Monday, February 4, 2013

Families Love .... Love Heals

It is hard to believe that three months ago today we were standing in a hotel lobby in Nanchang, China waiting with anticipation to hold our daughter for the first time.  

There are so many feelings and emotions that are stirred when I see this picture.  The emotions and feelings that come flooding back of those memories when I held her tiny little body next to mine for the first time.  The feeling of knowing the minute I held her she was our little girl, the one God handpicked for our family.  The feeling of knowing she was very weak and her tiny body was fragile. 

The last three months have been quite a journey for our little girl.  She has walked through a lot in a short amount of time but it has been amazing to see this little girl fight, to see her transform before our eyes. 

The last two weeks have been amazing to sit back and watch.  The smiles and giggles are frequent these days.  She is feeling secure and her little heart has been healed. 

Her sisters and brothers love her to pieces and she has learned to trust them and open her little heart to them over time.  She loves cuddle time with them. 

They all love playing with her and often we have to set timers and make plans of who get face time with baby Ellie.  Yes she is the little princess in our house.   

In the last two weeks she has learned how to pat a cake, wave bye-bye, and play peek a boo! 

She has a big fan club cheering her on and so when she does something new everyone claps.  The smile on her face is priceless as she claps right along with them.

Her first word and favorite word is uh oh, she will repeat da da and ma ma.  She also started saying boo and hi this week. 

Her big brother loves to tickle her and as you can see she loves it and he gets those deep big belly laughs going. 

She watches with a big grin in anticipation for her brothers hands to make their way to her time after time. 

Ellie is on the move and is army crawling all over the place.  It has been amazing to watch this little girl explore the world around her.  She spent the first 13 months of her life laying in a crib.  When we got her she would cry to our touch and was so sensory deprived.  

Her little senses are seeking and exploring new things daily and it is pretty amazing to sit back and watch.  Any new item or texture she come across she touches, scratches at and often turns her hand around and rubs it with the back of her hand.  She often brings her feet to the object and lets her feet explore all these new things too. 

The last couple days she has mastered going from laying to sitting on her own.  I have found her sitting up in anticipation of me coming in to get her when she wakes up from her naps.  

I know many of you saw the pictures of how traumatic her bath was for her in China.  Again we realized how sensory deprived she was and she was not a fan of being naked or the water on her body. Baths were short lived with screaming and an arched stiff body.  This didn't change a lot when we got home.  She typically was in the bath long enough to quick wash her and she still would cry every time. 

The very first time she didn't cry in the bath was 5:00 am the morning of her surgery.  I am not sure if she was still half asleep or if her body finally decided the water wasn't too bad.  She would still hold her hands straight out and not even attempt to touch the water.  

Last week she decided to dip those hands in the water ....

the smiles and splashes quickly followed! 

The other big area we have been slowly working on is her eating.  We have met with a feeding team and had decided that she wasn't ready for therapy and was really getting good calories from a high calorie formula recipe we had her own.  We had a goal of working to get those bottles in and getting some weight on her before surgery.  It worked and she gained over 2 pounds before her surgery.  

We have been daily trying to put new food and textures in front of her on her tray while we eat.  She loves throwing cheerios and puffs on the floor but never attempted to put them in her mouth.  She cries when she touches pudding, rice, potatoes, apple sauce or anything that  sticks to her fingers.  We keep introducing and keep trying. 

 Last week Miss Ellie decide she would open that little mouth of hers when I put a spoon to it instead of pursing her little lips and turning her head.  Let me tell you there was a lot of cheering at the McDonald house the night as she ate some baby food.  Max stood right by her and he thought it was fun to show her how it was done. One spoon for her one one for him. Even though she cried through it she kept opening her mouth for more.  

By day two the tears were gone and the mouth was wide open ready to eat.  Big strides lately for this little girl! 

In a couple week when her surgery restrictions are up we will begin her therapies.  I can only imagine the strides she will continue to make in months to come.  

A friend commented about how she could see Miss Ellie was feeling secure and loved and has found her stride in our family, that she was in full bloom! 

Yes this little girl is in full bloom and I know we will continued to see what a healthy little heart and a whole lot of love will do for out little girl! 



Troy and Diane Sturgeon said...

So happy to see this. It makes my heart happy ;) Hope to see you at a CNY celebration or two!

Teri said...

So beautiful...loving to see all Miss Ellie is doing..I especially love the photos with her siblings! So very special!

Paige said...

She is absolutely beautiful!!! I am so happy to hear she is making such great strides!!! You all are so blessed to have this little bit as I know you feel that every time you look at her:)

Kristi said...

Pretty little princess in full bloom for sure!!!! I am so happy for Ellie and her lovely family. Thank you so much for sharing all of her AMAZING progress. Go Ellie go!!!! ...I'll be cheering you on sweet baby girl!!

God bless :-)

Anonymous said...

Wonderful to see her doing so well !!God Bless!! Cathy in Illinois

Anonymous said...

She is absolutely beautiful! Thank you for sharing you family with us. God Bless!


Cindy said...

Ellie is so precious. I love how she is getting chubby cheeks and they are so pink. She is definitely blooming with the love of your family. Her eyes are so bright and alive.

Cindy in ohio

likeschocolate said...

Reminds me of the story of Leo the late bloomer!

The Oswalds said...

She is beautiful. I'm so glad to see how great she is doing & how quickly she is changing.


The Oswalds said...

She is beautiful. I'm so glad to see how great she is doing & how quickly she is changing.


jennifer said...

What an amazing post! I think I could sit here and sob. What a blessing she is and what an amazing look of what love can just 3 short months!! AMAZING!!!

Sophie said...

Such a darling little girl. Truly a miracle to witness how far she has come through the love of family and prayers, God bless!

Paula said...

Absolutely beautiful in every way! The power of love...truly awesome!

Fannie said...

I love, love, love watching Ellie's story unfold!! It's such a beautiful story and amazing what the love of a family can do. I've said it many times, but it is true, God meant for you guys to be her parents!! :)

Thanks for sharing that beautiful girl with all of us! It makes me just melt, everytime I see that smiling face!!

Caroline (Frogmum) said...

WOW! Such a change in your precious little one. Just look at the sparkle in her eyes now, where once was a lost and lonely gaze. She looks incredible and like she is growing so fast ~ in so many ways :D
You are blessed ~ and so is she!

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