Friday, March 9, 2012

We've had her longer.......

This is Jadyn, 2 days after we met her in Wuhan, Hubei PRChina.

15 months ago we came home from the trip of a lifetime. 

Jadyn has been with us longer than she has been at any one other place.  She spent her first 10 or so months in a Social Welfare Institute and then several in a hospital and then several more in a foster home in the country of her birth.  We met her at 19 months, so this summer marks her being home with us longer than she's been anywhere.  This is a huge milestone in her little life, and yes, we shall celebrate, big time!

Jadyn and Shannon last week.

Waiting for dinner in Nashville, TN with big brother Austin

My little sweetie!

Our little Jadyn has been growing up so fast.  She has learned the language and understands nearly everything--some slang and phrases don't land with her, but plain, direct speech, she understands very well.  Her vocabulary is expanding, greatly, thanks to our wonderful Speech Therapist thru Early Intervention.  Sadly, when Jadyn turns 3, we have to bid Miss Julie farewell and move on the school district.  Jadyn is talking in sentences and we are working on her speech being intelligible to more than just me.  I understand everything she says, but it sounds about 50% jumbled up to the general public.  We are thrilled with her progress. 

Our lives have been forever changed by this amazing little girl. I really hesitate to say that this is where she was meant to be, because that implies that she was meant to be taken away from her original home and country.  I see it as God's miracle, the way His eye is on the sparrow and the lilies, providing just what they need.  We have been blessed by Jadyn in such a greater way than we have been to her.  She has taught us so much...courage, strength, trust, hope and mostly love.  Jadyn is one tough little girl to have gone through all she did, and then be handed to complete (polar opposite) strangers and thrive.

Her journey to here has not been all roses and ponies.  There has been plenty of tears, frustration, anger, grief, on all our parts, but that is all being replaced with laughter, joy, trust, hope and (again, my favorite word) LOVE.

This blog will be turned into a book to add to our collection of Jadyn's beginnings, so thanks for following along, but it's time to close it and get it pubished.  She will most likely only know her early story from the evidence we have gathered from the moment we saw her precious face.

Love you, baby girl!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Ahhhhh, Summer.

Coolest chick at the campground. She loved camping and romping around in the great outdoors. 

Millenium Park's Crown Fountain.  Total fun!  We spent the day downtown and started at Millenium Park, walked up to the Hancock Center, back South to Water Tower Place, then Navy Pier and found our van after walking through the parking garage for 30 minutes.  Yep, felt like a Seinfeld episode.

Getting ready for a swim.

We met up with some old friends.  Micah and Jadyn met last Winter in China, and we had a little reunion last week.  So great to see those guys again!

Guess who learned to smile for the camera?

Made some new friends.  We travelled to South Dakota to visit family.  This is Jadyn on Al (the Alpaca).  We all enjoyed our trip, it was a great time hanging out with cousins! (and their furry critters).

Jadyn is loving summer as much as the rest of us.  The bigger kids are having a hard time getting outside--they much prefer electronics and air conditioning.  I was thinking about another "fast" or tech-free day.  Maybe a week.  I think it's time to shake things up a bit.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Where is Spring?

We take joy in each day at our precious family.  However, I am really tired of this weather.  I know, unrelated, but that's what's going on here. 

Jadyn was baptized in March.  It was a beautiful service--followed by a potluck with over 100 of our friends and family.

Isn't she just completely adorable?  I got her outfit in China intending her to wear it for baptism.  It fit her perfectly. 

Speaking of perfect.  Austin and Jadyn's birthdays are a day apart.  We had a lovely party for them both.  With all the celebrations around here since she's been home, I wonder if she thinks life is always a party?  It pretty much is around here.  We are so blessed!

I am so happy at Jadyn's progress.  Her language is coming around quickly.  She knows a handful of colors.  The drooling has greatly lessened, sleeping is fantastic, eating is evening out and she loves the Backyardigans.  There's so much more to her growing (like a weed) and learning, she is climbing, sharing, playing independently, and much much more.  It really astounds me.  Some days I think she is quite delayed,compared to average, and then again she blows me away with her comprehension. 

Tantrums have lessened also.  I don't begrudge her a meltdown here and there, but she has had a few doozies.  There are just some times when we can't understand each other, and she can't verbalize her wants/needs in that instance and it's usually spurred on by overtired or hungry.  I know I already mentioned it, but these have greatly lessened.  What used to be several a day, is now down to only a few per week.  She is much easier to console and distract, but sometimes we just have to hold her (if she'll have it) or sit close and make sure she's ok.  She's always ready for snuggling afterward.

Speaking of snuggling.  She is now hugging. She will give a hug if asked, but she surprised me one night and just wrapped her little arms around me and hugged and hugged.  I about fell over.  This is one giant step forward. 

We are loving every second with little Miss and can't imagine life without her.  She is an amazing joy!

Happy Birthday Baby Girl!


Saturday, February 26, 2011

3 months

It's been nearly 3 months since we met Jadyn and our lives changed forever.  We are so in love with this beautiful little soul!  She astounds us daily.  Of course, when Shannon and Austin were this age, they astounded us as well, but this is so different because we have only known each other for 3 months.  Jadyn is very quick to catch on to what we are trying to communicate--with the exception of the word "no", for some reason that one doesn't stick too well!  Ha--how age appropriate.

We are knee deep in bonding, working on some speech strategies and finding a new normal.  The whole normal thing is a real stretch for our family in any circumstance! 

I won't say that 42 is too old to become a parent, because age truly is relative, but it certianly is a different ball game.  Just  thought I'd share.

We had an evaluation at Shriner's last week.  Jadyn was examined by:  speech therapist, audiology, psych, plastics, orthodontic, ENT and LPN.  They all met to discuss Jadyn and what needs to be done.  The result was ear tubes.  The claim is that her hearing is muffled and is considered a mild to moderate hearing loss.  In my experience, at home, she hears quite well, but it was explained to us that she is probably hearing as if she is under water.  This explains some of the speaking difficulties she is having.  Her cleft palate (repaired) will also affect speech, but we have to start with the ears and see how that helps.  We are hoping that the palate repair she had will be sufficient for her to form certain sounds.  Her early language development was happening when her palate was unrepaired so she learned them wrong, basically.  Now that she is repaired, we need to encourage and teach her how to make these sounds.  Everything is so new to her at this point, we hate to put her through a medical procedure, but this could be vital to her language and speech, so it's really unavoidable.  Plus, she has had several ear infections just since we have known her.

In order to work with Shriner's, Jadyn had to be brought up to date with her immunizations.  Last Friday, we went to get that done.  We are going to believe the shot record we got from China.  This meant 3 shots--ouch!  She was such a trooper.  Only screaming when each shot was administered.  I have to give kudos to the Markham County Clinic for being soooo much better than I thought it would be.  They were clean, professional, prompt and totally free.  (We were caught between insurance coverage and I decided to attempt county services.)

So here's a few of the latest picts of Little Miss Jadyn:

Napping in my chair.

Downtown at the Sherrif's Office for the re-adoption.

Cheering on JieJie, Shannon at her basketball game.

Love the big giant hand?  She loves to eat and was having the time of her life with this egg.
Jadyn gets cuter every day.  Shannon says at least 10 times a day, "She's just soooo cute!"  We agree, but she is growing developmentally by leaps and bounds, too and that just blows us away.  

I don't want you to think that EVERYTHING is roses, though.  We struggle with, attachment issues, tantrums, overstimulation, strong willed child, language barrier---all these things are interrelated and cause much frustration on her part, and ours.  It really does help to see Jadyn as a 3 month-old, at times--her family age--to understand some of what she is doing.  Sometimes describing her as a 3 month-old trapped in a 23 month-old's body.  Of course, that is not an accurate description of her, but it does explain a lot.  I think I posted once on what Jadyn may be feeling.  It had to do with being taken from your family, etc.......look it up if you want, but the jist is, how would you or one of your kids feel, if they were taken from their family?  How would they feel 3 months later?  Everything is still so fresh.  So if you see what we are doing and don't understand some of our parenting strategies, feel free to ask.  We have done much research in this area.

Blogging is more and more difficult...trying to find time.  Honestly, I don't have as much interest either.  There's not the same need for venting (during our wait).  I spend most of my time playing with Jadyn and basic daily stuff.  One of these days will be my final post.  Not sure I'm cut out for the daily/weekly mommy-blog.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Leaps and Bounds!

Things are going so well for us.  Jadyn is an amazing little girl!  It's hard to believe the way she is changing and leaning so quickly.

Some basic things she has learned to do:
Suck on a bottle
Smile when smiled at
Give Kisses and hugs
empty 2 tupperware drawers

She sleeps at night about 9ish hours and for an hour during the day.  Of course, there are the occasional catnaps in the car!

Speaking is slow, but she can sign: more, all done, come here, no-no--not exactly ASL but sort of a modified version of such.  Words she tries hard at:  Baba, Lily, more, Maggie, up.  Her receptive language is amazing.  She understands much more.  This is normal for little ones acquiring a new language, and she will have problems, most likely due to her cleft, but she is making some pretty good consonant sounds, like guh and ck.  We are working on puh.

It's really nice to be home and back to business as usual (only new and improved).  The holidays were fun,but.........a little crazed.  I have had a cold forever and Jadyn just got over her second ear infection, so we have missed church and a couple of other outings, but it's so nice to be able to sit back and enjoy Jadyn.  She keeps us all on our toes and she just adores Shannon and Austin.

Our niece, Paige, took this picture and customized it.  So sweet!  Thanks Paige!

Winter Fun!

Hanging with Mama.

Big Girl.

She's actually pulling Shannon's hair here.  Sisterly love!

Soooooo Big!

I agree, we are blessed beyond belief.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wuhan--Hubei, China

Here's some pictures of our hotel room--for a cyberbuddy who is travelling soon.  Enjoy!
STanding next to the TV, which is at the foot of the bed.

This is looking at the door from the hallway.  It's the coffee/tea area, but the mini-bar is under the tv strangely enough.  Also on either side are 2 closets--loved the storage.

Here the bathroom is on the right, and I am standing by the TV but faced the opposite way.

Dwayne playing magnadoodle with Jadyn.  He is sitting up against the sofa.  There was a glass (impractical) coffee table in this area that we slid under the desk.  I am standing right by the bed. are a few more pictures from our time in Hubei.

This is pretty typical of what is outside the hotel.  There are the overpass crosswalks as well as tunnels that take you over or under the streets, even though there are plenty of brave Chinese who cross the streets.  The driving is just as crazy as Beijing, not as many horns, but more bicycles and scooters on the sidewalks!

Watch your step everywhere.  It's not a mess, but the walks are not maintained everywhere very well, some places are great, some not so much.

Now, here are a few pictures of the Civil affairs office.

Waiting area

Our little Angel!  Office in the background.

By the way, MCK, your little guy is amazingly adorable.  So glad you got new pictures and an update.  If I come across anymore you might be interested in, I will let you know.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010

This song has a whole new meaning for us this year.  Especially the last verse.

The band Third Day recorded a song entitled "Merry Christmas". The guitarist from the band adopted a daughter from China; the song is about his wait to bring her home.

This video puts a family's pictures to the song.

There's a little girl trembling on a cold December morn

Crying for momma's arms

At an orphanage just outside a little China town

There the forgotten are

But half a world away I hang the stockings by the fire

And dream about the day when I can finally call you mine

It's Christmas time again but you're not home

Your family is here and yet you're somewhere else alone

And so tonight I pray that God will come and hold you in his arms

And tell you from my heart I wish you Merry Christmas

As I hang the tinsel on the tree and watch the twinkling lights

I'm warmed by the fire's glow

Outside the children tumble in a wonderland of white,

Make angels in the snow

But half a world away you try your best to fight the tears

And hope that heaven's angels come to carry you here

It's Christmas time again but you're not home

Your family is here and yet you're somewhere else alone

And so tonight I pray that God will come and hold you in his arms

And tell you from my heart

I wish you Merry Christmas

Christmas is a time to celebrate the holy child and we celebrate his perfect gift of love

He came to earth to give his life and prepare a place for us so we could have a home with him above

It's Christmas time again and now you're home

Your family is here so you will never be alone

So tonight before you go to sleep, I'll hold you in my arms

And I'll tell you from my heart, and I'll you from my heart

I wish you Merry Christmas

From all 5 of us.  Merry Christmas!