I got to bed about midnight last night. Then I tossed and turned all night long. I was too hot, then too cold. The bed was too hard. The room was too bright. My body was all achy from too many hours on planes. And I am allergic to Kinshasa air. Already, I was coughing all night long. But all of this I expected, so I'm not whining, just reporting :)
After all, this long night of discomfort was bringing me a few minutes closer my baby girls.
We got up at 6:30am since breakfast is served each day at 7:00am. I took a long needed shower. Good water pressure, but no hot water. When you turn the knob not even a trickle came out. So it was nice long COLD shower for me. I'm pretty sure Brian did not mention there was no hot water when we decided which guest house to stay at. But there is great air conditioning, which is always his priority. Maybe I just won't get all hot and sweaty the rest of the week so I can avoid another cold shower. Yeah, right!
A few minutes after 7:00 we headed down to breakfast. There was seating and food for probably 30 people, but not a soul in the dining room. The breakfast today was toast and something sort of like bologna. According to Brian it is not even that good. So we headed back upstairs to eat a granola bar and to wait for the big phone call.
While waiting we reminisced about the buffet breakfast at the White Swan Hotel in Guangzhou, China. If you're a China adoption parent you know what we mean. More buffet tables than you could fit in my living room, dining room, and kitchen combined. Traditional Chinese and American breakfast fare. Piles and piles of fresh fruits, scrambled eggs, fried noodles, bacon. Cup after cup of lovely Chinese tea. A far cry from white bread toast and bologna.
Finally at about 8:30am the girls arrived with Papa L, Mama J, and 2 of their teenaged daughters. These are the people that have been foster family to all 5 of our Congolese kids. They are amazing, generous people who have literally saved the lives of dozens of babies, mine included. We met them in the lobby. Brian videotaped while I hugged Mama J and whispered thank you in the small amount of French I still remember. It doesn't matter much because she doesn't really speak French either, only Lingala. So I just tried to squeeze her as hard as I could to let her know what a blessing she is to our family and how much I love the babies she is entrusting to me.
Then I move on the babies. I pick up Baby K first. She is 7 months old. She is bigger than I expect, but also floppier. She comes right to me and lays her head on my shoulder. She has big Congolese eyes, very dark skin, long curly eyelashes. I think she favors JoJo a bit. Baby L is a bit more reluctant. She is 11 months old and clearly more attached to the family. She is about the same size as K, but much further along developmentally. Papa L says she eats a lot and though she is small she is very strong. We chat about the babies for awhile and then it is time for the family to leave. Their youngest daughter, she's about 16, was the primary care giver to Baby K and she starts to cry as we say our goodbyes. This just tore me up. Haven was Mama J's first foster baby so when Brian came to take him home she cried very hard and didn't really speak to Brian. When we came for Manny and JoJo there were 10 other foster kids in the house. They loved our boys, but 2 less babies wasn't such a big deal. But these 2 girls, Baby K and Baby L are the family's last 2 foster babies and they have been the only 2 for about a month now. So letting them go was clearly a little harder.
I have so much respect for foster parents. They make such a huge difference in a child's life.
After the family left we headed upstairs to settle down a bit. L had a very hard time seeing them go. She didn't want me hold her and she was reaching out to them as they walked out the front door. She is old enough that the loss of this family is going to be hard for her. We got to the room and changed some diapers. Both girls have some less than perfect poop and L has a pretty gnarly rash. We discovered K has a hernia. L has a slight cough and they both have a few mystery bumps here and there on their skin, but overall they both seem to be in good health.
They did a good bit of crying and mourning. L was especially checking out my strange white face and trying to yank off my mole. She'd turn away and then turn back and cry a bit harder when she realized I wasn't the right woman holding her. But after a while they both settled down and all 4 of us snuggled up for a long nap. And as usual, everyone was happier after a nap. After nap time we wondered around the building a bit, had a nice tepid bottle of Coke, and met a couple of other families who are adopting. We got some sweet smiles from the girls this after noon. L has at least 1 dimple and 4 giant sized teeth.
Right now it is about 7:45pm and everyone is settled in for the night. Both girls are sleeping and so is Daddy. I'm crossing my fingers that we get a few long hours of good sleep. I will try to post some pictures tomorrow, but until we get our girls home for good you'll only be seeing the backs of their beautiful heads. Sweet dreams!