After being home from China for just four short days Randy, Cassie and I made a trip to Riley Children's Hospital to have several tests run on Cassie to determine the condition of her heart and lungs. The first up was an EKG, which took an interpreter over the phone twenty minutes to convince Cassie would not hurt. I think what really tipped the scale though was when the young nurse in charge of Cassie thought to offer her two big red suckers wrapped in red paper. Knowing this is Cassie's favorite color, I surmised the outcome might be favorable. As soon as the nurse offered Cassie the suckers, Cassie got up from the floor and allowed me to set her up on the examining table with the two suckers clenched tightly in her little fist.
It has been determined by Cassie's pediatric cardiologist that Cassie is very stable and doing well and that her health status in regards to her heart is better than her medical records from China had indicated. Even with this being the case, Cassie will have a heart catheterization perfomed on January 10th to open up a passage from her right ventricle to her left aorta so that blood can flow through. Hopefully, if Cassie's pediatric cardiologist is reading this now he will call me and let me know if i am failing to decribe accurately the method and purpose of this procedure. Later on down the road, Cassie may also have another catherization performed which will close up a hole in her left aorta, which the doctor indicated is a necessary hole. But let me just say for the record, i believe God plans on closing up this hole without man's assistance. I think someday we will have another echocardiogram perfomed on Cassie, and there will be no hole.
The vacuous condition in which Cassie found herself her entire life is over. No longer will Cassie have to fear the worse when someone leaves the room or house. Just the other day, when we returned to our home after visiting Riley, Cassie began crying out in fright. I called our new friend who speaks mandarin and she found out that Cassie feared Sonya had gone "missing" since she wasn't at home when we got there. Our friend reminded Cassie that Sonya had spent the night at a friend's house since we had doctors' appointments all day and that we would go and get her immediately. How many of Cassie's little friends have gone "missing" (adopted) through the years never to be seen or heard from again? Yes, Cassie needed a hole in her heart to survive up until now but no longer. Remembering the words of the Lord, "She has a broken heart, and your love will heal her. I will heal her."
With that being said, as sweet as Cassie is, as innately generous and kind as Cassie is, she still is a product of an institutional setting, and this has left her wanting and needing a mother to the point of not wanting to share me with anyone, which you can imagine hasn't gone over very well with Sonya who has always had my exclusive attention outside of her father. So, we have had our trials these past three weeks, and although seemingly lessened far from over.
When Cassie is not wanting me to hold her or following me around like a shadow, she is seeking the attention of others, charming those she meets. This has been her life, friends, and it hurts my heart to watch a young child feel a need to "wow an audience" in order to not be forgotten. And she will periodically throw herself on someone, even a stranger, seeking hugs and kisses. Yesterday at the doctor's office for instance, while a young father was seated in a chair with his baby in front of him in her carrier, Cassie quickly went over and kissed this man on the cheek. Thank you to those of you who have met Cassie and have determined to help us to not allow her to take her displays of affection this far. Of course, this man did not see it coming, but there is an instance of a woman at the Chicago airport who Cassie ran to and the woman scooped her up and allowed Cassie to repeatedly kiss her cheek before I could walk over and as calmly as possible explain to this woman the situation we are facing and help her to see it's really not in this little girl's best interest to entertain her in this manner.
I've had other adoptive parents share how awkward it can be when they are in a position to ask people to please not allow their newly adopted children to hang on them. People like to say in this instance, "But your child is so cute, so friendly, so affectionate. It would be wrong for me to not allow them to hug me or kiss me in this manner", etc. But if these same people could just put themselves in our shoes for a moment and reflect on how it might feel if their children were the ones running into the arms of strangers, or even friends for that matter, and showering them with hugs and kisses on the lips. What parent in their right mind would consider that okay?
When we attended church last Sunday evening, when Cassie would run to someone they would either lean over and pat her on the back or even allow Cassie to hug them around their waist but not pick her up. This is what i am talking about. I would not ask anyone to shun my daughter. Simply help her learn safe boundaries as you would with your own children or grandchildren.
Now, i would like to share a few pictures, starting with Christmas with the girls. Cassie's first Christmas ever.
Oh, and I've finally discovered an activity that the girls can do together where neither of them wants me to hold them or even touch them and noone's competing for my affection. As a matter fact, they tell me in two different languages to sit still and be quiet.
The only thing is I forgot the girls had done my hair , so when I was rushing around to get everyone ready for doctors' appointments, I looked in the mirror and realized what i was gonna have to do before I could wash my hair, and it only took me TWENTY MINUTES! So maybe it's a good activity for the girls to do together for the sake of teamwork, or like Sonya loves to say, "Or NOT!"
And thank you, Johni and Bo, for welcoming us home in this way! It meant a lot to us to pull up in our drive and see the balloons and signs after traveling across the world for twenty-four hours straight!