Wednesday, February 29, 2012

NDSouth: Marshall and Jewel

Although much of his Marshall's short 4 months has been a struggle for survival, he is now starting to smile more often, and we're even hearing some cooing and baby talk at times.  It's almost like he is beginning to relax a bit, and we think maybe he is experiencing whatever 'hope' feels like to a baby this small..  

The task now is to get more nutrition in his little system so he can gain weight (he is still way off the charts..)

Gaining weight has not been a problem for Jewel!  We were lucky to catch these shots a few days ago when she was experiencing the joys of her first chicken leg:


Wordless Wednesday: The Joy of Sisters

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

An Amazing Girl!

One step at a time

Elly has been so motivated to walk that she even asks to exercise! A couple of weeks ago we reported that she was able to climb two flights of stairs on her own. Well.......last week she wanted to try three and she did it!

Then a couple of days later she wanted to try four! And she did it!

Then last Friday or Saturday she decided she wanted to try all six flights. You see we live on the sixth floor and her foster dad, Randy, had been carrying her up and down those stairs since she arrived. Now, it's much faster to just carry her up and down.  It takes a lot of patience and time to do it this way, but worth every minute when we see the progress she continues to make.  Good things come to those who wait--it's especially true in this case!

Anyway, back to the six flights.  And guess what?! She did it!! Now, for the last few days, she has been going up and down all six flights of stairs! Can you believe it?! She is an amazing girl and we are seeing that in so many ways, but this being the most obvious--right now!

We couldn't be prouder of you Elly! Keep up the great work and we'll all see you walking and running everywhere some day soon!

It just goes to show you that the old saying is right, one step at a time and you'll surely get there! One step at a time!
Monday, February 27, 2012

Little Mother

Just like Brooke and Anton, Wendy has a sweet affection for her own little brother. When Joseph graduated from the baby-room, he became Wendy's roommate. She's been taking very good care of him ever since!

It brings tears to our eyes, looking at these two children and knowing that neither of them should be alive right now. They each have an amazing story that sends chills down our arms - they're each so incredibly miraculous.

Behind the blue skin and the empty eyes, we knew that a story of hope was lurking. Now that we've seen it, we're kind of addicted.

It's no wonder that Wendy and Joseph have bonded so quickly. Now we just need to keep our eyes out, to make sure that she doesn't try to sneak him into preschool one of these days. Come to think of it, though, that would be kinda cute...
Sunday, February 26, 2012

Wendy's Amazing Story

It only took one look at Wendy for us to realize that this little girl was a much more serious case than we had anticipated. On top of having a very sick heart, Wendy also had a very broken heart. Abandoned on her fourth birthday, just two months before she arrived at NDFH, we knew that there were deep, fresh scars on Wendy’s heart.

Testing showed that Wendy had a very severe heart condition: TGA, ASD, VSD and dangerously high pulmonary hypertension. Because of her age, Wendy was at high risk for sudden death after surgery. But without surgery there was no chance of survival

Day by day we saw changes in Wendy. She learned how to smile, how to laugh and how to trust. Medically she was weakening, but emotionally she was gaining strength. Sad and scared was slowly being replaced by bright and happy.

On the 16th of December, 2011, Wendy had heart surgery. It took six and a half hours and was a success. The surgeon, the top surgeon of that hospital, was able to do a complete repair.

Wendy’s pulmonary hypertension was still very high. At any moment we knew that she could go into heart failure, so we braced ourselves for a long and scary recovery.

The next day Wendy was taken off of the ventilator. Two days later she was transferred out of ICU and ten days after surgery Wendy was released from the hospital. Risks continued to be great so Wendy was kept in isolation for a few weeks. But she was recovering well and did not have to stay there. Now she runs and happily plays with all of the other children.

Wendy has gained strength, and there’s a new spark in her eyes now. It’s the spark of a life reborn.

Find it here on the website!
Saturday, February 25, 2012

My Foster Mama

"Who is that, Carolyn?"

"She's going to be my foster mom!" beamed Carolyn .

For the past week, Carolyn's new foster mama has been coming into the Foster Home to visit with Carolyn so that they can get to know each other.

They met on Monday. It was love at first sight.

Carolyn has been bubbling with excitement all week. She knows that on Friday, she will go to her new foster family's home to live. She recognized her new foster mama as the previous foster mom of Emelia, who recently left to join her forever family. "She used to be Emelia's mama," we could see Carolyn thinking, "but now she's mine." 

Well, Carolyn, today's the day!

We're so excited that Carolyn will have a family while she waits. One day, we hope to tell Carolyn that she has a forever family of her own. But until that wonderful day comes, we know that Carolyn is going to blossom and thrive in her foster family's home. And when the time comes for her to go to a forever family? She's going to be very prepared.
Thursday, February 23, 2012

Much Anticipated

Finally! The much anticipated birthday party day arrived. Do you remember turning five? Or six? If you do, then you know just how special this birthday party was for Lily and Philip. Lily was so touched to be crowned the birthday princess. The realness of the tiara sobered her a little as she contemplated all that she has been through this past year.

Luke didn't totally understand what all the excitement was about. He and Philip are foster brothers, so their foster mom was so proud and happy to be there for both boy's birthday celebrations.

"May I blow out the candles now?" Philip eagerly asked when we had finished singing. Six. He's practically a grown-up now.

Lily was so excited when it came time to light the five candles on her cake. Clapping her hands over her mouth and letting out a wondrous sigh, she sang along as loud as she could to her own birthday song.

After naps, Jonathan and Josiah found themselves in the classroom for our afternoon preschool birthday party! Jonathan turned one this month. He's growing into a strong and happy little boy who loves to crawl, chew on toys, and be hand fed by his adoring nannies.

The most exciting birthday, though, may have been Josiah's. He's going to be the newest preschool student and we've already put his picture on the little wooden chair that used to be Philip's. Josiah's face lit up with the candles, and he clapped his hands and grinned as we sang. He also signed "cookie" when he saw the cake. Cookies and cake are close, right?

All eyes were on Josiah as he took his first bite of birthday cake. Knowing our little man, we were pretty sure that he would love it.

We were right. Josiah loved the cake so much that he ditched his fork and went all in. We have some other coated-with-cake pictures, but we may just have to save those for Josiah's parents (and his high school graduation slide show!).

More birthday pictures will be in the scrapbook soon!

The Beauty of Blurry

Blurry pictures of our kids in therapy are the best.  Most of the time, we try to get the kids to stay still for pictures, but when it's time for therapy, the word is move. What is more wonderful that a blurred picture of a child running for the first time? Nothing. We know that you're going to love this super sweet and amazing story of Landon and Noah during therapy. Blurry pictures and all!

It was time for Landon to practice walking down steps. Noah was in speech therapy at the time, but he decided that descending the stairs would be much more fun, and Lillian (our speech therapist) agreed to let him join Landon. At the word, "go" Noah didn't hesitate and quickly walked down the steps.

But Landon, still hanging on to the window sill, didn't follow.

A little unsure of himself, Landon refused to go down any more steps.

Noah would have none of this. Along with Lillian, Noah cheered and clapped for Landon. "Jia you! Jia you!" He cried. "Jia you" is literally, "Add oil," but in Chinese it is used to cheer someone on. Essentially, "You can do it!"

So, with that enthusiastic encouragement, Landon ventured down another step...

"You can do it, Landon! Keep going! Jia you!" Noah continued to cheer for Landon.

And with that, Landon realized that he could do it. A little victory jump was in order - beautifully blurry as it should be!

Landon's fear conquered, he and Noah decided to climb back up the stairs...

Can you guess what they did next?
Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Cutie Pie

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Forever Home: Double The Excitement!

Two new girls arrived at the Forever Home today!  Such an exciting day!

Welcome Emma!  We are so happy to add you to our family!  We look forward to seeing you grow and blossom.

And this is Mollie!  She's a sweety too!  One thing we know for sure, they both like books!  That's such a wonderful thing too.  We are also happy to add you to our family Mollie!

Looks like they found some new toys to enjoy.  

We are looking forward to cuddling you girls much!

Emma is already snuggling up to her new foster dad!  The whole Forever Home gang is glad to have you sweet little ones :)
Sunday, February 19, 2012

He's My Little Brother!

Anton and Calvin are roommates, which means that when it comes to claiming little brothers, without a pause Anton chooses Calvin. And Anton is not the only one... did you catch this post about Brooke and Calvin? But despite Brooke's motherly affection for Calvin, Anton remains confident that Calvin loves him more.

"Who's little brother is that?" the nannies asked, pointing to Calvin. "Wo de!" Anton proudly asserted, patting his chest. Then he walked quickly over to Calvin and gave him a hug. ("Wo de" means "mine")

Word has it that Calvin's about to join a foster family. What will Anton do then?

Lily's Amazing Story

Lily’s orphanage was desperate. She had a serious heart disease, so complex that no hospitals in her city could treat it. They contacted us, asking if we could do something – anything. Lily arrived at New Day on the 24th of June, 2011. Her fingers and toes were cyanotic and her oxygen was in the low 70’s.

The list of Lily’s heart defects was scary. We took her information to the cardiac hospitals we work with, and further tests determined that surgery would be possible.

Lily never seemed to be without a cough, so it wasn’t until January 11, 2012, that she went in for surgery. There were many risks, the doctors told us. This surgery was difficult and might take a long time, despite the fact that the top surgeon was going to be performing it.

Three and a half hours after Lily went into surgery, the surgeon wanted to talk with us.
It was done. Lily was out of surgery. In the words of one of the surgeons, Lily had “A perfect operation!” The doctors couldn’t stop smiling, nor could we.

The next day Lily was taken off of the ventilator. She returned home on January 20th, just in time to celebrate Chinese New Year.

Find it on our website here!
Friday, February 17, 2012

Nanny in Training?

With so many babies around, our nannies have their hands full. Keeping up with the feedings and the changing and the cuddling is a full day's work, but joy seeps out of the cracks of their daily tasks, and their work, though not easy, can look quite appealing. Especially to little girls like Brooke.

Any guesses about what's going on in this picture?

Brooke's nanny was feeding Calvin his noontime bottle, and it looked to little miss Brooke like a fun job. So she volunteered her services and the help was warmly encouraged and appreciated by her nanny.

She did a good job too! Brooke is so gentle with the babies.

Let the "awww!" commenting begin!
Thursday, February 16, 2012

Celebrating the Firsts: Little Lady Nicole

Nicole's nickname is "Little Lady". She's so beautiful, it almost takes our breath away. Her newest achievement recently has been holding her bottle on her own. She can't do it for a long time, her little hands get tired fast, but she can do it!

Nicole moved from the CCU to the baby room on Monday. She wasn't sure about the change at first, but is adjusting well. We thought that she could use a "bigger world" to explore.

Just don't grow up too fast, Nicole!