• 2013 China Adventures: Family Update

    Date: 2013.05.17 | Category: Adoption, China 2013, Elijah, Evangeline Faith, Jasmine (Shuang Shuang), Lainey Rae | Tags:

    I should have posted sooner and I apologize that I haven’t. I have lots of excuses for why I haven’t. First off, I can’t get my phone to hook to internet. I can’t get my blog site to pull up at all. I’ve been blocked here in China. You can get wireless hookup in the main lobby but it’s been too hectic to head downstairs. And lastly, I just haven’t been able to post because I wasn’t sure what to say. I’m filled will so many emotions right now – sadness, anger, grief, joy, feeling blessed and so happy to be with my children. I know Cassie has posted pictures on her site – why she hasn’t been blocked is beyond me. Her site, if you missed it from before, is http://thankfulforthecrazy.wordpress.com/

    I’m not even sure where to start. We have spent days running around for paperwork and today is our first free day which is why I’m trying to post while the kids are napping. Yesterday, we left at 7 a.m. with Evie and Eli. We took a 30 minute taxi ride to the bullet train station, where we walked forever and climbed 3 flights of stairs with a huge bag and a baby waited another 40 minutes and then we took an hour bullet train ride at 300 km/hr to Zumahdian to fill out the paperwork for Evie’s passport. We had time to kill so they took us to her orphanage, which meant another taxi ride. Then it was lunch, another taxi, and run back to the bullet train, up more stairs, another 30 minutes to next stop for Eli’s passport paperwork, more stairs, more taxis, more waiting, crazy women outside of court offices, back in a taxi, more stairs, more walking, one hour and 30 minutes back to our town, one more taxi and then home at 5:00 p.m. and Eli cried frantically every time we were on the train. Overall, that is pretty much how our days are going.

    It is always exhausting when you travel to adopt. Your sleep schedule is messed up. The children come to you with trauma from the orphanage or even if they were well cared for, they have trauma from having to say good-bye. It takes a while for sleep schedules to get worked out, to figure out what they like to eat, and for them to trust. There is a big adjustment period. Though it never fails that they attach themselves to one person and they don’t want much to do with everyone else.

    There is no way to make this short or in a way that makes it one cohesive point so I will finish this and then I am going to write a couple paragraphs about each child. I will tell you ahead of time that this emotional roller coaster has had so many lows – from the unbelievable malnutrition of Evie to the unknown diagnosis of Lainey and Jasmine, to seeing all the children in the orphanage. My heart just hurts, the pain and hurt of knowing what my children will go through and the grief of dreams lost. I know that the will of God will not take me where the grace of God will not provide, but I am having great difficulty understanding all that has happened. I trust His plan and I will continue to trust His plan, but our lives have just gotten ten-fold more complicated than even I thought it was going to be. I will move forward and find a new normal. It will just take some time.

    On Gotcha Day at the Registration Office, I was so angry when they handed Evie to me. Evie turned two on March 25th. Evie is not able to sit alone. She weighs approximately 12 pounds, maybe a smidge more, by Dan’s judgment and he is usually dead on. 12 month clothes fall off her. We had to head to Wal-Mart and buy her those brand new infant shoes that you get for newborns and they are too big. I can’t even begin to adequately express my anger over her malnutrition. Every horrible thought that you could imagine went through my head, but when we showed up at the orphanage it was very apparent that Evie was loved. Her nanny was so happy to see her. It was a nice enough place. The other babies were chubby. They just weren’t feeding her enough to compensate for the extra calories she needs because of her heart defect.

    We even got to see a new friend’s of ours baby, named Meili. Oh man does this girl have personality. She looked so good and was so happy. She showed us her playroom. Meili danced for us and Dan has a video. We can’t wait to get somewhere that it will let us send it to them.

    We also got to see where Evie was abandoned. It was a street corner covered in garbage and I can’t even begin to tell you how that made me feel. I’m just so happy to take my little girl out of here. The good news is this little girl is full of personality. She smiles at the drop of a hat. She sucks her thumb just like Hopey used to. I’ve never seen another child suck their thumb like this – thumb in mouth, pointer finger up over her nose, and her other arm across her face so she can smell her arm. Plus, she kicks her feet just like Codey did when he was little and still in the hospital. She has brought back lots of wonderful memories. She is so very sick but I still feel so very blessed to be her mama.

    Little Mr. Eli has come out of his shell today. He was definitely loved and believes himself to be the emperor or at least a prince. He offers you his forehead to kiss and he dismisses you with this wave of his hand. The wave is like this “no, no that’s beneath me” wave. It makes me laugh every single time.

    He and Evie refused to eat the first few days. We tried bottles, sippy cups, cups, etc. and couldn’t get them to take anything. Cassie finally got the idea to spoon feed them liquid and that worked. Evie eats every 2-3 hours like a newborn so it’s been a tiresome couple of days. Eli is the healthiest out of everyone. How’s that for a kick in the behind? He looks wonderful and reminds me of Zach when he was little. He’s very quiet. He just sits and observes everything. He was the first to call me mama. Until today he wanted me to hold him 24/7. He wouldn’t eat until we went to KFC yesterday. The chicken finally got to him. If you know Dan, you know that is one of his favorite restaurants.

    Eli truly is very, very sweet. The orphanage care giver that dropped him off said he is unbelievably sweet and easy going. He definitely looks as though he has been spoiled. He plays so sweetly with Evie. He includes Jasmine in everything. He even plays well with Lainey. He shares everything and has the cutest voice. He waved good-bye this morning and said, “Bye, bye baba (daddy).” and then blew dan a kiss. He has adjusted well.

    Jasmine or Shuang-Shuang (Sh-wong, Sh-wong) as she was called in the orphanage is the best girl. Everyone who meets her comments on how sweet and well-behaved she is. She has just gone with the flow. She takes everything in stride. Believe me this is a big deal. We showed up expecting a child with a mass on her back. We knew she was in a wheelchair and expected her to be a paraplegic. We were not expecting a child who can do very little for herself. She tries but she just doesn’t have the tone to do it. She can raise her arms a little. She pulls her pant legs to move her legs. She is able to feed herself, brush her teeth, etc, but that is about it. She has scoliosis that almost bends her in two.

    We are assuming she has some form of muscular dystrophy. I’m going to post that even without a diagnosis because it fits with her story. With m.d. you start to lose muscle function when you are 6 or so. She probably got very clumsy and then it got progressively worse and her parents didn’t know what to do with her. When you meet this girl you will understand what I’m saying when I say, I can NOT even fathom what that took to do that. She is an unbelievable child. She loves being a family and that makes me very, very happy.

    That leaves Lainey or LuLu, as Cassie has now started calling her. The reason for my pain and anguish. She is a beautiful little girl but she doesn’t just have PKU with a little brain damage. She is severely delayed with autistic characteristics. If you know me, you know that is one of the things I never thought I could handle. There were two things we did not check on disabilities we were willing to take. Those were hydrocephalus, because we had already been through all of that with Codey and I hate seizures, etc. and the second is autism.

    This little girl is so cuddly, which is a gift considering the level of her disability. I’m sharing this with you because when you meet her it is very apparent. This has been a shock and very painful to both Dan and I. We know that no matter what, family will be what is best for her. We will have to make lots of changes in our lives but she is worth it. Just this morning she ran down the hallway giggling and spinning. She was laughing and playing with Eli. She has the capacity to be happy and no matter what her life will be better by not staying here.

    As you can see, we’ve had some adjusting to do – more than we expected – and believe me, I was expecting a lot. Even with the kids being as sick as I knew they were, I wasn’t prepared for this. God has blessed me with quite a few of the “least of these” and I will love them with all my heart.

    FAMILY is a wonderful, wonderful blessing! I just want to get home so we can all start working on our new normal.