Saturday, June 30, 2012

IAC Appointment

,I’m behind on my blogging so there will be a flurry of blogs separated by topic. First is the IAC. We arrived at 8:00 a.m. so we could be registered. Shockingly no real paperwork, but we don’t have any real medical history so that makes sense. We did laps in the lobby while we waited. Then we were taken to a scale that Hope would NOT stand on alone so I held her. Next we went to our exam room which is where we stayed for the next 2.5 hours. But she did GREAT! Praise the Lord she is an amicable child. She sat in our laps and played with the toys I brought, she drank a bottle and let Dr. Chambers examine her (for the most part). Hope has gained 4 pounds in 5 weeks. She is 10th percentile for height, 25th percentile for weight and her head is in the 50th percentile…my sweet bobble head girl. Dr. Chambers even remarked her head only seems big because she is so short. The attachment counselor, Kelly, was super. She let us know that she felt Hope was attaching very well. She told us we were doing all the things that they would recommend and asked if we would consider doing a parent seminar on, “Please do what you are told.” She also gave me another jewel of information about Hope from Chongqing. Kelly was in the group that got to visit Hope’s orphanage in April. She told me she was very excited to see Hope again and that when they were at the orphanage they actually saw her a lot. Not as in, “kept examining her,” but that Hope was out and about a lot. They saw her often with one nanny and one other child. They were walking her around with Hope holding their fingers. Kelly’s point was that Hope wasn’t just cooped up in the special needs ward. See…another jewel that I treasure in my heart. She was very impressed with the orphanage and told us some more stuff about the facilities and what the new partnership is looking to do. She also gave us a website where we could find more photos of the orphanage that she took herself. Awesome! She had on really good suggestion to help with night terrors and then it was on to Dr. Chambers. Dr. Chamber’s is so good at what she does. She was able to almost fully examine Hope without upsetting her. Which is really a miracle since Dr. Chambers was touching all over Hope. It was only at the end when the ole’ tummy got touched that Hope started to cry. Dr. Chamber’s declared her healthy and well, except that Hope has to be on baby food by August 8th. YEAH, RIGHT? Hope has oral hypersensitivity and for these kids it is a big challenge to get them to eat food. So we were given some things to try to do at home to desensitize her mouth…it is slow going and I don’t see how we will meet the Aug. 8th date but we are trying and praying. We also had the chance a couple days later to talk to the feeding specialist by phone and got a bit more direction. After our time with Dr. Chambers it was time to go get 8 vials of blood!! Dr. Chambers even warned us that she used to get calls from the lab that said, “Did you really mean to order this much?!” Yes. Yes she did, they can handle it. So that was pretty horrible. Her little arm gave out about the 7th vial and she was so pitiful that the two nurses decided to use the blood in the tubing and skim off the top of the other vials to get the 8th one, instead of poking her other arm. Thank you, dear ladies. Then we were done. She slept well for her nap and had no night terrors that night thankfully. We got a call from the health department on Thursday letting us know that Hope has Giardia…intestinal parasite. Not uncommon for our IA kids and Chongqing has some of the worst water on the planet. Since it is highly contagious we contacted Eden’s and Noah’s doctor and while discussing what to do with Eden, we discovered that we think NOAH has it too! So we have been stool sample central around here this week, hoorah! And when I spilled one of the vials with pink liquid in it all over my beige carpeting, I was so pleased…And I got to go back to the IAC for another pink fluid filled vial. The picture below is for my friend Julie…I put a quarter in the top of the pink lid so you can see how wide the vials are in diameter. Good times.


So now we are waiting for the antibiotic to be called in and compounded for Hope and waiting to see if Noah has Giardia from the water in China and if he needs an antibiotic. We have our follow up appointment with the PT and OT specialists on Aug 8th (we will evaluate her oral hypersensitivity at that time as well.). It was an overall good appointment except for the blood draw. Couldn’t have asked for a better appointment, thanks for all the prayers, our God answered them faithfully to our pleasure!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Just a taste and a nibble…

Ya-ya is making huge strides in so many areas but the one that makes me the most excited is her new interest in food and tableware. She doesn’t eat anything yet, but she is getting very curious. She has more than once snagged Eden’s sippy cup when Eden was distracted and put it in her mouth. She must wonder why Eden likes it so much when nothing appears to come out of it. She thought as much about my acrylic tumbler with straw tonight as well. She grabbed the cup and put the straw in her mouth (with my guidance and protection, I didn’t want her stabbing the roof of her mouth by accident). She tried it several times and then looked at me like, “I don’t get it.” Sweet girl, one day your mouth will let you work a straw and a sippy cup. Last night Eric had a hug piece of ham on his fork and she lifted it up to her mouth. She also grabbed a honey roasted peanut out of Eden’s snack bowl today she actually got it as far as resting on her tongue before I snatched it up. She then fought me to get to the bowl again. I was thinking, “A peanut is not the first food she needs to try out…A) what if she has a crazy peanut allergy and B) she has no idea how to chew something she’d suck it down and choke and then never want food again! (a little over the top dramatic I know but it was my thought). My Mom said she wanted some of Eden’s M&M’s earlier as well. Then tonight at dinner she picked up Eric’s butter knife (by the blade, to my chagrin) and drug the handle through his pot roast mashed potatoes then put it in her mouth! She did this a few more times and then we got her a baby spoon…with that she just “fed” Eric, but it was progress!

Another huge thing is that now when Hope meets people she will quickly check in with us via eye contact and then look to the person. Almost all biological children will do this when meeting new people for the first time. They look at the person, then to the parent, then back to the person. It is a sign that they trust the parent to make the “safety” decision for them. Hope just started doing this about 3 days ago! Huge deal! We are very excited about that.

As an quick general update…Hope’s one month Gotcha Day anniversary was last Thursday. It triggered a lot of grieving for her and she has had a pretty tough week. She is just now pulling out of it and we are seeing her fun-loving sweet personality again. Sleeping and eating have been greatly disturbed and she has had to be “on” either Eric or I, for the past 6 days. And when I say “on” I mean that. She wouldn’t sit on the floor or anywhere else other than our laps, legs, stomachs…you get the idea. So it has been an exhausting week for all of us and poor Eden has been neglected more than I like. Praise be to God my Mom came in on Wednesday so Eden’s personal care has significantly improved. My sweet girl. This is the hard part for me. Ignoring one to care for the other…especially when the one who is almost always ignored is the one who has just been displaced in the family! I know that God knows just what Eden needs and he allowed this to happen to her…perhaps the refiners fire for her starts at age 2.5. But we are seeing fruit from this sweet girl, she is actually beginning to care for Hope now. She brings her toys or shares the ones she has. Tonight in the bath tub she decided it would be nice to help Daddy wash Hope. So she sweetly washed her hair and then got more soap and washed Hope’s back with her hands…it was so unbelievably sweet I even got it on video!!! Love that girl. Noah went to Grandma’s for 4 days and came back renewed and refreshed. I am getting some sleep which is helpful. Eric is re-building our front porch that he tore off last week. Praise Jesus my Dad is here to help him.

We are asking for prayer for those of you hard core people that still check in on our family via the blog. Hope’s big doctor’s appointment with the International Adoption Clinic is this Monday. They will check her from top to bottom and inside to out! The blood draw is my least favorite idea. The attachment therapist is my favorite idea. I hope we see the attachment therapist BEFORE they start poking and prodding her! This appointment is like 3-4 hours long and it is apparently exhausting and grueling. So please pray for her and for us. Also, Eric goes back to work next week, the day after the appointment. He is trying to get approval for fulltime work at home but it is currently being thwarted. Please pray that he can get approval for that. He really would like to stop driving downtown everyday. Plus, we could see him for lunch some days!

In the words of Tigger….TTFN (ta-ta for now)


My Sweet Eden Marie

Lord, I love this little girl. She makes me laugh. Recently she has begun saying the funniest things. My three favorite are:

“Mommy I gotta go squeakin’.” She was in her high chair and had her squeaky shoes on that we bought for her in China. When I looked puzzled at her statement she pointed to her shoes and repeated it. “Gotta go squeakin.” So I let her down and she started to just stomp around the house “squeaking”.

At night time if you are singing her to sleep in her bed and you roll over her to give her a hug and you linger too long, she will say, “You are squirshing me.”

“Mommy…sing: Frere Zhonka….door-may voommmm...”

She is my joy this precious little girl. Her smile lights up the room and my heart.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

April 2012 China vs. June 2012 USA

Hope 2IMG_1354

It’s hard to believe that is the same child in the pictures above. Smiles come easy now and they light up her entire face…her entire being! We are so blessed! Thank you Jesus for beginning to restore this little life. Hope is making so many developmental advances it is hard to keep up with her! It is incredible to watch. She has got crawling down. We are seeing more transitions from all “fours” to sitting up and vice versa. She also can transition from standing to sitting a little better. When she is walking (holding a finger still) she is learning to bend over and pick something up. She likes to throw a bouncy ball and then chase it to pick it up and throw it again. She definitely needs the finger for stability but she is developing the strength to bend her upper body over and pick it back upright. She is starting to show have a preference for what she is playing with, awesome! Generally we put toys in front of her and she plays with them. Now, she will play with them and then sometimes she will spy something else she wants and she will crawl over to it! She is also starting to “parallel play”! She will even crawl over to Eden to play next to her and with her. Several times in the past three days we have seen all three children play with the same thing TOGETHER! She also has come to us three and told us…”milk” in sign language.  Both times it was indeed time for a bottle! She will also sign bed when she wants to go to sleep and she signs shoes all the time. She loves her shoes. So she is asking for things in sign language that she needs/wants. She asks all the time to go “out” with her voice but the milk thing is new and cool. She also is taking more time to drink her bottle instead of guzzling it. She lets go with one or both hands often during feeding and lets us hold the bottle for her. She doesn’t have a “death grip” on it anymore. AND she sometimes won’t finish a bottle. Which I’m sure sounds weird to be excited about to some, but it is a sign that she knows that we will always give her more, she doesn’t have to eat like its her last meal.

Hope has gone a couple nights without crying out and on the nights that she does the frequency has definitely decreased. Last night was kinda weird though. I was upstairs sleeping in the bottom bunk of Noah’s bed (currently the most comfortable bed I can sleep in now, but that is another post), and I heard Hope crying out. If I heard her in Noah’s room she had been doing it for a little while or was especially upset. I got up and walked to the top of the stairs and I could hear Eric trying to soothe her. She was only half buying it and not settling down. So I snuck downstairs and quietly sat on the bed. Then I just said, “Ya ya, Mama’s here, it’s okay.” She instantly stopped crying, but still fidgeted awhile then she went back to sleep. It was like the many times I would try and try to comfort her and then Eric would speak once and she would settle. FINALLY, my voice soothed her! I’d like to get all puffed up about that but I don’t think that it was preference issue for Hope last night. I think it was a combination issue. It wasn’t that she wanted me over Eric, she wanted us BOTH there.

She had her first “off” day since we arrived home. It was Sunday and it was really hard to watch. She was behaving very much like she did the day after Gotcha day. She wouldn’t make or hold eye contact much. She didn’t want any real interaction but wanted to sit in our laps. She would get her feelings hurt really easy and she didn’t smile or laugh much. She was equally “put out” with Eric and I and we would have to “tag” each other in when the other was on the “bad list.” We couldn’t actually comfort her per se, but we could distract and redirect her. She wouldn’t hold her grudge long but it was long enough to merit another parent getting involved. She wouldn’t drink her bottles and she was just generally moody. **warning gross content ahead** That night while she was sleeping she started making these weird gurgling/snorting/gagging sounds…can’t really explain it and we discussed it seemed like she had a cold and was gagging on phlegm. (sorry) We don’t really know if she has a cold because her nose doesn’t “run”. Gotta love these new experiences with a cleft lip/palate child, don’t really know what we are doing here!! She seems a little more crusty and has more visible boogies (could this get any grosser?) but other than that she appears fine. So her “off day” may have also been the beginning of a cold day. But it was definitely a grieving day. It was a rainy, gloomy day and looked very much like Chongqing weather. We gave her some Advil that next morning and she had a super day yesterday. As “off” as Sunday was, Monday was equally opposite and “on”. She was precious yesterday! So engaging, fun, full of smiles and giggles. Sigh…welcome to international adoption, eh? 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Master Noah


I cannot say enough awesome things about this kid! I sometimes don’t believe he is real! He is just so amazing. He has done fabulously with going to China and coming home. He needs prayer too because sometimes he gets lost in the shuffle and gets overlooked. He is great with Hope and normally with Eden too. Eden tends to shun him a little when she is jealous of his affection for Hope…always gonna be caught in the middle of two women…poor guy. He has such a huge heart full of compassion for others. He is spiritually deep in ways that blow me away, he loves Jesus and lives his life in such a way that it shows he loves Jesus. He is a brilliant young man and extremely creative. His sense of humor cracks us up continually. Here are some of the things Noah is into at 8 years old…

Noah Likes:

  • His Dad, Mom, Sisters and Grandparents
  • Legos: esp. Ninjago, Star Wars
  • Being outdoors in nature, animals
  • Building forts both inside the house and out
  • Lovies / Stuffed Animals
  • Bakugan & Beyblades
  • Music (he is a great singer and had good rhythm)
  • Wii (Lego of any kind, Super Smash Brothers, Hulk)
  • Drawing, Painting, Art in general
  • Science of any kind
  • Gymnastics
  • Cub Scouts: camping
  • Archery and Fishing (esp. with Grandpa)
  • Dragons & gemstones & other mythical creatures
  • Bacon, RBF (rootbeer floats), Key Lime Pie, Fruit, Chocolate Milk
  • Wizard 101 online multi-player game
  • Friday Night “Family, Fun, & Snuggle Night” (play Wizard 101 together, eat popcorn, drink RBFs)
  • Friends: Jane, Eliot, Nicholas, Connor, Blaid, Argun, Sam, Issac, Ben, Amber, Caden, Everett, Forrest, Ellie, Rianne, Courtney, Katie Love…just to name a few.

Sweet Eden Marie


When you pray for our family, heap prayers upon my oldest girl, Eden Marie. She is struggling the most out of all the Williamsons to this new family configuration. She is disappointed that Hope will neither talk to her or play with her. It is almost no use trying to explain to a two and a half year old that even if Hope knew English and wanted to talk…she simply cannot…yet. Hope looks to be the same size and age as Eden so Eden doesn’t understand why Hope can walk or play yet. We keep telling Eden that while Hope looks like a big girl, she really is still a baby. On some level Eden gets it but on most days she is just “over it.” She has her sweet moments where she will model something for Hope and Hope will copy her. Eden has taught Hope a lot. But often we hear, “I don’t want Hope.” And often we hear, “Where is Hope? I want to see her!” So Eden is conflicted for sure and right where she aught to be for a child her age dealing with an instant sibling that is almost the same age! She is no longer the center of the Williamson household and it clearly doesn’t set well with her. Of course everyone is on edge around here and someone is off to their room crying every 15 minutes. Eden is much more clingy now and she imitates Hope’s baby-like behavior often. When she does, we join in on the make believe,”Oh how’s our baby girl?!” She is often very kind to Hope, not that it is unlike her to be kind, but it is a kindness that is beyond her years that we see and it is so heartwarming. It is the hand of God. Eden is my joy and she is incredible and funny and smart and gorgeous! Here is what Eden likes at two and a half:

What Eden Likes:

  • Her Daddy (he seems to be everyone’s favorite…I’m cool with that.)
  • Her Buh-buh (who doesn’t like Noah?!)
  • Her Mommy (especially if she is sick or sad)
  • Chocolate…any kind in any form, esp. Nutella
  • Her lovies and fuzzy blanket
  • 1998 Furbbie (seriously…it has no off switch, it just randomly babbles and sings…kill me)
  • Animals: esp. dogs
  • Shaun the Sheep, Elmo, Oscar’s Oasis (we call that silly lizard), Fresh Beat Band
  • Pancakes…or any other breakfast food covered in syrup: waffles, bagels, cereal, oatmeal, bacon
  • Water
  • Outside, Exploring
  • Sand and mud
  • Grandma and Grandpa’s house (Grandma and Grandpa included)
  • Art: painting, coloring, dry erase markers, dot markers, crayons, glitter
  • Bracelets, high heeled shoes, necklaces (mardi gras beads)
  • Shoes (esp. Chinese squeaky shoes)
  • Anything sparkly
  • Dancing, Music (esp. Toby Mac), Spinning, Jumping on and off things
  • Mommy and Daddy singing her to sleep
  • Marbles, coins and other tiny things
  • Friends: Sofi, Zoe, Lily Kate, Becket, Dylan, Lily, Jane, Elizabeth, Kai, Hank, Sarah Jane, Charlotte, Lucy, Sally, Tabitha (It’s a long list and I know I’ve forgotten some major players)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

One More Developmental Note

Okay so I’m trying to record all that we know about little Hope so that we can track her progress as she grows. Today I’m specifically trying to recap what she can  and can’t do with regards to mobility. When we got her on May 14th she could:

  • lie on her back
  • from her back she could pull up to a sitting position if she was holding your fingers (it was a struggle)
  • sit unsupported but was wobbly
  • could hold her own body weight standing
  • could hold your fingers and walk

This means she could not:

  • sit up without assistance
  • crawl
  • transition from sitting to lying down without hurting herself (she would just fall over and hit her head)
  • transition from sitting to crawling
  • transition from sitting to standing
  • transition from  standing to sitting
  • walk unassisted

Now 24 days later:

  • she can sit solidly without falling over
  • she can crawl
  • she can walk by herself, 8-10 feet across the room, from one parent to another (she won’t do it without us there, she knows if she falls she can’t recover and will slam her head back onto the floor)
  • she can roll over on her tummy, push herself up to a crawl position then sit back on her heels and get to a seated position with her legs in front ALL BY HERSELF!
  • she can lie down from a seated position slowly and safely when she isn’t angry
  • she can crawl to a chair and pull herself up to a standing position
  • she is learning to sit down from a standing position but it is still really tentative

Hope has made some amazing progress in just 24 short days. We are focusing on tummy time and trying to develop her crawling skills so she will better understand how to do all her transitions and so that she will develop some muscle tone/strength in her upper body and arms. She is also making great strides with her tactile issues. The only things that really still bother her are soft, fuzzy, furry, things. She will almost take anything you offer her now, she doesn’t have to “touch pre-test ”  it first, she will just take it. I can’t even imagine where this little sponge of learning will be in a months time…3 months, 6 months, a year…it’s incredible to be a part of this ! God is so good!! The next couple posts will be about the OTHER two children I have, in case you forgot I have two other ones. Blessings!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

New Family Necessitates a New Blog!

Because I don’t have the time or energy to keep 2 separate blogs open…I am combining my personal blog and Hope’s adoption blog into a general family blog. I will keep Hope’s blog open for awhile longer, but will start updating about the entire family here. Thanks for your love and support through our journey to Hope.