Sunday, December 2, 2012

Oh Boy, we are still busy!! Cleft check up and Family Portraits

So, Steve was on vacation last week and was left with a honey do list! One thing on the list was to take Ruthie for a follow up visit with her surgeon, Dr. Ray. Dr. Ray was more than pleased with
Ruthie's lip. Steve said that he could not believe how fabulous she looked! He was more than excited and spent a good amount of time having a stare down with her. He did say that the muscle in her lip is like a tight rope right now. He said that her lip would draw up for a few weeks, then go back
to where it is now and stay that way. He said at that point, you will never know that she had surgery! He said that it looks so well that he wants to see her back in a month to review and then set up her 2nd surgery. He thinks that we could move it up to possibly February. This surgery will be more dramatic for Ruthie. We could spend up to 4 days in the hospital. He said that she handles her pain and adjustment so well, that it could possibly only be 2 days for us.

Now, about the surgery...In our mouths, we have a muscle that grows in 3 spots, nasal cavity, palate and the back of our throat. He will have to cut all three places and pull them all together. When it is complete, he will place cotton around the outside of the "pull together" until it heals/stops
bleeding. Apparently, this process is going to be hard on Ruthie because of the bleeding and her learning how to breath out of her nose and not the hole in her palate any longer. That is the main reason why they want to keep her in for more than just one day, to monitor her eating and breathing. Her recovery will be a little longer than her lip. She will have to learn how to eat and breath at the same time. 

Her hearing and ears were fabulous!

She will not have her gum fixed until her 3rd surgery, when she turns 5. When they correct her gum, they will have to take some bone from her hip. We are not going to think about that until the time comes. One step at a time. 

I will not know the date of her surgery until January 3rd. Until then, we will embrace the holidays and enjoy my almond eyed firecracker princess!

We decided that it was time to have our family portraits made with the 5 of us. Ruthie didn't get her nap and she sure showed it! By the time we were getting ready to wrap up an hour photo shoot, she came around and was the spunky little girl that she can be!! We had a great time and got some great shots! How thankful we are to be a family of 5!!

I love my family!! We have been through so much and I thank God for everything we have been through and conquered!! 

Blessings and Love,


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Our 1st Thanksgiving as a family of 5

What a November!! I can't count the many many reasons why we are so thankful! November has been full of so many events. I started back to work on November 5th and shed many tears when I left Ruthie for the first time. I was sad but also very thankful that she was staying with my parents. They are there to love her and give her what she needs while I am at work. So thankful! :) I was very thankful to get to work and be missed by so many folks as well! The transition back to work was so easy. I missed my co-workers and are very thankful for having such a great job and great folks to work with everyday.

This was Ruthie's first Thanksgiving with us. She had such a great time! The Sunday before Thanksgiving we celebrated at church then with Steve's family. We enjoyed taking her to church and then to her first gathering. She had such a good time! She loved all the food and especially loved all the desserts. :) She got to meet new cousins and family and fit right in with them all. What a blessing it is to introduce her to so many folks that love her dearly! 

Thanksgiving Day, we got up early, watched the Macy's Day parade (we do every year) and took off to my sister, Brandi's house. Ruthie also got to meet some family that she had not met before. Ruthie enjoyed the food and of course all the desserts again. She was thrilled to be there to play with her cousins. We stayed outside some and watched all the kiddos playing. Ruthie would eat some, play, eat some more and then play again. I loved seeing her eat and her favorite thing to eat other than the desserts was green beans! We could not keep enough on her plate. It is just amazing to me at how she loves vegetables!

And she is out! She had so much fun! Every day is a new day and it continues to share all the many blessings that we have received from God. I am so blessed and filled with so much joy!

Until next time,


Friday, November 30, 2012

3 months home and truly blessed!!

I am so past due on posting an update about Ruthie and her last few sorry! Well, alot has happened since my last post. Ruthie received her COC-certificate of citizenship a few weeks back! She is officially an American citizen and an orphan no longer! Super exciting!

Ruthie has also had her 1st surgery to correct her cleft lip. She was beautiful and is still beautiful! When she came out of surgery and was waking up she had a hard time with the i.v., heart moniter and blood pressure wrap being attached to her. Nothing made her comfortable enough. She ate what she could and drank tons. Dr. Peter Ray at Childrens Cleft Clinic performed her surgery. He was fabulous! His entire staff was great! There is absolutely nothing to complain about nor would I change. She and I spent the night, slept on and off and watched t.v. Unfortunately, the language on t.v. was in Spanish. I couldn't understand a word and Ruthie just stared at it. Overall Ruthie did great ! The doctor came in the morning we were supposed to leave and just loved on her and said that it was a privilege for him to be the one to perform surgery on Ruthie.....I sat there and was just in awe over his statement. What a gift from God! His talent has been put to use in so many ways and has blessed so many children that will be able to have a second chance at life! I looked at him and his intern and said, "No, it was an honor for us to be able to say that he performed the surgery on Ruthie!" What a fabulous surgeon he is! The difference that he has made in her is remarkable! I thanked God for him and his staff. When it was time to head out, she just walked down the hallway waiting for our guide to come and help us to our car. Ruthie greated everyone with a big Hi, then we headed home! She is so sweet and friendly! 

Well, we got home and you just have to know Ruthie and her very independent self to know what the next week was like. She didn't want what the doctor prescribed for her to eat. He asked that we give her food that splatters when you hit it with a spoon. We served her many "saucy" type foods, but she was not going to sit there and watch you eat something without having a bite! :) She knew how to push it to one side of her mouth so that it would not hit her lip. She just blows me away! I just love her and her firecracker personality! She didn't mess with her lip very much and knew that it was different but accepted it. 

We have a few more surgeries to go.....but we know God has this and will continue to hold her in his hands. He sure has done a fabulous job! I love to seeing her journey unfold. The Sunday after Ruthie's surgery was Orphan Sunday at church. Ruthie was dedicated at church. What a wonderful day it was! So thank for our church family and for God allowing Ruthie to come into our family! 

We are so blessed with wonderful children!!

Blessings & Love!


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Home a month and feeling so blessed!

I can't believe that we have been home from China for a month now. What has been going on with our new Family of 5??? Well, Carson and Hailey have started school, so we have enjoyed dropping them off at school and picking them up. The smiles on their faces to see Ruthie every afternoon has been such a blessing! She has really warmed up to them both. I love the afternoon's of coming home, eating a snack, completing homework, then taking a bike ride or a walk!! Oh, how I have enjoyed being a stay at home momma!! 

We have had several doctors visits, one with pediatrician, one with international pediatrician and a day of appointments with the surgeon that will perform Ruthie's cleft lip and palate surgery. Ruthie has endured shots, blood work, poke's and pulls and so on….To only be in the U.S. for a few weeks, she surely has kept a beautiful smile on her face through it all. So that was the not so fun part…….the fun part has been watching her getting to know her room, her puppy and siblings. She has done so much in the past few weeks. These are a few of the things that we all take for granted and she had never done until now. Ruthie is only 19 months old. 

Touching grass with her toes. Holding a pine cone. Eating a grilled cheese or ham sandwich. Brushing her teeth with a toothbrush. Eating pizza. Blowing bubbles. Walking down a hill. Walking over a crack in the driveway. Holding a dog. Eating oreo cookies. Sitting in a high chair while I feed her. Laying in a soft bed. Wearing clothes that fit and shoes that are not too small. Riding in a car. Playing with the hose pipe while the water is running. Having more than just one cookie. Drinking sweet tea. Watching ducks in a pond. Going out to dinner. Having double dessert with Momma! Being loved unconditionally with lots of hugs every single day! 

The list goes on and on. She has brought more blessings to me than she will ever know. The "important" things that really don't matter seem to be a little less important to me now. She has brought so much joy and love to our family that those things just don't matter. I thank God daily for the many blessings that he has given to us. We have had the best time with everything that we have done. Now, don't get me wrong, there are days that I wish I could just crawl back in the bed and start over. Getting up, throwing on clothes, pulling hair back in a pony tail, fixing breakfast, throwing diaper bag together, making sure 3 kids are dressed and ready, load the car and head to school hoping and praying that something was not forgotten. Yes, I can officially say that I am "That Mom". I am that mom that you see that has no makeup, tshirt and blue jeans, ponytail and a baby on her hip at Open House. I am the one that has slobber or crumbs on her black pants. I am also that Mom that changes her babies diaper in her daughter's 3rd grade class and also in a complete hurry because I am afraid that I will run everyone out with the smell. Yes, I am "that Mom" that used to get 8 hours of sleep every night and now lucky to get half. So, if you ever see "that Mom" out anywhere, don't think that she just crawled out of bed and doesn't want to look her best…….because she probably only got 3 hours of sleep due to a sweet baby that is having night terrors or she forgot to make her son's lunch or her oldest daughter just can't sleep. Just for the record, I love being "that Mom"!!! :) I thank God everyday for our three children and to be able to be there for our children. I continue to pray that what I am teaching them is for His glory and not mine. It is not about me, it is about teaching them the word of God and showing them how to love and be loved. 

We have an official date of Ruthie's 1st surgery. It will be on Monday, October 29th. This will be an overnight stay with the surgery lasting around 4 hours. Please please keep us in your prayers, especially Ruthie. She is such a blessing to us! I can't imagine our life without her sweet face. I am going to miss her big smile and liquid sugar after her surgery! 

My heart is so huge for orphans around the world. As I was staring at Ruthie tonight as she was falling asleep, I thought about what exactly she would be doing right now if she were still in China. I just pray to God every day to continue to burden my heart for them and to guide me to what he wants me to do next………

God bless and thank you again for all your prayers!!


Saturday, September 1, 2012

A visit to Maoming Orphanage

During our trip to China, we made a visit to Ruthie's orphanage, Maoming Orphanage. The drive was 4 1/2 hours there and 4 1/2 hours back with all five of us including our guide and driver. It was a nice long day drive, although we did sleep a little bit. We saw lots of rice fields, corn fields and bamboo fields. We were able to see the Chinese working, riding bikes from one field to another or hanging out clothes to dry on the clothes line. There were lots of factories and warehouses. It is amazing at just how our worlds are so different. We finally made it to Maoming. It is a small town with lots of people in cars, on scooters and bikes. Ruthie (Si Dan) was born in Maoming and abandoned near the local hospital underneath a pavilion. She was left with a note possibly from her birth mother stating that she was born on February 2, 2011. The pavilion is right next door to the hospital. She was left in a box wrapped in a blanket. 

When we arrived at the orphanage, we were greeted by the orphanage director. Ruthie went straight to her and just hugged her. We walked upstairs to where Ruthie ate, slept and played. We first walked into the playroom and her Nanny fed her lunch which consisted of congee (kinda like porridge), rice, egg, pork and chicken soup. She drank the chicken soup after to wash everything down. :) We played in the play room with a few nannies, the orphanage director and our guide, Rebecca. We enjoyed talking and taking pictures. Our guide translated for us and for them as well. Ruthie's nanny said that she could tell that Ruthie will be very well taken care of and loved very much! It meant a lot to hear that from someone that has only "known" us for a very short period of time and loved our child for the past 18 months. Ruthie's adoption was an expensive process, however, there is not enough money in this world that could take the place of this journey or Ruthie! I am in forever indebted to this woman that loved, fed and played with my Ruthie!! We are two women so many many miles apart that love Ruthie so very much!! 

We then made our way to the room where Ruthie slept. It was a room full of beds and sweet babies! Some are waiting on their forever families….To God be The Glory!! The beds were side by side and the babies were able to see each other through the bars. Ruthie handed out dum dum suckers to her friends. She was the oldest in her group and you could tell that for sure. She was the helper and soother of the kids. Anytime one was upset, she would share her toy and pat them on the back. Precious!! 

We went to the kitchen where the kids eat. There was  a long table made of 2x2's with spaces in between. If the children are not old enough to sit up by themselves, they teach them to hold onto the table with one hand and feed themselves with the other hand. It was amazing to hear that as I couldn't imagine an infant not being able to sit up, but hold him/herself up and eat with the other hand. 

We walked downstairs to the orphanages meeting room and I was able to take pictures of Ruthie's only file, one piece of paper. I was also able to view the letter that was left with Ruthie written by the birth mother (they think).

The orphanage trip was a wonderful experience! I am so thankful that we had the opportunity to visit it. These woman love the children of Maoming and take care of them to the best of their ability. One day I will explain this to Ruthie. 

After we left the orphanage the director rode with us to Ruthie's abandon spot. It is a pavilion outside of the hospital where Ruthie was possibly born. I was told by the director that more than likely what happened with Ruthie was that her parents were poor and could not afford insurance. They would not have had the funds to have her cleft lip and palate corrected, so they only did what they thought was right. I thank God for her parents and the decision that they made for Ruthie. She is a God sent from the words "Yes, we will adopt from China!" I adore this sweet soul and pray that God will continue to burden our hearts to raise all 3 of our children His way. Our home is filled with so much joy and laughter! 

Blessings and Love,