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Monday, October 27, 2008

The Difference a Week Makes

Recently I have been following the story of the Peterson family's adoption from Haiti. Theirs has been a story of hope and heartbreak, as they committed to adopting three sisters (3 1/2 years old and twins 1 1/2 years old) only to have one of their twin girls tragically die from illness in May while their adoption was still in process.

This month, the parents were able to travel to Haiti to meet and spend one week with their girls at the same hotel where we stayed last month. (I could picture it so vividly while reading about their experiences.) One of their daughter, the surviving twin, is still very weak at 2 years old and weighing only 13 pounds. This reality mixed sorrow with joy during their visit.

A question that Melissa (the mom) asked in her post today struck me: "You might be thinking what difference does a week make with the girls?"

And yet her answer is so true:
When I first saw them, I felt that way myself, but a few days into it, I saw the difference, a real difference. If you think about it, putting yourself in their shoes, wouldn’t a week with someone who desired to meet all of your physical and emotional needs make a difference to you as an orphan? ... Each day the girls relaxed more and more as we fed them and loved on them. Each day, we got more smiles, more laughs, and brighter eyes.
During our week with Ian and Alec, we observed Ian in particular make so many strides in his development simply due to the one-on-one attention and care. The first day, he wouldn't even put weight on his legs to try and stand on our laps while we held him. He was content to simply lay on his back or belly with little movement. But by the end of the week, and having a nice clean blanket to stretch out and play on, he was doing the army crawl and even trying to crawl on all fours! He was also moving from a laying position to sitting up all on his own. Whereas in the first few days he was trying to catch the attention of any and every adult he saw (though cute, it made us concerned for his need of attention and bonding) by the end of the week he was content to interact with only us when we were out in public. He was learning to trust us just as we had to say goodbye, and that is one of the things that truly makes my heart ache now that we are apart.

Before going to Haiti, we had in mind that this would be our one visit during the adoption process. We marveled at other parents who managed to visit two, three, even four times while waiting for their children to come home. (Of course it is much less expensive to travel to Haiti from the States than from Chile.) But a few days into our trip we knew that one of us would have to return before our adoption was complete. It is just too long a time to be apart, and somehow we would find a way to make it happen. Because our boys need us ... and we need them!

(video of Ian crawling)

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