Sunday, March 4, 2018

7 months in our arms. . . kind of ;)

So we are seven months into this fabulous adventure the Lord started us on over two years ago.  In the beginning we had so many questions and it took over a year of praying through countries, agencies, domestic versus international and so many other decisions before we even officially "started" our adoption process.  Truthfully we were starting the adoption process, we just hadn't started shelling out any of the money yet. ;)  It is so cool to see how the Lord used relationships and decisions back in 2015 before Lily Grace was even born. My first contact with Wasatch (the agency we used to adopt Lily Grace) was in August of 2015. This was right around the time Lily Grace was conceived!  How amazing is the Lord?!?! And because of this contact, I was on a mailing list.  And choose to say "yes" to multiple emails asking if I wanted to remain on the mailing list even when we choose another agency to begin our Chinese Adoption. And then received an email with her information in April of last year where we learned the first little bits of information about a little 11 month old girl named "Ellie" or Jiang Ya Xuan (her Chinese given name) who would soon become Lily Grace YaXuan Wallace.

This month has been nothing short of CRAZY for our family.  I enjoy being busy, but this busy has not been for me.  Between doctors appointments, trips, surgeries with overnight stays, work trips, crazy work schedules, etc. I am incredibly happy to have a new month with less scheduled to allow for some breathing room and relaxation for this little family of ours.  I can only say thank you thank you thank you to how all of our village how has helped us tremendously!  Our family and friends are beyond amazing and we are so blessed with each and every person who pours into our lives with so much love and encouragement.  I was literally almost bought to tears last week as my sweet neighborhood friends were texting back and forth deciding who would help which day to help with Taylor after school.  And our parents are absolute rock stars as always to help out and accept the never ending (it seems) self invitations Taylor now gives herself (and sisters) to their houses all the time!

A visit from her big sisters during our overnight stay at the hospital!

So back to Lily Grace. . . who I have decided is best described as VIVACIOUS.  She is a nut!  She is full of life and sometimes strongwilled-ness if things are not going her way.  She is just shy of 22 months old and well on her way to toddlerhood.  She has mastered the word "no" and doing a pretty good job of temper tantrums when things don't go her way.  She is definitely ready to be two!  She is picking up new words all the time and making some sentences.  She is clearly watching her sisters.  The other day she put on a play hat and heels as well as some lipstick and walked around the house with her sassy little self!  She still loves to climb on everything!  That's why I used "kind of" in the title of in our arms because she is a busy little girl!  She still wants her momma (and daddy) to hold her a lot, but when she's down, she's movin'!  I guess that's not going to stop anytime soon.  She is still very attached to her blanket.  She adores reading books.  We read a lot and she has so much fun with that.  She loves to point out her nose, eyes and mouth.  She also has started sitting up with her sisters when they are watching their iPads.  It is so cute to see them sitting together with Lily Grace resting her head on their shoulder!  She now loves gummies (like her big sis Maddie), chicken nuggets, hazelnut crapes, and blueberries along with her old favorites of bananas, Nutrigran bars, pancakes, cheetos, casseroles, toasted raviolis, cereal, oatmeal and yogurt.  She's definitely eating better these days!

Stealing daddy's crepe!

Books are her fav!
We had a lot of fun times this month.  We started out with a great (indoor and heated!) pool parted celebrating one of our friend's son's 4th birthday.  Lily Grace absolutely LOVES the water and has no fear. . .go figure!  So summer will be fun and we will be looking for swim lessons quickly!  We also got to celebrate our first Chinese New Year as a family.  Happy Year of the Dog!  This year wasn't as exciting as I hope for future years.  And by not exciting I mean, we literally went out for Chinese after church the Sunday of Chinese New Year.  I have hopes that we will do better in future years! ;)  We had attended a fun celebration with other families a couple weeks back so we did have a little more celebration than a quick meal.  The food was delish and Lily Grace was a noddle fan!  Madelyn loved the sugar buns (because why not?!?). And Taylor tried everything (we were so proud) and liked almost all of it!  Success!  The food was great!   We were also able to squeeze in a visit with my sister and brother in law and nieces and nephew which is always fun.  The kids loves hanging out and we are so glad to be close enough for quick trips.  And we had a special visit from a friend from college who adopted a little boy from China just a  couple months before we went.  Her son is about two months older than Lily Grace and I loved seeing them together!  He is just a doll!  Between all that fun and a trip for me to Nashville and work conference in Salt Lake City, I was spent by the end of the month!

Celebrating Chinese New Year with some delish food!

She loved the noodles!

That's a lot of kids!

Medically, she is pretty good.  She had PE tubes placed on the 14th (Happy Valentine's Day to Matt and I!).  She also had a procedure done to evaluate her throat for the swallowing issues she has been experiencing since we were in China.  She has issues with swallowing thin liquids.  We thought it was likely because she never developed the muscles and coordination in China due to the way/formula with rice cereal she had at the orphanage.  Our ENT thought she might have an additional issue called laryngeal cleft where there is an extra space that allows fluids/food to flow down her esophagus/airway when everything is supposed to be closed.  During her sedation for tube placement he looked with a scope and sure enough she has the cleft. He injected the area with a compound to help build it up and take away the space to alleviate the issue.  This is something that usually needs to be performed multiple times.  They also confirmed my suspicions that she has reflux so we will hopefully be starting a medication for that soon.  She had followup appointments for this last week and her hearing (which she had previously failed two tests for) was great!  Horray!  And we are going to continue to watch the swallowing issue.  The only other thing we continue to evaluate is the extreme flatness of her head on the left side.  This is from laying on it for prolonged times in the orphanage in China.  On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being most severe) hers is rated at a 9 or 10.  We have some decisions to make about this but most importantly, it is nothing that is affecting her brain development and for that we are so grateful!  She has finally started picking up weight!  She's still petite and I think always will be, but I'm happy with some weight gain!  So really in the grand scheme of things, her medical issues are truly minor and we are well aware this could change at any moment.  And for now we are praising the Lord for this sweet healthy girl!

Getting ready ti go back for surgery!

In recovery with daddy!

Our sweet Preschool Director, Mrs. Vicki, came to check on
Lily Grace at the hospital and brought treats!

Follow up appointment hearing test-passed! 

It's hard to believe next month will be one year from when we saw your face for the first time, Lily Grace!  We can't wait to continue to see what adventures lie ahead for our family!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

6 months in our arms!

6 months, half a year. Kind of crazy.  Kind of seems like just yesterday we were in Fuzhou, China walking into our hotel at the.same.time our brand new daughter was.  Meeting our daughter and checking into our hotel room at the same time.  What a story.  And then it seems like she's been here so much longer.

We are just a regular ole family.  All sorts of girls.  All sorts of drama ;)  It's such a weird thing, this adoption.  I am fully aware that Lily Grace is adopted.  We talk about China frequently.  I think about many things related to her life prior to us, or birth family, or culture, etc.  But then at the same time, when I go to a doctors appointment and see Race: Asian, it seems like the craziest thing to me.  Because I see her and she feels absolutely no differently to me than our other girls.  I don't know, it's hard to explain.  I have heard other friends who have adopted previously say that they sometimes forget their children are adopted.  I never used to understand that.  But now I totally get it.  I just pray that Lily Grace always feels as comfortable and accepted as she grows.  I also want her to feel free to ask questions and explore her heritage and life in China too.

Anywho. . . this last month has been a lot quieter than the prior month.  We got a little winter weather and had a chance to play in the snow.  Our girls are certainly Southerners and lasted about 15 minutes.  We had just enough time for some pictures and a partially built snowman (which momma finished on her own while to girls were inside eating popcorn and drinking hot coccoa by the fire).

We also had her dedication at church.  It was important to us that we do this for her too, so she would have the same experiences as her sisters.  That we could commit to her and our church family to raise her in a loving Christian home and teach her about Jesus and what He did for her.  It was a great day!

Lily Grace continues with medical appointments.  She had a test to evaluate for reflux.  It showed no evidence of severe reflux so we are happy about that!  She will have PE tubes placed in a couple weeks and at the same time have a scope to evaluate for some swallowing difficulties she has had since we got her in China.  She may have to stay overnight in the hospital depending on what they find.  We also had follow up appointments with various other specialists.  She continues weekly visits with developmental therapy and we are waiting to get her into speech therapy as well.  We are so greatly for any additional help she can get to help her reach her maximum potential!

Lily Grace has really increased her vocabulary this last month.  She repeats many things we say!  She definitely has spunk to her and likes to hold up her finger, wave it back and forth, and say "No! No! No! No!"  She will say "I want it!" She loves pointing to her nose.  She can point to other body parts too but her nose is her favorite.  She says "I love you", "cold", "miiiillllk", "booo" for book, and "cooka" for cookie.

She is loving her books-we read each night before bed.  She LOVES her blanket now and is super attached to it.  She likes to watch the iPad with her sisters.  She likes to ride on her giraffe riding stick.  She loves giving kisses.  She continues to climb on everything and really does have no fear.  She will just free fall off of the couch or ottoman. . . that's gonna hurt one day. ;) She is still into electronics-my phone mainly.  I recently had to get my apple watch completely reset because she locked it out by pressing too many buttons and "incorrect passwords".  She is still loving her carbs. .  . current favs are Nutrigran bars, oatmeal, pancakes.  When she branches out we can manage bananas, some chicken nuggets, and yogurt.  No veggies and barley any other fruits.  There's a toddler for ya!

Our family had the chance last weekend to meet with other families who have adopted from China for an early Chinese New Year celebration.  It was fun and we were able to learn some things about Chinese New Year and the culture.  We had silks (or China dresses as the girls call them) we bought while we were in China, and the girls were able to wear them.  We had a great time!  We plan to continue to celebrate this event and look forward to learning more and including our family and friends!  Hopefully one day I will learn to cook some good Chinese food.  I so miss the delicious food in China and crave it all the time!

So we are just trucking along.  Back in the grove again after Christmas.  Lily Grace is just rolling with it.  She is loving life.  She is so fun and happy and joyful.  I wonder if she remembers anything about her life back in China.  We will certainly tell her about it.  This is an amazing journey, this life the Lord has us on.  We are grateful to be a long for the ride!  Happy 6 months home baby girl!