Author Archives: Wendi Sanders

No Matter How Small…

Standard

At 22 months, our Baby Love weighs a little over 17 lbs and wears size 12 month clothing. She has gained about a pound and grown 2 inches in the last year, which puts her just under the 1st percentile for height and weight.

She is perfectly proportioned and we love her small frame — in fact, we love everything about her, just the way she is.

Besides… everybody knows BIG things come in small packages.

In the spring, Lily’s pediatrician in Korea noted her lack of growth, ran some blood tests, and recommended a pituitary function test, which was deferred until she came home to the US. In all likelihood, the Korean pediatrician knew that 60 – 80% of children with Lily’s diagnosis (Optic Nerve Hypoplasia) have pituitary insufficiency.

In any case, we were finally able to get the Growth Hormone (GH) Stimulation Test (Stim Test) done at the pediatric endocrinologist’s office in Greenville. It turns out Lily has hypopituitarism — she is only producing trace amounts of growth hormone and her Free T4 level is low (a measure of thyroid function).

The long and short of it is she will need to begin taking thyroxine pills (PILLS!!!) and daily GH injections as soon as they can be approved by the insurance company ($$$$$) and she will need to have her pituitary function monitored by an endocrinologist every 3 – 4 months for the rest of her life.

For a scatterbrained momma like myself, it’s a little disconcerting to think about giving medicine like this every single day; but I’m thankful God has provided amazing doctors and, thanks to Umma, Lily has a sweet attitude about taking medicine. This is such a curious trait of hers that I wondered back in the hotel room in Seoul if it was a foreshadowing of things to come. Seriously, how often do you see a toddler who seems to enjoy taking medicine?

And how many times did I pray, “God go before me and make the rough places smooth?”

I continue to be awed by His provision for the little things since we said “yes” to adoption and I remain confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. [paraphrased from Philippians 1:6]

Below, Lily Love is at the doctor’s office taking everything in stride — even a 3+ hour test with an IV board on her arm. She cried hard when they inserted the IV and gave her a shot, thus the pacifier — Lily calls it a “gonkgong.” The wrap on her arm was in place to keep her from tugging on the IV.

Tasting Life Twice…

Standard

I read an interesting quote the other day,

~ “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection.”

As a new blogger, I’ve discovered perspiration is required to taste life twice — more than I ever imagined. I can’t say I actually enjoy writing, so why put myself through it?

I had to consider. Why continue to blog now that we’re home and have our child in our arms? Why is it important for me to chronicle the days of our lives? Do I have anything to say that hasn’t already been said a thousand times?

The easy answer is because I’m overflowing with inspiration since God placed this little cherub in our hearts and home. His grace is manifested in my life continually as I attempt, through imperfect human-ness, to mother this precious little one. And believe me, I’m noticing. I’m nothing apart from grace. He covers my inadequacies and blesses my efforts day by day in order to preserve His plan for this child — just as He does with each of us. How humbling it is to be part of that.

I want to proclaim His amazing works in my life from the highest mountaintop — I’m talking about everyday miracles here. Did you get that?

Miracles.

Happening.

Every.

Day.

That’s how I see my life — a string of miracles. Maybe it’s always been that way, but I’m keenly aware of it now and I want to share it for God’s glory.

And, because I know how fleeting the moments are, I want to fully live in each one — with fresh realization of its preciousness. Writing about the little things seems to heighten my awareness of them and I want to be fully aware this go-round. I don’t want to miss a thing.

I’ve found that when I take time to put into words (and pictures) the moments of our lives — when I’m able to capture them and put them on a page — I can, in a sense, preserve them. Each time I read those words and look at those pictures, I get to taste and savor God’s amazing provision and blessing in my life again and again. I get to celebrate life. And family. And motherhood.

Lastly, blogging allows me to share the flavors of our life with others — like multiplying joy. With gladness will I do this for Umma and Appa and all the people who came before me in my daughter’s life: Hye Jin, the social worker who lovingly handled Sarang’s case ♥; Min Hee, the director of the SWS Korean adoption agency; other social workers and caregivers who knew our little Baby Love… These are the people who loved her first — they care what happens to her and want to see her do well. They need to know she is loved. There is one less orphan in the world today thanks to their kind advocacy and devotion to their work. My words are only a token of the gratitude I feel for their part in this wonderful thing called adoption.

A New Chapter…

Standard

Our son, Whitney, Jr., starts graduate school at Carnegie Mellon University next week.

We were able to fit in a couple of trips to Pittsburgh over the last 4 weeks to help him find a place and get settled. Having lived at home through his undergraduate years, this is a big transition for him.

But we know he’s ready. More than ready.

It was fun helping him fix up his place and set up housekeeping. His attic apartment is on a quiet street near a shopping district and is a 20-minute walk to the CMU campus. He calls often and we enjoy hearing about his adventures and misadventures learning to get around in the big city.

Though we miss him dreadfully, we are proud and pleased to see him begin this new chapter in his life.

Here are a few pictures of the humble little abode he now calls home…

ImageImageImageImageImage

A mother’s prayer…

I pray that God will bless this little home with comfort and joy and that Whitney will find within its walls warmth, rest and shelter from the storms of life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Taken in by Love…

Standard

I believe we’ve adopted an angel.

Yes, I know we’re probably still in the honeymoon period, but Lily is such a sweet baby girl and I’m delighting in her person — in discovering every little detail of who she is and watching her personality unfold. Her sense of humor is as irresistible as her antics are endearing. She is so lovable and yet spunky and mischievous enough that you know she’s real. I’m enraptured — completely in love — and thrilled to find myself mothering a toddler again.

The end of July marked one year from the time Whitney and I first saw a photo of our precious Baby Love and considered God might be calling us to adoption. July 27th marked the anniversary of the first time we saw the sweet image that would haunt our very souls till the moment we could hold her in our arms and bring her home.

The events of this last year have wrought so much happiness. I never dreamed adoption could bring such joy or that it would change my life so wonderfully. Basking in our little Love’s presence today, I can hardly recognize where the past shifts into the present.

Steven Curtis Chapman’s song, When Love Takes You In, expresses this perfectly:

And like the rain that falls into the sea,
In a moment what has been is lost
in what will be…

And even though it seems the lyrics are talking about a family who takes in an orphan out of love, I feel as though I’m the one who’s been taken in by love. I’ve pondered this in my heart over and over. I’m not sure which “moment” it happened. When did the has been become the what will be?

When did love take us in?

Was it when we first saw her picture on rainbowkids.com?

Was it in August, when we admitted to each other we couldn’t think of anything else and we decided to call the agency and ask for her?

Maybe it was in November when, after 3 long months, Korea granted the age waiver. (We were about 2 years older than Korea’s upper age limit and this was one happy moment for us.)

It might have been when we opened her file in early December and watched on a series of DVD clips, through tears of pure joy, our Baby Love…

laughing,
crying,
growing,
being who she is…

Such a day of confirmation for us.

If not then, surely it was when we saw her first birthday pictures right after Christmas. She was dressed in a traditional Korean hanbok, looking like a Korean princess, and oh, how we longed for her.

The defining moment may have occurred 2 days after Mother’s Day on our first visit with little Sarang at the foster family’s home in Seoul. This was the first time we held her cheek to cheek, touched the velvety smoothness of her baby-soft skin and breathed in the sweet fragrance of her delicious baby scent.

It was truly a defining moment when we carried her out of the Korean adoption agency and headed back to the hotel with her in our arms. That was when the caseworker said, “She’s your child now.” And though our hearts wanted to sing, little Baby Love’s heart was breaking for those she was leaving behind. She was filled with fear for what lay ahead.

I remember choking on my own tears and asking Whitney if she would ever smile again…

Oh, but does she smile… By God’s grace, our Baby Love smiles often and finds joy in so many things. Her attachment is sure and sweet and increasing every day. (Please, Lord, let it be so.)
I am relishing every moment. And though she doesn’t yet love us as much as we love her — in time she will. She must.

For now, it’s enough for her to know we are crazy about her.

We’re three months into this incredible love story — not long,
but long enough to know…
it ends well.

Feeling blessed and in love and grateful for every experience that continues to shape our family.

Hold. That. Thought.

First Trip to the Library…

Standard

If you know anything about our family, you know how much we love books. So naturally we want to foster a love of reading in our Baby Love. It follows that an important part of the Sandersization of Lily would involve an introduction to the local library to help her secure her very own library card. Besides, any reader knows the library is the only sensible way to feed an insatiable appetite for great books (which tends to be a distinguishing Sanders trait). And though they don’t have a single braille book in circulation, our library is an important link to literacy for Lily, since she does have some vision and she’s still on the listening side of the whole read aloud exchange. So while I keep working at the process of getting her signed up for mail order braille books, we’re going ahead with our introduction to great books. After all, the words on my book bag remind me…

[ Lily’s Favorite Books at 21 Months ]

  • Moo, Baa, La La La!                  ~ Boynton
  • Doggies                                     ~ Boynton
  • Old MacDonald Had A Farm     ~ Illustrated by Lara Ede
  • Chicka Chicka ABC                   ~ Martin & Archambault
  • Black on White                          ~ Hoban
  • From Head to Toe                     ~ Carle

Little reader…

Meeting a new friend…

Another new friend…

It seems ironic to have braille on the outdoor book return slot,
since there are no braille books in the entire library system.

Lily’s first assortment of free books from the library.
It makes me giddy to think there are countless more where these came from…

Lily at the Beach…

Standard

I love the beach! Living as close as we do to the coast affords occasional one-day excursions to the lovely islands off the port of Charleston. Sullivan’s Island was our destination for Lily’s first visit to the beach and it was a day to remember.

Seeing Lily enjoy the sand and sea for the first time was one of those moments by which life is measured. She loved the relentless, predictable breaking of the waves and squealed with delight at each splash. In her usual way, she bore the salty water in her eyes as a minor inconvenience and when a wave splashed in her face, she took it in stride.

Lily loved the wide open space of the beach. She danced around on the even terrain of the sand singing to herself confidently and contentedly.

It was a time to celebrate life and thank God you are alive…

and we did.

Mommy & Lily enjoying the waves…

Lily wandering happily on the beach…

Tutu cute…

Beautiful feet…

I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well. ~ Psalm 139:14

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away…

Lily at the Lake…

Standard

We managed to get away to the lake for a few days last week. It was a relaxing time with family and an awesome opportunity to provide Lily with new experiences. She loved the water, tolerated the life jacket, and thoroughly enjoyed spending time with her new cousins. I counted at least 7 new English words during our stay at the lake…

1. boat (Lily loved riding on the ski and pontoon boats)

2. out (as in “I’m ready to get OUT of the water now.”)

3. yeah (no explanation necessary if you live in the South)

4. go (as in ready, set…)

5. bow

6. hairbow

7. sand

Image

Lily in the pool. She loved the fountain.

 

Image

Mommy & Lily on the pontoon boat.

 

Image

Riding the raft with Mommy.

Take Joy…

Standard

Now that we have a toddler at home, keeping up with blog posts is next to impossible; but God continues to do a great work at our house as we watch amazed. We celebrate Lily’s homecoming perpetually. She is such a joyful little girl — she makes us laugh hundreds of times a day. Despite the language difference, or maybe because of it, she is constantly looking for something to laugh about — or giggle, grin, snicker, smirk or cackle about — and she always looks expectantly to see who will join her in her moment of glee.

Everyday she makes us love her more than we ever thought possible. God is good and her adjustment seems to be coming along smoothly. She is learning English at an amazing pace — we have heard her use more than a dozen words meaningfully; but she continues to use a good many Korean words as well. Lately I have been struck with how difficult it must be for her, understanding so little of what we say and left to guess about our meaning much of the time.

We know she misses her foster family. She pretends to talk cheerfully to Appa on the telephone many times a day using anything that can be remotely construed to be a telephone. She always invites whichever family member is nearby to join her in chatting with Appa.

We think she chooses joy ’cause she is just that kind of girl. Oh yeah, she’s a keeper…