We are busy planning a very special birthday party and I will give you one guess who the princess party may be for...you are right ~ it is princess Gabriella! I created and ordered the invitations tonight and will pick the invites up tomorrow! It looks like they will be mailed from the beach as our entire family is flying to Florida to celebrate as my brother and future sister-in-law will be married on an island! As we are all going in so many different directions it will be wonderful having the family together for a few days, in Florida none the less! Thank you Papa and Grandma:) Gabriella has been busy packing her Dora suitcase for items she feels are a must for our trip! I have to say that Curtis and I would both travel all the way around the world with this little princess as she is truly one of the best four year old travelers you have ever met!
**Heather, I have tried to contact you however when I click on your blog link it only shows your profile page; I can't even access your blog:( Please feel free to email me how I can contact you and I would love to chat!**
Thank you all for your prayers, text, emails and messages concerning Gabriella! God answered our prayers and our baby girl sailed through her surgical procedure! We knew when Beth, our nurse, took us back to our pre-op room, smiled and said I have two adopted daughters from China who are 10 and 14 that our day was going to go well! Beth understood our fears of this being the first time Gabriella had been separated from us and went above and beyond to make sure everything went as smooth as possible:) The boys and grandma were all allowed to come back to pre and post op even though we are only supposed to have two family members with the patient; our anesthesiologist who was Asian was very reassuring and wonderful with Gabriella as well as Curtis and I. Versed is also a wonderful drug which helped her to relax prior to surgery; at one point she told me I had five eyes and five noses! The surgeon/pediatric dentist and his team were simply AMAZING!!! The word had been passed along about how important it was for us to be with our baby girl when she woke up; he came out after surgery, gave us an excellent report and then said "I heard you want to be with your daughter in recovery before she even gets to post op...she is still sleeping, come with me and I will take you to her" and off we went to find our precious baby girl hooked up to an IV and monitors yet sleeping very peacefully! We peeked in her mouth, rubbed her hair and the nurse brought 2 extra tall stools so Curtis and I could sit right there with her until she awoke. They had educated us that little ones don't always come out of anesthesia well and it could be a rough couple of hours; nope God had other plans! Gabriella coughed, opened her eyes, looked at us and said "mama, dada, all over, can we go home now"? We were so thankful to see that she handled the anesthesia well and our baby girl was awake and talking! As soon as her brothers and grandma heard she was awake they all joined us in the post op room built for a patient plus two...it was ok as we were all back there watching over our princess and couldn't have been happier with how well she did!
The final report was that she had three fillings and four crowns placed, two in her back molars and two on her front two teeth; they were very unsure if she could keep her front teeth however they were able to by placing the crowns; we were prepared if the tooth fairy needed to visit Riley:) Gabriella's back crowns are silver; it sort of made this mama sad however they said the chances of her keeping them on until her permanent teeth came in were much higher with the silver ones ~ and ~ grandma instantly made me smile when she said "Gabriella, show us your bling that's in your mouth" and she opened her mouth and just smiled! Soooo, we have put a happy spin on the silver crowns and our baby girl now has her "bling" on every single day! One thing that surprised us all was that when we were preparing to take her back prior to her surgery she said she wanted to sit with her brothers for a little while; as they were all three lined up Curtis carried her over there and said "which one do you want"...we were all surprised by who she chose as Daniel and Jordan spoil her rotten; yep, she wanted Nicholas! I believe there is hope for this dynamic duo!
Thank you again for all your prayers!!! One thing we have to take away from Gabriella's diet is anything chewy...so far so good but this baby girl loves her starburst, taffy and bubble gum....if anyone has any idea for some great substitutes I'd love to hear your suggestions!!!
Today our little princess will be heading into surgery. A couple of months ago Gabriella stated that her teeth hurt when she was eating ice cream...and as this little one loves ice cream we went ahead and made an appointment with the pediatric dentist. I was thinking a couple of fillings and we would be on our way...well, it was a little more complicated than that. My "idea" of a couple of fillings, in the dental office, turned into the "reality" of the dentist telling us she had 6-7 cavities, four of which will needed to be crowns. Then he calmly stated "I feel it will be in her best interest to take her to surgery to complete all of this as it will be easier on her to do it all in an hour and a half verses five to six dental appointments". For some reason I was in nursing mode during our conversation and it all made sense; the next morning I awoke in total mom mode...this wasn't one of the hundreds of babies I had taken care of that was going to surgery, on a ventilator etc, this was mybaby girl! After phone calls to the office, a few times, prayer and support from family, friends and those who have "been there done that" with their little ones I did realize it made sense to take her to surgery and get everything done at one time.
I also reached out to Sienna's mom as she has been there done that with her beautiful Sienna. The email she sent me was so encouraging and I truly appreciate it from the bottom of my heart. We "ran into" Sienna and her family at Lucy's on Shaman Island when we were both in China adopting the girls. I also found out while visiting their blog that Sienna will be having dental surgery today as well...so, if you would like to say a prayer for both of our girls we would greatly appreciate it.
Providing we don't have to stay all night in the hospital, and they have given us a 50/50 on that, I'm thinking we will be taking our sweet baby girl to her favorite authentic Chinese restaurant for dinner tonight where she can have her egg drop soup, pot stickers and rice that she so dearly loves:)
I have always wanted to take pictures of Gabriella is a white dress on the beach and I've searched for the "perfect" dress for months...yet couldn't seem to find it. Once we found out that Emily and her family would be joining us I then became obsessed with finding two identical white dresses...and the search began and intensified...and still I couldn't find what I was looking for...until, the day before Emily and her family were to arrive at the beach...there they were...two dresses in the perfect sizes!!! No wonder I couldn't find the dresses in IN they were at a store in South Carolina!! It sort of reminds me of God's timing...how sometimes when want things in our time yet God's timing is truly what is perfect:)
I couldn't choose which pictures to post so I chose lots that I love for different reasons:) I received an email from Mary, Emily's mom, this morning and she stated that another adoptive family stated how many families who adopt children from China and travel as a group share a special bond but we have "so much more". I'm not minimizing at all how close families become who share this common bond however I do feel that God gave our families double the blessings with Emily, Gabriella, the bond they shared as sisters in China and now the love and connection that both of our families share:)
Two years ago when we were on our Myrtle Beach vacation two ladies came running over asking if anyone was a nurse as there was a baby drowning in one of the pools. Lora and I ran over to the other pool where we found a blue baby girl who was starting to cough and spit up large amounts of water and was being held by a hysterical mother. While Lora who is VP of a bank and has excellent customer service and management skills calmed everyone down around us and kept things under control, I utilized all the CPR and nursing skills that I could until the ambulance finally arrived. As they were walking towards the pool I looked up to see a security officer and my husband talking...Curtis, my husband, who had CPR training years previously was the one who jumped in the pool and pulled Dannie Rain from her floatie that she had turned upside down in...unbeknownst to me until then... he laid her on the cement and performed CPR on her as she was not breathing and did not have a pulse.
We had always wondered how this precious little girl was doing as her parents were so distraught they left from their vacation early and we didn't see them again...that is until last week. They "just happened" to be back to the same vacation spot again...the exact same week we were there and swimming at the same pool, out of five, that we chose to swim at that day! Dannie Rain looked wonderful!!! She is happy, very happy and very healthy!! She did spend all of her time in the pool with her life vest on and having an excellent time!! Isn't awesome how God sometimes answers questions that there is no way you would ever have known the answer to without his amazing intervention?
I confess! When I found this bathing suit for Gabriella I had to get one for Mei Mei Emily for her birthday in hopes that maybe, just maybe, the girls would be able to get together this summer and they would be able to wear them...together:) The girls were able to and they looked just precious!!! I loved the questions that we continued to get..."are they sisters"...we would normally say yes, foster sisters, and on some occasions we just smiled and said yes...because as far as were concerned they are...they just happen to have two sets of parents who love them to the moon and back! The girls enjoyed playing bubbles at the pool (thank you Mary, Emily and Robert) for Gabriella's birthday gifts which were her first Disney doll as well as several other nice items:) The girls also enjoyed swimming with their daddy's, who have happened to hit it off like they have known each other for years, swimming and singing songs, and in one of the pictures Gabriella was excited to show Emily baby turtles that were swimming under the bridge. The girls played at the pool most of the day and we then went out for Mexican that evening; we later found out that was the first time Emily had Mexican food and she liked it!!
Each time I look at the pictures of the girls it truly reminds me of what an awesome God we serve as it is nothing short of His divine intervention that the girls pictures were taken on the same day...just minutes apart to be placed in China's adoption program, that we received Gabriella's referral on May 4th, 2009 from our agency in Oregon while Mary and Robert received Emily's referral on May 4, 2009 from an agency in the southern United States, and that by simply sending a birthday cake to Gabriella for her second birthday, her foster parents were sweet enough to take photos of the girls and Mary posted on a Shanxi adoption blog that we both belonged to but had never met, emailed, or spoken to one another, that she may have pictures of someones little girl if they recently sent a birthday cake...and she looks to be about two. That miracle is what God used to allow or families to meet and for the girls to be able to stay connected over 8000 miles from where their lives first began.
As you can see the first night Emily and Gabriella were together was truly wonderful! The bond the two girls share is simply amazing! After we took some pics on the beach we headed out to dinner to a restaurant called Captain George; if you like seafood buffet, as well as hundreds of other things, and your in Myrtle Beach we would highly recommend it; they have some of the best crab legs you may have ever eaten:) The girls were just precious at the restaurant traveling everywhere together and holding hands the majority of the time. One lady asked if they were sisters while another shared she has two younger sisters adopted from China. Though the girls did everything they could to stay in their seats during dinner, and they both have excellent table manners, the urge was too strong and they both ended up playing, hugging and giggling together...and to be honest I wouldn't have changed a thing!! As we have several more pictures of the girls I will separate them into different post as there are so many it's hard to choose and I want to share as many of the moments we spent together as possible! Gabriella is already asking when we can see Mei Mei Emily again and we were already talking about what our fall schedules looked like so we may possibly be able to spend a weekend together:)
There is something that happens through the miracle of adoption that can sometimes be hard to describe to those who have not adopted. Our family has been able to experience a blessing that can't even be put into words. While Emily and Gabriella started their lives over 8000 miles away, as sisters in a 180 square foot apartment in China, God has allowed their relationship to continue for a life time with their forever families. We watched the last three days as the girls spontaneously stopped what they were doing to hug and kiss one another. Holding hands while walking wasn't an option, it was something they both insisted on doing. Ring around the rosy took place on the ground and in the pool as well with a variety of entertaining verses. Gabriella, as the big sister, still tried to take care of Emily by serving her pizza for dinner tonight, trying to hold her several times and in general looking out for her over all well being. Mary, Emily's mom and I were both amazed at how much the girls remember and how close there bond continues to be. One bond that is growing even stronger than it already is, is our bond with Emily and her family...we knew they felt like family the moment we met them. We knew our families finding each other wasn't an accident but God's will. What we didn't expect was that each time we got together with them it would be harder and harder to say goodbye...tonight was pretty difficult. We are excited about all the times we have to look forward to in sharing our special moments with our little blessings God so graciously entrusted us with.
I have concluded that the accumulation of wealth, even if I could achieve it, is an insufficient reason for living. When I reach the end of my days, a moment or two from now, I must look backward on something more meaningful than the pursuit of houses, land, stocks and bonds ~ nor is fame of any lasting benefit. I will consider my earthly existence to have been wasted unless I can recall a loving family, a consistent investment in the lives of people, and an earnest attempt to serve the God who made me. Nothing else makes much sense.