Join Angela, Axel, Abel and Asher as they welcome their new sibling home.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A bed to call her own

While this pictures is not the best quality, I want you to look at the background. Do you see the beds all pushed together? Then behind the beds is a wall. If memory serves me right, a girl we call Ianna sleeps on the other side of that wall, on an identical bed. I can almost touch her from here. 

Now, look at the beds again. Do you see how they are all pushed together? 10 beds...all pushed together TIGHT! The orphanage is filled with room after room after room of beds pushed together tight, every one of them containing a sleeping child at night. That is a lot of children who don't have mommas or pappas!  

I don't know if the caregivers pull the beds apart at night so the kids are separated for sleeping, or if they stay pushed up against one another. One on hand, I hope that they are separated, so that they have the tiniest bit of privacy. On the other hand, I hope that they're next to each other, so they're not completely alone. But if she is used to someone sleeping r.i.g.h.t. next to her every night, can you imagine how different it will be to come home to her very own bedroom?

To her very. Own. BED?

My girl spent her first 8 years in the most horrendous conditions you can imagine. She has never had a single item to call her own. In pictures and videos I get of her, she is often seen carrying a naked baby doll (apparently naked baby dolls are universal! LOL) but it's never the same baby doll. In videos she is very gentle with her babies. I have my eye on a couple simple baby dolls who's clothes don't have to come off (something that is difficult for her, since she has minimal use of her fingers, and thumbs) and I can't wait to buy a cradle for her baby dolls, which I will put in her room. I will teach her lullabies to sing, and together we will love on those babies.  Ok, sorry, I was having a moment there....Have I mentioned I'm just a *tiny* bit excited about having a girl who likes to play with dolls? It's not that I don't love playing "Dog the Bounty Hunter", its just that there is something about a tea party that I'm sure I'm missing out on. (and don't tell Angela, but when Ianna turns 11, Angela might just have to suffer through a princess party!

Anyway, we are s.l.o.w.l.y. getting things ready around here. No, I don't have the office cleaned out yet, but still I've been watching Craigslist for bedroom sets, and have had a vision in my head of what I can see for Ianna's room. Like the $300 French provincial set that Dean said was out of my price range....sigh...why does he always have to be the voice of reason?

Then a couple weeks ago I saw and add with a picture that said "I've had this set since I was 10 years old!" along with a picture.

Let me take you back in time to...oh...about 1972...

In 1972, I was 5 years old and my parents had built a brand new house in the middle of a corn field in prime horse country in Minnesota.  I know when we first moved in I had my brother and sister's old bunk beds, but around the time when I turned 7 my room was completed. That room came straight out of a Dayton's catalog, I'm pretty sure! The bedding, wallpaper, and curtains were all the exact same pattern (small pink and yellow stripes with tiny little flowers with green stems in there too) Oh, and yellow and white shag carpeting. A few years later, hidden in the corner, under my bed, was about a 3ft square patch of ROCK HARD carpet where I'd spilled a bottle of wood glue and tried to clean it up with water. Oops! 

My actual bedroom furniture was a set that was very popular at the time. In fact, it was so popular that BARBIE had to have it! Here it is, scaled down for the Dreamhouse itself! 


There were lots of pieces available to this set, but only two pieces that I didn't have. One was the wardrobe. I had a big closet in my room, so a wardrobe would have been silly. The other was the canopy bed.  I had always WANTED the canopy bed, only my mom had gotten me the wrought iron headboard/footboard instead. But my best friend? Yeah, SHE had a canopy bed, with a really pretty blue ruffly canopy on it! And her curtains were perfectly matched to the canopy. I loved it. With her blue shag carpeting, and she had these little toy horses lined up in their little barn in the corner of her room. We pretended the blue shag carpeting was their hay, and (don't tell her mom) pulled up the carpet fibers and made little blue bales of hay with it. Cuz, you know, walking outside and using the GRASS would have been messy! 

My friend's room looked like it belonged in a magazine. My room did too, only I wanted to be in her magazine, and I'm pretty sure she wanted to be in mine. I spent the night over there a.l.o.t. Probably way more than her parents cared for, and far more than I reciprocated. 

So yeah, anyway...back to June 2010, and the Craislist ad. So this set had several pieces, and also included the canopy bed.  Even though it wasn't very expensive, it was money we don't we have right now, with money tied up in the adoption process. Dean told me to offer her less, which I felt silly doing, since I know the memories attached to such a set, and she really wasn't asking very much. But Dean is the smart one in this relationship, so I followed his suggestion. I sent an email, explaining that we were adopting, and that it was more than we could spend. I made my offer.

She answered back a few minutes later saying the set was still available, and that adoption is close to her heart, since she has several friends adopting. My offer would be fine.

We exchanged a few more emails, and somewhere along the way I sent her a link to this blog, along with some other details from our story. It wasn't long before one of her emails said, "By the way, now that I'm 1/2 way through reading your blog, no charge on the bedroom set!" 

We picked up the bedroom set this week, and it's given me a new motivation to get the bedroom done. (ahem, the bed has to stay in my car until I have an empty bedroom to put it in!)  I can't thank Jen enough for this amazing gift she's given to Ianna, who has no idea what is waiting for her a few months down the road. A bed to call her own, and also something I can share with her from my own childhood thanks to my new friend Jen. And I'm pretty sure that Jen and I have just formed a friendship that will last a very long time. And who knows? Maybe someday a face like this will find his way into her household?


  1. I had the canopy! But.. I loved the monkey bars and tried to swing from my canopy. Woooweee! I got in big trouble! I love it! Your new craigslist friend is awesome!

  2. Wow, what an awesome post, Leah! And an amazingly generous new friend you've made. I hope Ianna gets to come home to her new family, new dolls and new bedroom set very, very soon.

  3. That is great!! What a great person to give you the bed. My husband always offer way less than the asking price on stuff. Some times he gets it sometimes he doesn't.

    Stuff I sell on there I usually just want gone and I'll be happy to get pretty much anything for it. SO I usually take just about any offer (within reason).

    Happy she now has a bed. Now just to get past those hurdles and work on getting her home!

  4. The little girl shown walking in the room of beds isn't Natalia from RR is it?

  5. Kristen: I can't say this girl's name, as she's not available for internet adoption, but I do have several more pictures of Natalia. You can find them in this video. Look for the group of kids climbing all over my lap. Natalia is the one with VERY dark hair.

  6. Thank You! She has grown soo much, I have been Natalia's prayer warrior for a long time. Would you mind if I could have a few pictures to put next to the one I was given by RR?

  7. Kristin, could you contact me privately at deanleah at comcast dot net ? I don't have any way to send you pictures otherwise.