Hebrews 10:23- "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful."

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wordless Wednesday......

Taken after her vaccinations......even when she cries she's cute!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

One month later.....

I meant to write a blog "post-adoption, one month later", however I forgot, and our computer is messed up. So I'm a couple days late and writing from my blog app on my phone. I'll apologize now for any "auto-corrections" that may be wrong......
So today is February 24, we got Olivia on January 20, and have been home 3 weeks now. It's so hard to believe we have only had her for 5 weeks. It honestly feels like she has always been ours. I don't really have any negative things to report. I'm not trying to sugar coat anything, we really have had an amazing transition here at home.
Has it been all rainbows and sunshine? No. Have 3 children had to learn and adjust to a new little sister? Yes. Is Olivia 3 in every meaning of the words "3 year old"? Yes. I always said, whoever named it the terrible two's was completely wrong, three is worse. Three year olds know right from wrong and know how to manipulate and push and get what they want, two year olds are learning and exploring. Olivia is three and even though she has lived the first three years of her life in an orphanage, with nothing to call her own, she has come home where everything is hers and she wants what she wants. If she doesn't get what she wants then she turns the bottom lip down and pouts. It's actually really cute. I will say, that has been the hard part. Here she is three and newly adopted, all the books and "experts" say, no time out, never make her feel alone or bad. But how do you establish boundaries? I can't wait another 6 months and then stop giving in to every request she has and tell her no. We have to start now. So when she wants something she can't have, like my phone, or the channel changer that works (she doesn't want the one that doesn't work), or cookies for dinner, she pouts. I have started doing time ins, where I hold her while she pouts. She wants to roll around on the floor and look miserable. The kids have a hard time with this too. There have been a couple of times where she has tried to take something from them and they won't give it to her, so she would hit them. Of course I sternly tell her "no, no hitting" and she does the adorable pouty thing again.......and she then sits in my lap for another time in....... Of course this is hard and feels like I'm rewarding her by letting her sit in my lap, the others would have thought, "ha, I showed her!" But I can never let her feel like I'm going to leave her or she is bad. When children are adopted at an age where they can understand change, they don't have a sense of security for quite sometime. How could they? She honestly felt like the orphanage was her home and knew nothing different. She had no idea of what life was suppose to be like and what a home was and what a family was. I mean think about it, she lived there from infancy, never leaving, never experiencing anything else.

So we have dealt with some normal 3 year old behaviors but other than that everything has been really good. She has settled in to her home and expresses love and is repeating so many English words. The other night the girls and I were at dinner with some friends, Ella was in the bathroom and Olivia started screaming her name because she didn't know where she was, then I stood up to tell someone good bye and she reached for me, like take me with you. She has attached to me so well. Here I was worried in China and now she looks for me and calls me and wants me over daddy (which I sometimes feel bad about.....). She gives kisses and even says "wuv wu" (love you), not sure if she really knows what it means but she'll learn!

I just can't express or say enough, how thankful to God I am for this amazing little girl He has trusted us to raise and love. She is just perfect. She is very determined, that and God is how she survived at 3 1/2 pounds. Her inability to walk doesn't stop her! She has amazing upper body strength. She is loud and silly and loves to have fun and the rougher you play, the happier she is, just like the other three. There is no doubt in my mind that God picked her for us and us for her. She fits perfectly into our family. I just love her SO much, just as much as the other three. My heart has only grown bigger. WE are so blessed to have her as our daughter.

These are just some random pictures of the past couple of weeks.
We celebrated Chinese New Year. Last year I took the kids to a Chinese New Year lunch to get more information on adopting from China, this year we got to take our little Empress with us!

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Many people have recently asked about Olivia's feet and legs, and the plan, so I thought I would explain it all here.  Olivia has Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita (AMS).  AMS is a congenital condition that happens in utero.  The theory is that the baby does not have enough room to move adequatley and/or not enough amniotic fluid causing joints to contract due to lack of movement.  This can effect any or all joints in the body, depending on the severity of one's condition.  Olivia's knees and feet are the only joints effected in her body, causing the club feet and inability to walk.  Olivia's knees do not straighten completely so she cannot stand.......yet.  The plan ultimately is to get her walking, however this will never cure her from AMS. 
She will alway have AMS. 
When I first saw Olivia's picture the special need listed was clubbed feet, however once we looked at her file, and had a doctor review it, it was obvious that there was more than clubbed feet going on with her little legs, but at that point it didn't matter, I knew she was our daughter. We were graciously sent a video of Olivia from her orphanage that showed her legs and the doctor (DrV) said he thought she definitely has AMS. Well this doctor is in Philadelphia at Shriners Hospital, he came highly recommended in the adoption community for kids with possible AMS.  I was told he was the best in the country!  Many families fly to PA for all of there children's treatments, because they love him so much.  Well, me being a nurse, this means a lot. 
Ok, but let's be real for a minute.......PA, really???  How in the world can I do that, working full time with 4 kiddos.  So I thought, I would try the Shriner's Hospital in Greenville, Shriners specializes in orthopedics.  A friend who came home in November with her 18 month old son was going to Greenville for the serial castings for his clubfeet (he only has clubfoot, he doesn't have AMS).  Serial castings is when they cast the foot for a week, then remove and recast the foot for another week, this usually continues for about 6-8 weeks.  So I thought that I could atleast get the clubfeet fixed in Greenville and then possibly go to PA later for her knees, if needed.  Well, this all came to a hault.  While we were in China my friend, A, stopped going to Greenville due to some issues that I don't really have time to explain, and started seeing the club foot specialist in Iowa.  Long story short, her son's feet have straightened more in the 2 castings he has had in IA, than the 6 he had in Greenville.  The doctor in Greenville is not necessarily bad, or didn't know what he was doing, but that her son is 18 months old, not a new born baby.  Most children in the US with clubfeet get them fixed before their first birthday.  Not after years of the feet being in the same, wrong, position.  A asked the doctor in IA what he thought WE should do and he said, go to PA to see Dr V.........
I did take her today to a local doctor that was referred by another friend.  She was VERY nice and easy to talk to, but I'm not sure that I like her plan of care........She thinks we should NOT do serial castings on her feet and go straight to surgery, followed by 6 weeks of long leg casts and then 3 weeks of short leg casts.  I would much rather try the serial castings and see if that will help her first.  I think that if we can limit the amount of surgeries she has to have, it would be better in the long run.  Surgery is sometimes necessary, I understand that, but it can also be unnecessary and cause more problems in the long run.  Now don't get me wrong, if the majority says, or if Dr V says, yes she needs surgery, then ok, but I can't rest easy with only one opinion. 
I have made an appointment with Dr V in PA on April 1. 
stay tuned.........

Friday, February 8, 2013

We're home!

Leaving China was bittersweet.  We were SO ready to come home, but it is our daughters country, where she was made, born, found, and adopted.  China is very different from here and we realized just how much we, Americans, take for granted.  There are many things about the Chinese culture that we hope to incorporate in Olivia's life, and some we left in China.  Number one being that she will grow up in a church, she will grow up knowing about an awesome God that loves her more than me.  That without God we would have never found her.  A God that will NEVER give up on her.  Just as us, we will never give up on her either.  She will never be with out a home, family, or love again.
We've been home 5 days now, and things are really going good.  I honestly can't complain.  The jet lag has been the hardest on Olivia, and she has a cold, but still adorable!  Don't get me wrong, it hasn't been all smiles and happiness.  No.  In the mornings, she is happy and playful but after her nap she is miserable........She's sleepy and wants to sleep more than we'll let her......I think her cold doesn't help either.  She has been sleeping pretty good at night, she was waking up about 4:30 evey morning, but last night she slept til about 6:30! She hasn't had a nap yet today, so we'll see what the evening brings.  She has done really good with her brothers and sister, and they just love her to death.....honestly, I think they could smother her with their love. 
That was written yesterday and I never had a chance to post it. 
This morning she woke up about 5 and has not felt very good at all.  The cold has moved into her chest and her cough sounds really bad, I gave her some tylenol and she was finally able to go back to sleep and get a good nap.  Guess she'll spend her first birthday with us, at the doctor's office......
She just woke up and I'm finally seeing some smiles, hoping they continue. 
Anyway, reentry into life is hard, we knew it would be.  We just took a child from her home, lived in a hotel for 2 weeks, and then flew her half way around the world where we now sleep when China is awake and visa-versa.  I'm thankful that she is happy most of the time and she is bonding so well with us, especially me, now.  She loves her brothers and sister and they have done great with her.  I had told them before we came home that it may take her a while to get use to the kids and all the change.  Sunday, Ella said, "Mom, you said it would take a week for her to get use to us and it's only taken a day!"  This morning I had to remind her of why I said that......Olivia wanted nothing to do with anyone but me and wasn't very pleased with me either. 
We did go to the doctor already once this week.  I had scheduled a pediatrician appointment for her for next week, just to have them check her out and review her vaccination history, and all that kind of stuff,  but with her cold we went early.  The doctor said she looked really good, she weighed 19 lbs.....but she didn't seem worried, said we would just watch her growth with good nutrition.  I will say I broke down a little when I was filling out the new patient paperwork, where it asks for her familial history.  It was just a reminder that she doesn't know anything about the first three years of her life.  Also, she is my daughter and I wish I could answer these questions, plus the many yet to come, but this is something that comes with adoption (from China) and we will deal and it will be ok.  No matter what she will know that she is loved by us and by God and that is what brought us together, forever.  We have an appointment in a couple of weeks at Shriner's in Greenville to determine a plan of care for her feet and knees.  I'll keep you posted. ;-)
So as I mentioned earlier to day is her birthday!  I had prayed from the time we found her, asking God to let us be with her for her birthday, and again He said "Yes"!  I plan on a Chinese dinner with cake of course.  Mike will be so excited........(not really).  I decided not to do anything big (before she got sick) didn't want to overwhelm her too much......There will be lots of pictures taken though.....I have no pictures of her other birthdays, so I want lots of this one!
 Our amazing friends and family that surprised us at the airport!
 Chase was in love at first sight!

 As predicted, not happy in the carseat!
 Our awesome signs the kids made for us!

 We kept saying how much Olivia looked like her cousin, look at these profiles....scary!
She now likes baths!!!