Monday, November 9, 2009
Olivia is doing great! Her nights are off still, but she is eating as well as can be expected with liquids only. She plays hard and expects us to as well! She left the hospital on Friday around noon with much pomp and circumstance. Waving and blowing kisses, she walked from her ward 4B all the way to the parking circle outside the entrance of PNH, I believe she was glad to go! We cannot say enough good things about the staff at Portsmouth and the quality of care was outstanding! We are so very grateful to our Heavenly Father for His provision and care! We truly believe that He chose Dr. Lim and Dr. Gessler to treat Olivia! We appreciate all of the prayers on her behalf and know that our merciful God hears and answers them! Thank you!
Parent Weekend with Alexa!
Alexa and Kayla this past summer!
Olivia's pre-birthday , pre-surgery celebration...more B-day pics coming from tonight's celebration! No cake though but plenty of ice cream...per Dr. Lim!
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
It is done...it went amazingly well...she is tired, sore, confused and resting with some very strong pain killers--but her pallet is now closed, tubes are in her ears and now she is on her way to recovery in the ICU tonight, and probably at least another night on the regular ward. THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR PRAYERS--God's amazing fingerprints have been all over this adoption journey and this chapter has been no exception.
Since we have been going on about 3.5 hours of sleep since 3:45 am...I will be brief. Showtime was 0500 at Portsmouth Naval Hospital... after paperwork, changing into her cute hospital gown and some waiting, we moved over the Recovery Ward where we met the surgical team at 0715--what a wonderful group of folks--she had a plastic surgeon for the Pallet work, an ENT surgeon for the ear tubes, two Anesthetists, a surgical nurse, and a resident. They started work around 0745 by doing the ear tubes first (20-30 mins) followed by the Pallet surgery (3 hours) and then an audiology test (1 hour). We were blessed by having the Nurse call us about every 90 mins or after each phase for an update. We were able to join her in the Pediatric ICU at about 1:30 pm. She was basically asleep until 4:00 pm although you could tell she was somewhat uncomfortable. Even when she was awake she appeared quite groggy and confused but definitely recognized her mother and appeared much more comfortable in her arms. From the pictures you might be able to tell that she has enough cables coming out of her to be a computer. She has a full-time dedicate nurse in the ICU, so they were able to convince Susie to come home for a few hours sleep...she will return at 0730. By tomorrow they hope for Olivia to start drinking fluids and have some soft foods.
ENT said that her ears were quite clogged up with a very thick fluid and based on her hearing test her hearing we be quite improved and will help her in her speech. So this wonderful journey continues and thank you for your love and support.
God Bless you all.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
The big day is Wednesday Nov. 4---the time will be decided Tuesday but most likely very early. Dr. Lim said Olivia has a complete cleft palate---meaning large and open. He had just done one the day before and said it should heal nicely. The surgery will be about 3 hours long and consist of three parts---correcting the underlying nasal area, then the muscle layer, and finally the palate. The muscle layer is the most important and troublesome. Without proper muscle function, speech will be difficult and nasal sounding. Also there would be leakage through the nose---we know that one as we have that now--lots! About 10-15% don't get muscle function in the first few months after surgery and have to repeat the procedure in a year. Please pray the muscles heal rapidly and function miraculously fast!
Dr. Gessler (ENT) will put tubes in her ears to drain the fluid and do an ABR to check her hearing---now her hearing is at about 50+%. His portion of surgery is about 1 hour. Both of these docs have exceptional bedside manner and are great with Olivia. So blessed to have them as her team!
After surgery, she will be in PICU overnight to monitor for swelling and keep her on IV fluid and antibiotics. The next day she will be given clear fluid and wear "no-no's" on her arms---basicly, splints to keep her from putting her hands in her mouth! I don't think she will be very happy about that---she likes being in control! We'll be feeding her etc. Please pray for understanding and peace on her part! Ours, too!! We hope to bring her home on Friday! At that point she will be on a liquid/soft food diet for a month! Good thing she loves yogurt and ice cream!! Thanks in advance for your prayers. We'll try to post pics from the hospital with updates!
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
To welcome and celebrate a new life, there is a tradition in the northern part of China to make a Bai Jia Bei, or 100 Good Wishes Quilt. It is a custom to invite friends and family to contribute a patch of cloth with a wish for the baby. Part of the patch of cloth goes into the quilt for the baby, and the other part of the cloth can go into a creative memory notebook with the wish for the child. The quilt contains the luck, energy, and good wishes from all the families and friends who contributed a piece of fabric. The quilt is then passed down from generation to generation.
Our wonderful friends, Bryan and Eva Manes, are Olivia's guardians---her Auntie and Uncle! Just so happens Eva is a very talented quilter and blessed Olivia with the beautiful quilt you see below. When Olivia saw it, she adored it as you can see by her smile. I wanted to hang it in her room, but ever since we received it, Olivia has slept under it! So sweet! Thank you to all who sent their prayers and well wishes! Olivia definitely feels your love!
Thanks Eva for all of your hard work in making this beautiful quilt! Olivia will cherish it always! Thanks to your special friend who lovingly helped finish it---what a story to share with our girl when she is older! May God bless each of you many times over!
Monday, September 7, 2009
Uncle Doug holding me at breakfast when they visited!
Aunt Linda will get in the floor and play with me!! Yeah!! Who's having more fun?
Big sis, Kayla, getting a bedtime hug!!
Helping Granddaddy with his physical therapy!
Getting a pic with Granddaddy!
Another pic with Nomi!
Enjoying my big brother, Zach! He's a lot of fun!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Sorry for not posting for soooo long! I don't know how all of these other new parents blog with a toddler! They are obviously years younger than I =). Folks have been asking us to keep on blogging even though we are home so I'll do my best! Olivia is doing so well! She seems to feel right at home and, honestly, I know there must be a language barrier but I haven't really seen it! She pretty much understands whatever we are saying with a bit of hand motion. We are sure because there are times we tell her "no" and she "pretends" not to understand. You other moms know exactly what I mean.
She's a real character! She has the sweetest belly-laugh and finds joy in so many things. We had our first doctor visit last week---initial one with six shots. :( She did much better than I would have--both arms and both legs. This week was a blood draw---again she hardly cried and actually seemed to be interested in the line from her arm. Of course the stickers made it all worth it. Now we are awaiting an appt for her palate surgery consultation. Hopefully soon! She's a real drool-er! She sleeps well at night--all night from 8 until about 7am. Naps are a bit harder, but we're trying to get into some kind of routine---slowly but surely. Olivia has met Tyler, Alexa, Nana, her Aunt Linda and Uncle Doug. She will meet Nomi, Granddaddy, Zach and Kayla this weekend. Good thing she loves being the center of attention.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Future Hokie!! Olivia is doing well and we've all almost recovered from our trip and still adjusting to life with a toddler! Olivia has taken well to her older siblings and plays hard...she is still unsure about the dog. Progress though. Thanks to all of you for your kind prayers and well wishes! Pray for us when you think of us that the Lord will continue the great work He has begun in all of us! A few pics follow!
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Finished the bulk of the paperwork today. . . and paid most of the $$ . . . tomorrow is a sightseeing day and Thursday a free day. . . we now wait for her expedited passport . . . we get it Friday before we fly to Guangzhou. Now we get to relax a little and enjoy her. BTW, she gave us our first kisses today--unsolicited--pretty neat!
Monday, July 13, 2009
14 Jul 09, 4:30 am China time
Well, we finally have Olivia Xin Rui Walrond in our arms, Let me catch you up--it has been an exciting adventure so far and we are now just getting the time to write--BTW, I am writing this in the hotel room bathroom while Susie and our new princess are sleeping. For us, Monday started hard and fast with all the America World Adoption Agency (AWAA) families being required to show-up in the Hotel lobby of the Radisson Hotel at 0530. We were only dragging our carry-ons, which still weighed a ton, because our Guides (Sherrie and Liniker) had the Bellboys pick our bags at 10pm the night before so they could be delivered to the Beijing Airport in a separate vehicle--which worked great, but would have definitively violated US security protocols that require all passengers to maintain positive control of their luggage until the bags are checked in at the airport--but it apparently didn’t matter when we checked in at the airport. We were one of 24 families who were about to be sent to several different China provinces to meet their new sons and daughters. We split up into two groups and arrived at the airport at around 0615--when arriving I quickly concluded that I was glad that AWAA had arranged for our guides. Beijing’s New Airport is magnificent in its beautiful design and organization, but a native speaking guide definitely gave us the edge of navigating the course of getting checked-in. Susie and I were the third family to be checked in because our Air China flight was leaving for Xian at 0730. We had been limited to 44 pounds each for luggage but noticed that they were not even weighing it--overcoming the chaos of Mon morning had taken priority. Security screening/check-in appeared very similar to US, except we were not required to take off our shoes. We were also told that no liquids, not even eye liner/make-up items at all were allowed in carry-on.
Our China Air flight was great…more foot room than United, plane was not full, and they served a full western breakfast to economy.
We arrived in Xian at 0930 and quickly met our Guide “Rae” (female)--very hospitable and engaging. Since we were the only family traveling to Xian, we had a dedicated car and driver when travel was required. Travel to downtown Xian took about 45 mins where we checked in to the Aurum International hotel with is inside the ancient city wall built over 700 years ago. For those of you who have lived in Turkey or Korea, the city reminded us of the older areas that we had visited in those countries. We checked in and began to unpack and organize our room for our new child--we were told we would get to meet her at 1400, but it turned out to be about 1530 because the orphanage team who was bringing her had to drive from Hanzhong City which was originally about a 14 hour train ride because of the mountainous remote region but a little over a year ago new 4-lane highway with tunnels through the mountains (one as long as 18 Kilometers) had been opened reducing the travel to about 4.5 hours without traffic. Traffic had delayed their arrival.
We met Xin Rui for the first time in a Civil Affairs Office. She was accompanied by two ladies, one we had seen before in a previous picture and we had been told that she had been her foster mother. As expected, you could tell that Xin Rui was very attached to her and was very timid of us strangers. They had dressed her up in a beautiful yellow sleeveless dress with socks and sandals. She was absolutely beautiful. Susie helped break the tension by presenting Rui with a toy--first was a doll but she showed very little interest. Then she brought a very sophisticated rattle with lots of moving parts--she really liked that and the fear subsided as she began to play with it--she had been strategically distracted. The orphanage presented Susie with 2 books, one appeared to be a very detailed book about Xin Rui and the Orphanage (still had not had the time to review), but it had shot records, growth charts, list of foods she likes, favorite book and a CD of pictures (which I have not looked at yet. The other book was like a baby book. It was at least 20 mins before we got to hold her and she was still not very happy about it until Susie broke out the mini-goldfish crackers. They were in a Kid’s spill proof container that allowed Rui the ability to hold and feed herself. She was hungry and this definitely kept Rui distracted from who was holding her for the moment. I knew we were OK when Rui, without prompting, started to feed me and Susie her goldfish crackers--she captured our hearts. I finally signed the papers that allowed us to take her for the night…all in Chinese, so who knows what I signed--we officially sign the adoption papers on Tues.
By 1630 we were on our way to a photographer--Civil Affairs requires pictures of the Mom, Dad, and Daughter separately and then as a family unit…if Rui was not confused by now, she would be. Two non-Chinese people had just grabbed her and turned her world upside down. Susie brilliantly distracted her with a bottle of juice--she was also thirsty and this really hit the spot. We also noticed that she did not want any help holding her bottle. Also, she wanted to be held the entire time--lucky for us, we wanted to hold her. After the pictures, we then went to a Chinese super market for supplies (extra diapers, food, and a stroller). That was an experience in itself…we were definitely a novelty with the local population gathering lots of looks and smiles.
We arrived at the Hotel at 1830...both Susie and I were not very hungry from all the excitement and decided to concentrate on making Rui more comfortable with us and the hotel room. Susie mixed some rice cereal and heated up some whipped sweet potatoes--both were a great hit, especially the sweet potatoes. She kept gesturing for more of the potatoes. After eating and more play time--all the toys Susie brought were a hit, but especially loved the toddler duplo blocks. She liked having me put them together and then she would take them apart...then she had me show her how to put them together. We find her to be very strong and strong-willed in a good way--she knows what she likes and wants. Susie finally introduced her to bath time, although apprehensive a first, in the end she had a ball. She loved playing with cups in the water and continued to play after the bath--gesturing that she was feeding me and Susie from the cups with her hair brush as pretend spoon. After some more play time Susie began to put Rui (Olivia) down for the night…
I can’t tell you any more since I fell asleep, except it is now 0600 and they both are sleeping soundly and I’m here typing in the bathroom in anticipation of signing a lot of papers and handing over about $6K of the US money we have been carrying around since arriving--however, now instead of a ½ inch of stack in each of our money belts, it grew to a 5 in stack in RMB…we definitely look like we gained weight. Our Tuesday adventure starts at 0900...more to come, God bless you all, thank you for your prayers and support…
Sunday, July 12, 2009
After more than 23 hours of travel, we are safe in Beijing! The Chinese are very efficient. Our airline dropped the cabin temp about 15 minutes before landing to help ensure everyone passed the "temp" test. Officials scanned us upon landing and then we were all on our way. There were no long waits in lines to process through quarantine, immigrations or customs. Not so sure the same would be true in the US. Our hotel is nice and more importantly, the bed is comfy : )! We are awaiting our timetable for tomorrow--"Gotcha Day". So it will be back to the airport in the morning for a flight to Xian. Can't believe the day is finally arrived! Please pray for our big moment tomorrow and Olivia's travel to us! Much love to all of you!
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Why would God lead us down the adoption road after giving us what we felt was a complete and wonderful family? He wanted to bring the Gospel to life for us! He wanted us to experience this joy from His perspective. Loving us unconditionally even before we were born, His plan and His desire to was to be our Father. He experiences overwhelming joy when we finally trust Him and receive His love. When we are handed this precious little one and gaze into her eyes, I believe we will understand "how great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" We pray that God continues to reveal the great depths to which He has gone to bring us-- once orphans-- into His family.
The wait is finally over!! We are officially heading to China to get our precious little girl! We are trusting the Lord to keep us from any pre-conceived expectations and allow the Holy Spirit to guide our every thought and action as we help Olivia transition into our family. Please agree with us in prayer that she will recognize our love for her, that we would all remain healthy and strong, that our family still in the US would be kept safe and healthy as well, and most importantly, that we would represent Christ well and be a reflection of His love to all we meet! Many thanks to all of you for your support and encouragement of our family as we follow God's direction! We love you very much!!
Remember that the current China time is 12 hours later than EST in the US. We'll receive Olivia during your early Monday morning! Hopefully, we'll have something for you to see on our blog by your Monday evening! :o)
July 12th –July 22nd
v Sunday, July 12th Arrive in
v Monday, July 13th Morning-flight to
Afternoon-meet Xin Rui!
v Tuesday, July 14th Civil Affairs Appointment
v July 15th -16th Paperwork, Sightseeing & Shopping
v Friday, July 17th Flight to
v Saturday, July 18th Medical Exam
v Sunday, July 19th Consulate Paperwork
v Monday, July 20th Consulate Appointment
v Tuesday, July 21st Pick up Child’s Visa
Depart by bus for Hong Kong
v Wednesday, July 22nd Depart from
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Our biggest disappointment is that we've decided that Lauren should stay behind. Although she is disappointed (heart-broken, really), she understands! Tom says he feels we would be "reckless parents"to ignore the newest travel alert from the CDC. Because of the swine flu, Chinese officials are coming on arriving planes to check temps etc and quarantining anyone who has an elevated temp or shows symptoms. Also folks in close proximity to sick ones will be quarantined---even if it means separating children from parents! Didn't want to risk that!
So.....BIG prayer request: Not only our continued health during travel but also the health of all of those around us! I told you it was big but God is certainly able! Thanks to all of you in advance! I'll try to update the blog as we travel about next week! Itinerary coming soon!
Friday, June 19, 2009
“I will go before you
and will level the mountains;
I will break down gates of bronze
and cut through bars of iron.
I will give you the treasures of darkness,
riches stored in secret places,
so that you may know that I am the LORD,
the God of Israel, who summons you by name.”
Our much anticipated Travel Approval from the CCAA arrived today!!! Kristen Hussa from America World called about 2:30 this afternoon to give us the good news! We are to confirm on Monday what our decision will be as to dates! Travel to China would overlap the end of a family mission trip we've been planning since the winter. Our choices are to leave early from the mission and immediately travel to China or wait for the next travel group sometime in late July or early August. No other travel groups are set yet! We are trusting the Lord to give us clear direction! Please keep us in your prayers as we decide. As for now, we are rejoicing that we are approved to go!!
These pics were sent to Olivia so she might get to know our faces....hope we don't scare her!