Saturday, November 4, 2017

3 months in our arms!

First Carousel Ride

Lily Grace, you have been a Wallace for 3 whole months!  It seems like so much longer.  Everything just feels so right with you here with us and we can't imagine it any other way!  What a busy month we have had.  There have been doctors appointments upon doctors appointments, all sorts of family activities, and I went back to work a couple of weeks ago.  But we are still here and albeit crazy a lot of the time-we are settling in nicely to this family of 5 thing!

Getting ready for momma first day back to work!

From a medical perspective Lily Grace has completed the first round of almost all of her appointments.  Almost all of these have lead to need for follow ups.  The good news is that nothing serious has been found and most of the follow ups are out of an abundance of caution.  She will have a swallow study to further evaluate whether or not she is having any aspiration with fluids later in the month.  If it shows any signs of aspiration (fluid going into the lungs instead of down the esophagus) we will further look into why this could be happening.  And she still has yet to see opthamology for her vision screening.  We did find out that she will be eligible for Early Intervention Services, which will be great and help her catch up on lost time for various skills that she is a little behind on.  This is completely expected for children spending time living in orphanages.  Overall we have no reason to believe she won't catch up quickly!  

Dentist visit for all three girls!

Meanwhile at home we have been having all sorts of fun.  We enjoyed some prolonged summer weather and it is just now starting to feel like Fall around here.  We've enjoyed the zoo, visiting Taylor for lunch at school, and just spending extra time outside with the nice weather!  We had a fun outing to the pumpkin patch with family and friends.  

Eating lunch at school with Taylor!

Waiting for Taylor to get out of school

I am happy to report that Lily Grace has discovered that ice-cream is indeed delicious!  She still loves climbing and can pull the pillows out and crawl under the gate onto the stair case with no problem!  She LOVES going into the pantry and grabbing bags of cheetos or other chips.  She still won't eat many other fruits aside from bananas and sometimes blueberries.  Not a veggie girl either.  She still loves her carbs-pancakes, cereal, bread, casseroles, etc.  She repeats a lot of words now and will says "eyes", "uh-oh", "thank-you", "no-no-no", along with so people names. She loves the rocking elephant in her room from her MeMe.  

This month has not been without its challenges though.  Madelyn and Lily Grace seem to be in a little sibling rivalry for momma these days.  They both "need" to be held all.the.time.  And we have moments when we have all the tears.  Guess I should get used to it with 3 girls.  (Pray for Matt- I'm a crier too!)  I'm not gonna lie, earlier this week the two youngest were both crying, while I was on the phone with Comcast who was telling me they couldn't talk to me as I'm not an "authorized user" on our account, I had a migraine, and I definitely hid in the hallway eating a cup of icecream in order to cope with my "situation".  So there's that.

Sleeping is still a struggle at times, however, I'm happy to report we are making improvements!  Some nights we can rock her to sleep and others not.  She always wakes up at least once (normally more than once) throughout the night and cries out.  But, she always wakes up so happy.  I so wish I knew what was going on in that little head of hers.  I recently read that nighttime is when trauma can come out because during the day things are busy and there isn't time to think about things or process anything.  But when it is quiet and calm people (and children) can start to remember or process what is happening.  Don't get me wrong-the orphanage in China cared greatly for her.  But we can't forget that she was literally ripped from everything she knew and a routine that was the same every single day and placed in a completely different place where everything is different-smells, sounds, appearances, routines, everything.  She is absolutely THRIVING.  But man, the girl has to be thinking, "what on earth?!?!" at times.  So I have to remember that and remember this adoption journey we are on.  It's messy but it is a beautiful story of redemption!  And she definitely knows she belongs to us and for that I am grateful.  What a privilege to be her parents.

Just this past week we were able to celebrate our first holiday with Lily Grace since arriving home to the United States- Halloween!  As you may see in her pictures, her personality is just blooming even more every day.  She enjoyed dressing up and watching all the excitement around her with her big sisters and all of their friends.  We live in a fabulous neighborhood with great friends and lots of houses go all out for all of the holidays.  We walked around with a few families and then the girls had just as much fun passing out candy to trick or treaters when we got home.  Madelyn was yelling "We have candies over here!!!"  And we have discovered Lily Grace is a fan of KitKats, Twix, and lollipops so far. . .  ;)

Happy Halloween!

Thanks for checking in on us.  We are good.  Most of all we are grateful and blessed.  The Lord has been so good to us! We look forward to sharing these next few months and together as we celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas together.  Thank you for being a part of our journey!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Lily Grace's Adoption Journey Video

Well, it's no professional production.  But we finally have our families journey to Lily Grace's documented on video.  There is a lot more I wanted to do with it but to be honest our free trial was about to expire and it didn't want to loose the whole thing! ;)  

Many of these songs have so much meaning for us.  The first one is a song that our kids sang in Sunday School at church.  It was one of Taylor's favorite songs to sing.  We heard it so much during the beginning stages of our journey to Lily Grace and I love the words of "following our Leader through the Glorious unknown".  Boy did we ever!  Taylor would have us play the song in our house and we would have dance parties in the kitchen with "Saddle Up Your Horses" playing.  Another song was from Casting Crowns, a fav Christian band of ours.  But I hadn't heard the song until a friend from High School told me about it and as I listened to it for the first time early in our process I had tears streaming down my face and knew it would one day be in this video.  

And I did allow Matt one pick!  And I will say it was a good one!  He did have visions of "Walking in Memphis" to be playing with video of us coming down the escalator at the airport to our family with Lily Grace. ;)  But I'll be honest, I flat out refused!  And he sang that dang song about 50 times while we were in flight going to China and coming home.  We did not get the video at the airport that would have made that classic entry down happen anyway.  Half our family was one place and the other half another as we didn't have our phones on to communicate the "plan".  So as we were coming down, they were coming up, etc.  We could hear the girls calling our names as we went down the escalator but we couldn't turn around in time to get to them.  So we all circled around for a bit until we finally found each other.  See. . . it wasn't meant to be! 

I also only gave him one selection, as I had been planning this in my head for over a year and he just wanted to swoop in at the end and make selections.  That sounds terrible now that I'm typing it out but I literally dreamed and thought about our child for so long-as did Matt in his own way.  But one of the ways I processed things was through listening to music.  I would hear these, and other songs, and just cry and cry in the car, the shower, the house, wherever.  Not sad tears.  Just processing tears.  Sometimes happy, sometimes anxious, sometimes worried, sometimes wondering.  It's amazing what music can do for a person.  One of the songs came on when I was at a conference with my sister and some of my best friends last year, and the second it came on- instant tears.  I would play them in the car and Matt would look over at me like "Really?!?!" because he knew I would have tears shortly thereafter.  I don't know, maybe I'm crazy or something.  And maybe he just didn't want to hear my "singing" which he says (and I fully believe) is not even in the same octave. But the Lord would speak to me through music so many times and if I heard one of these songs or a few others I would just come undone.  But I wanted to come undone because it was for our child-one who we didn't even know yet, but we now know as Lily Grace YaXuan Wallace.  Our sweet, beautiful, feisty, third beautiful baby girl!

This is nothing fancy. But neither are we.  Just five little broken people, allowing the Lord to work His beauty in our lives.  He has started such a fantastic journey that we are on and looking back I just love to see His fingerprints all along the way.  One day (soon before I forget too many) I am going write down all the specific ways we saw (and continue to see) Him work through this journey.  And the most amazing thing is He was working in so many more ways than we even knew.  But I am so thankful that He gave us the glimpses to help build our Faith.  If you are even remotely thinking of adoption, we would love to talk to you about it! It is a beautiful, hard, emotional, faith-building, worth-every-single-moment-of-stress, life changing process!

Hope you enjoy our video!  We can't thank you enough for helping us make this possible!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Two months (and two days) in our arms. . .

Chillin' with daddy before bed!
So here it goes.  The honest truth.  This.month.has.been.hard.  Like really hard.  We have had a doozy of a month.  Don't let the cute pictures (and they are CUTE if I do say so myself) fool you into thinking all is stress free and easy peasy here in the Wallace household.  But I will also say that we have had many beautiful moments as well! The Lord is continuing to knit Lily Grace more tightly and perfectly into our family and the girls and Matt and I are growing stronger and stronger together as a family of five.  But growing comes with growing pains.  And adoption adds another element of unknown territory.  And then there is life.  Life has it's way of throwing you crazy curve balls and bringing you to your knees at times.  But when we are on our knees, we see the Lord work in the most amazing ways.  And that is what He is doing.  Waiting for the Lord to work things out takes time, something that we are learning more and more to persevere through.  I wake up nearly every morning and say to myself "His mercies are new every morning.".  Such a true and simple truth to be reminded of.

We have had our share of illnesses around here lately, but it looks like everyone is finally on the mend!  Lily Grace had her second trip to the Pediatrician which included her first round of immunizations to get caught up.  She was not a fan.  :(  I think the immunizations mixed with all sorts of new germs, curtesy of the US of A got her a little under the weather.  She was sick with fever for 6 days straight and so puny!  I usually don't bat an eye when my girls have fever but something about this one had me feeling uneasy.  I think a few of my friends and sister nailed it when they speculated my uneasiness was likely related to us not knowing anything about her past and how she usually responds to illness or other potential underlying things that may or may not be going on.  After another trip to the Pediatrician for reassurance (and a CBC), she was starting to perk up and finally feel better.

Fishy kisses :)

And then there is the sleeping issue. . . I may have spoken too soon speaking of the fabulous sleeper that she is.  ;)  Well she is a fabulous sleeper when she actually gets to sleep.  She ended her peaceful run of letting me rock her to sleep and gently lay her in bed.  Now we have had nights (thankfully not too many) that she is up for hours upset and crying.  Almost inconsolable crying.  One night (around the time she was sick) I literally got dressed with plans to take her to the ER after hours of crying and then she just snapped out of it and started playing happily on our bed as if nothing had ever happened.  IT WAS LIKE 2AM.  Holy moly Lily Grace!  Give your parents a heart attack!  We had another issue like that recently.  I think if her schedule gets the least bit off she loses all ability to cope and can't unwind until hours later.  We try EVERYTHING.  It is so hard.  But the Lord is right there with us every step of the way.  Matt tells her, "Its ok, we know it's hard.  But we are never leaving you ever.  We love you so much."  It is so sweet to hear him console her while he leans into her and kisses her sweet face.  It's so hard to know if there is something hurting her or if it is adjustment issues or what.  But then there are nights when she goes to sleep beautifully.  So we will keep pushing through and reading what we can and learning our sweet girl and helping her to learn us and that we are here and safe and not ever leaving.

Lily Grace isn't so sure about these crazies!

Celebrating Buddy and Ty's birthdays!

Lily Grace was loving it and Madelyn was on the look out for that scary Chucky Cheese mouse!

And now the medical appointments have kicked into gear.  We have had and will have at least two appointments for Lily Grace a week for the next several weeks.  All I can say is, "Thank you Lord for maternity leave!".  Adoption from China is almost completely for children who have some sort medical need(s).  For Lily Grace, the two "medical diagnoses" listed on her file at this point are either non-existent or not concerning.  Saying that, there could very well be something unknown (see above concerns) that has yet to present itself or we have not discovered.  But so far, her records show a healthy girl- Praise God!  I do have a few concerns about her GI system that we are looking into and between that and delays/issues related to life in an orphanage for 14 months our "pretty healthy girl" is going to be quite busy for the next few months.  We met with the craniofacial team to evaluate her head (likely from laying on one side too much early in life), had her evaluated by early intervention, and still have GI, speech, audiology, ophthalmology, and follow up pediatrician appointments.  We are thankful to have her in a place where we have access to so many amazing services to help her thrive! It's an odd thing to list "unknown" for so many questions when filling out medical history.  I have read so many adoptive parents talk about the issue but to be the one writing it on my daughters forms was very surreal.

Zoo day!

Lily Grace is walking all over the place.  She has learned to say "night night" and "banana" and Pepaw says she says "Pepaw" ;)  She loves to say "bye bye" and wave.  She is still a carb fan and loves bananas, casseroles, cheerios, cheetos and pancakes.  She loved her trips to the swimming pool, but always wanted to be close to daddy in the water.  She loves playing with coozies and climbing in the cabinets in the kitchen.  She loves to go in the pantry and pull out all the bags of food!  She plays so well with her sisters now (even though not according to their rules at times) and smiles so big when they greet her in the morning.  Taylor and Madelyn LOVE to go get her when she wakes up.  She doesn't mind her carseat now which is a win!  Not a fan of ice-cream which hurts this momma's iceream lovin' heart! ;)

She's excited, not angry here! :)

Spectating is so much better with snacks!

Two months.  Two months of growing and learning and laughing and crying and climbing and hugging and kissing and playing and so much more.  I will take all the tough times we have had for this sweet girl again and again.  The Lord is writing such a beautiful story for her life.  He is teaching us all to love more deeply and to be grateful for everything.  To be patient in affliction.  To bear each others burdens.  To hold tight to the ones you love.  To love well.  To find joy in the simple moments.