We spent another great day with the babies on Sunday. We had a picnic at the park and met the Child Advocate volunteers who have been with the kids since Little Man was just 6 months old. We also brought them to our house so they could see their new bedroom and meet their Mimi since she lives here too. On the street to our house, Little Lady said “This is our home!” and cheered. They also were fully calling us Daddy and Mamma today. Next weekend they will spend the night with us. I just can’t wait to get them here soon enough. I am so in love with these kiddos and miss them so much!
Let me start from the beginning.
We arrived to the park 30 minutes late. I hated that. I actually thought we might get out of church on time and suggested an ambitious 12 for a meeting time. We did not get out on time. Then we got stuck behind not one, but two accidents. Then David decided he wanted fried chicken for the picnic and we stopped at the slow motion Church’s Chicken in the Heights. They really do move in slow motion. You should check it out. They even talk in slow motion. I wish I had set it up as 1230 from the get go but aimed for an ambitious 12 p.m. because I missed them so! We got there at last and the kids were tired because it was nap time and they were hungry and they were surrounded by grownups, us, their foster mom, the two Child Advocate volunteers, so they were a little less open in the beginning. But it all turned out to another spectacular day.
As we get out of the car, I feel the warm November sun on my face and thank God for another beautiful fall day and a chance to spend time with these beautiful kiddos. As soon as they see us, they come running toward us and give us great big hugs.
We quickly set out a picnic blanket. This blanket was a wedding gift to me from a childhood friend for my wedding. I knew when I got it that it would be used time and time again for many special occasions. Oh how it has.
We exchange greetings with the Child Advocate volunteers and sit down to dive into a picnic lunch. I know the kids are off schedule. They would have eaten lunch by now and been down for a nap. Little Lady has just woken up as she fell asleep on the way to the park and is very quiet and slow to warm up. Little Man sees the bottled water and starts smiling and saying Agua! Agua! I still don’t know where he learned Spanish words. I ask the Child Advocate friends and they don’t know either. I pull out a juice for him and tell him the Spanish word for it. He takes it with joy. I give one to Little Lady also and she likes it as well.
I start dipping up their lunch and telling them how much I missed them and how happy I am to see them. I put my hand on their back and tell them how much I enjoy spending time with them. Little Man is happy about lunch and digs right in. The boy is a linebacker. We’ll get him in Peewee flag football as soon as we can! Little Lady is so tired and confused by all the adults. She just sits there quietly drinking her juice, but not touching her food. I cut up the chicken for both of them, but they are not interested in the meat. The macaroni and potatoes will have to do. They drink their juice quick and move on to water. I look at Little Lady and ask her to show me her beautiful eyes. She looks at me for just a second and then glances away back into “I wish I could take a nap, but would never admit that” land. We visit with the Child Advocate friends and the kiddos and eat our lunch. We learn a little more about their story and how long they have been working with these Child Advocate friends. They also show us a picture from a long time ago. They tell me they will do what they can to send us more photos for their life books.
Then, we clean up and decide it is time to play on the playground. Little Man takes off with his Daddy as fast as he can. Linebacker, I tell you. Little Lady stands up, a little more awake now, and patiently waits for me to clean up and put away all the food. Then she walks over with me. In just two minutes, she is wide awake precious sweet little angel girl. We are playing peek a boo on the slide. She is giggling with glee and laughing out loud, grabbing my heart right out of my chest with that great big smile and beautiful eyes. Oh how I have missed this baby. I love her so much.
Soon Little Man is all over the place running here and there and everywhere. I look at David and we decide that one will help one kiddo, and one the other. He takes Little Lady. I take Little Man. We go up and down slides, up and down stairs, run to pet doggies, run, run, and run some more, pick up leaves, point to mud puddles and every now and then he stops, turns around, and looks into my eyes to make sure I am right beside him and smiles so big when he sees me. How I love that smile. It can move mountains.
Soon Little Man sees a ball in someone else’s stroller and takes off for it. I use my words and direct him to not go to that one, but to go to ours because he has his very own ball there and I point to our wagon. He listens to Mama and heads that way. But he gets distracted along the way at not one, but three strollers with balls in it! Each time, I say –“not that one, over there.” Eventually, we get there and he finds his very own ball and carries it up and down the steps to the playground, down the slide, through the tunnels, across the bridge. Then we see the field on the other side. He holds the ball tight and we run together as fast as we can.
Linebacker. Dallas Cowboys. Wait, I am thinking too soon. Okay, we’ll start with LSU Tigers. Hmm, maybe League City Pee Wee first. Okay, we’ll potty train him first.
We all connect again on the see saw and then pet the doggies together. Soon the Child Advocate volunteers take off. The kids suddenly want to curl up on the quilt and just hang out with us sitting by our side. They have relaxed a bit with lunch and playtime over. They lay down and look at clouds with us. We have a snack. Then Little Lady finds the bubbles. We go sit on the sidewalk and play bubbles for a very long time.
She is saying Daddy so much! It just melts our heart. The foster mom said that she has called out “I want my daddy.” I want to show my daddy this.” Several times during the week. She has never done that before, so we know this is for David. They are bonding so well. She is 100% Daddy’s girl.
We play on the slide and run with the ball in the field a little bit longer. Then we head back to the blanket for a drink. David says “would you like to go for a ride and see your new house now?” No fussing, no hesitation. Little Lady shouts at “Yes!” and gets up and helps pack up the wagon. Little Man follows his big sister’s lead. We get them all squared away in the car and listen to them talk about every single sign they see on the way home. They are so smart to recognize words and pictures like this. I think they will be reading soon!
As we pull into our neighborhood. I tell them “This is your new neighborhood. This is where you can take walks with mamma and daddy and I point to the sidewalks.” Little Lady looks around and then says in the sweetest, most cheerful voice. “This is our home?” Yes, sweetheart, this is your new home. Then she says it with joy and the biggest smile. I love that smile! “This is our home!”
As soon as we turn onto our street, she recognizes the house from the pictures and points at it and says again. “This is my home.” I will cherish these words and that joyful smile for the rest of my life.
I am thinking we’ll show them around, but somehow Little Lady knows her room is upstairs and off she goes. Both of them head straight to the toy room and look at all the fun stuff set up for them. They play kitchen and puppets and cars and meet their mimi. I eat so many play cupcakes and hamburgers as they keep feeding me. They sneak up behind the puppet theater and show puppets and create stories with the animals. They crack up when David has the shark puppet eat all the food in the kitchen.
Eventually, we finally get them to check out their new room. Little Lady goes right to her bed and says “My bed!” Little man looks at the other one and says something that sounds like, “my bed!” We get out a game of a map with Velcro animals. Little Lady quickly starts putting all the water animals in the ocean and the other animals in the continents. She puts the cold animals like penguins and polar bears where it is cold and the warm animals where it is warm. She is so smart. She is so gifted. She knows the name of every animal and if they like hot or cold weather, land or sea. Then she sees a picture of a house and I show her where Texas is on the map and where her home is.
Then, we play a cupcake game. In this game, you construct cupcakes of various color schemes before the time runs out. There is a timer that goes with it. Little Lady is so focused and keeps looking at the timer and saying, “I will win!” And each time she does, she calls out, “I win! I win!” Josh tries to help with both games, and then plays with blocks and looks at books. He crawls up into my lap and we look at a book together. He looks at me and says, “My mama!”
My heart has for sure grown more than 3 times at this point.
Finally, we get outside and go over the rules of the pool. We let them run around the yard and then let them put their hands in the water with supervision. They love it! They start splashing and then they play with a little toy worm letting him swim in the water. I start making up a worm song. Then Little Lady adds to it. Then Little Man is singing it. Then we are all singing a song about squirmy wormies swimming swimming. Little Lady keeps saying she wants to get in the water. We tell her we have to get her a swimsuit and she can get in next time she is here and it is warm. She reminds us several times. “Next time I get in the water. Next time we get me a swimsuit. I want a pink swimsuit.” I tell her how much I love hearing her talk and that we will get her a pink swimsuit.
Of course they are wet from splashing so I bring them in and towel them off and put some of their new clothes on them that friends have brought over. Little Man is so excited by his comfy clothes and new jacket. Little Lady is fascinated with everything. She tells me she loves her pockets on her new shirt! We have a snack and remind them that they will be back. We help them count in how many days they will be back. The snack they chose was a half a banana and an ice cream sandwich. This is what happens when Daddy offers one snack and Mommie offers another.
We go back upstairs and they ask about the Pac-Man machine. David teaches Little Lady all about the ghosts and how to get them. David sets her up with Mrs Pac-Man. She jumps in with total gusto, so excited. She starts moving the controls around and cheering, “Get da ghosts, Daddy! Get da ghosts!” Then she finds another game where you have to stomp the ants. She keeps saying. “Get da ants Daddy. I got them Daddy!” Josh is sitting on the other side laughing hysterically and using a toy magnifying glass to try and see the ants better on the screen. David and I keep telling the kids how much we love their laugh and love spending time with them. Suddenly Little Lady is ready to see the other rooms in the house. The spare room has an old antique purse full of gold coins made to look like a treasure chest. She scoops it up and says “I want to show this to my daddy.” Then she brings it to David and they count the coins together.
Then Little Lady sets up a dinner party for the teddy bear and Little Man helps her. Suddenly they realize they want dinner. So they start cheering, supper time! We go downstairs and have dinner at the table. Little Man eats all his food as usual. Little lady is not interested again, even though she asked for dinner. She ends up eating apples and cheese instead. We will work with her little by little, with patience and love to get her eating well.
We clean them up and let them say bye to Mimi, their toys and their beds and remind them that they will be back in 5 days. Then we count to 5. For our little bilingual guy, we do it in Spanish too just for fun and Little Man laughs. He has the most beautiful smile in the world.
On the way home, Little Man falls asleep and Little Lady talks to us more and looks at books.
We get there and sit on the couch with foster mom for a little while. Little Man cuddles up in my lap and does not want me to leave. He gets up a few times and then if I get up, he crawls right back in my lap. We visit and read books. This time, every kid in the house crawls in our lap to look at a book. David asks if the other two are available for adoption yet. I tell him, we should pray about those decisions!
Finally, we have to leave so they can get ready for bed. This foster mom is so kind to be so open and sweet to us and let us come in and help them with the transition. Little Lady gives us a very long hug. She looks so sad that we have to leave. I rub her back and she just lays against me, not wanting me to leave. I tell her how much I love her and can’t wait to see her again and will miss her. I tell her when she misses us to look at our picture and that we will see her in just five days. We count to five again. I know they are too little to know what five days means, but it is the best I can come up with! Little Man does the same lingering in my arms for a long time, his face pressed against my face. They do the same with their daddy. The hugs get longer. We tell them bye and they seem to be at peace knowing we’ll be back.
Friday or Saturday is the day. It can’t come soon enough! Please continue to pray for these kids during this transition and for us, that God would continue to prepare our home, our hearts and give us the words to say to them to offer them reassurance at their level, and form that great, loyal bond together as a family in time.