You must do the things you think you cannot do.
~
Eleanor Roosevelt

Friday, October 08, 2010

A day with my squirrely girlie

You may not know this but we adopted our sweet girlie from China in 2005 when she was a chubby, adorable 15 month old toddler. When we began the adoption process, we indicated in our letter of application to our agency that we would consider a child with certain special needs, and cleft lip/cleft palate (cl/p) was one that we listed - having no idea what that entailed! We were almost a year into the adoption process when our agency called and asked if they could send us the file of a little peanut with a cl/p to consider. Long story short, there was no doubt she was ours.

So I began reading everything I could related to craniofacial issues. And we decided to use Children's Hospital in DC as our 'team' for Ella's care and surgery. That means each year she sees the plastic surgeon and team leader, Dr. Boyijian (boy ah jee ahn), and every 2-3 years she sees the whole team - Dr B, hearing, speech, dentist, geneticist, and psychologist. I think that's everyone...

Anyway as you can imagine, seeing the whole team takes a lot of time. Like all day. So we don't take the wild hyenas boys with us. Earlier this week Ella had an appointment to see the team. Bill had things he needed to do around the house so he stayed home with the boys and I took Ella.

Driving in DC is an adventure for me. Bill can drive blindfolded, backwards, with one hand and find his way almost anywhere in DC. I.Can.Not.  I've been to Children's many, many times for Hank's ears, Shane's allergies and Ella's cl/p but it's been about a year since my last visit. Unwisely I didn't look at the map or the directions before heading out and I got off on the wrong exit. So I tried to just find my way there from where I was and got even more lost. Rock Creek Park is really pretty, but I'm pretty sure it's no where near the hospital. So I started calling Bill (using the speakerphone so I was hands free) and calling, and calling. Um, hello? Don't you know that I'm lost and need you to answer the phone????

Finally he called and got me back on track. I used valet parking since I had to pee like crazy and didn't have time to circle the parking garage for an hour to find a spot. And we were 15 minutes early for her appointment. Sweet.

These visits never go off without some sort of hitch and this one was no different. We get a letter in the mail before the appointment that details the order in which we visit each department. Our letter told us to go to ENT first so we did only to have the automatron clerk tell us "there is no clinic today." So I tried to explain that we're part of the craniofacial team visit and he cuts me off "there is no clinic today." No really, we made this appointment months ago and he cuts me off again "there is no clinic today." Deep breath in. Exhale slowly and mentally stick a fork in his big doughy tummy because I am done with him.

Off we go to hearing which is jam packed, shoulder to shoulder in the waiting area. Mentally repeat to myself 'this will be a good day. this will be a good day.' Thankfully I didn't have the boys with me. Ella and I found a spot near a wall and I played with her hair while she read a toy magazine we brought along.  Gets her hearing tested, she passed, and off to the next stop.

Our main concern for this visit is when to begin her orthodontia since she has permanent teeth coming in so the dental portion of the day was important. We walk in and again it's jam packed. There were quite a few families waiting who, I am guessing, go to this clinic for their regular dental care. These families were really unhappy about the wait. So to distract Ella from the circus (and potty mouths) we started taking pictures and listening to her MP3 player.

Isn't she adorable!

 She LOVES her 'E' purse. Thanks again Liz!

Yes, people started looking at us like we were weirdos, but we were having a good time

 Waiting for the x-ray

We talked for a bit to the dentist and have a tentative plan - if you're considering adopting a child with cl/p and want more info, email me and I'll be happy to share with you our experience and my little bit of knowledge.

Off we went to the cafeteria. Because it was just the two of us, I told her she could get whatever she wanted. When I have to bring everyone, we pack a lunch because the food is insanely expensive. She chose a chicken tender, mac and cheese, Doritos and pink lemonade. And she ate it ALL. This child has the metabolism of a gerbil. She eats as much as an adult and is no bigger than a minute.

Mac and cheese mustache


The rest of our visit was pretty uneventful except that everyone went on and on about how cute she is. We saw Dr B and talked more about future plans for surgery and orthodontics. And we were on our way.

This time I made the correct turns and we pulled in the driveway without incident at 5pm. One looooong day.


My little squirrel did such a great job and was a good sport about all the chaos.
I love you little cuteness!

4 comments:

Kovas Palubinskas said...

Nothing against all of them together, but sometimes it's nice to just have some extended one-on-one time!

chris mcpeake said...

great pics!!

The Green Girl said...

I love that you were willing to consider a child with certain special needs. ::hugs::

Ella is so adorable. I can tell how loved she is by how happy she is in the pictures. She is very lucky to have you guys.

*~* *~* Tracy said...

That's so sweet Green Girl. Ella is definitely a happy, smiley little nugget. She surely enjoys a different life because of us, but we are - without a doubt - the lucky ones in the deal. Ella Bella Cinderella brings us more joy than we thought possible, and we love our girlie like crazy. :)

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