Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Update and Video "Adopting Change"

Things are going SO well here and we are SO blessed! Isaac is sleeping so well. It took less than a week to get him on our time. He naps around the same time as Ellie and they both go to bed at the same time.
He is the sweetest little guy. I cannot tell you how sweet it is to rock him to sleep and watch his big blue eyes grow heavy as I rock him to sleep each night. 
He has started eating some things from a spoon. He likes baby rice cereal but gags on strained fruits and veggies. Can you blame him? He ate blueberry baby yogurt a bit better. 
In China he refused those Gerber puffs baby snacks but today he accepted them and swallowed them well, all encouraging signs. I think in China he was grieving, in shock and possibly afraid Chris would force feed him. He shows signs of feeding trauma but those issues are quickly disappearing.
He is sitting up better, and he constantly laughs and babbles. He loves bright colorful toys. He rarely cries unless he has a dirty diaper or is tired.
I wanted to share a video of a great message about adoption, adoption of sinners by God and a sweet reference to our adoption of Issac.

"Adopting Change" from St John Lutheran Church on Vimeo.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Happy First Birthday!

Today is Isaac's first birthday! I am so glad he was able to spend it with his forever family and not in an orphanage. He is making great progress. Our first pediatrician visit went well and she was very pleased with him. She said there may not be anything we can do at this point about the flatness of his head. The official name for it is positional plagiocephaly, aka laying on a crib for endless hours in an orphanage. She did refer us to a neurosurgeon just to make sure nothing else is going on. She said it would not affect his brain at all, or development, just appearance.
She agreed with us he must have had some trauma in being fed solids and agreed with our course of giving him bottles and proceeding slowly with rice cereal.
We are also going to see about early intervention services for some physical and speech therapy to catch him up. I don't know why, but I am nervous about it. Maybe it's not knowing exactly how the system works or because it is run by the state and anything run by the state of Illinois is jacked up!

Isaac is sleeping through the night, and his nap-time and bedtimes are synced with Ellie's. Life and a normal routine have returned. I know this is the honeymoon period but I am blissfully happy with our life. The big kids are so helpful and our littles are such a joy. Ellie cracks us up daily with her happy, demanding nature. She is a little jealous of Isaac and insists on being a baby which we are indulging in.

Below is another post from Chris' Facebook page. How can one be more blessed than this?

Jet lag you were a mighty foe, however, I do think you can take your sorry self to another time zone, thank you very much! I do believe I am all the way recovered now and it only took me a week! Julie and Summer are off running errands, which leaves Wyatt, Ellie, Isaac and myself here at home. Thus far, Isaac continues to make steady improvement with every passing day. He had a very positive visit with his pediatrician yesterday with some lab tests and specialists visits yet to come. Ellie is adjusting to becoming a big sister however, she's still holding on to being a baby. Today at lunch, Ellie told me she loved her baby brother! Wow, try to find that feeling at the department store. It's funny, I thought years ago, when I was disobedient and not walking with The Lord, I was happy. It was a fleeting happiness, like chasing a wisp of smoke, from one material item to the next to catch a feeling which only lasted as long as the next desire took to implant itself in my mind. I often stated I would be done raising children after I retired, I would be too busy doing those things retired people do! What a sense of humor our Savior has! Now don't get me wrong, adoption is not about happiness, it's about obedience. Through obedience you will find peace and solitude, neither of which is sold at the sporting goods store or the local car dealership. As I sit here writing this post, with two more babies to love, I am struggling to find the right word, the right phrase or sentence, which would adequately describe this feeling of bliss. I urge those of you who walk with Jesus Christ to stop, listen, and go in the direction Jesus is sending you. For those of you who don't have a relationship with Jesus, I urge you to talk with someone who does, perhaps me, and discover the peace of an everlasting relationship with a God who aches to have you in His kingdom. Sorry for the long post, I'm just fired up and wanted to share!

Monday, June 17, 2013

So in love!

I apologize for the delay in updates! It has been a hectic time for us, settling in and getting used to a new routine. I will post more photos of Chris and Summer's trip later but for now I must say I am in love with this beautiful little boy! He is so amazing! For the last two nights we have him back on his China sleep routine which is awesome considering he sleeps from about nine at night until about six in the morning.
He is right now just on infant formula taking bottles only. I tried to give him some bites of my DQ ice cream and he wanted nothing to do with it.
He is already rolling over, something he didn't do in China and already sitting up better by himself.
Thank you for all your prayers! The joy and contentment I feel cannot be described. It is better than anything this world has to offer. Keeping this short and sweet for now. Here are some photos I took this morning of my beautiful boy.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Not Awesome...Obedient

Last night I had some Face Time with Chris. He wanted to make sure I understood, and to prepare people once they returned home, Isaac's head is pretty shocking. I posted earlier his head is flat on one side. We believe due to him always being placed on the same side,perhaps in a crib with more than one infant. We can only speculate most things. His orphanage is one of the "good ones". I guess I say this because I need people to know, even the so called best care in China is poor and the poorest conditions are deplorable. I am thankful God kept Isaac safe, fed and cared for in a "good" facility to the best of the ability of the nannies who do their best but large numbers of disabled children prevent them from providing optimal care.
Last night I was angry and frustrated. I was angry at Isaac's birth parents who abandoned him just because he looked different and has sight impairment. I was angry at the conditions he was kept, given his head does not have to be this way. Then I realized if we hadn't answered the call from God last year, we would not have been ready to rescue him this early in his life.
Many people have commented on our Facebook pages and in person we are awesome people for what we are doing. Let me shout as loud as I can I AM NOT AWESOME! WE ARE NOT AWESOME! We are simple sinners like everyone else. Undeserving of God's Grace, yet for some unexplained reason given it anyway. What we are is obedient. Obedience means we do not deserve accolades or pats on the back. It means we serve an awesome God who adopted us out of our mess and gave us life. How many more hear the call and ignore it? Too many times I have heard "I could never do what you are doing" , something which really makes me laugh. Are you kidding? I can't do what I am doing! It's only by the grace given by God which equips me to walk in obedience.

This morning I woke to read Chris' post on Facebook confirming he too is being equipped with God's grace in this journey! Glory to God  for allowing us to be a part of this amazing journey. One week from today I will hold my son. My fourth child. God is Great!

Today's Update: today has been a big day! We switched Isaac from his rice and milk powder to a more westernized formula. So far so good, he appears to like it. We also put sunglasses on him which at first caused him to cry. However, once he opened his eyes it was amazing to see the difference in him. He wore them for our sightseeing tour and was quite the attraction for the locals! Maybe you just don't see albinism kids with lime neon green sunglasses everyday here! This trip has had a profound effect on me as I can see so many signs of God's plans for His adopted children! I will just give you a heads up now, if you don't like hearing about adoption and orphans, you may want to delete me now. Keep up the prayers we will be home soon!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

An update from Chris

I'm still holding down the fort here at home. Everyone is doing well and keeping to their routines. I am just like our friends and family, devouring each and every little picture and video clip I am sent. I am going to try a different format for a video clip. This is from gotcha day, while Chris was signing paperwork the nannies brought in Isaac. Summer was video taping with her phone and then I guess the nannies assumed she was the mother and handed her the baby!

Here is the update from Chris' Facebook....

Today's Status Update: It's official! Isaac is now part of our family! We went back to the civil affairs office today and filled out the rest of the paperwork. One of the most ironic forms I had to sign was a promise not to abuse or abandon Isaac. We gave all parties involved their gifts before leaving, but the most touching moment came when we gave the nannies bottles for cleft lip / palate babies provided by my cousin Ginger. The nannies almost cried and stated they did not have any of these type of bottles. I told them we would send them more when we returned home. Isaac is doing better today, I'm learning more about his condition as time goes on. While giving him a bath, I thought his hair disappeared when it became wet! It returned fluffier than ever when it dried! Who knew? I am ready to be home with the rest of my family, however, I still have eight days to go. Keep on praying for us and I will write another update tomorrow. Take care and God bless!

Monday, June 3, 2013

They have Isaac!

Gotcha day for Isaac went really well according to Chris. He woke me at 4am to Facetime with me. Isaac was wearing a Minnie Mouse outfit and angry bird shoes (coincidentally so did Ellie from a different orphanage in a different part of China.I guess there was a big donation of Angry Bird shoes to orphanages?) Isaac has a flat head on one side. They told Chris he would only sleep on one side, but he fell asleep on his other side with Chris today! He's delayed some as expected, he doesn't seem to know how to eat from a spoon very well. We expected delays given he is not quite a year old.
According to the orphanage workers they told Chris after breakfast he was put on a pot until he pooped which breaks my heart because he is so chubby after a while if he leans one way or the other while sitting he just topples over so he probably was strapped to a chamber pot. But that's only an assumption. He can sit by himself. He is pretty chubby which is good. He's super happy and sweet and doesn't show much signs of being upset or scared outwardly. He's played happily with the stacking cups for a long time with our daughter, banging them together. He seems so sweet, I cannot wait to get him home and get him on track with a loving family! Chris said coming back to the hotel from the Civil Affairs office a women refused to get on the elevator with them because of the baby. In China some people believe a person with Albinism is actually a dead spirit or someone who can bring bad luck.
The video shows a super happy baby!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Chris and Summer are in China!

Chris and Summer are FINALLY in China! When I say finally, that is an understatement! They left Friday morning around 6:30 a.m. The flight from St. Louis was slightly delayed but once they landed in Los Angeles the fun or should I say overwhelming stress began. They missed their connecting flight to Bejing. After frantic calls to me, then me to our travel agent (who is very experienced in adoption travel to China) all agencies were poiting the fingers at each other.American Airlines was blaming China air, China air was blaming our agent and not really caring either. After three hours of calls back and forth our agent was finally able to book them on another flight which left LA twelve hours later. I had to have an interesting phone call with the hotel in China and while I thought there was no way the woman understood a word I said, online confirmation showed she got it right and changed their hotel room reservation since they were arriving a day later.
I guess in a way with all the horrible storms which hit St. Louis we were blessed they were even able to get out of St. Louis on Friday and not stuck here. Summer was reportedly bummed she didn't see anyone famous in LA. I think she expected to get off the plane and sing a Miley Cyrus song "stepped off the plane in LAX with a dream and my cardigan"...
I spent an agonizing day of checking online flight paths and how much longer before their flights would land.
I haven't yet actually spoken with Chris, but he has posted to his Facebook page which reads...

Todays Update: 41 hours after leaving our house we have entered our hotel room! Lets review; first flight delayed, missed connecting flight, lost luggage, recovered luggage, 11 hour lay over to get flight to China, plane's ac was out of order while on ground waiting for take off, waited hour and half for take off, began to smell like a wet goat, lavatory leaked water through wall onto my blanket, I was relieved I didn't have an accident and water was leaking from the lavatory, arrived in Guanghou, four hour lay over then off to Nanjing and voila we're at the hotel! Summer has been awesome through all of this! (Somewhere Jill Winslow is giggling to herself profusely) But you know, today is Isaac's last day in an orphanage!!! How awesome is that!!! I will be a voice for orphans everywhere, God is great!