Friday, April 14, 2017

long overdue M update

I have a day off with no obligations, so here's a long overdue Madeleine update for you all.

This is one of my favorite pictures of her, mostly because it's cute, but partially because I love that t-shirt (soba noodles).

Little by little, becoming a ham in front of the camera


LOVES Mama's coffee.

Still not BFFs, but they tolerate one another pretty well.

Visiting mama at work.

She has been mimicking us for several months now, but she's started to independently pretend so much more lately.  She mostly plays only with this doll (it used to be mine) and will grab a wipe to wipe her off, lift up her legs like we do hers, try to grab a diaper or twenty, and then repeats.  

CJ has been taking her hiking on the trail that runs through our neighborhood and at Eagle Creek.  Mickey often rides on his shoulders.

And M caught on that she goes in Daddy's backpack for a hike, so naturally, her doll needed to go in her backpack for a quick shopping trip downstairs.

M loves, loves, loves being outside and exploring, especially on the farm. My dad would have eaten this up.

Wouldn't eat the actual cookie, but loved the dough.

Totally not on board with this bike helmet thing.

And...we're back here.  Last month, she got sick and then right after she got better, she started teething.  It was necessary and we don't regret it, but we ended up co-sleeping with her again during those times.  And she's a smart girl and figured out that if she wakes up at any of her favorite times now, even once she's better, one of us will come get her and co-sleep the rest of the night.  While I want to meet her needs, CJ is gone two nights a week and I work.  So we're trying out a combination of methods to get her to sleep through the night again on her own and then to learn how to put herself to sleep (without crying it out).  This is our next step -- an uncomfortable futon mattress which CJ calls a "Japanese mat."  It's even worse than that dumb air mattress, guys.  But we've seen some progress in her sleeping the past several nights, so hopefully we're on the right track again.  We're all MUCH happier in the mornings, Madeleine especially, when we each sleep in our own beds!  (Imagine that.)

Petting Bridget

Madeleine works with a developmental therapist once a week, and this was today's craft.  The DT told me today that when she first started seeing Madeleine a few months ago (very late January or early February), she placed Madeleine developmentally at 9-11 months (at 24 mo. old).  As of today, she said she'd place her developmentally at 15-18 months.  That's huge progress in just two months!

We have M working with a speech therapist once a week too.  Speech is obviously coming really, really slowly.  M has said two words once a piece:  Hello (on January 19th) and Hi (just last week).  The speech therapist tracks her vowels and consonants, and she's making new ones, but it's just slow progress.  Again, she's trying to catch up of 19 months living without parents with 600 other children.  And in the meantime, Madeleine is able to use several signs: more, food, drink, please, thank you, Daddy, Mama, all done, and I love you.  Her therapists assure us that using sign language doesn't delay her speech at all.

To rule out any hearing loss, we do have an ENT appointment scheduled next week (it's only taken us 3 months to get on someone's schedule!).  She follows directions incredibly well (the speech therapist tracks this and Madeleine follows 80%-100% of the time), so we are thinking she can hear, but we need to be certain.

We're also playing catch-up on her shots.  Of all the shots reportedly given to her in country, she only had the measles antibody in her system.  So we are trying to get her caught back up as quickly as possible, giving her 4-8 shots every month or so...

She also had her first dentist appointment last month and came through with flying colors.  Thankfully, M loves brushing her teeth.

That's it for Miss M!  Happy Easter, everyone!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

so many parties...

I've joked that if Madeleine could talk, at some point in the next few weeks, she'll look at us and ask when her next party will be.

We started off January with our last shower which my aunts and cousins graciously threw for us.  We STILL haven't opened up all those gifts yet!

There was originally only going to be one birthday party, but when we found out my dad only had a short time left to live, we decided to celebrate a few weeks early so grandpa could enjoy too.

After we got Madeleine's referral last summer, my dad bought her this Massey Ferguson t-shirt.

It takes a loooonnngggg time to open up gifts a tiny piece at a time...

I made Madeleine cupcakes. She wasn't impressed and ate 2 bites (and the kid eats everything else in sight).

Then there was Chinese New Year.  I had every intention of having many more decorations and cooking a traditional meal from scratch, however life's circumstances got in the way. Thank goodness for Amazon, Etsy, and our local, completely inauthentic Chinese restaurant for saving this year's CNY.

Aren't these adorable?!  I had the artist draw a ram on the side, since Madeleine was born in the Year of the Ram.

First pair of chopsticks!

The traditional CNY gift is a red envelope with money.  Since Madeleine doesn't know what CNY or money is, she got Little People animals and doctors instead.  I think she was pleased.

And then we celebrated her birthday on the actual day itself...

This is the moment she figured out what presents are and what to do with them.

Just that very week, she started to LOVE her Little People and actually play with them (versus just carry them around), so she was actually pretty excited about the Little People house.

Aaaannnndddd then there was the real, rescheduled birthday party.

I had the same Etsy artist make a custom peg doll of Madeleine, using pictures of some of the traditional Chinese silks we brought home for her.  It's hard to see on the picture, but she was able to paint on tiny little dragons too.

We had her on board with the presents, but she was still unsure of the cake, the candles, and the singing...

AND FINALLY, Valentine's Day!

A unicorn cake, guys!  (Confectioneress in Zionsville!)

Madeleine has started working with First Steps, so one of her therapists helped her create a Valentine for me.

It wouldn't be a party without a gift, right? M is the proud new owner of a Little People tractor and trailer.

Too much? Maybe. Do I care? Not really.  We're making up for lost time.  And I also can't help that her birthday falls between so many major holidays.  :)

Sunday, January 29, 2017

God is faithful.

Last February or March, my dad was diagnosed with esophageal cancer.  Throughout this past year, we consistently asked God for a few things.  And He has been so, so faithful to us.

One of my favorite smells in the world is freshly harvested corn.  It's the smell I associate with home and it reminds me so much of the combine rides I would get every fall with my dad.  I simply couldn't bear the thought of the 2015 harvest season having been my last combine ride with my dad.  I prayed, prayed, and prayed some more that I would get another trip around the field -- and that my daughter would too.

My dad missed a good part of the spring planting season, but fall came around.  The minute I heard he was in the field, I left work to take a ride. I think I cried the entire drive to the field, I cried a good part of that ride with him, and I cried a good part of the drive back to work, all out of thankfulness.

Another prayer was that my dad would get to meet our daughter.  Back when he was diagnosed, we were so far away from being matched that it didn't seem possible.  And then we got matched in June, but we didn't get to travel until October...those were precious days we felt were wasted.  But here's Madeleine meeting her grandpa for the first time.

And then God blessed us some more by letting Madeleine take a ride with me in the combine.  Dad was so, so happy. If anyone else had touched all the buttons she did, they would have been yelled at.

There were a few other consistent prayer requests during our adoption journey - maybe more on those another day - but the final one was for complete healing here on earth for my dad.  Unfortunately that answer was no.

We buried my dad this past week.

I write this not to solicit pity, but to help myself grieve and to share with you this testimony. Even though I didn't get my biggest prayer answered the way I wanted it, God was still faithful.  He built up our trust during this incredibly difficult year and we know that He will continue to be faithful and that we can continue to call upon Him for the big and small things in life.

And even though my dad is no longer here, we're left with this beautiful gift -- a happy little girl who brings us all so much joy and makes the pain of losing my dad just a bit easier.