Life has been surreal and crazy since we arrived home, so we're sorry for delaying an update. We've had a very hard time with Lily adjusting to her new life here. We've commented to several people that this has to be one of the most difficult ages to adopt a child (as a toddler), since she's old enough to understand that she's been ripped away from the only world she knows, but too young to have any idea why. Sleep has been especially difficult for all of us, as Lily wakes up repeatedly throughout the night screaming and wanting attention. Shortly after she falls asleep again, she wakes up and repeats the pattern. As I (Erich) write this, she has awoken me and been sleeping again 7 times in less than 2 hours. This is leading to severe sleep deprivation for all of us (except for Izaiah, who sleeps his angelic sleep no matter how much noise there is). Lily is spending the majority of her days in a state of extreme sadness, unlike anything we've ever seen in a child this young. She whimpers and cries most of the day, often will not receive any consolation, and just wears a constant face of deep grief. We understand that all of this is a natural process, considering her circumstances, and we know that it will pass as she adjusts. But at the moment, all of this is being compounded with jet lag, the physical and emotional stress of the last 4 weeks, and other serious issues elsewhere in our family. We are pleading for prayer for this very difficult situation. We do have family and friends who are helping as much as they can, and we're grateful beyond words for everyone coming along side us. But until Lily can work through the stages of grief and achieve some semblance of normal sleep, this whole experience will continue to diminish our very weakened state.
There have certainly been moments of happiness. Izaiah seems to be improving at an almost alarming rate. When we got him 3 weeks ago, he was literally like a 'bobble head' doll, unable to hold his head up in any direction, was very weak and hated sitting up for more than a few seconds. His neck has already become much stronger and he's now able to not only hold up his head, but to turn it and look around; and he's doing it all for extended lengths of time. He also was not using his hands to grab or pickup anything, and is now doing both of these more and more every day. His spirit is just so bright, and he really is a very happy little boy, despite his continued sensitivity to external stimuli, especially changes in temperature on his skin. He continues to eat more and more all the time, and for the second time in 2 nights, he's requiring a middle of the night feeding, a very good sign that he's needing even more nutrition. We were shocked yesterday when mommy put him in his exercise activity 'jumper' and he thoroughly enjoyed it for quite some time! And Lily has had her moments too; yesterday she kissed mommy for the first time, which of course led to tears of joy! And she had her first T.V. experience with daddy as she sat spelled-bound and watched a little Star Wars, learning of the timeless struggle of the Rebel Alliance against the evil Galactic Empire!
So in summery, please pray for quick adjustments and adaptation for us all, but especially for our Lily Grace. Her heart has just been shattered over what she's experienced, and it seems to be even worse now that we're home (we feel that she senses that this is the end of the road, and so now she's free to grieve). We know and have not lost faith for a moment that this is the Lord's will for our lives. But like many things in life, there's a certain level of naiveté going into a something so different and difficult, and we're just a little overwhelmed by the emotional wreckage this all entails. But we also are convinced in the deepest part of our souls that nothing good in life comes easy... it has to be fought for. These babies are worth is. Adoption is worth it. And most importantly, our perfect, obedient, scourged, crucified and risen King is worthy and deserving of whatever He calls us to. Many of us who call Jesus the Lord of our lives are so often brought kicking and screaming into the Kingdom of God, as he frees us from our bondage to sin, and delivers us from our chains of slavery. And like ancient Israel, as He leads us from the filth and mire of servitude in our proverbial 'Egypt', and He brings us crying and screaming into our 'Promised Land', where he adopts us, shows us a far better existence, cloths us in His righteousness and gives us His Name.
Please continue in prayer for us, and that the Kingdom of God will soon become a reality for the millions of the worlds orphans.
In Christ alone,