Sunday, November 28, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
Today we went to see ICE . Ice is a winter wonderland carved out of 2 million pounds of ice. A troupe of ice loving artisans hail from Harbin, China to create this magnificent display .
The story of ICE began long ago and far away - in fact ,on the opposite side of the globe. Ice lantern festivals can be traced back as far as The Ming Dynasty .
During long winter months, getting lost in the forest was a real problem for hunters. The clever Chinese came up with the novel solution of allowing water to partially freeze and form ice blocks into which a candle was placed , creating a lantern.
In modern times , an ice lantern festival began to be held to celebrate these brave hunters. In 1963 , the Mayor of Harbin created the Lantern Festival .
This was actually my Birthday present from Ed and the kids. We really had a nice time. The funniest part of the day was Gemma. She looked like Randy in A Christmas Story dressed in her snow gear . Everyone is given a parka to wear over their coats and Gemma could not move her arms . One part of the attraction is a huge ice slide . Gemma went down the slide and could not get up because she was so bundled up . She also could not resist the temptation to taste the ice ( she loves her food ), so out came the tongue. Out of the blue Ed turns around and she has her tongue on the ice . It was hysterical .
Posted by Our Family at 11/26/2010 07:49:00 PM
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
One year ago this week we left for China to bring Gemma Rose home to her family .
She has come so far in one year . Her personality has blossomed and she has discovered a favorite pastime ... eating!. This girl LOVES to eat . We call her our little Buddha Belly .
Last year before we left for China , the girls wanted to do something to bring a little bit of happiness to the orphans in China. In the past we have delivered clothing, supplies and medical equipment , but this time the girls wanted to focus on specifically the children . So they came up with the idea of filling backpacks and Christmas stockings with toys, tooth brushes , toothpaste and candy . They called their mission " Bags of Love" . With the help of their school and our wonderful community , they were able to fill over 150 backpacks and Christmas stockings for the children . While at one orphanage we found a little boy in the corner of the room all bundled up in his crib . Our first impression of him was very sad . He looked so sick and frail, but after getting closer I could see his eyes were full of life. He was too weak to do anything but lift up one arm to be held . When I held his hand he began to smile. His skin was gray and his hand was ice cold but he was so happy to just be touched . His diagnosis was an inability to keep any formula down , he was slowly starving to death .
After leaving this orphanage we met Bill and Lynsay at The Morning Star Foster Home ( These are 2 incredible people who have given up a comfortable life in the U. S. to help the most needy orphans in China . They are the founders of The Morning Star Home . If you are looking for an organization to help , take a look at their site)
Lynsay immediately made some phone calls and had " Josiah " moved to their Foster Home. With the change of his formula and medical care and lots of LOVE , Josiah is now flourishing! He has gained so much weight and is a happy little toddler. ( Go to their site to see updated photos).
The last orphanage we visited was actually on Thanksgiving Day . To me there was no better way to spend Thanksgiving than by helping the less fortunate. It was very sad that we were not together as a family with all of our children but the happiness we experienced with the children that do not have families to share Thanksgiving with was priceless. After leaving the orphanage we spent a very THANKFUL dinner at a local MacDonald's. When we returned to our hotel we were able to watch The Macy's Parade on our computer with the help of the slingbox ( this is a device you connect to your cable box at home and link to your computer and you are able to watch T.V . from anywhere in the world.) China is 12 hours ahead , so it was Thanksgiving morning in the States and the parade was just starting as we were heading to bed .
The difference a year makes. I am so grateful to spend Thanksgiving with all of our children this year but I can't seem to forget the faces that were left behind.
If anyone would like information on any of the children in the orphan photos, please email me and I will send you their information .
Posted by Our Family at 11/23/2010 10:23:00 PM
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Yesterday Gemma and Teresa's adoptions were finalized on National Adoption Day . Our state celebrated this wonderful day in the Old Court House with an impressive ceremony. After the Ceremony we all were treated to lunch and festivities.
Each of the newly adopted children received a "Star Bear" ( a star will be named after each child), a new toy and a gift bag with a special gift inside. Teresa's gift in her bag was very significant... a sterling silver heart necklace.
We seem to be collecting a lot of items with a heart theme these days .
Teresa was doing really well this week until Friday night , she gave Ed quite a scare. Usually after her bath she will turn a little blue and after a few minutes she is fine. So after her bath on Friday night Ed took her downstairs and sat her on the couch while he went into the kitchen to get her a drink. When he turned around she was face down and not moving and very blue. He lifted her up and she was very lethargic . He immediately gave her oxygen and checked her sats. She was at 59 . After a few minutes she was better but her O2 levels remained low the rest of the night and for most of Saturday . Today she was doing much better and did not require oxygen .
We are returning to Hopkins on wed. . Hopefully we will have good results from the Sildenafil.
Thank You everyone who helped us on this journey to bring Gemma and Teresa home!
Your love and support we are eternally grateful for ! We could not have made this fantastic journey with out any of you !!
Thank you :
ASIA-Associated Services For International Adoption
Maureen Kenny- our Fantastic Social Worker
Congressman Elijah Cummings Office - Katie Malone, you are an angel!
U.S. Immigration- Officer Cindy- your help was priceless!
The U.S . Consulate in Guangzhou China-
All our wonderful friends who offered their love, support, fundraisers, dinners,car rides for the girls, and prayers !!!!
Father Whatley for your prayers, support and spiritual guidance!
St. Mark School for all your prayers, support and fundraisers!
China Care orphanage- for taking such wonderful care of Teresa and loving her so so much !!!
Ed's office- to his wonderful staff who kept everything a float while he was gone, and your love and support !
Grandmom , Alex and Sarah- our 3 baby sitters!
Jane and Paula - our emergency back up
Anonymous Donors- your donations were priceless, we are eternally grateful!
Prayer Warriors- your prayers have kept Teresa and us going !
Kathleen Cairns and Dave, you are just amazing reporters and we consider you friends ! Thank you for your love and support!
Jennifer Franciotti- your genuine concern in helping us to bring Teresa home showed that you are a fantastic reporter .
Thank you God - for giving us these Children to love !
Posted by Our Family at 11/21/2010 08:01:00 PM
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Actually it has been one of those weeks.
This is what I have felt like lately . This picture says it all.
The realization of Teresa's health has really hit me this past week. Right now she is doing great but I know this can change with the blink of an eye as we found out last month when she went into heart failure with a common cold.
With every passing day I become that much more in love with her and coming to grips with the possibility of losing her at any time is just heart breaking. She can now talk to us in perfect English and the conversations I have with her are just amazing . Her depth of understanding is astonishing . When I ask her how she feels she ALWAYS says " Mom, I feel fine". I do not think she knows how very ill she really is, or she just does not let it bother her. She is always saying how happy she is. Tonight in the car we were listening to a princess song and she said, " Mom , I am so happy , I love this song". When Ed comes home from work each night she waits by the door saying, " Mom , when is my best friend coming home ? , I love Daddy , I am so Happy ". Eating Chinese food... " I love Chinese food, I am so happy".
When we took the leap of Faith and adopted a child that we knew was not going to live very long , we new we would love her and the possibility of losing her would be hard but we wanted her to have a family and a life filled with all of the things every healthy child has and enjoys. What we didn't fully anticipate was how incredibly special she would be and how her eyes captivate you as if you could see right into her soul . Her personality is magical , her love for life is awe-inspiring , her depth of understanding is exceptional and she gives the sweetest kisses ever. The thought of losing all of this is hard to conceive.
I am sure when the Saints were being fed to the lions , they didn't fully understand Gods plan for them either.
I am just so tired of trying to figure things out. Life is so unfair for some and others ... well they seem to have everything.
Children should not suffer. I will never understand this , it is wrong on every level . Praying and studying the bible has not given me any peace with this .
Some things will just have to wait until I meet God face to face . My list of things to discuss is growing longer and longer.
Posted by Our Family at 11/18/2010 07:28:00 PM
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Today Gemma had her blood transfusion . This was the second time she went 4 weeks so we were hoping her blood levels would be as good as last month . Unfortunately her hemoglobin dropped too low and her retic count and NRBC were too high along with her ferritin levels still remaining dangerously high. So the plan is to go back to transfusions every 3 weeks . To remove the ferritin levels her next option is to start daily subcutaneous medicine for 12 hours every night or 2 days in the hospital on IV medicine to remove the ferritin . In the hospital she would also be able to receive her blood transfusion at the same time . The Doctors will let us know next week the best choice for her . Besides from being tired and moody this past week she has been doing really well . She is loving Pre K and riding the school bus to school every day .
Posted by Our Family at 11/17/2010 03:40:00 PM