Thursday, July 28, 2011

They have more toys than they know what to do with, and what do my two kidlets fight over? Empty band aid boxes! I'm talking an almost all out brawl- complete with face grabbing and baby yelling at one another.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

And the appts. go on......

Thanks so much for everyone who has posted that they are praying for our family and are so excited for us. We REALLY appreciate your thoughts and prayers and comments.

So our week has not gotten any easier. every day so far we have been in the clinic for visits of some sort. Yesterday Kembia had a well child exam for being one year- what a big girl- but they also did vaccines for Moyz too. Plus they wanted to draw blood and run the 8 million tests needed now that they are back home.

Let me tell you, I did not have happy kids. Kembia got 4 vaccines, and Moyz 3. then we all headed downstairs to the lab. Imagine me trying to navigate the hallways with my 4 kids, two of which are extremely upset and still crying from their shots. They needed a lot of blood to run all the tests necessary. Moyz got to go first. I felt absolutely terrible holding my child as he is screaming when the needle goes in and stays in for what seems like forever and a day. Then it was kembia's turn. Try as they could (and they did try- 4 separate times) they couldn't get a vain. She is screaming and turning and being poked over and over again and not a single drop of blood that was needed. So they sent us home and told us to come back again and visit Karen. Karen is sort of the specialty technician for hard cases.

So today we went back to visit with Karen. Again, no dice. She tried 2 different arms, and then applied hot packs to her little legs and arms to try and bring the vains up closer to the surface. In the end, we ended up going for multiple heal pricks to get all of the blood that was necessary. So not fun, but I know that it's necessary. Still, I hate to see that and hold my sweet kids and wonder if they are thinking it's my fault that this pain is happening to them. And then we have to go back again on friday to have their mantoux tests read. At least we'll get a break tomorrow!

On the plus side, we quick ran to McDonalds to grab lunch because we had to go and get more medicine, and kembia actually ate hamburger and bun! She has been extremely picky the last few days and I was starting to fret because she is so light. I was so proud of her! Of course, then I had to go and give her some french fries, and everything else was apparently disgusting to her because she would immediately spit it out and reach her tiny little hands out for a fry. People probably thought I was a terrible mom because she barely looks 9 months old, and what kind of mom feeds her 9 month old regular food? Especially McDonalds!?

Update on Chris- his antibiotic didn't work and so we had to have the doctor call in something else. Ava and I are still good so far but I just keep waiting for the other show to drop....

Here's a couple of pictures of Moyz. Love those big brown eyes!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Doctor Appointments

today has been CRAZY! Well, it actually started with yesterday when we took Owen in to the urgent care. Diagnosis- strep throat. This is the first time we have had strep and Ava is 8 years old, so I feel lucky that it hasn't hit before. But who hears of strep in July?

Anyway,he had the biggest, reddest tonsils I have ever seen and a fever to match. We didn't spend too long for urgent care, only 2 hours, but when we got home Chris said "I think my throat is sore". Meanwhile, I am thinking, it is not you big baby! It's all psychological! But he got up in the middle of the night freezing and piled on the clothes and blankets all the while burning up. So off to the doctor we went. We had an appt. for Moyz today as well for some of his skin issues. So I took 3 of the kids upstairs to pediatrics, and Chris took Owen to his throat culture figuring he already has it so no harm, no foul.

We have the best pediatrician ever. Absolutely love her. She took one look at his legs and said that we were off to see a pediatrician and wasn't charging us for the visit. She called and there was an immediate appt. at the office 20 miles away. Meanwhile, Chris is still waiting on the results of his culture so we hunted him down, put the kids as fast as we could into the car and headed off. We got there 15 minutes late but they still took us thank goodness. Moyz has some type of impetigo, it starts with a B but I can't remember the first part, plus contact dermatitis on his legs and face as well as some eczema. 3 prescriptions later we were headed out the door. In the mean time it's about 2 hours later and Chris still hasn't heard back from the doctors office. We're trying to scarf down lunch at McDonalds and he just keeps looking worse and worse. Plus, Kembia has decided that she just doesn't really want to eat anything besides cheerios, not even formula or bananas. She's such a light weight that it's starting to worry me. Finally the nurse calls, he's positive for strep too- the Nelsons are dropping like flies!

Then we go to fill all of our many prescriptions. This took almost one hour at Target. Poor Chris, he just sort of sat slumped over on the bench waiting and waiting. Then we get how much some medicine for kembia's lip is going to be- $400 for some cream to rub on it. Oh, and there's no generic. So, we decided to wait and talk to her doctor again when we go back tomorrow if there might be some other type of medicine to try, or maybe even some samples in the office. $400 bucks! I can almost guarantee it does not cost anywhere near $400 to make that cream.

Now we are finally home and Chris and the babies are all sleeping. Wish I could be too, but my other two kids are basically duking it out with each other. Is it bad that I can't wait for it to be night so we call all just go to sleep?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

High Maintenance vs. Low Maintenance

My two new kidlets are like night and day from each other. Moyz is the easiest child I have ever had. So laid back, just go with the flow. Content exactly where you put him, playing with his toys and smiling so adorably that you can't just help but want to eat him up!

Kembia, on the other hand, is way high maintenance. She wants to be held. All.the.time. This makes it a little challenging to do other things, like eat, and bathe, and fix food for my 3 other kids.

We have sort of kind of been able to get them to nap simultaneously. They go down at approximately the same time, but Kembia needs a lot more sleep then Moyz. I don't know if it has something to do with how tiny she is, or if that's just the way she rolls. But it actually works out good because she takes about a 3 hour nap, and Moyz only one, so he gets up and then gets some good one on one time which is harder to do when his sister is awake. The other napping issue we are coming across is that Moyz seems to need two short ones, but the long one in the morning appears to be it for Kembia. At least every time we put her down in the afternoon she screams and cries and never falls asleep. (For real, she could make a fuss for a looong time) I am too paranoid about attachment issues to let her cry for too long to make sure that she understands I will always meet her needs. It's too early for me to tell if she is "playing the system to her advantage."

Knock on wood, the lice issue appears to be done. We haven't found any nits the last 2 days, although we check several times a day, and so far, no one else in the family has any. Although to be honest, Ava and I have so much hair between the two of us that I don't know how we would ever find a spare nit or two anyways! I am not eager for our heating bill for all of the hot laundry we have been doing. I haven't really been able to get ahead with the clothes because I am too busy washing everyone's sheets from naps and bedtimes and clothes that we change after we comb for lice.

And then there's the poop. These kids can poop! I don't know if it's the water or the change in diet or what. But they poop several times a day. It doesn't appear to be parasite poop. From what I have heard the poop is amazingly disgusting if that's an issue, and so far it just seems like regular run of the mill poop, albeit a lot at that. Oh well, guess I have to get used to that!

And for your viewing pleasure, below is a picture of our beautiful African princess. Right now she is ripping apart a paper towel that happened to be next to her and smiling like it's the best thing in the world!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

First Day Home

I would love for this post to be longer, but I am too tired!

Their flight was delayed last night by 2 hours, probably the longest 2 hours of my life! But it was so amazing to see them coming down the escalator! Kembia came right away to me, but Moyz started crying and clung to Chris.

Last night was a little rough, we didn't get to bed until 12:30 and kembia was up 4 times. Twice for a poopy diaper, and twice because she started crying out and we went in to comfort her. Today has been really wonderful. The kids are so amazing and good natured. They eat like you would not believe!

We did find what is probably a newly hatched louse in Kembia's hair this morning, so the lice saga continues. I have two spots on the side of my head that are driving me insane, and I swear their has to be lice in my head! We are still debating if we just shave her completely so as to just end it for her, of course, that doesn't really help Ava and me if we get it! keep up the prayers for the lice to just disappear!

Other than that, kembia is much smaller than I thought she was from pictures, about 13 pounds and the size of a 9 month old or so. But she crawls around and sits up and doesn't seem to be behind where she should physically. Moyz looks like a tank compared to her, although the scale says he's only 3 pounds more. But he also probably has 4 or 5 inches on her as well. He isn't crawling yet, I put him up into the position and he rocks, but part of me thinks he's just such a big boy that he can't move his own weight around yet! That's okay, we'll work on it.

Ava and Owen are eating them up, although quite sad that they can't really hold them due to the lice, and Ava wants to feed them and carry them around. Trying to explain to an 8 year old about attachment doesn't really work. She's very disappointed that she can't do those things. We tell her to just give us the rest of the week or so, and then we'll see.

That's it for now, we are going to bed and hopefully resting up!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Day 7

Well, they are about 3 hours flying out of Kinshasa by now. I got a call 24 minutes after their plane was supposed to have taken off. I thought that Chris was calling me to say that they missed their flight. Instead they only almost missed their flight! I didn't get any details other than that they were the last ones on the plane. But hey, they made it!
Because they are officially out of the country, below is a picture of our beautiful children. Our little girl is post haircut in this picture.
I am so excited to share Moyz and Kembia with you! I cannot wait for them to be home tomorrow evening. It is going to be a very long day!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Day 6

Exit letter!

USA- here they come!

They head out to come home on Sunday- holy smokes, after almost 2 years, it's finally happening!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Day 5

No exit letter. We were hoping, but not expecting, so not too big of a disappointment. Looks like they will continue to stay there through some part of next week.

Today is our little girl's first birthday! The majority of her day consisted of getting all of her hair cut off and being de-liced. Gross. Then, they read that the medicine they have to treat scabies also treats lice in kids over 2 months. So, after spending literally hours de-licing her until the point that they felt they couldn't really see anymore, they put the medicine on her head, left it for ten minutes and then went to rinse it out. At which point they said it seemed like hundreds of lice/nits still came out of her head!

I have to be honest here, I am not looking forward to the lice that almost guaranteed will be coming into my home. Both Ava and I have long hair. I'm not too worried about the boys and Chris, but oh my word. I am starting to panic! Trying to put a positive spin on it, perhaps this will all help those in my family with a fear of spiders. Because heck, if we can all de-lice each other and touch those bad boys, spiders should be nothing! By the way, google lice and see what the parasites look like! Ew!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Day 4, Part 2

Well, the appt. with DGM seems like it went well. They did not get their exit letter today, but the office told them they would call our country coordinator tomorrow. It could mean they get the letter tomorrow, or it could mean they tell them they need more time. Either way, Chris is feeling good.

His appt. was with 3 people from the office. They watched him play with the kids and then asked him several questions to get a good feel for who he was and why he wanted to adopt the kids.

Back to the lice. She has it so bad that they are for reals thinking that cutting her hair would be the easiest way to get rid of it. Actually, they are also considering just shaving her head completely. :( They do not have a nit comb with them, they are hoping to cut the braids above the first bead, and then find a comb at one of the markets and be able to salvage at least some hair. But if they can't find a comb, shaving it is their second option. They have never cut our little girl's hair. She was apparently born with a ton of it and it just kept growing. Then a couple months ago I noticed that some of the kids in a picture of all the children at the orphanage had shaved heads. I emailed and requested if they would not cut her hair. So they didn't. Partly I am wondering if it is my fault her lice ifection is so bad. I have a feeling they would have shaved her head to get rid of it, but then didn't because I asked not to! I can't prove it, but it does make me feel bad about it!

I also got to "talk" to both babies on the phone. Our little guy apparently had a huge smile on his face and tried to take the phone out of daddy's hand. Our sweet little girl just woke up from a nap and really could care less about some crazy lady voice over a phone. She just wanted something to eat!

Chris said their day is pretty much eat, play and clean up poop!

Day 4

This will probably be a two-part post. I was just talking with Chris when the country coordinator came to take him to DGM, I guess I'll just have to wait and see how it goes!

Our sweet little girl has a raging case of lice. Big bummer. Chris says, and I quote "There are tons of them". Yuck. Apparently the orphanage was dipping her head in DEET, that can't be good for her brain. I called the U of M adoption clinic and asked for advice for them, sadly, the only option is to pick them out with a nit comb, you can't use any shampoos/creams on children under two. The saddest part is that the very nice woman said that the best option, given how long her hair is, would be to cut a significant amount of it off. Black hair can be extremely hard to get lice out of. And since we have zero experience with black hair, I do believe that Chris and his mom are strongly leaning towards this option. Que the tears now. I reallly want to see her hair long, but at the same time, it sure would be nice to have the lice out of her head before she comes home and the rest of us get infected! Our little boy hardly has any hair, and so he is fine. I didn't get the chance to ask Chris how he and his mom are fairing.

Last night Chris got to talk to our little girl's birth mom. The phone connection wasn't great yesterday when he was telling me about it, but I did manage to hear that she asked him if we would love her little girl with all of our hearts. It brings me to tears just thinking about it. I cannot even begin to imagine what she was thinking as she sat with Chris and his mom. How would I ever feel in that situation? I wish I could have been there to have shared that moment with her. While I am sure Chris and his mom did a fantastic job, I would have loved to sit with this mother of my daughter. They are hoping to meet with our son's birth mom as well.

The kids haven't taken an afternoon nap yet today, I could hear them yelling away in the background! Right now I am sitting in my quiet house because Ava and Owen are at my parents'. Quiet is very soon to be a thing of the past!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Day 3

Not a whole lot of news on day 3. Nothing yet from DGM, their paperwork has been started it sounds like, but don't know how long it will take to get their letter.

Chris has had some good bonding moments with our daughter. She definitely prefers women, loves the country coordinator, and grandma is a good second. This has created some problems when Chris tries to rock her to sleep. As in, she doesn't stop crying- forever. Which then wakes up our son and they have two crying babies. But today at nap time he was able to rock her to sleep! Grandma even took a couple of pictures of her sleeping in his arms, melt my heart.

I also have a picture of the kids at breakfast. They are sitting on grandma's lap, and our daughter is looking all sweet and innocent, and our son is yelling and reaching out for the food which he isn't getting at the moment because of the picture. I laugh every time I look at it.

Here on the home front I have been trying to baby proof the house as best as I can. We didn't do a whole lot of this with the other two, basically plug the outlets and lock up the cupboards with cleaning supplies. It worked well for them. But this time around, as I am going through my house I notice that I have a lot of not kid friendly items. Like the bowl of cacti on the coffee table, and vases with flowers on pedestals that could come crashing down, all of the beautiful, but highly breakable items from Uganda liked carved animal bowls, not to mention my ceramic Scentsy plug in that makes my house smell glorious, and the huge ceramic star fish that rests on one of the side tables along. Um yeah, I might have to strategically replace some items in my house!

The other issue that I am thinking about is the toddler beds we bought for the kids. See, they have to share a room, a fairly small room that doesn't really have the square footage for 2 cribs (plus everything else). So in a fit of geniusness, I thought that toddler beds would be the perfect solution. But after listening to Chris talk about our kidlets, now the question remains, HOW DO WE KEEP THEM IN THE BEDS? It's not like a crib where they are confined. They are super low to the ground, so even if they fell off it's less than a foot to the floor, but still. We are going to have two unconfined one year olds in the same room. Lord, please help me now!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Day 2

Well, they were supposed to go to DGM today, but it didn't happen. I don't know why, Chris just said they talked on the phone and that they weren't ready for them. You know how pessimistic I tend to be- I am slightly panicking about this!

They ended up switching hotels and the new one has two beds in it, the last two days all four of them have been sharing one bed! This hotel also has grounds to walk around on, and a nice veranda off their room that they can go out on.

Chris also went to the market today to look for a hot pot and to buy some bottled water. He said it was a little crazy with people all over the place. We have some experience with this when we went to Uganda, so at least he wasn't a total newbie to it. They wanted $90 for a hot pot. But they ended up finding a rice cooker for $10 so he felt good about that.

One of the first things that happened when they transferred to the new hotel is they plopped our little girl down on the bed which had a nice white blanket on it. They turned around and she had poop all over the white blanket, and herself and clothes! They had been in the room for literally about 2 minutes! But they were glad, because it's the first time she had pooped in 2 1/2 days.

When I talked with him on the phone earlier today I could hear one of the kids just shrieking in the background. It was our son who didn't like it that grandma was taking time to feed his sister as well! Chris said he thinks that he is so big because he probably made the most noise in the orphanage and they fed him to get him to be quiet! His sister seems to be picking up the shrieking fast as well.

Chris said that the time is going by quickly because there seems to always be something to do with two kids. They are either fixing food, or cleaning it up, changing diapers, playing with the kids, that time just flies by. This is good, I think, because I can imagine in a few more days the time might seem to be dragging a little bit! It has to be hard to not leave your hotel room a lot. I know tht the days don't exactly go the quickest for me as I sit and wait, but I am glad to hear it is going well for them. They haven't had any luck sending emails or pictures through in the last 36 hours, so nothing new to look at for me. Instead, I pull up the file of the 5 photographs I have and keep going through them all

Monday, July 11, 2011

Day 1

Today they haven't left the hotel room. It sounds like they did a fair amount of sleeping to make up for their crazy night! The country coordinator said she would be by around 8 or 9 in the morning, and that they would transfer to a new hotel room. She didn't show up until 2 in the afternoon, right on schedule for African time! They ended up having to stay in their room again because the hotel staff said checkout was 11, but no one showed up to move them. Oh well, at least they have a room for the night!

The kids sound like they are doing well. They are trying to steal food from each other and take each other's toys! Our little girl is a snuggle bug and she wants someone to hold on to her all the time. Our little boy uses his bottom lip as a pacifier of sorts and is always sucking on it. Chris and Mary pull it out and have tried to give him a pacifier, but nope, that little lip just goes right back in again!

It definitely sounds like he has scabies, and so they have given him the cream to help treat it. We'll have to see how it goes and if anyone else gets it! Our daughter has a small umbilical hernia that will need to be checked out when they arrive, but other than that, they are very healthy and moving around and loving the toys they brought.

Their hot pot broke already- so there goes the idea on eating the food they brought! I guess it boiled the water in under a minute, and apparently shorted out. They fed the kidlets some pudding and that was a big hit. Chris has taken lots of video, and sent more pictures. I look at them a bunch of times a day and can't wait for them to be home causing mayhem with their other brother and sister. I think that Ava and Owen are going to eat them up!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

They made it!

Chris and his mom made it! They had no problems at all with customs, but got to the airport an hour late because their plane made an unannounced stop in Angola. That wasn't in the travel itenerary so they almost got off the plane in the wrong country!

All of their bags made it through, but they ended up switching from one car to another on the way to the hotel, and while they were waiting for their stuff to be transferred, a couple of police or military men came with their big M16s and hauled some guy off on a motorcycle right next to Chris and Mary. welcome to Africa!

By the time they got to the hotel, which wasn't the one we booked, because the country coordinator felt that it was too far away from DGM and everything else, it was about 12:00am. They got their room, and then the coordinator said "I'll go get your children!"

They woke up the kids at 12 at night and brought them to Chris! They both just kind of looked at daddy and grandma and didn't say a whole lot. Our little boy kind of made a whimpering, I'm nervous sort of sound, but then was fine. Apparently our little girl really likes to eat, and is starting to talk a little bit, she says the orphanage director's name a lot. And our son is a little chunk according to Chris. He was told that they are both walking, but they were just being held by Chris and Mary so they didn't see that. And it sounds like our son may have scabies or some type of skin issue, Chris was given some type of dermatology cream to put on it.

I can't believe that they are together! It's killing me to be here right now! Tomorrow they will take Chris' passport and on Tuesday he has the DGM appointment. Hoping for a quick exit letter, but he was told to plan on at least 10 days.

I won't post any pictures until the kids are out of the country, but just know that they are so beautiful! I can't wait to share them with you!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

And he's gone!

Chris left today! It seems so surreal.

Yesterday we called our credit card to let them know that there was a chance we would be using it in a couple different countries- one in Europe and one in Africa. They respnded that the Europe country was fine, but that he couldn't use it in our African country because of terrorism. What?

Plus on Monday I am supposed to call the US State Department, by their request, to let them know if my mother in law made it into the country.

It certainly lets you know that this is not the typical country Americans visit.

Now I just need to figure out what to fill the next two weeks of my life with....

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Chris' visa came!

It came, we are allowed to get Chris and his mom into the country. Holy smokes.
Tomorrow is the last day I have to get everything packed up and ready!


Sort of a packing list

This week has been crazy- no word on Chris' visa to get into country yet, but we are calling the embassy to see what his status might be, and gently remind them that we paid to have his visa expedited in one business day. We'll see what happens!

In the mean time, we have acquired a ton of stuff that we think we will need while we are there. It goes something like this:

Five cans of soy formula
288 diapers
Clothes in various sizes
3 different size shoes for each child
sippy cups
kid bowls and utensils
various baby medicines, ibuprofen, tylenol, scabies medicine, etc.
different types of toys- this has been tough for us, everything either seems to babyish for them, or too adult
plastic bibs
different types of food stuff
hot pot
plus not to mention all of the different things that the adults need- no idea how this is all going to fit into 4 suitcases!

We also just got updated pictures of the kids- I cannot get over how adorable they are!

Plus, my parents are taking our kids for the next week, so this morning we took the last family picture where it is just the four of us, the next time Ava and Owen see their dad, it will be with their new brother and sister- that seems crazy!

Monday, July 4, 2011

So we have spent several of the last few days mindlessly wandering the aisles at Target and Walmart and looking at all of the baby stuff trying to decide what two one year old children need. You would think I would know this stuff. It's not like these are our first kids. But for the life of me, I have early childhood amnesia.

It appears that Chris and I have become dumber since the last time we had a small child. This is probably not a good sign since we now will have two small children.

We spent a decent amount of time looking at the endless wall of sippy cups and trying to figure out what would be best. Baby food, formula, rice cereal, and those puffy snacks that taste like cardboard but kids seem to love. We've also talked to several families who have traveled and are home and basically pumped as much info. as we could out of them on what to expect.

Since we don't have any information as to how tall or how much our kids weigh, we have decided to go the safe route and get size 3 diapers. They cover a good range, and hopefully our kids fall into that range. We are bringing several different sizes of clothing and shoes, and are trying to figure out how it will all fit into 4 suitcases. Chris wants to pretty much bring the kitchen sink. Okay, not really. But he does want to bring one of those things that plugs into the wall and boils water and cooks things like oatmeal and rice, and ramen. And then of course, he wants to bring all of those types of food stuff with.

It sounds like we may end up at a hotel that is not near the embassy or supermarket area. So we will have to taxi anywhere we need to go, and getting groceries and items we may need becomes a lot trickier. (Especially since we don't speak French, and most of the people there don't speak English.) So, we are going to try and bring most of the things that we think we will need. If anyone has some great ideas on what we should bring, please, pretty please, let us know.

Still hoping to get out of the USA by Sunday. But we will have to see what happens with our visas to get into country. It's finally happening. After 21 months in the adoption process (not all in this program) we are finally bringing our children home.

Friday, July 1, 2011


Woke up this morning to an email that said Congrats, your visas were issued today! I immediately started crying and freaking out.

Now the frantic rush to get Chris out of the country as fast as possible and on to bring our babies home!

We are hoping to be able to get everything done and have him leave by the 9th, but aren't sure if we can swing things that fast.