It is amazing to watch her get around. She is up and down off the bed in a flash. She holds onto things in the room and goes EVERYWHERE. She stands independently, but can't take steps without support. Her arms and upper body are so strong!
After we got back to the hotel yesterday, Ava was giddy, opening her toys and playing with us. She looked at all her pink clothes and held them up to her to admire. We all walked around the corner and got Popsicles. All was well, but it was loud and busy. We were literally standing on our heads to keep her happy. Trent and Mary Ashtyn walked to KFC & McDonalds to get our supper. Ava was one happy girl as she ate her fried chicken and French fries. We were all settled and quiet. As she got full, her face started to changed. I moved to sit beside and rub her back as she cried, prepared for the grief. I wasn't ready for the brokenness that came next.
Ava got out of her chair and started searching in the bag of things her orphanage gave her. Tears rolling down that sweet face, she pulls out a thin little notepad. Inside, a picture of her little friends at the SWI (orphanage). She stares at the picture and rubs each face. She's wailing and I'm sobbing. This was her family, the ones she laughed with, talked to, grew up with...loved. The loss and fear that she is experiencing is beyond heartbreaking. Pray hard for our Ava.
She turned the page in her notebook and my heart dropped when I saw the list of telephone numbers. There was no doubt this baby was loved and cared for. Her SWI left her several ways to get in touch with them. They even wrote letters to her in the notebook. What a gift of love. You know what happens next....
Ava gets up and makes it to the room phone. She starts trying to call the SWI. Trent sits with her and tries to help her dial. We can't get the call to work. Ava is calling the numbers out to Trent through her sobs and he is trying so hard to figure out what number to hit to call outside of the hotel. As he tries 9 and 0, she cries harder because she sees him dial numbers that aren't written in her notebook.
I glance at my other kids and they are frozen. Mary Ashtyn understands and is upset. Lily is scared and I know Reece is upset. We send them to the other room as we try to comfort Ava. Mash takes charge and puts Lily in the tub to play. It was so much extra financially to bring our entire family on this trip, but God knew we needed everyone to get through. My kids are rock stars and they make me so proud.
So...Ava finally gives Trent control of the phone and we call the guide. Nancy talks to Ava and gets her settled. As Trent is getting directions to make the call, Ava asks for her sisters and brother. We walk next door where Silly Lily is kicked back relaxing in the tub. Ava can't help but laugh! Within minutes, she is in the other bathtub next door happily bathing and smiling again. I wasn't going to attempt to wash her hair, but I turned to get the soap and she stuck her head right under the faucet. I was so relieved to see her smile...I know the grieving isn't over, but my heart needed it to stop for now.
We never got the call to work, but Ava did not mention it again once she settled.
Please understand, we share this very emotional time because we feel that's it's the right thing to do. We want to paint the true picture of adoption and the way that our family is knit together by God. We don't join hands and skip into the sunset. Adoption is beautiful, but it comes from brokenness. We
share the brokenness to give God the glory. Only He can mend us and make us better, stronger,
A few hours after her tears, our tiny tornado was holding onto the headboard and jumping on the bed!!!! She loved getting pampered by sisters and chose the perfect headband to match her new gown :). She climbed up between us in the bed, tucked in her new doll and fell asleep.
Only God can make beauty from the ashes. We're still burning right now, but we are eager to see the beautiful life that He has in store for the newest Bamberg.
Our friends and family have been so faithful to pray. We need you more than ever over the next few hours. Today, we will travel to Ningbo and Ava will see her friends and favorite teachers and nannies again. This is the final goodbye, needed for closure but so very hard. She will look at the faces that she knows and loves for the very last time. We will look at the faces that will be burned in our memory along with others from the previous 3 adoption trips. The faces of the orphans that we can't and won't forget. The ones who don't get to grieve because they are never chosen. Pray for us today....a lot.