The first couple of days I had her it was apparent she was dehydrated. She barely had 1-2 wet diapers a day (and they were not very wet at all). I quickly realized she could not even drink. She didn't know how to drink from a cup or a bottle. When I did put liquid in her mouth she choked on it. I knew right away that liquids were a priority. I started trying everything to get her to drink. She bites and chews everything, but does not know how to suck or swallow well. I got her a cup that you have to bite down on for the liquid to come out. It worked wonders! She can now drink a cup of water like a champ. She is wetting diapers (full diapers) constantly. In a matter of days she is no longer dehydrated. Her skin even changed. It is now more squishy and soft rather than flat and dry all because of a little water.
Like I said, she was biting so hard. Clenching her jaws, grinding her teeth. Every time I tried to give her food she would bite the spoon or my fingers. I was afraid she would not let go. Today I noticed she is no longer doing that. I fed her a muffin this morning and she took it from my fingers to her mouth so gently. She learned that biting hurts (I'm sure from my reaction of quickly pulling away and saying "ouch") and she learned it is not necessary.
I was so saddened by the way Gracie ate when I first fed her. After every bite she would scream and shake. I didn't understand. I have heard of how children from hard places have trouble with food/eating. I just was not prepared for this. It was like she was in a panic and afraid I would never give her another bite. I spoke softly to her and told her that she would always have enough to eat. I let her know that I would always be here to take care of her. I smiled at her and looked into her eyes when I fed her. Eventually, after about three days, the screaming and shaking calmed and I could see change. Now, after feeding her for a week, there is no more of that. She smiles when she eats and she is calm in between bites. When the meal is over, she is satisfied and calm. I would never have expected it to only take a week to help her through this.
Putting Gracie to bed at night was very difficult for all of us. She screamed if we held her, screamed if we rocked her, screamed if we put her in the bed. There was crying...from all of us. I felt so helpless. I knew I just wanted to comfort her, but that she needed to comfort herself. For almost four years she has only had herself to rely on. She has only been able to be soothed...by her. I had no choice but to let her crawl around and play on the floor until she passed out. She would rock herself and then just lay down on the floor and go to sleep. Two nights ago, she started crying when she was tired and cried when I put her in bed. I decided to put her on my chest and see what she would do. She snuggled her head on my chest and sighed. She was calm and went to sleep.
The sigh. Oh my, I love her sigh. She tells me she is comforted and relieved in that sigh.
Every time she wakes up she looks at me for a second, breathes a sigh and then a beautiful smile crosses her face. I can sense her relief. I really believe that she is relieved and so happy that she is still here with us and this was not all a dream. To me, it feels like a dream. I can't even imagine what is going through her head. All I can say is her constant smiles and laughter tell me all I will ever need to know.
She knows she is safe. She knows she is loved.
She is being physically and emotionally transformed before our eyes in a very short amount of time. We are being transformed spiritually. Our hearts forever changed. Our faith stronger than ever. Transformed through Christ in all that He has done. When there was fear, He told me "Be not afraid." When there was doubt, He told me "Trust in Me." When I thought I would not be able to do this, He reminded me, "I am here with you." He knows the plans He has for me. He knows the plans He has for Gracie. He knew that we were meant to be together. He knew we would be transformed. I know we will continue to be transformed.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
2 Corinthians 3:18
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
The first photo I ever saw of our daughter
The second photo I received of Gracie
What love and care can do...in just one week!