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The Reunion

December 12, 2012

I wrote this first part while I was still in Texas and never got around to posting it, but it ends with our time back here in the Philippines…


So far I feel strange…  Coming back here after a year feels really normal but the normalcy feels really odd.  That probably makes no sense at all…  I have felt like I’ve been in a daze since we arrived.  I am finally starting to have the right sleeping schedule down… just in time to have to get back on the other one… Today Kendall said Angel’s name about 5 times.  She kept meaning to say ‘Neely and Liam,’ but it would flow out ‘Neely and Angel.’ Their names just go together now… It’s hard to say one name without the other.  I miss her. We all do.  We bought her some pajamas at Walmart the other night because Neely had gotten some new ones, and she kept reminding us that Angel needed some too.  Neely sat them right up on the counter and told the cashier all about them…  “These are for my sister.  Her name is Angel.  She’s a Filipino.  She couldn’t come with us…”  The lady just nodded and looked at us for confirmation and we nodded in agreement with Neely.  I have been having some really mixed emotions being back here, some that I usually just share with God and my husband.  One of these emotions I encountered a few days ago, when Neely coughed up a worm… YES a WORM… the same kind Angel had come out of her bottom a few months back… NEVER her mouth!  We were driving to our Pastor’s house last Saturday and the kids were sleeping in the back.  Kendall yelled, “Momma, what IS that? Momma!”  I looked backed and saw Neely gagging on a live worm wiggling out of her throat.  I tried to leap back there and pull it out but I was bound by my seatbelt and I suddenly forgot how to take it off.  I kept tugging and trying to get free and hollering at Kendall to “Pull it out! Pull it out!”  And poor Kendall kept reaching for it but would jerk her hand back and holler.  John pulled over and I finally made it out the door to find that Neely had pulled it out and dropped it on the floor board.  I put it in an empty Dr. Pepper can and we headed directly to the hospital.  I could not stop shaking and, the whole way there, I was beside myself.

‘How did Neely get this?  I thought Angel had gotten it from the food she had eaten before we got her.  We had always overcooked our food!  Why was it coming out of her throat?  Angel’s never did that!  Are these contagious?  How could I not know this?

… Am I a horrible mom to take them somewhere that this could happen to them?…

We waited in the E.R. for almost an hour where I had time to calm down as I watched Neely playing and being her usual self as if she didn’t just pull an 8 inch live worm out of her mouth.  The hospital was super… very thorough… and very curious.  We had so many hospital staff visitors come by to see this thing for themselves and the word had spread quickly.  They sent a stool sample along with the worm for testing and took x-rays.  Neely posed and smiled for the pictures and talked about the worm like it was just a friend.  I tell you, that girl!  l eventually just had to laugh rather than worry.  The result was Ascaris worms…  not contagious, not common to the U.S., have to be eaten through undercooked foods as well as vegetables exposed to fecal matter with the worm eggs.  That night, after tucking the kids in bed, I had quiet time with the Lord and I really poured my concerns out to Him.  Ultimately, I felt peace… and in that moment I was so thankful that the Lord had revealed the worm to me so that she could get the exact care she needs, not only her, but Angel.  And Neely had behaved just as she should… a child of God… worry free and full of joy while I had panicked and allowed fear to guide me.


We arrived back in the Philippines late Wednesday night, and arrived in Baguio early Thursday morning.  All of us were so excited to see Angel.  We were taking dibs, in the taxi, on who got to hug her first.  I cleared it all up by saying, ‘I’m her mother.  I get the first hug.’  Only when we got back to the house, we were locked out, so the kids and I had to stay out on the carport with the luggage while John went to Pastor Dan’s house, where Angel was staying.  He got the first hug.     I wasn’t there so I can only picture what he told me.  He said the door was cracked and he knocked…  The little face that came to open it was Angel’s.  He said that she gasped and jumped up into his arms and squeezed his neck.  He said they hugged for a good while…  In the meantime the kids and I, running on pure excitement, were talking again about who would get to hug her first.  Then John and Angel rode up with Pastor Dan on his motorcycle (completely normal here).  And all the kids starting screaming, “Angel!”  I, of course, just stood there and cried.  As soon and she got off and took off her helmet, she was tackled by her siblings.  She reacted as if she was embarrassed by all the attention, and sort of just walked in a stomping, take-charge sort of way, putting all her things where they go, with a tight-lipped grin on her face the whole time.  I figured, if I wasn’t first, I’d be last.  I said, “You better give me a hug little missy.”  I picked her up and hugged her and told her how much I missed her and she told me next time she is going to Texas.  🙂   We gave her all her gifts and explained who they were from, along with all the promised hugs.

From the reunion on, she has been her same ol’ self, and talking our ears off.  She told me that she is going to take a bath every day so her skin will get white.  She still thinks that she will get light hair and skin when she goes to America.  I always explain to her how pretty her skin and hair are and how lots of Americanos look like her.  She will see for herself one day and I pray she realizes how beautiful she is.  She also told me that when her mom died she wore a white rope on her head so she could go to Heaven.  She was only 2 then.  I will have to ask if that is a tradition here.  She tells me everything under the sun and wants me to sing with her a lot… lately the song has been “Trust and Obey.”  There is no other way.

Right now I just want to say thank you so much to all of you.  We are so blessed by you.  While we were there we were:  loaned a car for our travels, fed so much that we all gained at least 5 pounds, given a phone, had so many comfortable places to stay, showered with love, support, and prayers.  I am in awe of your selfless giving which has left us feeling so uplifted… so encouraged.  We love you all so much!

One Comment leave one →
  1. December 17, 2012 6:44 pm

    When I am able to read, I’m always thankful for the dose of “humbled” that you always give. Thank you for sharing it all.

    Billy and JoJo

    PS Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

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