Archive - July 2013

Vanderbilt and becoming a Warrior
3 years old
Cocoons, meltdowns and progress
Teachers of Play
Happy 4th Ya’ll
Four days and counting

Vanderbilt and becoming a Warrior

This has been a very busy week. I realize everyone reading this has also had a busy week, so cheers to you! Monday’s Vanderbilt appointment was truly disappointing. Calvin and I left the visit with the cornea specialist feeling very unsettled. The scenario he put forth, which included not doing a cornea transplant for at least a year, goes against all the research we have done. Additionally, other sources have advised us that the quicker we move on this the better chance we have of giving her better sight. There are certain parts of the brain, that involve vision, and those parts typically stop developing around 7 years of age. Lola will be six in January. We just don’t want to play around. If her sight can be improved, we want to do that for her. If not, that’s great, she will still live a wonderful and full life. But, there is an opportunity that seems very clear and we feel that we have to move in that direction.

We have yet another appointment at Vanderbilt this coming Monday. I’m going to sound cross here, but it seems that they delight in sending us back and forth between our two specialists. No answers, just back and forth. On Monday we will most likely object to the proposed plan which is: do muscular surgery now and cornea transplants in a year… maybe longer. Oh and He keeps throwing if in there on the cornea transplant. Please be praying for us. Our gut tells us this is not the right plan. Our gut tells us to listen to the others sources we have consulted with. We so want to make the right decision for our daughter.

Now, on to the more cheerful part of this blog post. Becoming a Warrior. We are zoned for a fantastic elementary school. The mascot is on the shirt pictured below.

photo-1I naturally assumed that the kids were the Indians. I think I complained a dozen times to my poor husband. “It’s a school for goodness sake, don’t they know Indian is not a correct term? It should be Native Americans!” So anyway, we found out tonight that our children are not becoming a bunch of insensitive, politically incorrect wahoos. They are becoming Warriors. I feel so much better. And silly.

So yes. Lola and Elliott are officially Warriors. Lola was more excited about her new shirt than pretty much anything else the school had to offer. Typical girl. Elliott was mildly impressed with the pretty Kindergarten teachers and most excited that he would see a few of his good friends at lunch.

Please forgive the terrible iphone photos. School lighting is atrocious.

Please forgive the terrible iphone photos. School lighting is atrocious.

Charlotte is in preschool this year. One more year until Kindergarten. Hard to believe. We love her little school and she was over the moon excited to start this week. Being at work is so much easier when your children are also in a place that they love.


Calvin dressed to match Charlotte, to help her feel confident on the first day. Thanks for wearing pink daddy.

Calvin dressed to match Charlotte, to help her feel confident on the first day. Thanks for wearing pink daddy.

Liam’s little school starts in a week or so. Hopefully he will stay still long enough for a cute photo or two! That kid is nuts. 🙂

Well it’s about time for another Lola update. Things are really going well! I adore having four children. (What is it about 4 kids and family pictures, it just looks so symmetrical!) Gosh, I just love love Miss Lola. When I tuck her into bed at night I like to tell her “I’m your mommy, you are my daughter.” I feel at times that I’m willing those words to sink into her brain. I want her to understand that this is all real, this family thing? It’s permanent. Love? That’s permanent too. I think she’s starting to understand, and I’m pretty sure she’s okay with the fact that we were all placed together.

Lola is saying many English phrases now. Her most recent phrase is “can I help you?” She utilized this one today while she helped Liam down the stairs. Melt. She even counted the stairs for him, the way we used to when she was still learning our house.

We have another big appointment at Vanderbilt Eye Institute on Monday. This is when we will make a surgery plan with the cornea specialist. I am strangely excited about this… probably because I fully believe we will all be witness to a miracle in a few months.

In other news. I’m really tired. 🙂 Emotions are so out of whack when you are in the attachment phase with a newly adopted child. I think a mental vacation from any real world issues might be good. And for heavens sakes, people, stop posting Beach pictures on Facebook. I don’t think I can take it anymore. (still love you all though) Here are some pictures of the last week or so. Can’t you just feel the joy?

Trying out walking canes, Miss Anita brought one for everyone!

Trying out walking canes, Miss Anita brought one for everyone!

IMG_1271 IMG_1279 IMG_1291-Full van, Full heart right? IMG_1300-Getting ready for Charlotte’s Recital IMG_1307 IMG_1317 IMG_1321 IMG_1336 IMG_1338-Liam not getting his way… but still cute

3 years old

As I walked down our stairway this evening I took the time to look at the pictures lining our walls. We have many pictures featuring each of our four children. I have even added pictures from the days before Lola and Liam were physically with us. Pictures from their orphanages. We are fortunate to have pictures from families that traveled before us and also from kind orphanage caregivers. It’s pretty amazing, Lola was 5 1/2 when she came home and we received pictures of her at 14 months, 3 years and some recent photos as well. That’s not very common. Lola’s three year old picture is hanging near Elliott’s three year old picture. This is where my eyes fell as I walked down the stairs. Two sets of chubby fingers, two little rounded faces… the markers of a three year old. Yet, Elliott was here with us. Elliott was with his family. Lola was not yet with us and would wait more than two more years to join us.

This hurts me in a very deep way. One that I cannot fully explain. And tonight, I sit here, my family intact, and all I can do is grieve.


Cocoons, meltdowns and progress

Tonight as we were attempting to read a book to an overtired boy, a diva, a non-English speaker and a terrible two I decided I didn’t care if said terrible two ran around to expel some energy. I also didn’t mind when he ran into the room exclaiming “see!” with a piece of tissue. A few moments later I began to think about the tissue and realized that it most certainly came from the bathroom. Quick as a wink I ran to investigate. And yes, I found the terrible two playing in a toilet bowl of unflushed urine. So yeah. That’s pretty much life right now.

Moving along… We did do some pretty great things today. I took the kids to ride bikes at our elementary school. Lola, with reason, has been a little timid about bikes and I really wanted to help her feel empowered. As the rest of the kiddos tore up the little circular track I held Lola’s legs and moved them In a pedaling motion. We did two laps and she began to pedal herself. I started to jog in front of her, calling out and directing. She followed my voice, she trusted me to lead. We only did a few laps, but man, what a great way to work on trust and attachment. So proud of her.



We are slowly moving out of the cocoon. We have kept the world small but school is coming soon so we must expand carefully. We expanded this evening by enjoying some good old Cracker Barrel.



Teachers of Play

We are hard at work learning to play this week. Miss Lola was not given the opportunity to play, save a few structured opportunities, in her first 5 1/2 years of life. She is freaked out by grass and has never used her imagination. Pretend play is mind boggling for her. Her brothers and sister are a bit confused by this but we are pressing on and providing opportunities and modeling the best we know how. We are teachers of play. I would love to get in her head for a minute. She surely thinks we have all lost our minds.

IMG_1231IMG_1164IMG_0023 IMG_0026 IMG_0027 IMG_0030 IMG_0035We also visited the pediatrician this week. Charlotte was due for her 4 year old well check so we knocked that out at the same time. So far it looks like Lola is a pretty healthy girl! We are waiting on blood work to make sure nothing is hiding from us. Overall the visit was pretty great. Even the blood work portion was pretty smooth. Charlotte, the aspiring doctor, watched intently as the nurse inserted the needle and took 5 tubes of blood from Lola’s arm.

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Happy 4th Ya’ll



Four days and counting

We have now known Lola for 17 days. We have been home for 4 of those days. It’s hard to even find a place to start as I try to explain what our journey has been like thus far. Our four children are doing well together. That has probably been the smoothest part of the whole process. We are seeing compassion and love flowing freely between them. Charlotte has been especially understanding and patient, even in the hard moments. She loves her sister so much and wants to help her heart heal.

I have to admit, this is certainly not an easy road. I’m so very tired. But I love Lola so very much. We have this broken little person in our house and I feel like I have to fix her. And I can’t. I’m not that good. Nobody is really. Not even Karyn Purvis herself (attachment therapist goddess) can fix a child.

I’m putting my daughter in the hands of her creator. He will heal her heart. And Calvin and I will rely on His strength to parent and love her every second of the day. Yes. Right now, this is hard. But the right things are rarely the easy things.

We had our second appointment at Vanderbilt today. We met with a cornea specialist. Lola was not happy about going back. She cried most of the way there until she fell asleep. When I parked I snapped a picture of her and prayed that by some miracle I could get her into the building. I also asked others to pray. Elliott came to the appointment with us. Lola is always in a better mood when a sibling is around. He unhooked her carseat and handed her a stuffed animal. Lola was pretty happy when she woke up and held my hand and Elliott’s hand as we walked out of the parking garage. Then she realized where we were. I had to scoop her up and run in quickly before she got too upset. This worked pretty well and soon we were sitting in the waiting room and Elliott was doing English flashcards with her on the Ipad. Great distraction. I was still praying that we would make it through the appointment without a melt down.

We were finally called back, and once again Vanderbilt did not provide Lola with an interpreter. I have asked twice in advance and twice there has been no interpreter. Sure. Stick something in my kids eye without her understanding a word. Great. The nurse who started the assessment was super nice and Lola seemed to like her. After talking for a few minutes she excused herself and came back a few minutes later with a young Chinese doctor. He was a resident doctor doing a round in the “eye specialty” area. He spoke to me first, without a trace of accent and asked if he could speak with Lola. I agreed and he turned to her and began to speak some fantastic Mandarin. He didn’t just speak with her, he got on her level and held her hands. He told her why I was bringing her to the doctor all the time. He told her that we wanted to help her. Then he explained that they needed to numb her eyes and that they also needed to look into her eyes with a big machine. She smiled at him. Her body relaxed. She turned and gave me a kiss. I praised God. The young doctor stayed with us the entire time. When the cornea specialist came in he continued to let Lola know every detail.

I am over the top grateful for this very special doctor who didn’t have to help, but did. He saw a scared little girl who needed compassion and he responded.

The good news… after the past two days of poking and probing… we have been informed that Lola is a candidate for surgery. In the coming months Lola will undergo cornea transplants and muscular surgery. Lola’s cornea specialist and pediatric ophthalmologist are going to take the next three weeks to come up with a plan, we will meet with them at the end of this month and go from there. Even after surgery Lola will still have a visual impairment but we are praying for the best outcome. We are being pretty aggressive with her treatment plan because as her parents we believe deep down that we need to explore every option. We have a great team at Vanderbilt and a God who can work miracles. We have a long year ahead of us. The surgeries will be difficult and her healing will take time. It’s a huge commitment for us and for our little girl. We truly covet your prayers as we work through all the ups and downs of this process.

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