So last June (and in part 3) we left our sweet girls behind at their orphanages, and our hearts just about broke. It would be December before Stephanie could finally return to get them - it took that long to go through all of the legal processes.
My heart ached every day for these two babies. I knew Anna was being cared for, but not like a family could care for her. I missed her sweet smile and laugh. Waiting for Sarah was one of the most emotionally wrecking things I've ever been through - knowing she was not getting the care she needed and was confined to a bed most of the day was more than I could bear. During that six months I found out about the baby home at which I now work, applied to come, was accepted, and lined up everything that I needed to have in order to intern here.
Stephanie picked the girls up in the beginning of December. I was in Bulgaria with another friend and was so blessed to be able to meet up with them at the hotel. After I returned from the Bulgaria trip, I drove down to North Carolina to visit Stephanie, the girls, and their family!
Anna fell right into her role as big sister. She likes to play with Sarah and tell her, "Come to Mama. It's OK. Mama's got you."
I've compiled numerous photos and videos off of Facebook since December so you can see how much they have grown.
This was Anna's birthday in March.
She couldn't stop talking about her Mickey Mouse cake.
She still reminds me every time I skype her that "Anna had a happy birthday!" I think it made a big impression on her. ;)
This is Sarah at the party. Always ready to play ball. =)
They went to the beach on vacation.
Reports say that Anna LOVED it.
Anna visiting a farm and looking adorable
Anna around Easter
Anna my darling. This outfit is from Auntie Abbie. =)
I get to Skype with my nieces all the way from Africa. It always makes my day. They start shouting "A-BEE! A-BEE!" as soon as Skype starts loading!
Sarah is turning into such a talker. She definitely loves to have some screen time! She babbles on and on in Sarah-speak, inserting people's names occasionally. She counts to ten, with help..."...three, eight, nine, TEN!!!!!!!" She says, "I love you" and "Hi!" and other little things.
I saved the best for last. Here is a video of my sweet girl walking with her walker!!! Isn't she too cute for words?
I still ache to watch this. It's beautiful, and my baby is accomplishing so much more than anyone ever thought she would. But it's easy to see that sweet girl has a long road ahead of her in so many ways. If anyone knows how to put weight on a child, it's Stephanie. However, despite her diligent attention, Sarah is still struggling to put weight on, only gaining a pound here or there. Years of life in an institutional setting have scarred her small frame in so many ways. The doctors have finally decided to place a feeding tube in her stomach so mealtime isn't such a battle. She will still be eating by mouth some, which is good. The surgery will be in about two weeks. Please pray she is able to gain more weight! From what I understand, they are going to be doing serial casting on her clubbed feet as well. They say she will probably be able to walk!
Anna is doing well, walking independently and talking up a storm! She has fattened up quite a bit. =)
I miss them so much while I am here in South Africa! I'm not ready to go home, but I want to squish them. <3 I'm so thankful for Skype!