Great Wall

Great Wall

Saturday, March 29, 2014

"All toddlers do that..."

Sorry to all the fans of Mila...its been a few weeks since we've done a blog post.  Honestly, with her its tough to find a few free minutes to sit down and do anything.  But we know a lot of people out there are wondering how we are doing so we made it a goal to get a post out this weekend.

We wanted to give an update on her teeth.  Unfortunately we haven't made much headway yet.  It seems that it is one step forward and 2 back.  We have had a hard time finding a dentist that will work on her because of her age.  Because she needs so much work done, she will need to be put under and that requires the dentist to do the work at a hospital.  What we are finding is that most hospitals aren't equipped to sedate kids under 3.  So we are kind of stuck trying to find a dentist that will work out of a children's hospital that can do the sedation.  We are now on our 4th dentist and we think she will be able to help us.  Unfortunately, the dentist is out of our insurance network so we aren't sure how that will work out cost wise.  But at this point, we just want to get her seen.  Both dentists we've seen so far have expressed that her mouth is pretty bad and are betting that she is probably dealing with mouth pain on a daily basis.  We just hate how we feel we were totally unprepared for this.  And she had another flair up this week like she did in China.  We noticed she was acting like she wasn't feeling good and then she started holding her jaw like she had when she got her infection in China.  So we got her to the doctor right away who put her on an antibiotic.  These types of infections will probably keep happening until we get her mouth fixed.  But she has bounced back after taking the medicine so that is another one down.

The other side of this is the formula that she is pretty addicted to.  Its really a double edged sword because on the one hand, her mouth is so bad that she can't really eat food normally so the doctor told us to keep her on the formula so she can get nutrition.  But then the dentist told us that if we have any hope of saving some of her teeth then we at least have to get her off the formula at night.  This was a pretty big blow to us because Mila is pretty needy at night usually requiring us to go in and attend to her several times in the night and usually end up in the bed with her.  Every time she wakes up, it is because she wants her formula.  So it was pretty daunting to us to now hear that we must get her off the formula immediately.  So this week has been all about that.  We have been making sure she has a bottle at dinner time, then we brush her teeth, and then switch her over to just water for the rest of the night.  It has been pretty traumatic.  Almost every night she has been having major meltdowns.  It has been trying on us.  And to top it off, Bobby got sick this week with bronchitis and Larkin has been taking all of the night duties.  So that hasn't helped.  But we do feel good about doing whatever we can to preserve what teeth she has left.  At least Mila has taken to letting us brush her teeth.  She happily goes into the bathroom and opens her mouth awaiting us to come in and brush her.  Its a little heart wrenching though because she whimpers in pain when we got over her top teeth so we have been going really easy.

We suspect that her teeth situation is also affecting her eating as well.  We do know that Miss Mila is a pretty picky eater because we give her tons of soft options that she should be able to handle but she often spits most of her food out after one bite.  We aren't for sure if she is using food as a way to control her situation.  Because we know some of the foods we give her she likes but she will spit them out just to spite us.  That is why we are glad she is at least drinking the formula.  But we have found that when we complain about this to other parents we often hear "all toddlers do that..."  Except we aren't sure if this is true or not because we see plenty of other toddlers eating just fine.

Mila's vocabulary seems to be growing.  She now says "I love you" except she has a hard time with "l"'s so she says "I wove you".  She also says "Mina" for her name.  She says "stop it" and "bottle" and "please".  We also feel like she is understanding us more.  We can ask her questions and she will nod her head yes or no.  She seems to be really attached to both of us.  In public, she will often look for us when she is off playing with friends.  If she can't readily find us, she will start asking for Mama or Baba until we are found.  She has been to a friends birthday party and visited both Lowes and ILC to see Mama's and Baba's friends.  

Saturday, March 8, 2014

One Week Home

Hard to believe but we have been home for one week now.  We think things are going pretty great so far!  We are settling into a routine with Miss Mila now.  On Thursday after a lot of tears and "see ya soon"'s, Bobby's mom took off and headed back for Kentucky.  She was a great help while she was here and helped us get home and transition back to normal life.  We really enjoyed our time with her and getting to see her enjoy her new grand daughter and getting to see Mila enjoy her Nai Nai.

It seems that Mila has settled into a better sleep routine now after a few nights of being up all night.  She typically wakes up around 8 and then takes a nap from noon to 2 or 3.  Then she is usually in bed by 9.  She is very clingy to us and usually wants us to be in close contact with her as she is sleeping.  Luckily, we started off having her sleep in her bed right away.  But we have been taking turns sleeping with her because she usually cries when she wakes up if someone is not there.  She is very sweet to sleep with.  If she wakes up in the night, she lays quietly in bed and gently moves her hands around including stroking our faces and patting beats on her tummy.

We have found that Mila has 2 distinct personalities.  One is when she is in a great mood and gets along with everyone.  In this mood, she laughs a lot and wants to play.  When she is laughing hard, she will cover her mouth with one hand or even two.  She also is very talkative and speaks in Mandarin a lot.  One morning when Baba was gone after sleeping with her all night, she woke up and spouted off a long sentence ending with putting her hands in the air and saying "Baba?".  We are wondering if she was asking where Baba was.  She is also starting to say some English words.  She knows "hi" and "bye" and her name.  She can also sing the ABC's up to the letter F.  She is also getting very attached to our cats and knows that our one cat is named Maggie.  She will gently pet Maggie and give her little kisses on her face and body.

The other personality of Mila is when she is a bad mood.  In this mood, she is often quiet and wants to be held.  If any one else approaches, she will moan a bit and hide her face.   We never really know which version we will get and the funny thing is that she will change on a dime.

This week we had her first appointment at AI DuPont Children's Hospital to see her International Pediatrician.  We wanted to have her seen there first just to have her looked over and make sure she got tested for anything that the Orphanage may have missed.  She was really great at the dr even when they were drawing blood.

We also had our first post placement interview with our local adoption agency, Madison.  China requires that several follow up interviews take place to make sure the child is being taken care of properly.  Our social worker is very nice and gave us some good advice about what we should be doing with Mila in these first few months to help her bond with us.  After having several care givers in her life, we need to make sure she knows that we are her mom and dad and that we aren't going anywhere.

Other than that, Mila is enjoying playing with her toys.  She likes stickers the most and likes to peal them off and put them on Mama and Baba.  We have a had several good visits this week from people from our church who have stopped by to bring food and gifts.  We feel so blessed to have such a great support group to help us along.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Home Coming

Well we've been home a few days now and just wanted to report how things are going so far...and things are going pretty great!  It took over the weekend for us to all get over our jet lag.  Luckily, Bobby's mom was here to help when Miss Mila was wide awake in the middle of the night.  Unfortunately, we all came down with a cough/cold from the flight home so that has been an extra thing we are dealing with, but even that has not stopped Mila from being a great little girl.  The first time in the house, we were nervous that Mila would be ok with everything.  Of course we were just ending an epic 24 hours straight of travel so anyone would be in a mood after that but Mila still seemed to like the house just fine.  Mom had decorated the house with streamers and balloons welcoming us home and had Mila's room extra clean.  We took her into her room and I think at first she was kind of unsure.  But then we started showing her all the toys we had for her and then she really started to get into it. It was so nice to see her playing in her room after so long of waiting to get her!  The first couple of days were just spent trying to get all of us on the same sleep schedule.  But it seems that now on Tuesday, we are all getting on track.  For the past two nights, she has slept through most of the night with Baba starting off sleeping with her and then Mama checking in on her the next night.  She is also taking a pretty decent nap around noon everyday.  Eating has been a little challenge.  We are finding her to be a bit of a picky eater, she has to decided when and what she wants to eat.  But we have been experimenting with a bunch of different things to see what she likes.  She has really taken to our cats and is very gentle when petting them and lets them smell her hands before she starts petting them.  She is enjoying playing with us and likes her stickers the most.  She also enjoys coloring.  A few of our friends have stopped by to look in on her.  Varinia brought her daughter, Olivia, over Sunday to play for a few hours and Mila really enjoyed that.  In all, we would say she is doing amazing for all that she has been through.  She is an amazing little kid and we really are glad that we get to have her in our lives.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Day 13-15: Coming Home

So, so happy to be writing this one from the comfort of our own couch!  That's right, we made it home last night!  And we're not going to lie, this trip was probably one of the most intense experiences of our lives!  So much happened that we have to be grateful for and we are so happy to have Mila home and safe.  Hard to believe that she is actually here with us in the house.

The last couple of days of the trip were very difficult because of Mila's infection.  It was tough on us as new parents to know that she was in pain and not be able to give her immediate relief.  Luckily, the Holt staff was great in helping us get her to a doctor so that we could get some antibiotics for her.  Luckily, seeing the doctor was actually quite easy.  Just a short cab ride through the city to his office.  He was a nice man from Singapore.  By the time we got there, Mila's face and eye were very swollen and red from the infection.  After a quick examine, he determined that an infection had started in her upper gum where her molars will come in and spread up into her sinus cavity which is why her face was so swollen.  They gave us two different strong antibiotics and wanted us to check on her fever to make sure she was ok by the time we had to start traveling home.  So the rest of that day (Wednesday) was spent in the hotel room, trying to get her better.  And poor thing, she was such a trooper through the whole ordeal.  We just couldn't believe we had to deal with that on top of everything else.  It took us some time to figure out how to give her the medicine.  It was pretty traumatic the first couple of attempts.  But we finally got a good dose in her and then just played the waiting game while the medicine did its work.  Thank goodness we live in a time when such things are available.  She slept really good Wednesday night which was a relief and woke in good spirits Thursday.  And luckily, her fever was down so everyone felt ok about her traveling.  Good thing too because we were scheduled to take a train to Hong Kong at 10am and we would have had to delay that if she still had a fever.

Thursday morning, we said goodbye to the China Hotel (we were ready to get out of that place) and took a car to the train station where a guide helped us get onto the train.  The train was actually pretty cool.  It was really nice on the inside and provided a quiet, scenic ride out of GZ and into HK.  It was about a 2 hr ride.  Once we arrived, it was a little hectic figuring out where our bags were and we had to go through immigration, but we got linked up with our last guide for the trip who took us to the Regal Hotel which was connected to the airport.  That was so great BTW and saved us so much stress because we were able to just sleep at the hotel, and then walk through the hotel right into the airport.  The hotel was pretty nice but no free wifi in the room which is why there were no blog posts.  Mila was doing a lot better by this time.  Her swelling had gone down a lot and she ate a really good dinner (one of the things we have struggled with her).  At 9am Friday, we checked out of the hotel and into our flight on United.  The airport was really nice in HK and from what we could see out the windows, a really pretty city (but there was smog).  Our plane was a bit delayed at the gate but by noon we were heading out for the VERY long 15 hour flight home.  Mila was really good on the plane and caused us little stress.  She mostly watched The Pleasant Goat on her iPad and slept.  Because of the time difference, we took off at noon on friday and landed at 2:30pm the same day because we gained all the time back.  Kind of nice but made for a long day because mama and baba didn't sleep much on the plane.  Getting back into the country was actually really stressful only because the immigration lines were REALLY long and there were only like 2 clerks working the windows.  Plus, since Mila had extra immigration paperwork, we had to go off into this side office while they finished processing her.  This was making us really stressed because of the already long flight.  But finally we got outta there, got our bags and then finally got to introduce Mila to Ni Ni (grandma) who picked us up at the airport.  It was a great reunion to see those two finally together!  Even though the ride home was brutal (3 hours with a lot of traffic) we were so glad to be back on American soil and know that Mila was finally home.

Getting to the house was exciting.  Our friends, the Clays,  had come and left a special Welcome Home poster on the front door, and Ni Ni and done a really good job prepping the house for us including balloons and streamers all over the house.  Miss Mila was a little intimidated/fussy when we first came in, but she quickly came around as we showed her the house and all of the new toys in her room!  Now it will be so fun to get to experience all the firsts with her as we start our new lives as a family together!

We want to thank everyone that has shared in this journey with us!  It was a long time in the making and the reward is so worth it!  We thank you all for your prayers, concerns, and comments that helped us get through this crazy time in our lives.  More to come!