Monday, December 29, 2008

What a great day!

First, I want to say congratulations to John and Lisa for their new referral! Their long- awaited referral for their daughter Lucy came today - and it looks like Anna is going to be a big sis after all!

Lucy is just precious! You can see Lisa's blog HERE.

Next, Jia got her first dental exam. When Kenzie went, all she wanted to do was sit in that chair and have the dentist examine her teeth. We made her appointment for today, but had to try to find a way to explain to her that we weren't going to have the dentist look at her teeth right away. We got a calendar later that day, and told her it was hers. I circled the date that Kenzie had had her appointment on, then the date she would be having her dental appointment on. I showed her how many days had to pass before she got her appointment.

That didn't quite work... so I explained how many nights we had to go to sleep before we woke up and went to the dentist. That did the trick. She could recite "Go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep .... DENTIST!" We left one "go to sleep" off every day, until by the 3rd day before the appointment, she could figure it out for herself. She did a great job. They tried to do an xray of her full mouth, but she is so short that they couldn't get a good xray. What they saw was that there appeared to be four teeth buds missing for her permanent teeth. For what her age is supposed to be, they should be developed by now. In 6 months when we return, we'll have them do this again to see if they can make some determination of her actual age - if she really is five, or is she younger.

Then (for a treat) I took them to a local park. The weather was very warm today for the time of year. Normally, we'd see temps in the 30's to 20's... but today must have been about 50 degrees. The kids were incredibly excited to be able to play outside. I found out Jia can swing herself once she gets going. But for a kid that seems to be unafraid of a lot of things, she was petrified of some big stepping stones that were on the playground. This is where Kenzie became Super Sister to the rescue! She helped Jia walking across the stones... I wouldn't exactly say Jia overcame the fear, but she was more assured as Kenzie held her hand and helped her go from stone to stone. And the kids were loving the outdoors. I can't wait for spring and nice weather. I want them to get out every nice day we can. Here are pics from the day.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Shhhhh! Santa just left...

Santa just finished her wrapping and eating her carrots and cookies. Oh, and drinking a little milk. And yes, it's 3:30 in the morning. And I bet Santa will have to drive to Grandma's house tomorrow, too, all bleary eyed and dragging her behind...

I can't wait to see how Jia reacts to "Santa". Before bedtime last night, Kenzie came down to check on which stocking was hers.... and Jia came down later and said something in Chinese pointing at the stockings (sounded a little like "Nega wo de?"). I told her that the one on the far end was hers. And she said "OK" and went to bed. I'm not sure she knows what this is all about or who Santa is... but perhaps she's getting caught up in Kenzie's excitement.

Tomorrow will be a priceless memory.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. It is truly a blessed time of the year - and we are so blessed to have our children to share this time with.

Children are God's greatest gift to all of us. Children stand for hope, love, joy, promise.... God knows that we needed this in our lives. For me, life means nothing if it doesn't have a purpose outside of one's own desires. And our children help keep us grounded in what is dear and sweet about life. Children keep things real, down to earth, and in the now.

After being parents, Roy and I look at each other and wonder how we survived together without our girls.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Good News

We got a call today from Riley Hospital - they wanted to pass along the good news.

Jia is as healthy a child as they come. All her tests came back normal. Normal... that is an outstanding word when it comes to a child's health.

This is the best Christmas present one can have. That, and a hug and kiss from your kids who thank you (for whatever...) and then tell you they love you.

That - and to just have Jia talk to me in a soft voice when she has her mouth up next to my ear. (AAAUUUUUGGGGHHHH! That hurt!) Of course, she said "I'm sorry, mommy." Sweatheart. Can't be mad about it.

Got some pics of the kids at a Children's Museum - that was a great day! They had a blast. We'll be spending a lot more time there.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Visit to Riley

It's late - and we were a loooooong time at Riley Hospital having Jia checked out. We are having some blood work done, and they did an xray of her back to see if she possibly had any curvature of her spine. I never noticed it. Of course, it's hard to see the reasons why the doctor was concerned when you have a whirlwind living in your home and doesn't stand still at any time for anyone to actually notice it. But when Jia was actually standing still for her, I could see why there was some concern... Funny, when it came time to go to get her x-ray, she went willingly with the technician, and the technician told me that she did really well, even held still for her when she asked her to.

The one thing that the doctor was impressed with was her receptive language and the amount of words (even sentences) that Jia was speaking after having been with us for 5 weeks. She has been learning her ABC's from a little toy computer that had been purchased by Roy's cousin Elaine last year in September when we visited his family in the Chicago area. One of the games asks the child to find a letter, with a picture of the letter they are supposed to find on the screen. Jia can find them all after playing with it for a few minutes over about 4 days. And she is beginning to learn some letters by sight and can name them.

It was an interesting (and trying) day for the kids... OH - yeah, Kenzie just had to go, too. I know she thought that Jia was going to get some kind of special treatment or special time with Mama... and she didn't want to be left out. Of course, before we even got to Indianapolis, she was saying, "Are we there yet? I'm bored!" Well, duh - what did mom and dad tell you before we left....????

One other interesting thing - when they poked Jia with the needle to draw blood, the only thing she did was draw her breath in for a fraction of a second. Then she just watched. I'm floored. I think this is probably a result of the orphanage training the kids not to make a big deal of falling down or getting hurt - or perhaps they just don't make a big fuss about the kids falling down when they are young, so they never learn to recognize that when you hurt or have pain, you're supposed to cry out so it alerts others that you need help. You know what that's like. An infant will fall and then look at his/her mother or father to see how s/he is supposed to react to it. If the mom makes a big deal of it, the baby cries. If the mom ignores it, the baby will, too. That's assuming that there's no broken bones or anything that would make any normal person cry out in pain.

One last thing - they found that she had lots of ear wax (the dry, crusty type) on her ear drum. I'm going to call the doctor tomorrow to ask him to clean out her ears. That may have a lot to do with Jia's loudness.

Oh well... I can't wait to get the results from today's visit. She seems so healthy.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Late night musings - I can't sleep

I guess older child adoption isn't for everyone... but I'm so glad we did this!!!

There are so many people out there who are searching for a way to make their lives mean something - who want to be remembered for something. Unfortunately, we have people who want to do it in an evil way - killing people, or destroying institutions or property, or cheating people out of millions (or billions) of dollars for personal gain. Then you have people who have no hope, who believe their lives mean nothing and that they will never matter to anyone - so they are petty criminals, living only for themselves. Or they don't believe that any of their actions will have consequences that could reach any further than themselves, and in being such, they have no compunction in taking the life of another, just because they think they have been wronged in some manner, or want something that they don't have.

You know, we can't all be a Jonas Salk or Marie Curie or Alexander Fleming... people who through their work were able to influence and change millions of lives for the better. They are the rare ones.

I'll settle for the difference I can make in just three lives, to start with. Roy, Kenzie and Jia. I may never matter to any one else I meet in my life, but I have purpose and meaning because I am important to them. And they are the world to me.

We are but small spiders on webs, each of us. And the strands of our webs, as they branch out and touch whatever they are attached to are influenced by what happens to us, but we also influence the things we are attached to by our walking on our webs. No matter where we are or who we are in contact with, we all influence each other, even in what may at first appear to be small ways, but sometimes, that small influence will become a huge difference to someone. The more I am a mother, the more I know how interconnected we all are.

You know, there are times I just want to cry when people ask if my daughters are blood siblings. If people realized how such a small percentage of DNA separate us all from each other - even separating one race from another - they might not put so much importance on blood relations anymore. If we all go back far enough - we're all related in some way.

Jia is beginning to tone down the yelling - and that is helping a lot. And last night, Kenzie and Jia were playing like best friends together. It was such a blessing to see them laughing and rolling around on the bed playing and just being little girls having a good time with each other. And once we were in bed, Jia said something to me in Chinese... and I just knew it was "Face me mommy." I turned to her and she immediately put her arm around my neck and pulled my face right up to hers, and she pursed her lips for a kiss, then said "I lub you." Then she curled up next to my body and told me (using Chinese and showing me) that her forehead itched... LOL! I began stroking her forehead and hair with my fingers, and she fell right into a deep sleep. What an awesome little girl. She reminds me so much of Kenzie when she was two or three. But still, she's different. And the trust and love she is showing us is so precious.

Funny, I don't understand most of what she is saying in Chinese, but somehow, I can figure out what is going on or what she wants or what she is telling me. Most of the time. (Every so often there's a string of Chinese that is just Jia talking, but not about anything I can associate with something... and all I can do is smile, or nod my head, or shrug my shoulders and say I don't understand.)

And last night was another turning point. Jia and Kenzie were sitting in Roy's lap - and Jia was wanting to be read to.... from books! She hadn't shown any interest in books up to this point. Now I am thrilled! We consider reading to our kids extremely important - and her wanting to be read to and use books is a great turning point in her development. She must be understanding a lot more English to want to be read to. I love when these revelations happen.

Life is good. I'll leave it on that note and go back to bed. I think I can go back to sleep now. Just so excited that we're seeing some positive changes in both our daughters.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

What is she saying?

OK folks, here's a Youtube video of Jia saying the Ni Mao Wo. In the mornings, it's accompanied by lots of crying and a little fit thrown in for good measure. Here, she's not quite so adamant - but she pulls out the whiney little girl in her to sound like she's really sad. There's so much manipulation in this child - and I don't think I can blame her - it's probably what she had to do at the orphanage just to get attention. Doesn't work too well around me... which is probably why she's so frustrated. Well - if anyone can tell me what she is saying - I would appreciate it! And if you have appropriate responses for it, please let me know the pinyin saying and what it means so I can tell her something.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Jia's loudness...

A very good friend had read my previous post and suggested that Jia might have a hearing problem because of her volume level. That might have crossed my mind, except she can hear me when I talk softly. At least, I think she can.

I attributed her loudness to a combination of behavior she learned in the orphanage and her natural exhuberance. She is a real treat to deal with - and I have many times considered wearing ear plugs to help with the headaches I get at the end of the day. Yes, the loudness can be earsplitting sometimes... but at least it's not 100% of the time.

We have an appointment set up at Riley Hospital and I want them to run a huge battery of tests so we can determine what, if anything, is going on... and perhaps they will have suggestions about things we can be doing to help her. She also says (every single day) something every morning. I have no idea what it means. It is something to the effect of "San ni mao wo", or Song ni mao wo" - I can't tell which it is... she talks in such a baby talk kind of way that I wonder what exactly she is saying sometimes. But I am sure of the "ni mao wo" part of it.

I got a suggestion for the geniuses out there in the world who want to invent the ultimate translator - make it so you can type in the region of the world where someone comes from, and then feed into it the words someone is saying, adjusting for age. Then have it translate what is being said. What an adoptive parent wouldn't pay for that!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Wow... this motherhood thing is hard.

OK, we got off really easy with Kenzie. She was so easy to take care of, to raise - we were spoiled rotten with a kid who was as close to perfect as can be. She was easy going, funny and smart... and able to do things for herself - something I didn't realize that I loved so much about her growing up.

OK, Jia is smart, and funny. She is NOT easy going. Just NOT. And her volume level is set on LOUDEST. (We never asked what words would help her understand that she needs to talk more softly.) But I think a huge part of all this right now is that there is such a huge distance between us because of the language barrier. She keeps saying something to me (daily) and so far no one understands what it is she is saying. Least of all me... since my Chinese is so limited.

It seems that once her jie-jie is home, things get marginally better. But there are still breakdowns in communication - and if I could only understand what she was saying I could help her more. She seems extremely willing to do things and to be thoughtful, especially towards her big sister. Wish I could say the same about Kenzie, but it seems she delights in finding ways right now to make her sister cry and trying to make it look like it's not her fault... hmmmmm.... guess she's got a mean streak in her. "OH mommy! I didn't know I was stepping on her bracelet" (as Kenzie is standing on it - gotta feel that round lumpy thing under her tender foot - as Jia is crying and trying to pull her foot off of it...)

I keep telling myself that it will get better.... it may take a few months of this - but it will get better.

On the flip side - I have no time to myself. I have absolutely no time to work on her adoption video, or get information for my mom for health insurance, or fill out forms to take Jia to Riley Hospital - and finding a quiet moment means waking up in the middle of the night and staying up 3-4 hours, only to wake up bleary eyed and tired... no, MORE tired.

We need to try and see if we can get her into a preschool. We have one in mind if we can get a scholarship. It is 3 days a week, 9-11:30 and it would do her good to be with kids she can play with. We went to a craft fair for kids at the place that has the preschool, and Jia had a blast making things - in fact, she really has great concentration and can do a lot of planning on what she wants her craft to look like. And she LOVED it. The church is a really nice place and I was impressed with the people. I hope things can work out. Jia really needs a little time for herself as well.