Waiting No Longer!

Waiting No Longer!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Surgery Scheduled for 9/1/10

Before we even left for China, I had scheduled an appointment for July 12 with a highly recommended plastic surgeon at Vanderbilt, Dr. Kevin Kelly. He would do an initial evaluation of Riley's cleft lip. At this doctor visit, it was determined that Riley would have her lip repaired and cartilage added to the left side of her nose on September 1. Dr. Kelly said that Riley looked good and had everything that she needed--only in the wrong places. He said the surgery would be quite routine and probably take three hours. That's a long time for a baby to be in surgery if you ask me! However, I trust Dr. Kelly's expertise in his field and even more so the One who gifted him with his skill. I have heard nothing but wonderful things about this doctor from other moms who also take their children to him. He also told us to plan on Riley being in the hospital for five days! Again, I was shocked to hear this. He said it all depends on how she heals and tolerates the surgery. It's better for Riley to be at the hospital so they can make sure that she doesn't get dehydrated. Plus, they can give her more pain medicine in the hospital to keep her comfortable. I'm all about my baby being as comfortable and pain-free as possible.
I know this is the best thing for her since this surgery is way overdue. In the U.S. most babies born with a cleft lip have it repaired around 3-4 months. Riley is 25 months old now. She may possibly need speech therapy afterwards. We will just have to wait and see how she progresses. We have fallen in love with Riley just the way that God made her, and so have most people who have met her. All of Elizabeth's friends have been so extremely sweet to Riley and some were even surprised to hear that we were having her cleft lip repaired because it is so much a part of what makes Riley herself. I know in my heart that it is Riley's cleft lip that brought her to us. It may have been the reason that her birth mother abandoned her in that hospital when she was only hours old. Only God knows for sure, but I am so very glad that we switched to special needs adoption. I cannot imagine life without our Riley Grace and all the joy that she has brought us! My prayer is that she will tolerate this surgery with minimal pain and heal supernaturally quickly! Here are some recent snapshots of our lively Riley living her new life!


I cannot believe that it has been over two months since my last post! I have missed blogging so many of Riley's milestones due to the chaos and busyness of having a two year old in our home! Nevertheless if anyone still reads this, I vow to do better. I have so many pictures to post and stories to tell. Where to begin for the moment?

I would like to be totally honest when I say that this whole adoption process has not been what I expected. It has been much more overwhelming and not to our timeline. The process, the waiting time, and then the climax--receiving our beautiful child and beginning the happily ever after moments. It has been very difficult for me this summer to transition to being a "balanced" mama to my precious little one. Maybe that is why I feel like I couldn't blog my true feelings. After all, people don't talk about the bad or negative emotions related to their children, especially after waiting 4 years to finally have her in my arms!

I feel like I accurately expressed my feelings in China. We really did have a fabulous trip and such warm memories of our travels and the wonderful people we met during our journey in Riley's homeland. I was feeling overwhelmed and out of control when it came to mothering Riley in China, which I know is totally normal. Everything was so new for me and especially for Riley getting use to all of us and mourning everything that had been ripped away from her. Even during all this, I was so blessed by God to have my prayers answered and for Riley to want her new Mama and to be such a cuddle-bug with me. Not everyone gets this, and I will forever be grateful for those early bonding moments.

During the summer months, we have tried to get back to life as normal. However, we all quickly realized that there would now be a "new normal." Riley has dictated when we sleep, when we run errands, when David and I have a meaningful conversation, when we cut grass, etc. You get the picture. Everything changed and I don't know why it shocked us so, especially me. We have done this before many moons ago, but this time has seemed even more difficult for me to find my bearings and feel in control of my life again. I thought the second go around at parenting that I would be wiser, more patient, and just in general a better mother to Riley than I was to Elizabeth. The reality check for me is that I am just older and more tired! I have been emotionally, spiritually, and physically depleted at times. However, I do feel we are slowly turning the tide and figuring out our sweet girl more each day and best how to parent her and still take care of ourselves individually, as a couple, and as a family.

When we took Riley to get her 2 year old pictures made, David and I got so emotional looking at her proofs and realizing this precious gift that we have been given and how far we have come with her in a few short months. I cannot even accurately put it into words. We LOVE her so much, as much as we do Elizabeth, but we still feel we are only beginning to really know her. Her personality is HUGE! She still doesn't talk as much as your typical American 2 year old, but she has no problem conveying her needs and wants to us. She is hilarious and makes us laugh, even as she exasperates us. You can pick up on some of her personality in these pictures. We had to wait an hour (even with an appointment) before these photos were taken. Riley was not in the best picture taking mode, but I love the results!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Transition Taking Place

Our family continues to transition and adjust to our newest member, Miss Riley Grace Campbell, aka Jiao Jiao. Riley seems to love her new room, toys, home, and now her cats. She is still eating well and interacting with all the new people coming to see her. She loves to entertain once she gets warmed up to you. She has attended her first birthday party (cousin Truleigh), had her first pediatrician visit, and visited her sister at Sonic twice. She is a busy toddler! She is extremely smart, curious, and quick, as we are realizing how non-babyproof our home is! She has already made it halfway up the stairs and climbed out of her crib. Her nickname of "Monkey" suits her very well!

Our main concern and prayer request is her sleeping schedule, or should I say, lack of sleeping schedule. I guess she is still on China time. David continues to remind me that things will get better. I am thankful for his positive attitude, encouragement, and patience with me and Riley. He has been taking on the early a.m. shift while I cover the night shift. Unfortunately, David has to return to work tomorrow, so I will most likely lose that a.m. coverage. Maybe we will settle into our new routine this upcoming week and I will actually know what day it is. I sure will miss being with him 7/24. He has been such a provider, protector, and encourager to me these past couple of weeks. It is rare indeed that our family gets to spend as much time together as we have through this adoption experience in China. With David's second shift schedule and Elizabeth's busy work/social calendar, we are lucky to have a couple of meals together in a week. I have truly treasured my time with my incredible husband and two beautiful daughters these life-changing two weeks!

Home at Last!

Hello friends, family, and followers of our blog,

Yay! We made it home safely after a long, long journey home. We are so grateful for the good health and safe travel that we have had. Thank you all so much for covering our family during this incredible, instense trip to adopt our precious Riley! We loved seeing all of you who were able to come to the airport so late on Wednesday evening. It was wonderful to see all your smiling faces, tears, signs, and waves as we headed down that concourse. It was the most emotional I have been, second to our Gotcha Day experience with Riley. We were overwhelmed with the love you poured out on us. It was wonderful to see our parents, family, friends, all the wonderful teenagers, and our church friends. Thank you Pat Hood for your prayer over our little one! You all revived our weary bodies with your welcome! We love you all and are so blessed by each of you! I wish I had a picture to post of the airport but we didn't get any. There is lots of video, thanks to Jordan Prewitt, so maybe that will be up soon.

Our welcome continued once we arrived home. We were told there were many visitors to our home throughout the day and we could see the evidence of their visits through their signs, decorations, gifts, cards, and yummy food found in our fridge. Every room that we went in had a special gift or card welcoming us home. It was incredible, and once again, we were overwhelmed. Friends and family stayed with us for a couple of hours as we ate and tried to unwind. I bathed Riley and put her to bed around 1:30 am, and the rest of us finally crashed around 3:30 am. It was a wonderful end to a very long day!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tuesday, 6/15

Today Riley turned 23 months old and we got to be with her for this month milestone! I cannot believe my new baby will be two years old in a month. We have seen so many changes in her since Gotcha Day on June 7th. She is beginning to really bond with Elizabeth and David. Her personality and temper are very evident. We may not speak Chinese, but trust me this little Asian person has no problem letting us know her needs and wants. She will now walk beside each of us and hold our hands, while only a few days ago only I could hold her and her feet couldn't touch the floor. She makes us laugh and we make her cry when she doesn't get her way every time. She still loves to eat, but is starting to slow down a bit, and will actually spit out things that she does not like. And yes, we found out a couple of nights ago that she enjoys watching Tinkerbell, especially when she should be sleeping!
The final events of this adoption process occurred today. Before leaving for the U.S. Consulate and swearing-in ceremony, we took the traditional Bethany pictures on the red couch at the White Swan Hotel. I have seen many of these wonderful pictures but never have I experienced it in such a stressful way as I did today! Of course, there was no time for Riley to have a nap today, as we started off the day behind. We slept in til 8:30 due to Riley's hour of playtime in the wee a.m. hours. After our breakfast, we had more last minute shopping to do and then packing. We fed Riley a quick lunch and then got her dressed for her pictures. She was not very agreeable at all, and that is putting it mildly. She was hot and tired, and I can't say that I blame her. She didn't understand the significance of these pictures to the parents. She wanted no part of them at all and screamed her head off the entire time that she was on the couch. Oh yea, she also fell off the couch head first and scared us all to death. Shiyan said that she had never seen that happen in all her experiences with the red couch pictures.
After pictures, we then left for the half hour drive to the Consulate. Upon arriving, each family is called up individually to sign the last of the immigration paperwork in person. Yes, Riley continued to be miserable, hot, and cantankerous during this process. After every family had signed their paperwork, we all raised our right hands and collectively took our oaths stating that we had provided accurate information on our paperwork and that we would be good parents to our adopted children. I thought this would be such an emotional highlight of this journey, but actually with Riley acting up during the oath and hitting my right hand, it was all I could do to repeat the words and hang on to her, much less ponder the meaning of what I was saying. Reluctantly, we decided to stay in and order pizza tonight for dinner in order to preserve what was left of our sanity as we prepare for our 26 hour journey back to the States.
Sadly, today was our last full day in Guangzhou, China. While we are so ready to see our family, friends, and pets and to introduce Riley to the other side of the world, we sense a loss coming as we leave this incredible place. We came to China a family of three and leave forever changed a family of four. We leave here with China in our hearts and hope one day to return to this country, who knows under what circumstances. I cannot believe that 13 days here was not long enough for us. I thought that seemed like forever to be away from home when we left on June 4. I am so thankful for those who have taken care of our home and cats while we have been away. Thank you Mama and Daddy, Patty & Tom Lemarr, Kim Grubbs, and Georgette Norman for keeping the home fires burning for us. I know our cats have been in good hands with my faithful friends who also love felines like me. And also thanks to Antonia LeMay for keeping our blog up and going. We love all of you and so appreciate your love and support, especially the last couple of weeks. We have felt everyone's prayers during this incredible journey to Riley Grace. Please cover us as we begin our travel home in just a few hours. See you Wednesday evening!