Almost Home

In order to be able to leave China and immigrate our daughter to the U.S., she first had to pass a medical exam, we had to take an oath and have an interview with the U.S. consulate, and then she must have a visa to the U.S.  The first part is complete, now we are just waiting for the visa to arrive...which should come in about 2 hours!!!

Before the medical examination we had to fill out more paperwork and talk through all of Eliana's medical issues with our guide, Molly.  Molly was shocked to learn our daughter's medical history.  She said she would have never guessed her diagnoses or imaged the images of her brain scan.  She thinks Eliana is very smart and the medical examiner agreed.  The medical evaluation came with this comment:  slight right sided weakness, above intelligence for her age, decreased vision on the right side, tall height, normal weight and head circumference.  Her actual head circumference is 12cm smaller than the last measurement we were given before coming to China... making her head measurements totally within normal range!!!  We had already noticed her having difficulties with vision on her right side.  She cocks her head to use her other eye when she is really focusing.  Hopefully it will be something that corrective glasses will be able to assist her with.  I think this may also improve her balance and depth perception.  Everyone can understand her speech and she is able to communicate with both adults and children who speak Mandarin.  When she gets tired, she has more difficulty pronouncing her words and I think she gets worn out trying to correctly say things.  We have also noticed that she has air coming out of her nose as well when speaking, so most likely we will have some more surgeries in the future.  But overall her speech and palate repair are very good.

Once again I found myself pushing down a lump welling in my throat.  Sometime when after we are home and I can be completely alone I know that I will have a good cry, but I do not want her to see me totally lose it.  So far I am thankful that God has given me the strength to keep it together.  Which for those of you who know me, know that is truly due to the Holy Spirit and not my own strength.  I am so thankful for the good reports.  So thankful that my daughter can walk and can run.  So thankful that she can talk and sing.  She has the most beautiful singing voice and can totally sing on tune.  So thankful for her strong personality that has helped her to be as strong as she is.  So thankful for her silliness and the fact that she giggles everyday (this took Faith over a year!).  I can tell that she was well cared for at her foster home and  she understands what a family is supposed to be.  If anything our greatest challenge is that she was used to getting everything she wanted from her foster mom.  I will take that over being neglected in an institution!!

Our communication continues to improve everyday.  The fun part of adopting an older child is that she is teaching us how to say things in Mandarin as we teach her how to say it in English.  There is a song that she has been singing since we met her.  In English, it is called "Little Swallow".  I had Molly teach me the words so we can now sing it together.  The first time I sang the song, Elie's face totally lit up and she couldn't stop smiling.  It was one of those moments when I felt more like her mother.  This has definitely been one of the hardest things I have ever done.  It is a whole different level of parenting when you cannot communicate with your own child.  When they are sad to not truly understand why or to be able to comfort them with your words.  To not be able to express all of your love.  And when they are disobedient to not be able to explain why they should not do something.  I have a whole new appreciation for language.

One of our favorite adventures since being in Guangzhou is going to the zoo.  We have now gone twice, once with our guide and once on our own.  (We have gotten very comfortable getting our own taxis and traveling around by ourselves).  Eliana loves the animals.  She kept calling everything a cat.  She had never seen a bear before, not even in a book!  She wanted to know if she could play with the monkeys.  One of the most precious moments was when she and Kevin fed a giraffe some leaves.  She went back and forth between being scared and then squealing with delight.   I love watching the two of them together.  There is something wildly attractive about watching your husband taking care of a newly adopted daughter.  My love and my passion for my husband have grown 100 fold during this trip.  If you want your marriage to be stretched and strengthened seriously considered adopting!

We are so excited to travel home tomorrow.  I cannot wait to see my other 3 babies!!!!!!   And I cannot wait to see all of the people who love us.  I hope to see many of your smiling faces at the airport.  We will have been traveling for 26 hours by that point, so do not judge our appearance or our attitudes :).  Our daughter will be an American citizen the moment we pass through immigration, so come waving your flags and be ready to welcome our homeland's newest daughter.  See you soon.

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