Gotcha Day!

Hey Everyone! Today was the big day! The day we became a family of FOUR!

Around noon, Pierre picked us up and we headed over to the orphanage. When we stepped out of the car, we were met with blood curdling screaming and wailing from lots of little ones. Pierre said that today many of the kids were getting vaccinated. So we walked inside to see dozens of little ones screaming and crying, with sympathetic caregivers trying to calm them and put bandaids on their arms. It was definitely not the most peaceful soundtrack to our gotcha day. I was afraid our girls would already be in a terrible mood if they’d just gotten a shot, but thankfully they didn’t receive one today. Phew!

We followed Pierre into the orphanage director’s office. Her name is Noella, and she is one of those people who just exudes warmth and kindness. We chatted for a minute and introduced ourselves. She said we look very young and hoped that we would give the girls more siblings someday! Then she left to go get our girls and bring them back into the office.

Very unceremoniously, they brought Parphine (whom we’re naming Noella, after the orphanage director) to Blake, and Clairia (whom we’re naming Mercy) to me. They were super quiet and avoided making eye contact, but they seemed interested in the stuffed animals we brought (thanks Bibi!). Not long after, Noella Parphine started giggling as Blake picked her up and tickled her. She also loved being dangled upside down! She was definitely the more outgoing of the two, smiling easily and welcoming the attention Blake and I showered on her. Mercy Clairia is much more shy. She allowed me to pick her up, but maintained a pretty blank expression the whole time. That’s pretty much what we expected though. These girls have had a rotation of caregivers every 6 hours for the last 2 years, so we knew it would take some time to get them to really open up.

We picked up the girls and got a quick tour of the orphanage, seeing where they sleep and their outdoor area. As we were walking, Noella Parphine just could not get enough of being dangled and spun around by her daddy, giggling all the while! Meanwhile, Mercy Clairia had fallen asleep in my arms. And y’all, I seriously gotta get “mom strong” cuz it was HARD carrying around her 30 pounds of dead weight. My arms are actually sore right now!

After the tour, we went into the dining area and had a party for all the little kids and the caregivers. The party was basically just a time where the kids got a nice big meal and the orphanage director gave a quick speech about how the girls were being adopted and they’re so happy for us. Then I gave a little speech thanking the caregivers for all they’ve done for our girls and how we plan to teach them all about their Burundian roots and hope to make them proud with how we raise our daughters.

Mercy Clairia eventually woke up and we fed them both. They’re great eaters! They ate rice, peas, fries, and goat! They also both CHUGGED a whole bottle of mango juice without taking a breath. It was pretty impressive. After lunch, we chatted with Noella a bit more and asked her questions about the girls’ daily routines and likes/dislikes.

Then it was back to the hotel! By the time we got back to the hotel it was about 3:15, which means it was naptime! Noella Parphine went to sleep without much coaxing, but Mercy Clairia did NOT want to nap (probably because she’d taken a 40 minute nap in my arms at the orphanage earlier). While Noella was asleep on me, Blake was trying to rock and bounce Mercy to sleep. For about an hour, we went on that way. Then Mercy started to get upset, and started wailing…which woke Noella, and she started wailing too. That was the first time either of them had cried all day. I was able to soothe Noella back to sleep but Mercy was inconsolable. Until we brought out a baggy of snacks and BAM those tears dried right up as she ate some goldfish. We survived our first meltdown as parents and have learned to pretty much default to hunger if they’re upset. Mercy never did sleep, but Noella got a nice 2 hour nap in.

After naptime, we decided to play out on the patio. As we were attempting to engage them in play, it was clear that Noella was just listless and uninterested, a total switch from her giggly self earlier. We thought she was just sleepy from getting up from a nap. Until…she vomited everywhere. And so our great day turned into a pretty rough evening as we made some calls to the International Adoption Clinic to find out what might be going on. The doctor said to not give her any solids for 24 hours and only a teaspoon of water every hour or so :(. That’s tough for a kid who has been food deprived AND her sister is still getting food, so now we are doing a dance of feeding Mercy in one room while Noella is in another. I gotta say though, I’m pretty proud of how Blake handled being puked on. He normally does NOT handle puke well, but he sprung into daddy mode while he cleaned her up and took off her clothes.

After puking, Noella just wanted to be snuggled and held, which I was ok with. Even though she clearly feels bad, at least she allowed us to be there for her. Once she fell asleep, we took her temp, and it’s 101.2. We aren’t sure yet if it’s viral or bacterial, but we are reporting her symptoms to the doctor at the IAC and will hopefully figure out what we can do for her from here. Right now, both girls are sleeping soundly (and taking up the whole bed).

Tomorrow we were planning to meet the Central Authority here in Burundi, but he has requested that we meet him on Saturday instead. So we will spend the day tomorrow just hanging out at the hotel, bonding together, and getting Noella healthy again!

We’d love it if y’all could pray for these things for us:

Pray for Noella to feel better. Pray that her fever breaks and she’s able to keep down food tomorrow.

Pray for Blake and me to know how to care for her while she’s sick and for our anxiety (mine especially) to be eased.

Pray that Mercy, Blake, and I will remain healthy!

Pray for us to develop a routine with the girls. We had a routine all planned out, but Noella’s regurgitation pretty much halted all our well laid plans.

Pray for our day tomorrow to be one of great bonding!

Read our adoption story and why we felt God calling us to adopt.

Check out other blog posts about Lindsay’s ministry and our adoption.

Read Lindsay’s testimony and learn about her work with World Orphans.

We were able to adopt debt free thanks to the help of this resource.