10 months later….

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Where has time gone by?! Actually, our family has gone through a lot in the last months, especially with moving into our new house, dealing with an incompetent builder, and just trying to be a family who does normal fun family things! 🙂

 

So, since our family is changing, I’m changing the blog too. Come on over to the new “Chopsticks and Sporks”

http://chopsticksandsporks.wordpress.com/

 

Where has time gone?!

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I just noticed that the last time I made an update was in December….um, actually 3 months ago today. There is so much to say about our little Ruth and the family we are becoming. I have been exhausted, extremely busy and just have wanted to add a post on a good day. But here is an honest post.

ADOPTION IS SO HARD!!! To be quite honest, I think it is I, the one who has wanted to adopt for ages who has had the hardest time adjusting. Maybe I thought it would feel more natural, but the bonding is just slower than I expected. I know what books say, but I guess I thought the bonding part happend to other people. The truth is, we’ve been blessed with the most amazing daughter who has accomplished so much in the last 4 months. She’s a fighter! I think the stubborness has gotten her this far!

1. She came to us primarily a formula only eater through a bottle and is now eating only solids and drinking only through a cup or straw. AND SHE GRADUATED FROM THE FEEDING TEAM! And did I mention she’s gained 4 lbs in 4 months?! She’s getting those awesome chubby cheeks.

2. She has bonded with lots of people now and freely waves and blows kisses to everyone. She doesn’t turn her head around from new people anymore.  (Or close her eyes tight).  She is my little shadow.

3. She’s getting potty trained….slowly, but by her own will. She jumps up after going and waves her arms up in the air and squeals!

4. She can point to her nose, fingers, hair, and sometimes to other body parts

5. She knows all the motions to “patty cake”.

6. She has a sweet tooth – we learned she can move chairs and climb up on chairs to get to her favorite – Peanut Butter Patty Girlscout cookies.

7. She goes nuts over cheetoes! (Ok, are we seeing a pattern in my favorite junk food? lol)

8. She can now scribble – before she couldn’t even put any pressure on a crayon to draw.

9. Her receptive language has exploded. She understands a lot of what we ask. (Like “Lie down”, “go to sleep”) or takes us to what she wants.

10. She runs for her shoes anytime she thinks we may be going out or sees me ready to leave.

11. She has an interest in babies – patting her newborn cousin Katelyn or mothering over the babies in the nursery at church.  She kisses her baby doll at every opportunity.

12. We need to work on the sign language more, because she has limited speech (of course she can say “DADA” and not mama, “Ca” for Cat, “Do” for dog, “Ga” for grandma or grandpa). She is consistent with “more”, “all done”, and “please”.

13. She loves our kitten Izzy and Izzy loves her. Her bed is Izzy’s favorite spot to sleep. Not good at night time though as she keeps pouncing on Ruth when she moves.

14. She loves baths!!! She’s a little fish!

15. She immitates grandpa – picking up the remotes and pointing them at the TV. 🙂

16. She hates to be told “No” to and she’ll lie on the floor and quietly wimper if she gets in trouble. It drives me crazy I admit!!! Not sure if the all out screaming fits are worse….

I went to a Mom’s conference – Hearts at Home – over the weekend and heard a great way to describe delayed children’s “milestones” as “Inchstones” and they should be celebrated. The hard thing is going from a super precocious child to a super delayed child. I need to document these “inchstones” in the midst of our frustrations when she really is making great strides considering where she was 4 months ago. People who met her 4 months ago and are just meeting her again describe a completely different, happy, independent girl!

Most of all – Ruth is trully a very happy little girl and she smiles and laughs a lot.

She’s overcome all kinds of specialists now. She had surgery twice in February – tubes put in her ears and repairs of a rectal fissure. (ouch). She has follow up with the Audiologist on Wednesday to test her hearing and afterwards sees the doctor. Then in the afternoon a follow-up with the GI doctor. Then I think we’re home free. Just an every 6 month check up with the cardiologist and dermatologist to monitor her skin.

We have had the awesome opportunity to stay in touch with her special Chinese mama – the assistant director at her orphanage – and stay in touch with other children from her orphanage. One family close by adopted a 13 year old girl from her orphanage a month after us. I hope this will provide her with special closure and connection with her past as she gets older.

Ok, the little monkey keeps climbing onto the table beside me so I better go to prevent a disaster!!

 

 

WE ARE HOME SWEET HOME

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We have been home just over 3 weeks and it’s been completely chaotic. Trying to figure out a “new normal” and allowing for everyone to readjust. To those far away, we are yes indeed still alive. We were asked if there was a glitch at the U.S. Consular allowing us to adopt Ruth.

Our last 2 days in China were not overly eventful. We spend a morning at the Guangzhou Zoo and the next day we went to the U.S. Consular office, which was a quick procedure.

Ruth really enjoyed the zoo and especially the lions who roared for us. The zoo was nice, but also some areas weren’t ideal for the animals – large animals in smaller enclosures. A laugh for us was the huge enclosure for our American pest – Raccoons. They were the fattest raccoons we’d ever seen and at first didn’t recognize they were raccoons. Here are some pictures from the zoo.

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All cameras weren’t allowed in the U.S. Consular, so the most we got to do is take a picture with the sign downstairs. We had Ruth ready for the day in a U.S. Flag shirt from Old Navy with the year 2012 on it. Afterwards, we got to go to the largest book store in Guangzhou and get a few books for Ruth in Chinese – one is “The Napping House” in Chinese and the other is a children’s book in both English and Chinese. We’ve bought a few other learning books in hopes she’ll have interest in learning Chinese in future years. Right now Lucy is really interested in learning Chinese and was quite enamored by the brief visit by my sister-in-law Jean’s family who spoke to her in Chinese. She said they need to come visit more so she can learn Chinese. Just the other day Lucy and I went out on a “date night” shopping and she informed me that she’ll be moving to China after she gets married to learn Chinese and that we didn’t need to worry, because she’d come back to Springfield to visit and said “you’ll come to visit me too of course, right?”

 

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We were thrilled to get Ruth’s visa on Wednesday, November 21st, so we were able to change our flights to come home on Thursday – our American Thanksgiving. And we were soooo thankful to get home. We are thankful for the opportunity to adopt Ruth, but we were so glad to come home to normality. There is only so much one person can take living in a hotel for so long without getting out much. The 14 hour flight was long, but we all stayed healthy. We had an additional 3 ½ hour drive home, but despite exhaustion I’ve never been so happy to get in the car home.

We were fed well at the hotel buffet though. Check this out: Omelets on demand!

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Lucy has had the hardest time adjusting to sharing her parents, especially me. Both Ruth and Lucy fight for my attention. Both are definitely mommy’s girls. They’ll swat back and forth at each other for room on my lap. Lucy was an all-out tyrant the first few days George went back to work and I was alone with the girls. At one point I had to call my parents to talk me back to sanity. Lucy asked us to send her back to the orphanage several times, because she “cries too much”. Lucy likes to be Miss Bossy telling Ruth where to go, what to do, and if she doesn’t come she picks a whining/screaming Ruth up to where she wants her to go.  By the end of the day the girls are giggling together and loving each other on our bed, and Lucy is telling her how much she loves her. Go figure! I can’t get a good picture of the girls together, because Ruth thinks Lucy is going to nab her and starts her swinging.

Ruth is starting to adjust and bloom. She’s very attached to me especially and is warming up some to her Daddy. We need to take more pictures, but just trying to function with life.

I’ll list all the things we’ve done:

  1. Cardiology appointment – learned that Ruth’s ventral septal defect is quite small and appears to be constricting. She has mild aortic root dilation and small left ventricular enlargement. Most surprising we learned her heart is in the center of her chest and not more towards the left like most people. But, we got a good report and only need to follow up in 6 months!
  2. Pediatrician – we’ve seen her twice now. Once for a physical and once for a follow-up re: fluid in the middle ear.
  3. Laboratory 3x now – poor Ruth has had her blood drawn twice and a drop off of poo. We learned she does have a benign bug and the name is too long for me to remember. We just have to have a recheck in 6 months. Good news – all blood work has been normal.
  4. Audiology – Ruth had flat tympanograms = ear drums didn’t move when air was blown in her ears. (Therefore the fluid in the middle ear – and will be seeing an otolaryngology specialist middle of January to determine possible need for tubes in her ears)
  5. Neurology and EEG – to determine possible seizure activity. Ruth had to be sleep deprived for the test, i.e. parents sleep deprived too. We don’t know results yet, but this all came about from the witnessed seizures in China. She’s had brief type similar episodes, but nothing to the extent in China.
  6. International Adoption Clinic in St. Louis – this involved infectious disease, child psychology, and occupational therapy. We didn’t learn a whole lot new, but were encouraged that Ruth is delayed, but right on track and they seem to believe she’ll catch up it seemed. We got to visit our friends Rob and Jen in their new place, so the visit wasn’t all business!
  7. Visit from the health department to have her screened with early intervention. She’ll be seen at home by an early intervention specialist, OT/PT, speech pathologist. When she turns 3 she will start a program at the local school Monday-Friday for 2 hours in either the morning or afternoon (probably morning) to help her catch up developmentally. Finally our tax dollars at work! Woohoo!
  8. Visit to Lincoln Memorial Garden for a hike with Lucy on a beautiful day.
  9. Visit to 2 friends’ houses on play dates
  10. Several visits to Grandma and Grandpa’s
  11. Visit to Auntie Erin and Uncle Todd’s house
  12. Visit to the Illinois State Museum
  13. Just returned from a weekend visit at Great Grandparents’ (Mathews)
  14. Church
  15. Swimming at the YMCA
  16. Cousin Kenna’s 4th birthday party

Upcoming appointments: ENT, pediatric dermatology, pediatric gastroenterology (to look into a possible malabsorption issue for failure to thrive). All the home visits listed above.

And so now maybe everyone understands why we seem to be MIA.

 Big concerns right now primarily lie in the feeding category, as in the lack of eating. She is seeing the feeding team tomorrow to work on this. She is refusing lots of foods. Great Grandma was tickled to death she loved her chicken and biscuit casserole (purred of course). We were too considering she normally won’t eat anything that doesn’t taste somewhat sweet. She is supposed to drink 5 bottles of Pediasure daily, which is very expensive. Starting next week we’ll be getting it delivered – covered 100% by our insurance!!

Good news – she is becoming more social in her own way and adventuring out. She has now learned how to climb the stairs, climb on chairs to get things off of the table. (Not sure if that’s good news as she fell off the chair the first time I caught her). She smiles readily and blows lots of kisses. MMMMAAA Even when we aren’t expecting it. When the doctors said good-bye at her neurology appointment she randomly blew good-bye kisses to them. We are finding Ruth is more of an introvert, unlike some of the updates given from China. If you know Lucy, we are welcoming the idea of a calm child. Lol

Some Christmas pictures were attempted on Friday at the Old State Capital Building, but neither girl would cooperate much and ESPECIALLY not together. Ruth does not trust Lucy to touch her at this point in time. (Although they are giggling together and touching at this second).

We are hoping to be in our new house the middle of January, but have a very slow go of things and are trying to stay optimistic. A lot of changes in the Tucker household!

As we are preparing for Christmas we are so very thankful for our hope in Jesus and the meaning of Christmas (even is Jesus wasn’t really born on December 25th!!) And we know that God listens and answers to prayers in His way and in His timing. We wish you all a very Merry Christmas as well!!

Happy Birthday Carrie

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Happy Birthday Carrie

Due to the Guangzhou marathon, it was decided to chill out at the hotel in the morning. Traffic is bad enough without roads being closed. So when afternoon came, we headed out for a little tourist action which began with a trip to a historically important temple. To be more specific, this temple is where Buddhism was established within China.

There are incense sticks for sale to burn so that you can send your messages to Buddha…or something. Our guide told us that the sticks are kind of like cell phones. I suppose that means that people burn more than one to get a better reception.

Like any tourist type draw anywhere in the world, there are people looking to make easy money out of your apparent affluence. One of these are the fake monks we were warned about. They will give you something that is ‘free’ but then try to talk you into giving them money, that or offer to tell your fortune. The way you tell a real monk from a charlatan is that a real monk will never ask for money. One big theme of Buddism is to be free from want of anything so it follows that a real Buddish monk would not own anything nor desire to get anything other than food. I’m not sure if the monk in the photo is real or not but he didn’t ask any of us for money; I did see him playing with a cell phone so I would guess he is probably a phoney.

People pray to these dudes…presumably so that they don’t hurt them: They look well capable of harm and I want nothing to do with them thank you very much.

After the temple we went for a little shopping and gawking at a market where weird and wonderful things are sold and gawked at…

Ruth didn’t want to cooperate for the obligatory photo with statues.

George liked the thought of waking up to an alarm clock of the people. We think they were made out of tuna cans.

Dessicated sea horses are probably good for virility or something. On offer were also certain dried male organs from deer. In the interests of taste, those did not get photographed.

Scorpions don’t come much fresher than this.

Efficient family transportation is popular here and they still say that China is one of the worst offenders of pollution and emissions.

Efficiency is also very much on the mind of those with more commercial enterprises.

There is, of course, often a little trade off in terms of safety.

When we got back to the hotel I had planned on getting Carrie a birthday cake but the hotel had beaten me to it and made me look bad in the process.

It was a box made out of chocolate, containing a sponge cake with whipped cream.

All in all, a very successful day.

Medical Exam

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Saturday was the day for Ruth’s medical exam. As with the other official things we have had to attend, it seems that many other adoptive families were there doing the same thing at the same time. This was especially busy and was arranged as a kind of production line where you go from one station to the next for the various parts of what makes up the entire exam. I think that you only visit stations applicable to your child’s age and medical condition or special need. First was a photo which got attached to the paperwork that you took with you from area to area and after that was the general exam for an overall assessment.

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Next was the ENT doctor to test her 5 senses and then came a weighing followed by the cardiac examination so that the doctor could listen and deny that there was a murmur.

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Lastly was the TB test that Ruth took very well.

Today we have to go back and have it checked but we can already tell that it didn’t react.

As long as the day ends with smiles, all is well.

Shopping in China!

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I got the opportunity to go out shopping with Ann from Red Thread and had a great time and got amazing bargains – probably over $1,000 worth for $150. My goal is to get a small gift to give Ruth on every GotchaDay anniversary until she’s 18 and a set of pearls when she marries one day.

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Ann took me to a nice Chinese restaurant. Doesn’t this look yummy?

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On a sad note, Ruth had 2 seizures last night. She has been seizure free today (Sat). The USA is very picky about medical needs of adoptive children that haven’t been revealed in their referrals, so the potential is great to have a huge delay in the event she were to seize at her medical appt. It went well and we’ll post pics later.

Ruth and I had a long nap this afternoon. She loves mama snuggles.

One good advance – she swallows everything in her yoghurt now. Chunks and all instead of spitting it out at me.

Here are some likes:
1. Chewing on rice crackers
2. Strawberry Yoghurt
3. Rides in the stroller
4. Congee
5. Being thrown up in the air
6. Bubbles
7. Balloons
8. Mama hugs and snuggles
9. Putting things in and out of sacks, helping me clean up
10. Baths!!!!
11. Cell phones

Dislikes:
1. Being held by Daddy (unless he’s throwing her up in the air)
2. Anything being taken away
3. Plain water
4. Solid foods

Ok, good to see the likes list is longer!

Letter From Ruth’s Orphanage Mama

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Below is a letter given to us written by Ruth’s Chinese mama (nanny) to give to Ruthie as she gets older:

 

Dear Yufen (daughter),hello!
When you are able to read this letter, I believe you are a pretty big girl. That will be the most pleasant thing for me. Hope you will still remember me then. You spent your days here with me and the other nannies in the first two years of your life. You made us very happy. Your first smile, first step, first time eating congee, first time eating cake, We experienced all these first times in your life which made us understand how great life is.
Daughter, you were a naughty little one when you came. You were very weak. Each time there was some group illness in the CWI, you were one of them. I always hoped a nice family could come to adopt you, because I can always see miracles in you. Daughter, it was Aug.11,2012 when you could walk independently. I was very excited that day and took pictures. I’ve saved the pictures in the flash memory for your parents.
Daughter, your daddy and mommy are so great people and they adopted you. They will be with you forever.They will make more miracles happen to you. Remember to thank them when you grow up. Without their dedication, you will not have such shining tomorrow. I believe you will become a good girl.
Daughter, there are many children from our CWI in the US. I hope you can keep in touch. They all love you very much. Hua Xiaodong is your older sister. I heard you will live in the same town. She will go to the US soon. I’ve told her to take care of you. Hope you can become good friends. When you grow up, come back to China with your big sister to visit your Chinese “mama”.
Chen Min, your Chinese mama, 11/13/2012