Isaiah 43:5

Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. Isaiah 43:5

Monday, October 28, 2013

First Weeks Home......(part three/six weeks)

feeling loved and secure!
     October 24th, marked week six since arriving home with Lucy from China!  She's feeling increasingly more comfortable with her big family and new country!  We know this for a variety of reasons but namely because her "warm up time" has decreased significantly.  The first week home, it would take an hour or more after getting up from nap to want to do anything other than lay in my arms. Six weeks later, she gets up and is pretty much "ready to go!"  She has and still  wants Mama (and sometimes Daddy) to hold her  the times we do go out and about and when arriving at an unfamiliar place.  But instead of staying glued to my lap, she has figured out that if Mom and Dad are ok with this place, then  it must be an ok place to be!  She will then venture off my lap (making sure Mom is within sight), and begin to check things out.

 We also know Lucy girl is more comfortable with us, because she's feeling more secure in showing her emotions and feelings.  Laughing more frequently when she's amused, occasionally singing (in Chinese),  showing mad or angry feelings via a temper tantrum, and "testing" us when not quite sure if Mom and Dad will think something is "ok" or not.   Sounds like a pretty typical three year old, huh?!
   Recently when holding our grandson, Isaac, Lucy was feeling pretty jealous.  Her Mama was holding and loving on another little person!  W-h-a?    She wasn't sure what to do with those tough feelings (and not having language to convey them to us!!) so she threw herself on the living room floor (with a thud!).   That particular little outburst of emotion showed me several things.  1)  She really is attaching strongly to Mom (if she wasn't, she wouldn't care if I was holding another child)!  2)  She has feelings and reactions when something doesn't "feel" right that are typical and appropriate for three year old children.  *Admitting here that in my twenty five years of parenting, I don't think I've ever looked at a throw yourself on the floor tantrum as "good!"  Wisdom comes from experience.  Having  parented both adopted and bio. children, I'm putting myself out there as saying I  interpret this as GOOD NEWS at this juncture in our adoption.*   And obviously, we will help her to understand and work through those feelings just as we have her seven siblings older than she!

   Getting into the car seems to continue to cause our girl anxiety (because she doesn't know where we are headed).  Hoping to help alleviate some of her anxiety,  I took photos of places we frequent and my dad laminated them for me and put them on a large ring.   If we're headed to church, I'll get the photo ring and get down on Lucy's level and explain to her in a few key English words while pointing - first I'll show her the picture of "Lucy's car" (our minivan) and say "First car", then "church" (while showing her picture of the outside of our church building), then "sing" (showing her a picture we  took during worship and praise time at church.  She L-O-V-E-S this form of communication and you can see her relax while repeating back the words in English to me and looking at the photos.  This works well when we're returning to a place she's been because it sparks a visual memory of being there before.  The language barrier is still tough.  We can mime, show pictures, etc. but some things you just can't convey without words.  For those of you wondering if we've used a  translator or an app. with Chinese/English language- we've tried but it doesn't work - whether it's because of her age or if there's a dialect that was spoken in her province making the words unfamiliar to her, we're just not sure.
Our picture ring
      She continues to L.O.V.E. jumping on the trampoline with her brothers.  In fact so much so that we need to spell J-U-M-P so that she doesn't know what we're saying unless she's actually getting to go to the trampoline!  She can be an adorable little helper too.  She along with her siblings clears her table setting and helps with putting away clean silverware.  Another favorite is helping with putting dirty wash into the washer or pulling clean wash out and into the basket.  She's learning quickly that responsibilities are part of family life and doing a super job with it!  This  also helps her to feel a part of the family, as she watches others do household chores, she too has them!


   Lucy Kim also loves wiping down anything and everything if you give her a wet rag. 
Have rag will clean!
Another favorite past time for Lucy  is to pour, scoop and shake up dry beans!  I have a big tub of them and I lay out an old sleeping bag, plop her in the middle of the bag with the bin of beans and containers to fill and she's entertained for a while!

Yep, sometimes I just climb right in the bean container!

     Lucy also enjoys visiting her grandparents and has fun "playing" or "reading' with them.
Puzzles with Pop
Lucy L.O.V.E.S. music and often "helps" Mom-Mom play the piano
"reading" with Grandma and Grandpa Z.
  Not many three year old girls can tout the "aunt" title!  But Lucy Kim can!  She doesn't understand it all yet, but she is super blessed to have a niece who is seven months younger. (and a baby nephew who just turned one)  Both Lucy and her niece, Sadie, are learning that "Mama/Nana" has plenty of love for both of them!! I think they'll be best friends!
Playing with toys Sadie's Mommy (aka: Lucy's big sister) played with a L-O-N-G time ago!
My littlest lovies!
We've had a beautiful October here in Pennsylvania and have been able to be outdoors often!
"Baby Kimmy" is not quite in hand as much as she was a few weeks ago but she is always nearby!  She continues to be Lucy's "security" item of choice.  We  DO NOT get into the car, bed or go to a new place without making sure we have Kimmy!
On October 27th, Lucy celebrated her Daddy's birthday for the very first time!
Happy Birthday Daddy!
   As you can see and read, Qu Yan has had many and varied experiences in the past six weeks since arriving in the United States!  She's learning so much.  Her brain has got to be on major overload with the language aspect alone!  She's a sponge for sure and she's also learning what it means to be part of a family, what it means to have parents who love her unconditionally, and she's been such a trooper!  Oh how very thankful we are that we put our "yes" on the table when God called us adopt her!!  
   We pray over her (and our other children) each night thanking God that He created her, loved her, protected her and led her family to her!  She was waiting without a voice in an orphanage on the other side of the world but she wasn't forgotten.  Her Heavenly Father held her in the palm of His hand.  She has already blessed all of us more than we can recount in words.  God is GOOD and FAITHFUL all the time and to HIM we give all the praise and glory!
   Until next time.....


Friday, October 11, 2013

Lucy's First Visit to Shriner's Children's Hospital

Thank you friends and family for your prayers!   You were a source of much encouragement as many of you took the time  to let us know that you would be praying for Lucy as we traveled to Philadelphia today for her appointment at Shriner's Hospital for Children.
We were blessed with the gift of peace this week and throughout our appointment!  The news we received today about our little Asian princess, was encouraging and we wanted to share some of what we learned today.

 Dr. Harold Van Bosse was very kind and gentle with Lucy.  After talking with this knowledgeable man about the little medical history we know about our girl, a brief exam of her foot, leg and back was done and then many x-rays were ordered.

As to be expected, little Lucy was extremely nervous and scared as we walked into the x-ray room.  But, our brave girl only cried during the first few x-rays.  Quickly figuring out that this procedure wouldn't hurt, she was a real trooper and "posed" in the positions needed for the different views needed by Dr. Van B.  Her support system was never very far, as Daddy positioned himself on one side of the bed and Mommy on the other.
After the long series of  x-rays were taken we headed back to the room where we had met with  Dr. Van Bosse.  It wasn't a long wait until the Dr. came in and pulled up Lucy's x-rays on the computer screen and positioned it so we could also see as he looked at them and discussed what he was seeing.

Dr. Van B. decided that Lucy's right foot is what needs to be corrected first.  I will attempt to explain in lay terms a summary of what we learned. One thing Lucy is dealing with is is what is known as congenital vertical talus.  (sorta the opposite of a "club foot").  The first steps to correct the foot will be a series of approximately six above the knee castings (slightly manipulating the foot and re-casting it weekly). This series of casting won't begin until surgery is scheduled because the casting is in preparation of preparing the foot for surgery.  A cast will be put on post surgery for about six weeks followed by wearing a leg brace for "a lengthy period of time."  

Lucy will also need some sort of surgery around her knee area.  She is unable to extend her right leg fully.  At this point in time, we don't know exactly what is causing her leg to not fully extend beyond the knee.  Further testing will be done in the future.

Dr. Van Bosse has also ordered a full spinal MRI to be done.  Lucy is noted to have scoliosis and an MRI will show more details of her spinal column.

*Shriner's is currently scheduling surgeries 18 months(ish) out!  (yes that is NOT a typo - eighteen).  It is possible, that we could get a call sooner than the 18 mos.  The "old Kim" (pre-faith walking/faith growing adoption journey Kim) would mostly likely have had a mini panic attack hearing 18 months.   While this seems extreme (in waiting), we're trusting that God's timing is best ("more bonding time"?, more "learning/understanding English?" or "perhaps divine healing?")and will wait on Him.

Dr. Van B. did say that her condition is not "urgent" and he did NOT mention anything about needing to get her into surgery as soon as possible.  Every three to four months, we will be checking in with Dr. Van Bosse so that he can keep assessing her situation.
Beautiful mural in lobby at Shriner's
Will you praise God with us on the news and insights He gave to us today!  He is so very faithful.

Romans 8:28 - "And we know that all things work together for good to those that love Him and are called according to His purpose." (reference that is inscribed in Merle and I's wedding rings)

Monday, October 7, 2013

Before us, beside us and behind us.......every single step of the journey......

Just shy of six weeks ago, we packed our suitcases and boarded an airplane and traveled across the globe to China.  Unexpectedly as noted in this post, we had some interesting things happen while enroute that called for some medical intervention.  But we arrived safely with some new experiences tucked in our belts.
September 12th we re-packed the suitcases, passports and important immigration paperwork and traveled the long journey back HOME with the most precious cargo ever......Lucy Kim!    The journey back was even longer in time and distance because we were traveling back from Hong Kong.
 As God promises "He was before us, beside us and behind us" every step of the journey.

We've only been home for a month and we're already about to embark on our next big journey!    These journeys will likely have many similarities.  Like our trip to China, our upcoming journey will be very l-o-n-g, have experiences we can't plan ahead for and will be covered in much prayer.  And just like our journey TO Lucy we're inviting Y-O-U to travel on this journey WITH Lucy (and our family)!
  On Friday, October 11th, Daddy, Mommy and Lucy will be traveling to Shriner's Children's Hospital in Philadelphia to embark on the first steps of  our little girl's medical journey.
Those that know me personally can attest to the fact that I like to be a scheduler/planner, detail type person. (although eight children and more advanced age has mellowed that part of me a bit)
I knew going into this God led adoption that I was NOT going to be able to have things mapped out, details arranged and organized or a "plan in place."  This has been a journey of faith!  And we are so blessed by the way God decided to "grow our faith." (a prayer I've prayed for many years).  So we will continue taking the steps forward in faith and believing that God will keep His glorious promise of "hedging us in" each step of our next family journey!

Our appointment is scheduled for 9:15 a.m. and we have been told to expect to be at the hospital the majority of the day.  Lucy Kim's appointment is scheduled with Dr. Harold Van Bosse. who is very well known in Pediatric Orthopedics.  I had done some limited research and asked some questions to parents who BTDT (been there done that).  From what I could see in the short video clips I had of Qu Yan Lucy, and her limited medical file, I knew she would need to see a pediatric orthopedist.  I was so very excited to learn that some of the best orthopedic doctors in the United States were in Philadelphia (only a little over an hour's drive from our home).  I made a phone call to Shriners at the end of May and then submitted an "application for treatment" in early June. Even with very limited medical information, Lucy Kim was accepted as a patient and an appointment for October was scheduled!   God showing He was providing where He was guiding!
Here she comes on her twist car!

Maneuvering corners

Misjudged that turn :(
Back in the saddle
If I'm totally truthful, I'd have to say that I'm a bit torn about this appointment.  There's a side of me that "wants to know" and a side of me that "likes not knowing" what Lucy's medical future may or may not hold.  I'm daily needing to give any feelings of fear and doubt over to God. (you know more of that faith growing stuff!) 
Qu Yan/Lucy has limb difference (legs) as well as a deformed ankle and knee.  She can walk independently but with an altered gait.  Walking takes a whole lot more energy because of her limb diff. and ankle problems.  She tires after doing any sustained amount of walking and happily will climb into her stroller.  (thus the MANY stroller pictures you've seen :)
So God created mankind in his own image,in the image of God he created them; 
male and female he created them.  Genesis 1:27

This photo shows her limb diff.
TEAM LUCY will you please pray for our girl?!  There is so much power in prayer and we would be so grateful for those of you willing to intercede to our Heavenly Father on behalf of Lucy.  

Psalm 139:5 - You have hedged me behind and before, and laid your hand upon me.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

First Weeks Home.........(part two)

I've got all four of 'em wrapped around my finger!
 As I sit typing today's post we've been home with Qu Yan/Lucy two and a half weeks! (four weeks from when we first held her in our arms!)  reflecting on the changes in family life and in particular Lucy's adjustment, I'm amazed at all the changes I've seen around here in the one week since my last post!  She seems to love and enjoy being with EVERY SINGLE family member! 
Look what I made Mama!
   Some of the fun things we are doing these days are puzzles, stroller rides, swings, stickers, marbles, stickers, jumping on the trampoline, chores together and "noodle slurping"

My brothers set up the coolest train track in my room!

Taking out the trash with an adorable little buddy

Family walks....

Daddy is so much fun!

Noodle slurping with the bros!

Always drinks the very last drop!

Pop Pop is one of my favorite puzzle buddies!

  Bedtime is not nearly as sad since we brought glow sticks into the Zimmerman home!  One day while at the Dollar store, I came across glow sticks.  For whatever reason I thought maybe glowsticks at bedtime might lessen "the sadness" of the dreaded bedtime.  I picked up a pack.  WOW! #glowsticksareamiracle.  They make my girl so happy.  Each night (and nap) since that first day of introducing them, bedtime has become a whole lot easier.  (*Note:  she is NOT a chew-er, so I HAVE thought about that and I've been watching her)
Communication.  I've been asked "is she speaking and understanding English yet?"  YES - her verbal vocabulary is expanding by the day.  As a very observant nine year old in our house noted, "Mom, ,she says words in syllables!"  She enunciates each syllable with purpose.  It sounds so cute.  Mama is Ma--Ma. She pronounces Emily  -- Emm-a-leee!  Other words she'll say on her own are:  Daddy, "Kuhtis", "John -Muhrle", "Da-den" (for Kaden), Mom-Mom, Pop-Pop, potty, more and NO!
As expected, the words she understands are many more than she verbalizes- here are a number of the words/phrases she comprehends:  HOME, cup, bath, brush teeth, eat, swing, Czar(Kurt's outdoor dog) , puzzles, baby, bye-bye, wash hands, turn water on, turn water off, take "x" to Daddy (or Mommy), kiss, go see Mom-Mom, night-night, shoes on, shoes off, .....  We think that's a pretty impressive list in only a few weeks!
   Lucy Kim has also had some "not so fun" times throughout the week too.  She gets frustrated when she'd like us to know "more" then surface "talk" and she is unable to totally convey ALL of what she'd like us to know.  (At 3.5 years, I'm certain she was very verbal in Chinese)  She is showing her distaste for being strapped in a five point harness car seat too!  And there are the times we simply don't know why she's sad or upset (because while it seems "out of the blue" to us, she's obviously struggling with some tough emotions/feelings). We're also working through different ideas to help her with car sickness.  These times are totally to be expected and part of bonding is working together through them.
  This is a good time to remind ourselves and others, that EVERY ADOPTION story is unique, EVERY CHILD's TRANSITION into a family is different, and EVERY ADOPTED CHILD and FAMILY needs and desires the prayers of the body of Christ!
1 Thessalonians 5:11
“So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” (NLT)
James 5:16
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working

Next week we begin our journey with the start of some of the necessary medical appointments.  Hoping to post more about that soon....