Sunday, July 12, 2009

Together at last!

The girls and I took a road trip last week to Tennessee. We finally met up with our friends L and S. You may remember them from some earlier posts. L and her family adopted S last year from China. She was born with a CL/CP and a severs heart defect like Abby Grace. L and I have been talking since she received S's referral. So finally we got a chance to meet. It was so exciting to see the girls playing together like the had been friends for years. Abby LOVED playing on the swing set and swimming in the pool with S. But I think her favorite part was S's tricycle. She rode it every chance she got. We also got a chance to visit the Nashville Zoo which I highly recommend if you are in the area.
L is such a great person so sweet and genuine. She is so fun to be around. We went shopping at a few little children's shops. We had a great time getting to know their family better. Can't wait til they can come visit us too. Since our boys did not make the trip they were all a bit bummed. But I told them all that they get a chance to visit in October when our agency has it's reunion. They are all really looking forward to it.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Good News

Abby Grace received a great report yesterday. Her heart looks great and her pressure levels were wonderful. She was Satting 80-84% without oxygen! The doctor decided to talk with the surgeon and call us with a date sometime in the future. They said with her next surgery she'd be in the hospital for 2-4 weeks so we are hoping to have it done at a time where I don't have to take a lot of time off of work. We'd hoped to have it done this summer but with such a late cath appointment that does not look likely.
Thanks for the prayers for her yesterday. I felt so at peace sending her back with the team. When we went back to see her she was sleeping and had already been weaned from the oxygen. She slept so peacefully until around 3. To our surprise they discharged her at 4 and we stayed the night in Charleston just to give her a break before coming home to this crazy house. She is now happily playing with her brothers down the hall and shows no signs of even having the cath yesterday except for the blue iodine all over her neck and groin area. I'll be scrubbing that off for a few days:)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cath Day

Today is cath day. As I type Abby Grace is back in the OR with the team having her heart cath done. We have gotten a few updates: They did an echo, put the caths in, were getting pressure readings and are currently taking lots of pictures. Once she comes out and wakes up a bit they'll call us back to recovery and we'll meet with the doctor. I will post later and let you all know what the doctors found and when they schedule her next surgery.
Thanks for your continued prayers!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

We're getting a new daughter:)

OK, we're not technically getting a daughter but we are getting to host an exchange student from China for the upcoming school year. She will be like a daughter but unfortunately at the end of the school year we'll have to let her go back to her family.
I can't tell you a lot about her because I want to protect her privacy but this is what I can say
*She will be 17 when she arrives here.
*She is from Chongqing province.
*She is an excellent student with fantastic grades!
*she comes from a wonderful family with both of her parents working.
*She has been to the US once before on a summer camp program.
*She is beautiful:)

We are so excited to be hosting her. V is thrilled and can't wait to have a big sister. They'll be sharing a room so a small room makeover will have to happen this summer when we find out more about her. The boys...well they aren't too thrilled to have another girl in the house but they'll get over it, right? I think they'll love her once she arrives here. Not sure about AG, she still looks at Asian people very oddly but eventually warms up to them. Hopefully having a big sister around will help us hold on to some of her heritage and customs. We hope to be able to share a lot about our culture and in turn learn a lot about her culture as well.

Monday, May 25, 2009

June 30th

So Abby Grace has now been home long enough to grow 5 inches and 9 pounds. I guess all she needed was some good food and lots of loving. Actually all she needed was her little heart, CL/CP fixed. She has been doing so great. My mom took her in for her check-up a few weeks back and her cardiologist was amazed at how well she was doing. He was so amazed he decided to schedule her second heart repair for this summer! WHAT??? Yep this summer. So June 30th we head down to MUSC for her cath and then surgery should be scheduled sometime after that. By sometime I am guessing a few weeks, but I they won;t schedule it until they have the cath done. Hopefully it will not be like last time when they did emergency OHS the following morning. Talk about stressful. We had only been home with her for one week and I was placing my daughter's life into the hands of some doctors I had only known a few hours. They are a great team at MUSC but I was just overcome with emotions then. Now having gone through 4 surgeries there in the past year I feel more at peace this time around. I just have to keep reminding myself that she is in the hands of God and he is the one who will guiding the hands of the team as they perform the operation.

On to other family happenings...
V broke her wrist at Camp Thunderbird a few weeks back. She was stepping onto a mattress on the floor and it slid. She put her hand down to catch her fall and snapped it. I was at home with the crew but luckily Sean was chaperoning the trip. So he and a counselor took her to the ER in Charlotte and they x-ray'd. It was a green fracture so they wrapped it up and sent her back to camp til the next morning. Luckily another dad at camp called in a favor and she got right in as soon as she and Sean made it back to town. So now she is sporting a bright pink cast. We also found a wrap/bag like thing that she can put on so she can swim and bathe. It is great. She is supposed to get it off next week.
J and O are almost done with school. 8 days and counting. O's leg healed from his run in with the trampoline and he is back to his rotten little self again. J has done great this school year. A/B or All A's each quarter this year. He is doing so well although he still lacks confidence in reading.
S is working like crazy and is looking forward to heading to the lake once the water warms up a bit for some late afternoon jet-skiing. He doesn't get a chance to do it very often but really enjoys zooming around when he gets a chance.
Me, I'm staying at my same school next year but changing grades. Going down to kindergarten. Something I am really excited about. I student taught K in college and have always wanted to teach it. I spoke with my principal mid year and asked for a transfer so she was happy to offer me the position when she restructured faculty.

We are hoping to host an exchange student from China this upcoming school year. She is 17 and is from the same region but not the same province as Abby Grace. We went through our interview last week. Now we just wait. The good thing is this wait won't take nearly as long as our wait did when we were adopting:) We are very excited to offer this opportunity to Lu. She'll be attending V's school. According to her paperwork she has a little sister in China which I found rather odd since most families are only afforded one child. My guess and the guess of the coordinator is the little one is most likely a cousin or a child her family took in. But anyway hopefully we'll get to host her. Nothing is in stone yet.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A very happy heart indeed

Well April 18th marked one year since Abby Grace's open heart surgery. (OHS) Things are looking wonderful. She has days where she still gets breathy and bluish but nothing like before OHS. Her SATs have been in the upper 70s to mid 80s...pretty good for a girl working off of a rigged up heart. She reached 29.2 at her last check up so we still have 6 pounds to gain before her next OHS. You'd think with the way she eats she'd be as big as Owen but I guess her metabolism is so good it just doesn't stick on her. I sure do wish I had that problem:) She still has purplish fingertips and toetips but hey I wouldn't care if they were green with blue spots or stripes, she is alive and living everyday to the fullest and that is all that we can ask for.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

One Year!!

It was one year ago today that we met our sweet little Abby Grace face to face in a smokey hotel in Gansu China. One year that seems to have flown by. I still remember the moment we first saw her sitting in her nanny's lap...

As we walked into the smoky room we saw Andrew sleeping peacefully in his nanny's lap but Abby Grace was no where to be seen. We got our paperwork in order and started going over it with Steed. Then we heard a commotion and saw her as her nanny carried her into the room. Tears filled my eyes, she looked so small and so lost. Her cheeks were rosy and she was bundled up in a creme colored jacket. The nanny sat down with her at a large round table and when the director realized we were her family she called V over to sit by Abby Grace and the nanny. V almost lost it she was crying so much and she was amazed that the moment had finally arrrived where she could touch her little sister. She sat at the table with her and the nanny pulled her hand over to Abby Grace's hand. They touched briefly and then Abby Grace began to cry...did she know her world was about to be turned upside down? Our paperwork was looked over and then the "ceremonial" passing occurred. She screamed like I have never heard a child scream before then began quiet sobs. Sobs that just about broke my heart. All I could do was hold her tight and keep whispering in her ear "Boo Koo" meaning don't cry. We paused for a few pics and then we wisked her upstairs to our room. She was still sobbing as we began to undress her from the 3 layers of clothes she had on and tried to offer her a bottle. She wanted no part of the bottle or of the comfort I was attempting to give her. I think she only wanted to go back to her nanny. We sat with her in our room that night just amazed that we finally had her in our arms. She laid in her little crib and sobbed as she fell asleep that first night.

Day 2 was much better. She woke up in a great mood, ate like crazy at the breakfast bar and even smiled in our family photo for her adoption decree. She still clung to me and followed me everywhere, if I got out of her sight she cried but as the days in China progressed she warmed up to Sean and V and everyone else around her.

Since coming home a lot has happened in Abby Grace's young life. A life that we are so thankful to be a part of. Here are a few of her highlights of the past year:

OHS 4/18/08

Smiling and finally wearing pig-tails

popsicles in the summertime

4th of July 2008

Palate surgery day

Praying for S.

Helping mommy cook.

Picking out pumpkins for Halloween.

AG was a beautiful butterfly for Halloween.

Lip surgery post-op

AG's new smile.

Blowing bubbles!!

Ice-cream for Thanksgiving day dessert.

Guess who turned 3 on Dec.11th?

Posing for our Christmas card.

Decorating the Christmas tree.

A playdate with her little friend Paige.

Celebrating the CNY

Walking in the AHA heart walk. Our team raised over $1000.

It is so hard that our first year with Abby Grace in our family is over. There were so many times during that year that I just stared at her and cried. I am so honored that God chose us to be her family and me to be her mommy. She is an amazing little girl whose smile lights up our lives everyday. Thank you Father for this wonderful gift you have bestowed upon us. We truly are blessed beyond words.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Prayer request!!!

Some of you may remember my dear friend Leslie who traveled to China last year to bring home her little one with a heart defect and cleft lip and palate. Through many countless prayers they made it home safely and her daughter, S. underwent OHS and has been doing great. Tomorrow is the beginning of the next chapter in S.'s life. Tomorrow she'll be having surgery to repair her cleft lip. If you feel led to pray for them tomorrow please do so and visit their blog
in my list of blogs to offer support. I remember how nervous I was leading up to Abby Grace's surgery. Knowing that the little face I'd fallen in love with was about to be forever changed. Leslie is feeling the same way. You, the parent, accept your child (adopted or not) for whom they are on the inside. What is on the outside really does not matter. Please pray for them tomorrow. I'll update in the coming days to let you know how she is doing or just check her blog. Leslie is a much better manager of blogging time than I am :)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Boy meets trampoline......

enough said.

We've been MIA

Wow time sure has flown by in the past 6 weeks since my last post. Yes...6 weeks....I am such a slacker. I sat down to post numerous times but just got off track and never did update during the holiday season. Anyway, we celebrated Abby Grace's first Christmas with our family and this past weekend celebrated her first Chinese New Year in the US. She is just so amazing to watch. She takes everything in. She doesn't know a stranger. That could be a good or bad thing depending on the situation. She started speech with the school district after Christmas break and seems to be doing great. She loves going to see "Miss Kelly" at big school. She walks her out and meets Jacob at the end of school. Last week she said "Well hey there Miss Abby Grace." Abby Grace just lit up and went running to her. I think she is really enjoying that 30 minutes of 1:1 time twice a week.

She is really enjoying our new found tradition of S'mores on Friday nights. No, not every Friday night, just the one's when Daddy is home to help corral the crew:) She loves to sit with me and watch the fire and eat her chocolate minus the cracker and marshmallow. Just the chocolate, she's my kind of girl. She is still eating very well. Veggies and fruits are her favorites, but we are trying to get some meat in her too.

Her Ox Sats are doing great, holding in the low 80's. She is very active but still get's winded from time to time. I am thinking about enrolling her in some gynastics classes this spring. She just loves to tumble all over the floor.

Well that is about all of the time I have for an update now. Enjoy the pics:)

Yes it snowed and V had school. Actually Jacob had school too but he skipped.


CNY Party with the FCC group