Monday, January 19, 2009


Helping make guacamole for dinner. Such a little helper!
Lucy 19/365

Pictures without the fingers in her mouth are hard to come by these days.
Annie 19/365

Today I give thanks for Vietnam. It is such a wonderful country where the people are kind and land is full of history and culture. Both of our adoption trips were made so much better by the welcoming people of Vietnam. I can't imagine life without my two girls, and without Vietnam, I would not have them.

In case you didn't notice, I am doing a new format for my posts. I am obviously still tweaking this to my liking, but I plan on posting my favorite picture of each girl or a together picture first and what I am thankful for that day right below. That way, if you don't want to read my ramblings of not much interesting information about our day, you can see the pics and be done. I end up taking so many pictures each day and have been posting a bunch of them, but in my flickr account I add my favorites to my 365 folder so I will know which one to use when this project is done.

Today marks the two month mark since Annie's G&R. It has been an exhausting, exciting, loving, difficult, and humbling 2 months. I felt pretty good about my momma abilities until we got to Vietnam and Annie joined our family. Those were the most difficult two weeks of my entire life. I felt like I had no idea what I was doing or how to be a mom to her. I felt so helpless and inadequate the entire time we were in Vietnam. Annie was so sad and in such bad shape. When I go back and look at pictures of her from Vietnam, she now looks almost nothing like that child. You can see the sadness, fear, and anxiety in her little eyes. She didn't know how to deal with being held or fed when she needed or wanted it. She didn't want put down, but wasn't sure she wanted us holding her. She felt like crap and was really very sick. She couldn't pick up a toy and showed zero interest in touching or exploring anything. She was so tense, all of the time. Her little hands were never out of being in a fist. They were clinched so tightly all of the time. She had never put weight on her legs and had no idea how to do that. Her legs and arms were so tight that I could barely get her dressed because she would not bend at all. Her skin was covered in scars and bumps. She had such little hair. I remember saying to Justin on the ride back from our orphanage visit how calm and serene she was during our entire visit. Justin said several times that he thought that she was sick. I tried to convince myself that that was just her personality, calm, but I knew after our visit that there was a good chance that things were going to be very difficult. I kept blocking that out and thinking good thoughts. I just wanted our G&R to hurry up and get here so she could be with us and get the care she needed. Justin and I both picked up on the lack or attention that she got compared to the other babies. And we both picked up on her being extremely developmentally delayed for a 7.5 month old. She seemed like a little infant to both of us. And in every way once we got her, she was like a teeny tiny baby. A very mad, sad, and inconsolable infant.

Most of you know the rest of the story. We got home, got her the proper medical attention that she needed, and she basically instantly turned into a different child. She gained 2 lbs and grew over an inch. She went from crying around the clock to smiling around the clock. At almost 10 months old, she LOVES to be held and is learning that we will always be there for her. She plays with toys all day long - handing them back and forth from hand to hand. She is still clumsy with this, but gets better all of the time. She loves to stand on her legs. They are getting some muscle tone to them. She goes wild every time one of our dogs walks by - she really adores animals. She does not arch away from us anymore. She is still learning to laugh, but has started doing this big shriek when she is trying to laugh. We love it and are dying to hear a big belly laugh. She does the shriek every time she sees Lucy. All I have to do is peek at her and she lights up. Justin can still make her smile every time he looks at her. She has grown much more cautious of strangers, which is such a good thing. Before very long ago, she would gladly go to anyone and everyone. That is not the case now. She is still a very friendly child, but in a much more guarded way. Her big issue as we all know, is sleeping. She is still waking up multiple times a night and during nap. She just isn't quite comfortable when she is sleeping yet. A big part of it is teeth, but I just think that she still struggles at night.

I thank God for both of my girls every night as I give Annie her final bottle of the day. They are the true loves of our lives. It has been a really hard 2 months, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.





Anonymous said...

Lucy is such a good little helper!!! I guess that if I liked green stuff, then I would say it looked good! And I think our little Annie is getting the stick up monkey hair!! I LOVE it! Love the pics and love the post. Keep up the good work. You, Justin, Holly, and Adam are incredible parents. All four grand babies are the luckiest! And I feel like I'm the luckiest of all. Love and kisses, LeeLee

life with the wisners said...

i'm sorry...did i just read that right?

your mom doesn't like guacamole?!

because i was JUST about to comment on how i would like to be called the next time lucy makes guac so i can come over and partake.


KrisJ said...

I want some of your dinner! And I was telling my friend hubby just the other day how amazingly different Annie looks now, she is now happy and healthy and amazing. You are doing a wonderful job with both your girls. They are just gorgeous and precious!

Denise said...

Your girls are so beautiful! I love how Annie's hair is beginning to stand straight up. :) It's hard to focus on anything other than those huge, beautiful eyes.
My little one was adopted at the same age as Annie, and she, too, had sleep issues for some time. Hang in there . . . it will get better, but I know these words may not give much comfort yet. I wish I could understand what is going on in their little minds during their sleepless nights.
P.S. Had Annie's head been shaved? My little one was shaved right before I arrived in VN.

Jess and Paul said...

You have done a great job the last 2 months...I know it's been hard. Annie truly does look like a totally different girl thanks to your love and dedication!

Jess and Paul said...

PS. Annie's hair in the last two shots is TERRIFIC!

Kelli said...

Annie's hair and Lucy's dimples make me smile!

Jena said...

Aw, Kelly- reading back over your posts took me back to when you guys were in country-
you all have come so far.
I am very inspired by your thankfulness posting, it really has been a reminder to me to be thankful for all that God has given me.
Hope you guys are all better soon!

Anonymous said...


I can't tell you how much I admire your candor and openness about your experience. As an adoptive mother and now grandmother and also the mother of a biological child, there is no greater joy than motherhood, but there are also challenges, because that's what it IS to be human! The beauty of your honesty moves me to tears.


Sherri said...

Don't you have a great helper? Will she eat it? I too am thankful for Vietnam. I actually watched something on TV about it last night. I wish I had seen all of Que Son. That is one thing I regret, not seeing it all and taking pictures. But that wasn't really in our control.

Anonymous said...

In these pictures you can really see how much Annie's hair has grown! She's got a nice patch of grass up there! :0)

Both of your daughters are adorable beyond measure!

So, what did you make to go along with the guacamole? I LOVE Guac!

Anonymous said...

aww. sniff! I love that post! And mmmm guacamole!!!

Dawn said...

You have done such an amazing job with your girls. You should be so proud of yourself. So happy to hear that Annie is making progress

Sharon said...

Love the photos and love the update!

MKH said...

Lucy's dimple is so cute! And Annie is just thriving and those pics show it all! so happy for you! megan

Christina said...

Mmmm, guacamole- yummy!

has it really already been two months with Annie?! Wow. It's amazing how much she has changed in that time. I can see a lot of that even from here. And most of that is due to you - so you shuld NEVER feel inadequate as a mother! You guys have all come so far, and you should be very proud!