Friday, August 24, 2012

Chaos AND Cuteness!

Okay so amidst all the hardness and gnashing of teeth we have some really fun moments too and I want to make sure I share all of those moments as well, lest this be a Debby Downer blog about the post adoption process. Tomorrow marks the 3 months home milestone. Yay! I hear things start to improve from here and 6 months is really super…if you live that long. (Wait that smacked of Debby Downer didn’t it…) Things here in the Williamson household are actually going fairly well. We see light at the end of the isolation tunnel and can handle visitors pretty well now. The going out to other place thing is still kinda dicey though and we really missing our church family. 

Yaya still has a lot of anxiety she is dealing with, we see it during the day with off the chart clinginess (is that a word) and in the nights with night terrors and multiple waking throughout the night in addition to the terrors. She and Eden are playing more together and Yaya loves to mimic and follow Eden around. Sometimes this is good and sometimes it is not; it depends on Eden’s mood at that specific moment in time. Yaya, PRAISE THE LORD, is eating baby food like a real trooper. We aren’t up to 2 jars per meal but we are fast approaching it: 1 to 1.5 each meal! She has an affinity for pears, mango and sweet potatoes. She also likes sweet corn casserole and carrots. She isn’t a fan of the greens…now really…what child is? But she will eat the mixed vegs. All of this of course is thickened with rice cereal. We are also officially down to 3 bottles a day! YES!!! And that was our goal. So we are doing GREAT on the eating front. It is a blessing and miracle wrapped up together! We never thought we’d get her off the bottle to solid food. Occasionally I think to myself, “She’ll never get off this baby food and eat real food.” But then I slap myself for doubting God and remember that we were able to get her onto baby food and take away one bottle in only 2 months time. So before she is 14, I’m sure we will have her eating normal food. Yaya likes water play,dancing, music, puzzles, zhu-zhu pets (who knew), books, and sadly….Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Darn the TV and hallelujah at the same time. If she hears the theme song or Meeska Mooska Mickey Mouse…she will run to the living room.

Eden is doing sooooooooooooooooo much better. Mommy and Eden have really reconnected, now we are working on her and Daddy and it is coming, albeit slowly. Since Daddy is the primary caretaker of Yaya and Yaya’s personal favorite, I think Eden resents him more. FINALLY, I get to be somebody’s hero! Eden’s anger level has decreased dramatically with just introducing “one-on-one dates” with Mommy. She has had only two dates with Daddy. Daddy will need another one soon. Her mother’s morning out program starts next Wednesday and she isn’t fired up about it. If you say school she verbally protests. So I am trying to talk it up big and make it a special thing. Her “meet the teacher” is Monday and I hope that helps us. We have been advised to send her in hopes that the familiarity of the school and routine will also help settle her down. We see a play therapist next Friday to see if there is anything else we need to be doing for her. But really, she is doing so much better. She likes shoes (anyone’s shoes) and she likes water play, swimming, dancing and music. We just stared a Parent and child gymnastics class last night and she LOVED it. Can’t wait to go back and hopefully send Daddy with her next time.

Noah is great! He is losing a bit of sleep with Yaya waking up and screaming so much, he doesn’t actually wake up but he stirs so I know it’s affecting his sleep. But he would rather sacrifice sleep than to leave us right now. We tried splitting up one night where I went to sleep in his room with him and he just didn’t sleep well, he wanted us both near. He started school this past week and currently his description of school is: Awesome! (Mommy sighs big) Whew! So thrilled that he is happy at school. Right now he is on a Grandparent getaway weekend and it will be great for him. His gymnastics are coming along super. I can’t believe the things he can do now. He is freakishly strong. We are praying for a successful competition year. All in all Noah is doing fabulous.

Eric and I are still married. Whoo-hoo! And we still love and like each other! Double whoo hoo! Not that there were problems but WOW this process can strain a marriage, so I am thankful that God continues to hold us together as a team. And let me just say…I have the best teammate on the planet!

Enough Chaos…bring on the CUTENESS…

Eden was having a baking soda soak for a red sore booty and Yaya couldn’t stand it that Eden was getting to play in the water. We drained the sinks 3 times in order for them to let the faucet run to play in.


I snagged this idea for flour-doh from my friend Julie’s blog who got it from some other person’s blog. It is so much fun! It is 8 cups of flour and 1 cup of baby oil. Then you knead it with your hands until it sticks together when you squeeze it in your hands. It can take 3-5 minutes to thoroughly get the oil worked into the flour. It stays soft like flour feels and it smells wonderful like baby oil. It is, however, very messy. I should have got a bigger bin to house it in; but the girls dump it all out on the ground anyway. This stuff is like Moonsand but better and not gritty. I didn’t think Yaya would go for it but she played in it a little. It isn’t her favorite, but it certainly is Eden’s favorite. Yaya enjoyed peeking in and out of the front door more than the “doh”. I can’t wait to make it with Noah, he is gonna love this stuff!


Bring on the Bubble Bath! Okay so Eden used to be really afraid of bubbles so I didn’t know how this would go over with her. But Yaya loves to play with my hands right after I shampoo up her hair, she loves the soapy suds. So I took a risk and bought some bubble bath. Oh. My. Word. We had to drain the water half out of the tub so we could do the bubbles a second time!!


Here’s Hollywood! It needs to be said that the heart shaped glasses are Eden’s favorite so Yaya is not going to somehow inherit them from Eden. But Eden didn’t want them this day. It’s a good thing since Yaya wore them for about 20 minutes!! She loved them! Especially when I turned them upside down like Eden wears them because they stay on her nose better!


Seriously…what is cuter than Eden in a pink and white polka dotted leotard with her pigtails in?! Love it and so does she! In the second picture she is giving Daddy, “The Eye”. He asked her to do it.


And that is all the Chaos and Cuteness for now. Blessings to all that still follow this crazy family!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Pretty as a Princess…and she is!


Okay so I was shocked to see Yaya walking out with a crown on her head! Especially since she likes nothing on her head let alone a fake crown that pinches like a tight headband. So funny! She had it on for about 2 minutes.

Monday, August 20, 2012

3rd Grade…wait…what just happened!!!


First Day of Pre-School


First Day of 3rd Grade


I am so not ready for Noah to be a 3rd grader! I am so very proud of him though. I know he will have a great year. He is now the “big kid” in his class. (He is in  Montessori school where 1st – 3rd grade are combined in lower elementary) He is growing out his hair this year…long and all one length. So as the year progresses the shaggier he will become. I think it will be a cool experiment. Can’t wait to hear all about his first day!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Okay...never mess with your blog layout if you haven't saved it we are officially under construction right now....

Anesthesia Pre-op???

Okay so we went to Children’s Hospital in downtown Birmingham to meet with Yaya’s doctor and do the anesthesia pre-op paperwork. We were there for 3 hours and we never got to talk with anesthesia…hmmmm. Oh and we got to wait about 40 minutes for the ENT to show up so he could bill us for doing NOTHING. Now I’m not usually so pessimistic about doctors but with the ENT I’m a little cranky. We had already met with him before and they determined Yaya had fluid in her ears and that she had too much wax in her ears to be able to see into the ear. We had discussed tubes and that we had no questions and were very experienced with this surgery because of our other children. But he came in and stuck his otoscope in her wax filled ears only to declare the same thing…he couldn’t see anything due to wax, and he left all in about 45 seconds…literally. So what was up with that? I was so put out by this. We did get to talk to Dr. Grant and I got more clarification as to what he will actually be doing in the process of the lip repair. We spent about 20 minutes with him and that was good. We finally were released to anesthesia and when we checked in the nurse came over to me and said, “Sweetie, if you have to wait for me to type all this in and ask you all these questions you will be here forever. Take that baby home. I will call you on your cell phone and interview you later.” After 3 hours of entertaining Yaya in a little room…I was very thankful for this statement. So we left our anesthesia pre-op appointment without having spoken with anesthesia. Nice. But I got some cute, natural looking pictures of her later that day…so that is blog worthy…


The Beautiful Princess & The Handsome Knight


Friday, August 17, 2012

Visit From An Old Friend

Okay well perhaps not an “old” friend in the sense that the friend was only 3 years old but the phrase is relative. We were blessed with a visit from our friends Julie and Ella!!!! I know I’ve talked all about them before, but as a recap of who they are; Ella and Yaya were in the same two orphanages together, first in Qianjiang and then again at Chongqing. Although at Chongqing they were separated because Ella went into their foster care program at that orphanage. Julie and I “meet” via a yahoo group for people with kids out of the Qianjiang SWI. I think we met sometime in November 2011, and she and I quickly hit it off and she has become one of my most treasured friends. They only live about 2.5 hours away from us! Ella has shown that she recognizes Yaya from photos. It was Ella who first let us know that Yaya’s nickname was indeed “Yaya”. We wanted Ella to see Yaya before her surgery since Yaya’s appearance will change dramatically.

I was so anxious that Yaya would not be friendly with Ella and it would be a disaster. When we woke up that morning Yaya was not in a good mood and she cried if not with Eric and was not independent at all. I thought it was going to be rough day indeed. When they showed up on our doorstep about 9:45 am, Yaya walked right out onto the porch waving and stood right in front of Ella contemplating her. I don’t think Yaya remembered her but she was not immediately offended by her, which she normally is with other children, especially if they are Asian. They quickly engaged in playing and we had a wonderful day. I think for Yaya the experience was a, “You seem familiar to me, like I think I should know you…but I don’t.” Ella was so precious and every 20-30 minutes or so, she would call out in a high voice, “Yaya!!” One of my favorite times was when she was showing Yaya one of the books Julie made for her with photos of both orphanages in it. She went to a picture of Yaya in a crib in the first orphanage and she would point to it and say, “Yaya!” Then she would point to Yaya and excitedly say, “Yaya!” It was as if she couldn’t believe that Yaya was really live and in person. When they left at 6:00 pm, we didn’t want them to go! Hope waived goodbye as they headed out the door. I followed Julie to her car and a few minutes later Eric walked out with Yaya who was apparently insisting on going out to say goodbye to Ella in the car. So sweet! I was also very glad to hear that for Ella it was also a great day and that she didn’t suffer any ill side effects from our visit. Julie said she was very comfortable in our home and with Yaya as well as Noah and Eden. Makes me so happy!!! It was for me a great day!! I loved loved loved having Julie in my home and being able to see her in person! I can’t wait to get together with them again!

2012-08-13 visit with YaYa (18)2012-08-13 visit with YaYa (20)2012-08-13 visit with YaYa (16)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Check Out My Cool Purple Shoes…

On an “Eden and Mommy” date we went shopping, and we found shoes! Let me say that I am not a clothes/shoe shopping kinda gal…never have been. My mother and I would fight over going “school shopping” for new clothes. I didn’t want to go, she did. So it is funny that Eden loves shoe shopping. We had originally had a some fuzzy boots that she liked quite a bit until she saw these…



We had to put them on immediately when we got into the car. May I say that I love that she is wearing them with a dress. That’s my girl. Love these shoes…love this girl more!

Three Months Since Gotcha Day

Okay so we have had our sweet daughter Yaya with us now for three months! Today is her three month Gotcha Day anniversary. Three whole months and this is what she has learned…


That’s right, the girl can balance a cup on the protruding part of her upper lip. She learned this skill last night as a matter of fact. We are so proud. I’m not sure what is more disturbing, the fact that we encourage her to do this or that we photographed it…

Okay so for the mildly serious stuff. It is hard to believe that it has been three months since we first met Yaya. What a horrible and wonderful day that was. We are still trying to work things out and she really is doing well for being with us such a short time. Life is hard right now in the ole’ Williamson home, but it is a season and it will pass and we look to joy and blessings God has promised this little one and our entire family. We knew this wouldn’t be easy, and it is but it is amazing. It has stretched and challenged us in so many ways and we are learning so much about our family and ourselves in the process…and more importantly we are learning so much about our great big wonderful God. I can’t wait to see what our life will look like in another three months!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

IAC Round 2


We had our second scheduled IAC appointment to check on Hope’s labs, attachment and development. I am thrilled to report her labs are perfect. Not thrilled to report we have to do the dreaded poop samples again to verify that the Giardia is gone. Her immunizations from China are all good, woo-hoo!!! That has saved this little girl 9 shots! We will be beginning with her 12 month shots likely next week. Dr. Chambers wants her to be immunized to certain things that she could actually come into contact when she goes in for surgery at the hospital. While the picture above makes her look rather slim…she is weighing in at 27 pounds! A chunky monkey!! We love it! Her attachment is pretty much on par, standard, typical or whatever word you’d like to choose for…”we haven’t been home long enough to really evaluate her true attachment.” But it over all is pretty good. I got an article to read about being rejected by your toddler. Since Hope was always abandoned by women she has a practical inclination to Eric…as he is a man. So when Hope gets upset or feels insecure and regresses it is Eric who she wants and trusts more, because he is a man. During those times, is when she needs me to pull her close the most, and we have just been letting her go to Eric because she seems more content with him. But now we know that I have to tag in and work harder to let her know that I am her Mommy and I am NOT going to let her go, I am here to stay.

The big news is in her development. We were told that typically at this stage in the game they are expecting a child like Hope to chart out as a 13-month old in development across several areas but specifically; cognitive, communication, fine motor skills and gross motor skills. I am thrilled and proud to the point of tears to say that she is charting at her actual age!!! 24-months!!! Yay!!!!! She had only one area of delay and it is at an 18-month level and that is her gross motor skills. But even that is a victory if you remember what she was like when we first got her. Her cognition and communication are solid 24-months. She is one smart cookie. Before the appointment I typed up all the words she can produce in sign language and it was 55!!! While we were there at the office she added one more word! 56 words and I’m sure I forgot some. Plus, she can use 3 of them in a sentence; i.e. Mommy more milk. Mommy read book. We are so thankful to Jesus that he allowed her to catch up so quickly. There is a strange comfort to me in knowing that the 2-year old I am parenting is an actual 2-year old.

We have some things we have to do to work on the gross motor skills and are very excited about doing them. Especially since gross motor is tied to eating! Which I must say is now going really well again. Better than before. Yesterday, in fact, she signed the word “eat”. I verified with her that she did indeed sign “eat” and not “flower”. So we took her to the table and I thought it was a fluke but I got out all the food and she ate a quite a bit for her! I was floored that she actually asked to eat. Our OT person suggested making rice cereal for Hope and adding some baby food for slight flavoring and see how that goes. Today I tried that for breakfast and lunch and she went to town on the foods! Especially if it was thicker. It is too hard for her to control the almost liquid consistency of Stage 1 baby foods, they just run out her mouth and nose. Note to self: Buy more Stage 3. She ate way more food today plus bottles and it occurs to me that she has likely never felt “full” before or like she has “eaten too much.” So we will see how the eating continues. We hope to pull back to 3 bottles a day and build to 6 containers of baby food a day. We are so glad to see Hope eating purees, it will really help her when she has surgery. So glory to God in the highest for taking such good care of our little girl.

We are so thankful for everyone at the Birmingham International Adoption Clinic. It was a a great day.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Up Since 4 a.m.

Really?! I mean really?! My home is calm, everyone is sleeping. My room is quiet and for the first time in 2 months we slept without a light on in our room…dark, cool, quiet and just like I like it. And at 4 a.m…..BAM! I’m awake. What?! I try to fall back asleep for and hour and 30 minutes…no go. I pray. I let my mind wander to random stuff. I hear my stomach grumble. Well phooey! I guess I’ll just drag myself upstairs. Light is just dawning and I am here babbling on this dumb computer into cyberspace. The upside is that I’m not ignoring any children to do this so it is guilt free blogging, nor am I compromising any sleep as I cannot actually sleep right now, so bonus! This will be long on, so I’m not offended if you don’t make it all the way through…

I suppose I should record for posterity’s sake what things actually look like around here. Currently, things are a bit chaotic. Eden has shifted to our first priority with her strangely out of character and disturbingly angry behavior. I contacted the IAC family therapist and a local play therapist with regards to sweet Eden to figure out what of her behavior is normal two year old behavior, what is new sibling behavior and what merits intervention; and to get some new parenting tools to handle it all. The best information I got was this: “It sounds like grieving behavior that we see in young children.” Grief. Finally a word to describe what we are seeing. Because it isn’t your run of the mill jealously at a new sibling behavior. Weirdly enough that one word was unbelievably helpful. Eric and I have been studying how to handle grief for over a year now in preparation for Yaya. It was so strange because I you’d think I could identify grief in a toddler since we were seeing it all over the place with Yaya. But perhaps that was the problem we were so narrowly focused on Yaya we didn’t catch what the real issue was with Eden. All I know is that it felt like she was slipping away from us and it was a horrible, terrifying feeling for me. But within just one short week we have begun turning the tide on this front. I have implemented several strategies that were suggested to me and we have seen a remarkable change in her attachment/affection towards me. The raging behavior is still there and has been getting a bit worse actually but her and I are bonding more and I don’t think she feels so alone now in her grieving. Her and I have bonded so much now that Eric can hardly get any attention from her, which is great for Yaya because she only wants his attention…not great for Eric and I or our family as a whole. So we have some cross-over work to do with the girls. Eric and Eden will have their first Daddy/Eden date today, I think it will go a long way with her. She fought us at first until I got the computer and showed her where Daddy was taking her…the McWane Science Center. I pray they have a great time. Plus, I need the time alone with Yaya. Eden has monopolized me for 4 days now. Last night she even started to fly into a rage because I picked Yaya up; not the behavior we are hoping to produce. So we are in a bit of a balance game. I am so thankful for the immediate change we see in the relationship between Eden and myself. She wants to go everywhere with me. So I try to take her on errands with me that don’t include Yaya or Noah. She wants to help with household chores (ooh-rah): unloading the dishwasher, cleaning the microwave, clearing the table and throwing everything in the sink (including glass…yikes), making beds, making Yaya’s bottles and feeding Yaya. It is sweet that she wants to help and I am totally training letting her. It does however, take me increasingly longer to do said chores. But I am loving having a little helper by my side. I have hope that we can navigate these stormy seas and come out the other side intact. That hope was dwindling fast for me as of late. Praise you Jesus for the work you are doing in Eden’s tender heart.

Yaya is in a bit of a regression right now. Not sure what triggered it but it has been going on for almost 3 weeks now. We are seeing “in China” behavior. She is ubber clingy…like to the drive you insane stage. She would not do anything independently for 2 weeks! She had to be on us or hanging on to our finger CONSTANTLY; or she would scream. I have less tolerance for this and so I believe her current switch to wanting Eric exclusively is in part due to the fact that I don’t honor her demands on my person constantly, and now even Eric is growing weary of it. But in the past 3 days we have seen some independent play and she has gone off with Eden several times to play. It is encouraging to see some of what we hope is her “old self” back. Like I said before though, Eric and I have to be more intentional about sharing the girls equally whether they like it or not. She has started fighting nap time with a vengeance, she will scream like you are ripping her arms off for about 10-20 minutes then she will moan another 20 more and finally fall asleep. For some of my adoptive Moms out there, I know you are thinking…”Psshh that’s a cake walk.” But when you compare it to a little fussiness that you can sing away to sleep in 5-10 minutes it is a bummer indeed. Her night terrors are pretty consistent now. I’d say we have at least 5 a week. Plus the usual 3-5 times waking with a shriek or cry that we are able to contain by just our voice reassuring her we are there. She WAS eating baby food but that came to a screeching halt as she would cover her face with her hands and then lie her head down on the tray if we came at her with a spoon. We believe much of her setback there was us. We were doing all these things to desensitize her body and mouth to calm her down throughout the day. When she began eating we stopped it all. Duh. So now we are back to scrubbing her down 3 times a day with a dry washcloth. Nuby gum simulator for infants in the mouth 1-2-3’s.again and all the other tricks in our bag. So she has taken a couple bites here and there. Her sign language is off the charts in my opinion, but I’m just an interpreter what do I know, I’m not a speech/path person. She communicates very well with us for the most part. I’m going to start introducing feeling words soon. We have her second IAC appointment where we meet with OT and PT to assess her developmental progress. Her anesthesia pre-op appointment is the 16th and surgery to close her lip is right around the corner.

Noah…sigh. He is my hero. My word is this young man outstanding. He is so patient with the girls (well most of the time). He knows his place in the family hierarchy and accepts it, which kills me as he is the bottom of the pack. He is too grown up for his age. I try to remind him that he is 8 years old and he can act like one if he wants too. He can pitch fits and freak out and stomp and cry and yell a bit if he needs to. But all he says, as he smiles his devastatingly handsome smile is, “That’s okay Mom, I’m good.” For the most part, he seems good, he will tell us when he is having a rough time most of the time. He has said a couple of times, “I wish it was back in the time when it was only me.” He began a weird “I’m afraid to sleep in my room thing” and it frustrated me to no end, we tried everything to get him to stay in his room. Then it hit me, his way of feeling connected to us is getting to snuggle with us at night in our bed and then sleep on a futon on the floor in the room all night. That is how he bonds with us and gets his “connection” re-established with us everyday. So we set up a permanent place to sleep on the floor and it is all good. I mean really, America is really the only place in the world where families don’t all sleep in the same room or bed….family bed…who knew I’d buy into that?!  He has a “come apart” about once every two weeks, but overall he is doing well. He is having a good summer and is looking forward to getting back to school (for the most part). Eric is trying to get some good one on one time in with him as of late and it really helps Noah out a lot. He is still doing competition gymnastics this year but he just isn’t gung-ho in love with the sport; but he refuses to quit. And it doesn’t matter if we offer up several other sports he can try. He doesn’t want to lose all that he has gained with gymnastics but he really doesn’t want to put the work into being his “best” at it either. So time will tell. He is losing one of his best buds today and I am sad for him. His friend is moving to Wisconsin (I think…or Minnesota, somewhere way to freakin’ cold for me). And he potentially could lose another good friend to a move right before school starts. I am praying that God is lining up some great playmates for Noah to bond with this year.

Eric and I are managing. We have 2 kids in our room every night so it makes it hard for Eric and I to have any time to ourselves or our marriage. Noah likes to pretend he is sleeping so he can hear our discussions, so we don’t talk much anymore. We finally hooked up a mosquito repellent thing on the front porch and retreated out side in the muggy summer night and instructed Noah to go stay in his room and play, just so we could have some time without any little ears around! Noah was unhappy, but it was an hour well used as we got our game plans together on how to manage this family. He and I need a getaway but that is not anywhere in the near foreseeable future. We are trying to be kinder to each other though and laugh a bit more. Work is somewhat stressful right now and his office just made a move and now instead of offices they will be in cubes…he is not happy. He is still trying to get work from home figured out, but it isn’t looking good for full-time work from home and did I mention he is not happy about the cube environment. Not to mention there will be more than one governmental office together down there and it is a dog eat dog environment now, he won’t have as flexible a schedule anymore as other employees will surely complain because their schedule and bosses are not flexible. I mean really, haven’t out grown tattling? The answer is no, no we haven’t. So that is that. And that’s all I got right now. It is surely enough for this post…whew.

Saturday, August 4, 2012


Lest anyone thing we are miserable here in the Williamson household here are some family pictures that say otherwise. It isn’t always gloom and doom around here, we do have a lot of joy. Enjoy!