Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Two months later: what a difference a month makes!

One month ago I posted with an exhausted heart and body.  This month it is so dramatically different.  Anna Faith has transformed before our eyes.  She knows how to trust, is beginning to communicate needs, and understands most of what's going on around her.  She loves her church family so much she actually enjoys going to the nursery and playing with other children and adults!  I've found her in our friends arms on several occasions happily playing.  She has gone next door to her Grammy's house a few times now for an hour or two and has done well. This doesn't mean she isn't attached to mommy and daddy any
more.  As soon as she sees us she is desperate to get to us!  We still have times when I have to hold her at home when she's jealous for time.  This will probably be a habit that will need gradual breaking.  We get lots of crying fits when she wants her way and doesn't get it (just like my boys when they were toddlers!)  We weighed her a couple weeks ago and found that she had gone from 20 to 23 pounds in one month.  She was 16 pounds at 7 months.  That means she gained 4 pounds in 11 months at the orphanage but 3 pounds in one month once at home!  A big proof of thriving at home.  Another thing we're discovering about her: she is left hand dominant, which explains her love of art and music!  She can be found scribbling with her brothers often and when music that has a beat comes on, will start dancing her heart out.  She even tries to sing along at times!  She is very bright at catching on to anything like puzzles, switches, knobs, and lids, working on them for long periods of time to crack the "code" to do what they are supposed to do.  Looks like she'll be a lot like Mommy was as a little girl!  
A common question we've been asked is if she still speaks Chinese.  No, her Chinese is gone.  She only spoke a couple words to begin with, but her understanding is almost all gone.  We speak English to her 95% of the time and were told that it would be gone after about 6 weeks, and the experts are right.  She now speaks about 20 words in English, learning a new word almost every day.  Her understanding of what we're saying is very evident.  Just say "play outside" in a sentence and see her run to the door, or "clean diaper" and watch her lay down to be changed.
The biggest question we deal with is "When is she having her spots taken off?"  Now we can finally answer that question!  We went to Nashville last week and met with one hour with Dr. Chester our plastic surgeon.  She is an amazing woman with the personality of a sweet grandmother.  After looking at Anna Faith's nevi she determined she will do the spots on the top of her head up to her eyebrow all in one surgery, and no tissue expansion therapy is necessary!  We were a little skeptical, but she assured us that there is enough extra skin in her scalp to cover over the area that will be cut out since the skin they attach to is a narrow strip.  A second surgery will be to insert a tissue expander in her neck, and third surgery three months after that to use the stretched skin (we will be giving her weekly injections to stretch it) to flap over the spot under her chin, and possibly a forth and fifth surgery to insert an expander behind her neck and later flap skin over those nevi.  As for the wide spot on her cheek, she's going to look closer at how she can do that while Anna Faith is under anesthesia in the first surgery and let us know.   So what we imagined would begin in May will start 3 months later in August.  We aren't too upset about waiting to August because since there will be no tissue expanders on her head it is as if we just gained three months anyway and we can enjoy summer activities (especially the pool) without restrictions.  Dr. Chester wanted to wait until August because she is concerned that Anna Faith needs to adapt to being home first.  A surgery for a child is a traumatic experience and she doesn't want our daughter to associate surgery and pain with her relationship to her new family.  We are at peace with that rationale, and know that God's timing is perfect.  We continue to receive hats for her.  The count is up to 43 now!  It is fun to dress her in her outfits with a coordinating hat every day when we go out.  She is getting used to them too.
It is hard to imagine our home without our daughter in it now.  She is such a part of our family and our daily routine.  She lines up to get her teeth brushed, get in the bathtub, sit down to eat, and load up in the car just like her brothers.  She goes right to sleep every time we lay her down and wakes up every morning just like clockwork.  She has become for the most part a rather easy toddler as long as she is being entertained!  Josiah asked me a couple nights ago "Can we get two more sisters?"  With all the blogs, articles, radio broadcasts, and videos I've been watching I've been thinking the same thing.  God's answer is very clearly "wait" at this point.  We aren't ready.  But Kris and I definitely don't hear a "no".  I see the empty beds in her room and keep thinking "we have room for more!".
Is that what our Father thinks every time another man, woman, boy or girl comes into His family?  "There's room for more, I need to knock on the door of one more heart, inviting them to be adopted into MY family for forever? "  He will never be satisfied until all the lost are redeemed that He has predestined to be a part of His family.  I see so many pictures, faces, hopeless situations, and keep thinking that same thought: "There's room for more".  There's never too many flowers.  Is God speaking that same message to your heart, brother or sister in Christ?  Does He want you to open up your heart and home to an orphan who needs a forever family?  It is an experience that no one can accurately describe when a child is rescued, redeemed, and transformed when she enters into a loving family who wants her, accepts her unconditionally, and takes her in.  I want to take them all home with me, but I can't.  What I can do is plead with the hundreds who read this blog.  Pray, pray, pray, that God may impress on yours and others' hearts what He wants YOU to do about the crisis of orphans in this world.