Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Annie 322/365

Both girls are obsessed with iPhone games
Lucy 322/365

Today I am thankful for today being the day of Annie's Giving and Receiving Ceremony. For those of you unfamiliar with the Vietnam adoption process, this is the day that the child is "given" to you in the eyes of the Vietnamese government. This is the day that she was with us from then on.

I can remember the day very clearly. We were still a little off on our time change and I didn't really sleep at all the night before. I actually blogged at 4 am Vietnam time and Lucy was up by 4:30. We had to meet in the hotel lobby at 6 am, so it was fine that we were all up so early. We drove from the hotel to the Hoi An orphanage where we picked up the orphanage director and a baby and young girl that were being adopted by travel mates of ours. There were 3 of us with babies from Que Son and we had to wait out the 1.5 hour drive because our babies would meet up in Tam Ky at the G&R. It was yucky weather. A bad storm had blown in that stayed the rest of the time we were in Danang. I had of course left a short sleeve onesie and dress for Annie to wear when we visited the orphanage. I knew that the nannies would not like this and just as I had hoped, they sent her in a sweater and socks so that she would have some keepsakes like Lucy did from the orphanage.

Lucy did not have her best morning that day. She was very tired and just acting like a 2 year old. She was fussing and crying during most of the G&R so I was out in the hall with her until it was our turn, at which point she did settle down. Thank goodness. She was wild again after our turn, so I really wasn't in the G&R room very much. Both girls napped on the ride home. We pretty quickly gave Annie a bath because she was so stinky from spit up.

Honestly, at this point, we thought that Annie was going to be a breeze. She didn't fuss at all. She napped well. She was happy during bath and she ate well. The first night she only woke up one time and Justin put her on his chest and she slept there the rest of the night peacefully. I remember going to breakfast the next morning feeling great. I bragged on how awesome she did all day and night. Oh me oh my, we were in for a BIG surprise in the next couple of days when all hell broke loose.

For everyone that read Annie's travel blog, I just want to take a moment and thank all of you that took time to leave me the most awesome comments while we traveled. I am not kidding when I say that they got me through that trip when things went south. I would sit at the computer every night and read them and just cry my eyes out over all that was happening and all of the love and support that I got from people reading the blog. So honestly, thank you so much.

Developmentally, Annie is still playing catch up in some areas. She still struggles with her hands and she has very little arm strength. She spends a lot of therapy working on things like pulling toys apart because she really can't do things like this. Her arms have always been so weak, and the fact that she basically skipped crawling didn't help this at all. We tried so hardly to make her crawl, but she just wouldn't really do it. She is a great walker though and her legs seemed to catch right up once we got her the therapy she needs. She is still in OT. Her mouth is still has extremely low tone. You guys obviously see that she is wearing a bib all of the time. She drools like no one you have ever seen. It is like she is just unaware of her mouth all together a lot of the time. We do different things with her mouth to work on her becoming more aware, and they are helping, but very, very slowly. I will not miss the drool at all one day. It is just so much and she is constantly wet!!

I have been sharing a lot lately about Annie and her story. Sometimes I fear that I am way oversharing, but I just want adoptive parents and prospective adoptive parents to know what it can be like. It is certainly not all roses. We are so fortunate that Annie became so accepting and loving of us so quickly. Given her circumstances, we could have had a much more difficult road than we did. And it was not easy. But I will say it over and over again, it was all worth it and I would have gone through much, much worse if it had meant that we got to be a part of Annie's family. She was, and still is, worth every tear, every sleepless night, every frustration, and every worry that we all went through together.

Is she completely over everything? I definitely don't think so. One day soon I will write extensively about how I view her attachment and the work that we still have to do and are currently doing. Her past still rears its ugly head every once in a while and you can just see it in her eyes and hear it in her scream that the scars are still there. But she is awesome. And she has made so much more progress quicker than any of could have ever imagined. And I am sitting here with huge tears in my eyes thinking of all that she has overcome in her 19 months of life and just how she has done it. By giggling, loving, and smiling the biggest smile of all time with her whole little body and soul. She is such an inspiration to me and I hope that by sharing her story, she will let other people be inspired. She is a determined little girl.




Look at her skin. All of those scars are completely gone and she has the softest, most gorgeous skin you could ever imagine.





She couldn't resist giving us a few of these. We knew she was going to be so smiley, and we were right.



Lynn said...

Sorry Lee Lee :-) Kelly, I really appreciate your honesty and willingness to share about the ups and downs of adoption. By no means do I consider it "over sharing". I hope to adopt one day and your family's story encourages me daily!

Christy Henry said...

I really can't find any better or more accurate words other than to say that you are simply, truly amazing. annie & lucy are so blessed to have you and justin as their parents. much love to all of you. -christy

Mom said...

So awesome that the lost, sad, lonely little pumpkin is our found, happy, and most joyful little pumpkin that we all love so much. Makes one put a lot of things into perspective when we think something isn't going our way, someone's too slow, we don't have something we need or want--you get the picture. In other words, we don't really have much to complain about!! These two little gals have brought so much into my life, that they will never really realize how much! Lucky for me that I also have two little guys that have brought so much joy and love into my life, too! Such blessings to be thankful for this year at Thanksgiving.

I know you don't feel well, so off to bed with you. I mean it. I'm the boss of you! Get some rest and I'll talk to you tomorrow! XXOXOXO LeeLee

Unknown said...

Kel, such a sweet post... I'm so happy that Lil Miss has such an amazing momma and daddy! And that you guys have such an amazing daughter! Can't believe it's already been a year -- love you all!

ATL said...

I really, really love these posts when you talk about how much your children have grown. I feel like these entries are showing the evolution and growth of an adoptive family, in a really positive direction.

Thank you for sharing your story with us - it's completely understandable that you worry about oversharing because you want to keep your life private, but I do appreciate the very intimate glimpses you share. Reading blogs like these have played a big part in helping me plan my own family. Thanks for trooping through 322 days!

mimi lam said...

No longer is a scared, love deprived little Annie, such a different one amazing year of love, and comfort has made to this little sweet baby. Love her little jade bracelet, hope you still keep it for her.

Lisa said...

Annie, you truly have come a long way, baby! I'm so very glad you found your way to your forever family so you could learn to shine the way you were intended to!

Anonymous said...

As a fellow adoptive parent, I really appreciate you sharing Annie's story. I am so happy to hear about and see the progress that she has made. It is proof positive that love, affection and her own resilient spirit can overcome pretty much everything.
On another note....our photos came yesterday!!!! Hooray! They are amazing. The colors, the quality, the clarity - everything - is just amazing! For all of you out there who have admired Kelly's photos online, let me tell you - they completely pale in comparison to the real thing! And Kelly packages them beautifully...with satin bows and flowers. Very Nice :-)
Thank you so much for capturing Maisie's spirit. We will treasure these photos forever.

Anonymous said...

I've been reading your blog for about a year and a half, and it's my first time commenting :) I just wanted to tell you that I love reading about your girls. I'm thankful for your willingness to share parts of their stories with us. Our trip to bring our son home was hard hard HARD. And I didn't totally feel prepared for that, after hearing mostly happy good travel stories from people. So I'm thankful for your honesty, not just about the travel, but about the hard parts of adoption in general, as well as the happy parts! There is something about Annie that reminds me of my son Ezekiel, even though he's Filipino. Your girls are beautiful, and I look forward to reading your blog each and every day.


The Houser's said...

I remember those first pictures of Annie and Lucy together.. so darling!! What a blessing you have been in Annie's life as i'm sure she's been the same in yours..

Not very many days left in your year of blogging everyday.. What will I do with my time starting January 1?? work?? NAHHHH :)

Kelli said...

Really can't believe it's been a year. Seems so long ago yet like it got here so fast. Annie has made remarkable progress. She looked so beautiful on her G & R day....and she just gets more beautiful by the day! Happy Family of 4 anniversary!

Nicki said...

I, too, appreciate hearing your story. I think its easy to think from your beautiful photos that life is perfect and easy and people forget there are struggles and challenges beneath it all. You just carry yourself with such grace :) I'm so proud of all of you and especially Annie for all her hard work this past year.

I really truly feel your pain. Teegan drooled like that (he would soak a shirt in an hour) until he was 3! He also didn't have any hair until he was 4 (making up for it now I guess). It was probably for different reasons although I'm not quite sure why he drooled for so long and so much. It was SO nice when it finally ended though.

Amber Herlocker said...

Thank you for your sharing your stories! I look forward to reading your blog every morning!

Natalie said...

I love Annie's story and thank you for sharing! Being a parent is hard and sometimes it helps to share!! You are doing an amazing job and it shows!

Heather - CO said...

LOVE YOUR BLOG!!:>:> Thank you for your honest, loving opinion of being a Mom. You are amazing with your photographs. You also are amazing with your always appreciative and refreshingly loving summary of your day as a Mom! Thank you for sharing your journey and walk as a parent. It is appreciated and treasured.

Ashley said...

Amazing post, Kel! You have such a wonderful perspective on all that has happened. We love you, Annie!

Anonymous said...

She's perfect and precious and you're all so blessed to have each other. What a beautiful family - so full of love and admiration for one another.

Uma said...

Thank you for sharing your journey, I am not an adoptive parent but your posts give me a good perspective of one. I like your honest posts and look forward to it every night. Beautiful family and god bless.

StaceyF said...

All I can say is I LOVE ANNIE! She is such a little dumplin and a blessing to everyone who has the advantage of knowing her!

MKH said...

congratulations! I know this is a wonderful week for you-our timeline is almost identical to yours when we met our new little one from ethiopia. I remember reading your travel blog-you all are amazing people and it's amazing to see the love that pours out of Annie! She is an amazing little girl-and of course, Lucy is just the best ever!