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.
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?”
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!
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:
- 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!
- Pediatrician – we’ve seen her twice now. Once for a physical and once for a follow-up re: fluid in the middle ear.
- 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.
- 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)
- 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.
- 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!
- 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!
- Visit to Lincoln Memorial Garden for a hike with Lucy on a beautiful day.
- Visit to 2 friends’ houses on play dates
- Several visits to Grandma and Grandpa’s
- Visit to Auntie Erin and Uncle Todd’s house
- Visit to the Illinois State Museum
- Just returned from a weekend visit at Great Grandparents’ (Mathews)
- Swimming at the YMCA
- 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!!