Saturday, July 17, 2010


wow. I really don't even know where to begin.
I have been wanting to post now for a good 5 days but haven't because I didn't know where to begin with all I want to say. I finally decided I couldn't avoid it any longer.
Jenna has been home now for 16 days. I had her in China for 10 days before that.
I don't want to sugar coat it too much....It has been very hard. I have told people here who ask that I think China was the easy part in comparison to coming home and integrating a two-year old into our family.
But we have also seen some progress.
The first week home, I was pretty discouraged. I think because I had expectations that weren't being met. Expectations of how I thought Jenna would progress, or how she would come around in different areas. Mostly from what I'd seen happen with others' stories whom I followed.
I have quickly learned that my expectations needed to be thrown out the window. Every child is so different and no matter what I read ahead of time in books or seen happen with others' on blogs, no one could have told me how Jenna would respond to any of this.
Good thing is, God knows. He knew that she belonged in our family and that we are the mom and dad to help her through this transition. And luckily, he, and only he, can equip us to do just that.
Did I mention this is the hardest thing I've ever done? :)

Anyways, some specifics I want to get down to remember later.....

This last Monday, on the day that Jenna had been with me for 3 weeks, she gave me a kiss at bedtime! My first sign of affection from her....and it sure was sweet. Since then she has given them to the kids and even Jason! Prompted of course, but still....
She is starting to come around to Jason....slowly. Just today for the first time, he was able to pick her up and hold her without her whimpering or crying.
She is playing with toys more. And with the kids more.
Her smiles come more easily. A few more laughs too.
She doesn't cry at bathtime anymore, and has learned that if she tilts her head back (with my help) then the water won't go in her face, which she really hates.
She still hasn't spoken, though she did squeal with excitement this week as I chased her on my hands and knees. That's the only real intentional sound other than crying we've heard.

Our biggest struggle currently is food/mealtime. There is something very unhealthy about her relationship with food. I don't know what happened prior to make her this way, and we are having a hard time knowing how to handle this. But we have some appointments this next week that may help us in that regard and we have already set up an occupational therapy appointment to help with her chewing also. (She doesn't chew foods but swallows whole; she was mostly fed liquids so she just doesn't know how yet).

Anyways, we are getting there.
Thank you for continued prayers.



Tina Michelle said...

Wow, it must be hard to go through all the difficult changes but so worth it! The kiss is so sweet! Great that she is letting daddy get more involved. Good luck with the food issue.

The Raudenbush Family said...

Oh Vicki, I'm sorry these last 2 weeks have been so hard. But, I am encouraged to know that the time is drawing you closer to the Lord and that you are depending on Him to equip you to do that which He has called you to do. I'm looking forward to seeing your family bond together and grow in all of this. I know you will be blessed for all the hard work you are investing into all your children!

Tara said...

Vicki, so glad to hear from you and how it's going. You're fighting the good fight, mama!

Valerie and Jeff said...

I am so glad you are home and I hope that things are transitioning easier every day! I am hopeful that things will begin to get lighter and easier for you all. And your dear husband--how very difficult for him! Although different ... our boys always preferred me when they were born (well ... as their food source they were drawn to me-HA!) But now that they are older ... well ... mom who?! (unless they're hungry or hurt.) I pray that Jason's heart will be strong in the wait-time and that Jenna will grow to trust him and open her heart to his!

It was so surreal to see that photo of you at that oh-so-familiar airport! It made my heart happy--hope you had a good welcoming ceremony. What a joy to be surrounded by family again who can help support you! I will pray that Jenna will begin to talk more (some!) and that the hurdles will begin to shrink and the road will become sweeter for everyone! I am amazed with your family's ability and willingness to grow and adapt. What a mark of security and love.

Ashley said...

I loved your post. Thank you for being so honest and open such a difficult time. I am so thankful it is getting better.
Grant had the same eating issues, he only had a bottle until the age of 27 months. His facial muscles and mouth muscles were very weak - no speech. When we got home he'd rather not eat than have to chew. To strengthen his mouth, he drinks from a cup and also a sippie cup with a straw and I cut the straw so it very small (this forces him to pucker his lips around the small tip). We got an electric tooth brush (this helps with strengthening the tongue). We also do mouth massages a few times a day. Chick fil A chicken finally got him chewing at first - we also practice with skittles. He still would rather swallow his food whole :0. I would love to know what the therapist has to say. We ate a lot of congee and ramen noodles when we first came home. It was not uncommon the first four months for Grant to try and swallow something whole that would be too big - thus resulting in EVERYTHING coming back up.
I love Jenna's pictures, she looks like she is really coming around.
Hugs and prayers.

Erin said...

Love the and Jason ARE the mom and dad God has chosen for Jenna. He will help you through this transition as long as you continue to lean on him. You are doing amazing. I can't imagine the struggles, challenges, etc. but I would say that by the pictures you posted of your two littlest ones (kind of like having twins!:) ) together and loving you are PRECIOUS beyond words. I will continue to lift your family up in prayers. Thanks for sharing your story and your journey...Love, E

The Straight's said...

Hang in there! Yes, this is the hardest thing to do ever...for you and for her. Each day should get better and better. Hopefully the smiles will start to come more than the tears (yours and hers)!!

The rewards are great and 6 months from now you will both be better for the trials you have conquered :)

Jenna said...

I find your honesty so encouraging! I can only imagine how difficult it has been, and I will be praying for you. I know it takes courage to admit that things are tough, and I'm so glad to hear that you are casting it all at the Lord's feet and asking for HIM to carry you through!

Football and Fried Rice said...

I know that each day there is more & more break through! I love hearing about the successes, and I know they will just keep coming!

Molly Rechkemmer said...

So beautiful to see Jenna smiling and playing with Emily.
Thank you again for your post and for sharing your heart.
I would love to talk with you soon.

prayers and blessings!