Monday, April 30, 2007

Gotcha Day/Metcha Day/Forever Family Day/Adoption Day
There are so many terms for the day we meet our children and everyone has their opinion on why their term is the only one which should be used. It's amazing the arguments that occur on message boards over this topic. We use Gotcha Day. People don't like it - oh well, they are free to use a different term when they adopt. I can understand metcha but don't really like it. The day we met Jess wasn't our adoption day; we filled out the paperwork a different day. I've heard bio kids question when they hear the term family day whether they weren't a family before their sibling joined their family. One poster on a board suggested TDWMOLD Day which I kind of like but know I'd be tripping over my tongue saying it*S* (it stands for the day we met our loving daughter day). I know some people go wild over presents and stuff on the anniversary of this day. I am planning on our doing a special family outing or dinner but I think presents belong on birthdays and Christmas.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Early Intervention, Gymboree, and Reflection over the past 2 months

Of course, the first morning where we could have slept in because Jess didn't wake up at the crack of dawn, we had to get up for the EI evaluators. Oh well. Jess did well at her eval. She just barely qualified for fine and gross motor services. She had to score below 14 months and she scored at 13 in both of these areas. It's funny; she just started walking a week ago and now walks frontward, backward, side steps, carries things, squats and picks things up then returns to a stand - all of these things raised her score up significantly. If they'd been here last Thursday morning, she would have scored as much more delayed (she started walking Thursday night). She scored low in language (no surprise there considering she's only heard English for 2 months) 9 months in receptive and 11 months in expressive. Her social/emotional was 11 months but the evaluator said she thinks it's actually higher than that and that her score was affected because due to all the changes in her life recently, she is not as independent as an average 19 month old would be - she reached for me throughout the eval. She didn't qualify for services in self-care or cognition as they're closer to age appropriate. By the time the evaluators were getting ready to leave, Jess was beginning to warm up to them. The developmental specialist will be back next Wednesday to begin servicing her.

We had a snack after everyone left and then it was time to go to Gymboree. Jess had an awesome time! She went right to Miss Lee and held her hand although she did look to make sure I was next to her. For the next two weeks, we're working on strength building. She loved the area where she crawls up some foam steps and then slides down a foam wedge. She slides on her belly, holding her head up, and then when she gets to the end, she puts her face in the mat. She also worked on rolling down another foam wedge. She walked on an airlog and then Miss Lee and I each got a hand under an arm and leg and bounced her back down it. Jess is enthralled by the bubbles that Miss Lee blows at the end of the session. They don't pop immediately so we're all covered in them which is pretty funny. Jess is showing interest in the other kids and copies what they do. When we got back home, she was pooped and ready for her nap.

Two months ago, on the other side of the world, we waited in a hotel lobby for our babies to arrive. Two months ago, a nanny placed a very quiet, scared looking little girl into my arms and the baby soon started to sob. Two months ago, the baby couldn't hold a bottle, walk alone, or feed herself. Jess is doing all of those things now. Today we started using a straw cup in place of one of her bottles and she was able to get some of the drink up through the straw and into her mouth. She lets Mike hold her so that I can go to the bathroom, run an errand, or simply get a few minutes of relaxation. She laughs easily and frequently. She feels like she's been with us forever.

Monday, April 23, 2007

“I am convinced, completely convinced that there was nothing random about the adoption,” Meg, 45, tells Redbook in its May issue. “She is the daughter I should have.” While Meg went the NSN route and we ended up switching to the SN track after our agency got their latest waiting child list, I know just how she feels. Jessica is the daughter that we were meant to have. I knew it when I saw her picture on the agency list, I knew it when we got matched, and I knew it when I held her for her the first time.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

We're in Trouble Now!!!

On Gotcha Day, Jess was able to walk when she held two hands. She progress to holding only one hand and occasionally took an independent step or two. The other day she started walking and she hasn't stopped - she's everywhere! It's amazing watching her progress. I couldn't get the video to embed correctly so you'll need to click on the link if you want to see her walking.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Tuckered Out

I took Jess to Gymboree today to check out their program. I chose the 10-16 month program because the skills there will be more on par with what Jess is working on. The next level is 16-22 months and that's just too far above what she's ready for yet. We'd gone to their music program on Tuesday and liked that but I was looking for something that incorporates more physical activity. She had a ball today crawling, sliding and jumping. She really interacted well with the other kids and likes Miss Lee, the teacher. She'd see Miss Lee at the music program as well. When I was signing up after the class, another little girl was trying to give Jess her sippy cup which Jess was quite happy to take. I gave it back and got her her bottle of pediasure. She sucked some down and put her arms up to be picked up. As soon as I picked her up, she was sound asleep. We were supposed to go to Walmart to get some stuff but I took her home and was able to put her right into bed which is unusual - Walmart can wait! In the picture, she's still got her nametag on her back. I can't put it on the front of her shirt because she'll peel it off and eat it. After Days of Our Lives is over, I may get some cleaning done before she wakes up.
Life before the Sullivans

When I sent the carepackage to Jess at the orphanage, I included two disposable cameras which the nannies were wonderful enough to take pictures with and return to me. These pictures of her life before being with us are precious. I am very grateful for the time they took to do this for us and for her. She isn't smiling in the pictures that are taken face on and that hasn't changed. She is a very happy baby who loves to smile and laugh but pull out that camera and she goes all serious. I have to enlist Jason's help in making her laugh which is why a lot of my pictures have her looking off to the side rather than straight on.

Jess loves tapping and drumming on everything.

Practicing walking

Eating with the kids. Jess is against the wall. The little girl on the left of the picture is Bea who was adopted by the other family in our travel group.

Jess playing with a toy phone. She loves to hold phones up and babbles into them.

She loves touching the ceiling. Mike has to play this game as I can't get her high enough. Note the split pants.

Look at how round she is! They really bundle the clothes on.

I haven't let her go down slides on her own yet; I must be overprotective!

I think she probably weighs twice her actual body weight here with all those clothes on!

Playing with a fish. Red is a good luck color.

Doodling with a nanny

Jess loves music. Her favorite part of the music class I took her to was the drum.

Giving kisses.

Chinese New Year occured right before we got there. The red lantern is probably a decoration from that holiday because I don't remember seeing it when we went.

Jess in the ballpit. I haven't gotten up the nerve to bring her to one of these yet in the States. They just seem so dirty but I know kids love them.

Stacking blocks. I don't think she stacked the ones in front of her or she's been hiding that skill. She enjoys knocking down blocks and banging them together.

In the playhouse.

Wanting out of the crib.

Not looking too happy about being in the crib.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Looking good at the cardiologist
We went to Boston Children's satellite office in Weymouth today and met with Dr. Rhodes. The EKG went well but they weren't able to get a great pic on the echocardiogram as she didn't appreciate the tech rubbing something covered in cold gel over her chest. The EKG looks good; the doctor said he could see on the EKG that there is no residual effect from her ASD. There appears to be a minor residual effect from the aortic surgery but they couldn't get a good look at it. Based on the China report, they aren't sure whether she had aortic stenosis or aortic coarctation. She has great femoral pulses so the blood is getting around and the doctor said that the residual effect is minor right now. He wants to see her in a year. If she slows down to the point where she can't keep up with normal activity, we're to call him but he said he doesn't think that will happen. Poor Jess is very tired of doctors. We have her 18 month check up next week and then she should be done with doctors for a few months.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Easter Fun
On Saturday we went to an Easter egg hunt at Flowerland Garden Center in Kingston. Jason looked for eggs while Jess walked with Mike, looked at the bunnies, and helped Jason find an egg. Jason found a special silver egg and got to pick a prize. He chose a watergun. I was glad we got there early because some people didn't play by the rules and the store started to run out of the eggs. One of the rules was that you only were allowed to find 10 eggs. I heard one father tell his kid that when his pockets and basket were full, they were done - obviously he was collecting more than 10. The Easter bunny made a visit; Jessica was less than impressed. It'll be interesting to see how she handles him next year.

On Sunday, I woke Jason up and we went to see what the Easter bunny brought. Jason helped Jess find the plastic eggs that were hidden. Jason got gold coins hidden in his eggs; Jessica had smaller coins in some and chocolate goldfish in others. Afterward, my mom, Jess, Jason and I went to church. Mike had to work. Jason was alcolyte and walked in the procession. Jess behaved great during church. She's usually good but considering she'd had such a bad night the night before, I wasn't sure how she'd be. Patricia, Scott, Michelle, Jen, Ruth and Chuck all came to our house for dinner. Jess loved Tricia's macaroni and cheese and the coconut cream pie I picked up at Stop and Shop. I'd planned on making a cake that I'd found online but I did something wrong and it came out horrible so I'd gone out at 11 Saturday night and bought the pie, some strawberries, ladyfingers, whipping cream, and chocolate ice cream. I figured everyone would find something they like in that. That evening Jason, Jess and I went to my mom's hotel and went swimming. Jason had a blast!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Off to the doctor's
Yesterday we went to the international adoption clinic at Floating Hospital. Jess had a medical check up, developmental eval, and bloodwork. They said her biggest delays are gross motor and speech - no surprise there. She's cutting her eleventh tooth! Dr. Miller checked her spine, hip rotation, reflexes, hearing and throat - all looked good. When we first got there, they put a urine bag on her and of course, even though we were pushing water the whole time, she didn't go until after the main appointment was over and we were upstairs at the lab. Just as they called our number for bloodwork, she went. I had to rush her back down so they could take the bag off and then back upstairs to get blood drawn. 8 vials!! They're running a titer so that we know whether she's immune to the things she's supposed to be. Dr. Miller said 60% of kids from China aren't. Since I believe strongly in immunizing children, I want to know what she needs without having to give her extra shots she doesn't; hence the titer. Dr. Miller did ask us to try to get the preoperative echocardiogram from China for our cardiologist. We've got a call into our agency to see how to go about this. Seems from what she read in the report our little girl was one very sick baby when she was operated on. However, she also said that Jess appears to be a very healthy little girl now and that the surgery was stated to have been a success. She said it was obvious that someone really cared for her. She told us that regardless of what some say, it is fine for Jess to be on the bottle for another 6 months if she wants. She also said that sleeping in our bed was fine (I've never been a big fan of the family bed but if my little one needs it, then it happens) and not to push her out too soon. She said the next step would be using a portacrib in our room, then me sleeping on a bed in her room with her in the crib, and finally her in her crib alone in her room. Looks like it'll be a long process but if it's what she needs, then we'll do it. Dr. Miller wants to get her weight on the chart so we've been instructed to give Jess all the ice cream, sourcream, cream cheese, etc. that she wants - lucky her!! I plotted her measurements on the Chinese chart that I found on Families with Children from China website and she's in the 3rd percentile on that. She's also drinking pediasure to help her get some good nutrition and weight. Well, Dr. Miller said that she'll call us if there is anything in the lab tests that we need to do something about and that no news is good news. We'll get a report in 2-3 weeks and she wants us to come back in 2-3 months. Next week is the cardiology appointment.