Sunday, December 6, 2009

Home sweet home!!

We got home late last night and Laila is doing really good. She will sometimes accidentally touch or rub her nose and start to cry, I wish I could take her pain for her!! When the doctor took down her old repair he basically cut some of that out so her mouth is smaller and her little fork barely fits so she's only eating with her hands now and tiny bites. We had to start using a bottle again to get her to drink. Her sippy cup's spout wasn't quite long enough, the top of the cup would push against her nose. It wasn't hard to get her off the bottle a few months ago so I think this will be the same, just gotta make sure she stays hydrated. She has arm splints that keep her arms straight so when she sleeps she doesn't accidentally hurt herself. She's such a trooper, she sees me get them off her dresser and she will stick out an arm, when I get them on one arm she sticks out the other arm. She's the best and I love, love, love this little girl!! Shriner's Hospital is amazing!!! Everyone is so friendly and nice. We really felt like Laila got the best care possible. Our surgeon is wonderful!! He stayed in her post-op room for a long time answering all of our questions, we never felt rushed. He's even more sought after for his expertise than we thought, we are so fortunate to have a surgeon like him take care of our little one. We've always seen her as the most beautiful little girl in the world and I've never understood how you can make perfection better but he somehow has. Thank you all for your prayers and love for Laila and our family!!! I will post pictures soon!! XOXOXO Scott, Joanna and Laila

Friday, December 4, 2009

Quick update

Laila's doing really good. She's getting some of her sweet personality back, waving at people and blowing kisses. She's made many friends here. Surgery went well, when they repaired her in China they didn't connect the muscle under her lip so he did that as well. The surgeon said her repair was more intensive than he was expecting but he's happy with the results. He also built the base of her nostrils some and has some nasal stents sutured in place. In 2 weeks we will get those removed. He told me I can do it, I promptly came back to my cell phone, called our pediatrician and made an appointment for him to do it!! Brian, if you're reading this, see you on the 18th!! We are going home tomorrow also!!! We were able to change our tickets and the late flight to Denver from LAX is pretty empty so we can all 5 fly together which is nice. Laila will heal better in her own home and in her own bed. Thank you so much, everyone, for your prayers!!! Will update again tomorrow. XOXO Joanna

Laila's in the operating room

Laila is in the operating room as I type this. Boy, was this a difficult morning!!! Luckily they gave Laila some meds and let us go into pre-op holding. The meds kicked in and Laila actually let the RN carry her back so you know she was drugged. She was giggling and rolling her head around, she will be a funny drunk!! We are so fortunate to have our surgeon, he's the best!! We feel so much better about Laila's surgery after talking to him this morning. The hospital was on lock-down last night until about 10pm. They were putting families in the auditorium in recliners, luckily they didn't have enough recliners for us and a family room opened up with 4 beds in it. Perfect!!! We could all sleep in a bed in a private room with our own bathroom, we were very lucky!!! Scott was with Laila last night in her room which they shared with another family but they didn't have a recliner for him to sleep in so they got moved into a private room!! We are so blessed!! Now we are waiting for our sweet Laila, I can't wait to hold her in my arms!! If all goes well, we can probably head home tomorrow afternoon instead of Monday!! Please keep us all in your prayers, especially Laila!!! XOXO Joanna

Thursday, December 3, 2009

In Los Angeles for surgery

Hi everyone,
We got to LA this morning with no problems. Scott, my dad, Scott's parents and of course Laila and I are all here. It's been a long day of waiting around doing alot of nothing!! There was a shooting about 2 blocks away so the entire hospital has been on lock down for the last 4 hours. They can't admit us yet because no patients can leave to free up any beds. They said they would be able to give everyone a place to stay tonight if we don't get off lock down. There's been 2 helicopters flying over the hospital for hours, police at every corner and walking all around and crime scene tape all over. Welcome to LA!!! We did find out our surgeon has decided to do Laila's lip and work on her nose, estimated surgery time of 2.5 hours. She's scheduled at 7am. Scott is staying with her tonight although it looks like we all may be staying. I just hope our surgeon can get in tomorrow morning!! I'm feeling a little better about her surgery, it's still scary and I'm nervous but I know she will be fine. I'm hopeful they will let me go with her to the OR, haven't been able to ask that yet. She's having fun running around here like crazy and playing with her grandparents. They do have wireless internet here but only in the main common area, not where we will be tomorrow. I will update again tomorrow, just not sure when. Thank you everyone for your prayers and love!!! Talk to you soon!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sorry it's been 3 months since I updated!!!!

Hi... thanks for checking back in with us. Sorry I haven't updated in 3 months, I can't believe it's been 3 months!!! Laila is perfect, we are enjoying every second with her, she's an absolute dream. We do have her palate repair surgery scheduled for November 11th but are still trying to get her into Shriner's Hospital in LA. I've had some medical issues and had major surgery. I then had quite a few complications and have been out of commission for 6 weeks. I'm now finally feeling better and have had alot of people ask for updated pictures of out little missy. I will update more frequently (I promise) but in the meantime, enjoy!!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

We're back part 2!!

More pictures since Laila's been home. Above is mommy and Laila looking at a puzzle at the Children's Museum. She had a great time!!
Happy little girl!!! We love her so much, we are so blessed!!

Not sure what she's looking at but she sure is interested.

Nema and Papa with Laila at the park by our house. (Scott's parents) They came out the day before we got home and met their newest grandchild. We were so happy to see them!!

Laila loved the swing but we were afraid she would fall thru the leg hole!! She's so little!! My friend Jami sent me clothes from her daughter and Kate's gone thru all her stuff of Gabs for small sizes. Laila is wearing 6-9 month clothes and the smallest sizes I had was 12 month. Anything 12 month has to be safety pinned to stay on.

Here's Grandpa (my dad) with Laila. He's so excited to have Laila home. He's staying at our house alot, wants Laila to know him. He lives downtown, about a 20 minute drive, but has been staying with us since we got home. He went to his place for 2 nights and is back here spending time with Laila. She walks into the guest room (Grandpa's room now) and brings him toys, it's so cute to watch them together.

Kate and my MIL decorated our house for our return. I LOVED it!! It was so fun to come home to balloons, streamers, signs and other decorations!!!

More decorations!!

The sign posted over our garage so we saw it as soon as we got home. Thank you Kate and Norma, we love it!!!
Laila meeting her family. From the right is Scott's dad, our nephew Nick, Scott's mom, my dad, Laila and daddy. Kate made shirts that they all wore with our 1st family picture and it said Laila JeanneLi Van Gieson, Gotcha Day, May 4, 2009. It was a nice surprise and very touching.

Here's Laila checking out Papa and cousin Nick.

Laila and daddy heading down the concourse at DIA, heading for the train to meet our family. It was so nice to be home!!! Laila is doing so good. She's very loving, wants lots of hugs and kisses and will give them to us willingly. We are loving every second of our beautiful daughter, life couldn't be any better!!!

We're back!!!

This post isn't going to be in any order but it should work. I still don't understand blogger and why I can't put pictures where I want so they are scattered so I apologize. The above picture and the following 4 were taken in the last few days. The above picture was taken last night at Kate's house. After dinner we had strawberry shortcake and gave Laila some of the cool whip. She was in heaven. When she first tasted it off my spoon she got this look of pure bliss, so cute!! Then I couldn't keep up with her so I put a spoon full in her bowl and the fun began. She had cool whip in her hair, all over her face and hands and was having a great time. It was so cute!!
Another picture of little miss with her cool whip.

Aunt Kate with her 2 favorite girls. Gabs has been so sweet with Laila. She had her mom call us the other day so she could ask if Laila could come play. She really loves her new cousin and Laila loves Gabs. Laila will walk up to Gabs and wrap her arms around her and lay her head on Gabs stomach, it's so sweet. We're really enjoying watching them interact and think they will be great friends.
Here's Gabs, I was testing out the camera and she smiled for me so I had to post the picture, she's a cutie!!

Here's Gabs giving Laila little bites of her cookie while the pugs hope for a crumb or 2 to be dropped on the floor.

Here's Laila in the playroom at the White Swan. (I told you the pictures were out of order!!) She loved this ball and we found a red one and bought it. She's had a great time with it at home.
Here she is on her little rocker zebra. She loved this toy also and it played music. When we got home I was able to find the exact same thing here so we bought it and now she has it in the living room and plays on it ALOT!!!
Just a cute picture of my daughter.
Laila in the bathtub, she loves her baths!!!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

We're home!!!

We made it!!!! We got home yesterday afternoon around 4pm. Laila did well on all the flights, her sleep pattern was a little messed up so she didn't sleep as well as we would've hoped but that may help us get her adjusted to the time change easier. When we landed in Denver we changed Laila into a cute little outfit and got on the train to the main concourse, we were SOOOOOOO excited to see our family. My dad, Scott's parent's, Scott's sister and her 2 kids met us at the airport. They had t-shirts made with our 1st family picture and it said... Laila JeanneLi Van Gieson, Gotcha Day, May 4, 2009. It was really nice. Some people from our flight that got to the concourse before us told them that we were on the way, they recongized us from the t-shirt pictures. When we saw our family, tears just flowed. We did it!! We were back home with our daughter and family, it's the best!! I'm laying in bed with my daughter now, life doesn't get any better. I will post again in a few days, wanted to let you all know we're home. I will add pictures on the next post. Love, Scott, Joanna and Laila

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Our last day in China!!!

Well, the time has come for us to pack our bags and leave our daughter's home. We are anxious to get to our home and start our lives as a family. It's bitter-sweet to leave. We are so ready to go home, we miss so many things we always took for granted. No humidity!! Drinking tap water!! A home cooked meal!! Our comfy beds!! Our family and friends!! At the same time we will miss China. China gave us the ultimate gift, one of their little girls for us to raise and love and we are eternally grateful. What a wonderful daughter we have been blessed with, she's beautiful, smart, lively, funny, strong-willed, stubborn and absolutely perfect. We will never be able to let Laila's birth mother know what a wonderful life she will have, how cherished, wanted and loved she is by us and so many others. We are thankful that Laila's birth mother left her somewhere she knew Laila would be found quickly, that this beautiful baby wouldn't be alone for long. My heart aches for this woman, as a mother I can only imagine the heartache and pain she felt, I could never imagine doing what she felt she had too do. So where ever you are, from one mother to another mother, thank you from the bottom of my heart. We will cherish this little girl forever. We love her unconditionally and will give her everything to make her life as fulfilled as possible. I pray you have found peace.

We've had a great past few days. Laila is feeling better. A couple travelling with us had some Amoxicillin they didn't need and that's what Laila would've received had we been home. I had my sister in law call our pediatrician and he said to give her the amoxicillin and stop taking the other meds we got here. She seems to be doing really good. A few nights ago we took a dinner boat cruise on the Pearl River. We could've passed on the dinner, deep fried minnows, fried fish skin, rocky mountain oysters, fish balls (didn't know fish had balls and that they are huge and yellow) and some other crazy things. We ate the rice and noodles, I know, living on the edge!! We had Laila's adoptive physical. Interesting that they told us her ears look great and later that day she had double ear infections. Not very through!! Anyway, our girl is all of 16.6lbs and 27 in. tall at 15 months. Just a little peanut. She loves her baths now, loves to play and splash. We had the consulate appointment yesterday and received Laila's visa so she can come into the US. Since both Scott and I came here for the adoption, once we land in San Francisco, Laila will be a US citizen!! For those of you still getting ready to travel here, make sure you visit the play room at the White Swan. It's great, especially for kids about 3 and under. Very cool!! On the way to dinner the other night we ran into 2 wedding parties having their pictures taken. They do weddings every day of the week here and they are happy to let American's take pictures. I took a picture of each bride and groom. There's also a picture of a tree. They all grow like this, lots of roots on top of the ground, maybe because it's so wet and humid they don't need to be down in the ground. Anyway, they just look really cool so I took a pircute. Tomorrow morning, we get on a plane to Hong Kong, have a 3 hour lay over and then get on our plane for the 12 hour trip to San Francisco, have a 4 hour lay-over there and then a 2 1/2 hour flight home to Denver. We can't wait!! Thank you all for your prayers and wishes sent our way on our journey to Laila, it's been a priceless journey, one we will never forget!! Hope you enjoy our last pictures from China. Love, Scott, Joanna and Laila

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Double ear infections!!!

Sorry folks, no pictures this time. I know, I know, but our baby is sick!!! She's been pulling at her ears, had lots of yellow snot and a little cough so we took her to the doctor they have here at the White Swan. He looked at her ears and said, yuck infection. So we have double ear infections!!! She's on an antibiotic we mix with an expectorant and benedryl as well as some ear drops. I've called our guide twice and asked her to double check with the doctor, it seems like alot of medicine we're giving her but they both assure me it's normal and will be fine. We've already given her the dose for tonight and besides being pissed that we had to hold her down to give her the medicine she's fine. Playing, laughing, acting like her normal self, she's so happy!! We're so happy we found it now instead of during one of the 3 plane trips coming up on Friday, that would've been BAD!!!! Anyway, we're going to try and get our little one to sleep, she's full of energy so wish us luck. If you feel so inclined, keep Laila in your prayers that she start to feel much better by our trip back home!!! Thanks and I promise to add pictures with the next post. Love, Scott, Joanna and Laila

Sunday, May 10, 2009

So Much Fun!!!

Sorry I haven't blogged in a few days but we are having so much fun!!! Laila is a dream!! She's learned her name and responds to it except when she chooses to ignore us. She's learning what "no" means and doesn't like it when we tell her no. She is walking alot now, crawling all over, talking all the time and smiles constantly, which just melts our heart. She giggles alot too, it's so stinking cute I can't hardly stand it!! We are in Guangzhou now, staying at the famous White Swan. Our last few days in Zhengzhou were uneventful, we got Laila's passport and immunization records. She did good on the flight but there was way too much to look at for a nap so she played and played and played some more. I think that 12 hour flight back to the states is gonna seem like 24 hours!! We are really enjoying our time here in Guangzhou. We are no longer stared at like we have 3 heads. We feel very safe and comfortable here, there are alot of American's with their adopted Chinese children here, everyone that adopts internationally has to come to Guangzhou, so everyone that has adopted in China in the last week is here. Where we stay in Guangzhou, Shemian Island, is beautiful. It's right on the Pearl River, we eat breakfast every morning over looking the river and all the boats. Tomorrow night, Monday, we're doing a dinner cruise on the river. Today we went to a Buddist Temple, very ornate and pretty. We then went to the Chen House and saw alot of embroidery, bone and jade carving, all very intricate and beautiful. Tomorrow morning we have Laila's medical exam and get her pictures taken for her Visa. We've done some shopping, in fact Laila is walking around the room right now in her squeaky shoes, just laughing with every step. She is the best baby, we are so in love it's incredible. If anyone told me I could love her this much I'd say there's no way, but she's amazing. Her latest game is peek-a-boo, she will put the cloth over her face and ours. She definately knows we are mom and dad. Our guide held her today for about 30 seconds and she lost her mind, reaching out for us and crying so that's a great sign that she's bonded with us. She's seems to respond appropriately when we ask where's mommy or where's daddy. Today Scott went into the bathroom and Laila was playing with some toys, happy as can be. I asked her "where's daddy?" and she crawled over to the bathroom door and started banging on it with her toy. It's so cute. Also, today was my 1st Mother's Day and it was great. I'm so thankful I have this beautiful little girl to call my daughter. It's amazing. Today when I was holding her she leaned into me and touched her lips to mine. She doesn't make the kiss sound but I think that's exactly what she was doing. It brought tears to my eyes. Anyway, I'd better go, just got the little one to bed and now it's my turn. I will try and post tomorrow about our busy day. Enjoy the pictures. There's one of Scott eating a chicken's foot, lots of the buddhist temple and Chen house and some more of this adorable little girl. Love from Guangzhou!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Latest stuff...

Laila's adoption was made official yesterday afternoon!! She is our little girl forever and ever, it's the most amazing feeling in the world. We all went to the registration officials office to finalize the adoption. We had pictures taken with the official paper and the adoption registration official. It's a big deal, usually it's just someone from the office but the guy in charge of the entire Henan province came and did ours. It was a brand new building and we were the 1st adoptions to be finalized there so it was special. They came early to put out the red carpet for all of us. They had an official photographer who took pictures of each family with the adoption official and then a group photo that will be framed and put on the wall. We then went to the notary, signed a few more papers and viola, she's our daughter!! We also went to the Lotus Center, kinda like a Super Wal-Mart. We bought diapers, formula, some clothes for Laila (everything I brought is too big and it's size 12 month),a few toys and some snacks. She did great, was in the front pack smiling at people. We are really seeing Laila's personality now. She is so happy!! She smiles alot, laughs alot and is babbling all the time. She gets a little cranky when she's tired or hungry but what little one doesn't. She's doing better with us putting her down some, which is good, it shows she trusts us that we won't leave her, but she makes it very known when she wants us to hold her and we are happy to do so. She took a few steps today from daddy to me and then back. We made a big deal out of it and she just had big smiles the entire time. She's just the best thing ever and we are so in love!!! Enjoy the pictures!!

Monday, May 4, 2009

We have Laila!!!

We received Laila around 3:30 this afternoon. We were all in the hall waiting and we see some ladies walking down the hall holding a little baby and it was Laila!! She's beautiful and tiny!! The 2 ladies walked right up me, Scott was standing behind me, and tried to hand her to me. She was having none of that!! After about 1 minute the lady just handed her to me and they went into our guides room so Laila couldn't see them. She cried for a minute and then just starting looking at us, not sure what was going on. We took turns holding her while some friends from the trip video taped it and took pictures for us. She held the rattle we gave her but wouldn't let go of the little piece of paper for hours!!! She came to us pretty clean, wearing 2 pairs of pants, 1 that we sent, 1 shirt and a sweatshirt we sent. She also had 2 bandana like things around her neck, she drools alot with her cleft. Her lip looks OK, she will definately need a revision. We then put her in the front pack and went to get pictures taken for her passport. She's very happy being carried, for the first 3-4 hours if we tried to put her down she would cry, so sad!! She loves cheerios, they are a hit!! She would lift her head up out of the front pack and open her mouth. We would put in a cheerio and she would settle back in. She looked like a little bird. She's sleeping now, went down after a bottle. She is in size 2 diapers, which should fit up to 18 lbs. We were told she's 17.5 lbs., I haven't weighed her but the size 2 diapers can be fastened with the 2 tabs almost touching in the front!! I have her in a size 6-9 month onesie and it fits fine. I put her in size 12 month leggings with elastic waist and the waist band was just sitting out from her waist, probably about 3-4 inches smaller around the waist would fit her. She is little!!! Toward the end of the night, before going to sleep, she finally let Scott put her down and she stood but only for a minute before wanting to be held. She's now in my bed, we are not going to push her sleeping in a crib, she seems a little withdrawn and we want her to feel safe and secure so sleeping with mommy it is!! Here are some pictures, we are exhausted!! Toward the end are 2 pictures of her putting her footprint on the official adoption paperwork, Scott and I have our thumb prints on there as well. The last pictures are of her tonight asleep. She's perfect, we couldn't imagine life without her and it's only been 5 hours!! Enjoy the pictures!!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Beijing Day 2

Hello from Beijing!!! Today we went to the jade factory, the Great Wall, lunch, saw the birds nest and water cube from the Olympics, a porcelin factory and a chinese acrobat show. It was another great day but tiring!! We are having so much fun learning about the culture, it's all very fascinating. The Great Wall is so impressive, it's huge and STEEP!!! We went up quite a ways until I made the mistake of looking down and then I was done. Those of you who know me know I'm terrified of heights so I was totally freaked out, Scott had to walk me down while I only looked at the ground. Oh well, at least we can say we climbed the wall. The jade and porcelin factories are really cool, they walk you thru and show you the different steps in making the products. Then they let you lose to shop and they hover over you. It's very difficult to get out without buying something. They are all very polite but insistent!! It was great to see the Olympic venues, very nice!! We saw the Olympic village as well. When people heard we are from the US they asked if we know Michael Phelps!! The acrobat show was great. Think of Cirque du Soleil, it was very similar. Lots of fun!! We are now finishing up packing and trying to get our bags under-weight, that's a chore. I forgot to tell you about the other families we're traveling with. I'm not going to use names because I don't have their permission to do so but there's one family from Montana who already has a 7 year old little girl who was adopted from China at 12 months. She's adorable. They are getting her little sister who is 5 and has a repaired heart defect. Another family is from Georgia and they are adopting twin boys!!! It's very difficult to adopt twins since all the kids are abandoned they don't know for sure who's related but with these two there was no denying it so they get both boys who are 15 months old. The two boys have albinoism. There's one more couple from Colorado also. They brought along their 10 year old son and are adopting his little brother who is 7 and deaf. And then there's us, so 4 families in all and we've really enjoyed getting to know all of them!! Tomorrow morning, bright and early, we leave for the airport to head for Henan. Then Monday morning, Sunday night in the US, is baby day!! We will get our Laila so stay tuned!! In the mean time, enjoy the pictures from today.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Beijing Day 1

Hi everyone. We had a great day today. We went to Tienemen Square, The Forbidden City, a silk market and took rickshaw rides and visited a home. It was quite the day and we are exhausted. I will let the pictures speak for themselves, it's all amazing!!! (I'm trying out this montage feature, let me know what you think. Blogger is making it difficult to post pictures and put them where I want them. Just click on the forward arrow in the middle of the picture and enjoy.)

Thursday, April 30, 2009

We made it to Beijing!!!!

Hi everyone. I know that's a strange picture to start out with but blogger isn't letting me move pictures around so this post probably won't make any sense. Sorry about that. If anyone knows how I can fix that or what I'm doing wrong, please let me know!! It's driving me crazy and I want to fix it!! Anyway, we made it to Beijing and the picture above is of our guide, Josh, here in Beijing. He's holding the sign with our name and another family traveling with us. We both arrived about the same time but on different flights. Another family arrived yesterday and the last family gets in tonight.
This picture was right above our baggage carousel. Tomorrow we're going to Tienemen Square and The Great Wall, I hope we also drive by the cube and bird's nest. I'd love to get some pictures of the Olympic venues.

This was after we got off the plane in Beijing, good thing it was also in English. We'd probably still be walking around the airport looking for baggage!!
Oh yeah!! Beijing here we come. We connected to our Beijing flight in San Francisco. We actually flew up over part of Alaska, the Bering Sea and Siberia. It was a 12 hour flight and never got dark, pretty strange.
Here's the daddy-to-be drinking a micro brew in San Fran waiting for our flight.

In Denver, our flight to San Francisco. Sorry this post started at the end and worked it's way back to the beginning. Hopefully I will get it figured out soon. Anyway, we are safe and sound, it's 7:20pm Thursday night here, we're 14 hours ahead of Denver. Scott is sacked out and I'm not far behind. We have a long day of touring tomorrow but should be alot of fun. Beijing is an amazing city. I will write more about it tomorrow when I have pictures to go along. It's hard to believe we are in the same country as Laila, I can almost feel her in my arms. We just need Monday morning to get here fast!! We want our girl!! Thanks for following our blog and we'll talk to you again soon!!!! Hugs from China!!!