8 Weeks

Eight (!) weeks ago this past Monday, Emmarie Doris Xiaochan was placed in our arms. She cried as I held her close and assured her everything would be okay. It's hard to believe how quickly you can love someone - I am always amazed by that as I have met each of our children. In eight short weeks, I have fallen completely in love with this fourth little blessing and can't believe she hasn't always been here. She fits so perfectly.

Meeting each other for the first time

A Few Milestones:
40+ words and phrases
Several signs
Singing w/hand motions
Laughing - oh this girl can laugh
Making funny faces
Climbing up and down the stairs
Counting to 3
Animal Sounds
Identifies Eyes, Mouth, Nose

Every day is a new adventure with her! She has a wonderful sense of humor and keeps us laughing! Her brothers continue to completely adore her - the newness has not worn off. T has a hard time not picking her up - he pretty sure he should carry her everywhere (he is not that much bigger than her :)).

Emmi's height is in the 50th percentile and her weight is in the 5th-10th percentile. She has gained a little over a pound since coming home. She is a great eater and rarely turns her nose up at anything.

I'll add some updated photos soon! We have yet to have a family photo shoot which means we haven't even sent announcements which was my plan since we didn't send out Christmas card - ah life. Poor #4. :) One of these days...


Doctor's Reports

Where to start? I'm not not exactly sure. Today, we saw the pediatric ophthalmologist and two weeks ago, we saw the Developmental Pediatrician who specializes in International Adoption. I told a couple of people that I now feel like we have a giant question mark hovering of our heads.

Everything has been inconclusive so far - we have 1) a strange and relatively unhelpful 1 year old+ medical report (which we knew and had evaluated when we moved forward with her adoption), 2) a couple of physical "abnormalities" (ie birthmarks), 3) zero developmental concerns, 4) zero cognitive concerns, and 5) a drifting or lazy eye.

There has been some debate on whether or not we should do an MRI. The ophthalmologist did not feel it is warranted from her exam today. She found that Emmi's optic nerves look exactly the same but they are not absolutely the best they could be - they are "slightly pale" (but it is bilateral and could very well be her baseline normal). She was willing to do the MRI though, based on what we wanted and what she knew our other doctor wanted. The IA specialist told us that we should do one if her optic nerve is pale and if it's not, than she wants to consult with a pediatric neurologist and see if he thinks we should do an MRI. She also stated that Emmi is doing wonderfully and is a developmental pediatrician's "dream."

The long and short, we have an MRI (under sedation) scheduled for March 27. No one can tell us what they are looking for or what we should be watching for - literally their words are, "I don't know." We have no concerns at this point with her development and cognitive abilities. I feel like it's just a puzzle to the doctors. My gut is that they don't want to miss anything and while one thing alone wouldn't give them pause, the combo is interesting and somewhat concerning. We know that they could find something on the MRI and we were aware of that when we became fully convinced that she was our daughter.

Oh and back to the eye (which has been noticeably better lately), we will be patching her "good eye" (left one) for 2-4 hours per day and will visit the ophthalmologist again in 3 months. We will also see her regular pediatrician for her 2 year check up next week - whew, this girl is a trooper!

In the mean time, we continue to enjoy our sweet girl - what a joy she is! I love watching her with her brothers - they ADORE her. C said to me today, "I just love her so much" - warms this mama's heart.

Her hair is getting a little thicker and growing since this picture in China!
We have been home for 6 weeks!



I can hardly type this post with tearing up... Last April, we began this journey - a huge financial step in faith for us - because we knew without a doubt that God had called us to it. We had a few thousand to start but knew we would have to work very hard and trust that God would provide the rest; it was our deepest desire to complete this adoption debt free. Many, many times along the way I questioned the call, questioned if we were doing the right thing, and wondered if we would actually be able to do it. 11 months later, we paid the final bill...with cash. I am in awe. God provided every single bit (even for the unexpected expenses) - He used a variety of means, a variety of people and organizations, and a variety of jobs. If ever I doubted, He confirmed, once again, that He called us and chose Emmarie to be a part of our family. I look at the little girl happily playing beside me (and bringing me food from her kitchen) and am beyond grateful we listened.

The hardest part (and most joyous) is yet to come - caring for her and raising her to adulthood - but the journey to bring her into our family is complete. We are thankful - more than we can possibly express. We are just so blown away with the faithful provision and call of the Lord.