Thursday, September 17, 2015

Adopting at 56. Crazy?

Wow! I can't believe it was 2 years ago September 3rd! What a journey it's been! I think back to when we first started talking about adopting. People thought I was crazy! The initial reaction from people around my age was "WHY?".  I was kindly reminded that most people would be looking forward to retirement. All the things I could do! Travel! Rest and relax! Freedom to do what I want with my life after spending so much of my life raising children, working! Isn't that why we want to get to that age? To do what we want with the last remaining years? Well, maybe. The only difference between what others thought and what I thought was what I thought I wanted to do with the rest of my life didn't fit the mold.  But I never liked molds. I think there were 2 people that didn't think I was crazy. One was a woman I worked with who told me I should do what I wanted and not listen to other people that didn't agree. The other was and is my best friend who to this day understands and knows me better then any other person that walks this earth.  Soooo, after all the time it took to come to this decision, the time it took to research, find an agency, find my daughter, do all the paperwork, wait wait and wait, travel to finally meet our daughter, bring her home, get her medical attention, doctors,  surgery, tests, day after day after day of therapy.... Do I wish I were traveling, relaxing? Sometimes. Well, not really the traveling. But doesn't every parent? Regardless of age? Do I have any regrets? 110% NO!  I can't imagine doing anything else with the rest of my life. Is it hard sometimes?  Yes. But so what?  There are far more rewards. I could travel the world and never come close to the happiness I receive from raising a child. I could go on a million dollar shopping spree and what would I really have? What I have is priceless. Yes, I know that i may inot be around when she marries, has her first baby. But this can happen to any child. So even if I'm not here I will be the person that laid the groundwork to ensure she marries a man that will truly love her and treat her right if that's what she chooses. I will be the one that teaches her to love her child and be a good mom. I will be in her heart.  No one can ever take that away. So, 2 people were right when they supported me in my decision. 2 people didn't think I was crazy. I would do it again in a second.  Would I encourage other people my age ( I'm 58 now)  to follow their hearts? You betcha! Don't let age get in your way. I doubt you did it when you were 20, so why do it now?  You have so much to offer and so much to gain. And that child you could give a family? May never have one without you.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Update March 9th doctors and treatment

As many of you know already Shi yu went to a pediatric ophthalmologist and we were told she needed corrective glasses for her left eye that sometimes doesn't line up with the right eye. We were told that if we let it go her brain would eventually stop communicating with that eye as she would slowly stop using it and she could go blind in it. Since her brain is still developing it can also affect other brain functions. She is also a tiny bit near sighted. Picking the glasses came down to choosing between 2 frames because that's just all there is for toddlers. We did have an array of color choices which ranged from white, pink, yellow, red, black green, blue, etc.. The down fall was the color samples were the size of a lentil. We chose the gray. Not sure why but I didn't like any of the other colors. I guess they do make her look intelligent. My husband was sure that she would never leave them on and I had serious doubts myself lol. But she has been very cooperative so far!  We have also gone to a physiatrist (so?) Who is going to give her botox shots in the hip and leg area to help loosen the tightness of the muscles and will help her to walk and not scissor her legs so much. He is also going to give her phen which kills some of the nerve endings (they grow back). Because of the phen, she will need to go under anesthesia as it is a complicated process. While she is under they will also do an mri to see what part of the brain is affected causing the cerebral palsy. I'm not sure but I think they may be able to tell us what happened. It's all a little scary. I dread doing this but I have researched these treatments and they seem to have very good results. But there are also risks. She is also taking medication 3 times a day for muscle relaxation. It makes her a little tired and I hate that. I am hoping that side affect wears off soon.  Shi yu continues to do well with her physical and occupational therapies. Her PT says she is having trouble keeping up with Shi yu lol.Shi yu is still a little reserved with her speech therapy but I'm sure that will improve. She gets shy about taking around anyone but Dan and I. Shi yu has not put much weight on but they say that could be because her activity level is so much higher now then what it was in China. When we first got her she wouldn't stop eating. She has slowed down because I think she feels secure that she doesn't have to worry any more  About going hungry. She has grown 3 inches! That's hard to believe but it's true. It's only been 6 months! By US CDC standards she is in the 17th percentile of height and weight for her age but the CDC  chart for Asian children shows she is in the 75th percentile. So we are happy with that. I wish the doctors here would use the Asian chart for her but it's not in their computer.  We discovered she adores lo mein noodles. She literally went crazy with excitement over them. I wonder if they were a treat for her when she was in the orphanage. I do know that the part of China she is from us more lo mein noodles then rice which she also loves. I'm going to try and make them for her. They seem simple enough. And it's funny how she knows to suck them up. Off there are chop sucks insight she demand I use them but I am not very good at it. Trust me I have tried. She also loves spaghetti...probably because of the noodles. Sorry looks like I started rambling lol. We are so grateful to have Shi yu. We couldn't imagine life without her. She has given us so many gifts . She has given me renewed life and purpose. For that I will be forever grateful. She has given her Dan the chance to be a dad and have a daughter. You can only understand the love one has for their child when you have your own. Now he knows. We are very blessed.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Doctor visit

Today was Shi Yu's check up with Dr Handler. She is the doctor that oversees everything. She was impressed with the flexibility Shi Yu has gained. It really is tremendous. The problem is more the muscle tone. Muscle tone comes from the brain and in cp it is that part of the brain that was damaged. The tone in her abductors (they are at the hip joint) is very high and is causing the scissoring of her legs which cause her to step on her feet while trying to walk as well as walk on her toes.  She really believes Shi Yu will walk. In the meantime she wants her to be fitted with another apparatus that will help separate her legs and help her walking. She is also referring her to another doctor, a physiatrist, that can help this with botox shots. The botox will paralyze only parts of the muscle and help decrease the high tone. They will put her to sleep for these shots and they last about 6 months. It was all pretty much what I expected to hear except for the new apparatus. But everything is temporary to reach the goal so it's ok. Dan was pretty quiet when we left. I asked him what was wrong and he said he didn't know. That he keeps hoping someone will say they have the miracle remedy for her. I felt bad for him. He loves Shi Yu so much.  I told him the road is just a little longer but the outcome will be the same and she will be fine.  And she will be. She will be the best that she can be and that's all that matters. She is already so amazing and smart and funny and loving. And very determined.Shi Yu has made it through being abandoned on the street, surviving an orphanage in China, surviving medical issues that most would not have survived, so I know she has got this! Just takes time and hard work. We went out to eat afterwords and as a treat night her a new book and some pretty spiffy sunglasses in hopes we will see spring soon lol.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Therapy and more

Yesterday Shi Yu started swim therapy. Daddy took her because this mama doesn't own a bathing suit and wouldn't be caught dead in one!  I thought she would love it.  The water is heated nice and warm! But no. The second the therapist took her that was it. I don't blame Shi Yu though. She is still very least of new people and then you through in a swimming pool of water? So it turned into a kind of get to know you affair. Today she had her speech evaluation at the place she now gets her physical and occupational therapy. It was so much more realistic then the first place she had it where it was completely ignored that she had only been in this country 2 months, was just learning English, had never been out of an orphanage and therefore couldn't pick out a picture of a race car, orange, cow, bunny etc.. she lived the therapist. And I have to say the therapist fell in love with her lol.  Ask of her therapists think she is so special (yes I am bragging). It's not just that she is so cute, it's the drive and determination she had as well as how easy she is too work with. They can't believe that she came from the god awful place she came from and it's such a happy sweet little girl. Sometimes I can't believe it either. She is such a quick learner!  Sorry, hit side tracked in my pride. Any way, The speech therapist assessed her and feels she will be taking up a storm in no time. So we will be adding speech therapy to our busy schedule. Right now she has physical therapy twice a week, occupational therapy once a week, doctors appointments in between, as well as dealing with other agencies offering help and now she will have speech therapy one or two times a week. We are very busy lol. But each time she goes to one of these things means more improvement. And I love it. Dan is still wonderful about bring at any appointment he can. He is a great daddy. He just adores her. And she adores him.  We got good news from the blood work the neurologist did. No lead poisoning , no fragile x syndrome, and no something else he tested for.  She was also tested for intestinal parasites (common in China adoptions) and some other weird things and all tests came back negative.  Wow, this was going to be a short post. Not sure what happened lol. But it's all good news!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Way over due!

Sorry it's taken so long to update. We have had so many doctor and therapy appts!  Shi Yu has settled in so well. The inky sign of home sickness I see is if I have to wake her up. I think she expects to see the orphanage and it's surprised when she sees where she is at. She cries fir a long time. Actually she ends up dining sadly. It breaks my heart. Luckily she doesn't have to be written up very often. Other then that she is adjusting wonderfully! She is such a happy little girl. We changed the place where she had all of her therapy. I took it for granted that the original place was good (I had nothing to compare it to). When an organization called Help Me Grow (works with children with disabilities), came to the house and I saw the therapy they did I was blown away and knew I had to change. So far I really like the new place. They are lively, aggressive, and I am seeing better results. Shi Yu has just started in a walker. We were given a loner until the one that was ordered comes in. It is such a joy to see her standing upright! At this point she is just getting used to it and it will be a bit before she can actually walk alone in it. The therapists are amazed at how quickly she catches on so I don't think it will take to long. The walker is made to change over time using less and less support until it is stripped down to just a walker (frame). Hopefully eventually she won't even need that. She attend physical therapy twice a week, occupational therapy piece a week, and is starting aqua therapy next week. Shi Yu had to have a swallow study because she chokes very easily when she drinks. It showed that she was aspirating everything she swallowed. It also showed that she sometimes cleared it. That part amazed them because they couldn't figure out how she did that. They were also amazed that she had lived from birth having this issue. Most babies would due without immediate surgery. We were referred to an ENT doctor who put a score down her nose and into her throat. With this procedure he can only go so far without putting her to sleep. Based on what he could see, he could find no reason for the aspirating. He suggested the next procedure of putting her to sleep. We are still debating that one since she has been ok all this time. She is still dealing with the rash she brought back from China. Doctors say it can take more then a year, even up to 5 years to go away. Urgh! She is going for her second speech therapy evaluation in Saturday (since we changed places it needs to be done again). After that she will begin having speech therapy once a week. She currently says almost 30 words which is great considering she came from China less then 5 months ago. It's especially great because we were originally told she didn't speak at all and didn't make sound when she laughed!  She adores watching sesame street. She had learned so much from it! She lives Elmo and of course that is one of the words she says. She says cookie too. She also loves mini mouse. Elmo and Mini are her 2 favorite characters. She adores books and will spend a great deal of time looking at the pictures. She likes to point to the pictures and have you tell her what they are, over and over again. I would live to go on a book buying spree with her! She loves the bookstore! She would rather look at books then play with toys! I show her YouTube videos of guitar and piano playing just to broaden her horizons. She is like a little sponge right now just soaking everything up. She is still a major daddy's girl and squeals when he comes home from work. He is such a wonderful daddy. He will get up with her at night, change diapers, give her a bath, anything she needs. He is trying his hardest to learn even the most basic children's songs lol. Shi Yu is getting much better with people she doesn't know. She warns up to them much quicker now. Her first Christmas was wonderful! If course she enjoyed the gift wrap and boxes the most.  She loved the new clothes she got. It's funny to see one so young appreciate and be so proud of the clothes she gets. I know she never had her own in the orphanage but I would think she was too young to understand. Who knows, maybe she just has an eye for pretty clothes.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

So much to catch up on!

Let's see. Shi Yu has started her physical therapy. She doesn't mind to much. She still has to start the actual speech therapy and occupational therapy. Life seems like one big appointment and I find I have to schedule visits from friends around it. I discovered that when I accidentally invited 2 different people over at the same time. This is so different from my life before but I love doing it for Shi Yu. I do feel like maybe I am hurting my friends feelings when I have to be so scheduled for them to visit. I hope this isn't the case. Shi Yu got her leg braces and hates them. She will lay in the floor like she can't move around and cry. It breaks my heart. The funny thing is that if she is around her little cousin she completely forgets and crawls all over laughing.  I am looking forward to tomorrow's therapy appointment to see how to deal with this. Shi Yu has become very comfortable with all of the immediate family members that live here. The last to conquer this was my youngest son Matthew. He won her over by playing airplane. What kid doesn't love being flown around the house. I just love seeing him with her. It's like watching my first generation kids growing close with my second generation daughter. I can't wait until Shi Yu meets Mykie. That should be soon. And then my daughter Shay. Still so much to look forward to. I am hating the weather as is Shi Yu. We don't like being stuck in the house and really miss our walks! This new house grows smaller by the day! Thanksgiving was wonderful. I had it here and it went very well. Discovery....Shi Yu isn't big on Turkey.  She isn't really big on meat at all but I don't think she had much of that in China. But give her almost any vegetable and she is in heaven. We went out for a snack at  Friendlys and she had the broccoli lol. We discovered she can't eat things made with milk. It gives her a tummy ache.  So no milk products. We also discovered she likes to sleep on the floor. I'm guessing that's what she did in China. If I put the quilt down she knows it's naptime or bedtime. She is very good about it. At night we put her in the crib after she falls asleep. She does wake up and cry and I just go in and reassure her we are here. Notice I said "I". Daddy feels bad so if he goes in and takes her to bed. Urgh! We are looking forward to Christmas with her. I haven't had a happy Christmas since I lost Ryan. It is very emotional for me still. I miss him so much. He loved Christmas as do all of my children. I think Santa will be pretty good too Shi Yu. It will be her first Christmas ever, since they don't have it in China. So I am excited. Well, I think that does it for now. Hopefully my updates will be closer now. I attached some pics to catch you up. OH! Shi Yu's hair is finally growing! Yay!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Speech and physical therapy evaluation

Oh! And fitting for leg braces. Well. Not quite sure I understand the whole speech eval thing. She you tested fantastic on the comprehension part and they said they were amazed considering she has only been in this country for 2 months and is just laying English. They feel she would have tested much higher then average if it weren't for that. She is definitely bright. The other part, actually speaking words and number of works she knows etc was lower. She was fitted for ankle fit braces as well. These braces have come a long way then the awkward ones of years past. Shi yo will be sorting pink ones. We passed on the designs you can get as she doesn't like to not be able to match her clothes lol.  They are like thin plastic shells that will fit right in her shoes. These should be fine in about a week. On to physical therapy. She wasn't too thrilled with that and was definitely not putting her best foot forward (no pun intended lol). They really won't give you any prognosis but I know what I believe so I don't care. They said she is weak in the trunk and legs. The muscle time is weak but tone comes from the brain and they may end up using medication. Therapy will help the muscle strength but not the time. Her leg muscles are what they call spastic meaning they shake a little sometimes. So she will begin therapy next week. They are checking our insurance for the speech therapy. One other thing, she is having a swallowing test done because she sometimes chokes when eating and drinking.  This also would be because if muscle development and if not treated could cause serious infection. All in all, Shi Yu is not one to accept any weaknesses. She pushed herself to do the things that she knows she can't do even without out help. Her survival skills are honed probably from trying to survive the orphanage. Her determination inspires me. I know I say it all the time but Shi Yu is just so amazing! We are truly the ones blessed to have het as our daughter. One other thing. Shi Yu is adjusting well to other people. Little by little she is learning to love and trust family members. I love seeing family with her. She had met only a few friends for short periods of time and had done well. I am including some recent pics.