This Is Our Future

Hey, Y’all! The girls have made SO MUCH PROGRESS since my last post, that I just felt like I had to write about it and share it with y’all! Clearly, you all must be serious about following our journey and praying for us because every time I blog and publish prayer requests, we tend to see improvement right away! Thank you for faithfully keeping us in your prayers and lifting up our little family before the Lord.

In my last post, I wrote mainly about sleep, or more accurately – the lack thereof, and asked you to pray specifically for that. We still have a long way to go, but I can gratefully say that we have seen marked improvement. Noella now consistently falls asleep pretty easily each night (YAY!). She still wakes 4-5 times throughout the night due to nightmares, but even in that area, we’ve seen improvement because occasionally she can fall back asleep on her own without having to come to us to be rocked. Mercy still takes a LONG time to fall asleep after a painstakingly complicated routine of rocking her in just the right way. However, she has had WAY WAY fewer meltdowns and crying fits leading up to sleep. In fact, she rarely cries before sleep now. This is a HUGE help because now I don’t have to stress about her crying waking up Noella while we are rocking. Mercy will wake up crying usually 2 times a night due to nightmares, but I have at least had more success getting her to go back to sleep! And y’all…there were 3 blessed, glorious nights where we all slept through the night!!! Praise God!! Now we just need those types of nights to start happening regularly and consecutively…

All combined, we are still waking up about 4-5 times a night. That’s still A LOT, and we are still not getting as much sleep as we need. BUT, when I think about the little details, I am reminded of how far we’ve come. Mercy used to SCREEEEEAM each night out of sheer terror at the thought of going to sleep, and she no longer does. Whenever she was finally asleep and I tried to put her in her bed, she would suddenly wake up with saucer-sized eyes and panic on her face, but now when she wakes she just looks at me with droopy eyes and holds out her arms to be held. Both girls used to wake more times each night than they do now…IF they ever even went to sleep at all! I have to remind myself to stop and remember those details because otherwise, I won’t notice the baby steps of progress we’ve been making. And I certainly won’t be thankful for that progress when I’m awake at 2 AM unless I remind myself what it used to be like.

I also asked y’all to pray for Mercy to wake up happy and stop having “morning meltdowns” the moment she wakes up. Well, again I can praise the Lord in saying that she has come out of that phase! She has woken up happy EVERY DAY THIS WEEK! I’m so so glad, because those morning meltdowns really set a negative tone for our whole day, and now we get started on a much better note. Praise God!

Another prayer request I shared was for the girls’ fear of other people to subside, particularly with other family members. Y’all…the progress made in the past week has been INSANE! Like…I truly cannot even believe how far the girls have come in this area in so short a time. It’s almost like they just flipped a switch! On the 4th of July, we had a super fun day planned, but we knew that the girls might not be able to handle a couple of the things we had planned. First, we went and got some fro-yo, and the girls did GREAT out in public! They actually didn’t mind walking and holding our heads instead of needing to be carried, they sat in their own seat instead of in our laps, and they ate (and LOVED) their fro-yo treat instead of just shutting down and staring at their food. It was a huge victory. Then we went to a playground and the girls took off, showing more independence than ever! Bibi and Poppi came to join us at the playground…and y’all..the girls RAN TO THEM!!! These are the same girls who would just totally shut down, sitting silently and unmoving if Bibi and Poppi even came into the room. I have no idea what changed, but those girls RAN up to their Bibi and Poppi for big hugs. It was so sweet and such a breakthrough. Since that day, the girls have hung out with their cousin Shana, their Uncle Justin, and their great grandparents. It took only a few minutes for them to warm up and start playing, talking, and they even were ok with being touched and held! Color me totally surprised. I did NOT think they would be so comfortable, given their previous interactions with other people. We also had some sweet friends of ours come over to hang out, and the girls did great with them too! I am one proud momma!

I was totally unsure how the girls would do on their first trip to their great grandparents’ house. First, it’s a 1.5-hour car ride – 3 times longer than they’re usually in the car, and Mercy has never really been great in her car seat. I thought she’d meltdown for sure. But nope! They both did wonderfully on the way there and back! They had no problems being in an unfamiliar place and they had lots of new experiences! I loved watching them experience their first boat ride and their first time swimming in the lake. So special!

Since Gotcha Day, anytime there was a moment of success, or notable progress, or joy, I would look at Blake and say “This is our future.” In the midst of the meltdowns, the exhaustion, the confusion, and the frustration, I wanted to notice–and remember–those moments. When the girls play sweetly together, when we had those glorious nights of uninterrupted sleep, when they correctly use English to communicate their needs instead of crying or grunting, when they play independently with a toy and don’t need us to do it with them, when we get them asleep and in bed by 9:15 instead of 11:15, when we can go out in public or ride in the car without meltdowns, when they can interact with other family members and not just cling to us out of fear…those are the moments where we get glimpses of what life will look like once they feel totally secure and at home and loved.

Honestly, in the past week, those glimpses have become more and more frequent…as if the future we’ve been awaiting is slowly becoming our present. We used to average about 7 meltdowns a day total. Sometimes a whole day would just seem like one big meltdown of continuous crying. I can say with all praise and glory to God, that in the past week, we have only had 2 full blown meltdowns!!! There are still a couple tantrums and crying here and there, but nothing like what we used to experience. I know the girls will never just “get over” their grief, and they will likely face challenges resulting from their previous trauma for the rest of their lives. But what a joy it is to see them adjusting and progressing so well! In the last few days, they’ve been champs at a really long doctor’s visit, a long car ride, their first Wal Mart experience, and many, many other scenarios that wouldn’t have even been possible and certainly not enjoyable only one week ago.

We’ve also had some changes lately as Blake had to go back into the office full time starting Wednesday the 5th. Thankfully my mom was able to hang with me for pretty much the whole day on Wed and Thurs, and then Friday Blake got off work to come to the girls’ doctor appointment. So at this point, I haven’t really had a full day of managing by myself. The girls (especially Noella) definitely miss Blake while he’s gone, and it’s made their time together in the evenings much sweeter! Beginning tomorrow, though, I’ll be all on my own. I’m dreading it and hoping I can keep my cool with the girls all day without any breaks or help! Blake is amazing and does SO MUCH to help out that there is a big void when he’s gone! So all you prayer warriors out there, I’d appreciate prayers specifically for me and the girls surviving on our own!

The girls are now doing SO MUCH BETTER meeting new people and family members. We are loving seeing them open up and spend some sweet time with those who love them! We are seeing progress with sleep! Mercy is no longer having morning meltdowns when she wakes up! Mercy is doing better riding in the car seat! They are having WAY fewer meltdowns! They are taking new experiences in stride and exhibiting less fear. They are getting much better and playing independently and not needing our constant interaction. Noella now has a healthy attachment to Blake and Mercy has made a HUGE improvement!

Prayer Requests
Please pray for me and the girls now that Blake is back at work – that we will be patient with one another and that I will be able to manage all the details of keeping the girls alive and happy. Please pray for Mercy to continue attaching to Blake. She’s truly doing so much better, but there are a few areas where improvement is still needed! Mercy has been a VERY picky eater as a result of trying to control her environment. She only eats a few things, and none are healthy. We’re trying to get the girls to gain some weight and get more vitamins they are missing, so we need her to accept some new foods without melting down. Please pray for continued improvement with sleep – for the girls to go to sleep easily and stay asleep through the night!

Our girls in their absolutely precious USA get-up.

Their first fro-yo experience!

Playing with Poppi at the park.

First pic with Bibbi while being held!

First time on the lake and they loved it!

The girls decided they were ready to drive us around.

Looking at books with grandma and grandpa.