FAITH is the substance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not yet seen.
Heb. 11:1

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day/One Week Home!

  Happy Mother's Day to all the mom's today!!!  I can't believe I'm the mom to four kiddos.  Never
would I have imagined I would be blessed to be a mom and to four amazing kids. 

  We've had a lot of firsts this week.  It feels so good to have made it through our first week home.   I could tell Faith was sad when the kids went to school on Monday.  They played pretty good together the first weekend she was home.  Other than being annoyed at her for being too loud and not being respectful of personal property, we certainly can't complain.   Even though we've talked about it over and over again, it's hard not to have the "normal".   And what we all tend to forget is that this isn't normal for Faith either.  Her world has been turned upside down.  We'll eventually get to the normal.  It'll just take some time. 

  Some of the first this week for Faith includes "probably" her first ever hair cut.  Her hair was so damaged that I just couldn't wait to get it cut.  While we were in China, I tried to put some leave in conditioner in it while it was wet but she wouldn't let me.  When she brushed her hair big clumps of it would come out.  So when I asked her about cutting her hair, she immediately gestlured that she wanted it cut like Emmi's, bangs and all.   We went to the mall last Monday and she sat down in the chair and eagerly showed the lady where she wanted it cut.  I can't believe how much healthier it already looks.  Of course some of it could be that we're actually using shampoo now.  It's so pretty and thick, very course like Maggie's. 

  Earlier last week we walked over to our school's playground and Faith sat down in a swing.  I know for sure that that had to be her first experience to swing.  Now that I think about it, there are no backyards in China and I really don't remember seeing any swings at the parks (but not sure about that).  I pushed her in the swing and Maggie and Jacob showed her how to bend her legs to push herself to swing higher.  By the time we were ready to go, she had it down pretty good.    I'm sure she also slid down a slide for the first time too.  When it was time to go, she shood her head "no".  She wanted to stay and play more. 

  Her first appointment with our pediatrician wasn't so great.  Unfortunately, she had
to retake seven shots and we still have to go get a polio shot sometime this week.  By the 6th
shot, she started crying.  I felt so bad her.  It just makes no sense that she had to redo
"everything".   After we finished, I stopped and got her a chocolate milkshake, probably another
first too! 

  I took her shopping earlier in the week too.  We looked for some shorts and something for church. 
When we were walking into the store she looked at me and said "happy''.   We walked out with
a few needed items including some new cute flip flops.  Her feet are healing nicely and they look
so much better now that they can breath and actually stretch out.  Her poor feet look like they've been
scrunched into too small of a shoe. 

 Today we had another first,  She attended church for the first time.  I took her to the Chinese
fellowship.  They were so kind to give me a small electronical advice where a sweet Chinese
lady translated the entire sermon just for me.  It was really good.  I didn't know what to expect
but he certainly did a good job.  I know Faith probably didn't get a thing out of it, but,
hopefully soon, she'll begin to understand God's word and how He loves her.   One day at a time!!! 

  Tomorrow we see the nerurologist for the first time.  Faith has been taking a pill twice a day and now we're almost out.  From what I've found out about this medicine, it can slow thinking.  And it
looks like it's way too strong for her age.  It'll be great to get her seen by someone here in the states.
The neurologist is actually Chinese so hopefully he can talk to her and find out some more information and she'll know what's going on too.   We did find out at the pediatrician that Faith's
thyroid is enlarged.  This could be the reason she isn't active and her weight is off for her age.
We will also be having blood work done this week too.  Please pray she gets through all the
lab work. 

  All in all it's been a good first week, sleepless nights and all.   Tomorrow starts week 4 since
we've had Faith.  Hopefully we can pick up some more English this week.   She will be
enrolled in the 6th grade for fall and evaluated once she's enrolled.  We're learning
as much as we can to help us along when we do start.  

Many blessings,

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Home Sweet Home!!

After 23 hours of travel, we arrived  home Friday night at 7:00 p.m.   We had
the best welcome home ever as our family and friends were waiting to welcome
us.   This is the first time I've driven to the airport.  We've always had someone
take us and pick us up. But this was the best route this time.  When we
finally reached Nashville we made our way to our van and hit the road for the long
drive home.  I know Faith thought we were never gonna get here.   It takes a good
1:15 on a good day and Friday of all days there were traffic delays so it took us
longer to get out of Nashville.  

None of us slept on the long plane ride home.  I just knew Faith would sleep, but
she played backgammon almost the whole way home.  I'm not sure if she knows
how to play, but it certainly kept her entertained.  Since we've been home, we've
worked puzzles (she can breeze through a 100 piece with no problems.  The 500
piece is challenging and she gets tired of looking - me too!!) We've just introduced her
to the Wii, but so far she shows no interest.  We have the "just dance" and I
thought she'd love to play, but I seriously think it's the activity part that leaves her to
watch.   She'll shoot hoops with the basketball and has watched some of her Chinese
videos I purchased her while in China.    All in all things are going well.    When it's
time for bed, she  is ready to go and as soon as her head hits the pillow she's out.
She snores!!!  Now we have two that snore.  I love it cause I can always tell if they
are for sure asleep and not playing possum (lol)! 

As soon as she wakes up in the morning she makes her bed.  She's helped me clean off
the table after we eat and I'm sure she'd do more.  I'm just plain tired to throw out the
chores just yet and thankfully Mike has been home to cook and keep the kitchen picked
up.  Thanks honey!!! 

The jet lag has been terrible this time.   By bedtime Sat. night I only had three hours
sleep since we left Hong Kong.   When I closed my eyes I still felt like I was on the plane
and I've been sick at my stomach, with no appetite.   I slept good last night and feel much
better today. 

The kids are doing great!!  However, I know the language barrier is wearing on everyone.  I feel bad
for Faith as everything here is so new to her and of course the other kids get tired fast and want
to move on to something else.  It's been hard trying to keep her busy.  She hasn't cried since we got her that first day.  She's still easy going (innocent, country girl as our guide told us).  She does
give me that "look" when I tell her "no" or try to correct her.  But at least she hasn't waved her fist
at me since we've been home.  She did throw her arm back and act like she was going to hit Maggie when we were working on the puzzle.  I don't think she would actually hit her, I think it's just
a way of showing emotion.  Maggie found a puzzle piece before she did and it worked. 

She gets along well with all the animals and isn't scared of any of them.  That's a first with all of our
adoptions.  The animals terrified the other three when they came home and it took some adjusting.
Food hasn't been an issue so far.   She has eat what we've put on the table and taken normal portions.
I'm really surprised but very thankful she's adapting.   Praying things continue to go well and we all
get through our daily hurdles.  The kids go back to school tomorrow and Faith has an appointment
with the pediatrician.    It'll just be me and her this week and I've tried to plan out little things for us
to do.  Who knows, we may throw a nap in there too.  

Thank you to everyone for the sweet comments!!  I couldn't access my e-mail
account while in Chin and just went through all my e-mails today.  It was the first
time I've turned on my computer since we've been home.  I really appreciate each
of you and thank you so much for helping us get our girl home!!!   We're praising
God for all He's given us and for another sweet daughter!!!   I can
honestly say that adopting an older child is different.  But it's good!!!   
Our "normal" has changed and will never be the same.  But, now we have a "new
normal" and will eventually get there.  It just takes time, love, and lots of patience!!
I forgot what it felt like those first few weeks after returning home.  There are so many
mixed emotions.  What have I done?  How is this going to work?
What if? How?  But I remember having those same emotions with all of the other
adoptions too.  You take it one day at a time and move forward.  God got us through
the first 2 years of our journey and isn't going to abandon us now.  Now we are
moving into part 2 and looking forward to what each and every day brings.  

I'll be adding pictures a little later.  We have a good system down where Emmi dowloads them for me
on her laptop.  It's much easier than me downloading on my computer.  Oh, and while I've been typing, Faith decided to give the Wii a try.  She's out of breath and just outscored Maggie.  I can
see the biggest difference in her energy levels since gotcha day.  She could hardly make it to the market and back to the hotel in Tianjin.  Any walking wore her out.  We progressed daily as we walked more and more.  Yes, she complained but the mamma bear in me pushed her to keep going
(no whining please)!  I think we'll continue to see her make progress in this area. 

For those who made last minute purchases to help us raise the extra $400, thank you so much!!!  I can not tell you enough how much I appreciate your help.  I was totally stressed the Thursday before we left and our village came through for us.  Thank You!!!  I'll get your packages in the mail this week.
I have some catch up e-mails to do too and will take care of those this week as well.  I had a package I mailed to someone come back while I was gone so I'll take care of that as well.  It feels so good to
be home and trying to get into a routine again.  I think tomorrow will help alot!!