Two months ago today, across the world on a rainy day, a small, timid little girl was placed in our arms. Our lives haven't been the same since, and Miss Olivia has really changed since that day. I had always heard that the child you meet in China is not the child you end up with, and that is the truth. First of all, she has gained some weight, which is a good thing. She is becoming much more comfortable around other people and in new settings. She definitely knows that we are her family and comes running when she sees us. She has a HUGE personality, and her mischievous side continues to take shape. She freely gives hugs and kisses (sometimes to strangers). If she has changed this much in two months, I can't imagine what I'll be saying in a year!
We hope everyone is doing well and enjoying summer. We sure are! We have been busy.
Last weekend we traveled to my home town in West Tennessee for their Relay for Life, benefitting the American Cancer Society. This is a special event in our family. My Mom is heavily involved in this organization and has been since she had breast cancer many years ago. It is also special to me because we lost my mother-in-law to cancer in 2003. We miss her dearly, and she would LOVE being a grandmother. We also know and have known may other friends and family who have been affected by cancer. We got to see many of you who have traveled across the world with us through this blog. I'm so glad you all got to see Ansley and meet Olivia. Here are a few pictures from the event.
We also celebrated Father's Day. Again, this day is happy and sad to me at the same time, but for one distinct difference. I.miss.my.Dad. He left us far too soon. He would LOVE being a grandfather to these two girls, and these two girls would love him. I can just see him now with them.
It is happy to me, though, because I get to see Philip and his Dad enjoying our girls. For many years, we longed to share this day with children, and that day is finally here. We pray for those who have lost fathers, lost children, or who desperately want to be fathers. We also pray for Olivia's birth father. I wonder if he even knew about Olivia….we'll never know.
The girls just finished swim lessons. It was every week day for 3 weeks for 30 minutes per day. It was the 3rd and final week when it finally "clicked" with Ansley. It was a great experience for Olivia as well. She absolutely loves the water, and as we've said before, has no fear. She will be swimming soon; that's for sure. It was good for her for several reasons: to be away from me for a time and realize that I would come back; to learn how to follow directions; to participate in a group activity; to wait her turn; and to listen. We got to go in and watch on the last day. If you didn't know our situation, you would not be able to tell that Olivia has only been with us for 2 months. She did a very good job following directions, listening, and waiting her turn. I was very pleased!
This is the summer for animals. We also attended a fun "cowgirl themed" birthday party. Ansley chose the dresses that they wore, so sorry for the duplication from above! Olivia came out of her shell with animals at this party and freely participated in the little "petting zoo." They even touched a snake! Yuck. She still would not "ride" the donkey, but she did pet the animals.
To catch you up on a few other items that have been pending…
Olivia went back to the pediatrician last week and got another shot in the series to help complete the re-immunization process. We go back in November to hopefully finish that up.
TEIS also came last week to discuss Olivia's individual plan. She will be assigned a "teacher." We have asked that the teacher go to day care once per week for services. We set a few goals for Olivia between now and 12/31: 25 words, a few 2-3 word phrases, putting puzzles together, and listening/participating in story time. (I think I got them all.) I will hear from that teacher in the next few days to schedule a meeting.
We finally heard back from our insurance, and Olivia's dental procedure will be on July 2nd. We have to be at the surgical center at 9am and expect to be there until 12 or 12:30pm. There will be some pain that afternoon and the day after, but supposedly, se should be back to 100% by the 3rd day.
She will also start day care twice per week in July. We will begin slowly with 2-3 hours per day and then work up to the full day when we feel that she is ready. I think she will be ready pretty quickly, based upon her progress up to this point. She will go full time beginning in August. I truly feel that she will thrive in this environment, and I also feel that the language will come quickly. Life will change again once I go back to work.
I think I covered everything since the last post. If I forgot anything, I'll add it in the next one. :) As always, thanks for your love and support. We appreciate all of the kind words, prayers, and thoughts.