Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Five Months Home

If I thought I was in love before, month five has just etched Rebecca into my heart even deeper. I am so in love with her! She is absolutely the sweetest thing alive! I cringe anytime I hear people people say things like, "I don't care what the sex is as long as it's healthy" or "I am glad God blessed me with healthy children" (and if you have said those things,I'm not mad at you, but I whole heartedly disagree). Rebecca is a huge blessing to me because ALL children are blessings from God. God lavished His love on me by giving me this special needs child.

 This month Rebecca began playing with toys. She can transfer toys from one hand to the other, she seeks for lost toys with her hands and one of her most favorite things to play with is a wash cloth. A wash cloth? Yes, while lying on her back, she covers her face with it, gets really still then squeals with delight and throws it off. She does this over and over again. It really is cute! She also loves to fake cough and sneeze because we all make a big deal about it and she loves the attention.

 Rebecca's therapy appointments are going well. She hates therapy, but has already come so far and is learning and doing new things all the time. Some of the goals we have for her are:

Identify body parts: point to correct body part when asked "where is..." She has not done this yet, however she tries to say nose when we ask her where her nose is.

 Bang toys together: She will bang one toy into her other empty hand, but she hasn't banged two toys together.

 Learn to suck: children with cleft palates are unable to suck so they are given nipples that pour the milk/formula into their mouths. So, now that her palate is repaired we will begin giving her a bottle with a normal nipple on it. Hopefully soon we will be able to transition her to a sippy cup with a leak proof valve then onto a straw.

Mobility: her therapists and I are putting her into the crawling and standing positions, although she hates it, in order to build the muscles it takes to accomplish mobility.

I am very thankful for Rebecca's therapists. Every week they get just as excited as I do over her accomplishments. They have loved her and encouraged me. Please pray for them because Becca is not an easy patient, she cries and fights them most of the time. Please also pray for the goals I mentioned (there are many more, those were just a few) and that Rebecca would become a willing participant in therapy.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Xan and Narnia

Xan is going through a Narnia addiction and he wants to be Peter. Here are some photos of him pretending to be Peter...this kid has one awesome imagination! The stool is his horse and the spiderman mask and sunglasses are his helmet. I love this kid!

Bucket List Part 2

Yesterday we went to Aloha and got a snow cone. However, there are not pictures of that event because there was a storm a brewin' and we had to get home quickly. And I am so glad we did because it was a doozy.

Cracker Barrel was on our bucket list! Brennan loves the chickawin dumpwins (Chicken and Dumplins).

Monday, June 11, 2012

Fun Times!

I came up with our own "Papa's gone to Puerto Rico" bucket list. We checked off two of our items this morning: 
-Breakfast at Krispy Kreme
-Visit the downtown library

Sunday, June 10, 2012

4 Months Home

This month has been much more calm. We haven't received any more shocking news and we are settling into our new normal. I continue to battle fear. Sometimes I look at Becca and fear completely floods my mind and I briefly doubt that God picked the right parents for her. Thankfully God is patient with me and doesn't smack me up against the head when I allow my fear to rule my emotions and doubt His sovereignty. At those times of fear I have to take my thoughts captive and not allow myself to think too much about the future, but rather focus on today. I have to focus on the complete joy that she is and remind myself just how much progress she has made in the four short months she has been with her forever family.

 Becca has begun Vision, Physical and Occupational therapy and will be evaluated for Speech therapy on Tuesday. She HATES therapy! Put yourself in her situation. For the first 2 1/2 years of her life she was left alone. No one made her do anything. She moved herself and she entertained herself. Now, complete strangers are making her work hard and she DESPISES it! She screams and cries. Call me calloused, but I ask that her therapists work even though she is crying. Yes, I hate to see my baby cry, and we do stop occasionally so that I can hold her and comfort her, but I know that they are not hurting her and I know that therapy is for her good.

 I would say that Becca has completely attached to me! However, in the past week, she has rejected everybody else. So, although it is wonderful that she knows that I am mommy, it is hard because I am the only person she wants and there are four other people in this home that want me too. It breaks my heart to see her reject her daddy. He is head over heels for her and she only wants mommy. Please pray that she will fall in love with her Papa. 

Thank you again for keeping us in your prayers!


Friday, May 18, 2012

3 Months Home and EEG results

Rebecca is doing fantastic! We no longer have to recline her in order for her solid foods to stay in her mouth. She is figuring out this whole eating solids and is able to keep all of her food in her mouth while sitting up. She has even chewed on a soft noodle or two. Since having her cleft palate repaired she is opening up to cold foods as well. Before, she would not even think about allowing anything cold in her mouth and now she LOVES yogurt. Rebecca also started weaning herself off the bottle. She now gets a bottle first thing in the morning and again at night. But I am pretty certain the one right before bed may be leaving soon too because she doesn't finish the full 6 oz. I may still try to hold on to these last two bottle times for as long as I can just for the closeness and bonding.

As most of you all know, we visited a Pediatric Neurologist a few weeks ago. A few months before we traveled to get Becca, the orphanage informed us that they thought she might have Cerebral Palsy, but there was nothing in her referral information that would point to CP. So, Bucky and I still had hope that her delays were just that, delays, and that with some early intervention therapy she would be fine. What the orphanage did not disclose was that she had suffered a traumatic brain injury. Therefore, although the Neurologist's diagnosis for CP was not a shock to us, the diagnosis of blindness and mental retardation was. Please allow me to interject this here: We are not sad or unhappy that we adopted Rebecca. If we knew all that we know now, we would still adopt her. We love her dearly and are resting in a Sovereign God who has orchestrated all of this. Rebecca was certainly "the least of these" and we are delighted that we get the privilege of being her Mama and Papa.

One positive thing that came out of the Neurologist appointment is that all Becca's vital organs are strong and healthy! Praise God for that! 

Becca is at a high risk for seizures, therefore, her Neurologist ordered an EEG test to be performed. In order to get an accurate EEG, the patient has to be sleep deprived so that they will sleep during the test. Boy was that fun...NOT! On Wednesday night we were supposed to keep Becca awake until midnight then wake her up at 5 am Thursday morning and not allow her to sleep until her appointment at 1pm. Well, by 11pm Wednesday, she was mad as a hornet, to the point where I thought she was going to make herself sick, so I put her on to bed. I did get her up at 5am and she did pretty well throughout the morning, only having a couple of crying spells. She fell asleep quickly after they hooked all the things up to her head and slept through the whole test (about an hour). Today the Neurologist called with the results. They were not what we had hoped, but not as bad as they could have been. Some seizure activity was detected on the test. She will not have to be on daily seizure meds, but we will have to keep an emergency supply of seizure meds on hand to administer to her rectally if she does have a seizure. Please pray that she NEVER has a seizure!!

Please continue to pray for us! Right now we are brainstorming as to what to do housing wise. If Rebecca does not learn to walk we will either have to move or add a bedroom and bath onto the downstairs of our existing home. I don't want to move, I love our home, but we will also need to renovate our backyard to make it a safe place for Becca. Our yard is unlevel and sloped and just not safe for a child in a wheelchair nor would it be safe for her if she does learn to walk because she will never see well and I don't want her tripping and falling. Of course renovations, both to our home and our yard, are costly. Again, we are trusting God to work out all the details.

Friday, May 4, 2012

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

  1. I don't even know how to write this post, but here goes...

  2. We went to see the neurologist yesterday. He went through and explained all the MRI images. One thing we learned is that the body absorbs damaged brain tissue and replaces it with spinal fluid-like liquid. Becca has large and multiple areas of this fluid. Her optic nerves are damaged (which we knew) but so is the part of the brain that receives the information from the optic nerves. So, except for some peripheral vision, she is blind. He also gave her a diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy and Mental Retardation as well as Autistic-like characteristics.

We still do not know if she will speak or walk. Time (and lots of therapy) will tell. We are still processing all this information and trying to focus on today and not get overwhelmed with the future. We covet your prayers as always. Martin Luther penned this hymm hundreds of years ago, but is it ever true for me today:

  1. "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" by Martin Luther

  2. A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
    Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing
    For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
    His craft and pow’r are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
    On earth is not his equal.
  3. Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing,
    Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
    Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He
    Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
    And He must win the battle.
  4. And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
    We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us;
    The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
    His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
    One little word shall fell him.
  5. That word above all earthly pow’rs, no thanks to them, abideth;
    The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth;
    Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
    The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
    His kingdom is forever.

Monday, April 30, 2012

I Trust You

"Whatever Your Doing" by Sanctus Real

"...Whatever your doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but I believe
You're up to something bigger than me
Larger than life something Heavenly

...Time for a milestone
Time to begin again
Reevaluate who I really am
Am I doing everything to follow Your will
Or just climbing aimlessly over these hills
So show me what it is You want from me
I give everything, I surrender..."

The past three months, more than any other time in my life, I have found myself speaking the words, "I don't know what You are doing, but I trust You" and this song has run through my head a hundred times. I spoke them the first time I held Becca in China and she was limp and never made eye contact. I spoke them when our pediatrician told me that Becca would never walk, talk or see. I spoke them when we were in the hospital with Becca and she was writhing in pain. I spoke them just last week when the nurse came to tell us that Brennan was bleeding and they were prepping the Operating Room for him again. And I spoke them today when I was driving home from Greenville and Becca began throwing up in the backseat (I already had two sick kids waiting for me at home).

I don't know how people walk through life without an intimate, personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He is a very present help in time of need and I have needed Him more in the past 3 months than ever before. He is sending me on this journey, despite my insufficiency, because He is able to do exceedingly more than I could ever ask or think. I am just praying that I am being molded and shaped into a more accurate representation of the God I serve and love. 

It bothers me when people tell me how great I am for adopting Rebecca. God is the great one, I would have never chosen this for myself because it is too difficult. This is all about God and how amazing He is! I trust Him!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

2 months (plus a week and few days) home

This past month has been filled with lots of ups and downs, but God has been consistent! In mid March we received the results from Rebecca's sedated MRI, here is what we know:

At some point in Rebecca's very earliest days, she suffered major brain trauma. We do not know and will never know how this happened, but it likely happened one of three ways. Either she suffered a stroke while in utero, suffered a stroke during pre-term delivery or someone injured her after birth. However it happened, the damage to her brain is extensive. At this time we still don't have a good grasp on what this means for her future. We hope to get a lot of questions answered during her Neurologist appointment in early May.

The day before we received her MRI results, I took Becca to the eye doctor. During this visit the eye doctor discovered that she has "pale optic nerves". I, of course, came home and began doing research on pale optic nerves. My fears for her vision were confirmed the next day when we got her MRI results. Becca has CVI or Cortical Blindness. At the time her brain was injured her optic nerves were injured as well. CVI is not correctable with glasses because her eyes are functioning correctly.

What does that mean?
Well, her eyes are functioning correctly, however because of the damage to the optic nerves her brain is not receiving the information. So, she can see light and dark and can see things really close to her face. Since she can't tell us, we don't know how well she is seeing the things she can it fuzzy, blurry, etc.

Where are we going from here?

We have been referred to South Carolina's School For The Deaf and Blind (which is located here in Spartanburg for those of you reading this who do not live here). They will be coordinating her therapies. Rebecca will start Occupational, Speech, Physical and Vision therapy very soon. If at some point she is able to walk, she will also receive Mobility therapy from the Deaf and Blind School. These therapies will be free until she is three, which is only about 4 1/2 months away. So, we are in the process of applying for insurance for children who have disabilities. This insurance will help us pay for the therapy she needs.

How are we (Bucky and Julie) doing?

God is a God of peace and comfort and in Him we have no reason to fear! We, of course, have cried more in the past month than we ever have. Not because we are disappointed or unhappy, but because we love her so much and it is natural for us to mourn the disappearance of our dreams for her (falling in love, getting married, having babies). I found myself the first few days worrying over whether or not we needed to sell our home and get a ranch style house because we can't carry her upstairs forever. Or whether or not we are going to have to purchase a wheel chair accessible van. I had to put all those worries behind me and take this one day at a time and sometimes one minute at a time.

Becca is growing and changing everyday. She is a joy to have in our home and in our family. She is able to say "mama", "papa" and "hello". This past week she copied me when I said "I love you" It came out like, "Ga Ga Oooo" but I think it is remarkable, given her brain injury, that she got all the syllables in there. She no longer needs a pacifier or bottle to soothe her, she is comforted by my voice and touch. If she is awake in the morning when I go in and get her, just the sound of my voice sends into smiles and giggles. She is becoming more alert and aware and less like she is in her own little world. Her special needs has just etched her into our hearts a little bit deeper.

We, of course, are thankful for all of you who have brought us a meal, helped with my other children, and prayed for us. Our church family has been an amazing blessing and we are so thankful for you! Please continue to pray for us.

Friday, March 30, 2012

I am weak.

Yesterday is a day I hope to never re-live. Bucky and I walked into the post-op room to find Becca face down on the bed with blood oozing from her mouth and nose. The nurse asked if I wanted to hold her and and I was scared to touch her, scared I would pull a hose and hurt her. I sat down in the rocker and she was placed in my arms. I immediately became overcome with emotion and started sobbing over her. Her blood stained face and the stench of blood on her breath was more than this mama's heart could bear and I nearly passed out. I had to hand her over to Bucky, remove my jacket and sit in another chair. The nurse offered me ice water and I was feeling better before long...I am weak.

After I recovered, we were moved to our private room. It was difficult to see my baby girl so agitated from the anesthesia and in pain. Last night was the worst. She was in so much pain and at one point I was holding her and she was writhing and kicking and I was having to hold her down. I again got a whiff of her bloody breath and I began sobbing. I had to beg God to give me the strength to stay in my seat with her in my arms because everything in me wanted to hand her to her daddy and far away. I am weak, but He is strong.

"Jesus loves me this I know. For the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong. They are weak, BUT HE IS STRONG!..."

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Follow Up and One Month Home

Here is a follow up to my "Wimp" post...
I think it is wimpy for a man to not take his wife seriously. If a woman approaches her Christian husband about an issue she feels God may be leading her to and her husband immediately shuts her down with whatever excuse he can come up with, I think that is wimpy. Notice I said Christian. I don't expect a non Christian husband to want to search the Scriptures and pray about adoption. But for the Christian, orphan care can not be ignored. The Bible over and over again commands us to care for the orphan. Now, do I believe every Christian is called to adopt? Absolutely not!! But we are called to do something. Ladies if you have a husband who will not even consider adoption and you feel God is calling your family to adopt, PRAY!

Adoption is hard and costly! Most adopted children come with broken hearts and years of hurt. But isn't that how God found you? I know he didn't find me swaddled in a white blanket with a bow wrapped around my head. I was dirty and messy and dying in my sin when he found me and rescued me. He calls some (I believe more than what are responding) Christians to do the same for children here and around the world.

One Month Home:
Aww, what a difference a month can make! We have seen some very exciting progress this past month:
-Sleeping through the night
-Sitting up without assistance
-Tolerating baby food better
-Happier personality
-Making better eye contact
-Beginning to play with toys
-Signs of attachment

We still have a long road ahead of us. We are waiting on her MRI results and Becca has an eye doctor appointment tomorrow. On March 21st we will go for her first FACET appointment. At that appointment she will have blood drawn for genetic testing and will also meet with her plastic surgeon, ENT doctor, dietician, and several other specialists. The specialists will then have a meeting and come up with a care plan for her. Her cleft palate surgery is scheduled for the 29th of March and she will be staying in the hospital for several days to recover. Becca should start Occupational, Speech, Physical and Vision therapy soon. My calendar is filling up quickly and sometime I have to squeeze a dentist appointment into our schedule as well.

We appreciate all your prayers, please keep praying!

Friday, March 9, 2012

WARNING: You Might Get Offended

In the past six years I have had woman after woman say something along the lines of this to me, "I would LOVE to adopt, but my husband is not on board." Do you know what I don't say, but really want to? "I am sorry you married a WIMP!!" My second thought is more along the lines of the 140 million children that will never have someone hold and kiss them and tell them they are special and God made them. My mind wanders to the young Ukrainian girl who will age out and turn to prostitution to support herself. Or the 10 year old Bulgarian girl whose hair is cut to make her look like a boy for fear she will be kidnapped and sold into the sex trade industry. I think of the 13 year old boy who is only 2 or so years from aging out who will likely become a criminal or commit suicide by the time he turns 18. I think about the baby girl in China who is developmentally delayed and she will likely lay on a mattress on the floor today and someone will eventually walk by and hand her bottle and leave again.

Then, of course, I can almost always count on these to be the next words out of her (you know the women I mentioned earlier) mouth, "It's the money, he can't imagine where we could get that kind of money and we wouldn't want to go into debt to adopt" And I always have to bite my tongue as I look outside and see a beautiful, almost new SUV or mini van sitting outside that this picture perfect family just climbed of and I think REALLY??? So, you either just had $20,000 to $30,000 just sitting in savings or you have put this automobile on a several year payment plan. So, we (citizens of the US) will go into debt for an automobile that will depreciate and die, but won't even think about doing that "for the least of these"? I DON'T GET IT....SOMEONE PLEASE EXPLAIN THIS TO ME???

My final thoughts: I am SOOO glad I didn't marry a wimp!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Jet Lag, Phone Calls, Strep Throat and an ER visit

That pretty much sums up our first two weeks home!

Well, we made it home! The flights from Hong Kong to Chicago to Greenville/Spartanburg were fairly uneventful. Rebecca squealed loudly a couple of times and slept maybe 1.5 hours in a 24 hour period. God, of course, heard our prayers and our flight landed in Chicago one hour early so that gave us even more time to make it through Immigration. Everything with Immigration went quickly and before we knew it, we had our luggage checked again, made it through US security (by the way, having a baby prevented me from having the full body scan! Bucky was not so lucky), found our gate and ate an AMERICAN meal...Chili's never tasted so good.

It was so good to see my mom and our boys when we landed at GSP airport. We had a crew of church members waiting for us at baggage claim as well. We made it home about 5:30 and Becca was asleep by 6 and me and Bucky were not too far behind. Becca's first few nights home were rough. She would go to sleep between 6 and 8 pm, wake up at midnight and play in her crib til 5am and then I would get up with her and give her a bottle and start our day. Thankfully this only lasted two to three nights. Her normal routine now is to go to bed between 8 and 9pm, wake once in the night and need a little comforting and then sleep until 6:30 or 7am. I can't complain about that schedule.

Becca is a sweet, precious baby girl! We have seen her transform from a scared, overwhelmed and confused baby to a peaceful, relaxed and happy baby. This past week heard more jabbering, noticed her copying us (she mostly likes to fake cough if she hears us cough), received an unsolicited smile and today Sasha taught her how to make the Indian sound by patting her hand on her mouth. He showed her how to do that in the car today and tonight, while getting her pajamas on, she began to do it.

I have spent a lot of time on the phone the past two weeks. I have been speaking with our insurance agency, BabyNet (South Carolina's early intervention program), Children's Rehabilitation Services (service providers for special needs children), and the pediatrician's office. We have many evaluations and doctors to visit in the next few months/years. My calendar is filling up and I am trying to not get overwhelmed with all I still need to do to get her the help she needs.

On Saturday my throat began to hurt and I assumed it was just sinus drainage. When I arrived home from church on Sunday, I was running a 101 degree temperature and feeling BAAADDD. I felt so bad that I told Bucky he HAD to take ALL the children with him to church that night because I just couldn't care for them. I was in to see the dr at 9am Monday morning and I tested positive for Strep Throat. I was secretly relieved that it was something as serious as Strep because then Bucky would know that I was not kidding. The doctor offered several days of antibiotic pills or one big shot. I took the big shot and was feeling much better about 36 hours later.

On Tuesday, Bucky and I took Becca to her first pediatrician appointment. Her head circumference and height are in the 5th percentile and her weight is in the 3rd percentile. Because of her small head size, developmental delays and other concerns, the pediatrician is scheduling a sedated MRI on Becca's brain. We will hopefully have that done in the next month. The pediatrician also said she had a double ear infection. We knew she would have ear problems because the her plastic surgeon told us that 100% of his cleft palate babies have tubes in their ears because of chronic ear infections. Becca was prescribed Amoxicillin. WELL, we now know she is allergic to Amoxicillin. About 45 minutes after administering the first dose the porcelain skin on her ears, cheeks, nose and chin turned bright red and hot. I called the on call nurse at the pediatrician's office and she called the on call dr. The dr said to give her Benadryl and take her on to the ER for monitoring. So, around 9pm me and Becca left for the ER. The ER monitored her for a while, prescribed her a new antibiotic and released us around 11:30pm. I am beginning to wonder if my life will ever settle down.

Bucky and I really appreciate everyone who has brought us a meal, folded laundry and bought diapers and wipes. We are truly blessed to call you all friends. Please continue to pray for us!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Visa Appointment

This morning we left our hotel at 7:30 am and then drove to the Garden Hotel (which is on the mainland) to pick up another couple traveling with our group. Our appointment at the US Consulate was this morning at 8:30 am. That all went very smoothly as opposed to our US Embassy appointment in Guatemala for Xan's adoption where I left our passports at our hotel. Bucky and I along with about 12 other families stood, raised our right hands and took an oath that will allow our children to be US citizens once we reach the USA. Rebecca slept through all of it. She has a bit of a rough night last night. At first she had a hard time settling down for bed. She was in her crib talking and rocking and she hit her head on the side of the crib so I put my hand on the crib so that if she did it again she wouldn't hurt her head. Well, she did it again and realized my hand was there and then began rubbing her face on my hand and cracking up laughing. Of course, then I got tickled. I eventually picked her up and rocked her for a little while and she settled down. She woke up once in the night and I rocked her she had a little bit of a harder time falling asleep. Then her nose started running and she is a tummy sleeper and she couldn't breath which made the rest of the night a little restless. I tried to get to sleep on her back, but she refused. So, she was tired enough to take a nap during her Consulate appointment.

Today is our last full day in Guangzhou. Tomorrow we will check out of our hotel at 2:30, but our van that is going to take us to Hong Kong will not arrive until 4:00. So we are going to leave our luggage with the bellhop at our hotel, go to a restaurant for a late lunch and do some last minute site seeing, then meet our driver at 4. We will then drive back to the Garden Hotel on the mainland and pick up the couple I mentioned above. The drive to Hong Kong will take about 2 1/2 hours. We are staying at the Marriott Hotel at the Hong Kong airport for one night and our flight to Chicago leaves Thursday morning at 11:00 am. We are so ready to be home. I can't wait to be home with my boys and my mom.

Please pray for me as I have a million things running through my head that I need to do once we are home to begin getting Rebecca the help she needs. I would be lying if I said this whole doesn't scare the living day lights out of me and if it weren't for the fact that I know that God hand picked Rebecca out for our family, I would likely have already had a nervous break down. There is so much comfort in knowing that He knows what her future holds and He simply is asking me to walk it with her, completely dependent on Him. "He makes all things work together for my good!" Amen.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

It worked!

Rebecca woke up one time in the night and I picked her up, gave her a paci and rocked her. Withing 30 minutes we were both back to sleep...thank you Jesus! She even slept until 7:30 this morning.

Today is a fairly slow day, all we have to do is go back to the doctor and have her TB test read.

We had a funny miscommunication yesterday. We went to Pizza Hut yesterday for lunch and I ordered 7Up and I thought the waitress asked me if I wanted it in a cup or bottle. I said I wanted it in a bottle (so I could take what I didn't drink back to the hotel with me). Bucky then ordered our pizza and asked for Pepsi. The waitress got this puzzled look on her face and asked him the same question she asked me. He too responded that he wanted his in a bottle. Turns out we ordered a liter of 7Up and a liter of Pepsi which was delivered to our table in glass pitchers. haha! We paid nearly $9 just in drinks yesterday.

Last night we had dinner with a fellow adoptive couple who also used Nightlight to adopt their 2 year old daughter.We had a wonderful time with them and laughed alot. Their daughter, OH MY GOSH, she is so precious. She has the most dainty and sweet personality. She had us all laughing a number of times.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


Learning what Rebecca wants and needs can be trying. She is so much more patient with us these days though. I don't know if she came up with her own sign language or if someone taught her, but when she wants a bottle she pounds her chest with her fist or flicks her fingers on her mouth. At first she would go from really happy to all of a sudden screaming and pounding her chest and flicking her mouth. Now she does her signs, but doesn't scream as long as we get the bottle fairly quickly. We are also trying to learn what she needs when she wakes in the middle of the night. I was thinking that putting her in bed with me and allowing her put herself back to sleep without me rocking and holding her is what she would want. My thought process there was that she has been putting her self back to sleep for two years now so if I start messing with her it might rouse her and then she won't fall back to sleep...WRONG that baby girl wants to be held and rocked. After nearly two hours of her "trying" to put herself back to sleep, (she wasn't crying, just jibber jabber and rocking herself) I finally picked her up and rocked her and she was sound asleep withing 30 minutes. You live and learn! Again, let me make it clear here that she was NOT screaming herself to sleep, the minute we hear even a wimper we pick her up. We are also trying to expand her diet. Drinking yogurt is really popular hear (and it is really runny so that you can drink it) so yesterday we stopped by a small grocery store and picked some up. We put it in her bottle and she drank most of it. Of course, we are using that as kind of a snack option since she doesn't tolerate solid foods well yet, her formula must remain the main source of nutrition. We brought along baby food from America and she ate the bananas ok but she did not like the apples with cherry. So, we are going to try a few other things today. I know many cleft palate babies can tolerate most solid foods, but she wasn't exposed to them in her orphanage so we are taking it really slow  And she has texture issues because she has only had liquid for two years of her life. She will likely need some Occupational Therapy to overcome her mouth sensitivities. 

We are staying on the island in Guangzhou and it is beautiful here. We are going to take pictures and have someone post them on Facebook. It is very peaceful here, the island is quiet and clean. I would love to live here!

Rebecca made it through her medical appointment yesterday. She knew the moment the scope slid in her ear what was going to happen and her little lips puckered and quivered. I almost cried with her. One of the reports that we received while we were waiting for our travel approval to adopt Rebecca said that she is "a dead pan" for strangers and boy were they right. She would NOT perform at the doctor's office yesterday. For example, we know that she hears because she jumps everytime Bucky coughs, but she would not respond to the squeaky toy the doctor had. The doctor finally asked us, "is she lively at home?". She is stubborn with strangers. We were able to get her exempt from having all of her immunizations redone while we are hear and I am so thankful.

Today is going to be a quiet day for us. We are going to have some of our laundry cleaned and just relax. We will likely do more walking around and sightseeing because the scenery is just majestic hear. We also have to find a supermarket so that we can purchase more diapers and formula. Then, I think we are going to end the day having dinner with another family who is hear that also used Nightlight to adopt.

Friday, February 3, 2012

We made it to Guangzhou!

Yesterday, our hotel in Zhengzhou allowed us a late checkout so we were able to stay in our hotel room until 2:00. But even then, we had an hour to kill before heading to the airport so we walked around Zhengzhou for a while. I believe I now have some idea of how a women feels when she is 30 something weeks pregnant. Carrying an extra 20 something pounds on your abdomen (I have been wearing her in an ERGO baby carrier) is hard work especially when you have to walk up 5 flights of stairs to get to the Notary Public office. WHEW!

Rebecca was such a trooper yesterday. She was so tired on the flight to Guangzhou, but hardly fussed at all. By the time we got to Guangzhou, her diaper had leaked a little, she was hungry and tired, yet she fussed very little. Our guide, who was to be waiting for us when we exited the plane, read the board wrong and was waiting for us at the wrong gate. I don't know if you recall one of our God moments while we were in Germany on our way to get Sasha...We were standing in the Munich airport and had just realized our flight to Kiev has been cancelled. A long line of travelers had formed at the ticker counter. A women approached us, who spoke perfect English, and arranged another flight. WELL, we had a similar God moment last night...Bucky and I were standing in the airport wondering how in the world we were going to contact our guide to find out where she was. Out of no where, a lady approached, who just so happened to speak perfect English, and asked, "Can I help you with something?" AMAZING!!! I had a cell number for our guide and the mysterious lady pulled out her cell phone and called our guide for us. Within 10 minutes we were in a van headed to our hotel. To God be the glory!

Guangzhou is AMAZING! It is a huge, beautiful city of 9 million people. Today, Rebecca has her US Embassy medical appointment where she will have to have a TB test. We have a form that will hopefully allow us to pass on having all her immunization redone at this doctors visit.

Becca has made some really exciting progress the last day or so. Her eye contact is getting much better and not only is she tolerating our physical touch, she is seeking it out and allowing it linger longer. She is precious and you all are going to fall in love with her. She is incredible!

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Last night was rough, Rebecca has started the grieving process. We knew it was coming, but it is never easy. As with most children, it begins at bedtime. We fed her a bottle and laid her down in her crib and at first she was just real restless and chattering (baby jibber jabber), I left her in the crib thinking she would settle herself and fall asleep. But then the screaming started so I jumped up and picked her up and held her tight, rocked her, and talked to her. She recoiled at my touch, arched her back and began beating herself on the face with her own hands. I then had to hold her precious little arms down so that she wouldn't hurt herself. We both cried and cried. In all it probably lasted about 2 hours and she fell asleep in my arms and I let her sleep in the bed with me. She slept soundly. As I was sitting on the bed rocking my screaming baby it reminded me of how we treat God and the treasure, the abundant life He offers. Our Heavenly Father is bidding us, "Come to me and I will give you rest." yet something in us makes us look back at the filth that He is delivering us from and we want  the filth more than we want His blessings, His adoption, His love.

This morning she is pretty much back to her happy self, she cried a little this morning. We are about to head down to the lobby for the free breakfast buffet. This evening we will fly to Guangzhou and tomorrow she will have a medical exam and TB test. Monday we will have the TB test read.  Tuesday is our VISA application appointment at the US Consulate where we will apply for Rebecca's VISA. Then Wednesday we will go back to the Embassy and pick up her VISA, hire a van to take us back to Hong Kong and Thursday morning we will leave Hong Kong for Chicago. 

Please continue to pray for our precious wonton!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

More details...

Now that I am fully rested, I will explain in further detail Rebecca's Gotcha Day.

Our flight from Hong Kong to Zhengzhou arrived on time (around 2:30 pm - remember we are 13 hours ahead of Spartanburg). We made it through Immigration and Customs with out any problems which I believe was a miracle and an answer to prayer. People all around us were having their bags searched and we walked right on through. Not that we had anything bad in our bags, but one was full of baby food for Rebecca that we were afraid might get confiscated. Our guide was waiting for us and had a driver waiting as well. We hopped into the van and drove about 45 minutes to the Zhengzhou's city center. As with most other foreign countries, traffic was crazy and I was so happy someone else was doing the driving. We arrived at the Provincial Affairs building and guess who was waiting for us inside??? Yes, Rebecca. She was very sleepy (she had a 3 hour car ride from her orphanage) and hungry. So, I got to hold her while she took her bottle. Those first few moments with her were overwhelming. I smiled, I cried, I just stared at her. We had to fill out and sign a ton of paperwork giving us guardianship of her. After we left the Provincial Affairs office we got back into the van, with Rebecca in tow this time, and headed to our hotel. We are staying at the Ramada Plaza and it is really nice. While we were getting settled into our room, our guide went on a grocery store run to find more formula for Rebecca. Her main source of food is still a bottle so she gets a bottle just about every 2 1/2 hours. The orphanage, of course, tries to supplement with soft, mushy foods too. So, all that to say, she needs ALOT of formula.

Right now it is 7:00 am in Zhengzhou and precious Rebecca just woke up. She slept very soundly last night. So far the only time she has cried is when she is hungry. Bucky is giving her a bottle as I type. Today we will go back to the Provincial Affairs office and sign the adoption degree, changing Cai Yin Dang - orphan to Rebecca Eden Rogers - daughter. 

If anyone reading this has some time on their hands to do a little research for me (can't do alot of Internet surfing here in China) would you mind to research some practical ways we can help Rebecca cope with her self stimulation habits. Because she was left in a crib without much outside stimuli, she has some self stimulation habits (like shaking her head no frequently). We know that these can't be corrected overnight, but we would be interested in what the "experts" have to say about it and some ideas of how we can begin helping her through those things. Thanks! If you would, please e-mail any finding to


Rebecca is absolutely precious! Her laugh will melt your heart. So far she has transitioned amazingly, however, bedtime often is the hardest so we will wait and see. Please continue to pray for us as she does have some significant developmental delays as well as signs of neglect. I am not at all saying that I think anyone was mean to her, but the orphanage could not provide her with the one on one care she needs. Tomorrow we will begin all the legal stuff which means paperwork, paperwork, paperwork.

I can not figure out how to post pictures to my blog from China, so we are going to e-mail the pictures to someone and have them post them on Facebook for us.

We love you all!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I meant for this to post yesterday...

Hello friends and family,

Right now, in Hong Kong,  it is 7:20 am. Bucky and I endured the grueling 14 1/2 hour flight from Newark to Hong Kong and so far everything has gone according to plan: all of our flights were on time, the food was good and ALL of our luggage made it Hong Kong. Our flight landed last night around 7:30 pm and by 10 we were fast asleep, however, we have been up since 5 am. So, I imagine we will be napping later.

We miss our children terribly, but I am so glad they (the littles especially) were not with us during that long flight. I am getting daily email updates from Bucky's mom and Xan and Brennan are having a blast!

Well, tomorrow is the BIG day, the one we have been waiting for. We will fly to Zhengzhou, which is about a 2 hour flight from Hong Kong, and receive Rebecca at our hotel. I still can't believe this is all happening.

Thank you for your prayers!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Prayer Requests

I know many of you will be praying for us as we go to China. Here are some specific thing:

Xan and Brennan:
-that they will sleep well while they are away from home
-that God will comfort them when they are missing mama and papa.
-that they would have so much fun with their grandparents that they won't have much time to miss us.
-for God's protection and safety while me and Bucky are so far away.

-that he will be able to keep his grades up and not get overwhelmed with school
-for God's protection and safety
-that he will rest well and be ready for school
-that he will have a wonderful time with the Drake's.

Bucky and Julie:
-safe and peaceful flights
-that we will stay healthy
-that God might give opportunities to share our faith while we are away
-patience, love and long suffering if Rebecca has a hard time with the transition
-that we would be able to win Rebecca's affection quickly
-that God would give us special discernment regarding her special needs and how to care for them
-that God would keep a snow storm from hitting Chicago anytime around Feb. 8th and 9th
-that we would be able to get through Immigration in Chicago on the 9th quickly in order to make our flight home

We really have no idea what to expect here...
-Her emotions after being taken from all she has ever known and left with strangers
-her health
-for her to sleep peacefully and adjust to USA time quickly once we get home

Thank you for praying!

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Emotional Roller Coaster

I have experienced so many emotions this past month and half. I remember right around Christmas standing in my kitchen and saying out loud, "God I really hate your timing. I think it stinks." I can hear the gasp come out of your mouth as you read that, haha! But alas, I am human and people all around me (in the adoption world) were getting their travel approvals and I was not. My baby girl is across the ocean in an orphanage with no heat and I became quite angry with God's timing. I have since thanked God for not giving me a swift kick in the butt and for being patient with me, a sinner. He is a big God and he can handle my honesty and gently guide me back to loving His providence. He is good!

Once receiving our travel approval my emotions slowed down because I was so consumed with flights, hotels, paperwork, etc. Yesterday, I jumped back on the coaster. One minute I was so excited about leaving for China and the next I was so sad about leaving my boys. Last night while on a date with my wonderful husband, the first tear fell. I am going to miss my boys so much. I have no doubt that their grandparents and the Drake's are going to take very good care of them and that they are going to have so much fun, but I feel like my heart is being ripped out of my body. I have never been away from them for more than 2 nights. I have warned Bucky that I will likely cry all the way home from dropping our kids off with his parents in Tennessee next Saturday. I will be counting down the days until we can get to Rebecca's province then Skype with the boys and introduce them to their new sister.

Friday, January 6, 2012

We Are Going To CHINA!!!!

We have received our travel approval and scheduled our consulate appointment. Rebecca's Gotcha Day is February 2 and we are so excited to finally have her in our arms.