Sunday, May 19, 2013

Happy Birthday Munni!!

About a month ago, I started talking to Munni about her birthday.  She didn't know what a birthday was or that she even had one.  We practiced saying when her birthday was, how old she is now, and how old she was going to be.  A week into it, she was getting the idea and was very excited for her birthday to arrive.  Finally, May 17th was here!  I woke her up by singing happy birthday to her.  She loved it!  It became the new "Merry Christmas" as when she saw Simon she said, "Happy Birthday Simon!" and then, "Happy Birthday Rollie!" and "Happy Srida!" (my cat's name is Frida, but she pronounces her "f" like "s"!)  It was too cute!
We got ready and I gave her my present.  It had been sitting on the mantle for a couple of days and she was so excited to finally open it!  I bought her a cross necklace, very similar to mine.  I bought it for two reasons:  1) Munni LOVES Jesus.  I mean, she really, really, really loves him.  She always wants me to read her "Jesus stories," she wants to listen to "Jesus songs," and whenever we drive by a church she says, "Jesus house!!"  I never taught her that.  There are so many things about her love for Jesus that are a complete mystery to me since she was raised in a Hindu orphanage.  2)  She loves to do everything I do.  If I'm eating or drinking something, she wants it.  If I'm cleaning something, she wants to do it too.  If I'm wearing pink flip-flops, she puts hers on and loves to say, "Same, same, poppy same!"  So when she opened her necklace, she squealed in delight, clapped her hands, and said, "Mommy!!  Same, same, poppy same!!"  That made my day!
I dropped her off at J's house before school and when J opened the door, Munni said, "Happy Birthday!"  It was hilarious!!  The family she goes to in the morning before school has been so welcoming and kind to Munni.  Seriously, they are an answer to prayer because that was a really hard decision to make in regards to where she would be before and after school.  They have a daughter close to Munni's age and Munni loves her!
As I drove away, I started crying.  And I couldn't stop.  I was completely overwhelmed with joy and in complete awe of all the miracles that happened in order for Sweet Munni to finally be celebrating her birthday.  My whole drive to work I kept thanking God for entrusting me with this sweet, beautiful, little girl!  It was a rain shower of love all the way to work!
After school, I picked Munni up and we headed home to get ready for her party.
She was so excited to wear her peacock dress!
Munni picked out this tiara herself :) 
A month or so ago, my friend Trish contacted me about making Munni's first birthday cake.  She was the former manager of the restaurant where I worked part-time for 6 and a half years.  She was working there when I started on my journey to find Munni and she followed my story.  She left the industry to start her own cake making business.  Let me tell you, she is talented!!!  When she told me that she would love to make Munni's first cake as a special celebration, I knew EXACTLY what kind of cake she would want.  Peacock!  She LOVES peacocks!!!  We bought a peacock dress for her to wear at her party and she would tell everyone that she was going to have a peacock cake and a peacock dress!  Trish arrived with the cake and I think Munni was going to burst at the seams!  The cake was BEAUTIFUL!!!!
Look at the excitement!!  And the Christmas carols on the piano lol!

Thank you Trish for making SUCH a beautiful cake that will forever be treasured in our hearts!  If you live in the greater Cincinnati area and you need a cake, I strongly recommend Kakes by Trish!  Not only are they a pure work of art, but they are SO delicious!!!
Right as we started to head to the park for her party, it started to rain.  That did not dampen her spirits!! Thankfully, the park had a big shelter and it worked out :)  I only invited immediate family and a couple close friends because I didn't want to overstimulate Munni.  She had so much fun!!
In all his glory!

The anticipation!!
Her Pink "Cycle!"
We sang happy birthday and I got choked up.  To see her so happy, surrounded by love, completely got to me!  I am so thankful for Munni and for everyone who loves her!  She was so excited to blow out the "7" candle and open her gifts!

She received lots of wonderful gifts  including a "cycle from Grandpa and Papa.  She doesn't quite get how to pedal but she's excited to learn!  It was a great party despite the rain and I know Munni had a wonderful time!

The next day, I took her to the local Ugadi festival, which is the Telugu New Year celebration.  We saw wonderful performances like this one from this beautiful Indian princess:

 Munni kept asking me if she was going to dance... There's something I need to put on my to-do list!

We had an amazing birthday weekend filled with love.  Thank you to everyone who has loved Munni and made her feel cherished!
My Sweet Munni- YOU ARE LOVED!!!

Sunday, May 12, 2013


The other day a friend texted me and said, "Facebook makes it seem like you're doing well.  Do you feel that way?"  That is the million dollar question!  I'm thinking she didn't read my post where I talked about all the struggles of adopting an older child.  It's definitely not all roses and walks in the park but I'm also not in a straight jacket.  I think that the behavioral struggles we have are pretty normal.  There are some days (like yesterday) when Motherhood is kicking my butt and taking names.  And there are other days when I pinch myself because I can't believe how lucky I am that I get to be Munni's mommy.  I've come to the conclusion that Motherhood is one, giant, oxymoron.  Never have I felt so inadequate and then, so capable.  It's a Jedi mind trick.  Some days, we nail it and it is AWESOME.  And then there are days like last Friday.  When we were snuggling before bed, Munni opened up and shared in detail what  had happened to her.  By far, that was the most difficult moment I've had being her mom.  To hear your child recount events that no child should ever experience is a hellish nightmare.  What I would give to have just 2 minutes alone in a room with that person.  It would be a bloody mess and it wouldn't be my blood, I can tell you that much.  It made me understand the imprecatory psalms on a whole new level.  This is an area where I really need to pray that I can forgive, because I'm not feelin' it.  I know I have to, but I think it's gonna take awhile.

Once she fell asleep, I immediately called my sister and bawled my eyes out.  We talked and talked and prayed and ultimately, I know that it is healthy that Munni remembers.  Also, the fact that she felt safe enough with me to share that is HUGE.  I've done a ton of research on trauma and one of the things I didn't want to happen, would be for her to remember later in life.  Everything I've read says that if severe trauma happens to a child during a time when they spoke their mother tongue and then later, when they no longer speak that language the memories come back, they have a very hard time healing and dealing with the trauma because they don't have the language capability to recall those events.  In other words, they feel the pain but because the memory was stored in one language that is no longer learned, they can't bring it into a logical memory.  Munni still speaks Telugu and her expressive English is really expanding, so she is able to verbally bring those memories out in the open.  I was able to comfort her and reassure her of the love and safety she has with me and my family.  This is an ongoing process and I am thankful that as hard as it was to hear all of that, I now have specifics to pray about.  I know all pray works but I also know for me, the more specific I am, the greater the answer.

After she opened up to me about her past, she was super clingy.  Lots and lots of regression.  She wanted the bottle, she wanted to be spoon fed, and any time I left the room, she would say, "Mommy, me coming with you."  Regression is also very, very healthy so even though it was heartbreaking, I am so happy that her healing is taking place.

On the flip side of it, I have absolutely LOVED seeing Munni grow, learn, explore, and experience things that every child should experience.  Her school was selected for the City's Arbor Day celebration.  All of the kindergarten children got to sing a song and then help plant the oak tree.  This was the last day of my maternity leave so my mom and I were able to go to the school and watch it all go down.  One thing I love about Munni and my relationship is that she knows how much I love photography.  She has a spidey sense about when I have my camera out and even in a crowd, she can zero in on me!  Here are some pics from that day :)

eagerly awaiting her turn!

she loves to garden and she was so happy doing this!
With my mom, affectionately known as, "Papa"

She came home from school on Friday and was SO EXCITED to give me her surprise she had been working on for me for Mother's Day.  She loves my flower garden and she made me this vase for all of the flowers that are about to bloom.  I love her!!!

And she also filled out this questionnaire about me:

 I was cracking up when I read it.  The raw coconut oil must really be working for me because I don't think I look 40 hundred years!  And then I cried when I read the last one.  For her to be able to say, "She's my mom" is such a miracle!  I love Munni so much and to see her bravely going forward with each day, just melts my heart.  She is such a trooper and a happy little girl.  I am thankful that she knows Jesus and loves him because it's from him that she will receive her healing.  I think about her life- where she's been and where's she's going- and I get so excited!  I can't wait to see God's plan for her life unfold, and for that, I am forever grateful that I am her mom and that I get front row seats to the show!

Happy Mother's Day to all of you mamas out there- no matter where you are in the process- It is a divine gift!


Saturday, May 4, 2013

A Sweet Reflection

A year ago today, I officially received Munni's referral! That day was such an emotional day for me. I had the privilege of writing across a gazillion papers that I accept Munni as my daughter. Never have I enjoyed writing and signing my name more than I did that day :)

I love her so much and it absolutely floors me that she is here with me!  God was so faithful to me throughout her journey to come home.  Her case was abnormal for Ind*an adoptions because she was home 13 months from the time that I signed on with the second agency and 9 months after I signed her official referral.  During that journey, I knew supernatural things were happening but wasn't sure why.  The nurse came yesterday to drop off her TB medicines.  She told me that they got the initial results back from the lymphadenectomy and it was positive for active TB.  They are still doing the genetic testing so that they can perfectly tweak her medicines.  Presently, she is taking 4 TB meds and 1 B- vitamin to protect her liver as it metabolizes all of the medicine.  They are hopeful that by the end of June, she will be able to cut back to 2 meds plus the vitamin.  The nurse told me that she has been working exclusively with TB for the past 20 years and this is the first time she's ever worked with an ocular TB case.  She has been doing lots of research and told me that everything she has found has been published by Indian doctors.  That makes sense since India has the largest concentration of TB infected people.  Anyway, it again confirms the reason why her case moved so quickly - her life depended on it.

Munni is such a miracle for me and I feel so blessed that I am her mommy.  I am also SO THANKFUL for everyone who has supported us along the way.  Really, I will never, ever, ever (Taylor Swift?) be able to even come close to expressing how much it has meant to me.  It is definitely something that I will treasure in my heart forever!