Saturday, March 5, 2016

Bring your boldest self...

to your biggest challenges.

Someone I greatly respect and admire said that recently and it came to mind today. Just when I needed it.

Bring your boldest your biggest challenges.

Not a time to be weak. Not a time to doubt. Not a time to wonder.  Biggest challenge...?

Boldest self.

Things have gone better the last few days. Sorry for not blogging, internet was rough and we travelled to Guongzhou last night.  ZhenAi's first plane ride and my 2 hours of begging God for the winds and air currents to obey Him. :(   Despite having a very very rough 6 hour flight from Mexico to CA last March...this was really difficult for me. In other words, that rough flight last year didn't help me as many thought it would.  I almost blacked out a few times. I was one person separated from Dean (a blessing for him) and sweet Izrael (4y) sat with me with a Chinese businessman.  Ray was so sweet. When she got dinner and wanted to open it, I couldn't even look at her I just kept saying "hold on mommy isn't feeling well" as I rubbed her leg and bless her little heart, she put her meal in her back pack for later  and rubbed my arm the rest of the way.

Focusing on good news: we made it.  Actually the final descent and landing was amazing and I was the flood of emotions after the storm.

Oh my heck you guys.  I'll make it.  There was one time on the plane that I remember the verse God gave me before leaving for China "have not I commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do NOT be afraid do not be discouraged...for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go" (joshua 1:9.)  and I totally relaxed.  And it was rough.

ZhenAi did great on the flight and appeared to really like it. At the end I leaned out and looked over and waved at her and it was really cute. She lit up and waved.

This morning we had her medical appointment.  I got to meet the oh-so-handsome Cole with his new mama Stacie Morgan (whom I have loved from afar this last year) and that was wonderful.  It was interesting to say the least.  The doctor really tried to see where ZhenAi is at developmentally.  Writing 1+1 on a piece of paper and ZhenAi wrote "X".  She tried in many different ways over and over even getting her to copy 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and we got "x" and "1".  The doctor was pretty strong and really instructing her to copy but the response was always the same.  I think the doc helped me out with hygiene as she really lectured ZhenAi to listen to her mama and bathe better and stay clean. ZhenAi nodded rapidly so we will see if that does anything. :)

Then we went to another area where they gave her simple instructions to test her developmentally and ZhenAi was not tracking at all.  Then there was a lot of whispering back and forth with the guide. I asked for everything to be interpreted, though the guide seemed hesitant to do so. (Meet Janice...the ultimate realist...sugar coat NOTHING).  She said "they asked if you are aware that she is very very developmentally delayed.  I said well yes.
The doctor said "she does not speak. I mean she says a few things, mostly a few words and they are very slurred like her muscles in her mouth do not work.  She understands but she does not speak." She then asked ZhenAi if she can speak and ZhenAi emphatically shook her head no.

Yes I'm the "do not sugar coat anything" mama...but it doesn't mean it doesn't affect me.  You know when you know something but then you have it confirmed....even though you knew it all along...? Ever have that moment? Yah. Me too.  With Azlan. With Taizi. With anything.  Even when you 'know' it ... but you kind of hope you are wrong. Somehow. Miraculously.


Anyway I came home and needed to have a good cry.

It's ok. I'm ok. We are ok. She's ok. Everything is ok.

Please...know I'm sharing very transparently and there's not a chance of us changing our minds.  A principle I live my life by is that "decision trumps emotion". When we said "Yes" to God when he called us to Ridiculous Faith...we said Yes.  Not knowing the journey ahead...we said Yes. Thats the surrender. Without a doubt.  This is our daughter.  I'm just sharing my emotions and struggles along the way.

We have had some amazing moments.  Moments where she has reached for our hand to hold hands.  Another moment where she came behind my back and kissed my back repeatedly.  Another moment where she helped Nazara with something.

She shed her first tears last night. When we came into the hotel room and she realized for the first time she was not sleeping in bed with me/us and she freaked.  She wailed.  We set up a nice, soft, comfy bed for her and she was not going to get in it and pointed to our bed.  We nicely told her no and I went to lay down in her bed with her but no way.  It was a real struggle. Once she got in there she was going to wail.  For as long as she could. Dean finally played christian music over his phone and she stopped immediately. All the while glaring at us :)  When the song came on "Proof of your love" it was perfect for the moment.  Let my life be the proof of your love....let my love look like you and what you're made of. How you you is sacrifice!

Many of you have asked privately where she is developmentally an understand the question. Let me answer it here. It could change for sure, we know that. This is our fifth adoption.  The hard part is our experience with developmental delay only became more significant with Taizi so it's hard to block that out of my mind.  We saw more potential in country with him than is actually there and as he has 'grown' in age his behaviors and delays have become more extreme and evident.

We would put her around 4 years developmentally.  We could be off and it may change but that is the answer to the question based on what we have seen so far.

We look forward to the medical appts at Children's.  We are thinking there is hearing loss as well. We have to speak very loudly to get her attention and she is very loud when she talks.

I'm posting pictures from the last few days in no particular order. I've not posted these for a few days so I'll give details above each photo.

We went for a long walk in Kunming one evening and stopped at the bakery on the way home. So good! 

At the park we stopped to have an artist do a portrait of ZhenAi.

It's the 25 year old version of her, I guess :) Still something lovely to always have from her home province.

I stopped to buy the girls real flower crowns. They were about $1 USD each and they wore them for 2  days!

Stopping at the market to buy purses for the girls @ home

We found our new family vehicle!! (It fits 1/13th of us, we'll make it work! :)

Sitting in the civil affairs office...rather squished in.

Our most memorable day in Kunming was when we hooked up with another family here adopting their beautiful daughter and went to the Stone Forest.

See that little roof at the top center of the next photo? We all climbed to that!

This adorable little girl was born without ear canals. Completely totally deaf for the first 4 years of her life. And then her amazing family came along and adopted her. Her daddy just so happens to be an ear doctor! He brought the BAHA (what Azlan has implanted) along with him with a headband it attaches to. When they put it on, it was dramatic! She was singing ever since.  Seriously.  Amazing.


These two did awesome. We walked for HOURS...not a word of complaint.

Big Piggy made it! :)

Look how strong he is!!

I have more photos that I just cannot get to load. I'll post them when I can :)

For now...we hope to have a nice evening in Guongzhou.  I'm missing the rest of the kids pretty extremely.  #icandohardthings


  1. You Are Brave! Good to see pictures

  2. Love your transparency and faith!! Our Chinese Princess has developmental delays and apraxia of speech. Praying for you all right now!!