Tuesday, February 26, 2013

One Month at HOME

Gotcha day was on January 21st. A special day surrounded by a lot of chaos and stress. I'm sure you can remember...if not read about it here.  We were so happy to have our Gracie, but by mid week I was ready to be home. January 26th we walked into our home and introduced Gracie to her new and permanent life.

I wanted to update you one month from the day we came home for a couple of reasons: numbers and pictures. On January 26th we took pictures of Gracie and measurements so that we could remember where she had been and celebrate the changes that we knew were to come.

As I took her measurements today my eyes filled with tears. How can this be? How can these numbers be right? Can a child really grow this quickly? I know they can. I've seen even more drastic changes in other children adopted in the same (and worse) circumstances.  But when my daughter has changed in such a way before my very own eyes...unbelievable. See for yourself.

First Day Home One Month Later
Weight 20 lbs 22 lbs
Height 33” 34”
Head Circumference 17” 18.25"
Upper Arm 4” 6”
Forearm 4” 5.75”
Thigh 7” 9”
Calf 5” 6”
Chest 18” 19”
Waist 16” 19”
Feet 4.5” 4.75”
Clothing size 12 months 18 months

All of these numbers stun me. I expected to see change, but this much so quickly surprised me. I never would have expected the size of her head to change so much if even at all within one month!!! Over an inch difference...in one month!!! Her waist...well, I knew that would change. Without a doubt I knew her waist size would increase, but 3" is shocking to me!!

Please, look at what a family can do for a child! I am not sharing this to brag on what we have done for Gracie. I am sharing this to inspire others. An orphanage...an institution...is no place for a child!

We still have a long road ahead of us. Gracie is progressing so quickly and amazes us everyday. She is such a smart girl who was never allowed or encouraged to learn and grow. Now she is making up for lost time and she is unstoppable. I can look in her eyes and just tell when something clicks.

You saw the changes in the numbers, now see them in the pictures.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

One Month Ago

It's so hard to believe that one month ago I walked out of an orphanage with our daughter. It's seems like a distant memory already. It's hard to believe that so much has changed in that one month.

I have been extremely busy taking care of all of the things that Gracie needs.

First and foremost, getting to know each other.  She fits in so perfectly. Everyone is in love with her and she makes that so easy. She is happy, she knows she is loved and she loves back.

I have wasted no time getting her in for various medical appointments and therapy. I want to get her all of the help that she has needed all along so that she can blossom even more!

We have visited the pediatrician, the international adoption clinic, the audiologist, the physical therapist and the speech therapist so far. Our upcoming appointments include occupational therapy (and more ST and PT), a swallow study, ENT, cardiologist, endocrinologist. We will also get to the eye doctor and dentist eventually, but those are last on the list of important visits. I am trying to prioritize the appointments and space them out so that she is not overwhelmed. Some of these take a couple of months to get on the schedule so I'm glad I got started right away.

As you can see, there is a lot going on. I am incredibly busy making appointments and going to appointments. Gracie has a lot going on with delays in development, problems with eating, hearing and thyroids. 

We were originally told in reports from the orphanage that Gracie was deaf. I took her for a hearing test yesterday where they confirmed what I already knew...she is not deaf. She does have moderate hearing loss which was described to be about 50%.  We will know more after we visit the ENT about how to improve her hearing. She has fluid on both sides and I expect tubes will be in her future. 

While at the international adoption clinic there was some concern about a previous infection of the heart noted on her medical record from the orphanage. The doctor also said that she heard a slight murmur so I will be following up with a cardiologist soon.

Our sweet little daughter really is changing so much. It is happening so fast that it's hard to see since we are with her every minute of every day. Here are some pictures of our little love on Valentines Day. She had two different outfits...you know, just because she could!

I can't wait to share details of her progress. I started charting her growth from the day we got home and it is so unbelievable that it brings me to tears. I'll share more on her "one month home" anniversary!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Wonder Woman

Shortly after returning home with Gracie I got a package in the mail. The package was addressed from a friend that has known me since we were 7 years old. She lives many miles away and we are the best of friends. This is what was in the package (with no note or explanation and none needed)...

I laughed and got the message she was trying to send right away. "How sweet of her," I thought. "If only she knew how I really feel!"

I think about this mug everyday. And, yes, I drink wine coffee out of it too! Not because I think I'm Wonder Woman, but because it inspires me...and it makes me laugh.

Wonder Woman...I am not! Wonder woman would not feel the way I feel! I am exhausted. Everything associated with my body is tired and hurts. I always have so much left undone. I keep thinking that some of the balls I have in the air are sure to drop soon and they will all start crashing down on my head.

I know I'm not alone. This is a normal mom feeling and I don't feel guilty. I do what I can do in between loving on my babies and taking care of their needs.

Being a mom doesn't make me Wonder Woman. Adopting doesn't make me Wonder Woman.

When I first started this adoption I prayed this prayer, "God let me impact others. I don't want to only impact one life by adopting Gracie. Please let our story cause others to be inspired. Let them see that I am a normal, nothing special person who followed through with Your plan for us and did what we could to help this child have a different life and know You. Let others see that they can adopt too."

I am not extraordinary. I do not have a lot of money. I have never even been close to receiving a nomination for mother of the year. Sheesh! Seriously...not even close!

If I can do this, I'm pretty sure many of you can too. I know there are a lot of people who should not have children. They should not have biological children. They should not adopt. There are people who should not be allowed on the same planet as a child. So I'm not saying everyone should adopt. I just want you to know that if you are a good person (even an ordinary one) who has the ability and love to support a child, you can do this. 

I am not Wonder Woman. Not even close.

But let's look at it this way...

Wonder Woman is fictional. I am real.

Wonder Woman is a warrior princess. I am a mommy.
Wonder Woman has an hourglass figure. I don't have a figure or I don't know what it is. Who cares.

Wonder Woman wears a barely there superhero costume. I'm not even going there...not even on Halloween. I wear yoga pants and a t-shirt as often as I can.

Wonder Woman has appeared in the form of a variety of toys, merchandise and pin-ups. Umm...ok whatever.

Wonder Woman fights for justice, love and peace. I fight for my kids. I guess this could be the same.

Wonder Woman was created by a writer. I was created by God.

Uh-Oh Wonder Woman. I win.

Oh wait...I just found something interesting. Insert Google search "did Wonder Woman have children?" and Wiki.Answers returned this:

No, and she has never been married which would void her (warranty) as an Amazon. However, she is in a sense the foster Mother of the character Donna Troy who serves as Wonder Girl in the Teen Titans and has the same basic powers as Wonder Woman.
Wonder Woman...a foster mom. Love it.