Monday, February 21, 2011

Surgery Day

Hope had her surgery to repair her open palate last week. I regret that I never got a good picture of her palate before the surgery. This picture gives a glimpse of what it looked like.

The surgeon said that the severity of Hope's palate on a scale of 1 - 10 was a 10. We knew she had a severe cleft, but that confirmed it. In order to fix her palate, the surgeon scraped out the tissue from inside Hope's cheeks and used that to create a palate. The surgery was scheduled to take 4 hours, but it lasted 5. Hope was scheduled for surgery to start at noon, which was a little difficult since it meant she couldn't eat at all that morning. We learned later that the surgeon schedules his more complicated surgeries for later in the day so that if the surgery goes late, he doesn't get behind schedule with the rest of his surgeries. Here are some pictures from before the surgery.

Hope in her hospital gown:

Reading to Hope to keep her distracted:

Daddy wearing the surgical cap to encourage Hope to put it on:

It worked:

Obviously the hardest part of the day was post-surgery. She spent 2 hours in post-op trying to keep her oxygen levels steady. They couldn't send us up to her room until she was able to keep her oxygen levels above 90 on her own. She was so swollen and clearly in pain. I was able to get her to stop crying by singing her favorite songs to her.

After 2 hours in post-op we were sent to our room. We were allowed to be admitted onto the oncology floor since neither Hope or us had been sick in the last two weeks (our other three kids were a different matter). They are very strict about who is allowed on that floor, which was a blessing for us since it meant that Hope most likely would not be exposed to unnecessary germs that are prevalent in the hospital. The night was long and Hope did not sleep much. Mike went home to get a good night sleep so he would be well rested and could relieve me the next day. The hospital released us at 11:00am the next morning even though Hope wasn't taking liquids yet. It made me nervous, but it ended up OK.

This is Hope and I right before we went home:

Right now Hope is on an all-liquid diet until March 9. On March 9, she will be able to eat soft foods. We are really looking forward to that. Poor Hope is really wanting to eat. Overall, we are pleased with how everything has gone and it is a relief to have the surgery behind us. Thankfully, it should be several years before her next big surgery!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day

We decided to try and make Valentine's a special day for our family. I decorated the house a little. We had a special dinner which consisted of a heart shaped pizza from Papa Murphy's, heart shaped jello jigglers and strawberries (because they are red). After dinner we played a game of Valentine's bingo, using conversation hearts. Hope seized the opportunity to stuff as many conversation hearts in her mouth as she could when I wasn't paying attention. We finished the night off by watching Charlie Brown's Valentine DVD. Here are some pictures from our evening:

Blizzard 2011

We had 17.2 inches of snow fall in a 24 hour period. The kids had school canceled for 3 days, which is unheard of since we live in the city and go to the city Christian school. Unfortunately, we did not enjoy it as much as we would have liked. Micah was really sick the entire time (fever, sore throat, etc). Samuel and Mary Kate would go outside when daddy got home from work. Otherwise, we were just stuck in the house. It felt good when we were able to get back into our routine. Here's a good picture of Samuel sitting on our mailbox. There's so much snow, he was able to just walk up to it and sit on top:

Chinese New Year

We celebrated Chinese New Year on February 2. It just happened to be the same day we had a blizzard with 17.2 inches of snow. Thankfully, my parents and my sister and her family live close, so we were still able to have the party. Since we hosted a Chinese dinner for Mike's family for Hope's birthday, we hosted a Chinese dinner for my family on Chinese New Year. I'm still a novice at this, but I tried to be as traditional as I could. I had fresh flowers and a bowl of oranges, which symbolize good luck. I decorated with red streamers and lanterns, which is the color of good luck in China. We had dumplings, which symbolize prosperity. And we passed out red envelopes with money in them for the children. Next year I hope to make some of the dishes, but this year I was happy enough to buy them from a local restaurant. Here are some pictures:

Hope's Birthday

We celebrated Hope's 2nd birthday in January. I was surprised by how emotional I felt on her birthday. I kept thinking about her birth mother and more than anything I wanted her to be able to see a glimpse Hope and to see that everything had turned out OK. Only a small percentage of orphans make it out of China and the chances of Hope getting out were very slim. I wish Hope's birth mother could know that she got out and that she has a family who loves her so much.

We had three birthday celebrations for Hope. The first was a party at my sister's house. Her son, James, was born 4 days before Hope so we had a double party for them. It's amazing to me that I will always know what I was doing the week Hope was born. I was helping take care of my sister's kids after she had her 7th baby (yes, she and her husband have 7 kiddos). Here are some pictures from that party:

The next day we celebrated with Mike's family. Hope loves princesses, so we had a Snow White theme. We had the family over for Chinese food and cake and ice cream. Here are some pictures from that gathering:

Finally, we took the kids to an indoor water park for a night on Hope's actual birthday. Hope loves water and we had a lot of fun. Here are a few more pictures:

Happy Birthday, Hope. We love you!

Family Christmas Picture

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Eve and Christmas Eve pasts

Every year we get the kids new Christmas pajamas on Christmas Eve and then I take a picture of them by the fireplace. Here are some pictures that are very special to me:

Dec. 24, 2008

Micah is 5, Samuel is 3 1/2 and Mary Kate is 20 months old. At this point we had been in the adoption process for 14 months. This is the month that we updated our file to accept a child with a special need. I remember spending a lot of time during that Christmas season wondering if our daughter had already been born. You can see in the picture that Samuel is holding a Chinese doll to represent our unknown daughter. Hope was born 23 days after this picture was taken.

Dec. 24, 2009

Micah is 6, Samuel is 4 1/2 and Mary Kate is 2 1/2. We were still waiting to hear any news about our daughter. We hung a stocking for her and all we could do was pray that she was being taken care of. On Christmas Eve we had the kids write letters to their baby sister in China.

Dec. 24, 2010

Micah is 7, Samuel is 5 1/2, Mary Kate is 3 1/2 and Hope is almost 2. Our family is finally all together!!

I love this picture too:

We went to church, came home and ordered Chinese food (by the way, Hope was literally giddy as we were serving her dinner). After dinner, the kids opened their pajamas. I wanted to take their picture and of course they were silly about it. I just love how Hope joins in with them. It's so good to have her home!