Thursday, August 13, 2009

The good stuff

I don't even know where to start to tell you about my trip and all that I saw and did and the people I met while in Liberia. So while I figure out an angle on that, I'll skip to the good stuff you really want to know about: Amos and Kalee!!!

Kalee is as cute as a kid can possibly be. I spotted him first as I was taken through the orphanage's front gate----he was sitting in a plastic chair, presumably waiting for me, dressed in a red-striped t-shirt I'd sent months ago. I waved and called his name and he gave me a big smile he knew who I was. (Zing. I was goners.)

He was a little shy at first but warmed up fast! Kalee is funny and silly and sings to himself when no one is paying attention. He woke me up most mornings by flipping on the overhead light in my bedroom.

He loves, loooooves Matchbox cars and he calls helicopters "choppers." He carried his new cars in his pockets. Always. I think I scored big when I told him Jay had a wooden train set that he'd be able to play with here at the house.

As cute as Kalee is---he's a tiny, little wisp of a 5-year old boy. I'd say he's probably almost 3 feet tall.....but had on a pair of shorts for a 24-month old the day we met. He is rail thin......way underweight.....way undernourished. And since he couldn't keep up many of the size 4 shorts I took over for him.....he wore navy knit boxers most of the week.

Amos is such a beautiful child. He has high cheekbones and a beautiful smile and sparkly eyes.....and a hoarse voice that made me love him the first time he called me "Mom."

Amos is quick and aggressive on the soccer field and schooled Brant repeatedly! Later in the week, B turned Amos on to basketball and he learned to dribble and shoot in no time.....

And what a complete trooper. At the orphanage Amos is not considered a "big boy" so he's spared some of the harder chores around the house. But because he has a younger brother, he's expected to care for Kalee and make sure he's fed and has what he needs. Amos refills Kalee's water cup....he sweeps up their crumbs into his hands...he shares his portion of fish when he has some. He got up from the table after each meal and washed his and Kalee's plates and cups without being asked. And all it took was one sharp word from Amos for Kalee to fall into line.

Amos is about 4 feet tall but can't weigh more than 40 or 45 lbs. He wore size 4 shorts all week....could keep on 6s if they had a drawstring.....but only if. I learned that Amos broke his left forearm at some point before arriving at the orphanage and the bones were never set, so he has some pain with that that we'll need to get checked out once he gets to the States. I actually worried that Amos might have arthritis or some other joint issues when I first met him. His knees and elbows looked so huge and swollen. What I figured out though, was that his joints were normal sized---his arms and legs were just so painfully thin, they made his knees and elbows look enlarged. (Sad sigh.)

I have no idea really what life will be like once Amos and Kalee come home to us. I'm told there are going to be loads of challenges and hard days as we figure each other out and navigate how to be a new family together. I've read tomes about all the issues we're going to have to work through and deal with.

But during our week together in Liberia....I didn't really let myself worry about all that. I didn't feel cause or need to worry. There weren't a bunch of yellow flags raised. My mom radar did not issue a single warning. Our time together was way more good than sad......and we laughed and smiled way more than not.

Brant played a borrowed guitar many afternoons and as he would show Amos how to hold a pick and strum along, Kalee always sat close with me, humming along, a car in each hand. At those times, it was as if we'd always known each other.....always been together....always been part of a family. A family long in the making.


Stephanie said...

so nice to read about each of the boys. They are going to bring so much light to you and all of us!

jena said...

Sigh. Praying them home sweet friend. Love you!

Johnson said...

AWE! So great to read about your experience!

Jen said...


Our kids have been home 2.5 years now and we have made it through the tough, hard days and the good ones too. I would LOVE to be a resource of encouragement to you at any time now and/or after the boys come home. We have learned so much in these past 2 years and the Lord has been so good to help us become a family and has redeemed our children in every way! Don't be scared or discouraged by all of the "info" out there. . . yes, it is hard, but the Lord's principles for parenting work no matter what the psychology experts tomes are saying! LOL!

and, you are right about the joints - once the children grow into their bones, they won't look so strangely swollen anymore! One of our children grew from a size 24 month into a size 6 in under 2 years!

Ginny said...

You are right not to worry about the hard times ahead. All the hard times are worth it just to have them home. Learning all you can now is good so that you know how to handle the difficult behaviors that may come about, but there is no need to worry! Your boys sound so precious. Honestly, Moses has been a piece of cake ever since we came to a better understanding of him. I pray that things start moving again soon.