Friday, April 20, 2018

A Setback (4/18)

Yesterday went from being our best day so far to our worst. We are at Children’s hospital awaiting surgery to align Suzie’s femur and place her in a spica cast.
 Her leg buckled while trying to pull herself up to standing position yesterday evening. I had left her alone with Brian for our longest time yet while I took Addie to her middle school orientation.
 That morning we had re-introduced her to a walking helper harness. She had previously rejected it, but I showed her how it works with a teddy bear and then she was all about it. We walked with it all morning and she was just proud!
 We visited her future daycare and she even wore it there. At daycare I left her for 10 minutes and snuck away out of the room. After asking for me a couple times, she was content to play with the group. It was a huge success! After that we had a friend of mine visit with her daughter and she did great then too. She was worn out by nap time but is so hyper vigilant that she usually doesn’t nap. I decided to give her a sleep mask to help her calm down and she fell asleep quickly!
We were going to bring her to Addie’s middle school night but she was working on a bowel movement and it hadn’t come yet. She basically gives birth every couple days complete with moaning and head sweats. Brian offered to stay home with her. It seemed like the right time after such a good day. He said that she was doing great- letting him carry her around and having a fun time until it happened. Her little leg just gave out- no fall, no trauma.
 Well, that’s not true, there is trauma. She is very traumatized and it appears that she is once again fearful of Brian. Why did this have to happen with him?! He is also very traumatized. His drive to Children’s was awful and every time he moved her she was in excruciating pain. I’m traumatized that I left her. I wasn’t there for her. Addie and Mason are both shook up. It appears that we’ve lost her trust. This is such a setback in so many ways- physically, emotionally and relationally.
 We have surgery at 1:15pm which means no food or drink until then. She keeps asking for water and I can’t explain to her why I can’t give her some. When I tell her I love her she shakes her head and cries.
 This is the worst.

 Surgery is now delayed until 5:30 or 6pm. Hopefully we don’t have to stay another night. Suzie is comfortably medicated and they are letting her have clear liquids, so she’s happier. We are done with our pity party and just moving forward. Thank you for all the encouragement and help! This whole adoption has been so humbling and you all are showing us how to love well! Thank you for being our village!

 Suzie is out of surgery. She did really well and the doctors and nurses were incredible. As expected, she was grouchy and groggy waking up but soon recognized Kassie and calmed down. We got her back to the room in her new purple spica cast which covers her entire left leg and her stomach, but they left her right leg free to move. After getting our stuff gathered up we put Suzie in a wagon and wheeled her to the car, pick up her meds and headed home. Our friends loaned us their enormous bean bag chair and Suzie has been there since, I think she's enjoying being waited-on, and the meds. Now for the real adventure.

sleeping beauty, she needs the mask to nap

at daycare hanging out

walking with mason, about 30 minutes before fracture

left femur fracture, this is about an hour after break

getting a splint before driving to Chilren's in Aurora

Watching Baby Signing Time on the phone

Being spoon-fed beef broth

Kassie slept in the chair next to the bed

Brian slept on the couch

heading into surgery

waking up from surgery with a sore throat

First time seeing the purple spica cast 
wagon ride to the car

Brian with the new car seat for the spica cast

finally home, watching Baby Signing Time from the bean bag

Friday, March 23, 2018

Day16 (3/16) Going Home!

Travel day! We are currently in the Hong Kong airport for a 6 hour layover and it’s a great airport to be stuck in! It’s so clean and has computer & tablet stations where Mason is making friends and playing games and a cute kids TV area with short chairs and cartoons playing for kids. The city looks amazing with mountains in the background and we saw the ocean as we were landing. I’d love to come someday and actually see the city!

The first plane ride was from Guangzhou to Hong Kong. It was just a 50 minute flight. We could have taken a 4 hr bus instead. Now that we know that Suzie gets carsick, I am so thankful that our travel agent opted for the flight!

Our next flight is 13 hrs to LAX, then to Denver! It's an overnight flight so we were hoping to catch some sleep. Addie fell asleep first, after her and Mason watched Men In Black 3. Mason stayed up for quite awhile watching movies but eventually fell into a heavy sleep. Kassie and Suzie both fell asleep around a few hours in. We had a nice seating arrangement as we had a section of three seats (window - aisle; Suzie, Kassie, BMer) and then a 2-seat section right behind us for Addie and Mason. No strangers next to us.

Brian stayed up watching The Godfather when Suzie sat up and slipped off her seat into the pitch darkness. We scrambled to get her back into her seat in the dark, she's so flexible and tiny that I think she slipped through the belt. Either way I (Brian) couldn't sleep unless one of us were awake. I cranked out a few more movies on the in-flight TV, Justice League, The Florida Project and some others.

Unlike the flight to China where we flew up over Alaska and down over Asia, the flight back from Hong Kong to LAX is a little more south and over the ocean for most of the trip. This meant a little more turbulence which made us a little uneasy. I stopped eating after the first meal and still got a little nauseous near the end. Thankfully we all made it safe and sound, back on US soil!

Going through the Port was pretty easy, the immigration folks were great and fast-tracked us since we had a stroller. Suzie was now an official American citizen and we were one flight away from being home.  Our flight to Denver was boarding when halfway through something broke and they unloaded the plane. We were delayed about an hour but eventually got on the plane and headed home.

Despite getting into Denver at midnight, our buddies were there to pick us up and get us home, where even more friends were still up and waiting for us. It was amazing, really awesome. We couldn't wait to give Suzie the tour of her new home and stayed up until 3a showing her everything. Even after the long day, Addie got up at 7a to go play her soccer game where she scored her first goal of the season!

It was so good to finally be home!

bags are packed

shuttle to the airport

airport life

flight to Hong Kong

Hong Kong mountains

Mason's gaming buddies at HKG

14 hour flight to LAX

trying to sleep

first breath of USA air (and just woken up...)

welcome party in Denver!

welcome party at home!

this is like 1a, love these people

addie ready to go a few hours later

Day 15 (3/15) Packing for home

Last non-travel day here! We didn’t do much today. Mostly packed and prepared to travel tomorrow. We leave our hotel at 7am and will be either traveling or in airports for the next 31 hrs. ??

We got Suzie’s visa today so we are all set to return home and we are all SO ready! Suzie will use this visa one time, to travel into the USA, and then we'll pack it away and use her American passport going forward.

We’ve had a little more progress with Suzie’s comfort. I left the room today for about 10-15 minutes to make some copies and Suzie didn’t even cry. The kids did a great job distracting her while I was gone. Also, Brian held her today! Just for about a minute while I exchanged some currency at the machine. We thought it was a safe time to try it and it was for maybe 3 minutes max. I was right next to her the whole time to comfort her, but she still screamed the entire time. Not just a cry but a full on scream. She did calm down quickly after I took her back, so we’ll call it a win.

We got a last swim in and it was a win. Suzie let go of mama and floated on her own for a moment. She is incredibly brave.

I’m not sure we’ll be able to post anything tomorrow, so we’ll say farewell here. Thanks for following us along on this trip and we will see many of you soon! It’s been wonderful and helpful reading your encouragements each day and your prayers have been so appreciated! Things have really gone very smoothly with no big hiccups (??). We are forever grateful for your support and have been so humbled and overwhelmed by this whole experience. We have the best friends ever!!!

yogurt is eaten through a straw in China

Suzie tied these bracelets for us, impressive!

Suzie's Visa, she'll use it one time to travel to USA

Day 14 (3/14) Lake Park

Today was such a great day! We decided to forgo any site-seeing or shopping and just enjoyed time with each other and not having a schedule. We swam a bit and later explored a nearby park. The parks here are incredible! This one has a lake with paths that go around it and multiple buildings, bridges and various play areas. This park also has an amusement park and exercise areas that were packed with people doing the weirdest movements (see videos). There were also badminton courts and ping pong tables full of people playing. Guangzhou is the third most populous city in China (after Beijing and Shanghai) and it’s known as the flower city. There are flowers everywhere and the park was full of them and the fragrance was amazing!

We discovered yesterday that Suzie is okay in the stroller as long as I am pushing it. I thought she’d prefer me next to her holding her hand, but no, she’d rather me push the stroller. She’s even ok with Brian walking next to her, just not pushing the stroller. For some reason she needs that sense of control. Trauma doesn’t always make sense, it just is.

At the park, I took her out of the stroller a few times to sit in the play area and give her a chance to feel what it is like. I hate the thought of her always having to watch from her chair and not get to play with the other kids. Someday she will get to run around as well- we have no doubt! This girl is so determined and strong! She has pulled herself up to standing a few times and I’ve held her, supporting her weight, and she’s done the motion of walking. She loves it! Her little feet are so soft- softer than her hands from always being in socks and never walked on. We’ve had her barefoot a few times and she loves it. She now pulls her socks off right when we get back in the hotel room. I think her feet have actually gotten slightly tougher over just the past week. I don’t think she’ll be stuck on the sideline for much longer!

Also, she’s eating more - yay! She’s a noodle girl (vs rice) and she’s eating better for us now. She ate enough to have a full Buddha belly twice today!?

She is letting Brian get closer little by little. He still can’t hold her but was able to give her a kiss on the cheek today (which she promptly wiped off, but at least didn’t cry) and she was fine sharing his fries. He just keeps sneaking in little touches here and there. I predict that she’ll eventually turn into a Daddy’s girl. She loves all the silliness.

I don’t know how we got so lucky, but we have the most amazing daughter! She has an infectious giggle and her tiny voice is so endearing. I taught her to give a thumbs up and it’s now my way of making sure she is ok and comfortable. If she is, she gives me a thumbs up back. If not, I know not to push her any further. She’s so smart. I swear she is already understanding a lot of what we say.
Two weeks ago, I was very scared of this little girl. I was so scared that we wouldn’t be enough for her and that she would need so much more than we could offer. It terrified me and kept me up at night. I broke down in tears daily. I feared what this adoption would do to our family and our life. This is only the beginning, but everyday we thank God that He brought us to this girl. Brian and I look at each other in amazement multiple times a day, thinking “how is she possibly ours?!” We are ready to come home and show her the world as we show her to the world!

mouth full of noodles

Addie talking on a banana

badminton courts at the park

ping pong tables at the park

foot massage path

ending the day with a movie