Twin Toddler Mayhem

Y’all…I am EXHAUSTED. Today I felt like I got my first real taste of what it’s like to parent twin toddlers. I know, you’re probably thinking, “What?! But you’ve had those kids for 4 days, you’re basically a veteran by now!” But surprisingly, I felt like today was day 1 in a way.

From the first day we met, Noella has been sick. So she spent pretty much all of those previous 3 days either puking or sleeping. Meanwhile, Mercy has been ssslllooowwly coming out of her shell. While we were caring for Noella, Mercy was usually just quietly sitting and staring into space or staring a toy (not playing really, just staring). This behavior is typical of kids from orphanages because they’ve never been allowed to have the freedom to run around or play, they’ve never had an adult to talk to or read to them, and they have never had toys, so they don’t know what to do with them. (Sidenote: that’s just a few of the million examples why societies should no longer be building orphanages, but I digress).

Today, however, it was like 2 entirely new little girls had woken up in our hotel room! Noella was energetic and wild, and Mercy was mischievous and affectionate. Also, they must have been offended by what I wrote yesterday when I said the girls were not attached to one another or didn’t notice one another. Because, from the moment they got up today they have been chatting with one another in Kirundi. These two silent little girls who would not even move, crawl, or walk without coaxing and encouragement have been running (and shrieking) around the hotel room.

The first thing we did this morning was meet the girls’ oldest half-brother. His name is Aaron (white shirt), and he is a very bright and sweet young man. Due to the fuel shortage, it took him 2 days to get to Bujumbura, a drive that would normally take 3 hours from his village. His cousin joined as well (yellow shirt). We could only chat for about 20 minutes before having to rush off to the airport, but I’m thankful for the time we did have together. We intend to stay in touch and send updates/photos of the girls and our family, and I hope their family does the same. I’m thankful we will be able to tell the girls about this meeting and their brother Aaron when they’re older.

Then we had to head over to the airport to fly to Nairobi. The girls were CHAMPS! They did great sitting in their stroller and just chatting with one another while we checked in, went through customs, and waited at the gate. I’m pretty sure they were talking about how much they loved their new shoes because they kept pointing at them and smiling.

We walked out to the plane on the tarmac, where the engines were very loud, and I was afraid they’d get nervous. But nope, they hopped outta their stroller and we walked up the steps into the plane no problem! We came armed with a bag full of toys for the plane ride, but honestly, all they wanted to do was “read” the safety instructions. I’m SO proud of how they handled the plane! Noella didn’t like being strapped in, so take off and landing were not great for her. She held her ears and got a little fussy as we landed, but she perked right up when I pulled out some Cheerios to distract her. Mercy was just really chill the whole way!

We landed in Nairobi, and then things got a little more difficult. We had “gate-checked” our stroller so that we could get it right when we landed and push them around the airport the rest of the way. Well…they accidentally took our stroller with all the other luggage to baggage claim. So we had to haul 2 backpacks, 2 shoulder bags, a rolling suitcase, and 2 little girls aaaaallllll the way through the immigration and customs process. From the time we landed, it took us over an hour and a half just to get down to baggage claim because we had to go through several checkpoints, fill out about 8 different customs and immigration cards, show our passports about a dozen times, get our pictures made, get fingerprinted, and wait in several lines. Oh and did I mention this was happening right about their naptime?

Blake handled most of the paperwork and such, which meant I was wrangling the girls. A stroller is nice because you can walk a lot faster and it’s easier than carrying them. But the real beauty of the stroller is that they are CONTAINED. Oh my word. The girls were climbing on seats, climbing on tables, jumping off of tables, running in opposite directions, shrieking with laughter, throwing their stuffed animals, and even spitting? Cuz that’s a fun thing to do I guess? All the Africans were looking at me like “this white woman needs to get those kids in line.” But y’all, as of yesterday, I’d never even heard these girls say more than a couple words or walk more than 2 feet on their own! It was hard to believe these were the same kiddos. I was not prepared for that level of energy or chaos today. I’m just thankful nobody got lost, injured, or kidnapped, because that’s the bar I’m setting for myself. It was stressful, but I feel like that experience baptized me into the world of parenting twin toddlers.

We met up with our driver/guide/translator, Frederick, who is awesome, and he brought us to our hotel. Our hotel is actually really nice. There’s a bathtub here, which we didn’t have in Burundi, which makes bathing the girls so much easier!

Once we got to the hotel, I geared up for naptime with the girls while Blake left to buy more diapers and wipes with Frederick (because we went through those things like crazy thanks to the diarrhea bug). Once again, these two “new” little girls were bouncing off the walls like I hadn’t seen before. They were talking non stop in Kirundi (and I heard them several times call me Mzungu, which kinda made me sad), giggling, running around the room, and even launching themselves into the bed by climbing on this short bedside table thing. While I was getting stuff out of our luggage for naptime (like a speaker to play lullabies, their blankets, a book to read, and their bottles which calm them down), Mercy smacked Noella in the face with a book and she started sobbing. That’s actually the first time one of them has cried since that first day when they had a meltdown. It may not seem like a good thing, but that means that attachment is happening. Then it took them an entire hour to fall asleep. Handling nap time on my own today with these 2 crazies was another notch in my still-new Twin Toddler Mom Belt. Then again, tonight, it took both girls an hour and a half to fall asleep. Man…we definitely need to get on a schedule soon so their bodies can know when it’s time to sleep!

Tomorrow, we will go to the first medical clinic appointment. If you read my previous blog, you know that this is going to be another stressful morning for all of us! Here are some things you can pray for:

Mercy’s diarrhea has gotten worse, and Blake and I are now having some stomach issues too. Please pray for us to be totally healthy!

Please pray that the clinic visit goes well tomorrow. That we know what to do, what questions to ask, and how to be the best advocates for the girls in a chaotic and stressful environment.

Please pray that BOTH Blake and I can go in to the visit tomorrow. They typically only allow 1 parent, but given that we have 2 kids, and they’re only 2 years old, and Noella has already been pretty traumatized at the hospital this week, we REALLY are going to push for both of us to go in. Other families with multiple kids were unsuccessful, but let’s hope they show us some grace!

Please pray that we all get plenty of sleep and feel rested. We have to wake up before 5 tomorrow to get to the appointment in time.

Please pray for us to learn more about the girls’ blossoming personalities and how best to parent them in a way that leads them towards Christ.

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.