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Jesus said, "I have come so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of." (John 10:10)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Today was another good but very tiring day for all of us. We spent the late morning with all of the other families at a restaurant. Savanna was still very quiet, expressionless, and showed no emotional responses other than just staring at us. So we did what all good and wise parents do and ordered her a chocolate milkshake! By the time she was done with it (while sitting in her father's lap), she began pointing to other drinks on the table that she wanted to taste (mom's coke, dad's sprite, etc.). This was HUGE! Her first obvious communication with us! She then proceeded to play cars with her brothers and the other children her age that were adopted by the other families. Silas came and told me twice that she smiled - i missed it both times of course. Samuel did well also, still loving Art and Silas (by the way, the only detail Art did not make clear in yesterday's blog, probably out of humility, is that Samuel is absolutely in LOVE with his "daddy"! He loves being held by Art, tickled by Art, wrestling with Art, repeating every word Art asks him to say, etc.) I can't say enough how helpful it has been that Art learned many Rwandan phrases and words before we came here. Anyway, Samuel had another fruit drink and LOVED it....of course, he also loved my coke, Art's sprite, and basically anything that is offered to him (or not offered to him). One of the few other times Savanna "communicated" with us was when Art put ketchup on Samuel's plate. She began to make a noise and push some food over on her plate to make room! (coke and ketchup...children after my own heart)...

After lunch it was back to the hotel, where we played with the kids in the courtyard and then went inside during a rain. The kids all enjoy playing outside together (especially with the other Rwandan children they know). Silas is an AMAZING brother, so patient with the kids and extremely helpful! We had some downs in the day too, one of which included another large "unannounced" poop from Imelda that once again covered the legs, shoes, floor, etc. before we could stop it. This was very upsetting to her, as she was already very sleepy. I can't imagine what she is thinking or feeling in this brand new and somewhat shocking environment. Bringing them to the hotel tomorrow for good should help a lot with continuity, consistency and eventually trust.

But finally, it was daddy again to the rescue - he actually made her smile on the bus home! of course, when he tried to get her to do it for me, she put on the guarded look once again, and she cried buckets of tears when I tried to pry her away from him to hug her goodbye.... It was a little hard for me in that moment, but I'm honestly just so glad that neither of the children are afraid of Art (as happens often since they usually have never seen a white male). We keep reminding ourselves what we've known all along...this will be a process, not a "moment".....Both of the children are calling us "mama" and "daddy", which sounds really cool...especially from Savanna who has said so few words to us so far!

Even Silas hated leaving them at the orphanage again today...did I mention how wonderful he's been?... But from tomorrow morning at 7:00 until we leave, they are with us 24-7, so we are taking advantage of a much needed good night's sleep tonight.

Samuel LOVES candy (which he calls "bon bons") - going so far as to try to get the broken pieces we throw away out of the garbage to put them in his mouth again...

Savanna loves holding her cars (only puts them down to potty or wash hands!)

Samuel plays HARD! a future athlete, perhaps? but also "drums" with whatever objects are in his hands (and has great rhythm)

Savanna loves to be held, and puts both arms around you in a hug the whole time!

They both love bubbles and admire their big brother.

They both love washing their hands!..over and over...

Please pray for rest for us and wisdom as we deal with challenges physically, mentally and emotionally that accompany this adventure! Also, please say a prayer for my health (which has been GREAT, by the way), but I'm coming down with laryngitis - hopefully caused by allergies and not a cold. We feel incredibly blessed! We'll try to post when able, but may not have as much time or energy once the children join us full-time tomorrow. I'll try to post some new photos if I can figure out how tonight before turning in!


  1. Oh Shelly, so good to hear from you and will pray for your voice. If you can get your hands on some apple cider vinegar to gargle w/, it helps a lot! I used to get laryngitis regularly. But will be praying for all these challenges. I'm seeing a connection between chocolate shakes and messy pants....you think? I'll bet all these new sights and tastes are just overwhelming to their senses. I will pray for a peace to wash over your whole family.

    PS. What sizes do you think the kids are? Curious minds want to know : )

  2. Dear swelling in size Snead Clan,
    Thank you so very much for allowing all of us to have a peek into this most blessed time of your life.
    I have spent the last hour, laughing, crying, and "living" with you guys as you have made your first tentative steps with Samuel and Savannah. God will have Grace upon you and provide you with the wisdom and peace in the coming days of "heights of joy" and "canyons of challenge".
    Know that our hearts and prayers have and will continue to be turned in your direction.
    Fred and Karen
    P.S. Let me know when you are ready to write a book, Shelly. It would make the best seller's list. I couldn't quit laughing with the images of Art dashing with Samuel out to the balcony to "rain on the crops below", so to speak.
    You guys are so dearly loved and missed by us in WV. Take care.

  3. Our son also went through a phase of rejecting me and clinging to daddy while in Rwanda. It happened about 1 day after he came into our custody which was 3 says into meeting him. It lasted several days which was really hard. He would scream when I would hold him and want dad. I would have to bribe him with food (which actually helped!). Thankfully it got better bit by bit. Now we have a whole new set of challenges at home with a toddler!

  4. Shelly and Art,
    We are so enjoying your posts and will pray for rest and for Shelly's voice. I will echo what the commenter above said about the milkshakes and "poop". If Savannah has giardia, it is many times made worse by lactose, which could be the reason for the "explosions". Or, it could just be that she is overwhelmed and not fully potty trained! Either way, praying that it gets better :)

  5. Loving reading about your time with Samuel and Savanna. Will continue to pray for the rest of your time in Africa. Thanks for taking the time to blog about it!!

  6. Thanks for sharing your "adventure" on the blog! Samuel and Savanna are so blessed to be a part of your family. We'll keep praying for the transition back home, along with settling in once you're at home.

  7. Hello Sneads! I have been out of town on a retreat since you have been posting in Rwanda and haven't had a chance to comment. This retreat had Tricia Hill, Amy Parker, and Sheri Ellis...all Auburn BCM girls! We all huddled around my iphone reading your posts and looking at your pictures. Know that we prayed for you!!

    We are so exicited for your adventure of a lifetime and can't wait to meet your little ones one day...especially when ours comes home:)

    Thanks for taking us on this journey! We are praying for your family each day.

    Frances (and the gang!)