May 25, 2008

Lots of Firsts

I just wanted to take a few minutes and share some of the new things Chloe has gotten to experience for the first time this past week.

Chloe is getting to know her soon to be Grandma, Loretta. She has slowly begun to tolerate other people holding and playing with her.

Cousin Collin was the first person outside our immediate family that she warmed up to.

Chloe likes to bang on the piano with her sister.

She's starting to be interested in hold her own bottle.

Chloe's first trip to Tuscora Park. She especially liked the swings.

We often go camping on Memorial Day Weekend, but since we're not ready for that yet, we decided to set the camper up in our woods. Chloe thought it was a pretty fun place to play and that the graham crackers from s'mores were really great.

She also got to have her first bike ride with Daddy.

We just got Chloe certificate of citizenship in the mail and it had a photo on it of her taken shortly before we left China. We knew she was happy to eat a lot, but didn't realize until we compared, just how much she has filled out in the month since we got home. See what you think.

Thanks for your continued prayer in our adjustment. God bless!

May 14, 2008

China Earth Quake

We have been watching the news with heavy hearts these last few days. A 7.9 earthquake shook the Sichuan Province in China on Sunday night. The epicenter was about 200 miles from Chongqing where we stayed. It is estimated that up to 50,000 people were killed. We received an email from our CCAI rep in China - Anita and she said that she and her family are fine and that there is no major damage in Chongqing city. We also received word that Chloe's orphanage, about 6 hours outside of town, is okay. The quake registered a 2.0 in Qian Jiang, but there was no damage done to the orphanage. There is a link below for further information about the devastation. Our thoughts and prayers are with those have lost or missing loved ones.

On a happier note, Chloe seems to be settling in at home. Towards the end of last week, she began to really respond to the girls. She seems to be comfortable at home and will sit and play with them without Greg or I in the room. She even played for a few minutes without anyone in the room.

We had a busy weekend. The church had a baby shower for a number of new kids, several of which were recently adopted. It was neat to hear each family's journey to adoption. Each one was different. Our church is new to adoption within the last few years, so it will be our job as parents to educate others on the difference between raising a bio kid and an adopted one.

The 5 girls ready for the baby shower.

Chloe got her first haircut from her Aunt Jennifer. It's amazing what a little snip can do. Yes of course we kept some hair for her baby book and Daddy took a video.

Do you like my new make-over?

There was baby dedication at church on Sunday morning and we were happy to be home with Chloe. It is a special time where we as parents commit to raising Chloe to follow the Lord and to live our lives in such a way that will encourage and motivate her to want a personal relationship with Jesus too. What an awesome privilege to pass that on to her. It was nice to have Greg's parents and my Dad and his fiance' Loretta join us.

Chloe still isn't sleeping great, but we did have a mattress brainstorm that has helped. We moved the pack-n-play out and put a crib mattress on our bedroom floor. This allows us to lay next to Chloe for her to go to sleep and then quietly sneak away. We've put a body pillow next to her and she seems to feel secure having some "thing" to snuggle up next to. This has at least allowed me some free time while she's napping. Woohoo :)

Chloe's babbling has begun to sound American. When we first got her, all the sounds she made were distinctively Chinese, but you can tell she is making the transition to another language. She is learning what 'no' means, especially when is decides it's fun to blow raspberries when she doesn't like her new baby food. We're transitioning her to American formula and she starting to eat baby food, most of which makes her shiver for at least the first few bites. Yesturday, we tried carrots and today rice cereal with applesauce. She has also eaten baby yogurt, cheerios, and her favorite - bananas. Her bottle is still the mainstay. We have been trying a sippy cup, but she just doesn't understand what to do with it. We've actually had more success with just a regular cup or a sippy without a valve.
We ventured out as a family of 6 to the Chinese Buffet on Sat. and I took all 4 girls with me to Walmart the other day. I must say we make quite a show. I'm sure some people look at us and think "what are they thinking?" Greg & I have both had that thought on occasion. I just keep reminding myself that where God calls, he also provides. The change from 3 to 4 children seems to be a doozy right now. May is always intense for the school girls anyhow, but my mind just can't seem to keep up with it all. Maybe it's the lack of sleep. We'll get there. I'm more and more thankful for the 6 week I have at home to settle in. I think this must be minimum.

Chloe is all smiles for her Papa!

Baths are Chloe favorite.

May 8, 2008

We're Still Here

It was 2 weeks ago today since we came home. It's hard to believe that we have been home almost as long as we were in China and nearly a month since Gotcha Day. Last week was kind of a rough go. Jet lag was a real bear, especially considering the restless flight we had over from Beijing. It wouldn't have been so bad had we been able to sleep when necessary, but of course there is now a Chloe in the picture. She thought 2:30am was good time to be awake for the first few nights. That first Friday, she slept from 6:ooam to 1:00pm and the girls just about couldn't wait to get their hands on her.

Chloe came down with a cold and ear infection on Sat., so that put a serious damper on adjustment and really set things back last week. We were glad for a good report from her adoption doctor at Akron Children's Hospital though. We'll go back to assess her development the end of the month. In the mean time, she has learned to roll over in both directions. Tonight, the girls were practicing synchronized rolling on the floor with Chloe. We laughed until we about fell over. She seems to be very excited that she can actually get somewhere on her own.
We're still waiting for blood work to come back before we start immunizations. They did find that Chloe had a parasite from drinking contaminated water, so she been on some nasty medicine for that too. Today was the first day of no more meds :) We'll get her new giardia test results tomorrow to see if one round of medicine got rid of the problem. In the mean time, we just do lots of hand washing after diaper changes so we don't get it too. The other girls don't have the "privilege"of changing diapers yet. Their time is coming though.

Chloe has done a beautiful job of adjusting. She is happy, playful and secure when she's with Greg & I. She was a star at Walmart the other day, just grinning and talking to people as they went by. Of course, Mom was close by. However, when she is not being held by one of us, the fussing & crying is almost immediate. She has truly attached and bonded to us, but right now it's more like a magnet. I keep thinking though of all the things that must be scary to her. Each new sound, a hairdryer, the ice maker, a dog barking, are potentially scary. It's not that Chloe is easily frightened or timid. It's just all new. Greg & I are the one constant that has not changed for a while. This has had a big impact on sleep at our house too. We have not been able to lay her down to even sleep. That means we've spent many a night in the recliner, not to mention all the daytime naps. I wasn't surprised that she'd want to be with us all the time, but the sleeping has taken me back some. With my other girls, even though they needed a lot of attention, at least I could be 'productive' while they were sleeping. This has not been the case with Chloe. I have to hold still while she's sleeping too. I wish I had made plans to have help around the house, but somehow that just didn't sound necessary before we left. Just getting the dishes done or a load of laundry is a big accomplishment. Our church family has brought meals in this week, so that has been great!

The last few days have been the best yet. Chloe is warming up to the girls and today I was able to leave the room while they were playing with her. Each day we see small steps in her comfort level. She woke up yesterday morning with a smile on her face instead of crying and afraid. It's starting to feel like home.

Chloe is very affectionate. She loves to give big wet sloppy kisses. Sometimes they land right on your nose.

Chloe always has a smile for her Papa. It's been fun to see the obvious bond she has with Dad since he traveled with us.Please continue to pray that Chloe remains healthy and continues to adjust. Please pray too for this mom who's trying to figure out how to take care of 4 kids at once :) Thanks for all your calls - they've been great. Keep them coming.