Apr 26, 2010

Two months with her forever family!

Two months ago today a very sad and confused little girl was placed in our arms. She spent her first few days in China bringing us our shoes and walking us to the hotel door as she wanted us to take her back to her family; namely her foster grandparents. Today, she brings us our shoes to go bye bye asking if she can go see "Gaga, Papaw and G-ma". She truly loves her new family and ALL of her grandparents! Watch for a special post with her Grandmas coming very soon!
Gabriella has now learned over 40 new words and will say almost anything you ask her to say! Her favorite American fast food is Chick F*let including chicken tenders, waffle fries and sweet tea ~ a true southern and China girl! When we go shopping and pull up in front of a store she knows is for her she claps her hands and squeals with excitement ~ this mama LOVES to have one of her children excited to go shopping! After spending time with family and friends she will normally give them a hug, kiss, then says and waves bye bye with the sweetest little southern accent you have ever heard...she will even blow you kisses as we drive away!
God has blessed our family beyond measure with Gabriella and we will be eternally thankful that He chose us to give such a special gift to!

Apr 25, 2010

The Look...

Most all men know what "the look" means when it is given from a female. We now have proof that "the look" starts at a very young age. Nicholas was trying to talk to Gabriella in Chinese, a little game they will play from time to time. Gabriella was more than "over" the game and didn't need to use her Chinese or English language to let him know...her body language did all the talking!! She quickly returned to being her normal happy self and the moment turned into giggles for all who were there:)

Apr 22, 2010

I Have to be Honest....

When I first looked at this picture, well, my VERY first thought when I looked at this picture of all of our children was I wish Gabriella had her hands down...however my very next thought was how thankful I am that NONE of our kids look alike!


When Daniel and Jordan were little and I would have them out, to the grocery or basically anywhere, people would ask Daniel "who is your little friend" keep in mind I even dressed them in identical fall coats and hats from time to time. I accepted the fact the boys didn't look a thing alike but deep down wished maybe they looked just a little similar. A few years later we had Nicholas. I prayed and asked God that if he chose to bless us with another little boy I'm really ok with that I just asked one thing; I prayed that he would be a mixture of Daniel and Jordan in personality and looks...I received exactly what I prayed for...and again all three of the boys, didn't look alike; it's funny we have even had people ask us if any of the boys were adopted! Now, when I look at OUR children, the perfect children God chose for our family, I can honestly say I'm thrilled that they all have their own unique look and personality! I can't wait for someone to ask us if any of our children are adopted again...there is a little part of me that wants to look at them and say "yes, can you guess how many"?

Thankful Thursday

Apr 20, 2010

Microtia... Gabriella's medical update

We took Gabriella to Riley's Children's for a meeting with the craniofacial team of specialist last week. As Curtis and I were there it dawned on me that I don't believe I have ever blogged about her "special need". Gabriella has microtia that affected her right ear. Gabriella's right ear is very underdeveloped and she cannot hear out of that ear.
We had her hearing tested with a speech pathologist in her left ear while at Riley and she tested with very mild hearing loss...however when the ENT examined her he found that over 50% of her ear canal was filled with wax and debris ~ something he felt could easily play into her hearing test reflecting mild hearing loss. The ENT was able to remove about 80% of the wax and debri and gave us drops to use for two weeks to hopefully loosen the remainder which he will try to remove in two weeks; if it can't be removed in the office she will need to have minor surgery to remove it.
We also met with a plastic surgeon who specializes in microtia reconstruction. When Gabriella is 6 years old she can begin the process to have her ear reconstructed. There are four surgeries spaced about 3 months apart. The initial surgery is the most difficult as they take a piece of her rib from her left side and utilize this to "make" the ear. The following surgeries consist of skin grafting procedures and are much easier and not nearly as long as the four hour initial surgery. A CAT scan would need to be completed to see if Gabriella's hearing could be restored in her right ear. The doctors both feel that based on her outward physical exam they are 99% sure that all the parts are there that would allow her hearing to be somewhat restored in that ear. As her right ear has not been open and stimulated they are projecting she would never have full hearing in that ear. That's ok, our family has been through Jordan's partial blindness diagnosis and we were told he would never play sports...well, you all know the story on that one!
The physicians all asked us if she could talk ~ ummm, yes can this girl talk! They then asked how many words can she say which I responded in Chinese or English? While waiting in between doctors Curtis and I counted that she has learned 34 words in the five weeks she has been home! Wow ~ we knew she was talking but had no idea she had learned that many words in 5 weeks! She will mostly utilize English when she is talking unless she is upset with Bailey our golden retriever...during this time she uses Chinese and based on the tone I'm guessing it may not be words that are considered the "norm" in our house.
Our entire family can honestly say we don't even think twice about Gabriella's special need. It's funny, when we began our paper work for special needs we had listed PDA, PFO (minor heart conditions), extra digits etc..we had not even heard of microtia!
In all the pictures from China, other than the one that did show us her ear, her foster mom tried to cover her ear with her hair...that little ear would never have changed our mind about adopting the child God had chosen for our family...personally, we love it and think it is very cute! I do think it's sad as Gabriella will sometimes try to cover it and act a little self conscience about it ~ when we see that happen we immediately start kissing on both her ears and telling her we love both her ears ~ this leads to giggles and happiness and we then keep moving on with our day that is always full of activities!
I can honestly say our only "challenge" with Gabriella's microtia is this girl LOVES to wear sunglasses and we have a hard time getting them to stay up on her affected side; however we have an appointment with an optometrist next week to get her eyes checked and his assistant has already reassured me we can come up with a solution for this little issue!
Our little princess continues to amaze us every single day and we truly can't express how much we love this little one! When God chooses the right child for your family, half way around the world, it one of the most incredible blessings one could ever experience!

Apr 19, 2010

Daddy's Girl...

Friday morning Curtis spent some Daddy time with his little princess:) Their day started in the backyard as Gabriella found some "flowers" for Daddy; she squealed with delight as she picked the "flowers" aka dandelions...well, when your daddy owns and operates a lawn care business dandelions aren't exactly the flower of choice to have in your own yard. Luckily there were only five and Gabriella took care of picking them all and giving them to Curtis:)
Daddy took Gabriella around town to see some people who have been very excited to meet her! The Chinese lady at the post office who mailed many of our documents couldn't wait for her to come and visit. The ladies at the bank where Daddy takes his deposits daily as well as a couple other places around town. After their visits Gabriella was able to have lunch with the guys at Hoffa's ~ the Friday favorite:) Adam, who owns Hoffa's, has been a friend of ours for few years now and was very excited to meet Gabriella. Big Hoffa's has the BEST fresh smoked BBQ in the mid west; actually the best we've ever had. Gabriella enjoyed a kids chicken plate and fries...she is slowly becoming an American girl when it comes to her eating; Adam has white rice as well so when ever she is longing for some of her native food it is available:) After their tummies were full they came home for nap time...a good day was had by all and Mommy was even able to complete some homework during their special time together!

Apr 18, 2010


We feel so incredibly thankful that we listened to God's calling to adopt the daughter He chose for our family from China. We were united with Gabriella in God's perfect timing and we can't even put into words how perfectly she fits into our family! God asked us to begin our paper work an entire year earlier than we were ready and we wondered why? How...yet we listened and obeyed. We were on our China journey for 17 days to bring her home. We flew over 17,000 miles, had flight cancellations and delays yet God brought it all together in His perfect plan. As we begin to celebrate the fifth week that Gabriella has been home we truly marvel of how wonderful God is and of course how wonderful our daughter is! Have a blessed Sunday!

Apr 14, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Apr 12, 2010

Six Weeks with Gabriella....simply amazing!

The first day

The first week

A second week...filled with more new beginnings

The third week

Week number four:)

A very special fifth week!

Week number six!

It's amazing to think we have had Gabriella in our life for just six weeks! It truly feels like she been with us forever! She fits in so perfectly with our family! The first day Sun Wenhao was placed in our arms she was a very upset and confused little girl. The love she had for her foster parents was very evident and she grieved several days for them. It was hard watching her go through the grieving process and our hearts were broken with hers. In time, our sad little girl began to open up like a flower; with each week she is allowing us to see more and more of her beautiful personality that God has created in her.

Gabriella called us Mama and Baba (daddy in Chinese) from day one. Her foster parents had prepared her well showing her pictures of our family. When we would skype with the boys she was fascinated with them and especially liked our youngest cat Nemo however she started calling him Mo while were in China. In just six short weeks she now says hiiiiiiii, hello, mo-mewo, bye-bye with a princess wave, papaw, gmaw, gaga (Teresa's grandma), naiel (Daniel), night night with the cutest southern accent you have ever heard and wuv you. She understands 95% of what we say to her and we use sign language for the other 5%. She will try to say almost any word we ask her to say and when she says her prayers at night it is just precious!

Gabriella's relationship with her brothers is one of the most precious things we have ever been a part of. She loves to play with Nicholas ~ she follows him everywhere when he is home and he is very patient and loving with her. Jordan enjoys saying her prayers with her at night, does an excellent job putting her in the car seat, fixes her breakfast and always calls her princess and she just smiles from ear to ear. Daniel and Gabriella's relationship has come a very long way! In the beginning she was pretty shy with Daniel...well, if you know Daniel he is pretty strong willed and he did not like that at all; as Gabriella is also strong willed we joked that they had met their match! Daniel's persistence paid off and now Gabriella screams with excitement each time Daniel walks in the door. She loves for him to hold her, carry her places and will even cuddle up with him when he is doing homework on his laptop. When anyone leaves, except mom, she will give them kisses and tell them bye bye; she doesn't like mom to leave at this point and this is one we are working through.

Playing outside is one of Gabriella's favorite things! Going for walks, to the park and playing with the boys are things she loves to do! Shopping is something this little one loves and ohhhh does that make this mama happy! When we go shopping and pull into the local mall she screams with delight clapping her hands, smiling and is filled with excitement; a contrast to shopping with the boys. She also loves looking at pictures; I'm thinking once my thesis is written I will introduce her to scrap booking as she also enjoys making things with pictures as well:)

I could honestly write for days about all the little details of her first six weeks with us! She is simply amazing! I can say with all the years of talking about adopting a little girl from China, praying about it, twist and turns in the road that led me to believe there was a possibly it may not happen....I would not change a thing! We were united with Gabriella in God's perfect timing! We didn't plan on starting our paper work until the fall of 2009 yet God asked us to start it a year earlier....we have learned such a priceless lesson in how everything in life isn't about our timing but God's perfect timing and we couldn't be more thankful!

Apr 11, 2010

Emily and Gabriella, the reunion we've all been waiting for!

We heard a gentle knock at the door. We opened the door to see Emily and her family! Emily was even more beautiful in person and we fell in love with her! From the moment we met Robert and Mary, Emily's parents, we felt like we had known them forever and we were reuniting with family ~ it was simply amazing!!!

Emily was very excited to see Gabriella and offered her a sucker:) Gabriella was a little unsure of what was going on. I held her for a while and reassured her the girls weren't going back to China. It was obvious she recognized Emily and was fascinated with her she just wasn't quite sure what was going on.

Mary offered the girls some of the yogurt drinks that the girls foster mother had sent from China. It was the yogurt drinks that broke the ice so in her own special way their foster mother was a part of this very special reunion:)

The girls moved to the couch ~ one at either end.

Emily was just precious and was a true social butterfly!

In time Gabriella moved a little closer.

And then it happened! Gabriella took on the big sister role that she had with Emily in China and she started feeding Emily...everything she could find she wanted to feed her! It was precious! She would take off wrappers, bring her food; anything she could do for her she wanted to do.

The girls were back together!

Once Gabriella took her hand she didn't want to let her go!

They walked together hand in hand down the hallway to lunch.

After lunch the girls were holding hands as well. I love this photo as it looks as if they are both praying together...I believe it is very obvious they are happy to be reunited!

We were staying at an incredible indoor/outdoor water park in TN. After we all had full tummies we took off for the water park! The Baba's were taking their girls down the water slide in the toddler area:)

The girls were waiting for Nicholas and their Baba's to come down the water slide...it was getting close to nap time for Gabriella....Emily was a trooper and stayed awake the entire day!

Finally, their Baba's and Nicholas came down the water slide! The girls were excited to see them:)

The teeter-toddler was a huge hit!

The girls enjoyed it...even getting sprayed every few minutes wasn't too bad:)

Emily enjoying her first popsicle! While Gabriella slept Emily kept us very well entertained! Emily's mom is a nurse too and she has taught Emily where many of her organs are and it was precious to see her identify all of them when Mary would ask her where they were. Emily knows her ABC's, 1,2 3's and then her Baba (daddy) recited all of the planets with Emily!! We were totally amazed! Curtis stated after they left that Gabriella's smile and laugh absolutely melts his heart ~ he said being around Emily he felt the exact same way!

We had a truly incredible day with Emily, Mary and Robert! I can easily say that our family has expanded by three and we couldn't be happier!! We are hoping that Emily's family can come up this summer for Gabriella's birthday and we are hoping to return to TN this year as well! We are looking forward to many years filled with many special reunions with our families and beautiful daughters that God blessed us with from China:)
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