From Ken (my notes in italics on occasion)
Hi wonderful family,
I wrote you two different e-mails that I tried to send , but I could not get web access, so neither got sent. Anyway the crux of the two e-mails was that I was excited, nervous and most all tired as I was about to meet Kiffanie. The problem was when we arrived, we were hustled into a room for passport approval. The room was hot and ran very slowly. I was asked the address of person I was staying with. Well I had no idea, and I thought that they weren’t going to let me in. (Pastor Wheatly had warned us this might happen, but it somehow didn’t have him prepared enough.) They did let me through and was then asked for the proof of vaccination. I am glad my sweety put it in and I happened to see it or I might still be at the airport. (Whew, glad I thought of that) A third hold up ensued, as I could not find the checked luggage tags. They did not want to let me have the luggage without it. Didier to the rescue. He brought a copy of the passport, which the original did not seem to satisfy. I finally cleared customs and was able to leave.
Finally we made it to Didier’s vehicle and he had Kiffanie waiting inside. She was very reluctant to come see me, but I finally picked her up and Didier got a picture. She was very shy and timid at first, this was not surprising even though she knew it was coming. I did not force the issue at this time to let her get more comfortable. We drove to the Internet cafe where I sent you the very quick note. This was because I was having problems using there system and even the keyboards were not the same, and i really struggled with that. I know the note was not very interesting, so I am typing up on the I-pad to send to you tomorrow. After we drove back to the orphanage, she loosened up into the Kiffanie we saw on the videos back home.she was still a little more subdued than I would have expected, but she showed what a handful she is going to be.
Didier showed me around the property with Kiffanie trailing behind. She and one of Didier daughters were with us and I think Didier daughter was more ready to come home with me than Kiffanie. (I threatened to take both). His place looks very much like a compound . He has four buildings on the property, and very little green. It is very dry during this season, so he has what appears to be large parking area (sound familiar). (Our own climate is dry, and our property has been called a “compound” and “parking area” by some…)
We have our own semi private guest house. One room is used to house the younger orphans. A young married couple lives here and stays with the little ones. They have there own room and pretty much stay out of the rest of the guest house.
I spent my first nights dinner with Didier, Kiffanie, Didier’s daughter. Kiffanie was very talkative during dinner. Dinner consisted of Swedish beef, rice potatoes, okra, and some other vegetable that Didier didn’t know the word for in English. I want you to know that I ate some of everything. (Laughing as Ken’s a recovering picky-eater.) The okra was ok, was not wild about the other vegetable, but the main course was quite good. For desert, Didier broke open a fruit that is kind of across between a cantaloupe and a Papua.
I spent my first night with Kiffanie. They encourage the parents to be with the child as much as possible, so we even sleep in the same bed. I wasn’t sure if it was going to happen the first night. When she was finally alone with me in the guest house, I think she was a little frightened and even started to cry a little. Didier had come back to put the generator away and we decided that for the first night it would be ok for her to stay in her bed. Apparently, Angelic talked to her and I had a knock on my door later. She was still a little timid, but I think she was very tired and settled in quickly. She is kind of a bed hog though. This morning I got up to use the restroom and came back and she was sleeping side ways and giving me very little room to get back in to the bed.
He sent one photo of Kiffanie in the car which we’ll be posting when she’s on her way home. We aren’t sharing photos of her on the whole world-wide-web until she’s in the skies on her way to our family. So far he hasn’t sent me any other pictures, but as he sends them, I’ll post those that I can!
I think her slight shyness is actually a good sign of healthy boundaries. Some children from similar circumstances will superficially seem to attach to anyone in order to “find favor”. It can be a survival skill, but makes long-term bonding more of a hurdle, and can pose some dangers as well. A little shyness shows that she appropriately distinguishes between strangers and those she can trust. We pray that God will guide her heart and give her peace that she can trust us, and that she’s safe and loved.