Wednesday, November 27, 2013

First Days Home

Oh where to being?  The past 5 days have gone by fast in hindsight, but the days and nights have seemed like slow motion.  Our big issue is sleep!  Or lack thereof.  Maggie is still fighting to be on China time, which is 13 hours ahead. So she wants to be up all night and sleep during the day.  She's sleeping in our room in a pack in play for now, as we don't want to subject Allie to the many night wakings! That will be a transition for the future to get Maggie into her room with her sister.

Right now when we first put Maggie to bed, she'll sleep pretty easily for 3-4 hours. Then the fun begins. The first couple nights she would wake off and on, up for a couple hours, then sleep for a couple hours. The past couple nights she has just been awake for LONG stretches.  Monday night was up from 1-7am and Tuesday night was 2-6:30am.  That is harsh being awake that much in the night!  We've tried giving her Benadryl and liquid Melatonin, so far nothing is working. She just CAN'T sleep.  We know that this is normal and it's going to take time, but it's so hard!  We're delirious at some points, having to be up with her all night and then be ready to take care of the 3 big kids during the day. Of course Maggie is happy to sleep the day away since that's nighttime to her. But we're trying to keep her naps pretty short.  Jeremy went back to work today; our first day apart in 3 weeks!

Otherwise she is doing pretty well. We've kept things very low-key.  She has met her grandparents, aunt and uncle and cousins. She is pretty receptive to new people, likes to be talked to and teased. Lately, though, she doesn't want anyone to hold her but me, which is a good thing!

She also doesn't want me to put her down.  She is at her happiest when I'm on the floor playing with her. Which is what we've been doing a lot of. We all get on the floor together and tickle and tease her; you should hear the big belly laughs from her! She's learning to tickle them back. She loves to crawl over to them and pull herself up on them and just stand there holding onto them.  She talks to them and loves their attention.  They love to try to help feed her, but she really prefers me to do that part, which again, is great.

She's also doing great eating baby food now!  She is liking cereals, fruits, veggies and yogurt. Nothing solid so far, though.  It's so strange to me to not be able to hand her a graham cracker to munch on in between meals.  Allie lived on graham crackers when she came home and it helped with the fussies, so I wish Maggie could do the same. She'll get there, though. I'm hoping she'll pack on the pounds now that she's doing formula and baby food.

We had our big International Adoption Clinic appointment on Monday. It was a little soon to go for that, but it was important to us for Jeremy to be able to go, so we needed to get that in before he went back to work.  It was such a hard day for little Maggie Fei. We were there for 4.5 hours!  She got examined and evaluated.  Overall she gets a clean bill of health, although the doctor did discover what she thinks is thrush (yeast infection) in her mouth, up in her palate.  So she's on oral and topical meds for that.  It's interesting trying to get meds for her right now, as we don't have insurance for her yet. By law, she should be covered by our insurance starting the day we got her; but it takes time to make this happen since we have to show proof with adoption paperwork now that we're back. We've been told they'll backdate it, but right now we have to pay full price for things like meds up front. Her one med was $122!!! Yikes.  I know this is just the beginning of medical expenses for her, but it's hard to swallow for a minor infection!

They also told us she is not even on the charts in height, she's a shortie!  Her weight is around 3rd percentile. She has the cutest fat rolls all over despite being tiny.  They're not concerned about her size, though, and neither am I. I think we'll see big changes in her soon.

She's also has hyper mobility-really flexible! Partially due to low muscle tone thanks to being stuck in her crib all the time.  They also think that will correct itself now that she gets lots more floor time.

Although she's 13.5 months, developmentally, she's around the age of a 9-10 month old, which is typical for a baby who was in an orphanage.  Again, they think she'll catch up in her own time.  Speech is another story-her speech skills are around the age of a 6 month old; in part to being in an orphanage, in part to the language difference and in large part to her cleft lip and palate.  She'll definitely need speech therapy once her surgery is completed.

She also got a TB test, a flu shot, another vaccine, and a blood draw. The blood draw was terrible. I remembered it from Allie and I was prepared-they need 12 vials of blood.  That's a lot from a little body! Of course she hated it and screamed with all her might. Unfortunately her veins are so little that they struggled to get a good one... 3 technicians and 4 sticks later, they gave up. They only got about half of what they need and we have to go back another day.  Ugh.  I think at that moment Jeremy and I both realized that this is just the beginning of what she is going to go thru medically and it's going to be so hard to watch her suffer.  At the same time, we're thankful she's finally home to get the medical care she needs, so it's such a bittersweet thing.

We're also in the process of collecting stool samples, that's really fun. So next week we'll drop those off at Children's hospital and try the blood draw again. She'll also see the Plastic Surgeon, genetics, and the ENT. We should get more of an idea of the plan for her cleft and where we go from here. I also have to make her hearing and vision appointments!  Some of her paperwork indicates concern in both those areas, so we definitely want to get that checked out.  Hearing loss is common with clefts; she definitely hears some, we're just not sure if she hears all the way.

So we've had a whirl-wind first few days!  It's been an odd combination of trying to relax and rest, while at the same time getting a jump start on her care.

Words cannot express how thankful we are to be home. To have clean drinking water, ice cubes and cold drinks, fresh air and blue skies.  Being in urban China made me realize how much I love living in the suburbs!
Most of all I'm so so so happy to be back home with all my babies.  They keep coming up to me with extra hugs and snuggles since we got back.  They continue to be such troopers-it's not easy to have 2 parents who are back yet exhausted and a new baby getting lots of attention.  They are all a little tired, cranky and emotional right now, but we'll get on track.

Overall our trip went so smooth. It was hard, but there were no paperwork snaffoos, which we are so thankful for. And she's doing so great attaching to us, which is most important.

Mommy-Allie helps with bottle time.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Home Sweet Home

We arrived home around 5:30pm Friday night.  There are no words to describe how thankful we are to be home.  We are exhausted but so happy.  Maggie slept probably a total of about 5 hours in the 24 hour travel time... not much!  She really fights the sleep.  Last night was rough, since it was daytime China time... she was up most of the night and cried a lot.  So Jeremy and I are running on just a few hours of sleep in the last 48 hours.  But seeing her with her siblings is priceless and so worth it!  She has loved playing with them today. The next days and weeks are going to be rough as we adjust and Jeremy goes back to work and we try to get into a routine. But I'm so beyond thankful to be at this point! Will continue to blog and post pics. Thank you for the continued support, we are very thankful for all of you!  

First picture as a family of 6!

Sisters together at last.

Her siblings had to help take pictures of her homecoming.

After fighting sleep most of the way home, she finally crashed on our walk from the plane to seeing everyone.

Our welcoming committee.  Never so happy to see these faces!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Last Full Day in China

Whoo-hoo!! We have Maggie's Visa! We can officially leave the country now.  It's been a day mostly of waiting. We took some pictures with our wonderful group this morning.  We've been blessed with 5 other amazing families to go thru this journey with.  We'll miss seeing them every day, hard to believe we live scattered around the country.  We will definitely be staying in touch with them.  The girls wore their Chinese silk outfits, but none were took happy about having their picture taken this morning.

Maggie slept great again last night, but has been out of sorts all day.  We're hoping to lay her down a little early for bedtime and go to bed early ourselves. We leave at 5:45am for our bus ride to Hong Kong.  We originally though we had to leave at 5am... 5:45 sounds so much more doable!  So we're packing up tonight and getting as much ready as we can.  

We are scheduled to arrive home Friday evening.  We'll be posting arrival pictures as soon as we can! Thanks to everyone for your words of encouragement, prayers and support.  We have the best family and friends!!!!! 

One of the last pics as a family of 3... can't wait to see all my kids together.

Our awesome group.

Six orphans no more!  
These kids have been through so much and have been such troopers this week.  
They are all precious.

Pretty girls.

Done. :)

Yet another fabulous guide, Jason.

Sleeping Beauty.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Consulate Appointment...So Close to the Finish Line!

We had our Consulate Appointment this morning.  We weren't allowed to bring in anything with us into the Consulate Building except a few baby supplies in a clear bag.  No watches, no cameras.  Wish we could have taken a picture to document the occasion.  Inside, we took an oath as a group with other adoptive families.  Basically we had to promise that our paperwork is true and that we've held up our end of the bargain for Maggie's citizenship.  Then we had to complete an "interview", which was basically the handing over of paperwork.  It's the last step to get her Visa tomorrow so we can go home!  Our whole trip was planned around this appointment, so it feels pretty good to have this behind us.

We also went to the pearl market today and got a pearl necklace for both Allie and Maggie.  Pearls here are about the third of the cost of what we'd pay in the states. They typically give them to girls on their 16th birthday, so we thought this would be a neat thing for them both.

Both those outings took place before lunch, so we were all fried by the time we got back.  Thankfully we had the rest of the day free, so we were able to nap and get rested.

This afternoon we walked around the outdoor garden/waterfall area here on the 4th floor of our hotel, then went over to the outdoor pool area. We didn't swim, although we could have. It's in the 70s here and the pool water was very warm.  We hung on the pool deck for quite a while.  Maggie got down and crawled around and had the best time.  It was the longest she had played on her own, and she ventured all around and got dirty and had the best time.  So good to watch her play out in the fresh air versus being cooped up in her crib inside the orphanage.

She was happy yet again today.  Playing more, crying less and getting braver.  She also discovered she likes yogurt.  She had a little of mine at breakfast, then had a whole container of her own tonight!  I think after watching us eat she decided to give it a try. She's still trying to figure out how to do it; her tongue pushes a lot of it back out her mouth.  Then a good amount of it comes back out her nose due to her open palate. It's unbelievably messy and pretty funny.  She doesn't care, she just licks it off her face as it drips back down into her mouth!  We're going to go thru a  lot of bibs and burp clothes at our house cleaning up after this girl as she eats.  I'm so excited she finally ate real food!  She was pretty excited herself.

She also enjoyed her bath tonight instead of crying thru it.  I'm curious to see how she does once we're home. I think she has settled down into our routine here of hotel living, bus and cab rides, and being the center of attention.  As much as we've enjoyed our time bonding with her, and this hotel is amazing, we're ready to move on and start the process of getting home.

Tomorrow (Thursday) is our last day here!  We're basically waiting for our Visa's to come in. We need to start finding a way to get everything to fit into our suitcases!

Friday is travel day.  It will take us about 24 hours to get home, starting at 5am Friday morning.  Here's what getting home will entail:

4 hour bus ride to Hong Kong airport
14 hour 40 minute flight into Chicago
3.5 hour layover
1 hour flight home

Two other families in our group will also be on the long flight home with us.  I can't imagine how we're going to survive it, it seems like such a huge mountain to climb. The flight here seemed like it took days; now we have to do it with a baby. We didn't get her a seat, but we're hoping to make use of a plane bassinet, if she'll sleep in it.  She likes to be on the move, so being stuck in the same seats for that long isn't going to go over well.  We appreciate any prayers sent our way for smooth travels and for safe and on time flights!  I'm literally counting down until I can see all my babies again, so I need flights to be on time!

It's also a little bittersweet as we prepare to leave her birth country.  We're leaving behind all the sights,  smells and culture that she's accustomed to.  We're leaving behind her birth mom, wherever she is.  I can't imagine what she has been thru and we pray for peace for her.  We would love for one day to be able to know her.  We're so thankful for her bravery.

Another bottle and another cab ride.

Didn't love the swing so much.

Taking in the sights.

 Bubbles in the face!

Yummy toes.

Just sweet.

 The rooftop garden at our hotel with waterfall in the back.

Rooftop pool.

Just chillin.


 Silly time with Daddy.

The little yellow ring is her favorite toy.

Love this little face.



Where there is Maggie... there is drool.  Lots of it.

See my favorite toy?

 I'm so happy to be outside!

On the move.

Little ham.

Whole lot of personality in a tny little body.

She gives kisses with her tongue. :)

Snuggled up after bathtime.

My boys!!!! Can't wait to see these faces in person!!!!

 My big girl. So ready to get home to her!