Monday, September 29, 2014

All in a day’s work: When Parenting is Hard

September is an exciting time in Zimbabwe! Everything starts to bloom: there are diverse, bright colors everywhere. The Jacarandas, oh how we love to take pictures of these gorgeous purple blossoms that will leave us too quickly.  

It is also the start of the third term for students… the beginning of the end of the year.  This year we have a little girl who is going back to grade three for the final term.  In January she will start grade 4, it is hard to believe!  Going back to school is hard for some families… we are one of those families.  During the school holiday the family can create an environment that is conducive to each child’s individual needs.  We control the entire routine, every snack and play date carefully arranged.  We get to help co-regulate emotions when the days are tough.  The success of the school term is largely dependent upon our children being able to navigate the classroom and the expectations of a teacher who may or may not know how to engage with kids from hard places.

This week I have been receiving calls, messages and emails from people around Zimbabwe who have adopted.  They are hurting and they are asking for help.  Common phrases are appearing such as, “No one told us it would be like this.”  Or “I am not sure we really knew how to count the cost.”  Things like, “We didn’t sign up for this.” And “We aren’t really sure if this is normal kid stuff or if this is adopted kids stuff, but we need help.”

Every child who has experienced loss (even if that loss occurred at birth) has a story.  That story will have a lifelong impact on them and it will impact those who love them. Our children were not given a choice regarding their experiences, but we were.  It is up to us to be prepared.  We want our kids to bloom, like the jacarandas and the rest of the gorgeous flora around Zimbabwe.  But the truth is, the blooms don’t burst forward with quite the same rhythm.  Our kiddo’s springtime success requires a lot of hard work and a team of support.  The school holiday time is an important time for us to equip our children with techniques that empower them to navigate the uncertainties of the school day.

And when our kiddo comes home on a Friday in a funk, it is our job to provide all the nurture and care she needs.  That is sometimes harder than it sounds, but it’s always worth it.

With love from Zimbabwe,


Because we all need a reminder when the days are hard.


Monday, September 15, 2014

Team Chari: We're growing by 2 feet! (And a BUMP pic!)

At the beginning of June Nyasha and I moved into a very small one bed roomed cottage closer to our church.  It is our dream to buy a home in this area and we hoped that by moving in now, we would grow some roots and become more a part of the community.  

We had only been married for 8 months and we knew that living in close quarters would be a challenge, but we decided to go for it!  (Mainly because the cottage is so adorable and I fell in love with it instantly!)  We knew the weekends and school holidays would be especially cramped with the very small lounge turned into the kiddo’s “bedroom.”

A week after we moved in, I was LOVING the small space.  It was easy to clean, we were living with less and my soul felt free.  Nyasha wasn’t loving it, yet.  Our bedroom is a loft with steeply slanted ceilings and every morning without fail I hear a thump as he bangs his head.  Then I laugh and then we both laugh and I am reminded of how much he loves me—so much that he gave me this time, in this home even when it is not his favorite.

And then I started feeling sick.  For a few days I brushed it off as a stomach bug, something I ate or something I picked up from one of the kids I work with.  But it just wouldn’t quit.  I was vomiting several times a day…and I stopped at the pharmacy and picked up a pregnancy test.  It took about 15 seconds for that second pink line to appear.  And about 12 minutes later for Nyasha to appear at the front door after a morning run.  He found me sitting on the front stoop pale (from the vomit or the fear I am not sure) and panicking.  I showed him the test and he said, “What does this mean?”  I responded with, “It means you are going to be a daddy.”  He swooped me into his arms and cheered, it was magical, special moment.

And then reality set in.  School, I so wanted to learn the material I was learning in this program that I was right in the middle of.  Work, I had just transitioned out of the organization I had worked with for 8 years and into a new position with a new funding source.  Home, we just moved into the tiniest house!  This was NOT the timing we had talked about. 

We went to the doctor and he confirmed with an ultrasound that it was early.  He gave me some tips on how to handle the nausea and some medicine and sent us on our way.  I kept pushing myself to work and to keep my normal routine…after all women have babies all the time. 

A week later I was in the emergency room hooked up to an IV, with a referral that said “Hyperemisis Gravadum” to give my obgyn.  I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t drink.  The smallest sip of water or the thought of any food would send me running to vomit.  I was exhausted, dehydrated and miserable.  I went to the doctor with my papers from the ER and he calmly checked the baby with an ultrasound and said all looks well for baby but that momma was headed to the hospital.  After a few days in hospital (feeling like a total failure—because after all women have babies everyday) doc sent me home to take it easy.  Over the next few months I lost all pretense of dignity.  I have vomited in every bush on our property, I have vomited on every floor in our home.  I have vomited at work and at church and out the door of the car many times.  When Taps came to visit, I barfed so hard that I peed my pants.  Go ahead, laugh—I have to laugh or else I will cry!

Eventually, as the doctor promised, it eased up a bit.  At 20 weeks, I am halfway through this pregnancy and I still feel nauseous every day.  However I do not vomit every day now and if I do it is once—not 20 times.  I can eat ( some things) and drink water and iced tea! Feeling better has helped us to get more excited about the baby.  Poor Nyasha hasn’t eaten well in months but he has taken extraordinary care of me and I am so grateful to him. 

We didn’t plan for this timing, but we are so thrilled to share the second half of this pregnancy with you all.  I hope you understand why we didn’t share all the details of the first half—there were no pictures of emerging bumps and smiling faces, not because we aren’t thrilled—but because I was so very ill.  The people who had to witness this will tell you—it wasn’t pretty :-)

In my next post I will fill you in on some of the details you are all so interested in: Is baby Chari a boy or a girl? Will we remain on the mission field in Zimbabwe? How does Ru feel about being a big sister? I know you have many questions and I appreciate your emails and messages and I will give you the scoop next time!

There are 4 of us in that canoe :-)  There's the baby at 18 weeks!