Tuesday, March 27, 2012

6 Months Later. . .

SO proud of her pretty blue suit!
Not sure who that poor unsuspecting lady is in the background.
Completely unafraid of the water!! :)

Happy as she could be in the water! :)

It is hard to believe what has transpired in the last 6 months of our lives. . . and, to be honest, for the 4 years leading up to it. The face of our family has changed permanently. . . and we couldn't be more thankful!
We have just marked our 6 month anniversary, on March 19th, of meeting our Mei Li in the sterile room of the Civil Affairs Building in Shanghai on Monday, Septemer 19th, 2011. Within that 6 months, Mei Li has come to love and adore her family. We fell in love with her the very moment she entered that Civil Affairs room with her big brown eyes, her eyebrows raised in joyful little rainbow arches and a smile that, if we could figure out how to bottle, would bring fortune untold! But, we are, indeed, rich beyond measure as a result of this little ray of sunshine we call Mei Li!
So, besides acclimating to her new family in a brand new country with a brand new language (which she understands perfectly well and is speaking remarkably well), Mei Li has conquered even more hurdles in the past 6 months. She went through 5 weeks of serial casting on her club foot, surgery on her Achilles tendon to lengthen and stretch and correct her foot so that she now walks on the bottom of her foot instead of the top. After her cast was removed from her foot and the 5 inch pin removed from her heel, she began alternating two types of night braces to keep her foot properly positioned and a day brace for support. She has undergone therapy to strengthen her quads and build her legs to give her a more normal gait.
On January 29th, Mei Li underwent a more critical surgery on her spinal cord to detach a fatty tumor that had adhered and wrapped itself around her spinal cord. It already had caused scarring; and, in time, would have caused paralysis and incontinence. She, then had to lie on her back for 10 days to allow the surgery site to heal.
In all of these traumatic firsts that have come one after another within a 6 month time-frame since coming home to her new country and family, Mei Li has met each one with a resilience and strength and positive attitude that I can't explain adequately with words. To say she is tough is a huge understatement. She just rolls with it, whatever comes her way . . . smiles her happy smile and moves on! Now, we are on the other side of "acclimating to her new family" and "surgeries". So, the next 6 months. . . and from this point onward, we look forward to soaking up every day and enjoy watching her relish her new life.
A couple of weekends ago, Anna Grace, Mei Li and I went to Atlanta for a little overnight fun trip. Mei Li's BIGGEST wish since coming home has been to swim in a pool---something she had NEVER done before. Well, we stayed in a hotel in Atlanta that had an indoor pool, so she got her wish!! I have included a picture of her enjoying her swimming fun. Enjoy!
Tomorrow, I plan to get some flowers and get her to help me plant them. She's never planted flowers before. She is still learning her colors, so tomorrow, I'm going to work with her on her colors while we plant pretty flowers! Anna Grace is busy at the theatre every day rehearsing for her big role in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
Amazing how much our lives have changed in 6 months. . . But oh, so good!
Thanks so much for following along our journey with Mei Li!