Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Our First Christmas Together!!

Today is a day I dreamed of since we started our adoption--being together as family.  ALL together.  Last Christmas, I woke up and I was excited to celebrate Christmas with my girls but I just felt a piece was missing.  We still hadn't seen the picture of our daughter but I knew our daughter was out there..somewhere.  Somewhere in an orphanage without a family.  We did not know the care she was receiving or what the conditions were like where she was.  My heart ached for her.  Was she lonely, scared, neglected etc?  We had prayed continuously for her that God would protect her and that she would be with caretakers who would be giving her love and the care she needed.  Well, this year my Christmas gift was being together with my daughter.  She is no longer an ORPHAN and without a FAMILY.  She was with her family and VERY loved and adored.  She is one amazing little girl!!!  We are truly blessed to have her as part of our family.  She has helped us see things in a different light.  She has changed us forever and I don't know that she will ever really know how she has changed us.  She has been a gift for us.  I am truly thankful that God led us to her.  I cannot imagine my life without her.  She has made me want to be a different person.  Much more giving.  Sacrificing.  Realizing that I have all that I need.  To have less and be able to give more means more to me than anything.  I want to be a servant of God and really follow his lead on my life.  Really live to have a purpose.  Going through our adoption and having her join our family has made me want to be different.  Some people may not understand or agree.  I am choosing to live my life and have a purpose.  Seeing our other daughters and how going through this journey has made them see things in a different light too.  This all has been a gift!!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!  Enjoy some pictures of our 1st Christmas Together

Monday, December 17, 2012

Our Visit to the Plastic Surgeon to Discuss Cleft Palate Repair

We went to Children's Hospital to meet with the Plastic Surgeon.   Our appointment was with Dr. Jackson.  I was a little nervous because I was recommended by other moms to see Dr. Low.  When I called to make the appointment I couldn't get in with him until sometime in February.  We really wanted to get the ball rolling and at least start to get her surgery lined up.  After looking Dr. Jackson  up she is one of the heads of the cleft team.  That right there told me that she would be fine to go to.  When I called the office they told me she is wonderful and she is a mom too.  We discussed the doctors and decided to go ahead and at least get her advice and see how the appointment went. 

When we walked into the hospital I was not prepared for what was next.  We checked in and they gave me paperwork to fill out.  You got it!  The good old medical history form.  This was the first time I was handed this form to fill out.  And right there as I looked at it....It hit me.  I really don't know anything about her history, if she was early, if there were any complications, her family's medical history etc.  A piece that will always be  missing.  I felt really sad looking at this paper.  I didn't really expect to feel this but they are pieces that we do not have answers for.  I almost initially started filling out "our" family history but obviously that would not have been accurate.  So I just left it blank.  I know this will not be the first time I will have to look at one of these.  It just reminds me that there are pieces that will always be unknown.  I forget sometimes that she was adopted.  I look at her and almost forget she is Asian. She just feels like my own.  Like one of us. 

I remained in prayer and just really tried to seek what the Lord wanted for us.  I prayed that I would feel calm and really see signs that Dr. Jackson was supposed to be her surgeon.  My mother in law came with me to the appointment because Daddy had to work.  Since he started his new job, he didn't want to ask off and I agreed.  It was such a blessing to have her there.  She was so helpful from helping me carry all of the "gear" to taking notes throughout the entire appointment.  We walked into the appointment and we first met with a nurse practitioner Meg who I had seen a few years ago when my daughter had plastic surgery on her face to have a lump removed.  I remembered her and how honest she was at our first appointment.  We walked in and of course we had a list of questions that she answered for us.  She took a look at Piper and told us that looking at her she was really pleased with her lip repair that was done in Ch*na.  They did a fantastic job.  We showed her the pictures of her before surgery and then after and she said that it looked like it was an American Surgeon that performed the lip repair.  She could tell by the pictures and the items they used to close the wounds and keep her nose openings opened.  It was really reassuring to hear that her lip repair was done really well.  I have heard of others that have had repairs done in country and they were not done well and had to have more surgeries done.  Meg informed us that Dr. Jackson is an excellent surgeon.  Dr. Low is going to be retiring in approximately 6-8 years.  That was also helpful for me to know because I wanted to choose the Dr who would be taking care of my daughter from here on out until  she is 17 or 18 years old.  I would love for her to have the same doctor following her care.  Here are some pictures of Piper playing with the mirrors while we waited for the doctor.

The doctor came in.  She was so nice.  Piper immediately went up to Dr. Jackson and she wanted her to pick her up.  That was comforting for me.  She took a look at her and explained that she would perform her first surgery which would be the cleft palate repair.  She also explained that she has 3 clefts.  She had a cleft lip, cleft palate and also a third cleft where the gaps are in between her front few teeth.  When she is 5-7 years old she will have to have another surgery where they will take bone marrow from her hip and put it in the gaps so that the bone will fuse together with the bone your teeth need to come in.  She may have teeth there or she will need teeth put in later on.  Right now there are baby teeth coming through.  Here is a picture of what she was describing.  Here opening in her palate is all the way open to her nasal cavity.  You can see her nasal cavity when you look in.  That is the piece in the center. 

Next she explained the cleft palate surgery.  She explained that they would do floating cuts along each side of her mouth, stretch skin to fix her palate and she would have stitches down the middle of her mouth.  In the back of her mouth she would take the muscles and realign them to be the right way.  Instead of going // \\ she would align them to be more like = =.  She would have more stitches in the back of her mouth but they would be zig zagged so that a straight line would not pucker.  Just like you would do in sewing.  Here is a picture to describe what she is talking about.

She would be overnight for 1-3 days depending on her pain and if she is ready to drink.  She originally thought she may need to do two surgeries to repair her palate but after looking at her she was pretty confident that she could repair it in one surgery.  After discussing the surgery she asked me if I had any questions.  I told her I had a list of questions that Meg had answered.  She grabbed the list and started answering the questions again.  I was so impressed with her taking the time to go over everything again.  After discussing everything we set surgery up for January 23rd.  

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

3 Months Home & Some Firsts!!

We have been home now for 3 months.  Yes it has been 3 months.  Time is really flying and we are enjoying every moment with our 4 little girls.  I am sorry we have not posted recently but there has been lots of things going on that I will update you with.  We have celebrated holidays for the first time with us all together, had doctors appointments, scheduled surgery for Piper, homeschooling, colds and adjustments to a new job.  All good things, they have all been keeping us busy!!

We experienced Piper's first Halloween here at home.  She was the cutest little ladybug let me tell you!!!  I had so much fun seeing her dressed up and seeing all of my girls trick or treating together.  She had some fun going with them to get candy but then she conked out soon after in the ergo carrier.  I was perfectly happy to get some snuggles from her :)  Here are some pictures from our Halloween night. 

She is still not wanting her Baba to hold.  He loves her so much and still tries.  She will learn he is a GREAT daddy soon!!

We had lots of fun with our little girl.  She has been doing so well and adjusting nicely to her life here and to her 3 sisters.  She has now been sleeping through the night.  The first month was rough but gradually she started sleeping longer and longer until she did it.  She slept through the night!  I can tell you that everyone seems to be happier around here.  I especially...I feel like I am out of the drowsy cloud and caught up on sleep.  It is amazing at what a little extra Zzzzzzz's can do for you.  She sleeps with a sound machine and a night light.  She recognizes her blanket which we had taken to Ch*na with us.  She gets very excited and snuggles with it with her binky and we sit with her in the rocking chair.  She falls asleep on us and then we transfer her to the crib.  I have to tell you that the most amazing moment I had was when she looked up at me with her dark eyes and took her binky out to give her mama a kiss!!  I couldn't believe it.  It was the most amazing thing!!!  I truly LOVE this girl.  She is just a gift!!  We are so blessed to have her here. I love seeing her blossom everyday. There really is nothing like it. 

She really seems to be adjusting well here and attaching to us.  She loves her sisters.  Baba she loves but it is touch and go.  She gets really excited to see him and will point to pictures when he is at work.  When he comes home she struggles with going to him.  She sure puts on one fight.  Sometimes she is fine and just will go to him.  I think she struggles with him leaving and going to work everyday.  The weekends are much better when she wakes up and he is here.  Then Monday rolls around and we are back to square one.   It may be a trust issue as well.  Please pray for their bond and attachment.  He is an awesome daddy.  I know she will see this too in time.

We experienced her first Thanksgiving.  We definitely had much to be thankful for this year.  We went to her Pop Pop and Gam's house.  We had some fun being together with the family.  We ate a yummy dinner and also had time to spend outside.  It was a beautiful day. 

Piper has definitely gotten into more things around here than my other girls.  Our toilet was not working for a little while.  We honestly thought we were going to have to have a plumber come out.  Well, we went to Lowe's and purchased a plumbing snake.  We are now the proud owner of one and I guess we are a little more prepared for the future.  Jon was working on it and eventually saw this:


Piper took one of the coins from her piggy bank and put it nicely in the toilet.  At least it only costed us $8 to fix and gave us a good laugh.  This picture of Daddy is priceless!

We also got our first Christmas Tree.  We went to the farm and cut down our tree.  This was Piper's first time doing this family tradition.  We go with Pop Pop and Gam, cousins and Aunts and Uncles.  This year it was REALLY cold.  So we were bundled up!! 

In December, we had some snow.  It was breathtaking watching Piper outside.  She was really just taking it all in!!  She looked around and then just looked up really trying to see the snow and figure out where it was coming from.  She looked so beautiful out there.  I really just tried to take it all in.  I enjoyed seeing all four of my girls out there enjoying the snow day.


We went to see Santa.  Piper sat on Isabella's lap.  I didn't want to scare her too much by placing her on his lap.  Isabella really was excited to hold her and tell Santa what she wanted.  She looked at him, sat on her lap and did not cry.  She was fascinated with the man in the red suit.  Since seeing him at the mall, she always pointed to Santa where ever she saw him. 


We are so excited to celebrate Christmas with our little bundle this year.  She honestly is the best gift for us.  Last year we were praying for our daughter, not knowing who she was yet, praying she was being taken care of and loved.  We can say that that prayer was answered.  She was definitely loved and cared for by her foster family.  We are so thankful that she is in our family.  She fits right on in!!!  Celebrating each and every first with her is amazing.  Just like it was with my other girls.  I don't feel like I am focusing on what I missed from her first year, I have been taking in every moment we have with her.  Experiencing her firsts are absolutely amazing!!!  I will make a seperate post to let you know about her doctors appointments and upcoming surgery.

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."  James 1:17