Thursday, April 24, 2008

We're Home!!!!!!!!!

Yep you read that right, we're home. The doctors are still amazed at our little blessing and at her ability to recover so quickly. They took her last chest tube out yesterday afternoon and sent us home last night. Abby had a great nights sleep, in our bed of course, and was back to her sweet little self today. I am just amazed at her ability to recover and rebound. We are truly blessed beyond words with this special gift from above.

Thank you all for your prayers and offers of support. We feel that by prayer and God guided hands Abby Grace was able to make a quick recovery. She'll have another surgery when she is a bit older and 13 pounds heavier. Until then she should have no complications or limitations. Please continue to keep her in your prayers. A big thanks to the pediatric cardiology team at MUSC, you guys are miracle workers here on earth. We'll never forget what you have done for Abby Grace.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A quick update:)

Just a quick update. Abby Grace continues to amaze us. She had one chest tude removed yesterday. The other tube will be removed once her drainage decreases. She has been eating well and visited the playroom once again. She loves to play with the kitchen in the playroom and loves to stir the food. I wonder if she watched her nannies prepare food in the orphanage.

The doctors feel that we may be going home as early as Thursday or Friday. They just have to be sure that she is stable enough and that we feel comfortable handeling things. Besides the chest tube you'd never know she had open heart surgery just a few days ago.

Thanks you all so much for your prayers and offers of support. God is an awsome God and he is working miracles everyday in this sweet girls life.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Power of Prayer

We are so thankful for all of the prayers being sent up on Abby Grace's behalf. She went through surgery very well. There were no unexpected findings and Dr Bradley was able to complete the surgery just as he planned. He said she was a great case. Last night Abby Grace was weaned off of her ventilator and was awake at brief times and responding this morning. She is on some pain medication and lasex (sp?) for now. The doctors say she may be moved to a 7C later today which would be great. She managed to pull all of the tape off of her IV site so the nurse had to wrap her hand up like a boxing glove. he is such a curious little thing. Dr Bradley came in and spoke with us a few hours ago and said she may, depending on how she is over the next few days, get to go home late next week. I am amazed at her ability to spring back. She is so resilliant and so strong. I know God chose Abby Grace to be our daughter and he placed her where she needed to be.
We know we have a long road ahead of us but we also know that God guides our days. He has been navigating Abby Grace's life perfectly since the moment she was conceived in her mother's womb.

We wish to thank you all for your prayers and thoughts. Please continue to pray for Abby Grace. Please also pray for this hospital and the wonderful team of physicians and nurses who work here. I'll update periodically to let you all know how Abby Grace is doing. Again, thanks for your prayers and may God richly bless your life.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Update & Prayer Request

We have had an eventful first week home. Abby Grace has settled nicely into her role as the princess and the boys are loving her to death. We went to our pediatrician, Dr Buschor, on Monday and she was very surprised at how well AG was doing. Still a bit small on the US chart but doing well. We went to our cardiologist, Dr Shuler, on Tuesday and he too was surprised but concerned when he listened to her chest and did a echo of her heart. He referred us to MUSC and Dr Bradley. We spent a normal day at home and Wednesday trying to get on a good schedule. On Thursday we had an appointment scheduled at MUSC for a heart cath and sedated echo. After a long wait the doctors told us the extent of AG's heart condition. She has 2 holes in her heart. One small, that leads to a very small right ventricle and one large between the two chambers of her left side. The small hole we knew about but the larger one surprised us. The doctor, Dr Bradley, stated that we would need to have corrective surgery. initially we were told within a few weeks. Then as AG began to come out of sedation her oxygen level dropped and they decided that the surgery needed to be performed today. So now we are at MUSC in Charleston and Abby Grace just went back for surgery. Surgery is supposed to last anywhere from 3-6 hours.

The next step, once surgery is complete AG will go to PICU for 48 hours. Once she wakes up and they evaluate her condition she will be moved to a regular room for the duration of our stay. (10-14 days)

Not exactly the first week home we though we'd have but we know it was orchestrated by God to work out this way. He chose Abby Grace to be our daughter and he chose this to be the time to fix her little heart. Please pray for Abby Grace and for the team of physicians and nurses working to fix her heart. Please pray for V, Jacob and Owen. I know they are very scared and somewhat lost. They knew we were going to the doctor but had no idea that the doctors would have to fix their little sisters heart. Please pray for my parents, they have been very supportive and helpful throughout this entire process.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

We're finally home!!!

After a long day of flying and a 50 minute delay in Chicago we are finally back home in SC. Abby Grace did great on the flights, she slept most of the time and I didn't even have to give her any Benedryl. She finally met her big brothers last night and was a little shy, but this morning they all played together nicely in her room. She has already been outside with V to pick some flowers, aka weeds. What a blessing it is to see her finally home with her forever family.

* To my gabby girls you have made this journey so amazing. It was wonderful to finally meet you all and see you all united with your children. Sorry for the no-goodbye in Chicago. I was being a bit rushed to our gate only to sit after the delay. But don't worry I know we'll all meet again soon, we've got to plan a reunion sometime next year.

Thank you Lord for this wonderful gift of adoption. You have given us something indescribable in this little girl. May she grow and bring honor and glory to your name.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

What an amazing journey it has been just a few short hours our time in China will be over and Abby Grace's new life in America will begin. It has been an amazing journey. Abby Grace has gone from a frightened introverted little girl to a giggly, smiling and silly little girl. She has really blossomed this week. She has learned to trust us and love us, and learned to ride in her stroller. She is still a bit clingy at times so I know some part of her is still grieving the loss of her home. She has brought us such great joy, I cannot wait to see how much more she blossoms once we are at home and once she meets the rest of her family. V is anxious to see her reaction to Max the dog, I hope she is not too frightened of him.

We are set to leave Beijing tomorrow afternoon at 4:30 (4:30 AM SC time) and arrive in SC at 9:12 PM on Friday night via a brief layover in Chicago. In Chicago Abby Grace will become a US citizen. We went to the swearing in ceremony at the US consulate today and they handed us the famous "Brown Envelope" which we will give to immigration in Chicago. A Chinese citizen today...a US citizen tomorrow!! Please pray for our flights tomorrow, no delays, happy or sleeping children and for the dads some roomy seating. Abby Grace is still unsure of Sean so I imagine that the majority of her trip will be in my lap.

For those of you who know us well, our last dinner in China...Pizza Hut:)

We not only received a daughter on this trip, we also made many new friends. To all of you, thanks for being on this journey with us. We hope to keep in touch and see how your families are doing in the years to come.

Can't wait to post from SC!!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Still Here

I know...I know... I took a break from blogging to enjoy time in China and time with Abby Grace. She has really blossomed in the last few days. She talks a bit, although we really have no idea what she is saying. She has used the potty twice and is no longer screaming during her bath time. She is still eating everything and anything we give her. She is exactly the child we prayed for.

What have we been up to?? We had the famous medical examination yesterday. That was not as bad as I have heard of it being. Luckily our agency appointment was right after lunch so it was not very crowded. Abby grace did great, just a few tears. There were several stations: ENT- this was a joke, the guy looked at her eyes and in her mouth then used a squeaky duck and a bell the check her hearing. I loved the weight and measurement station- Abby Grace is 24.5 lbs and 31 inches tall. The medical and surgical station was interesting- I don't know if the doctor (?) was surprised that we were adopting a CL/CP, VSD child but he made sure that I was aware of her special needs. I was kind of like "Yes I know, you don't have to point it out." He made a copy of her heart scan and attached it to her consulate paperwork.

Today we went to the largest flower garden in China. It was very nice but the humidity was awful. We all cooled off with some ice-cream, which Abby Grace loved. I can't wait to introduce her to Marble Slab. The garden was very beautiful.
We walked around for a while and then fed the goldfish in the pond. We had a nice time.

Friday, April 4, 2008

What a sweetheart!!

Abby Grace is coming out of her shell a little more everyday. On Thursday Sean actually held her while she slept as we toured the museum. Once she woke up she allowed him to hold her a bit longer. She also gave V lots of kisses today. I am waiting for the moment when she'll give kisses to her "Baba". She is talking a bot more, no real words just babble to us. She and Hudson seem to talk to one another a bit. They both say something like "here" when they share things. She also makes sounds for up and down and points at things she wants. She has been sleeping in bed with me at night although she is currently napping in her crib. This morning she ate another bowl of noodles at breakfast. She loves them, along with anything else you give her. I was talking to one parent this morning who said he was surprised that she would eat them. He had heard that there was not alot of "food" at the orphanage, mostly formula and congee. Well this girl is not eating congee or drinking formula. she wants food. Last night we ordered pizza and she downed a whole piece all be herself, again. I can already tell she is putting some weight on. Hopefully she'll grow in to some of the warm weather stuff I already have for her. Again, she is just much smaller than I thougt she'd be.

Please continue to pray for Abby Grace and for all of us. Also, Andrew went to the doctor last night and he has strep throat. Not fun:( Poor little guy. Please pray for his recovery back to his happy little self again and also for his parents.

GanSu Provincial Museum

We spent 2 hours yesterday venturing through the GanSu Provincial Museum and saw and learned some interesting things. We walked the Silk Road and learned about the history of the people who live in this region. Most of the people were Buddhist so that was a large part of the museum. We also saw artifacts made from copper from long ago. Also there were some large dinosaurs skeletons unearthed in this region. It was an interesting but long tour. One thing very interesting is the Flying Horse. It is a symbol of the province. Not sure about the history of it I'll have to google it and write about it for Abby Grace's Life book.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Ever rode a camel before?

*Abby Grace in her new stroller
*A house just off of one of the paths in the zoo.
*The Chinese National Treasure: The Panda
*V on a camel!!!

Lanzhou Happenings

Abby Grace is doing wonderful. She is such a happy little girl. She hasn't been talking a lot but her eyes express so much. When we are out places and she sees something that excites her eyes light up and she says "ooya" which according to our guide is "wow". She sees buses and cars and gets all excited. Today we went to a park and watched kite flying and she was so amazed and kept pointing to the kites in the sky. She has been eating everything, she has an appetite like I have never seen. Last night our group went for pizza, yes I know we are in China, not Italy but we are all getting a little tired of real Chinese food. Anyway, she loved it, she ate a whole big piece all by herself and then ate more once we got back to the room. This morning she ate a whole fried egg and a big bowl of noodles for breakfast. I'm guessing that in the orphanage they limited their food so she is eating just to eat. This is something I've heard about from other adoptive parents also and they have all said the children adjust once they get home. She finally drank from a sippy cup today. The last two days I've been giving her milk and juice using a medicine dropper, but today she finally figured it out. She also walked around more today holding my hand as opposed to wanting to be carried everywhere. Yesterday the dads finally broke down and bought strollers prior to our trip to the zoo. She loved riding in it. It was very hilly and there were lots of step ups so I cannot imagine carrying her throughout the zoo. A little note about the is very old and outdated. The animals are kept in very sad condition, except of course for the Panda who had a great enclosure. Most of the cages were concrete floors and iron bars. It was very depressing. One funny thing we found is that they keep house cats in the enclosures with the large birds to eat the mice. It was very odd to see the cats lying around in the enclosures meowing.

We are having some issues with attachment. I am the only one who she will let hold her. Last night Sean was able to feed her some milk before bedtime and I snuck off of the bed. She cried for a while wen she noticed I was gone and he eventually got her to sleep. Well today she wanted noting to do with him or V for the most part. She looks and them and smiles sometimes but she will not let them hold her. Sometimes she dosn't even want them to touch her. We've got to work on that. I think V is getting her feelings hurt. Please pray for her attachment and trust in them to improve.

Prayer Request:
Andrew is not feeling well. He is usually a little clown and always smiling. Today he was not himself and this evening when Lisa and Kevin checked his temp he was 102+. They have started giving him some tylenol/motrin and amoxicillan. Please pray for his healing. It is so hard as a new parent to know your child is sick and be so far from home and your own doctors.