Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Texas Christmas!
















Merry Christmas Everyone!
We are having a wonderful Christmas! Julia is such a happy girl and has become so much more relaxed since last year. She was so excited for the big day to arrive. We spent Christmas Eve with Lindsay and her family plus my parents are in from east Tennessee.
My job as a school counselor is going very well and I work with some wonderful people. My principal and her husband are in Ukraine as I type this picking up their new son. She has described Ukraine so well and you can read about her experiences at http://www.adoptinggrady.blogspot.com/.
Julia's appointment at Scottish Rite hospital went very well in October. Her spine has straightened some to a 69 degree curve. That combined with a little growing has added a whole inch to her heigth! She is now 36 1/2 inches tall! They wanted to do an MRI on her spine so that was performed in November. There is some compression on her spinal cord in her neck, but there's no emergency to do any operation. The only symptom we see is the urgency to go to the bathroom with no lead time.

She and her friend Leah Hope, New Day graduate, had a wonderful playdate right before Thanksgiving. They both discussed their experiences at New Day and talked about a Nanny that they really liked while there. Julia told me that she is so happy that she has Leah to talk to because she knew her in China before America.
This has been such a wonderful year and we have seen such emotional growth in Julia. God has blessed us richly and I pray that all of you have a blessed New Year!




















Monday, October 11, 2010

Blessings Everywhere!











Well, it's been a long time since I posted. I started my new school counseling position in August and I love it! One of the first blessings that I encountered was my new principal. She and her husband are in the process of adopting a special needs little boy from Ukraine and I felt an immediate bond with her! The little boy has a joint disorder and at this time can not walk. What a blessing that he will be coming to this family in a few months. If you would like to read their story you can go to http://www.adoptinggrady.blogspot.com/; they are a wonderful family!
Julia is doing very well and is in first grade; she is performing at grade level in every subject. We are so proud of her! She has only been home for ten months; what a trooper! We take her back to Scottish Rite hospital here in Dallas on Friday. Her curved back has straightened quite a bit with the help of the brace. It will be interesting to see what the x-ray shows on Friday. The only side effects we notice of her back starting to move is that when she has to go potty, she needs to go right then! She can't hold it at all.
She and Lydia both are in our church's religious education program. Julia will have her First Communion at the end of her second grade year. Our diocese requires a two year process to receive First Communion and she is so excited about it.
I have noticed that as time marches on, Julia's recollection of times in China grow fuzzier and fuzzier. Details that she talked about when first in the United States have started to disappear. Overall I think she is happy, but she does have very up and down emotional days. Being with her at school during the day is another blessing that God has given me. Would you guys pray that she continues to open her heart to be giving and receiving of the love she deserves?
I pray every day that I will be a shining light for God's love to those around me. I know God shines his light through Lydia, Julia, and my husband; I hope I can do the same.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

More Pictures from Summer











Here are a few more pictures!

Summertime in Texas











Hi Everyone, We had a very busy spring and now that's it's summer, it's been nice to slow down. Julia and Lydia are doing very well. Lydia made her first communion in mid-May and Julia completed Kindergarten plus one month of summer school. I'm gearing up to go back to work full-time as a school counselor. I was blessed to be hired in our town's school district and will be able to take the girls with me to my school.



On Memorial Day weekend we traveled to Tennessee for my nephew's wedding and Julia was the hit on the dance floor. She was so cute and it was wonderful to see how Lydia was always there to help her.



Also, we were blessed to be able to visit with Jacob and Carrie while they visit the States. Julia was so happy to see them and so were we. It brought back really good memories of our visit with them in China.



I still enjoy keeping up with all of you and apologize for my lack of posting. Enjoy the pictures!

Blessings, Michelle

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter!!











Hi Everyone, We had a wonderful Easter celebration starting with the Vigil mass last night at sunset. It was such a beautiful mass and Julia did very well. She slept about an hour and was snoring pretty loudly! It was a precious sound in between the Old Testament readings.

She and Lydia woke up very early to look for Easter eggs that the Easter bunny had left around the house. Her giggle was so infectious and she seemed so happy. The light of our Lord shines so brightly through both of the girls!

Both of them gave up bacon for Lent so I fixed it for them at breakfast. What a wonderful way to start the celebration of our Savior rising from the dead and redeeming us!
It's hard to imagine now that Julia wasn't part of our family! We have been so blessed by her and Lydia; God is good and He is risen! Alleluia! Happy Easter to all of you in blog land!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Baptism, Birthday, Eye Surgery, and a Break!







Hi Everyone,
I'm sorry it's taken me so long to update the blog. I have been working full time in a school counseling substitute assignment since January 5th. My last day at the school was March 12th; the regular school counselor is returning from her maternity leave tomorrow.

Since I last updated, Julia celebrated her 6th birthday, was baptized at church, and she had eye surgery! A lot has been going on in our household. We are so blessed that we have such supportive friends and family.

First, her 6th birthday was so fun; she was so excited that day - February 2nd. We surprised her with gifts at the breakfast table, then after dinner, all our friends came over for cake and ice cream. She wore a paper birthday crown all day at school and felt so special.

Her baptism day started out very hectic! Lydia woke up with pink eye and also had a terrible head cold! We rushed them both to the doctor to get antibiotic eye drops. We were almost late for her baptism because we had been running around all morning going to the doctor and picking up the medicines. The whole parish was invited to her baptism since they helped bring her home. Around sixty or seventy people came and the church provided a reception for her after the baptism. She dressed in beautiful white dress and she felt like a princess that day. She kept saying, "I'm a member of the church" over and over. It was a beautiful day except for the pink eye situation!

She was supposed to have eye surgery on February 10th, but came home sick from school the day before. We rescheduled it for March 17th and she came through with flying colors! We expected her to be nauseous afterwards, but she wasn't! We expected her eye area to be bruised and swollen, but it wasn't! God's hand was on her again;His love and strength were right there with her. The only visible sign that she has had surgery is the redness in her eyes. And..........no more inward crossing of her left eye! God is so good!

Almost three weeks ago, we skyped with her Chinese foster family. We had promised them when we were in China that we would do that with them on occasion so they could see how she was doing. It was so sweet. Her foster mother cried almost the whole thirty minutes because she was so happy to see Julia. I'm pretty sure that Julia understood everything she was saying, but either couldn't or wouldn't speak back in Chinese. The foster home translator, Ms. Sarah, said she could tell that Julia understood what they were saying. Julia's English is amazing and we're so proud of her, but hopefully she won't lose all of her Chinese.

We have been on Spring Break this week and Julia's eye surgery was on St. Patrick's day. We take her back to Scottish Rite Hospital here in Dallas on Friday. She has been wearing the back brace they made for her since February 19th. She is a trooper and I know God is giving her the strength to wear it. I would describe it like a plastic corset with velco straps in the back - like Scarlett 0'Hara in "Gone With the Wind". Julia wears it almost 24/7, even sleeping in it! We will find out on Friday how long she will have to wear it. Please pray that she won't have to wear it a tremendously long time.

Thank you for checking in on us and keeping us in your thoughts. We would love to hear from you especially those of you associated with New Day and everyone else too! Have a great week! I have a break for a few weeks! Yeah! Blessings to you, Michelle

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Update!






Hi Everyone,
We have been really busy with school and taking Julia to doctors' appointments so I haven't been able to update the blog. Also, I am filling in for a school counselor who is on maternity leave until mid-March.

We were able to meet with Emily (New Day graduate) and her family for dinner a couple of weeks ago. She lives in Louisiana now, but her Aunt lives in the Dallas area. Julia and Emily hadn't seen each other since July and after about ten minutes of getting re-acquainted, it was like old times. I think it was weird for them to see each other in their new setting at first.

We took Julia to her first appointment at Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas last week. She was examined, x-rayed, and then cast in a mold for a back brace. She was a trooper going through all of the manipulations for making the brace. She has kyphosis which means her back curves outward, not sideways. The doctor said hers is more pronounced than most. She hasn't had any problems yet, but he said she definitely needs to wear the brace to help the curve lessen. He didn't rule out surgery for her in the future, but wants to start conservatively. The brace is not going to be comfortable and it's going to be difficult for her to wear especially at first. Without intervention, her spinal cord could become compressed in her lower back as she grows and she could possibly lose sensation in her lower half. We will pray that the brace helps and surgery won't be needed. God works miracles all the time as we have seen at New Day foster home.

She will be having eye surgery on the 10th of February to loosen the muscles that control her eyes. Without that surgery, she would lose vision in her left eye. The pediatric opthamologist told us that she had already lost some vision, but would be able to get it back by wearing a patch on her other eye for several hours a day.

As you can see, there is a lot in store for our sweet Julia. On the lighter side, her birthday is this Tuesday and she will turn 6 years old. She is so excited because she is also star student of the week in her class! Her baptism is next Saturday and the whole parish is invited since they all helped bring her home.

I hope to update more often once the next couple of weeks pass. Thank you for checking in on us; I love to hear from all of you. Even though I haven't been able to update as much, I have been keeping up with you and your blogs. Blessings to all of you, Michelle

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Julia's First Day of School




Hi Everyone, Julia started Kindergarten today and loved it! When she arrived, she looked around and asked where to sit. She was at the green table with three other students. She had met them previously when we took her to the class Christmas party. They were excited she was there so Mark and I took a picture or two then slipped out. Later in the day, her teacher e-mailed and said she was having a great day! She was so excited when she came home and was very anxious to do her homework. She had to write her numbers from 0 - 10. Her friends had drawn her pictures to put in her take-home folder and she earned two stars for behavior today. The only downside of today was that she was very tired and was in bed by 7:20pm. Thank you to Mrs. Esposito for a wonderful first day for Julia!