Sunday, January 27, 2013

When my husband and I committed to adopting Makayla from Reece's Rainbow, now our precious Annabelle, we were clueless of what we were actually doing. We thought we were simply adopting a little girl who needed a family and some medical help because her country did not have the means to help her.

When I read Annabelle's profile and it said she was 10 years old and weighed 22 pounds...I thought she had "failure to thrive". No big deal, my Amanda has a permanent g-tube because she has "failure to thrive". I know exactly how to handle "failure to thrive". I'm a pro. I have over 16 years of dealing with it.

Cataracts. Shoot, Amanda has cataracts too. Annabelle was right up my ally.

We never heard of P*even. We never knew about neglect in foreign orphanages. We never once saw anyone advocating for Makayla on their blog (though we now know people did).

We were a mom and dad who wanted to expand our family.

We committed to Annabelle and that was that.

Then the horror came to light. We learned about P*even, the orphanage she was at.

Annabelle didn't have "failure to thrive"...she was starved, starving. She was neglected. Placed in a room with very little light.

Night after night I stared at my ceiling in the dark praying to God. Please move this adoption along.

What began as a peaceful commitment to a little girl became a rescue mission to save a life from tyranny.

Left to right: Keegan 6yrs, Annabelle 11yrs, Jacob 4 yrs.
Annabelle is slightly sitting on the couch.

As we watch our Annabelle thrive at home we also are seeing so much of past hurt surfacing and fading away.

When we first picked her up from the orphanage, she STUNK. It was horrible. I almost couldn't stand to be near her. (I have a sensitivity to smells)

The smell coming from her was the smell of neglect. She was dehydrated. Her tongue was completely dry. Her teeth caked with plaque. Her hair stunk, her body probably hadn't been bathed in who knows how long.

Today, she only has a very slight odor coming from her green rotten teeth that need to be fixed or extracted. Not sure which yet. She is receiving antibiotics for an ear infection she had and to help with her teeth. She smells like a sweet little girl.

Remember this picture?

I used to be fascinated that she was playing with her fingers. She looked bored and wanting like the wheels in her head were turning. Well she was bored and wanting. She was harming herself from insanity. Her hands are covered in scars from her picking at herself. She has one last sore that she had given herself before we picked her up. That sore is healing and she has not given herself any new ones.

It took her four days before we had a poopy diaper from her. And when she finally did it was rock hard, black and I swear there was wood in it. Now she's pooping every half hour. Her poop looks normal finally but I think there is an issue here. She's going a little too much. I have to wait to hear from the doctor. We have another appointment with an international pediatrics doctor Feb 7th.

Annabelle was also unbelievably pale. Ghost like. Her skin is slowly gaining more and more color. What a beautiful child she is.

It's only been two weeks since we took her from that orphanage. The changes are huge in such a short time. She's learning English like a native. She's learning sign language like she's known it her whole life. She's learning what it means to be loved and she's giving that love back to us.

There's only one thing I wish I could make her understand. The fact that she will never, never go back to that orphanage or any orphanage. Every time we go out, even to Walmart, she rocks and cries. She's fearful. But as soon as we pull in the driveway to home, she goes crazy with happiness! Her legs are wiggling, her arms are going, she's screaming joy and laughing!

Annabelle is our precious daughter forever. Please pray that God will give her peace, that she will know we are her forever family.

Thank you everyone for your kind words. They have meant so much to us. God bless you all.

I'm sorry for the lack of pictures but Annabelle is slightly fearful of the camera so I haven't taken too many. I will post more as she becomes more comfortable with the sight of the camera.


  1. So excited that she is home! I have followed your blog but never posted before now (sorry for lurking!) :) I wanted to mention, though, that you should have her tested for intestinal parasites. Many internationally adopted kids have them - even those who have not been in such desperate situations as Annabelle. I hope whatever it is that you're able to resolve it quickly! Poo every 30 minutes is no fun!

  2. I'm glad to hear about how she's doing, but heartbroken to hear about all the hurt she has experienced. Poor darling. She will heal in time although obviously some scars last forever... but she will, I'm confident, at least learn that family is forever. She has a wonderful one to help her along the way. Prayers for you always.

  3. What a blessing Annabelle is to your family and what a blessing your family is to her. She'll be getting good care and love...she's going to grow and thrive. And soon she'll understand that she's home forever.


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We're your average family. No fame or riches. We have our ups and downs. When it rains it pours but we always view the glass as half full. We go where our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ leads. We aren't perfect but we always try to do our best.

Annabelle. The one born in our hearts.

Kandice. Our artistic one.

Amanda. Our helpful one.

Keegan. Our curious one.

Jacob. Our sensitive one.