Monday, September 29, 2008

Treasures from Nanjing

Mylee (2), Clara (18 months ), Millie (2), Elsa (18 months), and Ava (3).

Ava and Mylee kissing. Ava is the daughter of Chad and Tara and who I was lucky enough to travel with to get our girls.

Earlier this summer I had all of the Nanjing girls over for a playdate with their moms. All of these girls were recently adopted from the same orphanage as Mylee and all live right here in Ft. Wayne. We are going to continue to get them together about once a month for playdates and so us mom can chit chat about our precious girls. They all had a great time with each other and I cannot wait to get them together again. Each one is so very special and absolutely adorable. It will be so nice for Mylee and the others to have each other as they are grow.

There will soon be a boy in the mix as his parents are "paperchasing" for little Samuel. He too is from Nanjing and will be home with his forever family next spring.
First off, let me apologize for long delay in updates. Things here have been crazy. Now that the kids are back in school, that also means all the after school activities begin as well; dance, swimming, football, piano lessons, you get the picture. Plus, Matt is teaching for the union twice a week and I am back to school as well.
Since my last update, not much has changed. We are still waiting on Mylee's braces and her therapy to start. Her first set of braces were made wrong so we had to take her back in to have another set casted and we are just waiting on those to come in. As for her therapy, First steps was out last week to evaluate her. During the evaluation, they look at speech, cognitive skills, and gross motor skills. Since she has no problem with speech ( her English is amazing), they were able to pretty much skip over that part. They were also amazed at how well she understands everything and figures things out. So, they just evaluated her on her walking and as we were hoping, she does qualify for therapy from First Steps. They will be coming back tomorrow to fill our more paperwork, and will have a therapist in here within 10 days. YEAH! Since we have not been able to get her braces or therapy going, Dr. Loder (in Indy) wanted to see her just to make sure she had not lost any of the progress that was made over the summer. So, my wonderful father-in-law took Mylee back to Indy for a quick visit with the doctor. According to the doctor, she has lost a couple of degrees in each leg, but not anything he is overly concerned about. She will go back again in 6 weeks (hopefully by then she will have her braces and and have started therapy.

On a good note, Mylee is back to walking. After she had her lasts set of casts taken off, she lost alot of muscle strength in her legs so it took her awhile to learn to walk again. (Don't forget to turn the music off before playing the video). Sorry it is sideways, I haven't figured out how to turn it around yet.

Mylee loves to talk on the phone and has since we got her. For those who have been following our journey from the beginning, you may remember my post while I was in China about visiting hte orphanage. When we went back to visit the orphanage, her main caregiver was not there so they called her on the phone and Mylee sat at the desk and carried on a full conversation with her. The caregiver was asking her what she had been doing and Mylee told her she was playing with toys, balls and reading books. Anyway, in this video she is talking to my mom on the phone which she does daily.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Greatest Show on Earth

Saturday I met my sister and niece Riley in Indy to take our kids to the circus. Matt had to work so me and 5 kids (yes 5, Blake took a friend) traveled to Indy to go to the circus. The kids really seemed to enjoy themselves, even Blake (he will probably not admit it). Mylee had her first taste of cotton candy and LOVED it. However, I have to admit it was really hard for me to buy the cotton candy. Not because the kids were going to be a sticky mess, but because a bag of cotton candy was $12.00! Yes, $12.00! I thought the guy was kidding when he told me the price, but he very seriously repeated the price to me. There was no way I was going to buy a bag for all the kids, so my sister and I each bought one bag and made them share. They didn't seem to mind. Emma and Mylee loved the elephants and Emma thought it was pretty cool that they could do tricks. Gabe was fine as long as the clowns stayed very far from him. For some reason, he is terrified of them. All in all, it was a nice time and the kids really enjoyed themselves.

Monday, September 8, 2008

No More Casts!!!

Last Thursday Grandpa and Mylee traveled to Indy again to see the progress from her last set of casts. Once the casts were off, Dr. Loder decided to leave the casts off and start physical therapy. YEAH!!!! Grandpa was able to get a really good video of Mylee after her casts were taken off showing how much her knees are bending. Before she had her casts, her knees did not bend at all. They were very stiff. They still seem to be stiff, but we are hoping that once she starts therapy, her muscles will continue to loosen up. Mylee seems to be quite happy without her casts although the first couple days she complained that her legs were hurting so we gave her some Tylenol. She didn't complain at all yesterday, so she must be feeling better.

Now we are just waiting to get her night braces and therapy started. She has an appointment next Monday to get fitted for her braces. Once these are made, she will need to wear them every night at bedtime. These will position her knees in a bent position while she sleeps. As for the therapy, because she is not 3 yet, she has to go through First Steps. This actually works better for me so I don't have to worry about taking time off work. The downside is that it takes quite awhile to get the therapy started. From the time she is evaluated by First Steps to the day they actually start the therapy takes about 45 days. I called Dr. Loder this morning and left a message with his nurse to let him know what the time frame was concerning the therapy. He wanted to see her back in a month to check her progress. From what I understand, her therapy will not have even started by then. So, I am not sure what is going to happen at this point.

Mylee is loving not having the casts on. As I was getting her dressed on Friday morning she was in a big hurry to get her shoes on. She is back to climbing on everything and figuring out how to get around since she can't walk again. With or without the casts, Mylee continues to amaze us with her strength and determination. She lets nothing get her down. Sometimes I look at her and think about how much she has already endured and overcome and wonder how she continues to keep her spirit. She is amazing in so many ways and I although she is learning from us everyday, I can't help but think how much she is actually teaching us.

Below are some pictures of her getting her casts off. The video is after the casts were off and her using her BENDED knees to get around. Don't forget to turn off the sound on the music before playing the video.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Mylee after getting casts off.
Mylee getting ready for new casts.
Daddy and Mylee on wave runner.

Wrapped in plastic so she can ride the waverunner.

Many of you have been asking how things are going with Mylee and her weekly castings. First let me apologize for not getting updates out sooner, but this summer has been busy and now that the kids are back in school, things are starting to settle down (at least during the day). Mylee had her first set of casts on July 23 and has since had a total of six castings. Each week we travel to Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis where one cast is removed and another is put on. Each week Dr Loder (who by the way is amazing) bends her knees and they are then casted in that bent position. This has also been a great way for Mylee to learn her colors because each week we pick a new color. My has had pink, purple, green, yellow, orange and this week is light blue. We are amazed at how well this seems to be working. Dr. Loder is very pleased with her progress and mentioned last week that tomorrow may be her last visit for awhile. The last two weeks my father-in-law has taken Mylee to Riley for us because Matt and I are unable to get off work. Anyway, Mylee is very excited to go "bye bye" with Grandpa and I think he is enjoying the trips as well. Last week during her casting Dr. Loder told Steve that he was very pleased with the way her knees were looking and that these may be her last set of casts. His goal has been to get her knees to bend to about 95 degrees and as of last week they were at 90+. If her casts are taken off tomorrow and all looks well, she will come home with no casts!! She will however go to physical therapy 2 or 3 times a week and will need to wear leg braces at night when she sleeps. I am so hoping and praying that she does not need anymore casts and we can begin her therapy so she can get up and run and play with the other kids. I will have to say that having the casts have not slowed her down or kept her from doing anything. Up until just this past week, she had figured out how to balance herself on the casts to walk. Because of the degree they are bent this week, she is unable to walk. This weekend she even rode the wave runner at the lake. I put trash bags around her legs and Matt took her for a ride on the wave runner. She LOVED it. We cannot wait until next summer when she can swim and go tubing with her brothers and sister.

Below are some videos Steve took last week during her castings. (Make sure you turn off music (on the right) so you can hear the videos). If you click on the pictures above, they will enlarge.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Our New Home

Well, not exactly. We did not actually move, just our blog. Earlier this summer I decided that we needed a blog makeover, with that came a new home for our blog. Originally when Matt and I set up the blog it was so family and friends could follow our journey to China to bring home our daughter. Now that we are home, there is still quite an interest in Mylee, the progress she is making with us and her legs, as well as curiosity about our other 3 kids. So, like many other adoptive parents, we have decided to keep the blog going indefinetly to keep everyone posted on our happenings. So, with all that said, for those of you visiting our blog for the very first time, you can see where it all began here. For those continuing to visit our blog, welcome back. I hope we have as much of a following with this blog as we did with our last one.