Sunday, September 26, 2010

Another Surgery

On Tuesday morning Bella underwent another surgery, her sixth in all.  She had her pharyngeal flap repaired which we hope will now allow her to produce many more sounds like "p" and "b".  It will also stop her from sounding so nasal when she talks.  We are hoping this will speed up her speech and that she will have the ability to take off.

She did amazing with the surgery and after a few LONG days in the hospital was released Friday afternoon.  She was so ready to come home, but had to prove to the doctors that she could eat and drink.  The surgery is very painful.  The doctor essentially had to go in and cut the back of her throat to pull a flap forward and reattach it.  She has been through so much and we know she has a high threshold for pain, but this one was hard for her.  He hope this is it for a few years.  She will eventually have to have a bone graft taken from her hip to create her top gum line.  This probably won't happen until she is 8 or 9.

One big downside is that she now has severe sleep apnea ... at least until the swelling goes down.  So this makes for some long nights and makes it difficult for her to sleep.  She has been crying out a lot during the night.  Please pray the swelling goes down soon so she can sleep better.

We want to thank all of our family and friends who have helped us out this week and have prayed for little girl.

Here are some pics from our week ...

Bella with Daddy before surgery  (she really wasn't this happy before surgery ... smiles were rare)

 Keenan with Bella a couple of days after surgery

 Family was able to visit this time ... Bella and her mamaw

Taking a stroll with Grandpa, Grandma and daddy ... she hated being all hooked up, but was excited to get out of the room

Bella with her Papaw and Gram

Last morning in the hospital ... Yay!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Bella's Family

We had an amazing weekend this past weekend.  Bella's foster family came to visit with us and stayed with us a few days.  We were so excited to see them and be with them again.  We have kept in close contact over the past year and could not wait for their visit.  Bella loved being with them all again and picked up where she left off with her sissy, Cassie.  Those two were so cute together.  Best buddies forever.  They are more the same height now and it was so cute to see them playing on the swingset, swimming and helping each other destroy the playroom together.  We thought they would have fun sleeping together so we got them all snuggled in together and they just giggled with each other.  We had to go back in there a couple of times to tell them to settle down.  The second time I went in I saw Bella on her pillow jumping up and down and Cassie in the middle of the bed jumping up and down.  Let's just say they were wired!  I settled them back down and told them to go night night.  Well, around 1:00 a.m. Bobby went in to check on them and they were still up!!! They had gotten into Bella's speech homework papers and were tearing them to pieces!  Needless to say, after that their sleepover was over and we had to separate them.  After the first time of going in there, Michael and Bobby rigged up a video camera so we have all of their little adventures on tape.  Should be fun to watch in years to come.

We just enjoyed time together as a family and hanging out.  We introduced them to some of Cincinnati's favorite places like Skyline Chili, Graeter's and Jungle Jim's.  Jungle Jim's is an international market and Julie was able to get some foods and spices that she used to use in China.  We also introduced them to Corn Hole, which they thought was something we made up.  But I think we won them over!

I was able to learn more about Bella's time with them and her time in the orphanage.  Some of it heartbreaking, but we know she is thriving now and are thankful for that.  All in all we had a great time and know that God brought our families together to be one big family.  We are forever grateful to them and for them.  They are such a blessing to us all!

The boys with their aunt Janel ... couldn't pass posting this pic - so cute!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

First Day of School, Birthdays and China

The last couple of weeks have been full of activity ... getting back into the swing of things with Aidan going back to school and Bella and Keenan starting preschool.  Aidan started 2nd grade at his new school and so far, so good.  We feel blessed that we live across the street from a family that also has a couple of boys, one of which is in 2nd grade along with Aidan.  I think that has helped with the transition of going to a new school this year.  Keenan and Bella also started their new preschool and seem to be enjoying it also.  Keenan usually always asks the teacher when I am coming to pick him up ... sometimes many times during the afternoon.  His teacher told me Thursday that he did not ask one time!  That is amazing, so I know he is having a great time!  And Bella, she just loves being apart of things and eagerly goes to her class everyday.

Aidan's 1st Day of 2nd Grade!!

Aidan, Bella and Keenan going to school - 1st day of Preschool (I think the sun was in their eyes)

The boys  also celebrated their birthdays this week.  Aidan turned 8 and Keenan turned 5.  Oh my, my boys are growing oh so fast!  We have learned by now that birthdays are not celebrated for just one day, but are celebrated all week long!  The boys had several friends come over Friday night for a party and sleepover.  They had a blast, but it was crazy!  They went swimming, played games, went on a treasure hunt that ended in a silly string battle, opened presents and had pizza and cupcakes.  And a few hours after the friends left, our family party began.  It was such a beautiful day outside and again, I think everyone had a good time.  We are blessed to have a wonderful and loving family.

Bella, Aidan and Keenan

Keenan went to the skatepark for his birthday ... Tony Hawk watch out!

All the kids playing a game at the party ... check out some of the faces.  Too funny!

Aidan, Keenan and their cousin Hunter

Aidan and Keenan waiting not so patiently for their presents

The trio took over our bed
We are so happy for our good friends, the Stanleys, who are in China right now adopting their precious Lily.  We met Doug and Julie through mutual friends who knew we were both in the process of adopting from China.  We met shortly after we both were logged into China and found out we had log in dates within a couple of weeks of each other.  They have been so supportive and loving as we went through our adoption and we are blessed to have them as friends.  If you would like to follow along their journey, go here.  We CANNOT wait to see Lily in their arms forever!  God has been so good and faithful to both of our families as we have walked with Him to bring our beautiful daughters home.