Count of Chicks for Children

God's Plan For Us

This is our journey - God's incredible plan for our lives. When we followed the moving of the Holy Spirit, He opened the windows of Heaven and poured out upon us blessings we never dreamed of! Indescribable joy!

" For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, October 10, 2011

The backpack and the haircut

An empty backpack and a new haircut. Two things that seem totally unrelated at first glance, but a deeper look reveals so much more.

Xiaoyun came to us with a red backpack and a large stuffed bear. Nothing more. She didn't offer to show me what was inside, and I didn't want to ask and make her uncomfortable. While still in China, she pulled out a school yearbook and asked me and mom to sign a page. She didn't show us the rest of the book, but I felt it was a step in the right direction. Eventually, after we got home, she did show us the rest of her yearbook, and pointed out the faces of her friends. Little by little, she pulled out the rest of her treasures from her backpack - stuffed animals her friends gave before she left school, yellow converse sneakers, a small green clock. Finally, she pulled out the photos. There were three pictures. They were of Xiaoyun and her 'China mama' (her foster mom for 9 years), when she was younger. What a treasure they were to have - a connection with her past. That empty backpack was a concrete sign that she was starting to feel at home here.

September 23 was another big milestone for Xiaoyun. What was planned was a routine bang trim for all the girls. Xiaoyun decided, however, that she wanted her hair cut. If you've seen her, you know that she has been letting her hair grow for a very long time. It was obvious from the start that she placed a lot of importance on her hair. Some of mine and Xiaoyun's earliest bonding moments were when I'd dry that long hair in China, and then brush it out before bed. She had shared with me that her 'China mama' would dry her hair and fix it for her. I'd also wondered if she used her hair to hide the scoliosis. She never mentioned it, but I know she is careful with the type of shirt she wears and I thought the hair might also be a covering of sorts.

But that day, before we went for our hair appointment, she told me she wanted it cut. When we got there and told the hair stylist, she tried to talk her out of cutting it. Knowing how Xiaoyun was about her hair, she was afraid she'd be upset once it was cut. She was adamant, however, and showed her the style she wanted. When all was said and done, she had about 11 inches of hair cut off. She loved the finished product (so did the rest of us).

Both things - the empty backpack and the haircut, seemed like a confirmation to me that she feels safe and loved. What a joy that is to this mama's heart!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Teeth lost, money gained

Elli and Enya have had some excitement in their lives lately. In the last 2 weeks Enya has lost 3 teeth (the first she's lost since comng home). The first she pulled herself and Baba pulled the other two. When she lost that first tooth, we told her she needed to put in under her pillow and see what happened to it. Evidently, none of our girls had heard of the tooth fairie. She was thrilled the next morning that there was money instead of the tooth. Since it worked out so well that time, she had Baba pull another one the next day ;-) . This, however, caused two other girls to be a little bit jealous. Elli immediately set about trying to find a loose tooth she could help along (she had never lost a tooth). Xiaoyun felt she had really gotten a bad deal. She told us " No fair! I didn't know about this in China and didn't get any money when I lost mine". Of course, baba is a softie, so the next morning all three had some money under their pillow (and yes, Enya had more than the other two since she was the one who had lost the tooth). Everyday Elli worked on her tooth and had us checking it constantly to see if it was loose enough. Sunday was the big day - Elli's first tooth was finally pulled. Enya also decided to lose another tooth that day (one I didn't even know was loose), so it was quite exciting the next morning when the girls both woke up. In the video you see the girls holding a little bag, which contained the tooth and then the money. These were bags that jewelry was put in when you purchase it in China, so it was a neat thing to use for the girls.

*For the record, our girls know where the money came from - didn't want them thinking a stranger in a tutu was lurking in their room ;-)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The summer - doctors and surgeries

Some have asked how we spent our summer. I just added up all our doctor's visits, and since the girls came home we have had 39 different specialists/ pediatric appointments, and one surgery. Many of the appointments were in Louisville, an hour drive away. Enya had her first eye surgery this past Monday. The surgeon is hopeful that she won't need the other two surgeries - we are praying for that, also. It was an outpatient surgery and in less than 6 hours we were back home. LiLi won the hearts of her nurses, and was saying 'thank you so much!' to them as we were leaving. Zeb (my oldest son - 26 yrs old) went with me and LiLi, since he was off that day, so we could save Virgil's vacation days for Xiaoyun's surgery. Everyone evidently thought I'd robbed the cradle, because they all thought he was my husband. It was nice to say this is my oldest child and this is my youngest. The hardest part of the surgery was once we got home. Enya wasn't allowed to run, bend or lift for a week. It's obvious the doctor doesn't know my little whirlwind, or he would have prescribed something to make her sleep for the entire week ;-) ! When Enya first saw her eye after the patch was removed, her comment was 'too big!!' Enya has another surgery on October 24. It will be a repair of her lip. After that, she shouldn't need anymore surgery until she's around 10 yrs old (another repair of her lip and palate).

Xiaoyun has had quite a few appointments to make sure she would be able to have her scoliosis corrected. There were three areas of concern. Her heart was good and strong and her kidneys were both present and functioning. Unfortunately, her lungs were not so good. She has only 33% lung function and she also has asthma. There was a point where the surgeon wasn't sure if surgery was an option because of that, but the pulmonologist gave approval, with the understanding that the surgeries would need to be monitored closely. Also, the threat of pneumonia while in the hospital is a great concern. Xiaoyun will have, what they think now, 4 surgeries over the course of at least six weeks in the hospital. The first surgery is to put a halo on, after which they will do traction and try to stretch the vertebrae as much as possible. The next two will involve removing bone (some of her ribs have grown up into the curve of her spine). Finally, after several weeks of traction she will have rods inserted and 'build' her backbone. We do not have the exact date, but as of now, she will have surgery the beginning of January. This will give us time to try and put some weight on her (she weighs 44 lbs), which the doctor felt was important because the drugs they will give her will cut her appetite. It will also allow us to celebrate their first Thanksgiving and Christmas at home. She has an appointment the end of October with the surgeon. If she hasn't started putting on any weight, they will not schedule the appointment, so please be in prayer that she gains at least 2 pounds before then (so far I think I'm the only one gaining the weight!).

We haven't explained to Xiaoyun exactly what will take place. We don't want her to worry, so we won't say much about it until shortly before the surgeries. She's excited to be able to have the surgery, and at this point that is enough.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Enya's eye

Enya's eye the day before surgery and the day after surgery. When she first saw the eye, when the patch was removed, she said " too big!" The stuffed animal was given to her by a young lady who had had many eye surgeries when she was a little girl and had carried it with her throughout the surgeries. She wanted to pass it on the Enya, which was so very kind.