Sunday, April 29, 2012

Close to Home

Yesterday we heard some very sad news.  A family waiting on TA found out that their child died.  For those of you who don't know, waiting on TA is the very end of an extremely emotional, trying long haul.  That is not to say if losing your child at Day 2 it would be any less horrific than losing your child at Day 102, but it makes it even worse. 

Their child had thalassemia, and was from the same province, the same orphanage as E.  She had the same surname as our E.

By the time we were waiting on TA, E wasn't simply a sparkle in our eyes.  She was real, our daughter.  She had a name, she had a room in our house, she had toys.  Her pictures were everywhere, she had this blog in her honor.  She had outfits picked out and lots and lots of dreams for her life and future with us.

Needless to say, after lots of quiet, private tears, we hugged our E extra tight today, telling her how much we love her over and over again. She got an extra cookie, and we didn't balk at changing her Elmo video an extra 7 times.

I don't know what took this poor little girl from her parents, making her an angel much too soon.  I do know that there is a blood shortage in China.  I also know that even for children who do receive adequate transfusion therapy, they are NOT receiving appropriate chelation.  Oral chelators are not available, and subcutaneous chelation is not used correctly.

Before we adopted E, I read a study of children with thalassemia in Guangxi Autonomous Region.  While this study was small, it left me in shock.  By the sweet age of 5, 80% of the children with thalassemia major had died.  In this one study, by the age of 12, there were no children left.

Tonight, when E climbs into my bed, I will hug her extra close, and breathe "Wo Ai Ni" a thousand times into her ear until she drifts off to sleep.

Our thoughts our with the family who lost their sweet daughter with thalassemia much, much too soon. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

In the Dark

Every night since we came home from China, I've laid in bed with E until she fell asleep.  She often takes two hours to fall asleep--never less than 30 minutes.  That's a lot of time to spend silently in the dark, just surrounded by E's myriad stuffed animals and my thoughts.

One thing I've thought about alot is how much one little under 25 pound package can change your life.  We've replaced sleeping in on the weekends with never sleeping.  We've traded our famous cocktail "hours" with blowing bubbles before dinner.  Our long meals spent talking about work and what's going on with the world are replaced with stories about E's day and "If you don't eat one more bite then Elmo will be sad!" 

But, on the other hand, there are also many similarities.  Every morning I used to rush and be the last one running to catch the train as it was pulling away, coffee spilling everywhere.  Now E and I run down the street, dropping shoes, a water bottle, and a bag of Cheerios so we aren't late to story time and can get a good seat.  I was always fiercely loyal and protective of P...when anyone hurt him or would treat him unfairly, they would have to suffer my wrath 10x more than his own.  Now, I have that same "Mama Bear" instinct with E, wanting to defend her from the boy who grabbed her crayon or the girl who snuck ahead of her in line for the slide.  Before I turned in my ID and joined the ranks of the hardest job in the world--being a stay at home mom--I took orders from those senior to me at work.  Now I have a new boss, and although she might be tiny and cute, she's the toughest boss I've ever known.  I used to think that the love I had for P was the biggest, most amazing love there was.  It's still big and amazing, but my love for E is unlike any other, literally taking my breath away at times.

These are some of the things that I think about at night, in E's little bed.  Sure, sometimes I think about whether I'll ever paint my toes again or see the inside of a gym or start a conversation with something other than, "Guess what E did today?" or pee alone, but mostly I think about the incredible ways that E has changed and added to my life, and what it's like to be the luckiest woman in the world.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

And what a happy Easter it was!  From start to finish, it couldn't have been any more fun or perfect.  E had a great time, and P and I are learning how fun it is to have a little one to celebrate the holidays (and every day!) with.  I guess before we had E, we really didn't know what we were missing.  Now, we can't imagine not having her here.  Every little moment is extra special because we are sharing it with our daughter whom we love so very much.

Last night, we got to share one of our holiday traditions of coloring eggs with E.  We spent a fair amount of time chasing the runaway eggs as they rolled all over the kitchen, and most of them ended up broken, but it was a lot of fun. 

After E went to bed, P and I had a summit about where to put her basket and the best placement of the eggs for her Easter egg hunt.  If you know us, you would not be surprised to hear that we discussed the merits of each location and switched things around until they were perfect for our little Easter egg hunter. 

This morning, E got a little sand pail to collect her eggs in, and after only one egg, she totally got the idea of hunting for them.  After she collected them all, she had to go back through the house several times pointing out where the eggs she found had been.  She seemed to have as much fun re-living the hunt as she did hunting!  Bonus!  Finally she found her basket, filled with all kinds of fun stuff and yummy treats.  She was one happy girl!

After our Easter egg hunt, we dressed E up in a traditional Chinese silk dress that we got in Guangzhou.  When we bought it, we weren't planning on using it for E's Easter dress, but the lilac color turned out to be perfect for the day.  After a quick photo session, we headed out for lots of visiting and fun. 

Three months ago this very night was the last night before we met our beautiful daughter . . . she has transformed the nervousness and uncertainty that overhwhelmed us that night into wonderment and joy.  Although we often daydream on cold, cloudy days like this about afternoons at the beach, and showing our favorite spots to E this summer, we do our best to enjoy the dropped eggs, Elmo fascination, and Frankie Valli sing alongs that unfold every day.  Thank you, E, for giving us such a *happy,* memorable Easter.