Thursday, November 27, 2014

happy thanksgiving!

we have been enjoying fall and now it seems winter is very close at hand! agh! along with a special someone's second (but first) birthday with us and our very first christmas as a party of six...

we have weathered some sickness, halloween, theater weeks, weeks with dad-out-of-town, visits & visitors, and more than i have gumption to describe but life is full.

SO much to be thankful for, always, but...this season brings to mind all the waiting and praying and hope and promises that came true this year!!!  God thank you sooooooooo much!  and thank all of YOU who have helped us become a bigger crazier family!

wherever you are, whoever you're with or whomever you're missing...we hope you have a very special day...

here are a few of our fall highlights!

did someone say cookies? i smell cookies...




Wednesday, November 26, 2014

to my adoptive mama friends- i'm so thankful...

there are many along this path that have inspired, encouraged, listened, loved...

one sweet little-BIG group i've been thinking about a lot recently? my adoptive mama friends.

some of you i've known for years
long before i knew of my little secret sleepy dream to wannabe an adoptive mama
some of you i met along the way and you've been
an adoptive mama for years, sharing loads of wisdom & experience
some of you have been becoming this special kind of mama right alongside me
sharing this incredible, wild ride together in big and small ways

some of you helped nudge my heart along when i was wondering, wandering, uncertain
some of you i've spoken to dozens of times
some of you -maybe it was just one insightfully shared conversation or email...
some of you have stories i've only read about on your blog and we will never meet and you will never read this ;)
and there's lots in between
and some of you who may not be adoptive mamas have given my heart a fuller appreciation for
  birth moms/parents and their tender experiences and hearts as well...thank you for that precious gift

some of you walked with us all the way through paperwork, fundraising, prayers & logistics
some of you literally walked with me in China, sharing smiles, stories & hearts

some of you i have much in common with
some of you i may only have this in common with you but
all of you - i appreciate who you are, who you have been to me, how i've changed & become more broken yet more who i'm to be, more me...because we said YES to this incredible invitation.

• • •

you have
listened to my hopes
sat with me and, at the right times, reassured me, in my fears
shared your story, joy & tears
let me know what is real and what is painful and what is delight

you have helped stretch me, you have
allowed me to see who and how your family is different...better than you thought it might be,
    even though there's, of course, rough stuff sometimes
spoke truth
shared yourself

you have
blessed me with your prayers & wholy honest mama's hearts

you have taught me
about this beautiful kind of love

which seems sometimes so surreal and even strange at times
but in many ways has been more natural than i ever could have imagined...

while i whole-heartedly believe i am my little Vera's mama to the ends of the earth & i love love LOVE her, i still don't quite yet believe i am one of you.

but it is a huge, indescribable gift to have such a tender community so close.
i am thankful for you!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

How'd all the appointments go?!

We had 3 appointments last Thursday at our Children's Hospital, and one this past Tuesday.

To the many families with lovely littles - or delightful big people - that are having to spend a lot of time at places like this for reasons much more serious and long-lasting-impacting, my heart sends prayers and love.  I do not take for granted visits to doctors that are "routine."   That being said, I thought I might give a little snippet-glance at this day in the life of our little crew....

6:30 - Woke up - found in my inbox a very neat blog entry that happened to be by a mama who also adopted a baby from China who has hearing/ear issues...and there was even a photo in it of when they got their daughter, of some familiar faces--kind people we actually met while we were in that very same room in China just over 2 months ago...
[this is the window of time a prudent mama would have been preparing a well-balanced portable lunch]

7:30 - Neva's up & rollin' - I have finally gotten to the kitchen to assemble some food stuffs (she has a craft date and is not joining us on this medical field trip)

8:20 - "Boys, come to breakfast PLEASE!!!" (Seriously! Now!)
8:50 - Gotta get in the van!
9:00 - REALLY gotta get in the van!
9:10 - We finally start the 23 minute drive to our 9:30 appt, no margin for wrong turns parking or finding the right room (thankfully they don't make you a reschedule til 30 minutes late, which i certainly hope we're not, aarrrrrrgh whydidntigetgoingearlier!!?!?!)
9:35 - Arrive in the parking lot
9:40 - Still looking for a spot in the ramp, maybe??  Dang this place is crowded. Note to self, allow PLENTY of margin for parking next time!!!
9:45 - Find our way to the cranial facial clinic, it's combined with a dentist clinic.  Wait at cranial facial desk - thankful the room is quiet and empty...but so is the registration desk it seems...
9:50 - The Dental receptionist looks up our name in the system and says "oh, actually, you are scheduled in the Plastic Surgery clinic" Oh no.  Whoops. Yep, ok, that's exactly what it says here on this form I got in the mail.  Huh. But for weeks now we've known we are going to see the cranial-facial-plastic-surgery-doc. Oh well, potato, potata...thankfully it's only one floor down.

9:52 - Whoa!  Here's where the party is. Everyone seems to be here with their neighbor's brother's uncle's child. No real great stroller traffic patterns either. Oh well. They don't seem alarmed that we are running late. We meet 2 sweet little girls at the coloring table and they call our name within a few short minutes.

10:01 - Our new dear doctor comes in - did I mention he is Chinese and has also adopted a little girl from China?  He speaks to me for a little while then gets down and right close to NaNa and talks Chinese to her. She looks at him with her big brown eyes all wide like " I know you??"  We ask what he said and he said he asked her how old she was and what she was eating. ;)  

He says at some point they would like to see a CT scan of her jaw but a lot of times asymmetry can be tweaked as needed with orthodontics. They can "easily" perform surgery to take off her skin tags whenever we feel the time is right.

11:16 - We find the cafeteria, after running into a doctor friend of ours from church, who recommended the chicken nuggets.  We order chicken nuggets and a large apple juice. There's even a jukebox, sort of.  I threw in a bunch of sides for lunch so they ate those with the nuggets and I try to push, push, PUSH the apple juice as the ultrasound people want her kidneys/bladder to be full (how about her diaper too? nevermind....)

12:04 - Stopping mid-hallway to find the radiology department, we see a huge quilt on the wall. The boys and I look over these tender squares and realize it is a precious memorial quilt, with dates and names of unforgettably sweet children who did not have the luxury of any routine visits here.  Some of them lived less than one year, some less than one month. A few of those remembered lived into their teens. But the tender care and love for them and the intention to treasure their memory is clear and dear and speaks volumes to us. My heart aches for their families...

12:15 - We check in right on time for our ultrasound of her kidneys (since kidneys & ears form at the same time, want to be sure everything's hunky dory in the kidney dept or if not, proceed as needed).
12:30 - Here we are in the nice room with a TV and a bar (j/k no bar) & hoping that her kidneys/bladder have just the right amount to reveal what's important
12:33 - I lay with her on the table as they get the gel, etc, and sweet Vera screams the entire time they 
investigate the inner parts of her cute little belly... :(  We are thankful to know she is not in pain, but still it's no fun to be so scared of these weird people with their weird wand of smushy stuff.

1:20 - 2nd poopy diaper of the day, this one leaks onto pants & I remember that last Thursday I told myself I was going to put that don't-know-how-much-you-need-it-til-you-don't-have-it BACKUP outfit in the van....and then I got distracted.  whoops.

1:30 - Hanging out, snacking on yogurt in the train room.  A toy train drives around the ceiling.  Also, who needs pants?  If there's anyplace where they're no stranger to naked kid legs, it's at a children's hospital.

1:33 - Mama shares top secret info: Stealth gummy-worm-eating training for the boys
(veggie chips for NaNa).  Years of occasionally sneaking candy in front of toddlers without letting them see/smell/know's a refined skill. Perhaps some of you know of what I speak?!?????

2:10 - Final appt of day, with Otologist (ear fanatic doc).  Here is our cutie waiting in the chair. She and Rowan played with the cool toy on the wall...for the first 5 minutes. The folks were all very nice here but we ended up waiting quite a while before the doc came in.

3:00 - After a long hour of keeping her out of the low metal drawers, off of the floor-level blinds, out of the garbage can, out of the bio-hazard garbage can, away from the outlets and random cords, off of the computer keyboard, away from the "ear specs" (most of which you can see from this one wonderful view including the artful way she placed my nametag on the purple stool) ...

3:10 ... the baby went to sleep and the doctor came in.
(the boys enjoyed their screen time finally, first time all day)
He said at some point he too would like to see a CT to check out details of her inner ear, but for now getting going on the hearing aid usage would be great.  He also recommended I get a new hairdo. Or maybe budget more time in the morning to tend to such craziness. Oh wait, that was my inner 13-year-old...or nevermind.

3:57 - We are on the road back home to the rest of our evening which included kicking off a weekend with our cousins (and a fun Aunt & Uncle too)!!! Yippeee!

Update: Kidneys checked out normal--Hooray! So very very thankful for this!  Then on Tuesday we got to get fitted for, and borrow, a Ponto hearing aid while we wait for our BAHA 4 hearing aids (2) to arrive. The headband is blue, the ones we will get later are black. You can hardly see it under her hair here... Isn't this the CUTEST little hearing-aid wearer you have ever seen!?!!?!?

Vera is tolerating her hearing aid very well, and seems to enjoy hearing more than she could before. It hasn't impacted her as dramatically as I expected, but we're only in our first few days, so stay tuned for another update about that next. Eventually...  ;)

Thank you for reading & checking up on us!  We are so very thankful for the love & encouragement we have been given along the way and this sweet treasure of a girl we have been blessed to be the mama and baba and sister and brothers of.