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!