Sunday, November 20, 2011

Happy 2nd Birthday Hannah

I started this late that night but had to make the wise choice to get some sleep. Sorry, you are just getting to read it:

To my sweet daughter on your 2nd birthday, I know your daddy is writing you one of his famous birth letters (every child born into our family gets one) but I too wanted to tell you how lucky we all are to get to celebrate this day with you. It has been such a joy watching you grow and blossom over these last 4 weeks. I sometimes get sad that we missed out on those first 2 years, but then I have to quickly remind myself how blessed I am that I have the rest of my life to watch you grow into the amazing person God has most certainly destined you to be.

You have been so brave over the last few weeks and have taken on so much for such a little girl. I know it has not been easy at times but you still somehow always seem to find a smile. When you do smile it's hard not to smile back! One of the many things I love about you is your great affection for people. Even people you hardly know and who can't seem to respect your space, you just seem to handle it all so well for having been through so much. Getting to be on the receiving side of all your sweet hugs, kisses, and even spit baths (this is something they do in China...and yes, she uses real spit on me) is such a treat every day.

I know we still have a long road ahead, but I promise you we will walk it a family. You are so loved! Happy Birthday Hannah!

Now for the fun part...PICTURES!!!

We decided to not do a big party and instead decided to keep it low key...very low key. We got all dressed up and went out to dinner to a place we knew SHE would love, P.F. Chang's. Just our immediate family and Kevin and Amanda Dearing...the old China gang was back together again, and it was a fun, laid back, comfortable night of celebrating this sweet little girl's big day.

We ate.

We played.

We partied.

We each gave a gift.

(While in China we bought a few things to set aside for future birthdays...tonight's was a pair of traditional Chinese pajamas)

And we danced with balloons.

It was a great night, but like all good things they must come to an end. So we packed up and headed home.

One of the best gifts of the night was waiting for us at home in our mailbox...Hannah's certificate of citizenship. :o)

What a perfect ending to a perfect day. Goodnight!

Sleep tight.

Don't let the bed bugs bite.

See you in the morning light.

Can't wait to do it all over again next year.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Our 1st Post Placement Visit

I cannot believe it's been a month since our gotcha day! Sometimes it seems like 3 months and then other times I feel like we just got home. So, at the one month mark everyone now (thanks to the new China law that JUST passed) has to have the first of 3 post placement visits. It used to be 1 visit at 6 months and that was it. This is a real whip cause it has been so crazy with just getting over jet lag, finding a new normal (if anyone out there knows where I can find one, PLEASE let me know), all the doctor appointments, Hannah's birthday (tomorrow), the coming holidays, and now another Home Study...come on people, give me a break! We skipped Halloween, don't think I won't skip buying presents for everyone at Christmas this year too (and my love language is gifts if that tells you anything...I'm just kidding about not buying gifts...No I'm not).

So today was just a bunch of questions my foggy brain could not answer, 1) How much did she weigh and what was her head circumference in China...I don't know because it was a crazy place and I didn't think to ask, 2) How much did she weigh and what was her head circumference at yesterday's hospital visit...again, no one told me to remember those details. This is our 3rd child, can you tell? 3) What did we think of our registration experience in China...Ummm, when was that??? Basically, we should have been given a heads up on what China expected of this 1st visit before we left so we would be more aware of details as we went along. I just thought it was going to be a time to make sure she is happy, adjusting to life in our family, and making sure all her needs were being met...NOT! Don't get me wrong, she was full of those questions too, I just wasn't prepared for the detailed questions. Just kept sittin there thinking, "I sure wish she'd just ask me about our sex life"...anything I might know something about. So now I have homework...I hate homework!

The good news is that I love our HS agent, and she was so nice to not look at us with a "Poor child has these crazy brainless people as parents" look...even though she was probably thinking it...Hi Jenna!

I guess I should stop blogging and get on that homework now, or wrap a birthday gift for tomorrow. I can't believe tomorrow is her big day! We have a lot of celebrating to do tomorrow, for many reasons!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hannah's Heart

I cannot tell you how excited we are to tell you that God has answered our prayers and has healed Hannah's heart. The Doctors exact words were, "Her heart is completely normal, the hole has closed 100%, and she never has to come back here again". That's when Charlie and I look at each other with big tears in our eyes and say, "Wow, that's AMAZING!!!" That is just like our God...when He does something He does it big. We walked into that office with a "special needs" child, and came out with a "healthy" child.

Hannah did great going without food all morning, she never even cried. We got to the hospital around 10:30 am and by 11 they were already running tests. 1st all the vitals. Next stop a couple of X-rays...Why do they always make the parent do the dirty work???

Then they began the medicine to try and sedate her (key word "try"). We learned she does not sedate all! She was just as happy as she could be when she should have been knocked out cold. Cute and frustrating all at the same time. All she wanted to do was kiss everyone. So the Dr. gave her another drug to she's just flat out angry! 15-20 minutes later the nurse had to call the Dr. again because the girl is so stubborn and refuses to sleep...ugh! I am not kidding when I say she fell asleep 5 seconds before the Dr. walked in...thank you Jesus! :o) The doctor told us we will always have to warn future doctors when needing to be put her under about her sedation issue.

Now she is FINALLY ready for her echogram.

It was really sweet of God to give us a chance to hear and see her heart beat. This is usually something we adoptive parents miss out on because we did not get the chance to carry them in our womb and have that sonogram was a really sweet moment.

Then a new group of ladies came in to do her EKG, but somebody flipped on the lights and our sweet sleeping angel woke to 3 of us holding her down with wires stuck ALL OVER she's a screamin demon. With all the trauma she has had in the last 2 months, this is the last thing she needs to deal with. Thankfully everyone agreed and decided to skip the EKG test...whew!

That's when we were escorted back to our room for the amazing news of Hannah's perfect little heart.

Wow, what a day! Really, what a year! I am so thankful that God placed on our hearts to adopt a child with a medical need, cause if He didn't we never would have met our precious (healthy) little girl that we have now.

She has no clue what really went on today but one day we look forward to sharing each and every miracle moment of this journey with her...over and over again. Not sure what God has planned for this little girl, but what a testimony she has already.

"Thank you God for answering all of our prayers and healing Hannah's heart, may we all use this gift to glorify you."

Friday, November 11, 2011

1st Medical Up-Date

Hannah had her 1st big medical appointment at the children's hospital this last Tuesday in Dallas (thank you for praying). We were there for a whopping 3 hrs. and 15 minutes...that's a long time to be poked on 3 times, stripped down twice, shuffled from room to room, and expected to perform on command. But hey, Hannah did really well through it all. But we were both so ready to get out of there.

We don't really have any answers after all that cause we have to wait for the blood work and other tests to come back. And we have to come back next Tuesday to have her sedated to put her through the heart test...UGH! We should know more after next week's test.

The only thing we do know is that she is REALLY skinny, well bonded to her parents for it being so early, seems to be smart with a big personality, and all the sleepless nights are normal...Really, 3 hrs. and 15 minutes later that's all we got...I should be a doctor. :) Honestly, it was good to hear all the things we already knew from someone who has been seeing adoptive kids like her for awhile now. However, I am really excited about getting to the bottom of her heart condition. We have been praying for this little heart and for the hole to close on its own for some time now. I am really praying we are given a clean bill of health and she will not have to have surgery. It would be nice to walk out of that hospital next Tuesday knowing we will never have to come back. My God is big enough to do just that. I'll keep you all posted with her diagnosis as soon as I can.

Now for a few pictures of our little princes:

This girl can put away some food. She is not all that picky for being almost 2. I was a little worried at first because she seemed to have a very sensitive gag reflex and would spit ANYTHING too chunky back out, but that is so much better now. We also learned she liked everything hot...and I mean everything...really hot. Now she is even learning to eat cold things. We are so very thankful for her HUGE appetite!

She is also VERY independent and insists on feeding herself.

But even that is getting better.

The girl loves to play outside and it was a beautiful day to do so.

Sometimes you just have to stop to smell the flowers.

Just like her Mama, she loves flowers.

Oooh, so pretty!

It was a good/happy we took lots of pictures.

She loves her babies!!!

A little milk for baby...

A little milk for Hannah. :)

Dancing with one of her babies.

If there is music on, she is's SO STINKIN CUTE!

That's all for now...

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Our "Conspicuous" Family

So the other night my dear sweet friend and former baby sitter Claire had arranged to come and take our boys out of their misery by taking them to the pumpkin patch. Sadly this is something we have always done for our boys, every year we have a sweet family photo of our perfect little family surrounded by lots of big pumpkins...well, not this year. :( With all the changes in our newest child's life we did not feel it was a good idea to expose her to the masses of people (some who would be dressed up in some crazy costumes...what is this world coming to y'all) and force her to sit through one of my famous prop-up the camera family photo shoots (the boys hate these moments too...all 3 of them).

So, Claire once again came to our rescue.

BTW, for those of you who are wondering (and you are probably not but I'm going to tell you anyway), this gift of time with our kids is right up there with someone bringing us a meal...maybe better. Not that we don't love our 2 bio kids (cause we ADORE them), but because we still do not have both feet on the ground, and we are still flying by the seat of our pants around here. So to take our two older ones out for a night of fun and let them be kids away from all the crying, and parents who are just too tired to be fun....Well, it just can't get better than that when you are in our situation.

All that to say that Charlie and I went out on our first date night...yep, all 3 of us. We thought long and hard about a place that would be family friendly, really loud just in case she started screaming, and still maybe feel nice enough to be considered a date night. Cheesecake Factory was our answer. All went really well as far as dinner out with our new daughter, however we were caught off guard by something we had not really thought much about in a while, nor had Charlie and I talked about since we got Hannah. The fact that we are now considered the "Conspicuous" family.

At dinner, Charlie and I both noticed all the stares from people...not in an ugly way, but nonetheless stares. I'm not talking from children who don't have responsible parents to teach their children, "Sweetie, it's bad manners to stare." No, these are full grown adults (some of you parents out there need to practice what you preach if you are in fact teaching your kids). My first (crazy) thought is, "Why do they not think that she MIGHT be ours?"...then I realize, cause were not Asian...I said crazy. Really, is this our her new life??? People always staring? Poor Hannah! If it makes us uncomfortable, you know it's going to make her feel uncomfortable one day. If we know it's her they are looking at, one day she too will know it's her they are staring more thing we will very soon have to deal with.

In China the stares were very different. They came from a very uneducated mind. They could not understand why in the world the American people would want to come to China to get their children (or that we are raising them ALL WRONG). Still very hard. Matter of fact, I learned to just stare back (it was the only survival tactic that I could think of while not in my right mind, but it worked every time). Every once in awhile I would find myself in a hard game of "stare-off", some of those people are really good at it...but don't mess with this mama and her new baby cub...I'll win every time!

So on our date night at The Cheesecake Factory, they sat us next to a full table of Asian people...are you kidding me??? Charlie and I looked at each other and I whispered, "this ought to be interesting." We had not even sat down yet when we looked over and saw this:

They only thought I was taking a picture of our precious daughter, but really it was just them I was taking the picture of. For those of you who are wondering, it DID last the whole dinner.

Matter of fact, they eventually wound up at our table with their hands all over our new sweet daughter, even tried to pick her up out of her highchair...that I'm sure confused the heck out of her. I'm sure she was thinking, "Am I going back to China now?" Really, they were almost as excited as we were on gotcha day. I asked Charlie after they FINALLY left, "Why in the world did you not grab the camera off the table and take a picture of that???" They had NO problems taking our pictures...NO JOKE! Thankfully, they were the nice kind of people who understand adoption and were very sweet about everything, but again poor Hannah. :( I'm sure things will get less invasive as time goes, when she's older and people don't feel as comfortable talking to an older girl. I do understand the fact that she is SO STINKIN CUTE, and that's ok. These kind of stares I'm talking about are VERY different though!

Don't get me wrong, we took the whole 10 hour "Hague" training where they fully prepared us for this, and yes we were asked how we felt about becoming an interracial family in our Home Study, but it still broke our hearts to see firsthand (now having her) just how hard the road ahead is going to be for this little cutie-batootie. Now can you see why adoptive children have a hard time moving forward emotionally? Just because a child is running, playing, making good grades, and has a lot of friends doesn't always mean that the child has moved forward without any scars. The scars are always with these children, some way deeper than others. Sadly, after our dinner we realized that a lot of them come from people right here in America.

So, no it was not the planned date night we thought we would have, but none the less blog worthy.