Sunday, January 29, 2012

Two Months Ago...

Two months ago, I got the first glimpse of my daughter through the glass doors of the Sheraton Hotel in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia.  I heard her call me Mama for the first time.  I held her as she grieved for the only life she had ever known.  I breathed a huge sigh of relief as she typed on the computer and drank coke after the howling stopped.  Two months ago, I sat and cried as I watched my three children together at last.  I smiled when I saw that she had fallen asleep holding her Daddy's hand.  I stayed awake most of the night just listening to my kids breathing.  

Two months later, Lily has changed us in so many ways!  She's taught us to slow down and enjoy the small things.  She's helped us not to be anxious or worry about insignificant things.  Lily has shown us that something doesn't have to be just right to be PERFECT.    

Only two months later, Lily is beginning to understand that prayer goes with Jesus.  Tonight, she was looking at her Sunday School story from this morning.  I started singing Jesus Loves Me and she stopped me so that she could close her eyes and fold her hands.  It was so sweet and sincere.  She also wanted to say a prayer when we tucked her in tonight.  Of course, she didn't know what to say once we all bowed our heads,but she repeated her first prayer perfectly!  Y'all know I cried!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Lily-Learning so Much!

That little diva in the hat is starting to blend three letter words.   In other words, SHE IS LEARNING TO READ!!!  She has learned enough letters and sounds that we can start building small words (bug, pig, man, can, hat).  Today, she was putting some word puzzles together and I started showing her how to sound them out.  She caught on so quickly it shocked me.  The first word she blended by herself was hat.  I ran to Reece's room and got one of his hats.  She wore it all day long and was so proud.  She read for Daddy when he came home from work.  She was so excited to show off :)

Her English is getting better daily.  Today, she is proud to say she is a Bamberg.  She learned her last name and will tell us that she is Lily Mei Mei Bamberg.  She then names the whole family...Mama Bamberg, Daddy Baba Bamberg, Mary Ashtyn Mash Jie Jie Bamberg,and Reece GuGu Bamberg.  Of course, we can't forget Mickey Mouse Bamberg and Minnie Mouse Bamberg!!!  Ha   She was singing the Mickey's Clubhouse song in her sleep last we have to include the Disney gang in our family!  Nothing like hearing Hot Dog, Hot Dog, Hot Diggity Dog at 3:30 in the morning!!!

She's been asking us, "Are you Okay?" for a few weeks.  Now, she's also asking "how are you?".  Tonight she was looking for Trent and started yelling "Baba, Where how are you?" was hilarious!!!  Here are some other quotes from Lily:

*Just one more time, Okay?
*Mei Mei just one little bite, uhhuh...Okay!!
*I watch Mickey Mouse TV!!!!
*Mama, red is stop and green is go (sitting at the stop light)
*Mei Mei wants big schway...little more, Okay?  (as I'm filling the tub for her bath)
*Let's go, Mama!!  HURRY UP, Okay? (while I'm driving)
*Mei Mei eat cold chocolit (chocolate ice cream)
*I hot, cover open, cover down (throwing the cover OFF and to the ground)
*Baba sleeping, then (makes motion for eyes open), work just a little, Okay?  (every night when Trent kisses her goodnight, in other words...when you wake up and go to work, you better hurry home!!)
*I like it!!  (playing on Ipad)
*Mei Mei big, Mei Mei strong!!  (as she shows us her muscles)

It's so funny that we actually worried about adding an older child to our family because of the language barrier.  We have loved watching Lily's language develop and trying to guess what she's going to say next.  With our silly Lily, we NEVER know what to expect!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Year of the Dragon

Happy Chinese New Year!!!
We had a great night celebrating with our friends, the Raglands.  We are so blessed to have such great friends!!  Our meal at a local Chinese restaurant was sooooo good.  We all ate plenty of dumplings.

This is the Year of the Dragon.  Dragons are known in Chinese culture for wisdom and supernatural powers.  Our Lily decided she would use tonight to show her power.  Nothing supernatural about it, we know her
power comes from Christ who is strengthening her EVERYDAY!!

When we met her in China, she could barely lift a cup to her mouth.  She could NOT lift her arms higher than shoulder level.  I would lift her arms above her head and let go...they flopped quickly to her sides.  She had no strength.   We've been working really hard to strengthen her muscles after some recommendations from our favorite physical therapist and occupational therapist.  

While we were waiting in the car outside the restaurant, Mary Ashtyn yelled for us to look at Lily.  She was holding her arm straight up above her head!!!!  We cheered like crazy people and she was so proud of herself. 

 We asked her to do 2 (arms)...she just held up two fingers!! 

Our little ladybug lifted her arm and grabbed onto the hand hold on the ceiling of the van, grabbed on with her other arm and then PULLED herself up.  For a little girl who could barely lift her Mickey Mouse stuffed animal three weeks ago, she has come so,so far!!


What a tremendous way to start the Chinese New Year!!  Our little ladybug may just become our little dragon, using all her strength to show us all how BIG our God is!  We are so excited to see how much progress Lily will make in 2012.

I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me!!!
Philippians 4:13


Friday, January 20, 2012

Neuro Update

Miss Lily is ready to start school for the day, so this will be a quick update.  The appointment with the neurologist went well yesterday.  The doctor was so good with Lily, he had her laughing and playing in no time.  He examined her and answered all of our questions.  We've seen a few doctors who have said they really feel that Lily has some form of Muscular Dystrophy.

Although the neurologist does see some characteristics associated with MD, he was not ready to discuss that possibility.  He says that he has seen other children who were adopted make tremendous progress in the first year home. If we weren't facing hip surgery, he told us he would just send us home to wait and see for the next 6 months.  Since waiting that long is impossible, he will start some nerve conduction testing in the next few weeks followed by a muscle MRI along with a possible muscle biopsy.  All this testing will take weeks, but he thinks we'll have some answers by March.

It was honestly a relief for the neurologist to even suggest that Lily's muscle weakness could just be a result of poor nutrition and lack of use.  Our plans are to keep trying to fatten her up and getting her muscles stronger.  Trusting in God to handle the rest...

You lead, I'll follow. Your hands hold my tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

No More Wondering!!

It's only January, but we are dreaming about SUMMER!!  Lily has been looking at our Facebook pics of past vacations and she is so ready to go,go,go. She keeps making the swim motion and saying "big schway(water)".  She is practicing her swimming in the "little schway" which most of us just call the bathtub.  She has it all planned out...bathing suit, flip flops, purple sunglasses all while driving our boat on the lake.

Her excitement had me looking back at posts from our last vacation.  We were anxiously waiting to meet our sweet little ladybug and did a lot of wondering about her.  Click here to read that post.  Now, we have so many of our answers...

The kids questions were easy:  She loves our pictures of the ocean and sand, so at least that's a step in the right direction.  She does like seafood, sometimes.  She has her spot in the car and has picked out where she wants to sleep in the RV. She looks adorable with and without her piggy tails. Lily loves for Mary Ashtyn to fix her hair.  

Ours were a little harder:   Meeting our Lily for the first time was amazing, until the meltdown.  Almost 2 months later, we have not had any big episodes of grieving since we got home.  She can't communicate with us enough to tell us if she thought of us while we waited to travel, but she knew us and we could tell that she had looked at our photo albums a bunch.  Will she be able to go camping?  Of course, even if she is in a body cast :)

Will she be able to run and put her toes in the ocean?  No, not this year.  Not by herself, not yet...maybe not ever. (Still wondering and excited to see what God will do).  Will she love sitting in a row with the BamFam5 letting the waves wash over all of us?  YES, I can hear her giggling and squealing now.  She is so full of joy, nothing stops her from living and loving every experience.  She inspires me to enjoy every second of life!!

Is she overwhelmed by how much we love her?  OH NO!!  She is taking it all in stride.  It didn't take her long to get used to our hugs and kisses...she's even giving some of her own now.  At first, when we told her I love you in Chinese, she'd just smile and shake her head.  Now, she says "I love you" to us as we are leaving or tucking her in.

Lily hasn't been home very long, but we have learned so much from her already.  The months of waiting and wondering about her are over.  Now, we just wonder how we got so blessed!!

Please whisper a little prayer for Lily tomorrow.  We have her first appointment with her neurologist.  We aren't sure what testing and procedures will take place, but we are anxious for answers.

Trust in Him at all times; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge.  
Psalm 62:8

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


 It just hits me sometimes-WOW, these are MY kids!!  I am one very proud Mama.  God had the perfect plan for our family.  Three kids from three different countries who make our life complete.  Mary Ashtyn, Reece, and Lily are our miracles.

So, Mamas brag, right??  My turn, my turn!!  All three of the kids made me so proud last weekend.

Reece is playing Upward Basketball.  His team did an awesome job during the first game of the season.  They worked together so well and made their parents very proud.  Reece scored several times and did a great job on defense.

 Silly Lily enjoyed cheering for Gu Gu and DRINKING M&M's during her first basketball game.

Trent has coached Reece's teams for several years.  I am proud of the way that he encourages each of the boys and tries to teach them more than just the fundamentals of the game. 

Mary Ashtyn was at Shocco Springs for the weekend for NewSong, a 7 & 8th grade Honor Choir sponsored by the Alabama State Board of Missions.  We drove to Albertville on Sunday for the performance.  It was fantastic.  Once again, I was a very proud Mama.  Of course, I cried during a few of the songs...are you surprised??  LOL  Although I really am proud, I'm also forgetful.  NO camera :(

Our youngest has been busy with "school" for the past 2 weeks.  Until we get her arms and legs stronger and find out if hip surgery is needed, I am working with her at home to get her ready to start 1st grade next year.  Lily is doing great!!  She has learned 8 letters and letter sounds so far.  She is able to write the letters and pick out pictures that have the same beginning sound.    I've also had her copying her name.  She shocked me on Friday when she wrote her name by herself during therapy!!  I was so proud.  On Saturday, I was shocked when she wrote her name and then BaBa!!  She kept yelling Baba (Daddy in Chinese) and we couldn't figure out why.  When I looked at her dry erase board, I saw....
  She ran out of room for the last A, so she just wrote it on the other side.  Later on, she wrote is several times correctly in her Hello Kitty diary.  I've been trying to tell you people that my baby is a genius :)

I don't get proud Mama moments every day...some days Reece pokes his baby sister in the eye and makes her cry, Mash is ill and stays in her room, and Lily falls off her Daddy's back and bumps her face on the door frame.  When I say some days, I really mean TONIGHT!  Wow, what a day :)  So thankful that I'm able to remember the weekend.  Loving every minute of this crazy life!!

Friday, January 6, 2012

BamFam 6?????????

Along with our sweet little girl, we also have another new member of the family...M-I-C-K-E-Y :)  I bought him the week we came home from China.  Two weeks ago, Lily rolled over before falling asleep and asked for him.  Since then, he goes everywhere that Mei Mei goes.  Really...EVERYWHERE.

He goes cruising with Mei Mei.
 Still cruising...see his feet??

He goes to church with us...see his feet??

He snuggles with Lily EVERY night.
Mickey goes grocery shopping, to Wal-Mart, to pick up Reece and Mash at school and to therapy with us.  He has actually helped Lily learn how to use her stomach muscles to sit up...he's a really good model :)   Mickey even went shopping with us this week.  He really enjoyed Chinese food at the Food Court.  Lily insisted that Mama feed Mickey each time she took a bite of her food or drank her water.  Yeah, I looked really silly, but I'm not telling her no!  Neither of the big kids were ever attached to a stuffed animal or anything, so this has been hilarious to us.  It's so cute!!

Quick medical update:  Yesterday, I was very shocked to hear that our Dr. is now recommending hip surgery.  I was honestly relieved thinking that Lily didn't have to go through this.  In my fear, I totally disregarded the amazing news...Lily's hips are NOT dislocated!!!  She was diagnosed with bilateral hip dislocation at the age of 2.   The X-rays that we received from China seemed to show this.  Our ortho Dr. also thought that Lily's pelvis looked abnormal.  The CT scan from 12/27 shows the bones in place and the pelvis looks good.  I'm pretty sure I can hear God chuckling as He says, "See, I told you...I got this".  

I'm so thankful for one of my very best friends who helped me see the miracle in our news from yesterday.  Stephanie understands my worries about surgery, she's been there, done that and has three of the most perfect children in the world.  Click here to see for yourself. 

Our main concern about moving forward with surgery was the possibility that it could make Lily's muscle atrophy even worse.  Several doctors were consulted and they all recommended that we see a certain neurologist who specializes in hip dislocation and muscular atrophy.  This is the doctor that we need to help us diagnose Lily.  I'd feel much better if we had a clue to what's going on before we schedule surgery.  We were told that our chances of  being seen were slim to none.  When I talked with Steph today, she told me to get off the phone and call the neuro office.  She'd be praying as I begged.  I said a quick prayer myself and called.  Once again, God is laughing...we have an appointment for January 19!!!!!!!! 

Give your burdens to the Lord, and He will take care of you.  Psalm 55:22

Thursday, January 5, 2012

My Faith is Bigger

~Let your FAITH be bigger than your fear~

I got the call today that brings me to my is time to schedule our Lily's surgery.  When we met with the ortho specialist on 12/27, hip surgery did not seem to be the best option for us.  With Lily's muscle atrophy, we have to be sure that we don't do anything that will cause her to lose the function that she has.  No hip surgery and no body cast sounded soooo good to me!!  

Well, my phone rang while Lily and I were picking out chocolate in Wal-Mart.  It was the doctor letting me know that the CT scan shows that Lily's hips are NOT dislocated!!  Huh??  Apparently, her hip sockets are very shallow but the bones are in the correct position.  At this point, the doctor wants to go in and hollow out the sockets to keep the hips in place and also deal with Lily's hip contractures.  Wow!!  Guess who didn't finish her grocery shopping today?    

Trent and I have so many questions and concerns.  We have to be sure that this is the best decision for Lily at this point.  It's hard to move forward with a MAJOR surgery when we aren't sure the cause of her muscle weakness.  I have no doubt that we have been covered in prayer from the minute we left for China.  Pray with us now.

My friend, Lisa, sent me the quote about letting my FAITH be bigger than my fear.  Fear tries to creep in and take over when I think about what Lily will have to face.  Then I remember, God has brought us so far.  He will take us exactly where we need to be.  He gave Lily that huge personality in that little body.  He held her in His arms for seven years before we could wrap ours around her.  Our faith is in Him, totally and completely.

I found a picture for Lily's room a few weeks before we traveled, I bought it to remind me of the plans that God has for Lily Joy ChunHang Bamberg.....


Sunday, January 1, 2012

I just can't!

I have needed to blog about our first doctors visits for almost a week, but I just can't.  I need to update on the bloodwork that is checking for syndromes and the ortho doctor who thinks our Lily may have some type of dystrophy, but I just can't.  I need to tell you how brave this sweet girl was during her x-rays and CT scan, how I was so scared that she would freak out during the scan but she counted "1,2,3...weeeeee" as the machine started moving.
Daddy holding her feet with Mama talking and laughing with her during the CT.

I need to say so many things that may not fit into our fairytale, but I just can't.  I look at this face.....

I listen to her giggle and call for Mama, Babba, Jie Jie, &Gu Gu and I just can't share my fears....I don't have ANY!!  I have an overwhelming peace that only my God can give me.  As I watch her play and enjoy every minute, I can hear Him whisper, "she is home and she will be OK".

Just as I finished typing, I got a message that our first professional pics were ready!!   Stephanie Terry from Focus 1 Photography (click to see them) did an excellent job catching all three kids' personalities in the pics.  They are gorgeous.  Looking at them is just another reminder from God that He is in control and will take care of all five of us!  Maybe I should worry a little, but I just can't :)