On Wednesday it will be 6 months since we held Lexa for the first time and welcomed her to our family. When I look back at those first photos and remember what she was like those first days, it is truly amazing to see how far she has come.
The first couple of weeks Lexa was home she was a very scared and grieving little girl. She would be ok during the day, but would cry at night. She did not know the language we spoke and could not communicate her needs. She was very unstable when walking and would fall often. She had very weak muscles and a very weak core. She could not run or jump at all. She could not go up and down steps without sitting down. When I would hold her she just felt like dead weight, never holding on to me.
It is so amazing what the love and care of a family (along with Jesus and many prayers) can do for a child. Lexa now understands most of what we say and is beginning to talk to us. She is walking MUCH better, and has learned to run and jump. Although her running and jumping do not look "normal" yet, she is doing things I never thought possible in only 6 months. She can go up and down the steps and when I hold her she hugs my neck tight. She fits in so well with our family and her smile and laugh are contagious. She is one amazing little girl. She has experienced loss and unimaginable trauma in her life, yet she has opened up her heart to us and I am so thankful for the privilege of being her mom. She loves her sister and brothers so much and I have been so proud of how Jadyn, Nathan, and Noah have loved her. Each one of them has their own special and unique relationship with her.
It has been so fun to experience many "firsts" with Lexa these last 6 months. She is quite adventurous and loves to try new things. She loved swimming at the pool this summer, going to the beach, and jumping on the trampoline. I can't wait to watch her in the snow since she was in the part of China that never got cold it will be an all new experience for her.
Many people have said to us how blessed Lexa is to have us as her family and I understand what they mean. Of course we are a loving family who loves her very much. However, adoption is not easy and there is a lot of loss and tragedy for the child. Lexa did not receive the love of a family for the first 3 years of her life. This is a huge loss and one that will affect her for quite some time. On this Earth, it is likely that Lexa will never have the answers about her birth family and the circumstances around her birth. There is also loss for Lexa's birth mother. We don't know the reasons that led her to leave Lexa as an infant, but I am sure it was a very difficult and emotional decision for her. One that could have been made in love, and that she will carry with her the rest of her life. I wish there was some way for me to tell her that Lexa is doing well and that we love her so much. As her adoptive parents, we feel that we are the ones who are blessed. We have the great calling and responsibility to parent Lexa and we are excited to see what God has in store for her life.
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Today we went to the Safari Park Zoo for something to do on a day without any meetings. We had a good day together and Lexa seems to be more and more at ease each day. She is very smart and copies everything that Jadyn does. If Jadyn takes her shoes off, Lexa takes her shoes off. It is so adorable to watch them together. Lexa is also attempting some English words. She seems to be picking things up pretty quickly and is understanding some basic things. She loves playing in the bath and dumping water on her head. She laughs easily and loves when I tickle her. She has a contagious smile. It is so big and lights up her whole face. Jadyn has been the BEST big sister. It just warms my heart to see Jadyn putting Lexa's wants before her own so that Lexa will be happy. We have been careful to make sure Jadyn has her special times too, but she has been so giving, kind-hearted, and sensitive to Lexa's needs. Andy and I get a kick out of the English translations on the signs. Tomorrow we have our consulate appointment and Bao Song Qi officially becomes Lexa Joeley Lloyd!
Posted by Jessica Lloyd at 8:04 AM
Saturday, May 18, 2013
I had to skip a day of the blog because I became very sick early Friday morning (3 am). It seems that Jadyn and I probably ate something bad or something our bodies were not used to. It was horrible. I can't remember the last time I felt so terrible. Thankfully, it only lasted for about 7 hours, however, I continued to feel nauseous and tired for the entire day on Friday. We had planned to go to a market and do a little sightseeing that day. I did not want to miss anything since I probably won't be back in China for a LONG time, so I decided I would "suck it up" and go along to the market. BAD IDEA. First, Guangzhou is extremely hot and humid. Second, many people in China smoke. Third, the sky is covered in smog. Fourth, the market consisted of open tubs of Chinese herbs, dog food, live fish, scorpians, and raw meat. These, combined with me already being nauseous made for a very difficult day. I felt so sick and had to run to the bathroom on several occasions, thinking I was going to throw up again. :( Thankfully, I did not. Of course, my sweet Lexa was having a difficult time because "Baba" had to take care of her a little more than "Mama" and she did not like it. However, it did help Lexa to realize that Andy is a caregiver too and actually probably helped with that. She seemed much better with him today!! We are really missing Nathan and Noah and can't wait to get home so we can ALL be together. We are so very thankful for Skype! And for wonderful parents who love and care for them! Thankfully, I woke up today feeling much better. We did a little more sightseeing and learned some Chinese History by visiting the tomb of the 2nd emperor and looking at all the artifacts. Then, we just came back to the hotel and had a good afternoon together. We played with bubbles, colored, and watched a movie. However, the highlight for us was taking the girls down to the pool. Jadyn got some quality time with Dad swimming in the water. At first, Lexa just looked at the pool with a face that said, "No way!". But, gradually, she became braver and braver and before long she was sitting on the steps splashing with Jadyn. It was so cute to see her progression. You can see it in the photos below. She is so beautiful and so very sweet. She just loves to cuddle and I treasure all of those times, knowing that I missed so many cuddles the first 3 years of her life.
Posted by Jessica Lloyd at 9:42 AM
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Today we went to visit Lexa's Orphanage along with another orphanage of another family in our agency's travel group. It was a very LONG day! We had to ride in the van a lot today. The traffic in China is crazy. It just takes so long to get anywhere and it took 2 1/2 hours to get to Lexa's orphanage, then we age lunch, and then went to the other orphanage. It was nice to visit the orphanage and just to see where Lexa lived and went to school. It was also nice to see how much the caretakers love her. Lexa was in a really good orphanage that had a preschool where she learned a lot in the last semester. Her speech had been delayed, but her teacher told me today that Lexa's language has increased rapidly since starting school and she was no longer delayed in her language. Lexa was happy to show us her seat in her classroom. There was one of Lexa's caretakers who was out of town and so she was not there. I was told that this particular caretaker loved Lexa so much and would do special things for her. She actually bought Lexa the dress she was wearing on "Gotcha Day" with her own money. It is wonderful to know that someone was loving and taking care of her. It is hard to see all the kids who are still waiting for their families. Our guide teased us about looking for which one we want to take home with us next. I was not sure how Lexa would react to leaving, but she was ok. She seemed happy when we got back in the car. She is still very clingy to me and still not wanting Andy to hold her at all. She will play and laugh with him, but she only wants me to hold her. My arms are so sore!!! We ate Chinese food for lunch and then went to the other orphanage of our friend's daughter. We had an adventure with the "squatty potty" in the orphanage and Lexa ended up peeing all over me while I was trying to help her with it. (Squatty potty's are the worst. I seriously hate them.) Then, we had another long ride back to the orphanage. On the way home, we received the good news that the US consulate has reopened and that we will have our appointment on time!! Yay!! However, on the way home, my precious Jadyn got sick. The poor girl, who has been such a trooper and so very helpful, threw up 2 times. I am sure it was the combination of the Chinese food and the bumpy, bus ride. She seems to be better, just very tired. Then, when Lexa saw Jadyn upset, she became upset and had a difficult evening. She had a crying spell and just seemed sad the rest of the evening. Although Jadyn getting sick triggered it, I am sure she was sad about our trip to the orphanage, but I think it helped her to have some closure and to understand what is happening a little more. As I look back on today, it feels like so many ups and downs and I am exhausted!! Tomorrow, we will have a sight seeing day. I am looking forward to that and hoping that it will just be a fun day of bonding for us.
Posted by Jessica Lloyd at 8:43 AM
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
I am too tired to write a lot today, but we are making progress. Lexa seemed more comfortable with us today and we had a fun morning playing outside at a little park. She loved playing with the balls and going down the slide. Then, we had the medical exam today and that was fine. She also ate and drank more today. In fact, tonight she ate a whole bowl of congee (rice soup). Here are some pictures of our day. Tomorrow we go visit Lexa's orphanage. We are hoping this will bring a little more closure for her. Also, there have been some problems with the U.S consulate and there is a chance it could affect our consulate appointment on Monday. Please pray that we will still be able to have our appointment on Monday. There was some white powder sent there this week and the consulate shut down the entire week. People who were supposed to have their appointments are stuck here until the consulate contacts them and reopens. We are hoping this will not affect us too!! We don't want to be stuck here and have to change our tickets and leave our boys any longer. Thanks for praying!
Posted by Jessica Lloyd at 7:30 AM