Monday, December 22, 2008
To back up a bit, the past few days have been fabulous but exhausting days. We have had a flurry of activity - Christmas with Zach's parents and with my brother-in-law and his family. We then went to the high school state championship game for Zach's high school team. And they won state!! Woohoo Wildcats!! So rather than traveling to Zach's parents' home for Christmas - everyone came to our area for the big game. It was lots of fun and a wonderful time to spend with family. The girls really enjoyed getting to know their grandparents and extended family a little better and received some great gifts that have been thoroughly enjoyed. But at the same time it was lots of going, lots of sugary food, and no routine. Oh and then after church yesterday we had a cookie baking marathon. All this led to a few struggles that we saw at Thanksgiving as well. It started slow but by Sunday afternoon I felt an undercurrent of irritability. Nothing major but a lot of us were getting grumpy (me included) and this led to some grumpy attitudes towards one another. Now to be honest - I was feeling perhaps more irritable than anyone and was having trouble with my own attitude. I knew this was occurring but until I had a little time to get away and pray and regain my perspective until today. I was just kinda hanging on but certainly not doing good!
So anyways, the history of the past few days stated - today I had some time to go run some last minute Christmas errands, return some phone calls, and even eat lunch all alone :) Our fabulous helper, Katherine, had done a great job as always of loving on the kids, playing a ton of games, and keeping things on a reasonable routine while I was gone. When I arrived back home everyone was very happy but I could feel still a subtle undercurrent of frustration from Katya. I knew she was feeling frustrated and was being moody. I knew that we had not had the greatest interactions yesterday and that I had not handled her minor bouts of grumpiness and subtle disobedience very well yesterday. I could feel that there was a little distance between us. I knew that we needed to bridge this gap and reconnect. I believe that anytime there is a relational problem between myself and any of my children - no matter how small - it needs to be resolved fully before it grows much bigger. So I invited her to go outside and jump on the trampoline with me. She declined which is very unusual. I went anyways and soon all the other kids were jumping with me. She rode her bike around and seemed happy enough but I knew something was going on. We talked a bit and I asked her again to jump. She happily said no but I knew something was up. Soon she rode on past us and headed towards my parents' house. We have a strict rule that the kids may ride in the circle that goes around the property (and past my parents' house), but that they may not go into my parents' house without asking permission first. We have made this crystal clear and there was no doubt that it was understood. I had the sinking feeling that Katya was not just going for a ride around the circle but was going to their house. I followed her and discovered I was right - she was inside. Now this is not a huge deal all by itself, but it was a clear act of willful disobedience - perhaps one of the first we have really encountered with the girls. She knew that she was wrong and told me that she was sorry but I told her that it was not okay to not listen to us. I took her home and told her that Daddy and I would be in to talk to her.
We went in to her room together, sat with her on her bed, and told her how very much we loved her. We asked her if she had listened to us. She at first said yes with a scowl but after a few more questions she admitted that she had not listened. We explained that it was not polite to just go into people's houses without asking first and that we understood that she wanted to see her grandparents but that she must ask first. We also explained that we loved her and that it was not good for her to disobey - that it hurt her 'heart' to disobey. She agreed! She said she was sorry. We then gave her a small consequence and she began to cry but she hugged me while crying. I told her many times how much we loved her all the time and that I loved her even when she did not listen. The important thing about this is that even though this was a minor offense it was big because she so clearly knew that she was disobeying. So after we corrected her and gave a small consequence she cried but then all the frustration melted away. We played a wonderful game of Uno and laughed together and there was a deeper connection for both me and her. We had reconciled and she learned that we love her too much to let her disobey. It is not about us - it is about her heart being right. She did not feel happy when she was disobeying - she was miserable and distanced from us. But when she was corrected and realized that we loved her enough to be consistent, her anxiety dissipated and she was once again able to feel connected with us rather than at odds with us.
We then went on to enjoy a sweet time together as a family, eating dinner, having a lively discussion about our Christmas devotion, and curling up on the couch for a family movie night - The Nativity (which had to be paused many times for explanations :))!
Funny thing is, I feel more at peace and my frustration is gone now too. I felt irritation because I was letting small disobedience issues go unresolved. So I am thankful that I had a day to recharge a little and that God gave us such a sweet time of bonding tonight.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
We had a great Thanksgiving although for Katya it was a bit overstimulating which led to a lot of difficulty sleeping. So we were all very glad to back home and into our routine. The first night we were back home Zach was putting Katya to bed and she said, "Daddy, now me my house. I sleep good now." And she has ever since :) Katya is really doing well - she is an amazingly motivated student who is flying through the Explode the Code books as well as our other school books. She is learning a ton of English! She is very loving and every night when she prays she thanks God for her big family. Although the other day she was telling me that really our family is very small and we should adopt some more children - like her friends :) She gives lots of great hugs and definitely feels love through gifts and through touch. We have seen a great improvement in her confidence level as she can accept mistakes in schoolwork and just correct them without being overly upset anymore. She enjoys being helpful in the kitchen and with other household chores. She also loves to read and gets very nervous when her current book (in Russian) is near the end. It is hard to find good books to order in Russian!! But our little book lover is in good company and she can't wait to know English enough to read all of Allee's books.
Nastya - our little outdoorsy girl. She LOVES animals and is fully convinced that she will catch a bird or a squirrel or some other type of animal. She spends hours making traps with strings and food to lure the animals to the trap. She can't wait for Spring when baby animals will be born and truly believes that she may find a baby bird or deer or raccoon that needs her help. I have probably made matters worse as I have recounted stories of my own childhood when we once found baby blue jays and raised them as well as when my sister and mom raised a baby deer that slept in my sister's bed. She asks me daily for a baby puppy and tells me that one day she may make her house into a real zoo. She reminds me so much of myself as a young girl - I spent untold hours with my sister searching for baby deer and even caught a seagull with some bread and a string one time (it quickly got away from me though)! She is a bit more coordinated than I was though (major understatement), with her incredible athleticism. I love to see her soaking up the outdoors and using her imagination. Oh one story - one day she and Allee and Katya caught some butterflies and when I went into their room they had made these grass beds inside their stools complete with sliced fruit and water for the butterflies. Everything was going along just fine until their beloved cat ate the butterflies!!! Oops! They were soon forgiven though :)
Family Life - Mainly busy!! We have been going full steam since we got home with homeschool, Allee and Jadon and Ben's school stuff, Christmas, work, and lots more!! Oh - we finally got a contract on our house a few weeks ago which is a huge answer to prayer in the current economy situation but it means that we have to move the rest of our stuff out into storage by this weekend. We moved about 10 days before leaving for Ukraine so we certainly just did the primary things and left extra stuff - like everything in the garage and in storage closets and outside. So the next few days I get to move :) Oh and then Thursday I get to go to the dentist to get my tooth fixed that I had a filling fall out of two days ago :) Gotta keep things interesting.
Honestly I have just been a mix of doing really well with it all and then occasionally feeling that I might be losing my mind :). It was also surprisingly emotional for me to go back to clean out the old house. Surprising because I really never liked it all that much but I forgot what a sentimental sap I am... So just lots of emotions. If I think for more than a few minutes about all I have to do right now I feel very stressed - actually I can feel my body tense up just writing the above and thinking about all that I need to accomplish in the next few weeks. But I have tried to keep my focus on what must be done today and on what is most important. I guess somehow it will all get done, right?!? The big picture is that we are oh so blessed and everyone is doing well. "So just don't sweat the small stuff"...I keep saying that over and over.
It has been hard to find quiet time with the Lord to allow Him to renew me and I feel my deep need for Him. There are so many things I need to spend time praying over and just taking to Him rather than trying to figure them out myself. I know that I cannot do this myself and that I need Him desperately but the heavy load of busyness had made it difficult. I find myself working until near bedtime and then just busy with children. So for me - my biggest struggle has been to personally seek my Lord first when everything else seems so demanding. We do have bible time each morning as part of school and I have a few minutes of quiet to pray and read and journal a bit.
A quick update - I wrote all the above on Monday but had to edit a little before posting. Yesterday was even harder and I had a really difficult day. I know that many of you were praying for me. This morning I woke up feeling well rested and then events just fell into place and God gave me some quiet time with Him. I just feel more refreshed than I have in days and feel like I have a fresh perspective. We had a great start to school today too! Thank you Lord!!
I will post more with pics very soon!
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Here are Allee and Katya sharing an ipod and both singing outloud, Lord I Lift Your Name On High and then Ain't No Mountain High Enough, while watching Jadon's soccer game last weekend. It was so precious.
Monday, November 10, 2008
So finally at 10:00 at night we landed in Texas and ran to greet our family and friends!!! What a reunion it was! I completely broke down (unexpectedly) when I hugged Benjamin and Jadon and Allee. It felt so strange to be hugging them and the emotion of how much I had missed them just hit me so hard. It was so great to have a fan club waiting for us! Thank you guys for all coming! It was at about this time that I felt like my body was just breaking down - I could barely talk right and just felt sheer exhaustion combined with major emotion and it all seems very fuzzy now. But the joy of being with my family and friends and a yummy Starbucks (thanks Becca and Camille) gave me the second wind I needed to get us home to see an amazing surprise waiting for us!
Now, I think I mentioned that we moved to a new house about 10 days before traveling... It was crazy and although we worked around the clock to get things unpacked, curtains hung, closets organized, etc...it didn't all get done. Some important things that didn't get done was the girls room and the outside of the house. When we left there were landscaping materials in piles, no grass, no patio, a half-done side-walk, and half-built stairs on the back of the house. When we arrived home on Sunday night the girls room had been transformed into a girl's paradise - complete with new desks, a dresser, an organized closet with lots of brand new clothes and pjs, bulletin boards, and even little make-up mirrors. Nastya had a new cd player/alarm clock for her birthday as well. They ran right in and started organizing their clothes and hanging pictures of their friends onto their bulletin boards. They LOVE their new house and especially their room.
Well, that's not all!!! Outside we discovered a completed sidewalk, a lovely patio, completed stairs, trees being cleaned, grass that was growing strong, flower pots, and even Fall decorations!!! Oh, and clearing and landscaping had already been started on the hill below our house - a major undertaking! Let me not forget to mention a completely stocked fridge and a huge bowl of fruit (which disappeared in a few days!!)! We are just so humbled and blown away by this outpouring of love and kindness and generosity it is more than we can express with words. Thank you Dad, Mom, and Ash! I am just brought to tears every time I consider all that has been provided and how much you all have done. It was such an amazing gift to just know that our children were so loved and cared for while we were gone. You just did so much more than we could have ever imagined and we are so very grateful.
So the days following our arrival were pretty busy with unpacking and just trying to reenter our 'new normal' life. It didn't help that I got really sick for a few days... But with some good sleep and meds - I am back to feeling good again. The girls have done really great so far - more on that in another post. We did all go to church last Sunday and it was so great to be welcomed by our church family. And believe it or not - we had our first day of homeschooling TODAY and it went great!! Thank you Lord!
It is good to be home!
Ephesians 3:20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
The girls did great on the flight but it was just long and we were all exhausted. Our first few days at home have been good but a little crazy. Nothing bad, just chaotic due to lack of routine... And now I have a pretty nasty cold that I guess I picked up from one out of my three children who have been sick. I feel very bad actually. Anyways, all is well other than that and more will follow as soon as the computer screen quits swimming in front of me! Please pray for a quick recovery for me as I am in high demand in the first days home to reintegrate to life here and to love on our two new daughters and our three darlings that missed us so very much. But all I want to do is sleep and it hurts to talk...
I promise a better update and pictures very soon!
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Here in Kiev tonight after dinner On the way a few nights ago...they were so cute!!
Today we finally got to meet our great friends (via blog for the past 6 months) Kevin and Pam. They are on their way to their region tonight! Great to finally meet you in person guys - in Kiev no less!!
Yummy desserts tonight!
We made it to Kiev late on Wednesday night. There was some crazy running around in Zhytomyr to get passports finished. Basically we waited ALL day and had yet one more tearful goodbye from the orphanage... We kept thinking that any minute it would be time to pick up the passport. Then all the sudden it was time and we had to rush, rush, rush!!! Basically Ukraine seems to have two speeds - whirlwind fast or wait, wait, wait! You think you are waiting forever and then all the sudden you want to beg to slooooow down just enough to catch your breath! After the slow long wait of the past 10 to 14 days, the last three days have been nonstop - therefore no time until now to post!
We got to Kiev at 10:30 Wed. night, had our medical yesterday morning and then barely slipped into the Embassy before it closed. My hand ached from all the forms I had to fill out :) The Embassy is closed technically today but they are reopenning for us so that they could process the girls' visas! How nice - we were very impressed with the service that they gave to us. So after many more hours of sitting at the Embassy today (which we were more than happy to do) - we walked out with visas in hand!!! Wooo-hoooo!!! America here we come!!!
We are so thankful for all the people who have worked overtime to pull all this together with such a tight timeframe to get us on that plane Sunday. Not the least of which is our facilitator. Thank you N!!!!
We are settled in a nice apartment in Kiev and are actually sleeping good now!!! How nice to be in an actual bed!!! And while Kiev is about triple in prices, we don't even care - it is so great to be here. One more day in Ukraine and we come home!!! We plan to do some sightseeing tomorrow, some souvenier shopping, and maybe go to Hillsong Kiev church service tomorrow night.
We will practically not sleep tomorrow night since we have to be at the airport by 4:00 am which means we have to leave by like 3:00 am. Who needs sleep anyways?!? We can sleep on the plane and hope the girls will too!
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
It is a blessing for the girls that it has been so hard to say goodbye to their friends and to caregivers.
A blessing because it means that the last two years they have had deep, loving relationships with each of their friends and several caregivers - especially Alla. But it makes it harder right now. They are actually doing pretty well. They want to go home. What has made it harder is that we have had not one, not two, but three emotional goodbyes at the orphanage. We keep thinking that we will be laving tomorrow and then having more paperwork delays. So of course as long as we are in the region the girls want to see their friends. I understand but I wish we could just say one goodbye because it is taking it's toll emotionally on all of us as well as the other children. I personally have had a rough few days. Emotionally I feel raw, and physically I have not slept well in five days. Those of you who know me well, know that I do not function well on lack of sleep, which is currently close to what I felt like when I had a newborn and didn't sleep. The difference is I am not lying aroung being waited on now in the comfort of my home!!! I am hiking all over town and my new children are a bit more difficult and sleep a great deal less :)
Today was one frustration after another - the girls broke my phone and I had trouble communicating with the phone store people to fix it. We locked ourselves out of our apartment all day. We bought a gift for one of the kids and lost it. We got stuck at the orphanage for at least two hours more than we planned and were all starving (another really bad combo with no sleep and my hypoglycemia). We have had a few confrontations (minor but still hard) with the girls - we are all on our last straws emotionally... And last and definitely not least - we found out that we were not going to be able to leave for Kiev today. Breathe in, breathe out. I need my little red shoes soooo bad!!! "There is no place like home, there is no place like home!"
Back to the goodbyes, the emotions have been hard to contain. I have had to constantly tell myself that I cannot break down in front of the kids. But it has torn my heart to leave these precious children. We love them so much. And they are so heartbroken. They are grieving in different ways - some cry, some retreat and shutdown, some get just overly hyper... It would be easier for all if we had not spent countless hours the past four weeks playing with them, talking, taking quiet walks, playing soccer, playing Uno, and just loving the children that will remain orphans. For four weeks they have embraced us, allowed us into their world, taught us silly games, taught us Ukrainian. We have wanted to bless them by showing them that their tricks on the monkey bars, their dances that they've learned, their goofy games, their songs that they make up, and everything else about them is important and precious and worthwhile. We have tried to hug and love and encourage every second that we are with them. But now, we have come to love them more. And they have come to love us more. So while we are thankful that we had this time with this precious group of children, it makes these goodbyes indescribably hard. I love too many children that I cannot help. Oh Lord, please love these children. Please bless them. Please give them hope. Please hold them. And please comfort Zach, Katya, Nastya and I as our hearts break to say goodbye. It is hard to love and leave. Easier to close our hearts and not love. But that of course is not the answer. We are forever changed - our hearts have stretched bigger and the stretching is painful. Thank you Lord for this precious time with each one of these precious children, and even for the pain - because we can take it You knowing that You love them far more than we ever could.
If you are considering adoption or if you feel that tug at your heart, don't let it pass. Pray and see if this is how God wants you to love. He will show you and He just might have a child to bring home - to you. Or maybe there is another calling for you. But somehow each of us is called to in some way love the orphans and widows. Ask him how. One thing we can do is pray. If you would like a child to pray for, let me know and I will send you a name, a little info and a picture. I promised Tanya, Galyna, Masha, Tanya, Yana, Alena, Vika, Vera, Olga, Vova, and Oleg that we would pray for them regularly. I could use some help in this! (Sorry I have not emailed you back Anna - will do so very soon!)
As sweet, wonderful Vika tearfully told me as we got into the taxi tonight, "Remember me. Please remember me." Oh how could I forget. Lord, remember them.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
She had a bit of a pout when there was a misuderstanding about what type salad she ordered at the pizza place. We fully expected this turmoil of emotions - it is difficult to leave what is familiar and the friends who have become like sisters. I think it speaks of the great longing in her heart that she never really second guesses leaving. She wants a family and it is crystal clear that the odds are not good for her here. Very bad actually. The 'here and now' is not horrible. Their basic needs are met, they have good friends, at least some of the caregivers truly show them love, there are engagin activities with school, sports, music, and dance. Despite all of that, the children do not have their needs for family and unconditional love met. They beg for hugs and crave attention. There is a hunger in their eyes and actions that you would never see in children who are in loving homes. That part of the 'here and now' is horrible. But even worse is the future - at sixteen they will leave the internot. They will be on their own with no basic life skills to manage money, find jobs, or be taught how to handle relationships. They will have no guidance, no encouragement, no mom to call when sad, no home to go to on holidays, no lasting, significant relationships that they can depend on. Very simply - no family.
Philippians 3:7-8 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ
So back to yesterday - we were given permission to go to the hospital to pick up Katya. And even better - Nastya was allowed to go with us all day! I had no idea we were going to get to spend the day with the girls out of the orphanage! So we picked Katya up and she was ecstatic - talking a million miles a minute to N, who loosely translated some of what she was saying. Zach, Katya, Nastya, and I cozied up in the back seat of N's car (her husband was driving and she was in the front). We had Nastya on my lap and Katya next to the window since the fresh air seems to help them not get carsick. Zach squeezed into the middle :) We literally drove in circles from one office to the next and back again. We had to apply for new birth certificates, have the new birth certificates legalized, and apply for new tax id numbers for the girls. Sounds simple enough except that we kept running into small problems that sent us in circles around the city. A typo here, someone having a late lunch there, a stop to get something notarized, oops another typo on one birth certificate - must retrace steps and get that fixed. But do it fast because if we aren't back in 30 minutes the person to legalize it will be gone until Monday! Unfortunately the tax id office would not issue the new number until Monday which means that we can't apply for the passports until Monday. We are still told that we can get the old, blank type (they recently changed the process) which will mean that we can apply Monday and pick it up Tuesday. If that is not the case, then it will take SEVEN days from Monday until we get the passports. Meaning that we cannot do the next steps in Kiev to get us home until then. Praying for the 'old' ones to truly be available.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Katya is STILL in the hospital. Day 9. The girl is waaaaaay more patient than I am in this regard. First we were all told 5 days and she would leave and that seemed crazy. Then we were promised that today she would leave. So we head for a quick visit to the orphanage. It had to be quick because we have to move apartments this evening and I have come down with a cold - I'm sure from the hospital!! Don't worry - I won't be coughing in front of anyone at the hospital or they might keep me too :) But at least I have antibiotics (thanks Dr. Nelson!) and other good drugs! But I am getting off subject...
So we arrived at the orphanage expecting to see both girls but only Nastya comes running up (in a sleeveless shirt - we tried to tell her that it at best 55 degrees!) and says that Katya is not back. So we head to the director's office and Alla is there. Alla is also surprised and they call the hospital but the doctors have left for the day!!! That means that she wouldn't be leaving and we couldn't get an update. Nor could we send her a message. So we did what any good parents would do :) We took a taxi to the hospital knowing that she would be very disappointed to still be there and doubly upset if we didn't come visit. Unfortunately we didn't have time to run by the market and get food. All we had was juice and a little candy. We were so wishing that we had food because she says the food there is horrible (I can only imagine). But the market was very far away and we had to rush back to pack up the apartment. Tomorrow we will take her more food - she wants fried eggs and spaghetti?!? I'll just whip that right up :)
She was sad to be there but so relieved that we came. She told us that she thought we wouldn't come and that she was crying earlier :( I wanted to cry for her. And scream too. So she has a little cough. That's it! She is barely sick - certainly no fever and not feeling bad. But she thinks the doctor said that now she is staying until Friday!!! That will be 11 days and will only give her one last night with her friends before leaving forever. So incredibly frustrating and no one will listen to us or for that matter understand us. There is more than a language difference in this communication problem!!! We are going to call in the morning and see if we can request her release tomorrow afternoon. Pray that they will do that. She really needs to have some time to say goodbye to her friends. Maybe we will be able to let her stay until Sunday evening before the girls leave with us... We are ready to take them now but also feel that she needs some time with her friends who have been like sisters the past few years.
The good aspects of this hospital stay are still good - we have had a lot of bonding time, she has felt very loved by us, I have felt very compassionate and loving to her, and maybe this frustration will actually help her be even more ready to get home to America!!! It sure does help me!! We know that this time truly is working for good and can see that even in the frustrations!
Monday, October 20, 2008
The Barrett's: An Amazing Adoption Story - This is a broadcast from Focus on the Family. It is an amazing story of a family that adopted four very difficult children from the US foster care system. Several of the children had severe RAD and lots of other issues. This story makes mine seem like a cakewalk and at the same time it is a story of hope and restoration. It really is a story of a very extreme case and most stories I hear of are not like this. The children that were adopted (many years previous to this broadcast) are interviewed as well. I remember listening over and over to it in my car and thinking, "Wow if God enabled these people to withstand these trials and has brought healing into these kids lives, then there are none without hope." And of course that is true but this brought it home in a tangible way. And they give very specific descriptions of how they responded to some very tough situations in the early years. It helped prepare us to parent older adopted children - especially not knowing really what we might face. I am fairly confident that we will not see the extreme issues that this family saw, but we may see similar root issues in much lesser intensity - if that makes sense! So, the link to order this is http://resources.family.org/p2p/searchResults.do?method=view&search=basic&keyword=barretts&sortby=shortdesc&asc=true&page=1
If for some reason that doesn't work - go to the first part - resources.family.org - and then search for barretts. An amazing story - worth listening to even if you aren't adopting!!! Only $9.00
Carried Home Safely by Kristin Swick Wong This book just does a beautiful job of capturing the beauty of our adoption by the Lord and how our adoptions of difficult, lonely, but precious children gives a small reflection of what He has done for us. I hope to devote a post to that topic more later... But it is well written and so very encouraging. You can find it on Amazon.
There are several other resources I want to mention but I will leave you with these for now.
This chocolate is amazing!!! Dolci and Roshen. And coming from me - a girl who doesn't really like chocolate... If you are really lucky I might bring a few extra boxes home to share... If you come to Ukraine don't miss it. Actually there are lots of good chocolate and foods here - we are happy. And they really practice portion control here :) Hard to get used to but very healthy! The hardest is when you order coffee - it is good and strong (just like I enjoy it) but very small (like maybe two ounces for an Americano)!!! I make Zach order one as well so that I can have both!
We love a soup called Sole-yanka. We also like their Greek Salads with white cheese, ukrainian pizza (it really is better than american pizza), fried potatoes with mushrooms, veal steaks, chicken steaks with cheese and mushrooms inside, roast beef with yellowish rice, roast beef with potatoes and cheese, buckwheat, chicken with prunes and cheese on top, and lots of other things that are so yummy!! As you can see, we are not hurting in the food department! It really is a good thing that the portions are small and that we walk about six miles a day or we would seriously be gaining weight. ****One disclaimer - we are in a nice city of over 600,000 people - if you travel to a smaller village or even another city (I haven't seen any others) there may not be the same choices of restaurants or food to choose from - just so you know!!
Thursday, October 16, 2008
The worst part of it all is that she does NOT need to be there but now that she is there they won't let her leave until her 'treatment' is done. I shudder to think of all diseases she is being exposed to! I think the rest of the kids have figured out that this is what happens if you complain too much, but I guess she didn't realize that this was what would happen. I can't even imagine how long they would keep you if had something seriously wrong like surgery or having a baby. One person was shocked when we said that even when you have a baby in America you only stay one or two nights!! It is pretty crazy. Praying that they will let her out soon so that she can spend a few good days with her friends and can say her goodbyes before we leave. We really wanted this week to be a time of closure for her as she prepares to leave this chapter of her life behind. All venting about the hospital aside - the only thing that really saddens us is this lost time for her to spend with her friends.