Tomorrow marks the two month anniversary of getting to be this girl’s mom.
Two months ago, we anxiously waited in our hotel room for them to knock on the door and hand us a baby girl who we’d only seen in three photographs and two little videos up until that point. A girl without a family was being handed over to a family who needed this girl.
It’s been two months…but honestly, it feels like that happened two years ago. It’s really hard for me to wrap my brain around the fact that it basically just happened. This one has just joined our family so seamlessly.
So, last month, I did our one month post adoption update and basically, I felt like a chicken with my head cut off. I think we were all still a little jet lagged (we hadn’t been home that long), we were all playing catch up, we were all tired, we were all scrambling…we were a mess (plus, our house was under construction…so that made things crazy too!). This month, we have our feet under us and even though I still feel like I’m herding cats most days (seriously, this one to four ratio is INSANE sometimes when I’m handling all of them), but we’ve stepped into our groove.
These last four weeks between adoption updates have felt extremely calm compared to the first…which is weird considering all that’s happened:
1: Oktoberfest (yes, I’m counting that! 😉 )
2: Madeley turned TWO!!
3: We made our annual visit to the State Fair of Texas
4: Ashby had yet another procedure on her hand
5: We’ve had 10 doctor appointments between Ashby and Madeley alone
6: Madeley had surgery on her ear
7: I had a birthday
8: I flew to NYC to be on Today
9: Andrew flew to Kentucky to speak at a church
10: We celebrated Halloween (and a ton of festivities that went along with it!)
I mean…we’ve covered some ground, no?
So, here’s what’s been going on during month two…
Madeley has been spending time with her family and getting to know everyone. I’m not going to lie…they’re all pretty obsessed with her. Here we are celebrating her birthday at the Fair.
We had a quiet little party at home with some family to celebrate too. The theme was Madeley is Two Cute. And she is!
That shy and reserved girl that they handed us is long gone. We have this wild and crazy girl now with a BIG personality. I mean…God knew she would be the youngest of four and so He gave her a HUGE personality so that she didn’t get lost in the crowd. Madeley has two moods: completely and utterly happy or very mad at you. She’s only mad for a second and it’s typically because you won’t let her have something: a cookie, scissors, a knife, Nyquil…you know, stuff like that ;). She is a feisty one and we love it!
Our daily routine is so nice. We play, we might run an errand, she naps, we go get the big kids from school…it’s such a nice little time with her during the day. I feel really blessed because when I think back, these days here…
…just my normal old days at home with little Smith and Kensington are some of my very favorite and now, I get to do it all over again with these two…
The big kids go to school and my days are spent with Ashby and Madeley. This is such a sweet time for me. I am soaking up every minute because I know that I’m going to blink and they’ll be in school all day like my big kids.
Speaking of the big kids…it’s been two months and the newness of Madeley has not worn off. They can’t get enough of her. Every morning, the Madeley parade comes out. I named it that because that’s what it feels like. She’s always the last to wake up and she has to go by each and every big kid and give hugs and kisses and get loved on. All three of them have to have their Madeley time. They still think she hung the moon.
On the 25th, Madeley had a little surgery on her ear. She had some extra cartilage on the outside of her ear that they needed to remove and then they needed to check inside her ears to make sure there wasn’t anything off in there either. It was quick and she recovered in no time flat. Here we are waiting for her to go back.
Ashby has done remarkably well with a new sister. She loves not being the baby any longer. She loves having someone to teach things to, to show things, and especially to play with while the bigger kids are at school. She wants to sit next to Madeley in the car, sit by her at dinner, and ride in the stroller next to her. I think they’re going to be two peas in a pod.
Developmentally speaking, Miss Madeley is making some major improvements. I told you guys this already, but at first, she did nothing. She didn’t like to sit up, she didn’t like to be active…she would just lie there on the ground and not move. Now, she wants to be doing anything and everything. She’s walking so much better and faster, she’s able to climb down off of the couch and chairs, she’s attempting steps and stairs more often, she’s opening drawers and cabinets to get her things, she’s playing with toys independently, she’s climbing on and off of her rocking horse, pushing her little car around…she’s just so much more mobile. And with that…I’m now living in a house with a very mobile two-year old who is into everything. Seriously, you could put this child into an empty, concrete room and she would find something to get into. No, you say…that would be impossible. The room is empty and solid concrete…she couldn’t. Oh…but she could. This one can find ANYTHING to get in to. I mean…she’s quite clever and quick friends. Out of my four kids, THIS ONE manages to get into the most stuff. She’s a pro at it :).
Based on our recent doctor appointments, she’s growing like a weed. Now that she’s eating solid food (as opposed to her all-formula diet for two years), she’s growing, getting some muscle tone and her hair is already coming in thicker. She’s behind on all fronts for kids her age (physically, developmentally, behaviorally), but she’ll catch up. She’s already come so far, that I know before too long, she’ll be able to hang with other kids her age.
Madeley has added a few new words to her little vocabulary. She can clearly say mama, dada, bye-bye, hi, night-night, dink (for drink) and Poppy. The Poppy one surprised me the most because I didn’t teach her that, she just picked it up. One morning, the dog walked by and she pointed and said “Poppy”. Now, she says it every time she sees her. We’re working on other words but I would say her receptive language has come a long way. I can ask her to go grab me a diaper and she will, I can tell her to get her shoes and she will…lots of things like that. She’s a smart girl. I can tell she gets frustrated when she wants to say something and she can’t (she’ll squeal instead). She has a lot to say and one day, I can’t wait to hear all of it :).
Yesterday, I was letting her follow me around the house while eating a corn dog (something I would never have let my first kid do…). I was putting away laundry and stuff like that and she was just happily eating and following me. Well, I noticed that she no longer had her corn dog in her hand and I couldn’t find the stick. A little while later, I was throwing something in the trash and when I opened the trash drawer, there was her corn dog stick. After she ate it, she threw it away. I was so proud of her! I did not teach her that…she has just been watching us and knew that when she was done, she put the trash in that trash drawer.
So last but certainly not least, many of you have asked about Madeley’s medical problem(s). When you adopt from China, it is very rare to get a kid without a medical problem. It’s not impossible, but my adoption agency told me the wait for a kid without any problems was about 8 years. Eight. Years. So, you apply to get a child with some sort of special need. Special needs run the gamut. It could be anything from a missing toe to HIV positive to a cleft lip to Klippel-Trenaunay Syndrome (like Ashby) to hearing loss, blindness, Down Syndrome…the list is endless. So, we were open to a whole host of special needs.
When we received Madeley’s file, she had two special needs listed: a heart problem and a thyroid problem. They were not related, she was just a little girl with two problems. We had an international adoption physician review her file, we reviewed her medical files (and they were pretty extensive), she had an EKG and echocardiogram done as recently as April and we reviewed those too. Based on the information provided, we accepted this kiddo. We knew she was on daily medication and that was one of our first concerns when we got her. We knew we needed to get her into doctors here in the States because what if she runs out of meds? They told us she needed them daily, so my fear was always…what if she runs out before we get in to see the specialists? So, we came home on a Wednesday night and by Thursday morning, I had made a gazillion calls to get her into see doctors. It wasn’t super easy because most specialists don’t diagnose, they treat…so first, we had to go get her diagnosed. So round and round we went over the last two months with doctor visits. Between the pediatrician, endocrinologist, ENT and cardiologist…I was up to my eyeballs in Madeley’s health. And you know what? She did not have either problem.
She is 100% fine.
She does not have a heart problem. Or a thyroid problem. She’s perfectly healthy and most certainly does not need to be on daily medication.
So, how does that happen? Here are some theories that we’ve tossed around (us, the doctors, the adoption agency and our social worker):
1: She was healed. Listen, I believe in the God of the Bible and He’s still in the business of performing miracles. I cannot say that she wasn’t just flat out healed. I saw those medical records and looked at those images…she could have just been healed.
2: She was in such distress when they found her that it threw things off and they really didn’t check much after that. Madeley was found when she was two months old and I would like to believe she was found one minute after she was abandoned…but you know what? It could have been days. She could have been starving and dehydrated and her little body could have been shutting down. She was taken to the hospital as soon as she was found and when they ran all of those tests on her, she could have been in such shock that it threw off all of her vitals and her test results. This theory doesn’t explain the heart images though, which leads me to theory number three…
3: Those sweet orphanage workers falsified her documents so that she would be adopted out. Our social worker believes this to be the real reason. Apparently, she’s seen it happen before. Really healthy little Chinese girls are often just kept in orphanages their entire lives and then released into the general population when they’re 17 to marry the boys who are out there in China (because they have such a high boy population with much fewer girls). Our social worker believes that those orphanage workers wanted her to have a family and so they falsified documents that made her eligible to be adopted out internationally.
We will never know. All I know is that I am thankful that Madeley was able to discontinue taking daily medication and does not have any major health problems. We were ready to tackle them head on…but I’m thankful that we won’t need to.
So…that’s month two. A lot to take in, right? It’s been a month full of blessings. No matter how you slice it, I am grateful that the Lord led us to this precious little girl.
See you next month :).
To see other posts on our adoptions, look below…
To see more about our journey to adopt Ashby, see below: