Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Adoption Update

I continue to wait for the LSC, more commonly known as the LOA. For those of you not familiar with the adoption process, LSC means Letter Seeking Confirmation and Letter of Acceptance. Basically, the adoption officials in China send a letter to my agency formally asking me if I accept Sissy to be my daughter and confirm that intend to follow through with her adoption. I sign it and it's sent back and I'm given Travel Approval. After TA, I can make a Consulate Appointment (CA) to get Sissy's visa paperwork finalized. After knowing this date, I can book travel arrangements.

For some, LOA is taking over 100 days. My agency said that this is very unusual and that if I reach the 8 week mark, they will have their person in China contact CCCWA to check on the status of my process.

Since my dossier was logged in on March 31, 2012, I can expect LOA to come by the end of May. Then I wait a month or so for TA, organize the travel then go! Jie Jie is coming with me. We are both extremely excited. I can think of nothing better than to spend two weeks with my girls in China while someone else cooks and cleans and I don't have to work. I loved my trip to China for Jie Jie and hated to leave.

Today I sent off Sissy's care package to a family in Canada to carry to Sissy's orphanage for me. There is a chance it won't make it to them by the time they have to leave, but it's a chance I had to take. I hope that they will get to see her and take some pictures, too.

Successful Dentist Visit!

Jie Jie had her first dental cleaning while conscious and did great! The night before was spent tossing and turning, but staying asleep, thank heavens. Also on the plus side, the new dentist is also about 1/2 the price of the other one. This is important since I'm a cash customer.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Whose Daughter is She?

This is "Makenna," as she is known on other advocacy websites. She will turn 14 at the beginning of December 2012. She has until then to be adopted or she will forever be an orphan. If I had the money to afford her adoption, I'd move forward immediately and petition CCCWA to allow me to bring her home along with Sissy. Until two days ago, I didn't think this was possible, but it's happening. In two weeks, there is a single woman travelling to bring home two new daughters!

Am I crazy? No. Well, maybe crazy in love with this child.

Do you want to learn more about her? Perhaps you feel a pull in your heart that she is YOUR daughter.

Yes, she has a special need. She was born with scoliosis. She has had spinal fusion surgery and it looks like it was done very well. Her file contains quite a lot of details concerning her medical care. This is rather unusual and very nice. There is a picture of her back in her file and Heartsent and Bringing Hope to Children and I, have her file. She sounds particularly well-adjusted, mature, and loved. Her file is also has a lot of details as to her growth and development from infancy to present. Here is a little bit about her:

"Makenna is a pretty young girl who will be 13 years old on December 2. She only has 1 more year to find a family before she will no longer be eligible for adoption under Chinese law. She has had several surgeries; one when she was an infant to remove the meningocele on her back, then one to correct her scoliosis in 2007 and another for scoliosis in 2009. Makenna is a delightful young girl who is very smart and very compassionate toward others. She has received several awards at school for her abilities. She is "clever and deft" and very fond of reading and loves to do needlework. She is quiet and thoughtful. She is very polite and will always share with others. Her teachers, nannies and friends all love her very much. Makenna has endured many surgeries and always faced them with bravery. This sweet girl is ready to be brave yet again and face a whole new world...a new family, school, friends, language, customs...but she is ready. She only has one more year to find you... Makenna was abandoned as an infant at a hospital and after the search for her birthparents failed, she was sent to a welfare institute to be raised. In 1999, she underwent surgery for a spinda bifida related tumor on her back and was diagnosed with scoliosis. She underwent further corrective surgeries in 2007 and 2009, which have greatly improved her scoliosis. Her caretakers say she has adapted well to life in the orphanage and considers the other children her brothers and sisters. She is described as a helpful, kind, introverted, shy and cute girl. She enjoys cross-stitch, reading books, and is loved by her teachers. Though a little behind in school due to missing classes due to having surgeries, Makenna is very smart, works hard and has earned several awards in school. Makenna has told her caretakers that if she were adopted, she would miss her caregivers and the children she calls her brothers and sisters. She would love to go back and visit them if she ever had the chance. She also desires her own mother and father, a space of her own, and a warm family. Makenna has agreed to be adopted by a foreign family and would have the opportunity to know a life of love, growth and happiness."

Doing the Happy Kidney Dance!

The news is very good! Jie Jie's kidneys look extremely improved over the last ultrasound! The nephrologist was super happy and explained, that based on the previous ultrasound and blood work, that it did suggest that Jie Jie no longer had any reserve left in her kidney function. It was clear how relieved and happy the nephrologist was; she was practically dancing in her chair and repeating how happy she was over and over again.

On today's ultrasound, both kidneys looked plump, which they didn't before, there is no more hydronephrosis, though there is a tiny bit of fluid in the left one, though not enough to call it hydronephrosis, they both measured a healthy size, the right kidney looks to have sustained more damage than the left one, but it's the left one that has the bit of fluid still in there. So, Jie Jie has definitely sustained damage in her kidneys, but she still has reserve, though how much cannot be measured.

We have a new directive: Keep the kidneys healthy by keeping the bladder healthy! This goes above all other things because this one is life or death. All of Jie Jie's other special needs take second seat to this.

Jie Jie will have blood work done in June to test kidney-related values again. These three months are to give the kidneys their best chance to do their job unimpeded and with the help of the treatment Jie Jie is on. Every six months, Jie Jie will have a renal ultrasound. She will also undergo a nuclear test that looks at the scarring in the kidneys and then the invasive diagnostics, then, hopefully, meet with the surgeon for the non-kidney-related surgery and the diagnostics that go with that.

I thank you all for your prayers and good thoughts and wishes! As I've spread the good news, so many friends have told me that they fasted and/or prayed hard for Jie Jie. After seeing the nephrologist's response to today's ultrasound, I can see that we got better results than she had expected and I know this was through divine intervention. I feel confident in the care Jie Jie is receiving from this specialist and she spent over an hour with us today giving me clear answers to my questions.

I now have some research to do. One thing that is a catch-22 is that growing children need to eat protein, but filtering protein wears more on the kidneys. I need to find out which protein sources are the easiest for the kidneys to metabolize. Luckily, I don't use much salt in my cooking, but we really need to try hard to limit our eating out since restaurant food is high in sodium. I'm good at watching Jie Jie's nutrition, but now I need to take it to a higher level. Antioxidents are extra critical to her well-being as are Omega-3 fatty acids.

There are so many children in the world far, far worse off than Jie Jie. I know we remember the poor, the sick and the needy in our prayers, but please add a bit extra tonight for the children and their parents. As we came into the clinic today, a mother came out following her little girl, who looked about 3 or 4 years old. The child was on a gurney being taken by amblulance two blocks to the hospital. The mother's eyes were wet, swollen and red from crying and full of fear. The child was sitting up with a bowl, to catch her vomit, on her lap, awake, but silent, as very sick kids are. I had a second as I passed, to embrace this mom's shoulders and tell her I'd pray for her family. Often, intruding at such a moment, even with such good intent, is not the right course of action, but I was moved before conscious thought. When the mother thanked me, I knew it had been the right thing to do.

Right now, several blogs I'm following are written by families who are in serious medical situations with their children, all adopted children, chosen knowing their child had special needs, but, as we all know, not knowing to the full extent. Often, the needs are less, sometimes the needs are exactly as expected, at other times, the needs are greater, even far greater, than we ever thought or expected.

On my list is, of course, my own daughter, little Ivy who is recovering from major heart surgery to correct transposition of the great arteries, Theresa who lives in need of a new heart, but is waiting for her badly damaged lungs to heal enough to be eligible for a transplant, Celia who has a terminal mitochondrial disease and something else as yet unidentified that is steeling the life out of this beautiful girl, who is also a twin. Also on my list is Tripp's mom; Tripp died of EB a couple months ago, and Anton's family as they've just returned from Russia and a hospital stay here in the U.S., as they stabilize his EB.

Tonight I am very grateful for a loving God and Savior, that my daughter has reserve left in her kidneys, that they responded to the recent and on-going treatment and that we have a solid care plan in place that I hope and pray will protect them from further damage. I am more grateful than words can express that she is my daughter, that her caregivers in her SWI never gave up in their efforts to find her a family, that I had the courage to adopt her and that I'm finding the strength to fight battles on her behalf, and that I'm finding the right specialists to help her. I'm thankful for the love and support of family and friends and even strangers we meet. My TuTu always told me that I go where angels fear to tread. If I didn't, I would not have my daughter, and I can't imagine my life without her.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

His Will

I want to clarify that in my most "freaking out" moments, I do turn to our Heavenly Father and ask for comfort, strength, knowledge, etc... to help me make the best decisions for my daughter. I ask for His blessings to be over both of us, for health, and more. Ultimately, I say, "Thy will be done." And I mean it!

So, it's not a question of faith in these moments. It's the fact that the doctors often don't give me enough information, or the wrong information, or other things along these same lines. Sometimes it's my own fault for misinterpreting the information. Often doctors, or any type of professional, will casually throw out terms that mean something entirely different to them than they mean to us lay persons.

Tomorrow, after Jie Jie's ultrasound, I will have a meeting with the nephrologist to talk about this situation. I have a few questions, but most of all, I hope to get an education so that I have a direction to start researching in. Remember, doctors only know so much. There are so many other health professionals out there who specialize in diet, supplements, and many other alternative/concurrent therapies that can help me give my daughter the best possible care. I'd be negligent if I didn't explore these options. I learned a LOT from my TuTu (grandmother) both in what she said to the the example she set.

To the adoption community:
Some of the things I am finding out about my daughter seem pretty scary right now, like compromised kidneys. This is a side-effect of special need, but is a main life-long concern. I did a lot of research on her main condition, but stopped short of sending her file to a specialist for evaluation. If I had done so, I'd have probably learned of all the possible scenarios, including this kidney issue. However, being a single mom and new to the whole "choosing a child" thing, I am glad I didn't. I'd have been too scared.

I liken it to this: If you were told that the very next time you walked out of your home you were going to fall and break your leg, would you ever go out? But people break their legs all the time, doing all kinds of things and most get through it even if they need surgery or a brace or just a cast. We are fearful of great pain and of the unknown and of hurting ourselves, having things happen that are out of our control, or fearful of the unknown. Often we underestimate our abilities and capacities. A mother's love for her child is so powerful. I feel super-human sometimes!

As I learn more about my daughter's body and how best to care for her, our routine changes. After a very short time, a new routine, a new normal, is established and it's not a big deal any more. Sometimes the adjustment period is harder, easier, longer, or shorter, but the fact is, we find a new normal and get on with being a happy family.

As I plan for my future with my second daughter, I now know more about how insurance works. I've learned that I have options. I have more experience and with that comes bravery, being more willing to step out in faith in greater and greater steps. I think that is why I see a lot of families who have adopted children with special needs do it again and again, often adopting children with more and more severe special needs.

Please read my blog and be inspired! If you are thinking about adopting an older child and/or a child with special needs, don't be deterred when you read about my hard days. If you've been reading for a long time, you might be in shock that it's taken me this long to have some hard days! I truly have had the easiest, most wonderful transition to motherhood that a mother and daughter could ever experience. In fact, when I told Jie Jie a week or so ago that she needed to try hard to remember how to speak Chinese so she could talk to her new sister when I couldn't, she looked at me a bit puzzled and said, "Mama, I 'member when ni come a China and get me. You talk Chinese a me." Yes, in my daughter's memory, I spoke to her in China in perfect Chinese! For all I know, every word I spoke in English or Chinese could have been understood through divine intervention.

I'm relaxing tonight, hopeful that tomorrow's meeting with the nephrologist will be informative and that there won't be any bad news.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Molly the Dog

Last night, as we were leaving the park, the dog's owner mentioned that the friend she was with had a daughter playing in a softball game tonight and that she'd have the dog with her again if Jie Jie wanted to play with Molly some more. I made the usualy polite remarks, but starting at bedtime, Jie Jie was full of how she was going to see her friend again and walk the dog, etc...

When Jie Jie awoke this morning, she said, "I no can wait see dog." She had definitely understood that she'd made a date, so after work, off we went again to the park. Sure enough, Molly the dog was there and remember us. The dog's owner was thrilled and took the pictures and video for me. She's the one explaining to her friend's daughter my Jie Jie gets to run with the dog.


The top of my head just blew off! I had sent my daughter's nephrologist a question pertaining to a kidney test that is standard at the Center of Excellence for kids like her and she replied back saying that we already know my daughter's kidneys are damaged and knowing the result of the test wouldn't change the course of treatment. Sounds reasonable right? Well, she said...

..."since she has hydronephrosis on the ultrasound, since her kidneys look bright on ultrasound suggesting there is damage and/or scarring inside of them, and since her BUN is higher than it should be for her age (suggesting that she has lost the overall reserve in her overall kidney function)."

A few weeks ago, during Jie Jie's follow-up after the first ultrasound came back, I asked her to define "reserve" and what she said is that a person can live on 1/4 total kidney function, meaning one whole kidney can be non-functioning and half of the other kidney can be non-functioning and a person can still live well. After this "reserve" is gone, one must resort to things like dialysis to live if one loses further kidney function.

She didn't indicate that my daughter's condition was this severe! She didn't indicate that my daughter's reserve was used up. I am terrified that she is using the words "overall reserve in her overall kidney function."

I have emailed her back requesting clarification of her statements, in percentage of overall kidney function, so I can get, in writing, just where she thinks my daughter stands.

This is super serious because if the underlying condition that damaged Jie Jie's kidneys cannot be stopped, she will NOT be eligible for a kidney transplant in the future. This Friday's ultrasound will show if the treatment has been successful or not.

If the doctor emails me back and says it's not as bad as I'm interpretting it, I'll be relieved, but absolutely furious with her for her choice of words.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Jie Jie's Progress

Woo Hoo! We had a great day all the way around! It was NORMAL! Not only did all my daycare kids behave very well all day, but the sun was shining, lunch and dinner were easily prepared, taxes were mailed last night, and the result was that I could spend a lot of time with Jie Jie. Right after the last daycare child was picked up, we went to the park where she got to walk a dog on a leash for the first time. A woman there with the friends with kids was letting them walk her dog, which was about 16-20 pounds. A smaller child went first and exclaimed, "She's making me walk!" as the dog pulled on the leash. Jie Jie, experienced with our cats, needed very little coaching and was soon off and running with the dog. My poor daughter ran and ran and ran and I let her, knowing full well there'd be a price to pay. The price was that her andrenaline ran out after we left the dog and exhaustion and pain set in so I carried her home piggy back style. Honestly, she tried to walk and couldn't get more than half a block before I could clearly see her legs just seizing up on her and she could barely put one foot in front of the other. I am curious to know if she'll be sore tomorrow. I'm still trying to figure out our future stroller needs, especially now that she'll be wearing SMOs.

Jie Jie's English is booming right now. She is picking up words so fast right now I can't keep track. Sometimes she doesn't pronounce them quite right and I can still figure out what she's saying, yet other times I'm clueless and she feels frustrated and sometimes comes to tears. When this happens, perhaps once a week, I reassure her that we'll soon figure it out and that she's doing so well and learned so much that it's okay if she can't get it right just now.

Today she brought me a flower said that the stem had broken off. Stem was a new word. There are so many new words, yet I can't think of others right now as I type.

She's trying to figure out today, yesterday and tomorrow and just about has it. She has the concept for sure, it's the words that get mixed up. She is also learning the days of the week and months. She's got summer and winter down, and maybe even spring.

Last Thursday, we sat on the front porch and watched a lightening and thunder storm and I taught her how to count the seconds in between. What a dream moment for me! Then, we went inside and continued to watch from the front window as the rain poured and the storm was upon us. Jie Jie loves science and asked a lot about lightening. I told her some easy facts about it and Jie Jie soon started putting things together and asked what would happen if lightening struck our house and it caught fire. She wanted to know how I'd safely get all of our cats out. I had to tell her that she was my first priority and that we might not save all our cats, but that I'd leave a door open for them to come out on their own if they could. One thing led to another and we made an escape plan that included meeting at our neighbors house a few doors down and I showed her what smoke detectors were and how they worked. It was a great lesson and wonderful moment in time for us as a family.

Today during school time she read soooo well that I was amazed! If we have a week or so between subjects then come back to them, she's made huge leaps just letting the knowledge gel in her head. She is super, super smart!

Tonight she was very happy as she went to bed and we talked. She is happy becuase I'm happy that I could play with her and not do any paperwork or work that makes me tired. She asked about how baby's teeth grow since one of the daycare babies got his first tooth and has been fussy. One thing led to another again and we got on the subject of animal teeth that led to shark's teeth and how they have several rows that continuously grow back. This led to a conversation about how sharks can bite people so we talked about that. She asked what I'd do if she was killed by a shark. I told her that I'd be so sad and cry and cry and miss her very much. She said I could go to China and get another daughter just like her. I explained that I'd miss her so much that I wouldn't be able to do that because there is only one Jie Jie. Then she surprised the heck out of me, I mean, I was sooo blown away because she was soooo RIGHT, and said, "Mama, Jesus will help you if you pray." This is the third time Jie Jie has mentioned having help from Jesus and each time a loud voice inside me says that she needs to be baptized soon. Heads up, Gong Gong! We'll have to figure this one out, perhaps after Sissy is home, before Jie Jie turns 9. My girl LOVES going to church and learning about Jesus, even though we've missed a lot of church in the past two months, and I should stop being so surprised by how strong her testimony is.

In all the medical stuff we've endured for the last several weeks, I lost sight of the fact that that wasn't our normal life, but just a big bump in the road, and that what we had today and for a few days here and there since Easter, is our normal life. I was so exhausted and concerned that I didn't think to reach out for help and now my church family is alerted and when we start the next big round of tests, they will bring us meals for those days. That will be a huge help since we have eaten out so much lately, which isn't always the healthiest choice and is definitely not the most economical one.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow morning when my darling Jie Jie wakes up and I can see her smiling face and kiss it. The magic of motherhood is definitely back!

Monday, April 16, 2012

First Playdate Away

Jie Jie reached a milestone today (well, yesterday). She had a play date at someone else's house! So far, all the friends have come to our house. She's been more than ready for this, but we got side-tracked with all the medical stuff for the last 6 weeks or so. The friend is in her Sunday School class and she's a very nice little girl a couple months younger than Jie Jie but a whole lot taller.

Jie Jie said that they played with dolls (the American Girl kind), played in the toy kitchen and with a toy phone, jumped on a mini trampoline outside, she read a book, and the older girl (big sister) had a birthday today, but had her party on a different day. Oh, and they played with a white board. Jie Jie showed them how to spell her name.

I've never left her anywhere before except at home with my employees for only a few minutes. Jie Jie didn't miss me at all, that's how ready she was for this. I was too rushed doing what needed to get done, to feel anything but my now-normal exhaustion. I'm almost on the "other side" or "see the light at the end of the tunnel" and can start living a normal life again, where sleep is included.

We also went to church in the morning. It was the first time in a long time. Jie Jie LOVES church. I sat there feeling very raw. It's so easy to be touched by the spirit when your heart is on your sleeve and you're feeling vulnerable, isn't it? I'll rest and relax after this Friday's renal ultrasound, come what may. I didn't want this post to turn heavy, but again, Jie Jie could use your prayers that her kidneys have recovered under her new treatment and that the ultrasound on Friday will show nice normal kidneys.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

It's Been FIVE Years!!!

How I've waited for this moment! Crazy? Yet I knew I'd wait this long. But still, five years is a VERY long time to wait to be waiting to be matched. However, families receiving their referrals right now have waited over SIX YEARS, and that's what I figured several years ago when I did some pretty basic math. I came with something like six years, 2 or 4 months. Looks like I'll be pretty spot on!

The bonus is that I have been able to adopt Jie Jie, and soon, Sissy!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

5 Hours in Clinic

We attended spina bifida clinic for the first time today. It was the first time and we were there for 5 hours straight. We saw 10 specialists, but one or two more marked themselves as having seen us. Beside the list of IN/OUT specialists on the door, I put my own sign. This is what it said:

"Please Read Before Entering:

My daughter was adopted in China one year ago. She is now 8 years old and is very bright and reasonable. She understands and speaks English quite well, with an accent, but may not understand jokes, odd humor or pop culture. For example, she doesn't know the names of any princesses or TV characters.

Please be sensitive in the questions you ask and the responses you give, both verbal and non-verbal.

I know very little about her developmental and specific medical history. She did not attend school of any kind in China and is currently homeschooled.

In China, she had the best care possible for her circumstances and geographical region. Please don't judge, don't exclaim, don't use strong language, gestures or body language, don't be incredulous. She was well-loved in China by her birth parents and the orphanage caregivers. They kept her alive against all odds, she has suffered greatly, and she is where she is today because of them.

Please speak clearly and truthfully to her. For example, a blood pressure cuff doesn't give "an arm hug", it gets a little tight, but doesn't hurt.

She understands best when only one person speaks to her at a time.

If she needs to undress for examination, I will undress her while you step respectfully back. She is not at all shy, but is developing a healthy body image and sense of privacy/modesty as well as a realization that her body did not form in the usual healthy way. Thank you!"

Everyone was very nice and I especially liked the orthopedist. He went over her films and MRIs very carefully. I'm looking forward to reading their notes later in my duaghter's chart.

She's showing some spunkiness due to nerves.
It was hard to get this picture of her.

Making the cast moulds for the SMO DAFOs.

These are what feet orthotics will look like, but plain white.
She puts on a sock, puts on the SMO, then puts on shoes.

Our picnic!

So, here's the scoop. We got the call today from Shriner's late this afternoon. We've been turned down. They called and spoke to Kaiser at some length, apparently. This made something that happened at clinic today make sense. When the ortho team came in, they had an orthotist with them. Without much talking to me at all, they started fitting Jie Jie for orthotics. I had 4-5 people in our tiny room for this. I wondered at the time why this team had swarmed us and why they moved in so fast with little discussion. They were armed! The good news is that at the end of May, Jie Jie will have orthotics to wear that will help her walk on the bottoms of her feet. I don't know anything about the treatment with them, but I'll get a copy of her records and see exactly what they wrote.

Everything else was just talking. Since we just spent the past 6 weeks going through all the specialists, there wasn't much to be done. Once all the reports are in, they will be sent to a county physical therapy unit and we'll, hopefully, be accepted for care.

Next week, a renal ultrasound. This is a big deal because the kidneys need to show significant improvement or Jie Jie is headed for some serious kidney issues. Week after next, dentist. Sometime soon, more diagnostics, at least 2, but I need the doctor to add another to the list that I didn't know about. Hopefully, we'll hear from the surgeon in L.A. and be able to travel down to see him soon.

Jie Jie's reward for going through this was a movie. We saw Mirror, Mirror and it was surprisingly good. I liked the music, too. It's meant to be funny and not follow the traditional story and I knew that, but I didn't realize how clean it was going to be - no swearing at all. I don't even think they took the Lord's name in vein a single time either, but don't quote me on that because I am pretty tired. Jie Jie liked it a lot and when it comes out on video I plan to get it because it was such a perfect big girl fairy tale story.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Blessings Abound

How many blogs have we all read of families going forward with an adoption of waiting child when they aren't quite sure how they will pay for it all? I can say that I've read a LOT of blogs like this. And EACH and EVERY family brought their child or children home! I read of anonymous donors who would simply send money via an email link or even directly to a person's address, strangers who'd turn up at the door, aquaintences from anywhere, blog readers chipping in, family members, work bonuses, tax breaks, agency grants and other grants, etc.....

Each and every family had one thing in common: Faith in the Savior Jesus Christ! It didn't matter to which denomination these families belonged, their faith was firm and they knew that if they did the Lord's work, He would provide for them.

Honestly, Sissy's adoption started the same way. I had a plan, that's for sure, but it was a real longshot at best. I was going to work and scrimp and save right up until I had to get on the plane to China, even if I had to use almost all of the three months before Travel Approval expired. On top of this, I knew I had Jie Jie's medical expenses to meet. I needed a miracle! And now the miracles are pouring in.

I already posted about Jie Jie's medical expenses being met. I can't remember if I told you the miracle surrounding refinancing my home, but if I didn't, just know that is was a miracle and I was able to meet All of my agency's fees (China quides & post-placement, too) with what I recouped from refinancing plus adding just a few thousand I had scrimped and saved. Then, my cousin, who handled the refinancing, called me up when it was all done and said, "Go look on your front porch." I did, and what I found was a Fed/Ex envelope with a check inside, made out to me, which was part of the commission he had made during the refinancing. This was the first bit to put aside for that $9000 chunk we all travel with that covers the orphanage donation, medical exam, notaries, etc... I also have another $2000 of my own to add to this; my last nest egg.

Tonight I called up a friend from church who has three girls, age 11 down to 5. Her oldest is close in size to what Sissy is. I called to ask if I could try some pants on her oldest daughter because I need to see the difference in fit between the regular size and the slims. She has always asked how the adoption was proceeding and how far along I was in financing it. She has been the most generous donator to the garage sale I'm having soon, too. Well, she said, "I don't know if this is the right time or best way to tell you this, by my husband and I have been promted by the Lord to help you with this adoption. I don't know how yet, or how much, if it will be in the form of a loan to if we'll just give you what you need, or both, but know that we are prepared to help you in whatever way you need. I've been working for a few months now and we can completely live on my husband's salary so we've been putting it all away." I need to add here that this is a military family. Her husband is active duty and she is a reservist who was called to active duty a few months ago. I wish I could say I was taken by surprise, but I have to be completely honest and say that, in my heart of hearts, I could feel something from her more than casual interest all this time, but when I heard her say these words to me tonight and felt the immensity of what it meant, my heart exploded with so many good, lasting, feelings, I have to make a list:

I am so humbled.
I am so relieved.
I am so joyous.
I am so filled with gratitude.

I feel such a love this family has for Sissy, who has clearly touched their hearts.

I feel a connection to my friend, one mother to another mother.
I feel the power of the Holy Priesthood, which her husband holds.

I feel that my prayer of repentance for snapping at Jie Jie was fully accepted and I am being blessed for it. Jie Jie and I have been back to our usual selves since Easter Sunday. I am patient and loving and in awe of her and she is snuggly and smiley and physically and verbally affectionately demonstrative, telling me how happy she is and what good days she's having. We are back to normal!!!

I feel hope, that if this can happen to me, it can happen to you, to anyone, and if you feel that opening of your heart to adopt another child, but you can't, within reason, see how you can afford another adoption, please put your faith in God and do all you can to help yourself and He will provide a way.

I was blessed tonight to be able to sit with my arm around my daughter as we gazed out the front window of our home at a rain storm, complete with lightening and thunder, and I was able to teach her how to count the seconds between the lightening and thunder and explain what it all means and explain electricity and answer her questions about fire and how we'd manage if our home caught fire. I showed her the smoke detectors for the first time and explained what they did. We started a plan for evacuation, where we'd meet outside. Because she wanted to know, I explained that if we had a true emergency, that getting her to safety was my highest priority and that our cats might not all make it. When she wanted to know what we'd do without our clothes and things, I explained to her about insurance and charity and reassured her that we'd be able to stay with friends or go to a motel and that all of our friends at church would bring us clothes to wear and everything we'd need, even food, because she asked how I'd be able to cook without a stove. She understood on her own that they'd even bring her some toys.

I feel so blessed that I've only had one call per day from Kaiser this week, short calls, so I was able to devote my time to my daughter and my daycare children, like it should be.

I am thankful for the Gymboree company, that has such good quality products and excellent sales to enable me to afford to buy Sissy things that will be comfortable for her and pretty so that she'll feel cared for and special. The ladies who work there have celebrated my adoption planning and Jie Jie's arrival for over five years with me, making me feel so special, like all mothers should feel. They even taught me the ropes of their sales so I could get the very best value for my money. I found two pairs of pants that will stay up on Jie Jie and this is a bigger deal than the average Chinese pants-don't-stay-up issue because of Jie Jie's special need.

Here she is after we spent our Gymbucks, finishing up Sissy's wardrobe. It was the biggest shopping spree I've ever had, but I've been collecting Gymbucks since January. After all was tallied, I spent about $5 per item. Also, included are the first Christmas gifts for the year and another gift.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

More on Neurosurgery Appointment

I forgot to mention the next question the PA asked me at our appointment last Monday after she asked if Jie Jie had been a full term or premature baby and I told her she'd been adopted a year ago at age 7 years.

The P.A. asked me, "So, how old was she when she started walking?"

A HUGE Blessing!

I'm so reluctant to reveal this, in case there's been a mistake, but it's such a HUGE blessing and a great example of how even someone such as I, who has not been at my best for a couple weeks, has still been blessed in a HUGE way.

Some time awhile back, I qualified for a special aid program at Kaiser. I didn't exactly know what it was when I applied and I didn't know I'd been accepted, until one of the pharmacists back in January handed me Jie Jie's antibiotic and said there wasn't a charge. I asked why and learned I was on this program.

I still didn't know how it worked as Jie Jie went through all these diagnostics lately, but I new it was expiring March 19, so everyone made sure to schedule Jie Jie's tests and appointments during that time. Then, I reapplied, and I'm still in process. But--I still haven't received bills.

When I looked online at my account, I saw that Jie Jie's deductible AND out-of-pocket maximum have been reach for the entire YEAR! The blessing is that everything covered by the program still counted toward the deductible and out-of-pocket maximum!!! I thought I'd have to pay thousands this year for Jie Jie's care and now I don't. This was the second biggest financial burder resting upon me and now it's gone for the rest of the year. Remember how I decided to begin praying more earnestly last Saturday? Can you believe the result already? Please NEVER, EVER doubt the power of prayer and God's love for each one of us! This is the second miracle that is making Sissy's adoption possible.

I took a leap of faith wondering how I was going to pay for it and look at what's happening. First, being about to refinance my home when my cousin felt such a strong prompting to call me about it out-of-the-blue, and now this. Would it be selfish to say I need just one more to cover the orphanage donation fee? I don't think so. I think that having unconditional faith that God will provide, is one of the ways I can show my love for Him.

Wake Up, Go To Doctor, Mama?

I hear these words EVERY night now and couple times during the day. Jie Jie hasn't had any more post traumatic episodes since I last mentioned them, and she's learning that the clinic is a pretty boring place where mama talks a lot and she colors or looks at books. Her favorite thing to do, actually, is draw and color of the paper that covers the examination table.

We have made an appointment with a new dentist. Remember the last visit in October? Well, today when I called the new dentist, I mentioned that I'm looking for someone who doesn't advocate using a lot of sedation and is a team player, not a dictator, and the receptionist asked, "Were you at ________ place before?" I said, "Yes," and she said, "I completely understand."

I found this VERY illuminating and feel good about this next dentist. She's a woman, for starters, which I think Jie Jie will like. The referral came from another single mom in my area who has an 8 year old daughter from China. I'd noticed the work done of the child and her mom explained that her daughter had a lot of teeth issues either due to genetics or poor early nutrition, then explained a lot about how great her dentist was and how comfortable her daughter was there and never needed meds, so I did a little research and we're going to try the same dentist in a couple weeks.

Jie Jie most likely will be starting a medication soon that dries the mouth, which changes the ph balance, which leads to a LOT of tooth decay, so we need a VERY, VERY good dentist who can recommend a good preventative program outside the norm.

My Own Appointment

I, too, had a medical appointment today, for my eyes. Six months ago, I got new contact lenses, after using the same brand since I was 18, I had to use another since the old ones were discontinued. They didn't agree with my eyes and I realized recently that I was wearing my glasses the majority of the time. I was also having a lot of blurred vision and irritation that I thought was due to lack of sleep. I was wrong and I'm so relieved!

I have dry eyes! And, I'm having some kind of allergy that is swelling the inside of my eyes and making little bumps that feel like sand in my eyes. The doctor said that she's seeing a LOT of people with dry eyes right now and that our eyes naturally get drier with age. She gave me some lubricating drops and told me to get a particulare over-the-counter eye drop medication that will help with the allergy symptoms. Already, just having the lubricant has helped tremendously! If you heard a sigh of relief in the air today, it was me.

Not Very Satisfying

Today was Jie Jie's appointment with the neurosurgery physician assistant. I made sure that I also requested the surgeon himself to come see her too, and brought donuts, at the advice of the receptionst, to lure him in.

First, the PA started drawing pictures of the lower spine and was about to launch into a lecture on tethered cord. I cut her off right away and asked, "So, is my daugher's cord tethered or not - for sure?" That really got her attention. She said it's not. Then I said, "Okay, then what about her neck and feet?"

"What?" the PA asked, clearly in the dark and confused.

Oh, and this is after she tried to get a medical history from me that began with, "Was your daughter full term or premature?"

Had I landed on Mars? I explained that my daughter's file did include a copy of her life report from China, as I received it in her file. The PA said she's read it later. Honestly! Asking and discussing this stuff in front of my daughter!

When the big man himself finally came in, he, too, wasn't fully aware of my daughter's issues. All they were told was to check for tethered cord. Period. You should have seen his face when I told him to check the MRI. He couldn't hold his mouth shut and started asking all kinds of things and making comments to go with them, again, right in front of my daughter! The doctors never believe me at first when I tell them that my daughter's first surgery didn't occur until she was 5.5 years old. They correct me and say, "months," and I correct them and say, "No, years." Then they say, "But how did she live like that? She would have been in so much pain." Duh! Yes, my child has suffered greatly.

So, we were given another name to go with the differences of Jie Jie's upper spine. It's actually a syndrome. I was also told which gene suffered the mutation, and it has a name, though no one is clear on why this gene mutated. I asked if it could have been pollution and the doctor said no, but knowing what I do about toxins in China due to the pollution there, I do not rule this out at all. I doubt this kind of mutation is random, it's too specific.

Another thing I learned tonight, through more independent research, is that all the kids with the same association are each unique. There is no common denominator to all the kids. Some have some of the things, some have others and then there is overlap. This is why there isn't a standard of treatment except in one place in the world, but it is a growing specialty, which is promising. There are conferences for this syndrome held periodically and I'd love to attend one.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Mama Update

Thank you for all of your comments. I'm getting some good suggestions and insights from the egroup for parents with kids like Jie Jie, too. I am coming to realize that my new normal came in a very BIG leap so I didn't have time to think about it and adjust and there was no luxury of trial and error. This new level of Jie Jie's necessary physical dependency right when she's ready to be more independent hit both of us pretty hard. We have really had a perfect and smooth process to this point of steady progress on both our parts and this brought about a detour we weren't expecting.

Most of you are also familiar with the feelings that come with adding your second child to your family, especially when she's going to be a teenager who has lived her entire life in an SWI in China. You also know the financial stretching and reaching that occurs for this, too.

Looking back at what I've done from January of this year to now, I can truly say it's okay to be feeling this overwhelmed and tired. The only thing I need to do absolutely better is to shield my child from my stress.

Today was a good start. After the egg hunt, we took advantage of the good weather. Jie Jie changed into play clothes (she loves wearing nice clothes that I don't let her ruin) and we went to the zoo. It was only the second time ever that she walked the entire zoo, though I did have the stroller with us. Then, we went to a playground that was recommended to us and it was fantastic! It was completely set up for everyone, even people who used a wheelchair. For the first time, there was a set of low monkey bars and Jie Jie was able to cross them all by herself. She was so proud of herself! She's always wanted to be able to do that.

After coming home, I cleaned the hot tub and fixed the chemical levels in the water. My cover fell apart after the last storm we had and a lot of rain water and bits of cover got in. I have no choice but to purchase a new cover right now. At least I had a tarp to put under the cover so that the bits and pieces of plastic don't fall into the water.

However, we went in for 20 minutes. The goal was to sooth Jie Jie's legs and do some gentle stretches in the hope that she won't be sore from all the walking she did today. We have an appointment tomorrow with the neurosurgery department and it would be nice if she's not limping!

I got some exercise and fresh air, too, which I badly needed. Then I splurged and we ate out in a sit down restaurant. We ate until we were satisfied and didn't have to clean up or cook.

Sadly, we did not attend church. Jie Jie told me she was sad about missing church earlier in the day and I felt the weight of her innocent faith on my shoulders, but at the end of the day, she said she had a very fun day and this is what she needed most.

My hope for this week from a medical standpoint, is to not find any more things wrong with my child that need intensive therapy or care. If we get through tomorrow without any surprises, we are free and clear for three whole days before spending Friday at the Spina Bifida clinic. If we get through that, we have 7 days until the next Friday when we repeat Jie Jie's renal ultrasound. This will be a big deal because if she's not had improvement, more drastic steps will need to be taken. We are also expecting our appointment for the first two of some serious tests and the referral to the surgeon in Los Angeles.

Oops, I wish I didn't start thinking about all of this and stuck with Monday and Friday. It's starting to look overwhelming again, isn't it!

She's Growing Up

We took these pictures yesterday just for fun, to have some to send to Sissy, and I took some for our passports. Poppy wouldn't leave Jie Jie alone; it was very cute.

Happy Easter!

We were invited to the home of a family who just returned from China two months ago with their third daughter, a 12.5 yr. old. They said to expect about 100 kids and they weren't exagerating! The group of kids lined up for the egg hunt with the 2-3 yr. olds in the front, 4-5s, 6-7s, and lastly, the 8-10 year olds. Look how small she is compared to her peers.

She wasn't quite sure how an egg hunt goes since last year was just a tiny one in our backyard and she doesn't remember any part of Easter from last year at all. After some coaching, she was a pro, as long as I was there to get the "high" ones. Once she reached for an egg and a taller boy reached right over her and took it. I made him put it back so I could lift Jie Jie up to reach it.

Afterward, the hostess released a container of live ladybugs, many of which met a quick end under feet and between eager fingers.

After the hunt, I snapped an unposed picture of Jie Jie. She was pretending to take a picture with a tiny plastic camera that was inside one of the eggs she found. Then called her name and snapped another picture when she turned around and saw what I'd done.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The VERY Impatient Mom

Is me! I'm afraid I've finally reached my max and I'm taking it out on my poor daughter. I've found myself snapping at every little thing she does that isn't perfect and I'm about in tears tonight because it's like watching someone else do this through a fog, but it's me. I will admit it's a combination of tiredness at all the appointments, phone calls, research, working, life and lack of sleep as well as fear for my daughter's future. I learned that she is a very unusual case and, among children with her special need, she falls into a category of 3%-6% for what she's got. On the other hand, what she didn't have, which is good, puts her into another category, too, that I'm still trying to get answers on.

I'm starting a new routine tonight that includes time for SERIOUS prayer, like the kind I did when trying to get Jie Jie's file. Though I have friends and family supporting me, this is my child and I took this on and I am the only one who can do Jie Jie's care. I need to pray for super self-discipline to go to bed early enough to get at least 7 hours a sleep her night. I need to pray for patience. I need to pray for help in understanding when it's helpful to Jie Jie remember to place her feet properly and "open her toes" and when to let it go. I need to pray to know when to correct her pronounciation and her grammar and when to let it go. I need to lovingly wash her hands when she touches something in the public restrooms even when I repeat over and over and over again not to touch ANYTHING, rather than scold her and lecture her on the diseases she can get.

Month before last, I was evaluating where Jie Jie is at this one year junction and she is really ready and eager for some big kid activities. I was researching various things like piano lesson, Mandarin classes, art and/or dance classes and then we started the medical rounds and it's all come to a halt while I get used to Jie Jie's three-hourly treatments. Eventually, she will be able to do these for herself, but for now it's all up to me, so I can't leave her with anyone and our life revolves around a three hour, or less, clock. Then there are her feet and physical therapy. How much should I nag her about placing her feet properly? Each time I do, she started walking like a robot, self-consciously over-trying and making it worse. She's voiding eye contact and has developed a fake smile to cover her true feelings. I've tried talking to her about this, but she insists that she's fine. The best way to proceed, is to go back to attaching and bonding 101, and realize that this is just a normal glitch in the road, all my fault, and that I can make it better if I START NOW and MAINTAIN a good pattern, no matter what.

I am simply aching, to go for a fast walk for exercise, at night, with my music in my headphones, but I don't have a stroller that can hold Jie Jie and allow me to cruise. With the adoption pending, I can't justify hiring a babysitter after she's in bed just to go take a walk. Hopefully, once we're hooked up with the PT program, they'll give us a stroller or help me pick the best one to buy. At this point I don't care how much they cost, I just need to know which kind is best for our needs. As Jie Jie grows, it's important that she sit on the right parts of her body so that pressure doesn't cause damage.

I'm counting on Easter tomorrow, to renew me as I remember the sacrifice of Christ for all of us and how small my issues are compared to so many. I need to count my blessings and get over this hump fast! Perhaps after this Friday's marathon at the Spina Bifida clinic, when I can meet other parents and professionals, I'll have a better understanding of my role in this strange new world. Even if Jie Jie's issue isn't Spina Bifida, these are parents with children with special needs and there are bound to be some experienced parents there to give me some tips.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Re-Adoption Today

Well, I did it without insulting the judge! I even took a picture! Yes, I still resent this step, but it's over and done with and I learned that it was unnecessary to have done it at this time. I thought it would be easier to get Jie Jie's U.S. passport with an English birth certificate, but here's what the judge said to me, "By the time she's in college, the birth certificate should arrive."

Oh, well, I'll used the adoption order we received today.

The judge was very kind and gentle so that put me at ease right away, I needed that since I'd spent 30 minutes trying to find a place to park then we waited an hour before it was our turn. I didn't realize it was a cattle call for all adoptions for the day, so I didn't have so much as a single snack, crayon or coloring book to amuse Jie Jie. She was a trouper, though.

Once in the judge's chambers, he sat us down and began by saying that he says certain things to all new parent and children. I gently said, "Even though I adopted her a year ago?" He then asked, "In China?" I said, "Yes."

Then he said that he also talks to children about their responsibilities and turned to Jie Jie and asked, "Do you clean up your room?"

She answered, "Yes." At which time I interjected the truth, "My daughter is very good at cleaning up her room. I don't even have to ask her. She does a GREAT job! She even started setting the table for dinner long ago with out being asked."

He was impressed and complimentary, asked Jie Jie if she'd like to sign the adoption order, which she did, and that's when I got my picture. It was a great moment for both of us because Jie Jie has been learning the write her entire name by memory this week and it's been rather difficult for her. She doesn't quite understand what her middle and last names are for so she hasn't taken them to heart or identified with them in any way other than that I have the same last name as she does and she likes that.

I also waffled on her name on the official form for the birth certificate, then caved and changed it back. I left her first name exactly as it is on the English version of her Chinese birth certificate. I'd been debating as to whether or not I should capitalize the first letter of the second character, but they did not so, in the end, I did not even though I did for about 15 minutes and had the clerk white out the old and put in the new, then white it out again and put it back to how I originally had it.

This trouble with names isn't because it's a Chinese name. I just have a very hard time with naming unless the name just jumps right into my mind right away, which it did with Sissy and with only four of the 13 cats I've owned over my lifetime.

We've been invited to a spectacular Easter event at the home of a local family who adopted a twelve year old from China only two months ago. I'm looking forward to Jie Jie having a wonderful time with kids her age and for the opportunity to observe the new child in her home environment.

I got a huge compliment the other day in the store. I was waiting in the return line and there were Easter books along the isle focusing on the Easter Bunny and getting gifts. I told Jie Jie that the real reason of Easter is to celebrate Jesus' gift to us and then explained in appropriate terms a little about that. Behind me in line was a Hispanice woman and her mother and the daughter had overheard me and translated for her mother, then she said what she did and how impressed she and her mother are that I'm teaching my daughter about Jesus and the true meaning of Easter.

Glimpse of a Family of 3

I'm preparing Sissy's care package and this is the picture I put on the front of her little album. While I'll send a letter, camera, and journal through Ann at Red Thread, a family from Canada is travelling at the beginning of May to adopt their child from the same SWI and will take my care package when they go.

Ever since seeing that little girl in the store last night, I'm finding it harder to wait. I've been so good during my long, long, long wait, but now that I've got Jie Jie and love having her so much, it's hard to wait for my next children to come home.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Sissy's Wardrobe

It started during the Christmas holidays when Sissy's Gong Gong (grandpa) bought her very first outfit. I hope it won't be too young looking because he also bought Jie Jie a matching one! Then, the year-end and New Year sales began and I started making the rounds. It was so hard because I'm guessing at her size. However, I've kept ALL the receipts and I don't plan to wash it all, only what I'll pack for China.

Tonight, I lucked out. I was in a Target store and there before my very eyes, was an Asian girl and her mom and the girl looked just like Sissy does in her video - tall, willowy, all arms and legs, very thin. This girl was 12 and 5'5" which is just a bit taller than I'm estimating Sissy to be. The mom and this girl were sooo nice. They let me hold clothes up to her and I asked what sort of things she liked to wear. She was a wholesome girl, not one of these modern teens.

From left to right, I have one dress, skirts, back row is all pants (leggings, yoga pants, shorts - just one pair, bike shorts for under skirts, and one capri, 2 pairs of cargo pants are on their way in the mail). The middle row, left to right, sets, short sleeve shirts, long sleeve shirts, 2 sweaters. First row, l to r, swimsuits, socks and tights (just a couple), pajamas (2), and the Christmas top. There is an REI rain coat in the background and a Hanna Anderssen coat and one top was hanging in the closet. Other than that, you've seen it all!

What is missing from Sissy's wardrobe, that I hope to get in China, are socks, shoes, underwear, dresses, pants, and two more jackets. Hopefully, dresses in China come with sleeves, because dresses here do not, except for Hanna Anderssen dresses, which Sissy is too big for. I mean, honestly, a Christmas dress that's sleeveless for little girls in winter? What is wrong with designers? Is this all that parents will buy? I think not.

So, hopefully, the dresses in China have sleeves on them!

Sissy is now almost 14 years old. The last measurements I have for her were from when she was 12. She was not on the US charts for weight or height, but she was almost to the 5th percentile line. Based on her growth and allowing for a generous teenage growth spurt, I figure right now she'll be about 80 pounds and 58" tall. I bought size 12 in most things, but some shirts I bought 14 if they looked small. The pants I'm waiting for are size 12 slim. I bought regular 12 and they looked HUGE.

I'm looking at this picture and laughing a little, well, a lot, at myself, because I wasn't going to buy much here. I was going to wait until I got to China and had Sissy with me before shopping so much! Once I learned how the sales and coupons worked, I haven't been able to help myself! I really hope Sissy likes her clothes and finds them comfortable.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Dossier Logged In!

I can't believe it, but I missed an email from my agency on Monday. This is what they wrote:

"Great news, your dossier was logged-in on March 31st.

As we discussed last week, we should look for your letter seeking
confirmation within the next 8-10 weeks. As a reminder, this is the
document you sign agreeing to adopt [Sissy]. We send it back immediately and CCCWA sends us your travel permission about 4-5 weeks later. By my calendar, it looks possible that you could travel in July/August.

Congratulations on completing this step!"


Yesterday I spoke with a surgeon in central California. He came highly recommended but wasn't with Kaiser. I gave his office a cold call anyway and an hour later he phoned back. We had a great conversation and he said that even though we were Kaiser, I could call him for help at any time throughout our process that he's on salary and not to worry about money. He's a very generous surgeon who cares a great deal about his patients.

I sent him pictures of Jie Jie's anomalies and he emailed me with what he thought. I emailed him back giving him corrected details and moments later the phone rang. It was him. Apparently, my daughter's case is very unusual even among children with the same conditions. We discussed her at length. He's so interested that he said that if Kaiser gives me any trouble at all getting to see the surgeon in Southern California, that he'll personally call that surgeon (he knows him well) and fill him in on what's going on, what my daughter's like, and everything! He believes the L.A. surgeon can handle her case well, but that if there is any doubt, he's positive that the surgeon will immediately refer us to the Center of Excellence we've been trying for all along. He was glad I stuck to my guns and advocated so strongly for my daughter.

This gives me such a huge feeling of relief and validation that all I've been doing has not been in vein. All the hours I've spent researching and struggling and, finally, coming out on the right egroup, have started to open the right doors!

Official Results are In

Nice sigh of relief for this mom, only one cardiac anomaly, and it's actually outside the heart and should be of no consequence. In the words of the doctor, "Her aortic arch curves to the right instead of the left, but since the heart structure is normal this is likely a normal variation."

The doctor said, "normal variation," which may be a quote from the radiologists/cardiologists report, but given that Jie Jie's anomalies fall into a specific acronym describing a non-random association of birth defects, and Cardiac is one of them, this just gives her one more association with this class of 7 body areas, for a total of 6 out of 7. Fortunately, it's a VERY minor one! The reason it is called an association, rather than a syndrome is that while all of the birth defects are linked, it is still unknown which genes or sets of genes cause these birth defects to occur.

No specific genetic or chromosome problem has been identified, however, it is most likely caused by multiple factors and refers to the abnormalities in structures derived from the embryonic mesoderm.

BTW, Sunday's adverture was a little test of how much riding in the stroller Jie Jie still needs. She did use it part of the time, but I did encourage her to walk more than she would have chosen to, meaning, when she wanted to ride, I had her walk a bit more. While she's not limping today, she is most definitely very sore in the effected parts of the legs and feet. Conclusion, we will definitely be keeping the stroller and being aggressive in finding a larger one.

As she has such a high pain tolerance, I will be watching Jie Jie closely tomorrow (well, later today, since midnight has come and gone) to determine if her pain is greater than it was today. When I asked her why she didn't tell me this morning how sore her foot was, she replied, "I bwave, mama."

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Day Among the Healthy!

Today dawned bright and clear, the earth washed clean after yesterday's big rain and storm. We raced out of bed early and met up with several families with children adopted from China and took the ferry to San Fransisco. Once there, we had lunch, played around a huge fountain at the Embarcadero, then caught the ferry back home.

Then, Jie Jie and I took her new kite that she got for being such a trouper with her appointments, as we went and tried it out at the park. She's a very good kite pilot and had a ton of fun, as did I. A little time on the playground, and then home again.

It felt WONDERFUL to be out in the sun and fresh air and simply be a regular mom enjoying a regular kid!