What an emotional day! I can’t even begin to explain the range of feelings we have encountered today. I woke up, after dreaming about picking up our little girl all night long, very excited. Then I felt totally overwhelmed, knowing that our lives were about to change forever, in the orphanage I became so sad. I guess it was the fact that we were taking her away, or maybe it was the Aunties saying they were going to miss her, or maybe it was the thought of her being scared, and that WE were the ones that were the cause of it…

We were able to sleep in this morning until about 10 or so. And even then, it was only because of the roosters and other crazy animal noises right outside our windows:)

We hurried through breakfast just to wait for another hour or so for Godfrey. Ah, Africa time;) The kids were high on adrenaline, as we all anxiously waited to see our girl face to face.

By the time we made it to the orphanage it was nap time. Of course, we all know how that goes with our own kids, so you can only imagine the “nap time” at an orphanage of 53 kids can go, ha!

Austin, our pastor’s son, greeted us at the entrance and asked if we were ready to go get our girl. We told him that we’d rather wait and talk to the Aunties and visit with the cooks first…

Just kidding!!!! We anxiously made our way down the hallway to the little room where Shabila was taking her “nap”. She was very timid and shy, as well as very confused and scared I’m sure, but she did come straight to me and clung on tightly.

Rainy, Zeke and Cai LOVED seeing all those kids. They loved Zeke and his spiderweb throwing skills. The Aunties loved on Cai’s chubbiness and Areyna, well, she can’t get enough of her new little sister! I keep having to remind her that she needs some personal space:)

Since it was nap time we were unable to stay very long, but I did get to get in a few hugs and kisses with my niece who will be coming home shortly behind us!

We loaded up our family of 6 into the van and headed back to the guest house. Shabila slept in my lap the whole way. When we arrived she was still very shy and quiet. Zeke and his silly antics were the only thing that would get a smile out of her.

Josh walked up the street to buy some Jappati for lunch and brought it up to the room while we gave her some gifts and introduced ourselves. She definitely does NOT lack an appetite, that’s for sure!

All of a sudden Areyna began singing “Yesu Ne Wangu”, a Ugandan song we had taught them a few months back. Shabila immediately perked up, wide-eyed, and turned to Areyna. Then, she scooted closer to her and took her hand to hold it.

Oh my goodness, that memory will be forever engrained in my head…

That moment was the turning point. She began opening up to us, saying small words, responding, and playing with the kids. By bed time she was laughing, jumping and dancing around the room.

Small Facts: She ate 3 plates of food for dinner, her birthday is November 12, 2008, she likes to be tickled on her neck, she loves stuffed animals, swinging with Areyna was a highlight of her evening I’m sure, she has a really bad cough:(

Besides the initial sight of her, after a year, and the hand she reached over to Areyna, there is one other moment that was my favorite today. She was cuddling with Rainy in her bed and leaned back and hit her head on the bed. She got tears in her eyes but never cried. She just got out of bed, walked over to me and climbed into my lap to hold her until it stopped hurting and she was ready to go play again.

This mama has had a day full of warm-your-heart moments…and this is just the first day!

Here is a video of the first few moments in the orphanage:)