Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sweet Babies and Slimy Giraffes

I started typing this blog post by candlelight. Why, you might ask? Well, I had a bit of reserve battery on the laptop and the power has been out all evening. Subsequently, we had dinner, talked, and read bedtime stories by candlelight as well. This is apparently not uncommon in Kenya, and it is quite unpredictable as to when the power will come back on. I am amazed at how adaptable our kids seem to be as they haven’t minded a bit!

Yesterday we went to the Giraffe Centre, which was pretty amazing. The kids and I took a taxi for about 40 minutes to Karen, an area outside of the city. It was lush and beautiful, almost like a rainforest. The giraffes were amazing! We were able to pet them and feed them pellets. They are very friendly but only want to come near if you have food. B was a little nervous about feeding them, but T didn’t mind getting slobbered on by their giant gray tongues. What a fun adventure!

Today we went to the orphanage down the street to play with the children. We were struck by just how amazingly precious these little ones are. We got to play with the toddlers and then with the babies. It was beyond adorable to see B and T playing with them and being so gentle. B liked to “read” to them and T tried to teach a baby boy how to roll over by demonstrating it. He really liked touching the baby girls’ hair, too. One of the caregivers told me that most of the babies and toddlers will be adopted before age three – that is, unless they have HIV, which is the case for many of their children, and then they are not adopted. If they have HIV and reach age 3, they are then moved on to another home for older children so they can go to school and live there. Looking at the sweet faces of these little ones, that is hard to stomach. It was so hard to see so many precious little people and know that some (though you could not tell which ones at all) already had their futures written for them. I felt so blessed to have held them.

The orphanage takes wonderful care of these children and the caregivers were also kind to us. I thanked them so much for having us as I know we aren’t too much “help”, but they said they thank God for volunteers because they are extra hands to hold the children, more people praying, and possibly additional resources. I didn’t bring a camera today as I wanted to be respectful, however, they said that it would be okay to take pictures in the future (we will be going a couple of times a week) so hopefully I will be able to post some of my kids playing with the babies. In the meantime, here is their website, New Life Home Trust. The experience was moving and we are so thankful we can go back. Not to mention, I definitely wanted to hug my own babies a little tighter, too.

The experience at the orphanage was very encouraging to me since I had been feeling a bit discouraged the last few days. For one thing, the kids’ sleeping has still been pretty rough. So, we are a little on edge. Secondly, I was expecting people here to be a bit friendlier. I really like to talk to people, however I had felt as though I only got occasional smiles and more often suspicious looks. We are in the capital city and I am sure I probably wouldn’t get all that many smiles walking the streets of D.C. either, but I guess I am just realizing that there are probably a lot of social dynamics that I don’t understand. It isn’t that people have been rude, and many have been very, very kind, but it is just a very strange feeling to be so out of place. A taxi driver told me people probably assume that the reason I have children of different races is that T is the result of infidelity, because people do not often adopt here, nor do they adopt if they can have a bio child. So having a “scarlet letter” is a bonus, too. There are many places I can’t go alone and we need a taxi to do most things (which gets costly) so I had felt a little isolated, too. However, getting out to the giraffe center and orphanage (which is very walkable) have been good for morale.

In other thoughts, things are a lot slower paced here (everything takes longer like dishes, laundry, cooking, etc. and there are less things to do or to play with). This has provided me with some great time with the kids. We have been sticking our feet in the pool and saving bugs with leaves, putting on our raincoats and playing in a midday storm, and countless coloring/sticker books and puzzles. They love to play with the kids in the apartment complex, too. We asked T who his favorite friend was. He said it was “the boy with the head.” B quickly reminded him that “everyone here has heads, T.” So, they are up to their usual antics. J

Other notables:

T has been attempting to sustain himself on two meals of instant oatmeal per day.

I learned that just because you boil water to purify it, does not mean it will taste good.

Thank you so much for your encouraging words, prayers, and posts. What amazing friends you all are! And, sorry for the long post again…can you tell I don’t have all that many people to talk to?!


  1. I love your stories! I love the giraffe pictures. So different from our zoo. :) Hug the babies in the orphange for me too.

  2. Sounds great!! I can (on a smaller but valid scale) relate to feeling like an outsider and moving into a slower pace and not understanding the social dynamics. Your attitude is inspiring, as always. You are enjoying the positive things that are popping up out of the changes and that's the best thing you can do! Please let me know if I can send you anything for your kids! Or you :) Thank you for sharing! As usual, I'm living vicariously for sure!

  3. Oh my goodness - you are cracking me up!! Once again, I love knowing exactly what you are going through, with the power out, battery power on the laptop, the giraffe center, the taxi drives, the boiled water! Love it! I know it can be hard... hang in there. I'm with you on the scarlet letter!! :o) Love you! Kristin

  4. Hey, I was thinking about your post after I had gotten off the PC and realized how hypocritical I was to say "Please let me know if I can send you anything for your kids! Or you." Here I am wishing I could be where you are yet I am only thinking of you and yours. So, here's my change of heart: Please let me know what I can send for those babies or the workers or your family or whoever. I'd like to send something they could use immediately but whatever, I just have to be kind of creative. I was fantasizing about possibly asking Jacob's ambulance company to assist me in sending medical supplies. I'm leaving this on your blog instead of sending you a private message in case anyone else has any ideas or networking thoughts or anything like that on the subject. I know the organizations have it under control but is there something that you as a mommy visiting with her own kids see something that an organization might skim over? Let me (us) know?

  5. love you girl! give the babies a hug for us- and make them give you a hug for us too!!