Nov 29, 2008

Meet Jazmyne

I would like to introduce you to Jazmyne Rose-Noel Rees, Chloe's Jie Jie. We had a special opportunity to share a couple days with this little girl who had such a lasting impact on Chloe's life.
Their first meeting was little tentative. Jazmyne was in a new place with lots of new faces. At first they just kind of looked at each other like "I think I know this person." As they spent some more time together, it was just obvious that they were familiar.
Chloe played and interacted with Jazmyne like she was an old friend and they had played many times before. This was very surprising, because Chloe doesn't really play with any other children. When she's with others, she just kind of ignores them. With Jazmyne though, it just seemed like the interaction between them was something that had happened often before.
Rick & Kathy brought adorable matching panda outfits for the girls to wear.
Jazmyne is still great at spreading love around and she shared it with our whole family.

It was quite a trip trying to get both a 1 and a 2 year old to hold still long enough to take a picture. I think someone should have been video taping we 4 parents practically standing on heads trying to get a good picture.
Obviously it was worth the effort, because some of the photos we got were just priceless!
Jazmyne with her forever Mama and Dada.
I was reminded just this evening that we prayed often specifically that God would provide someone to show Chloe love until we could be there to do it ourselves. I just never imagined that God would provide in the form of another little girl. We are truly blessed with answered prayer and now a new friendship with Jazmyne and her family. May God's blessing be always on her life and may she always be surrounded by love for love she chose to share with our little Chloe.

Nov 21, 2008

The Miracle of Jie Jie

I wanted to share a story today that is truly God's doing. The picture you see above is of Chloe and another little girl at the orphanage. Chloe has grieved and called for her Jie Jie when she is upset and in her sleep since the first days she was with us. We asked the orphanage director the next day if there was someone specific Chloe could be calling for and she just said that they call all the older girls Jie Jie (big sister) that play with the babies. Much to our surprise, when we got the pictures developed from the camera we sent to the orphanage, there were multiple pictures of this little girl with Chloe. She was hugging her, kissing her, and just loving on her. Chloe has been very affectionate with us from the very beginning and we have credited this little girl with showing Chloe love and teaching her how to bond. Unfortunately, we didn't have any way to get information about her. I often wondered if she was still at the orphanage.

Now fast forward about 6 months. I am part of an Internet group for parents who have adopted from Chloe's orphanage. It's a great way to learn more about the orphanage and understand our girls better. There was a family who have adopted from there and live in Beijing. They were planning a trip with their girls back to the orphanage. I emailed them to see if they could take the picture along of Chloe's Jie Jie along to get some more information. When they showed the photo to the nannies, they said that both girls were quite attached to each other. Her name is Qian Jiang Can and she had just been adopted to the United States in Sept. When I saw the name of the little girl, I could hardly believe it. I have been corresponding by email with a family from Michigan who adopted a 2 year old from Chloe's orphanage. We have emailed back and forth answering questions, etc. for months and I even spend an hour talking to them on Skype (Internet phone) the week before they left for Chongqing. Chloe's Jie Jie that she has grieved for is their daughter! Not only was this little girl that was so special to Chloe no longer at the orphanage, she had been adopted to a family that we knew. They only live 6 hours from us. Her name is Jazmyne. Her mom showed Jazmyne Chloe's pictures on our blog and she called her by her Chinese name and said Mei Mei (little sister). God has seen fit and cared enough to place these two little girls who have shared so much in homes just a few hours apart. We will be getting these two "sisters" together on Thanksgiving weekend.

Recent photos of Jazmyne.

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine..." Eph. 3:20

Nov 14, 2008

Then There Was "I Love You"

This week Chloe began to say her own little version of "I love you." She'll say it and then give a hug to go with it. Today, Greg came across the first pictures that we got of Chloe in March of this year. It was a stunning reminder of just how far she has come. When I'm in the daily grind and working through medicine and sleep troubles and seperation anxiety, it's hard to remember where Chloe started. The changes to those of us who spend every day with her are not obvious, but today was a good day to look back. I was taken aback by the sadness and blankness of her eyes in those first pictures. It was obvious that she wasn't able to hold herself up and had to be propped in the walker picture. There were other little details that I noticed for the first time. I can see was fear in her eyes, just like the fear that was there today when someone was being friendly at the store and got a little too close. She wasn't able to support any weight on her legs in the walker. Chloe's hands were clenched in a fist because she didn't know how to play with a toy. Her clothe diaper was tied onto her with a cord around her waist. Now when I look into Chloe's eyes, I see a little girl who is loved and secure - secure enough to run the other way when I ask her to come (giggling all the way) and secure enough to say 'I love you' back. I thought it would be good to share those first pictures with you again today. Can you see how far we've come? Thank you Lord for the gentle reminder that our work is not in vain and that change has come.

Nov 2, 2008

Chloe's Positive TB Test

Chloe tested positive to her TB (tuberculosis) skin test last week. She had a clear chest x-ray, which means that she has inactive TB. She was exposed to it shortly before we got her and that's why it did not show up in the first test when we got home. She's not in any danger at this point or contagious to anyone, but her body is carrying the bacteria so she needs to be treated. If her immune system would be severly compromised, then she could be at risk for the TB to become active. Chloe has to be on medication for 9 months, but the success rate for protecting her from active TB for her lifetime is nearly 100%.

The liquid version of the medication has really done a number on Chloe's digestion this week, so we're starting on a pill tomorrow that is supposed to have fewer stomach issues. Please just pray for Chloe's adjustment and that she'll get through without side effects.

It was pretty sobering to realize that being here in the States and getting her TB treated could have saved her life. Who knows what would have happened had she gotten really ill while still in China and wound up with active tuberculosis. I'm looking forward to explaining to Chloe some day just how much her Heavenly Father loves her and has taken care of her.
In the meantime, Chloe is growing and growing up like crazy. We've been home for 6 months and Chloe just turned 15 months old. She is practically running and has become very comfortable at home. She runs around the house like she owns it, getting into every drawer and cabinet available. We've moved our living room furniture around to give her more room to roam. She still loves to eat peas and bologna, but she also loves apples and bagels and just about anything someone else is eating. Of course, she thinks she needs a bite of everything. Chloe is quite a character. She's learned to point her finger, so now she can communicate what she wants and when she's having trouble. Chloe's also learned how to tickle us and loves to make us laugh. It's really fun to watch her personality emerge.

Chloe with her buddy Brandi - She's hasn't met an animal she doesn't like.