Saturday, July 31, 2010
Saturday began with a choice to make. I could drive with the Pastor and other travel mates to the new property on which he hopes to build a new orphanage or I could stay back and have some special time with Keemberlie. I was really torn because the new property is so important to the Pastor and he wanted to show us his dream/vision for the future of HCRM. But 5 days isn't a long time to be with your little girl when you're not sure how long it will be before your next trip. Besides, I had told Keemberlie the night before that I was going to give her a princess day - a shower, a new hairdo and a dress! I made the right choice and had a BLAST dolling Keemberlie up.
But first I had to learn how to remove all those teeny-tiny braids from Keemberlie's hair. An hour or more later all 50 braids were undone and I was looking at a head full of crazy hair on that girl. Franzina was getting her hair undone as well. I can't believe how patient those girls were with us.
My friend, Whitney, and I gathered our girls together. Franzina and Keemberlie were all giggles and joy as they realized they were not taking a spit bath from the sink but a full-on-real-deal shower! I believe it was their first. Their faces looked like this the entire time:
After scrubbing them down we dressed them up and gave their hair a special leave-in conditioning. The result was even evident to them. They knew they looked beautiful. We could just see it in their eyes. Here are a few great shots of the fabulous results - isn't her fro so spectacular!!! (try to ignore the potty in the background. I forgot to shut the bathroom door before taking the photo....sigh...)
the beautiful girl and her precious fro The model within comes out to play
Besties - Sassy Besties Me and my pretty girl
The whole dress up thing took most of the morning. After some snacks we moved on to other fun things. I spent a good part of the day taking photos of other kids with families waiting for updates on them. I will do a post in the near future featuring some of their sweet faces. For now - here's one family I traveled with that took their Christmas card photo while there. They are all so beautiful!
The rest of my day was spent following Keemberlie around, watching her play with her friends and lastly - FACE PAINTING. Can I just tell you that face painting was THE BIGGEST HIT! I was practically mobbed from the second I took those paints and brushes out....
playing cards with pretty girl Keemberlie feeds sweet Apollos
As evening approached it was time for worship to begin downstairs. I always take my video recorder and camera to the worship time at HCRM because it is always such a special time, but on this night I did not - but I wish I had. All our little ones (Whitney's and mine) were so very tired that before the first song was over they were all sleeping in our arms. Whitney had two of her babes in her arms while her college age daughter Kalynne held the other. Keemberlie stradled me, rested her head on my chest and fell into sweet sleep. They must have been exhausted because the volume in that room when all the kids are praying and singing is way up there, but these sweet ones were not bothered by it at all.
As Keemberlie fell asleep I embraced her sweet head and just started praying over her. It was one of those moments you hope to remember forever. I had no idea until several days after returning home that another travel mate - Karen (Rood's mom-to-be) had taken a picture of me holding and praying over Keemberlie. I was in the gym when it came in on my iPhone and when I laid eyes on this photo I burst into tears remembering how wonderful it was to hold Keemberlie and pray over her as she slept.
Sunday, August 1, 2010 came quickly and we (the travel team) were all excited to take our kids out of HCRM for another special excursion. Before we left we had a moment to take a shot of Keemberlie and Franzina ready for church:
First we had to drop someone off at the airport and then head to Pastor's church. Keemberlie fell asleep on my lap on the way there (see above). This is when I noticed that she likes to play with her hair when she's sleeping - or at least, now that she had a fro and could actually play with it.
After church we hung out on the church property while the kids played. More photos....
Keemberlie on child's chair at church Jaden, Stanley, Keemberlie, Sherlo, Kalynne, Franzina
After hanging out at the church for quite some time we took an even longer drive (it really felt like forever!) to Dominoes Pizza! Oh yeah! Kids had Sprite for the first time and more pizza! It was a very good lunch, one to be extremely thankful for!
And then it happened.... beading! The girls took the beads we gave them and had their nannies bead their hair. I timed it to see how fast they can do it. It took the nanny over an hour and a half to finish Keemberlie's hair. Uh.... can I just say that she better enjoy that now because once she's home there is NO WAY I'm taking that much time on one kid's hair. Can you imagine!?! But they do look oh so cute, don't they!
That night Keemberlie asked me, "Mom, tomorrow are you leaving?" She was so aware of my pulling out suitcases to repack. And my heart dropped.
If Sunday had come and gone too soon, Monday came even faster... too fast. Of course I wanted to come home to my family... but I HATED waking up Monday morning to the realization that I would have to say good-bye to Keemberlie again. And, in her usual form, she had already checked out. She slept in my bed with me that last night and when she woke up she was all play with her friends taking little time to pay attention to me unless she wanted food. When some older kids came in that morning I heard them asking in sort of a ridiculing way, "Are you going to cry today?" And I saw her shake her head no. And of course, she didn't. She played hard and tried to forget what this day would bring.
This would be the last picture of me with Keemberlie on this trip. When later all the kids were downstairs hugging their parents and crying through good-byes and last minute photos, Keemberlie ran back up the stairs without saying a word... no last hug, no last words....That made me sad, but that is how she is coping. And I totally understand. In fact, when one kid saw me crying he mocked me as I walked by. And that was no fun for me, so I can only imagine how she feels if she is caught being so vulnerable in front of her peers.
And then the trip home began. I arrived home around 11:00 PM with a whole lot to process and a Chinese princess waiting for me in my bed. The next day would begin with many hugs and kisses from my sweethearts at home.