping us understand how to maneuver this and work on healing all this.
I am grateful for many friends who have been understanding when we have to cancel plans due to Lily needing space.
As a high introvert she craves and needs time alone to recharge. I have seen her get overloaded when there has been lots of people around like church. Usually after church we don't do anything social afterwards because she needs down time.
We took her to the doctor last week as many know and she did much better than expected. The doctor said her surgery looked great and that we didn't need to do anything now for her. Her foot is a different situation. She has six toe bones so in January we are going to have one of the tips of her big toe taken off. This will be a month long recovery so we will be doing it mid January as we have a staff conference in Okinawa the beginning part of January.
There is so much I could write but really the main thing is we are seeing the Lord stir her heart in small ways. We have been saturating ourselves and her in the word. We listen to scripture and music at night at bedtime. We listen to it in English and Mandarin. I love listening to her hum Jesus loves me throughout the day. We are praying for her little heart that she will one day choose to follow hard after the Lord. She has been placed in a ministry minded family so pray that we will be able to disciple her little heart with Gods heart. I look forward to the day I can have a heart conversation with her and here her stories.
I will attached some photos on here but won't overwhelm this post as its already long enough.
In short, we love our little family that the Lord has created. We are praying the Lord uses all three of us for His glory in everything we do.
(I TRIED TO MAKE A VIDEO, BUT HAD NO LUCK. SO HERE ARE SOME PHOTOS INSTEAD)
I love to paint.
1st day in Korea, unpacking
Getting ready for Church
Shopping with Mama
Styling coming down the slide
Coming back from the first time playing outside
Snuggles with Mama
Trying to figure out this big ball.
Playing at the park with Baba.
(Mama is on the other end )
I love my Baby Dolls
First football game ever!
Carrying my Baby Doll
Learning how to brush my teeth
Learning to paint with Mama
My completed paper mache pumpkin
Mama's Favorite people
Geocaching with Baba
Learning colors by playing Candyland with Mama and Baba
At my first Doctors Appointment
Jumping with Baba is my favorite.
I love playing with Mama.
Waiting for Baba to rescue us since Mama dropped the car keys by accident in the sewer grate.
I love these jumpy trampolines.
I sleep in my own bed but next to mom and dad. When I am ready I will go to my own room.
Korean street view
Playing with Play Doh
I love giving kisses. Did I mention I have told my parents I love them.
(Not sure if I know what Love is but I sure do like them)
Ice cream after a long day in Seoul
I GOT MY VISA TODAY
Learning how to serve others
Jumpy house with blowing balloons
Mama is being silly
I learned to love Corn on the Cob in IL
Snuggles with Mama
Learning to help with Dishes
Lily giving kisses to Baba
Painting a fan!
Buttering bread for Youth Group