As I mentioned in my last newsletter Emily and I got home safely. I was in Shanghai with her for 44 days and that was the longest trip I have ever done. It is exhausting being in the hospital so long because you never have a good night's rest. There is so much commotion that it is hard to sleep and Emily woke up a lot too. Since then I have discovered that she sleeps best when things are quiet and she has the pacifier in her mouth.
Her surgery was a really big one. The teratoma (parasitic twin) was clearly visible on her butt but what we did not know was how far it was into her stomach. The surgery took six hours and that was a long time to wait. They expected it to be three hours so you can only imagine how much you worry. All the parents are in a waiting room and they call everyone else's names and not yours and you wait and wait. Dr Wu did some laprascopic surgery on her stomach first and then opened up her back to get the mass out. It was as big as her head, the doctors told me. She has a scar across her whole butt, from left to right. After surgery I saw her for a minute and then she was taken to the PICU for two days. She was healing well when I found the blood in the bed which I wrote about. That took a really long time to heal properly. I went to the hospital everyday since we checked out on May 3 to clean the wound out, drain the fluids (It was still really deep) and to change the dressings. Finally we got the go ahead to come home. I was so happy about that!!!
When I do these trips there are so many people I would like to thank:
1) I am so grateful for the skills of the doctors, especially Drs Wu and Hong who did such a great job with Emily. It was a really unusual surgery and one that was very unpredictable. With the help of Dr Ben and all the nurses and staff of the SCMC Emily got a chance to be healed. Thank you so very much for all your help!!!
2) I would also like to thank the two sponsors. As you might remember I went to a fund raising in March when the high school kids, and with the help of Interkom, raised 20 000RMB for a surgery. It was during that weekend that I first found out about Emily. A few days before I left, I heard from Lisa who is from the Casa de Epsana, a group of Spaniards who raise funds by having parties. They donated 10 270RMB. We then had the exact amount of money we needed for Emily's surgery. Thank you so very much to all of you who provided the funds to change a child's life. (There is still some left over money which we will use for next time)
3) To the army of volunteers who made sure I was fed and that the laundry was done. The most delicious meals arrived and I felt so spoiled. I am so grateful for the use of your drivers and your resources. The way you supported me is just awesome and I am very grateful. It made being at the hospital so much easier. I love the friendships that I have formed and for your care of me and the children that I bring.
4) To Emily's fan club: I loved watching you all lay the love on thick. She really is a charmer and so many people were just enchanted with her. Thank you for your prayers on her behalf.
5) To the Kedls who put up with me for a week soon after they moved into a new house and did not need the added stress: Thank you for being so welcoming and helping me so much with Emily.
As if going through the surgery was not enough, Emily started teething then. She has got the biggest white spots on her upper gums. Poor kid!!!
I did see her finding ad in the newspaper with all the other babies. So we are on our way with the adoption process. There was also four foreign families in Shanghai who expressed interest in adopting Miss Em. I have no say in the matter so it will be interesting to see what happens. I would love it if she was so close and I could see her from time to time.
I have no doubt that she is going to be a daddy's girl. She loves men with big voices. I think that she is going to have her dad tied around her finger. She would often fall asleep when they were holding her. I did not even take photos of all the men who held her, But here are some.
We got to socialize a lot this time, because I was with the Kedls for a week after I checked out of the hospital. ( I usually go from the hospital straight back home). I joked that I got so many invitations because people were more interested in holding Emily than they were in me. I got to eat at Whisk, a restaurant in Puxi and they have my three most favorite chocolate desserts on the planet. Being the chocoholic that I am that is high praise indeed. Emily and I got to meet Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife, as you can see she slept through it all. Steven and his wife have adopted three girls from China and he does so many charity events to raise money for children here. He had four concerts around China and then there was a brunch with a few people. They were so gracious in allowing us to take a photo with them.
On other Starfish news: Today is Jasmine's adoption. Her parents are already in Xian and we will be going over to the Civil Affairs Office this afternoon for that. We are in the middle of cleaning up after the earthquake and so we used this opportunity to clean everything out and to sort out some clothes and supplies. We have boxed them up and hopefully this will go to an orphanage in Weichuan that is near the epicenter of the earthquake. News of this is at the forefront of the people's minds. There is now also a flood warning and people are scrambling to get away from the rubble to higher ground.
There is also some really sad news to tell you. Our Danielle died unexpectedly in her sleep last month. It was so hard for everyone to accept because she had been matched with a family and we were so excited that she was going to get adopted. As you can imagine there is a lot of protocol that takes place when something like this happens and it can be a political landmine. More so I thought about her family who had fallen in love with her and were preparing to make her their daughter. I never got to know who they were, but I hope that they are at peace and that their hearts have been comforted. We are also still really tender about this, since Danielle had been with us for more than a year. As with all things in life, there is joy and then there is pain, these two aspects come to us even more forcefully because we deal with this on a daily basis in giant quantities due to the amount of children we take care of. Even the nannies were talking about how hard it is for them, to love the babies and to also go through the pain of saying goodbye. I guess you can understand why we love getting updates from the families. It reminds us that at Starfish we have made a difference and there is proof of that when we see the lives of the babies with their families.
As per usual Kay was my rock and helped me through it all. She will be leaving next month for Columbia University and the high life in New York. She will be here at the foster home until she leaves and so I am going to take Breanna to Hangzhou for her surgery.
Life, Love and Laughter,
Starfish Foster Home