Friday, June 27, 2014

5 months

Wow, it's been 5 months already. Sometimes it feels like an eternity. Just the other night Sage and I were talking and I said, can you believe that we flew to the other side of the world and came back with a daughter? We're such simple people, sometimes it still amazes me! 

This month proved to be a disappointing one for us.  While Haylie's surgery looked so promising, unfortunately her palate repair was unsuccessful.  After about 5 week her palate opened back up. Our surgeon isn't sure how this happened but he feels confident that the next repair will be a success. We'll pray for that! Surgery will be in September.  Until then we are continuing to live life in true Dilka fashion, non-stop-go. The big kids are keeping us busy with their sports, Haylie has really gotten the hang of going to all of these games! 

We love introducing her to new things, recently she's getting to enjoy time at the lake. We took her out on our boat and she quickly became a fan of the lake!

She got her first mani/pedi....

Who can resist this face? Don't be fooled...behind this innocent charm is a handful of sass! :-)

Next week we're loading up to go meet Sage's family. Wish us luck with this long drive, hopefully Haylie will fall in suit and be a great traveller! 

My brother took this picture, it's adorable. Middle name is actually spelled Mei, but none the less, this is adorable! 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Who is this child?

Do you recognize her?

The left photo is in the waiting room the day of surgery, and the right photo is one week post-op.  Hard to believe that it is the same girl! 

Surgery went amazingly well and recovery truly was just as smooth. We stayed less than 24hrs in the hospital and she adapted well to a liquid only diet. In fact, she gained a pound in her first week of liquids only! 

Today marks four weeks post-op, the day that she can finally eat regular foods and use a fork again! As I type she is chowing down on a toasted waffle,  the girl is in heaven! 

This week also marked the four month anniversary of our gotcha day! Haylie has come such a long way.  Here is a quick reminder of her on the day we met. 

Such a brave little girl! Now a days she is full of sass! She rarely knows a stranger, loves when people are willing to tell her how beautiful her clothes and shoes are, and she still loves to accessorize! Thanks to some great friends she now is the proud owner of a doll house that is bigger than she is, and some very lovely Barbies to go along with it. 

I'll leave you with some photos to show what has been happening in the last month!

Three days post-op she came along for her first 5k!

She got to play in water for the first time, and loved it! 

She certainly loves her grandma! 

She learned that she has a pretty cool Uncle! 

Sometimes she and Hunter can even get along long enough for me to get a picture of it!

And finally, our attempt at posing for a photo...she naturally poses, but trying to do it on command ended up being quite difficult! :-)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ours for 3 months!

OThis Easter Sunday marked 3 months that miss Haylie has been in her forever family! It was a beautiful day here in Kansas! It's the first time (in a LONG time) that the chocolate candy melted in the yard while waiting for kids to start their hunt! 

Haylie really enjoyed her first holiday, she liked dying eggs, loved getting dressed up, tolerated being baptized, and quickly caught on to hunting for eggs! Like most kids she has turned into a fan of candy!

This is our first photo with the entire family, it only took 3 months to get! Lol

Riley picked out this adorable outfit for Haylie. If you are familiar with the adoption world then you know the significance of the ladybug. It's the perfect outfit! 

Haylie has adjusted wonderfully. She has become confident that food will always be available, and has even started deciding that there are foods she doesn't like and will leave them on her plate. That's a pretty big step!  She speaks some english, mommy, daddy, Hunter, bye, hi, and of course no. The english is not pronounced correctly (obviously) so probably only people around her all of the time realize what she is saying.  She's still very girly, loves dresses and bows, and purses, oh and sunglasses! She's getting really good at cheering Logan and Riley on at their games! Here she is cheering Riley on at a soccer game.

This Thursday (the 24th) is her first surgery.  We're a little nervous but excited more than anything else.  Please pray for her to have a smooth surgery and as easy a recovery as possible!  

We'll finish this post with pictures from last month or so! The day she got this tiger from grandpa, she was terrified of it.  Now it's always in our living room and constantly wrestled with! 

First ponytail!

First parade...

First trip to the zoo....

I'd say she's fitting in quite well!!!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

One small action = HUGE leap of faith

The title of this post is directed towards many things. From Sage and I having our first conversation about adoption, to signing our Letter of Intent to make Mei Jing (Haylie) our own. Each step seemed tiny to others but we truly were going on a huge leap of faith. Faith in each other, our marriage, our families, spiritually, in so many things. We dug deep and found an entirely new purpose to how we viewed things, different things became more important, and we felt pulled to change the way we live.  In doing so we have removed one child from an "empty" life, and she has filled the void in our lives.  

Today has left me emotional.  I'm exhausted, we are busy, and while I would like to hit pause for a moment, the world continues to press on around us.  Then it happened, Haylie decided to take a leap of faith on me.  She came to me (completely unprompted) and gave me a kiss, then a hug, followed by laying her head on my shoulder while we held each other. It was beautiful.  Until then she had only allowed us to give her kisses on her cheek, she has never returned a kiss to us.  Despite our differences, stresses, struggles, and stubborness, she is slowly - yet surely - allowing herself to fall in love.  And baby girl, those feelings are mutual! Our love story is forming! 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

One month markers

This post will be done in 2 (actually yesterday, Feb 20th) marks our 1-month anniversary of having Haylie. It's kind of crazy, a month...sometimes I think it feels like she's been here forever and other times it seems like just last week!   So, flashback, here is Haylie the day we got her

And here she is today enjoying the warmer weather....

Since being home we have visited her cleft team and the international adoption clinic in Kansas City. Her first surgery is scheduled for April 24th and they'll be repairing her lip and hard palate (gumline).  It's taking us longer to get in for surgery then we had hoped, this is a busy surgeon! 

What's new in Haylie's life? She is sleeping through the night about 80% of the time, and she even puts herself to sleep now without Sage or I staying in her room. It's amazing the difference that made for all of our sanity! She is sleeping longer and we are sleeping soundly.  She still doesn't care for mac n'cheese, she's pretty good at eating everything else though. On occassion she'll be stubborn and refuses to eat unless she has ketchup to dip it in...and once the food is gone she proceeds to eat just the ketchup, and gets mad when we stop her! She is adapting really well to our extended family. Grandma and grandpa have both had a chance to keep her, with her brothers close by to make her feel safe of course! Sage is working a lot of hours so we are greatly appreciating the help that our family has provided us.  Last weekend Haylie got to go see Logan play basketball, and then she had her first visit to Burger King - she was a big fan! 

Then on Sunday we took her to church with us. She was looking stunning in her gorgeous dress and shoes!

A friend came by and brought her some clothes and her very own kitchen! She loves it! As do Hunter and Riley! ;-)

She has joined us for one of our famous family movie nights, she thinks the little couches are pretty cool! 

Today we enjoyed the 60° weather and finally got outside to stretch our legs and breathe the fresh air, she is quite the fan of being outdoors!

That's all for our 1-month gotcha anniversary. I'll finish this post up at the end of next week when we've been home for a month! 

March 2nd-home for a month

Well we have survived a month home as a family of 6.  Honestly, it's become hard to remember what it was like before Haylie was here! She's fitting in with the boys like a natural and the boys don't seem to mind the overload of pink that has taken over our house! 

So during this month Haylie has joined us at church, basketball games & practices, doctors appointments, and hauling her brothers around to their many activities. She enjoys playing with her cousins and has done well with our family members watching her when our lives get so busy that we need the extra help.  Sage and I got to go out last night to celebrate our anniversary, she enjoyed having her cousins and grandparents here while we were out! I have learned how to get through Walmart with two toddlers, that was seriously one of my biggest fears! 

(Excuse Hunter's goofy expression!)

Haylie being silly....

She is finally ok with Hunter hugging her!

1-month comparison photo, her cheeks are definitely filling out!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Not all sunshine & rainbows

I have thought long and hard about this post, should I do it? How honest do people want me to be? No one else writes these things, am I breaking some sort of rule? After thinking long and hard, and talking with fellow adoptive families, I've decided that I need to write this. The words need to be out there for future adoptive parents to see. You may ask why? The general consensus, this part of adoption is not talked about. Not by anyone, not your social worker, your agency, people you talk to while waiting to go get your child. Nope, the only place you'll hear this mentioned (whispered in shame) is in a private support group, and even then you'll be shaking as you hit "post", praying that it wasn't a mistake. So what is the big mystery? I am not madly, head over heals, in love with my daughter. This innocent child that I longed for.  The girl who's picture I fell in love with nearly a year ago. This child who I flew across the world for, because I wanted to give her the chance that no one else was willing to give her. No child should live in an orphanage, no child should go their entire life never being told "I love you".  Yet here I am, not in love. Sure there are things she does that I think are absolutely adorable, and she makes me smile and laugh. But truth be told, she makes me cry too.  Not necessarily her either, it's not like she's a bad kid.  She's the exact opposite! Adjusting well, the boys all like her, she has bonded well with both Sage and I, the dogs can even sit near her!  I have spent many hours in tears doubting our decision to adopt.  At times even thinking I'd made a huge mistake and completely disrupted my wonderful family.  This is where I'm wrong.  Yes, I've disrupted my family, but not in a bad way.  We are all growing from this life change, we are changing Haylie's life and she is changing ours.  

So this is where I have had to stop and really reflect on myself and my feelings.  If this is such a positive thing, then why do I feel so sad and unsure?  Well first, I had 3 wonderfully "sleep-trained" children.  If you are a parent you understand what a blessing this is.  I've now brought this new child home who has completely disrupted my sleep routine.  The new lack of sleep has made it difficult for me to remain focused!  I'm also used to kids who want to come sit with me, who constantly come and give me hugs and kisses, who when they get hurt they want their mom to comfort them.  Seriously, being a mom is the greatest gift in the world!  Haylie is only now learning that if she is hurt someone will comfort her. And as for hugging, we had to teach her how to, yet she doesn't understand the reason for it.  So in all of the training we received I was 100% aware that she wouldn't want to hug me, I just never thought that I wouldn't want to hug her.  I wasn't prepared to not feel an instant connection to her.  These are the parts of adoption that people don't talk about.  I think that this is a huge disservice to adopting parents! I thought I was alone on this, that I was a horrible person, and that I don't deserve this child.  Thanks to some other lovely ladies I'm realizing that it's not just me.  And guess what, we all thought it must "just be me". Because of this I think it's important to speak these words, put it out there for everyone to see.  Just because these feelings aren't immediate doesn't mean they won't come.  She and I have only known each other for a few weeks and right now we're really just co-exhisting.  But it will come....and in the meantime, I know that I'm not alone in this.  I have an amazingly supportive husband, family who has my back through the good times and bad, new friends that are right by my side through this.  

So for people just getting home with their new child, people who have been home a month, people who are considering adoption....know that these feelings are normal.  Reach out to your support group and allow people to help you.  You don't need to go through this alone, there is a large group of people who can help you through the "irrational" moments, and the same group of people will be there to help you celebrate that first hug, and first I love you....adoption is tough, no doubt.  This may be one of the hardest things I'll do in life.  But it's a challenge that I won't regret, she's a blessing to our family.  So friends, while the going is tough...just keep reminding yourself that you can do this, if it's been a bad day remember that tomorrow is a new day.  Eventually your feelings will change and these days will all be just a memory - at least that's what I'm told ;-)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

surgery plans

I left people hanging this weekend because I was hoping to have our surgery date before I posted, but I have time now so I'll blog now! 

Haylie did pretty amazing at her cleft doctor appointment. We were there for 3hrs and we spent that entire time seeing physicians, nurses etc. We saw dental, audiology, ENT, nutritionist, speech, OT, social worker and the cleft surgeon.  Haylie failed her hearing test in both ears (we were prepared for that) but the ENT and audiology are hopeful that with placement of tubes she'll gain full hearing.  As of now her hearing is functional so that's a good thing! Dentist said her teeth looked ok and she didn't see any cavities, yay!  Nutritionist was pleased that she eats everything we give her. Even though Haylie doesn't correctly say any words, in Chinese or English, speech was still pleased that she attempts sounds and also was happy with how quickly she is picking up basic sign language. We'll continue teaching her signs, and then will get in touch with our school system to have her started in speech therapy. I was impressed to hear that most kids are 100% caught up on the english language within 9-12 mos of being adopted! 

(She loves wearing shoes, thank you to everyone who donated clothes!!!! She's a little diva!)

We are using Dr Jiang at Childrens Mercy Hospital in Kansas City. We really enjoyed meeting him! I'd love to tell you that Haylie liked him, but I won't tell a lie! She was ok with him though, up until he needed to see inside her mouth. In her defense though, I had to turn her facing me then lay her backwards with her head towards him so that he could get a good look at her palate. As soon as he said "flip her over" we knew it would be ugly! Nothing that goldfish couldn't fix though!

So her surgery plan.....he is going to fix her lip and her hard palate (her gumline) first, and they will place tubes at the same time. This will take place in about 6-8 weeks. After her tubes are placed then we'll retest her hearing. Then about 6mos from then they will fix her soft palate (the roof of her mouth). I was a little confused as to why not do it all at once, or soft palate first to help her with speech.  Some hospitals do things differently, and Dr Jiang comes highly recommended so we'll go with his plan! 

Some of Haylie's likes & dislikes:
She likes snacks, animal crackers & goldfish are a huge hit! She's not a fan of mac n' cheese, but loves her veggies and chowed down on lasagna and pizza rolls!!!! She loves getting dressed, loves shirts with glitter and bows, and still likes to accessorize. She will walk around in her jammies with shoes, hat & a scarf. She doesn't carry her doll around anymore, I think she started to associate the baby doll with bedtime so the doll quickly lost it's importance! Bedtime is still a subject that gives me anxiety.  She tolerates the dogs, but still would prefer if they didn't look at her. She loves her brothers and gives them pretty good hugs!  She cannot stand being told "no" or being forced to do something that she doesn't want to...for instance if she throws something and we make her pick it up and put it where it belongs...woah, hello tantrum! Luckily they seem to not be lasting as long, though they still come frequently. It's just typical "terrible 2" behavior though.  

(Already enjoying being picked on by her little brother!)

This week we will be thrown back into reality. The kids will all be back in school and Sage will go back to work. I'll work a partial shift this Friday and then next week will return to my normal schedule.  While it will be bittersweet having us all go our own ways again, some routine is definitely needed.  Oh, this Friday we have Haylie's appointment with the International Adoption clinic at Childrens Mercy, this will be where they actually assess her overall health and draw labs etc.  I imagine it won't be as tear-free as her cleft appt! 

On a side note, to all of you parents that have two toddlers at once, or even better, guys are pretty amazing. Let me ask you this, how do you keep your house clean?! I mean seriously, it's as if a tornado went through our main floor and left nothing untouched! And seriously, 2 babies can find so much more trouble than 1 ever could on his own! :-)