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Monday, December 31, 2007

From Then to Now

Happy New Year! I hope 2008 brings you all much happiness, good health, and lots of love.

I have been reminiscing so much lately thinking about our first few days and weeks with Lucy and our time in Vietnam. I can not believe how quickly the time has gone by and how much better our lives have been since this little pumpkin joined our family on December 28th, 2006. This is my reflection of the past year.

On December 27th, 2006, we loaded up in a van in Danang, Vietnam with 3 other families so that we could each meet our babies for the first time. First, we went to Hoi An. One mom was adopting a baby girl from the Hoi An orphanage and we went there first. I remember sitting in this little conference room waiting for the nanny to bring Debbie her little girl. I was so nervous, and it wasn't even our turn. It was amazing to see Debbie meet her daughter for the first time. I couldn't wait for it to be our turn. While we were at the Hoi An orphanage, our facilitator called and said that our visit had to be pushed back a couple of hours. We were all upset, but knew we would meet our babies in a few short hours. So, Debbie stayed back with her baby, and the rest of us headed out to explore the wonderful town of Hoi An. It is a great town with awesome shopping, but it was a little hard to concentrate knowing that Lucy was waiting. I felt like we wandered around in the heat for a zillion hours before it was time to leave.

FINALLY, we got back in the van and drove over an hour to the Que Son district. The road was so bumpy and the traffic was crazy. We were on a narrow back road most of the time, and giant trucks would miss our van by about 2 inches. I am a nervous wreck in the car, so I really tried not to look. But when every person in the van is starting to gasp, it is hard not to look. There were 6 of us in the van, plus the driver, and Quoc (one of our agency's in country staff members). I don't think that any of us spoke more than a few words. We were all trying to take in the scenary and study the part of the county that our babies had lived in for the first 5 months of their lives. We were all so nervous and excited about finally seeing the babies. At last, we took a right turn and there was the sign that we had all been looking for - we were at the orphanage.

We rushed out of the van. One of the nannies who we had seen in pictures was standing in the doorway holding Sherri's Grace. I kept saying over and over, "Sherri, there is Grace! Oh my gosh!" When we got to the door, Lucy's nanny was sitting on the bed with her and the little boy being adopted in our group. She was holding Lucy. I just stood there in awe of our baby girl. I wanted to hold her so badly, but the nanny was not quite ready to hand her over. After a few minutes, she handed me our little bundle of joy. She was so tiny. For some reason I was expecting her to be huge, but she was so little. She was wearing a red and white polka dot hoodie sweater that I see in every picture when someone goes to the Que Son orphanage to meet their baby.

There were 7 babies in the orphanage one year ago. They were all perfectly healthy and so clean. Two of the babies were only a few days old. Most of Lucy's time in the orphanage was shared with only a couple of babies and three nannies, so she was very well cared for. Lucy smelled like perfume - it is the detergent or soap that they use. She did not cry once while we were there for about 2 hours. None of the babies made a peep. The nannies cried most of the time we were there. They were devastated to see these babies leave and they clearly loved them so deeply. If they thought Lucy was about to cry, they would whisk her away and comfort her and give her a bottle. They never let those babies cry. They let me give her a bottle. I remember thinking it was so hot it was burning her, but she seemed to like it. She still has to have her milk hot, not warm, but hot. It is something we have never been able to break. I was so sad to leave her, but thought it would be good for the nannies to have one more night with her.

The next morning, Quoc took us to get diapers, formula, and strollers. We drove 1.5 hours to Tam Ky for our G&R. The babies were already there when we arrived. Lucy was sitting on her nanny's lap. She was wearing a big snow hat. It was probably 80 degrees outside. Once again, all of the babies were perfectly behaved during the G&R. Once it was over and we were just waiting to leave, Lucy drifted to sleep on my shoulder. I will never forget the first time she went to sleep on me.

She was an angel on the long ride home. Only fussed for about 30 seconds and then went back to sleep. When we got back to the hotel, we laid her on the bed and let her stretch out. She talked for us, smiled, and started rolling. She has been the most mobile child ever since the day we got her. She had still never cried at this point. We got her bathed and dressed and went to get something to eat in the hotel. Again, she was still being so sweet. We thought she was the happiest baby of all times. We were wrong.

The first night was so hard. We were first time parents, had a child who we didn't know and she didn't know us, and were in a foreign country. She started crying when we went up to the room after dinner. We were trying everything to comfort her. Nothing worked. She cried for hours. She would not eat Finally, she couldn't do it any more and she passed out. Justin figured out that if we jiggled her little leg while she was laying down, it calmed her down. She slept in bed with us. She needed a hand on her at all times. She needed constant reassurance that we were there. She got up at least 5 times in the night. I did not sleep a single second that night. Every time she woke up, we would try and feed her. She would drink .5 to 1 ounce at a time. That was it. I knew she needed more milk, but that was all she would take. She eventually got up to 2-3 oz while we were in VN, but never any more. She is still a terrible eater. Lucy missed her nannies so terribly. It really is such a hard thing to have a baby that you simply can not soothe because she wants the people she knows and you are not that person.

Nights were hard the entire time we were in Vietnam. Getting her to sleep was not an easy chore. It got easier, but it was hard the whole time. She really took to Justin more than me in the very beginning. She took short little cat naps all day long - they were never more than 15-20 minutes. She loved to be out and about, hence the massive amount of shopping we did in Vietnam. She loved her baths. She loved the swimming pool in HCMC. After a couple of days, we got some big giggles out of her. She opened up to us while we were in Vietnam. Within a month or so, she didn't want anyone but Justin or I to hold her. This went on for a while and often still happens. She is, and I think always will be, very leary of people she doesn't know and shy around strangers.

A year later, we really can't imagine life without Lucy. She talks, runs, jumps, laughs, and makes us laugh all of the time. She is not always the easiest child, but all of the difficult times are so worth it because the happy times are so much more often. She is very much so a momma's girl. When she is in a room with several people, she will be happily playing and then realizes she hasn't seen me for a minute or two. She will start scanning the room looking for me and saying momma. Once she makes eye contact with me, she is fine and goes about her business. A lot of time she will have to come over and get a hug, and then go on. She does not always play well with other kids, but we are working on that. She is quick to let you know what her opinion is on any subject. She will tell you yes or no to most questions asked. She has a very short attention span. She gets quickly bored with a book if you are not reading it quickly enough. She will only watch tv for a short time before she is done. When she gets in trouble, she will say this sweet HIIII!! because she knows that I can't resist how cute it is. She can say so many words that I can't count. She doesn't use all of the words that she knows that often. Most of her words are recognizable even by strangers. She speaks very clearly. She can still be difficult getting to sleep, but most of the time she is easy. She has always been a late sleeper. Two days in the past couple of weeks she has slept in until 10 am. It is not uncommon for her to sleep until 9. Her mom and dad are very thankful for this! She is still very tall and very skinny. Pants are a big problem because in order to fit in the waist they are way too short. She is 20 lbs now. Today she turned 17 months old.

Lucy is really the joy and love of our lives. She is surrounded by love from family and friends. She amazes us every day. We look forward to seeing her continue to blossom and grow. We love you so much, Lucy Goose!

Moments after seeing Lucy for the first time.

Lucy's nanny - she was so sad that she was leaving

Justin and his baby girl

Walking up to the G&R building. She looked so cute.

Right after our G&R

And here she is, one year later, driving a John Deere gator and chasing her shadow. My how she has changed!




18 comments:

Kelli said...

I so enjoy your blog and love to hear about when you got Lucy! I recently switched agencies and am now with VORF. Can't wait to have a similar story to share!

Mer (Lulu's Mommy) said...

Oh, thank you so much for such a wonderful post!!!!

Our Family said...

I love this post. To hear Lucy's story is so wonderful...this could be my favorite post ever. We are all so lucky to have these special little ones in our life. I love her looking at her shadow...just precious.

Where did you get the long dress you had Lucy's 1st B-day pics made in? Caroline's 1st B-Day is approaching...wow I can not believe that.

Amber

Cliff & Chandra said...

Thanks for sharing your story. You are so lucky to have such a wonderful daughter in your life.

Stepping On Legos said...

I love Lucy's story. It seems incomprehensible to me that one little person could change so much in just one year. NEver again will she grow this fast, ya know? Its sad but amazing all at once.

Lisa S said...

hi just read your last entry ....so sweet. For skinny kids try gap or old navy they make slim sizes AND have adjustable waist so you can really make them fit.

Susan said...

It was great reading your story again. I remember all too well stalking my computer, waiting for an email from you or Sherri. What a time for there to be Internet communication issues! I was dying for news.

Congratulations on your 1st Family Day anniversary. You and Justin have certainly been blessed with a wonderful daughter who loves you so much. It's amazing how fast times flies by these days, and how fast Miss Lucy is growing. Can't wait to see y'all again!

Sherri said...

Hasn't this been the greatest year? Was New Year's Eve as exciting as it was last year? Lucy, you and me partying in Danang, that is hard to beat. Happy new year! Love you all.

Leslie & Shaune said...

i remember you youtube was one of the first i watched after we decided to proceed with adopting from VN.
lucy is a gem. so cute. congratulations on enjoying this magical year with her.

Leslie

Kristin said...

Happy New Year, guys!

I love this post! What a sweet snapshot of your first days with her and the ways she's changed since. She is such a little blessing...

Love the pics! You're certainly picking up photography way faster than I did. :-)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! What an amazing year it has been.

Jen said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences just after meeting Lucy. We are waiting (not so patiently) to meet our son and I wonder often how traumatized he might be. I'll try to keep you story in mind once we finally get to Ca Mau to meet our little (big--he's 18 lbs) man!

Heather said...

Congratulations on your first Forever Family Day. I've thouroughly enjoyed watching Lucy grow from a baby to a little girl.

Carissa74 said...

What a year! Here is to more great ones to come!

Kristin said...

I love reading this post and seeing these pictures again. Our travel times were so close together, reading your story and seeing your pictures again reminds me so much of preparing for our own journey! Lucy has so clearly had a year full of blessings with you. Your family is so sweet!

Jen said...

This is such a wonderful post! Thank you for sharing your experience. It's good for PAP's to hear what it is really like to bring a little one home.

Lucy is such a sweet little girl! I cannot believe it has been a year...

Norah said...

What a great post !

Jena said...

Kelly-
your description of those first nights with Lucy could be our description of our first nights with Khai, only I am not a first time mom, and it was the WORST feeling to know what it should feel like to comfort MY child, and not be able to comfort MY child, because he didn't know me.....

they come so far so quick, don't they?