Friday, July 29, 2011

Surgery- Take 2!

Maya’s surgery this past Monday went well!  It only took her surgeon 1.5 hours to finish repairing her palate and also do a procedure called a pharyngeal flap.  We hope this will help with her speaking and allow her to pronounce consonants better!  Only time will tell!  Dr. Shaheen said if this doesn’t “do the trick” he would have to reconstruct her entire mouth.  This is NOT the road we want to go down so we’re praying this will be her last surgery for a while.  She came out of anesthesia pretty much the same way she always does…madder than a hornet!  She was hitting, kicking and pinching me.  Now that we’ve been down this road a few times, I am fully prepared for it.  I wear no jewelry because she tries to rip if off me and I told every person on her medical team that she would be like this when she wakes up so I need to be with her pronto!  She also likes to pull the IV out of her foot, so the nurses had it taped securely to her.  Once she calmed down and we get her home, she slept for a few hours in our bed.  Madeline and Will are the ultimate big sister and brother.  Madeline came to the hospital with us and helped calm her down post-op.  Once we got home, Madeline took charge of the house so I could lay with Maya while John took Will to a movie.  She did the laundry and fielded phone calls…what a girl!  Before Will left for the movie, he sat with Maya holding her hand and kept telling her he loved her!  On day #2 you would never even know she just had surgery the day before.  She was playing, smiling and asking if she could watch her beloved Olivia TV show!  She doesn’t love her liquid diet but she’s handling it well.  I’ve been making her mashed potatoes diluted with chicken broth so it’s more like a thick soup.  It seems to sustain her longer so she’s not hungry.  She still doesn’t like milkshakes or smoothies but will drink Pediasure chocolate drinks!  Go figure!  I took a sip of her Pediasure and almost gagged. 

On another note, we’re having a fun summer.  Madeline is getting excited to start her high school at Marian.  For any of you not from the area, it’s an all girls’ Catholic high school right across the street from my sister’s subdivision in Bloomfield Hills.  No boys you’re thinking?  Brother Rice High School is right next-door, which is the all boys’ Catholic high school.  She got her uniform, ordered her books, got her schedule and made some new friends via Facebook.  My niece Alex graduated from Marian so she is super excited that her cousin is following her footsteps.  William starts the 4th grade this fall.  Yikes!  Where does the time go?  I can’t believe it.  He loves school for the social aspect, but not the homework!  Hmmm..Imagine that?!  Maya will start going to preschool in the fall too.  Next week I’m heading to the Montessori preschool Will went to so I can meet with Ms. Connie.  She also wants to meet Maya.  We should have a busy schedule this fall with school, sports, speech therapy and whatever else seems to pop into our schedule every week! 

Maya is quite a little dare devil.  Her favorite thing to do up north is ride on the tube.  Do you believe she yells at John to go faster every time?!  And the bigger the waves the better.  I’m thinking we’ll have her on water skis in a couple years.  She finally went swimming in the deep with us last weekend.  As long as she can hold on to someone, she’s happy.  She finally figured out her life jacket would keep her floating.  I’m waiting for her to jump off the boat next with her brother and sister!  I’ve had to yell at her a couple times after her surgery to stop jumping off the living room furniture.  I keep envisioning her hitting her mouth on something and making a mad dash to the ER.

Maya’s resilience and positive determination to overcome difficulties that most children never have to endure humbles us.  She takes these surgeries in stride and always has a smile on her face the next day! 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

We are really behind on blog posts...

Wow! I know we have not posted in a while- it has been a CRAZY month. Maya had her third birthday party! It was Olivia the pig themed (Maya LOVES Olivia!) We had over 50 people at our house but the party was a LOT of fun. We took our annual 10 day vacation up north where Maya celebrated her 3rd birthday on July 6th. We had another small party with more cake and presents :) Then we took a small vacation while on vacation to Mackinac Island. Maya was in awe of all the horses, (for our non-Michigan friends, Mackinac Island is an island in Lake Huron -there are no motorized vehicles allowed, only horses and bikes!) Tomorrow Maya is having another surgery done to fix the holes in her palate and repair her pharyngeal flap so she doesn't sound so nasaly! So please make sure Maya is in your thoughts and prayers tomorrow! I know it will be a long recovery but I'm sure Maya will bounce back quick.

One of Maya's "BFF's" Cassie :)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Happy 1st Referral Anniversary Maya!

Today marks Maya’s 1st referral anniversary! She has changed SO much, as Madeline stated in a Facebook post…
“Last year today I saw my sister’s picture 4 the first time ever. The adorable little baby with chubby, rosy cheeks wearing a pink and yellow snowsuit has turned into a beautiful almost 3 year old. She has eyes that sparkle, a personality that can make anyone laugh, and a smile 2 die for. She has a family now, a house, a closet full of clothes, and toys. Her life has changed for the better so much. I love u Maya!”
Here is our referral story that we will be telling Maya forever…
We had been looking through the Waiting Child list for a long time. None of the wonderful children on the list seemed to be a good fit for our family. We knew one day we would have a wonderful little girl that would be part of our family, but we just didn’t know when. So after a long day on June 25, 2010, we had some of our family and friends over for a fun night outside. Unfortunately, John was stuck in Baltimore due to flight cancellations! After the fun night, Madeline and I were cleaning up. It was about 11 pm and the phone rang. Who could that be? It was Cori from our adoption agency! Madeline and I both looked at each other, and Madeline said, “Mom! I think you should answer it!” I answered the phone and Cori said “Hi Kris! I’m sorry I’m calling so late, but I think I found you a little girl! I locked in her file for you! She has a repaired cleft lip and a cleft palate, she will be two soon. Do you want me to email you her file?” I was breath taken, all I could say was “YES! Thank you so much Cori!” I screamed “WOOOO!” And Madeline and Will already knew that this was the big day! We waited what seemed like years for her file to get here. You’d think after almost 2 years of paper work, and other nonsense a 20-minute wait would be simple. Not at all! I got the file and I yelled to Madeline “Her name is Ji Zhou Lu!” Madeline ran in and we looked at the list of many files sent to us. “What should I open first?” I asked Madeline. “The pictures of course Mom!” (Duh Mom!) J We opened the file and the first picture we saw of her was…well not a good picture at all. It was blurry, her head was turned and it was “mug-shot” style. We scrolled down and saw the beautiful picture of our gorgeous girl with her beautiful smile. It was an amazing day that will ALWAYS be remembered. And my friend Lisa Silverman will always remember this story too!  She was with me the day after when I made the call to Cori that we were accepting Maya’s referral! 

Our sweet girl’s 3rd birthday party is tomorrow!  50+ people have been invited.  Am I nuts or what?!  YES!  Completely insane John will tell you.  And yes I had big bashes for both Madeline and Will’s 1st birthdays!  Fair is fair!  J

The referral picture!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Maya's "Minor" Surgery Day 1!

Hey it's Madeline! Today Maya had surgery to fill her 3 cavities and she got 4 crowns as well (they put her under of course.) I wasn't there today because it was my last day of school :) The dentist said her teeth aren't formed right and its a birth defect. He also warned my parents that her face would be swollen and poofy until Sunday- it is! When she woke up from surgery she was NOT happy. She was screaming, thrashing, hitting, and pinching. She is MAD. Once my parents got home they took her upstairs hoping she would stay asleep but instead she woke up just as mad. It was not fun holding her down with my dad while my mom tried to give her Advil. She still looks cute as usual even though she has chipmunk cheeks :) We'll post pictures later!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Our May Update!

FINALLY!  I am getting around to a new posting on the adventures of Maya!  And yes, every day is an adventure with Maya!  She had her first trip up to our cottage in northern Michigan over Memorial Day Weekend.  She LOVED it.  She fits right in with all the craziness up there.  She went on boat rides, made a trip to the sand bar to play in the water and had a campfire at Grandma & Papa’s cottage.  And of course got some mosquito bites too!  Our neighbors up north were so excited to meet Maya and they all got a kick out of her silly personality like everyone else does the first time they meet Maya!  Maya will be having a bunch of dental work on Friday, June 10th (the last day of school for Madeline and Will).  She needs 4 crowns and 3 cavities filled.  Holy Moly!  Of course they’ll be knocking her out completely for this procedure.  My poor baby is all I keep thinking!  But, we know all of this is necessary.  Maya has been enjoying her time at Miss Jen’s house every week.  Jen is my friend from the school district who runs the BEST day care out of her home.  Thankfully she had room for little Maya.  She goes 2 days/week for 4 hours.  She was a little nervous in the beginning but she’s fallen into a good groove now and loves her friends there.  Jen is one of the few people I can trust my little one and I know she’s in great hands while she’s there.  I’m sending her there so she gets some interaction with other kids and it also gives me a little alone time to run errands and get some things accomplished that’s almost impossible when I have my little firecracker around.  I am beyond thankful to Jen for taking Maya those 2 days every week!  As the weather has warmed up in Michigan (hard to believe), Maya has made the great outdoors her new obsession.  I swear she wakes up every morning and the first word out of her mouth is, “Outside!”  She loves going for walks, playing in yard, drawing on the cement with her sidewalk chalk and getting in the way of her big brother and his friends while they play basketball in the driveway.  She also cracked up when she saw Lola catch her first snake (personally it grosses me out).  Maya really has enjoyed going to Madeline’s track meets.  She goes from one mom to another seeing what kind of snacks they brought with them.  She also loves to cheer on Madeline and her friends!  We had our first visit to John’s office.  Maya acted like she was running the show (what’s new?).  She went right in John’s boss’ office, got on his chair, picked up the phone and studied charts like she was making some big decision.  Once again, Maya got a lot of laughs from everyone.  We got to eat lunch with some friends there and they even put a cartoon on one of the projectors for her in the conference room.  I think Maya was more interested in visiting people in their offices and cubicles!  Maya has been doing great in her speech therapy!  She loves her speech pathologist, Cecilia.  She also loves to make Cecilia run in circles at some of her sessions!  I think Cecilia is looking forward to some rest this summer!  As the school year winds down and the summer is finally approaching, it’s hard to imagine that Maya has been with us almost 6 months.  She’s come so far and she fits right in with our family, friends and community!  What a lucky girl…and how lucky we are to have her in our lives! 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Finally...Our Gotcha Day Video!

Please ignore the last 2 minutes of the video where John was video taping the wall!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Sunshine and Fun!

We just got home from sunny Florida!  It was a fun & exhausting trip.  Keeping up with Maya on the beach and by the pool had us all running in circles.  She absolutely loved the ocean…just like her sister and brother.  The condo we rented was in Hollywood right on the ocean.  I attached some photos of the view off our balcony plus some of the kids enjoying their vacation.  William wanted to throw his football nonstop.  I was ready for John’s arm to fall off from passing it to him so much.  Madeline took Maya swimming a lot and got her comfortable in the water.  We had some huge waves a couple of the days so the kids were able to body surf and use the boogie boards!  They had a riot.  We also managed to collect some great seashells to put in a glass jar at our cottage.  Will became the pro at finding the unique shells.  I think the only bad thing that happened on our vacation was when Maya fell in the pool.  She was playing with Will pushing him off the side.  She put a little too much effort into it one time and bam; she went in!  Luckily we were sitting right in front of her.  I jumped in and John then pulled her out.  She coughed up some water and cried a little bit in my arms, and then amazingly, she wanted to go back in the pool.  This time she wore her life jacket!  I swear my heart stopped beating when I saw her fall in!  On another note, we went to Key Largo one day to hang out.  Not a whole lot going on there so we went on to the next island, Islamorada.  We ended up finding some family owned “Sea World” type establishment.  It was hotter than blazes but we still had fun seeing huge sea turtles, colored fish, nurse sharks, alligators, sea lions, parrots and a fun dolphin show.  Maya loved the talking parrots.  As much fun as we all had, it was nice to get home.  I think we all missed our beds.  Maya missed her toys.  And of course we all missed Lola who spent the week being spoiled by grandma and papa. 

I want to update you all on Maya’s cleft palate too.  She did pop a small hole in the back of her mouth.  Her surgeon expected that because of her age and how large her cleft palate was.  He said she probably did it with her tongue.  Other then that, she healed up great.  She missed her crackers and chips, but we got through it.  Dr. Shaheen is going to repair the small hole in a couple months.  It won’t be as long or complex of a surgery as the first time, but she’ll have the same recovery…liquids and soft diet.  UGH!  We had her speech evaluated and she’ll be going to speech sessions 2 days/week for about 30 minutes per session.  The speech pathologist doesn’t foresee any problems with Maya’s speech because of her ability to repeat everything we say and how far she has already come with her language and speech skills. 

We’re looking forward to some warm weather arriving in Michigan and opening up our cottage.  Seeing how Maya was around the ocean and pool, I think I’m going to keep a life jacket on her permanently while we’re up there.  Happy spring everyone!  
  The great view from our condo balcony!

Maya was always SO proud of herself after jumping to her baba.

Cutie pie!

Maya's signature "wrinkle-nose" smile :)

Maya's new favorite food: Chocolate cake.

The great dolphin show in Islamorada!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Road to Recovery

Maya has been unbelievable with her recovery.  She slept well the first couple nights.  The only time I had to get up with her each night was to give her more pain medication.  She isn’t enjoying her liquid diet, but we’re trying our best.  She likes cream of chicken soup, chicken broth and yogurt.  She’s never been a milkshake, ice cream, smoothie or popsicle girl, so she’s been snubbing those things.  I’ve tried every smoothie concoction in the world, but she refuses to drink any of it.  She loves to help me put all the ingredients in the blender, but that’s about it.  We go back to Dr. Shaheen this Tuesday for him to look over her mouth.  I’m beyond stressed that she’s popped a hole in her palate.  Dr. Shaheen told us it happens a lot and there’s nothing we can do about it.  He would just have to go back in and repair it.  I can’t even imagine going through this surgery process again.  Keep your fingers crossed everyone she hasn’t used her tongue to pop through her palate!  I’ve looked at her mouth quite a few times but it’s hard to see anything because she still can’t open her mouth up that wide.  Last Thursday, Ryan & Patrick (Will’s buddies) came over and ended up having a Nerf gun battle in our house.  Guess who was in the middle of it all?!  Yes, my little post-op baby ran around trying to shoot the boys.  Thankfully the boys knew to be careful around Maya.  She had a ball!  It’s amazing to me how quickly children can recover from a surgery.  The first couple days after Maya’s surgery I must have read “Good Night Moon” 1000 times.  I thought I was going to lose my mind.  I will do whatever it takes to keep Maya happy, but I have to say, I was happy when she ran off on her own and I could read my own book!  On Friday I left the house for the first time since Monday.  Grandma & Papa Rose watched Maya so I could run some errands.  I ran through Costco like a kid in a candy shop.  I was so excited to get out and shop in peace.  Usually I’m keeping an eagle eye on Maya because she’s either trying to climb out of the shopping cart or put everything under the sun into the cart.  John booked a trip for us to go to Florida over spring break.  We’re all excited.  I can’t wait to see Maya on the beach for the first time.  We found a beautiful condo to rent right on the ocean.  We have a private pool and beach for our use.  Whoo Hoo!  We’re going to plan a day trip to Key Largo one day while we’re down there.  What a great trip for Maya after all of this surgery craziness!  My sister, Nan, had surgery on her hernia on Saturday.  She’s still in a lot of pain but recuperating well at home.  My brother-in-law, Murray, and I have joked that we should get a “tri-fecta” discount at Beaumont for my father-in-law, Maya and Nan’s surgeries! 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Maya's Big Surgery Day! 2/28/11

Maya woke up the morning of her surgery at 5:15 AM rearing to go!  You would think we had a trip planned to Disney!  She was smiling, laughing, dancing.  It made my heart break more because I knew what was in store for her.  We got to Beaumont by 6:15 AM and waited for about 15 minutes until they called us back.  Madeline missed school in the morning so she could be with her little sister.  I’m so happy Madeline was there because Maya loves her so much.  Madeline laid with her in the bed up until they took her to the OR.  About 20 minutes before Maya went into the OR they gave her a little “kiddy cocktail” to loosen her up.  At first she was laughing then about 10 minutes into it, she started looking like she was a hippie child from the 60’s!  Life was groovy!  We were all cracking up watching her.  When they took her back to the OR, she went to the nurse Anesthetist, Tamara, with no problem.  Then as they walked away, Maya looked at me and started calling out, “Mama!”  Yes, it was the hardest thing I’ve had to do since becoming Maya’s mom, but she needed this surgery.  I bit my tongue so I wouldn’t cry.  I kept saying to myself, “Pull it together Kris, you need to be strong for Maya!”  The wait began…Luckily for us there’s a Starbucks inside of Beaumont, so I was able to have a Chai Latte and chill out for a while.  The ENT came out of the OR about 20 minutes after Maya was whisked away and told us when he put the tubes in her ears, tons of fluid came out.  I’m thinking Maya will now think we’re all yelling since she’ll be able to hear us better!  Her surgery to repair the palate took about 2½ hours.  Dr. Shaheen came out and told us he was able to repair the entire palate and it was quite frankly, huge and her mouth was a bit of a mess.  He also told us that there is no way her palate would have been repaired correctly in China, it would have been too big of a job for them.  Can I say again how thankful we are that a skilled U.S. surgeon repaired her palate?!  Once they took John and I into recovery, I honestly will say it took my breath away when I saw Maya.  Her mouth was full of blood and she was not a happy camper.  I held her as she thrashed and cried.  When they gave her another dose of Tylenol 3 that seemed to take the edge off of things.  She HATED the IV in her foot so the one nurse looked at her said, “Maya – do you want me to take that out?!”  Maya looked at her and nodded yes!   She finally relaxed and fell asleep in my arms.  We had the BEST nurses in recovery.  They were all so sweet and just loved Maya.  Every nurse in that area actually came back to see her.  The nurse Anesthetist came back to check on her and we chatted for a bit.  She has 2 daughters adopted from China.  Her youngest, who is 21 months old, is from Maya’s province (yea for the Spicy Girls)!  The BIG news we got in recovery is that Dr. Shaheen put her down as an outpatient and we had orders to take her home.  I was surprised but honestly, much happier that she would be able to recover in her house.  Dr. Shaheen came back to check on Maya and told us the reason he wanted her to go home was because she would rest much better and it was better for all of us sleep wise.  He could not have been more right!  When I took Maya to our bed she just collapsed into the pillows and crashed out.  I had beach towels everywhere because her mouth and nose were leaking blood so much.  She looked so pathetic but I know she felt better in her own house.  John and I lied with her and tried to keep her as comfortable as we could.  She didn’t want to drink anything but we managed to get some liquids into her.  Thank goodness for Tylenol 3.  The minute that stuff starts wearing out, you can tell.  It was a long day and my nerves were frazzled, but we got through it.  I can’t say enough to all my awesome friends for texting me nonstop throughout the procedure and afterward to check up on Maya and send us their prayers.  And a big thank you to my sister, Nan, for picking Madeline up at the hospital to take her back to school.  My sweet mom, God love her, came to our house at 5:30 AM so we could take off for the hospital and she got Will off to school.  Then she came right to the hospital to sit with us during the operation.  I was happy she got to come back in the recovery and see her little Maya.  Grandma Rose came to our house after to bring Maya a “get well” gift.  That perked her up for a bit.  And my friend Vicki, who is in China right now adopting her little Molly Kate…Maya’s friend from the orphanage.  In the midst of her crazy adventure, she took the time to let everyone know about Maya’s surgery and ask for prayers in her blog!  THANK YOU EVERYONE!  I can’t say enough about how lucky our Maya is to have all of you in her life!  
Maya didn't like her hospital bracelet- Not pretty enough!

She liked the teddy bear she got!

Being cute and cuddling with Mama!

Poor baby!

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Hello Everyone!  Once again it seems it takes me a million years to update our blog.  All is well at our end!  My father-in-law’s surgery was a success!  YEA!  THANK YOU everyone for all your kind thoughts and prayers!  He came home today (Sunday, February 20, 2011)!  He’s unbelievable how well he has recovered.  Maya’s surgery is still set for February 28th!  We had her pre-op appointment with her surgeon this past week.  John and I decided we literally need to move all of the crackers, chips and cereal into the laundry room during her 3-week recovery because she will have a fit if she can’t eat her favorite foods.  We figure out of sight, out of mind, right?  Somehow with our smart little Maya, I don’t see that flying.  I’m sure she’ll figure out a way to scale the washing machine and get to her snacks.  What a recovery period this will be!  Madeline and Will are on mid-winter break this week.  Yea for Maya!  She loves having her sister & brother around.  The Spring girls are coming for a visit on Tuesday.  We can’t wait to host them at our house finally!  We’ll be sure to take photos of the girls for our next blog post.  We registered Madeline at Marian High School this past week.  Wow – I still can’t believe I’ll have a child in high school in September.  I still remember taking Madeline to preschool.  I’m going to remember this with Maya…time just seems to fly!  Will and his best buddy Patrick had a project in the science fair this past Thursday!  I actually think they had more fun seeing everyone else’s projects rather than standing at their post!  What an evening!  Maya was able to meet all of the teachers and parents who have not met her yet.  She was the hit of the fair!  We were hit with a lot of snow today!  We went to Will’s flag football game this afternoon.  Came out and it was snowing like crazy!  Maya still doesn’t enjoy it so she didn’t exactly welcome the sight of it!  Maya’s vocabulary continues to grow everyday!  She’s starting to put together two words now!  We’re so proud of her.  She’s come so far in such a short period of time!  This past week she purposely dropped something, looked at me and said, “Oh Maya!”  I couldn’t help but crack up.  I probably say it to her 100 times a day so it was bound to cross into her vocabulary!  Stay tuned for more “Maya Adventures”!  Something new seems to pop up each day! 

The sisters love each other so much!


Maya and Grandma Pat

Will and Patrick, the science "nerds" :)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Guang Hey Fat Choy!!!

HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!!! It is the year of the rabbit! In the year of the rabbit the main goal of Chinese people is to create a safe, peaceful lifestyle so they can calmly deal with any future problem that may arise. Today Maya finally put on her silk dress!!! She looks ADORABLE. We are going to a Chinese restaurant for dinner and are hoping she will wear the dress to dinner. Maya clearly knows what "Guang Hey Fat Choy" (Happy new year) means. She smiles everytime we say it, and was singing the words to a Chinese New Year song. On the other hand, we have been trying to get Maya to enjoy the snow. She really does not like the cold, wind, or snow at all. The only time she smiled is when William pushed Madeline into a snow mound. After coming inside, Madeline asked Maya if she liked the snow and she looked right at her and shook her head and said "NO!" Haha! Here are some cute pictures from this week...
Maya and her cousin Abbey

Madeline and Will holding Maya in a lego box...

10 inches of snow!

Acting like the ham she is :)

See what we mean by really not liking the snow?

At least Will and his best friend Patrick love being outside!

The Chinese warrior pose!