Saturday, November 22, 2014

Our week

TODAY is *one month* since we (Rhiana, Bryan, and I) arrived back home!!

How is THAT possible! The time has flown!!

Bryan enjoyed his OT and PT appointments this week.

Who wouldn't when you get to slide cars down a slide, play with Mr. Potato Head, swing, climb, play with balls, bounce....

Bryan spent some time hanging out in my backpack. 

He even brought along a toy :) Thankfully the back of my head didn't suffer damage :)

Bryan and I made a run to the Chinese grocery store for "comfort food"!

We saw a tank FULL of - no thank you :)

And lots, and lots of other tasty foods.

I just LOVE looking around the store - soaking in my China memories. The smells, the sounds, the food - good for both Bryan and I.

Bryan discovered this week that he LOVES sledding!!

Lots and LOTS of giggling!

Today my sister asked me for prayer requests -

I told her:

-my prayer is that whatever Bryan has (disease, condition) it isn't degenerative

-my prayer is that Bryan continues to grieve less and less (he didn't cry yesterday...or so far today!)
(I heard from a fellow adoptive mom this week that her daughter grieved for a whole year - so instead of thinking days and weeks I am thinking it could be longer)

....but we are committed to COMFORT and LOVE Bryan as long as he needs to grieve and process this HUGE life changing/transition - because he is OUR SON - forever and EVER!

Amazing how much I LOVE this little guy already!!

Up Coming Events:
Weekly OT and PT
Dec. 1 - receive AFO's
Dec. 5 - Pediatrian Appt. 
Dec. 10 - Urology appt.
Dec. 30 - MRI
Jan. 16 - joint appt. with Rehab. Doctor and Neurologist

Blessings, Sandy

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Our week of medical appointments

 Thursday was ONE MONTH since GOTCHA DAY!!
(In many ways it feels like he has been our son FOREVER! He so perfectly fits in our family!)

We are soooo incredibly BLESSED to call Bryan our son!!

He is sweet, cute, curious, playful....and now even cuddly!!


What an amazingly wonderful, overwhelming, and exhausting week!

A week of medical appointments sure takes A LOT of energy!

Monday was Bryan's orthotics appointment.

They made molds of Bryan's feet/lower legs to custom make AFO's (Ankle Foot Orthotics).
(Who knew they were custom made?!)

It was actually quite a neat process....but Bryan got scared and shed a few very sad tears :(

Tuesday we met with the neurologist at Mott Children's Hospital.
-we provided all the history we knew (not much)
-the doctor observed and assessed Bryan
-we got A LOT of questions answered
-next up an MRI (under general anes.) to rule out spine issues (she doesn't expect any)
-heart and lung (as they are both muscles) will probably be evaluated after the MRI
-the doctors are starting to rule out a few things....
....but also suggesting a diagnosis which may be degenerative :(
-we are HAPPY that Bryan is receiving GREAT care
-we are SAD thinking about what the future may hold for our boy
-we are putting our FAITH in JESUS CHRIST - the great HEALER and our COMFORTER!!!

Wednesday Bryan had a Physical Therapy evaluation.

Our goals - to have Bryan walk with a gait trainer and then walk independently!

We already have an appointment set up with the an equipment person on the 25th. They will measure and fit Bryan for a gait trainer (walker) 

Thursday Bryan had an Occupational Therapy evaluation.

The GOOD news is he only needs 3 or 4 OT visits as he is doing REALLY well!!

His biggest issue seems to be his extremely double jointed elbows. They want us to use a special fabric tape on the inside of his elbows that won't allow his elbows to over bend (my words). I tried wearing some of the tape - lets just say it was annoying!

We will start weekly PT and OT appointments on Tuesday!

THANK YOU so very, very much for your PRAYERS! 
Bryan has continued to WAKE up HAPPY and FALL asleep HAPPY!! YAY!!
He also continues to grieve once a very, very sad BUT he continues to seek my comfort and accept my comfort!! 
(and we actually had ONE day this week he didn't cry!!)

This week Bryan has wanted me to CARRY him A LOT!!


AND he has wanted to SIT on my lap A LOT!!


Our son is turning into a SNUGGLY boy!!

I just messaged this to a friend:
I have fallen head over heels in LOVE with Bryan Jinhua!!! He is a SWEETHEART!!! I can't tell you what a perfect fit he is for our family!! We are sooo incredibly blessed. I just LOVE his little arms around my neck and his sweet little smile Whatever the road ahead - I am soooo OVERJOYED that we are on that road together!! And I mean that!

Blessings, Sandy

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Snow and an update!

 Early this morning it snowed!

HUGE flakes!

So we HAD to get outside so our Southern China - never having seen snow before - boy could SEE the snow UP CLOSE - even in his pajamas!

He seemed to like the snow! Although wasn't so sure when those BIG flakes melted on top of his head!

Bryan Jinhua has woken up everyday (except one) HAPPY!! woo hoo! AND he has gone to sleep every night HAPPY - no crying/screaming!! woo hoo!

Bryan continues to have one or two times a day that he just suddenly starts crying/ is so very sad BUT he also now seeks out AND accepts my comfort!! Oh - my - heart - it is WONDERFUL! Seeing Bryan grieving is still hard, but being able to provide comfort is HUGE!

Pediatrician - mostly a base line type appointment. We didn't learn anything new. Bryan got the flu mist. We are waiting on other vaccines until we get titers drawn. We received bottles to collect poop samples.

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation - FABULOUS doctor! He gave us referrals for PT, OT, Speech, Orthotics, Radiology, and Urology. He doesn't think Bryan Jinhua has CP, SB, a syndrome, or Ehlers Danos......but guesses it is some type of nerve/muscle issue.

Radiology - x-rays were taken of Bryan's hips, legs, and spine

Laboratory - poop samples dropped off (YUCK!)

Monday - Orthotics
Tuesday - Neurology
Wednesday - PT evaluation
Thursday - OT evaluation

(Nothing like jumping right in with appointments huh?!)

THANK YOU for your PRAYERS as we continue to seek a diagnosis and therapy to help Bryan Jinhua!

Blessings, Sandy

Monday, November 3, 2014

Prayer Request:

Tomorrow Bryan Jinhua has his first pediatrician appointment.

On Wednesday he has an appointment with Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Next Tuesday Bryan  has an appointment with Pediatric Neurology.

Bryan Jinhua is a bit of a mystery....

His file from China said "lower limb atrophy and paralysis".

When the doctor's at our local hospital looked at his file they said "possible Cerebral Palsy"

The orphanage contacted us a few months ago. They wanted to find out if we were still interested in adopting Bryan because they now thought he had Spina Bifida.

Bryan Jinhua is super DUPER flexible! As in - he can do the splits, a chin stand, and lots of other crazy contortions - all his joints seem hyper-mobile. Based on this we have had a couple of medical professional acquaintances mention other syndromes. 

Bryan Jinhua could have a mild form or he could have a severe form of these syndromes - and Dr. Google can be VERY SCARY!

Could you join us in PRAYING FOR:
*Wisdom for the doctor's so we can have a definite diagnosis
(I should add - I don't expect we will get a diagnosis tomorrow - but we are hoping that one of the specialists we see in the coming weeks will be able to come up with a diagnosis and then a treatment plan for Bryan)
*Strength for us and for Bryan Jinhua to walk the journey that the diagnosis will bring

GOD KNOWS Bryan's diagnosis and our FAITH rests in His POWER!

Baba, Mama, and one very sweet boy!

Grieving Update: Bryan Jinhua is slowly adjusting and grieving less - but we still do see grieving every day :( Sometimes when he wakes up, sometimes just in the middle of the day, and sometimes at bedtime - he will just cry. He is now seeking our comfort - and wants to be held and cuddled which is huge!

Blessings, Sandy

Thursday, October 30, 2014

I could take another day like....


Bryan Jinhua (we are still using both names until he gets used to Bryan - then we will just use Jinhua when he is in trouble/we get formal - since it is his new middle name) 
woke up HAPPY AGAIN!!
(That is FOUR days in a row if you are counting!)

AND he just went to bed...
NOT crying or screaming!!!
(It seemed that we traded our morning unhappiness for night time unhappiness....Bryan Jinhua has been SCREAMING and CRYING the last three nights. Oh has it been hard. We hold him. We love him. We lay with him. We tell him in our best Chinese "It's okay" and "We love you".....but he has just SCREAMED and CRIED himself to sleep - in our arms. It has been heart-breaking for ALL of us)

BUT tonight he laid down next to me....without a peep and went to sleep!

Ahhh - it was heaven!!

 Jamma bought the boys matching pajamas - aren't they TOO cute?!

We fall in love with this sweet face a little more each day!

Silly, snuggly brothers after a bath!

I know, I is not REAL Chinese food - but we are getting desperate here!

Darren came home not wanting ANYTHING to do with Chinese food - but Bryan Jinhua likes his chopsticks and misses his noodles, steamed buns, and dumplings. So, a mom has to do what a mom has to do - even if that means Chow Mein from Panda Express! It tastes quite similar to the noodles we had in China AND I found on the internet a "copycat" recipe of it - so tomorrow (wish me luck!) I am going to try and make it!

We have been HOME a week!

Bryan Jinhua has been OUR son for 2 1/2 weeks!



Monday, October 27, 2014


THANK YOU for all your love and support!! 

Hearing from other adoptive mamas that their wee ones also experienced grieving much the same as Bryan Jinhua has helped me during this difficult time. 

Hearing that it is normal....

Hearing it is necessary to grieve....

and being told just to do MY BEST to comfort him....
(even when my best doesn't seem like enough!)

Bryan Jinhua INSISTS upon falling asleep in his own bed. Since he didn't cry when he woke up in China next to me - I have starting taking him into our bed once he is asleep (tricky of me huh?!)

Last night (or early morning 2am) he started to whimper...

and then cry loud enough to wake me up....

so I rubbed his back, hummed a loving tune, told him in Chinese that "mama loves him" and "it's okay"......

AND he calmed down AND fell back asleep!!!

PRAISING GOD that I was ABLE to provide comfort to our son!!!

And this morning when he woke up....laying between Darren and I (cause we played a little bed twister last night)....he smiled and laughed!!!

YAY JESUS!!! who heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds!!!
(Yes, I realize this was only one morning. Yes, I realize there is A LOT of healing that still needs to take place. Yes, I realize there is still grieving to walk through....but I am choosing JOY today!)

Praying that each day continues to get easier for our son and that we can continue to walk this difficult road with him.

 A bike ride for three!

Big brothers are so much fun!

Raking leaves like the big kids - but holding mama's hand!

First trip to the park - he loved the swings!

 Bryan Jinhua is VERY flexible and cute!

Sooo.....before I could push "publish" we have had two short periods of grieving. I am thinking evenings are harder when you are tired? And jetlagged? We might try an earlier bedtime tomorrow....especially since he isn't getting the 2-3 hour nap he was used to getting at the orphanage. 

THANK YOU for continuing to pray for Bryan Jinhua and his sweet, grieving heart!

Blessings, Sandy

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Transition

If you asked me how Bryan Jinhua's transition into our family was going - 
I would say "amazingly well"!

We are finding foods he will eat - so far his favorite are grape tomatoes, ramen noodles, watermelon, grapes, bananas, hard boiled eggs, and milk.

Bryan Jinhua LOVES to play with his brothers and sisters!

Legos, trains, cars, nerf gun/sword battles - he just squeals with excitement and laughs and laughs as they play together.

Bryan Jinhua is learning about life with both a mama and a baba. Some kids greatly favor or reject one parent when first home from China, but so far that is not the case for Bryan Jinhua.

Food and love from mama, silly games and love from baba.

The seven months he spent living in the rehabilitation room at the orphanage were tough on him. We can tell that he missed out on physical touch, on comfort, and on love.

Bryan Jinhua is learning to be held, be cuddled, be comforted, and be loved.


Bryan Jinhua is grieving. 

It is so very hard to see! 

I can't kiss away the owie and make it all better...

I hold him, I rock him, I hum the songs that comforted my other kids, I tell him two of the few Chinese phrases I know "Mama loves you" and "It is okay", I offer food/drink, we watch the Thomas and Pleasant Goat DVD's I bought that are in Chinese, and I pray.

I kick myself that I didn't ask the nanny and orphanage director how they comforted Bryan Jinhua when he was upset (Did they even comfort him?). Maybe if I knew I could do it too?

I just posted the following in a "After Adoption Support" group:

"I am looking for ideas. In China Bryan woke up happy every morning! I even commented on it because I was surprised. We have been home two days and both days he has sobbed upon waking up. In China he slept next to me in bed. At home he is insisting on sleeping in the firetruck toddler bed....that is one foot from my bed. Last night I made sure to leave a night light on but that didn't change anything. I woke up before him (stayed in bed)...he barely stirred and then LOUD sobbing - so very sad! Any ideas as he is breaking my heart!"

Could you pray for his grieving heart?

Could you pray this mama knows how to comfort her boy? 

Thank you, Sandy