Thursday, December 7, 2017

4 months in our arms!

What a fabulous month we have had! It's amazing how each month just gets better and better.  Lily Grace just continues to adjust beautifully.  She really doesn't even show any signs of adjustment problems at this point which is such a huge blessing!  Sleep has been great, we have not seen any biting or other abnormal behavioral issues, and she has really continued to do well with her transition to day care as I have been back at work.  Of course we still have a toddler so that makes for fun times.  Eating is tricky at times (true to a toddler's nature) since it is hard to get her to eat a lot of meat and veggies and fruit (aside from bananas!).  She is such a carb girl!  Luckily she likes cheese and yogurt so we can get protein in her.  She loves her milk and would drink it all day long if we let her. And "in our arms" is an accurate statement too because she loves being held.  If I put her down she quickly shows her displeasure and frequently follows me around whining until I pick her up again.  A few of her currently favs include backpacks, walking around carrying a rice cooker (I'm not joking, she randomly picked it out of the cabinet and LOVES it! ;), peppermint chocolate chip milkshakes from Chick-fil-A, beef ravioli, pancakes/biscuits/waffles, bananas, Nutrigran bars, and CLIMBING!

LG with her backpack and rice cooker :)

This was a special month for our family as November was National Adoption Month.  Our family had the extreme honor of sharing our story with our church family at the services at our Church on Adoption Sunday earlier this month.  We love to share how the Lord worked and used our family and friends to bring Lily Grace home.  We hope that it is an encouragement for anyone considering adoption.  These children so deserve loving families!  I have seen time and time again how He can move in situations to bring these children home whether it is financial or many other reasons of uncertainty.  All we have to do is be willing to take the step (although it is scary) and say Yes! Many of your played such an enormous role in her story and continue to do so.  I am blown away by the love and support we received.  I am even more blown away by the way the Lord worked in so many situations to place her in our family.  It makes me so excited to see what the future holds for this little girl!  Please know that every dollar, prayer, word of encouragement and hug was so very special and significant to us!

We still have a few medical issues to sort out but nothing that is too much of a concern.  She had a modified barium swallow study this month which confirmed our suspicions that she is having trouble swallowing thin liquids and likely having some aspiration.  We picked up on this in China and it does seem to be better but has persisted so we are happy to have confirmed the issue so we can pursue interventions to help.  At this point we are just thickening her liquids to help her swallow them better and she is doing great with that!  My theory is this is related to having her formula given in a bottle mixed with cereal in China for so long and not ever having the chance to develop her swallowing muscles and coordination very well.  Also if she has extra drainage from being sick, etc. she can't really handle them really well and she gets chocked easily and vomits.  So hopefully something that will work itself out, and in the meantime we just get to clean up lots of messes! ;)  Also she has failed her hearing test twice so now we will take her to an ENT for further evaluation.  She can certainly hear us as she responds to us and repeats words we say, etc.  But whether or not there is some hearing loss or fluid build up, etc we will see.  Again, nothing I am too concerned about at all.  We also went to the Ophthalmologist to evaluate her vision as we had some concern for her eyes and possible issues there.  I am happy to report all is well and nothing is going on with her vision!  Huge blessing!  So we have certainly seen the outpatient LeBonheur Center more times than I thought possible for one child in the past couple of months, but I am so grateful she has the chance to have such amazing care.  It also gives me so much respect for parents of children with chronic illnesses or conditions that require frequent doctors appointments, rehab appointments, etc.  These mommas and daddies have so much on their plates and I truly don't know how they keep it together!

Getting her eyes checked out!

We had so much fun with Fall activities this month too!  I absolutely ADORE Fall!  I could seriously cry thinking about it.  Football, holidays, family, cooler weather, apple cider, it's just the best!!  We had such a fun time introducing Lily Grace to all of it too!  And she enjoyed every minute of it.  She is such a ham and has the most adorable and expressive faces!  I just can't believe how much her little personality has come alive since our time in China.  It makes me wonder if this little personality was around when she was in the orphanage or if it was stiffled.  One thing I do know, it is blossoming now and she is loved and adored beyond measure by all of her family and those who come in contact with her.  The Lord truly does write the most amazing stories and He continues to use the story of Lily Grace's adoption to remind me of that in other areas of my life.  I just have to let go and let Him do what He can do better than I could even hope to do.

Ya gotta do what works! 
She loves the rocking elephant!

Someone's been watching her sisters!

We enjoyed a great Thanksgiving with all of our family.  I watched a commercial that a few other adoptive mommas had posted (watch here if you like) and it gave me the idea to incorporate an Asian side into our Thanksgiving each year.  I love this new tradition to keep Lily Grace's culture alive and to keep reminding her of her heritage.  Of course they had peanuts in them and I wasn't really into testing her for a peanut allergy during our Thanksgiving meal so I wouldn't even let Matt let her try them. . . oh well, there is always next year! :)

Breakfast at Cracker Barrel Thanksgiving morning!

Riding with Pepaw and the cousins!

Maybe next years picture will be easier!

I can hardly wait for all of the Christmas fun that is coming up!  As I sit here typing I am in the very spot where I took a picture of stockings last year, with one blank stocking for our unknown child across the world.  We were a couple weeks away from sending our Dossier to China and 4 months away from seeing Lily Grace's face.  But all the while, the Lord was planning and orchestrating and caring for her.  He really does have the Whole World in His Hands.  And now we have had her with us for 4 months! And what a joy it has been!

Discovering bubbles!


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!