Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Journey to Home... Not the End, Just the Beginning...

Since we were in country for two weeks we had lots of opportunity to spend time at the orphanage Maida was from. My daughter Gabby was allowed to tag along with Mama J almost everytime she went to tend to the children and staff at the orphanage. It was an amaznig opportunity for a young girl of seventeen who has the hopes of one day ministering in Northern China to the North Korean orphans who are stateless children there.

She loved the kids, and they loved her. She studied and learned a great deal of Lingala before we left and picked up a great deal more while in country.  Her time with Mama J was very special to her and she hopes to do it again.
Those days were priceless for the both of us. Stronger than just mother daughter bonds we share a deep love for our Creator and the orphans he has intrusted us believers to care for. As a little girl I had dreams of traveling to Africa to spend time loving on the least of these. I had the same dream for China. My daughter Gabriella was able to walk along with me in my journey to Africa. A dream realized.  And I know one day, I will walk alongside her as she  realizes her own dream that God gave her of loving the least of these in Northern China.  That my friends is a sweetness no hallmark card could ever convey.

Gods plans are always bigger than our own, and He begins the process long before we ever know it or ever have any say or way to foil it:) Thank goodness for that!

I am so happy to tell you while we were in Congo the Lord gave us a heart for another daughter. I know I still haven't covered all there is to cover about the journey to Congo for Maida, but I can't keep it in anymore. While we were there we fell in love with a girl whose spirit captured our hearts and we are going back for her. So now you know what has kept me from my blog. While we have been busy with bonding with Maida, we are also preparing for...

Follow us as we continue to share not only our yesterdays in the DRC, but also our tomorrows.

The Lyles Family


Monday, January 21, 2013

The Journey to Home... Part Two...the Morning After Gotcha Day.

Getting to know you... getting to know all about you....goes the song from the King and I.

 Well that would be a good way to describe the following day after the exciting and exhausting first day!

On gotcha day Maida was very quiet and subdued. Not until dinner that evening when she was reunited with several of her friends and their new families did she speak. Not to us of course:/ but boy did the kids talk among themselves! We picked up early on that their main relationships was with one another. They looked to one another for comfort, for advocacy and leadership. They trusted one another. They were willing to listen to one another. Even to submit. But those same rules didn't apply to me lol. Or the parents of the other children who were going home while we were there. We knew early on that it was going to take time for them to trust us.

This photo is not of Maida being distraught over being with me, the complete stranger. No.... she was distraught because I took my phone away from her after letting her play with it for some time. She did not like me telling her what to do!

There was no temper tantrums, or crying... just a really really cold shoulder... for a really really long time;)
After a while I sensed something else might be up. She looked very tense and anxious. I studied her for a few minutes and quizzically asked her a couple of times what was wrong, and then my mommy instincts kicked in and I asked... SUBA? (pee in lingala) She nodded her head emphatically so I rushed her into the bathroom and relief came to the both of us!
When we picked her up at the orphanage I asked the nannies about her being potty trained and they told me no she wasn't at all. So what a pleasant surprise! She was completely potty trained with the exception of night time.
This is her after the potty break...

For the record, this is how she is... One minute in the depths of despair with pain of disappointment all over her face then back to her million dollar smile. Back and forth she goes.  She fits into our house of women very well!

We spent the morning getting acquainted then left to go to a local market within walking distance. She needed shoes. And even tho I brought her three different sizes from the states, her feet were so skinny none of them fit.  So we looked to Congo to provide her with shoes and shoes we found!

 While walking to the market we came across a known and loved street kid of Mama J's, (our in-country coordinator who was there with us the whole time we were in Congo). She had him come along with us so she could catch up with him and see how he was doing and eat lunch with us. Gabby gave him some gum which he thought was way cool and Mama J took him to buy a soccer ball afterwards.

An interesting tidbit: I planned on not eating while in Congo. I am very picky about what I put in my stomach and since I was in Congo with my newly adopted daughter and my older daughter from home I felt I couldn't afford to get sick. But peer pressure swayed me to not be the bump on the log and join all the other families who were there, in going out to eat. I am so glad I did! My daughter and I enjoyed the food there so much. From pizza, to chicken and rice, to pilli pilli sauce mixed with mayo and ketchup to dip our fries in; It was all sooooo good. And I didn't get sick once! But I have my theories on that. I think it had to do with my strict diet regemine of probiotics, cod liver oil, and super green food by Garden of Life and no sugar consumption for about six weeks prior to leaving. I didn't even get one mosquito bite while I was there... for TWO WEEKS!

So I should probably clue you in on a few things you might be interested in if you're in the process of adopting from the DRC:

I didn't get every shot under the sun before we left. I'm very conservative in the use of vaccinations. My daughter and I received the mandatory yellow fever shot and a tetanus shot. That was it. We also got a prescription for a general antibiotic which we never used, and malarone which we took faithfully.
We also took along lice shampoo, elimite for scabies,  ringworm medicine, and  general pharmaceuticals in the event of diarrhea, cold, allergies ect. We ended up using the ring worm medicine after getting home:/ It was no biggie really. I had imagined much worse lol.

Maida had a fungal infection on her head which we treated while in Congo. It's like ringworm and many of the kids had it. The remedy is to shave their heads and apply a topical ointment in conjection to taking an oral anti-fungal. Good news is her hair is growing back and all fungal infections are gone!

Her head was shaved by a young man who works at St. Annes. He took her out back of the convent with a bar of soap and straight edge. He spoke to her very sweetly in lingala before starting. Asking her how she was and then reassuring her not to worry and not to move. She never flinched.

The finished product!

There is still so much more of our trip I want to share with you. I'm anxious to do so for a variety of reasons: We have some big news that I cant wait to tell! It is the biggest reason why I have not spent much time blogging recently;) Stay tuned!