Thursday, March 29, 2012

4 Months Ago...

Our forever with you started.  You weren't exactly sure about us at first, but the four of us were so in love with you.  We loved hearing you call us MaMa, BaBa, GuGu, and Jie Jie.  Finally, we had our MeiMei!

For the first hour in our hotel as the brand new BamFam5, we weren't sure we'd ever get you to stop crying.  Oh, how you grieved!  Oh, how my heart broke because I couldn't comfort you!   I will never forget your sobs and that pitiful sound that you made and how helpless I felt.

Wow!!  It's amazing what a netbook computer and MaMa's can of Coke can do!!  We were all so relieved to see your little smirk, that would eventually turn into a smile.

You fell asleep on that first night holding BaBa's hand.  Walking out of the bathroom and seeing him grinning like a complete idiot and you sleeping, I took my first deep breath since we left the hotel lobby with you crying.

Four months later, you still call me MaMa, but BaBa is now Diddy/Didly and we rarely hear GuGu and JieJie.  It's all about Reece and Mash now.  I love watching the three of you together.  Nothing like hearing you giggle with Mash in her room and argue with Reece over the television or why he should give you ALL of his candy. 

You rarely cry these days, but I can comfort you now.  You will snuggle against me and let me rock you and rub your hair.  You still like to fall asleep holding hands, but now we get kisses, hugs, and I love you's every night, too.

You are our dream come true.  It's like you've always been here and I can't imagine a second without you.  You've been through so much in the last four months, but you are so strong and determined.  You keep me going through the tough days with your silly little self! 

 Happy 4 Month Gotcha Day, Lily Joy!
 We are so thankful that you're forever ours!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Lily's Sillies

So, Lily Joy is a complete goofball :)  How does this happen??  We go around the world, to three DIFFERENT countries, and I bring home a mini-Trent each time!! 

For instance:

"I need the mope"  After Lily hits the slow motion button, "No, not that one...where's the hurry?"  Now she is fast forwarding through most of her movie :)

As we get our checkout paperwork from the ortho specialist today, Silly Lily takes it from her, looks it over, and then asks this very educated woman, "can you read?"  When the doctor tells her yes, she hands her the paperwork back and demands that she reads it to her :)  I told you she was BOSSY!

She has a bug bite on her foot, that of course she can't reach in her hard pants.  For some reason, it itches much more at EVERY 30 minutes!!  By 12:30 last night, I woke Trent up and kicked him to the couch :) Lily took over his spot so I wouldn't have to move to scratch her foot ALL NIGHT LONG!!  As we are on the way home from Birmingham today, she informs us, "I like sleepy in Mama's bed!!  I sleepy with Mama 'gain".  Trent wanted to know where he was supposed to sleep.  "Diddy sleepy on couch!!"

Lots of goofiness and giggling at our house tonight because.....

Lily keeps us laughing and loving every minute we have with her.  She is so sweet and full of life.  With our three kids, we never know what's going to happen next and WE LOVE IT!!  The last four months haven't been all happiness and giggles, but we wouldn't change a thing!  

 Weeping may endure for a  night, but joy comes in the morning!!  Psalm 30:5

Our joy comes from the Lord, from the life that He has blessed us with, from the sweet blessing of three perfect children.  There are tears and some heartache,  but our God has plans for us.  We'll face them standing strong together and sometimes cradled in His arms, but we'll be OK...He promised! 

We found out today that our Silly Lily has Muscular Dystrophy.  Please pray for all of us as we adjust to our new normal.  Please don't think any differently of our little ladybug.  She is the same as she was before we got this diagnosis...a determined, tough, BOSSY, beautiful genius (really y'all) that God gave to us for a reason.  Nothing will be impossible for her.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Play Ball

Another season of baseball has kicked off for Reece!  This year, he is playing for the Royals and is pitching, playing first, and catching.  I was a proud Mama during his first game!  As the starting pitcher, he only allowed three runs.

Reece on the mound
Sorry for the blurred fence, Lily was in my lap and it was the best I could do :)

He got a hit each time at bat!! Whooo Hoo!!!! 

During the last inning, he played on first and made an awesome catch to end the game.  I had walked down to another field to watch my nephew bat and missed it!!!!  Trent keeps assuring me that it was the best catch he ever made :)  Thanks for rubbing it in, honey!

Enjoying GuGu's game and getting out of the house!!!!

Sisters proud of their amazing brother!!

Friday, March 23, 2012

How is Lily?

 Still Silly!!

 Still Learning...she wrote her first sentence today "Lily sat."

 Still a DIVA...getting her zebra mani (We love you, Aunt Lisa)

Still Posing

Still crazy about Mickey Mouse

How is Lily??  Tough. Bossy. Hilarious. Disliking her hard pants. Ready to go to the beach. Bossy. Cute as Ever.  Speaking Excellent English. Not sleeping well. Bossy. Stronger. Eating like a little pig. Sometimes whiny (of course). Bossy. Bossy. Bossy :)

We take her back to the ortho specialist on Tuesday and are anxious to hear if her legs will need to be repositioned and then re-casted.  Mostly nervous that could mean more time in the hard pants.  She'll pat  the top of her cast and say, "I no like the hard pants"...we're all in agreement on that!!

Things I don't want to forget from this week:

I read her the story of creation from her Read Aloud Bible.  We had been studying that in Sunday School before her surgery, so I was curious to see if anything was making sense.  When I asked her who made the world, she said "church".  Not quite there yet,but at least she didn't say Wal-Mart!!  LOL

I have not mastered this body cast and will admit that I have accidentally ran her feet into the wall a few times...oops!!  Now when we pick her up, she reminds us to "buh careful".

Lily has learned that she has to wait while her Micky Mouse games are loading on the computer.  Now, anytime we have to wait on anything, we are loading.  Dipping the bubble wand into the bubbles, she'll say "bubbles are loading".  I was trying to get her to hurry up and use the restroom because my back was breaking.  Silly Lily says, "wait the tee-tee is loading"!!!  Oh, goodness :)

Tonight, she said something about Mei Mei.  I picked her up and jokingly told her she wasn't Mei Mei.  She said, "no, I Lily"!!  I asked her if she was Hao ChunHang and she answered, "NO,NO I am Lily".  It took her almost three months to claim the name, but she finally likes it :)  I am so glad that Trent insisted on keeping part of her Chinese name in her full name, I never want her to forget.

We have moved her bed against my side of our bed so that I won't have to get up each time I have to reposition her during the night.  For the past few nights, she wants to fall asleep holding my hand.  She kisses it a few thousand times and says, "Sweet Dreams Mama, I love you".  Makes everything right in my world...hard pants and all. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

This Little Girl Caught My Heart

One year ago today started off like any other day around here.  Waking up and rushing the kids out the door and off to work.  I'm a speech pathologist and travel to several schools during the day.  As I was leaving one school, I talked to a friend about someone in her family who was considering adoption.  I hurried on to my next school and had a full afternoon of speech therapy.  Reece, Mary Ashtyn, and I headed home from school and followed our normal routine:  snacks, homework, cooking supper, and Reece and Trent off to baseball practice.  As my supper cooked, I remembered my conversation with my friend.  I even remembered the name of the agency that her family member was thinking of using.  If you know me, you realize that is miraculous...I never usually remember anything, especially on my traveling days at work.

I found the agency online and scrolled down the Waiting Children's List.  I've looked at these lists often and have honestly never felt like I had found "my" child.  Several close friends have found their children this way, I just never really understood it.  OK...who is starting to chuckle a little??   Ya'll know what happens :)

I watched a few videos of these precious children and really hoped they would all find families, but I knew my family was complete.  I scrolled back up to the top of the list and decided to watch all of the videos.  These kids were older, I was just curious.  Trent and I had never even thought about adopting an older child.  I clicked on "Angela"....

Password:  angela1

The first glimpse of her took my breath away.  I did not understand what was happening, but I had never felt anything like this before.  I clicked on the second video...

Password:  angela2

I was completely gone...that girl was MINE!!!!!!  Wow!  What was Trent going to say??  LOL  He was still at baseball practice and had NO CLUE that we just had a seven year old child :)

I e-mailed the contact person from the agency after I watched these videos several times.  Love to read these, I was still trying to convince myself that this sweet little ladybug wasn't supposed to be a part of our family. 

Sent: Tuesday, March 22, 2011 6:17 PM
To: Lisa
Subject: Angela
Hi, Lisa!  I am not in the process of adopting, but saw Angela's video and would like more information about her.  We have two children who were adopted internationally (Russia and Kazakhstan) and I was told about your agency from a friend who is working with you at this time.

This little girl caught my heart :)

Date: Tuesday, March 22, 2011, 6:20 PM (She responded in 3 MINUTES)
Hi Kristie,
Attached, please find Angela’s information that you have requested. Please let me know if you have any questions.
Blessings to you!!

Sent: Tuesday, March 22, 2011 8:09 PM
To: Lisa 
Subject: RE: Angela
Thank you so much for responding so quickly.  I look at waiting children photos often and have never been so touched by a child before.  Has anyone shown interest in her?  I would love to know that someone is trying to adopt her, because I sure didn't plan to fall in love with her :)

At this time Angela is still available for adoption. Several people have requested her information, but no one has moved forward for her adoption yet. Keep praying!!

A year later, the little girl who caught my heart has been home for 3 months.  We are still so amazed by how God opened both of our hearts a year ago today.  By the end of the week, we were submitting paperwork to bring our beautiful joy HOME!!

Our three blessings are my daily reminder that God has the perfect plan for our lives. 


Friday, March 16, 2012

What a Difference

On Sunday, Lily couldn't lift her head off the pillow and was barely using her arms.  When we put her on her stomach, she would bury her face and sob.  We worked all week on getting her up and making her use her neck and arm muscles.  Today, she held her head up and colored for almost 30 minutes!!

Now if we can just get her to sleep through the night!  She wakes up crying and only settles down once she is laying on my stomach.  No more sleep for me at that point, but I don't mind the cuddling!!

Her cast is so heavy, I am aching once I move her.  Just can't imagine how she feels with it on all the time.  She has told us a few times that she doesn't like her hard pants, but she rarely complains.  We are so thankful for her personality...sweet as can be but tough as nails at the same time :)

The Lord, your God, is with you. He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing.    Zephaniah 3:17

Monday, March 12, 2012

1 Down...5 to Go

 Mei Mei and Mickey-matching hard pants

It hasn't been easy and it sure hasn't been pretty, but we have survived our first week of Lily's hard pants!!  The muscle spasms and pain were rough for several days, but seem to be much better now.  Toileting is under control which is a major relief.  At this point, Lily is tired of being confined.  Since Friday, she has been very sad and has cried a lot.  It just breaks our hearts that we can't even really comfort her because of the cast.  So frustrating!!!

Saturday was a tough day.  She just couldn't get comfortable and refused anything that we tried to do.  At one point, I just picked her up and took her outside to ride in her wagon (with piles of blankets and pillows).  She was not happy that I forced her outside, but I knew she needed a change of scenery.  ALL she wanted to do was lay on her blanket and watch Mickey Mouse.  We noticed that her arms and neck were extremely weak.  When we picked her up, Lily's head would just roll forward.   My biggest fear about the surgery and body cast is that she will lose what muscle strength she has.  It terrifies me.  Please pray with me that she will stay strong and not lose all the progress that she has made in the past 3 months.

Sunday was not much better.  My Silly Lily was lethargic and just sad.  I was crying, she was was a full blown pity party.  I tried to get her on her tummy so that she could color or draw, but she just laid there with her head in the pillow and sobbed.  Finally, I just pulled her to me and laid down on my back.  She wrapped those sweet little arms around my neck and we both sobbed.  I promised her over and over that her Daddy and I would always love her and take care of her. 

Today,  we woke up determined to have a good day.  Trent and the big kids are home for Spring Break, so we made Mickey Mouse shaped waffles.  Lily loved them and giggled while she ate Mickey's ears.

 The best big brother in the world painted with her while she laid on her tummy!!!  Finally :)

We have some friends who just got home from Disney World, so Anna Blair and Reagan came by to bring her surprises.  She loved her Mickey necklace and bracelet!!!  They also brought her a picture of Mickey Mouse, and she has looked at it all day long.  I had to make her take off her new jewelry before bed. Don't you think it's time for BamFam5 to plan a DW trip??  Well, AFTER the hard pants are gone!

Wearing her new dress from NaNa, waiting for her friends to visit

Now that I'm not scared I'm going to hurt her, I can carry her on my hip.  I took her outside to watch Trent and Reece play basketball.  She giggled and cheered for them.  We finished off our afternoon making Play Dough ice cream treats.

Praying that today is the beginning of getting our Silly Lily back.  She is a smart little girl and this is really tough on her.  I've said it a lot, but I know God has big plans for this little ladybug.  This is all part of His plan, so we'll fight our way through the next 5 weeks.  Can't wait to see how God uses this experience to remind us all that nothing is impossible for Him!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Time Flies....

when you're having fun!!!

The last week has not flown by and I know the next six weeks will drag...but it's been 3 months today since we landed in Birmingham with our third little blessing.  What sweet memories we have of landing at that airport with the sweetest babies in the world.

 Bringing Mary Ashtyn home...this huge sign hung in the airport "Welcome Home Mary Ashtyn" 
At least 50 people were there to meet our first little miracle!

  Our second blessing meeting his big sister, at the airport of course :)
This is one of our favorites, it's the first time they saw each other.

 BamFam5 Home!!!
Sweet hugs from cousins at the airport

God's plans for blessing us with Mary Ashtyn, Reece, and Lily were absolutely perfect.  It's amazing how each decision we made was leading us to our children.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.  Proverbs 3:5

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Body casts are not fun!!!  Lily is doing as well as can be expected,but this is a huge adjustment.  The biggest challenge has been getting her to the bathroom.  I ordered all kinds of crazy stuff online to make using the restroom easier. ruined rug and house shoe later, I realize they just don't work!!  Trent and I make a great team for a lot of things, but not when it comes to body casts and bed pans!!   LOL  I'm laughing now, but I was sobbing last night.  I finally realized this afternoon how to prop her up and actually let her use the toilet!!!!  She and I were both so excited, you'd have thought we'd won a million dollars :)  It is a huge relief! That's been my biggest fear about the cast, so I do feel so much better.

Sweet Lily had a rough day.  Thankfully, she has slept through the night since we have been home.  She woke up this morning and just couldn't get comfortable.  We were warned that she would have muscle spams and I'm sure that the incision sites hurt.  She started sobbing and cried so hard her hair and pillow were both soaked.  I sat beside her and rubbed her feet and hair praying the pain would stop.  She finally fell asleep, but winced and moaned and cried out in her sleep all afternoon. 

It is such a helpless feeling...there is really not much I can do to comfort her.  Her entire body is covered and there is no way to snuggle with her.  Don't get me wrong, I sit and hold her with this cast on, but it is awkward.  I miss holding her and feeling her little legs wrap around me.  

I did get a glimpse of my Silly Lily after we got the bathroom routine figured out.  She was laying on her bed dancing and cheering.  She was back to her old self when my friend visited tonight.  Lily took over her phone and made pictures and bossed us around, as usual.  The highlight of her night was when her crazy Daddy RAN her around the house in her wheel chair trying to run over Reece and Mary Ashtyn.  She was squealing and screaming and would probably still be enjoying it if Trent hadn't hyperventilated :) 

After another 30 minutes of pain and tears, Lily is on the floor singing and fake sneezing.  Now, she's getting comfortable to "looka  book"...The Hunger Games!!  Have I mentioned that our little diva doesn't want anything to do with the three thousand  books in her room??  She wants books just like Mama and Jie Jie!!

 It's impossible to be discouraged for long around our little miracle.  

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


We are tired and struggling to adjust to our "new normal" for the next 6 weeks, but we are home.  Lily's Dr. came in late yesterday afternoon and was so pleased with her recovery, she let us come home a day early!!  We were very nervous about bringing her home but were so anxious to get back to Reece and Mary Ashtyn.  It was so good to wrap my arms around them and they were so glad to see Mei Mei.

Lily slept really well last night and is still snoozing as I type.  She woke up around 4 am for more pain meds,but she had an easy night.  If I can be half as strong as she is, we'll make it through these next 6 weeks with no problem!!  It was so obvious God carried us through the last few days.  I am so amazed by the peace and comfort that He has given us.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Long Day-Done

It's been a long day!  So glad to say that the surgery is behind us!!! Lily was terrific.  She woke up in a good mood and enjoyed taking pictures in the waiting room before they took us to a room.  I was so worried about her getting upset when she left.  I'll just say that anti-anxiety medicine was our friend.  She was so goofy by the time she was rolled away, she didn't have a care in the world.  I'm proud to say that I only cried a little.  It was hard to sob as Trent and I were giggling at our extra SILLY Lily.

 Lily and Mickey with matching arm bands...ready for surgery. Loving the happy meds :)

The OR nurse called to say that Lily had entertained them until she fell asleep.  She talked and giggled and had them all charmed!  The surgery started around 10:15 and by 12:00, we were anxious for some news.  We finally gave in and had them check on her.  What a relief to hear that they had finished one hip and that Lily was doing well...on to the second hip!!!!  Huge answered prayer.  By 1:30, our awesome doctor was filling us in on the surgery details.  They were able to finish both hips!!!  They straightened them to about half of the way they want them.  Everything was so tight, they may have to sedate her in a few weeks to try to stretch her some more and then recast.  I'm putting that in God's hands and know that He will take care of our sweet girl.

They brought our smiling, groggy girl to us around 4:00.  Trent and I were so relieved to see her happy and waving as soon as she saw us.  She's had some pain in the hip area and has cried several times.  She is begging us to hold her, but she has so much attached to her, it's impossible.  We have just climbed in the bed with her to keep her settled.  Around 6:00, they brought her some liquid pain medicine...a little Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and a Ring Pop and she is finally sleeping.  So proud of our brave little miracle.

God carried us through this day.  I know that we were covered in prayers that brought us peace on this very long day.  This pretty, blue body cast looks very scary, but we are going to be be fine....HE promised.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Surgery Day

I've started this post several times but I just don't know what to say.  Sweet Lily has to be at the hospital at 8:30 in the morning.  Her surgery will start at 10:30.  I still can't imagine our Silly Lily going through this.  I know it's necessary and it will help her,but this is so very hard. 

We have explained to her what will happen.  She understands that she will go to the doctor and they will give her medicine to help her sleep.  While she is sleeping they will fix her legs so that she can straighten them and then they will put on her "hard pants"...body cast.  Lily asked Trent today if it would hurt.  It broke his heart to have to tell her yes.  I couldn't even stay in the room since I was crying so hard.  She is a smart little girl and we can tell that she is really thinking about this surgery.

My big kids are worried about Mei Mei.  Reece really wanted to go with us for the surgery, but I know he wouldn't be able to see Lily in pain.  It would be too hard on my tender hearted boy.  Mary Ashtyn asked if this surgery meant Lily would never walk in her crouch again.  It bothered her that she wouldn't.  That sweet little girl walking in the crouch is who we all fell in love with.  Her body may be different, but it is so perfect to us.  It's crazy, but I think we're all a little sad that the surgery that will make her better will also make her different.  We honestly love her just the way she is and it's hard to let that go.

After I finished bathing Lily tonight, I wrapped her in her towel and took her into her room.  Our nightly routine is to snuggle while I hug her really tightly until I get her dried off.   Tonight, neither one of us wanted to let go.  I kept telling her I need to get her jammies on, and she kept asking me to hug her tight.  I really just wanted to lock the door and hold her forever. 

No doubt that God will carry us through this surgery and recovery.  He has amazed us with the way that He brought the BamFam5 together. 

 Please pray for our girl.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Happy Birthday, Lily!!

Lily's birthday is March 5, which is surgery day.  We didn't want her to get a body cast for her birthday, so we made yesterday her birthday for this year :)  Her party was so much fun and she loved every minute of it.  There are no words to describe how it felt to watch her enjoying her "first" birthday, so I'll just share a few  pictures.

 Pre-party celebration

Tattoo time at the party...she was covered in them by the end of the night!

 Playing on scooter boards

 Cutest little Donald ever!

 Beautiful Daisy

Lily loved her cake!

 Cupcakes...iced and sprinkled by Lily
 Lily's Smash Cake...making up for the one she missed on her very first birthday in China.

 Enjoying the animal balloon show.

 Lily lifting weights...she is strong!!


 Excuse my camera strap, but look at that sweet smile!

We didn't have to tell her, she dug right in!!

Silly Lily strikes again :)

 Who wants a balloon??
All the kids loved the "balloon man", it was fantastic.  Thanks so much Eddie Walker!  Please check out his fabulous ministry here.

 Emma with a monkey in the tree.


 Mickey Mouse this one!!

 Reece's Alligator

Mary Ashtyn's balloon corsage

 Sweet girls

Mash and her sweet friends covering the birthday girl with tattoos!

 Happy Birthday, Ladybug!!
We love you... icing stained teeth, tattoos and all!!!

Our sweet little blessing