We have been eager to share more about our sweet girl. So much has transpired over the past several days and we continue to gather incredible information every day. Many of you have been asking about Emily and we are now able to share so much about her!
Our daughter is 15 months old. She was abandoned when she was 5 days old, left outside an orphanage located in Northern China. This orphanage is called Baotou Social Welfare Institute and it is located in Inner Mongolia Province, which borders Russia. She lived at this orphanage for the first few months of her life. Here, she was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect. She was transferred to another home in Northern China called Harmony House. Harmony House is in Langfang, China, part of Hebei Province. She has been at Harmony House since she was only a few months old and still lives there today.
It turns out Harmony House is an American run, Christian ministry! Many people have confirmed that this is absolutely a best case scenario for an orphan in China. You can read more about who they are on their website. http://harmonyoutreach.org/china/ Not only have we received this great news but have had the privilege of being in touch with the director and Emily's caretaker directly through email! Y'all, this is unheard of. So what have these emails told us?
We have received so many pictures from them and I must say... She is the most beautiful little angel we've ever seen. We think she looks like our Anna Grace! Her caretaker says that she is quiet and sweet. She loves to be held and sucks her finger when she gets sleepy. Oh to get my hands on her...
Emily clenches her fists and walks on her tippy toes which are indications of brain atrophy. Brain atrophy can occur if a virus attacks your body or in other circumstances as well. We won't know the extent of this until she comes home. We do know, however, that she is walking and developing in line with other children her age. Her development tells us that the atrophy is likely minimal, or possibly a non-issue all together. It's very rare for an orphan in China to be walking by 15 months (rarely are they even crawling at this point) but this great news confirms that she is being nurtured and not left in a crib all day. Praise God! We are still learning more about her heart defect and are currently waiting to have her recent heart echo translated for us. Reading it in Chinese doesn't tell us much! ;-)
When we first received her medical history, we were told by an international pediatrician in Birmingham that her blood levels showed some cause for concern. Based on her blood panel, it was possible she had a serious virus or worse... blood cancer or leukemia. Through prayer and many tears, we decided that even cancer couldn't prevent this angel from being our daughter. We chose to pursue her and at last, today we received an update that her blood looks fine and there is no reason for alarm. She is perfectly healthy, aside from her heart defect (which we will learn more about next week). Once again... Thank you, Jesus!
Our agency has a contact in China who arranges care packages to be delivered to the children. So you better believe we'll be buying some goodies for her soon! We are able to email her caretaker anytime and will have a list of questions for her soon. She is very sweet, loves the Lord, and is pretty fluent in her English writing.
I know you are all dying to see pictures. My logical, level-headed husband says that his impulsive wife is not to post any pics until we are sure we have "pre-approval". The nerve! ;-) You're probably also wondering when we will get to go get her. The timeline hasn't changed. Assuming there are no hiccups along the way, we will likely travel in April or May. Praying that paperwork is expedited so this little angel can come home soon. Hang on Emily Hope, we're coming baby girl!
Clearly, this has been a week of "WOW"s, a turbulent, emotional roller coaster ride. We are exhausted, my family has been eating fast food for a week, my house is in complete shambles, and guess what.... I couldn't care less. Needless to say, we are elated by all the wonderful surprises we have received over the past few days. This is not what we expected and once again, we give God all the praise and glory for the extra blessings!