Thursday, May 31, 2007

Latest on Lilly

Lilly is doing very well. She saw the pediatrician this week and her pulmonologist that we first met at Richland. Both visits went great. Her lungs are clear and all of her blood tests came back normal. The final diagnosis on her illness was viral pneumonia which hit her especially hard since she does have a VSD. Dr. Brown, the lung specialist, said that he is not certain whether she has asthma or not. He said once her VSD is repaired, her lung issues may be resolved as well. We certainly hope and pray that this will be the case. Next week, we see our regular pediatrician, Dr. Macpherson and the cardiologist. We hope to have her VSD surgery in July at MUSC.

As you can see from the pictures, we have finally captured some smiles. Lilly is such a happy baby. She laughs and smiles all the time. She loves to point at things, to roll her tongue and make all sorts of funny noises. She loves to walk but must have one of your fingers in each hand or she stops walking. All of her siblings adore her. Ethan is not to sure of having to share his toys, but he likes her being the baby because he will tell you emphatically that he is NOT a baby.

We are really enjoying having Lilly in our family and can't imagine life without her. She is like a little bit of sunshine that brightens our home and our family. We are so thankful that God called us to adopt from China and that He led us to her. Again thank you for your prayers for this precious little girl. She is definitely a fighter because she has been through SO much and yet she smiles and laughs so often!! We are so blessed to be her parents.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

We're home

Lilly loves to be outside. She points to the door and whines to go out. She enjoys wagon rides but won't try her swing yet.
Fulton and Ethan were very happy to see us and to meet Lilly. Fulton had a great time taking pictures of his new little sister! Lilly loved the balloon. Thanks Sharon and family- great idea!

Lilly and Lainie at the airport before leaving China. Due to Lilly's illness, we were only able to get just a few pictures of the girls together. As you can tell from the pictures, Lilly's color already is better and she looks stronger.

We are so thankful to be home. Thanks to all of you who prayed for Lilly. God heard you and healed her in His timing! Thanks to those of you who decorated our gate and hung the beautiful sign by our garage. Thank you for coming to the airport and welcoming us home. Thanks for the meals Kim and Polly's class- they were great and very appreciated! Thanks Kim for spending Saturday washing our clothes and helping to unpack our suitcases. Thanks Mrs. Rebecca and Danny for the bag of food. Thankfully I didn't stay long enough at the hospital to need it, but it is coming in handy right here at home!! Also thanks for the frame and picture of our sweet Lilly.
Lilly is doing well. She does have asthma and is on 2 inhalers for this. She is on 1 medicine for her heart. The doctors here think it was viral pneumonia and it just took time for it to run its course. She is now fever and cough free- PTL!! She is happy and enjoying her new family and her new toys.
Thanks again for everything. Most importantly, we thank our loving God who delivered us from this difficult time and supplied for our every need. We give Him the praise and glory.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Packing up

We finally let the girls visit the hospital last night. It was good to be together as a family if for only 1 hour. We ate Mcdonald's. Lilly already loves french fries!

This is Nikki one of our guides here! She has been so wonderful and kind. She is such a sweet, caring person and has done so much for us during our stay here! We thank God for her!

My one shopping excursion since Lilly was taken to the hospital one week ago. David stayed at the hospital so I could see a few sights and spend time with Shelby and Katie. TJ is the newly adopted brother of Lauren. He is doing well! Our girls have enjoyed hanging out with them!

Everything is in order for us to leave in the AM. We leave the hotel at 5:30 AM. David and Lilly check out of the hospital at 4:00 AM. The doctors have agreed to send us with an assortment of medications and an inhaler for Lilly. We hope and pray she will do ok on the long trip. David and I are exhausted and we still have the 14 hour plane ride to go. When we land we will go to Richland Memorial Hospital. I have the cardiologist's name who will be on call for Dr. Shuler and we will call him when we arrive.
Lilly is doing about the same. She plays, smiles, and laughs alot. She eats and drinks very well. Her breathing is still noisy though and her respirations are still abnormally high. She is not running fever. We are anxious to get some accurate information. Dr. Shuler relayed to Dr. Mac that this is not unexpected with VSD and that Lilly's VSD has obviously not been managed at all by the orphanage. We will hopefully have some answers soon.
Thank you for your prayers. We look forward to seeing all of you when we get home.
Jan for all the Bryants

Monday, May 21, 2007

48 hours to go

Lilly's latest hospital room. It's not too great, but the staff seems knowledgable.

She loves to fling herself back from a sitting position. We do this alot!! It's her favorite game!

Trying to catch a smile- Daddy missed it. She has alredy learned to say "uh-oh" when she throws her toys down- which is often! She also says mama and dada.

Daddy got the smile just lost some of her head! She's such a happy, active baby, and she is sick. I can't wait to get to know her when she is healthy! I can only imagine how much fun she will be!

This has been a most difficult journey that God has called us to. Never did we imagine that Lilly would be so sick. God knew though, and we believe that is why He worked it out for us to come on May 11. Only God knows if Lilly would have even been alive on May 21 which is when we would have gotten her had we not traveled until May 18. At best, she would have been much sicker had she stayed in the orphanage for an additional week.
I spoke with Dr. MAcpherson this AM. Again she said Lilly's special need, VSD, did not cause this. Her lungs are what are so sick and of course that puts much added stress on her heart causing it to enlarge. Dr. Mac said once her lungs are well, the enlarged heart condition is reversible. She said they watch kids with VSD for years until the kids outgrow it. Another Echo was done yesterday. The equipment looked very "American" and the technician was an instructor because she had a roomful of students. The echo only showed VSD, enlarged left side of the heart, and slight increase in pulmonary pressure. This was such a relief because we were afraid that either she did have another defect that we had not been told about by the orphanage or that she had suffered permanent heart damage as a result of this long illness. Respiratory illnesses are rampant in CHina due to the poor air quality, etc. In one hospital room there were 3 kids and they had pneumonia too.
Despite our suffering, we know that God has been with us each step. It is only by His presence and His grace that we have survived thus far. Let me share some of our praises to our God:
1. God sent us to Lilly when she needed us most and in time to hopefully save her life.
2. That I am a nurse and was able to pick up on the fact that she did need medical attention.
3. That we were given the wisdom to find a new hospital last Fri. because the first one was awful
4. For Mei Sun and the doctor "professor" who were so kind and helpful to us at the hospital in the last city, Changsha. This woman was an angel of God and I shall never forget her. They were the first to treat her heart issues. And for Kathy who just happened to be in the same city where we got Lilly. That is amazing to me. China is so big and yet He put Lilly and us in that city!!! God knew ahead of time that we would go through this and He put us in that city so Kathy could be an invaluable source of info. and support to us.
5. That Lilly was stable enough to travel by plane to this new city.
6. That we found a decent hospital here and that we brought enough money to pay for all of this. You pay before you are treated.
7. That Lilly's heart is stable now. They have taken her off of oxygen and the monitor machine.
8. That we have the Barbees who have cared for Shelby and KAtie.
9. That we have an ICU nurse in our group who will also be with us on the plane ride home.
10. That the latest Echo showed nothing alarming. The only other Echo was done at the awful hospital back when she was 10 months old.
11. That we have so many wonderful friends, family members, and complete strangers praying for Lilly and for us.
12. That Lord willing we all will be home in less than 48 hours.
13. For Shelby and Katie who have been so understanding and patient during this extremely difficult time.
14 That Lilly did pass the exam to receive a visa to enter the US. We will receive that tomorrow.
The doctors do not feel that the pneumonia is responding to the Rocephin so today they will be starting a new antibiotic. Pray that this will help begin the road to healing in her lungs. Dr. Mac. is thinking of any medicines we may need for her on the very long plane ride home. Please pray that the doctors here will be understanding and allow us to purchase these meds. Please pray that Lilly would continue to improve and that the plane ride would not set her back too far.
Dr. Mac is contacting Dr. Ozzy Shuler who is Lilly's cardiologist. When we land, we will be heading to Richland Memorial to be admitted there. Although it won't be home, it will be such a relief to be in America.
Thank you again for lifting up this precious child and our family. We love and miss you and thank God for all of you. Thanks for the comments. They have helped us so much.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow, The Bryants

Sunday, May 20, 2007

In Guanzhou.

Lilly's new IV haircut.

We made it in and checked in to the hotel and then 30 minutes later started the search for a good hospital. The first three we went to were full. After about an hour and a half of calling and visiting hospitals, we settled on our fourth choice. At first I did not like it at all(the 1960 looking one story hospitals just scare me) as it is dirty and old looking. Also, the screaming from Lilly when she gets the IV needles is really starting to get to us. That is the hardest to handle at this point because we are right there having to hold her down. With that being said, she will hopefully stay at this hospital until Wednesday evening and we can fly home on Thursday.
We will have a special request to the US consulate approved medical clinic tomorrow to see if they will be willing to send a doctor to lilly to do her medical exam. If not, we will take Lilly on the hour and a half car ride to the clinic. Pray it works out that we don't have to do that and also pray they pass her. Her doctor told us tonight that she should be able to travel on Thursday as long as she has continuous treatment until then. This doctor is saying she has asthma,broncitus,pneumonia, and an enlarged heart. They did new chest xray tonight,I left before the results came back, and in the morning they will do an Echo. I was actually shocked this place can do these tests. Jan is at the hospital with our two guides in this province. They will take shifts with her and trade off at 3 am. They are very good and do all our translation for us. (Nikki & Elvin) Side note: Lilly is definatley a fighter. We truly believe she would have not made it if we did not come and get her when we did. We know God has a plan for all of us and we are definatley seeing His hands in our lives every moment!

Special praises to the Barbee's(that includes Bobby's mom Mrs. Jackie) for continuing to help us with Shelby & Katie, and Stephen for his insight at the hospital tonight. (Stephen is an ICU RN in Statesboro in our group who is also adopting ) Also, Thanks Kathy and what a wonderful and amazing job you do!

The Bryant's

Friday, May 18, 2007

Lilly's in the hospital.

Lilly's new hospital room and Lilly sleeping a few hours ago at the hospital.
Jan and I decided it was best to put Lilly in the Hospital and so far we are encouraged by the knowledge and professionalism of this staff. This hospital is only two years old, so it looks like a CLEAN american hospital. No matter where you go for medical treatment over here though, you better be assertive and kind of tell them what to do or it does not..will not get done. We have already had a couple of diagnosis' given on Lilly about her heart without any X-rays or previous medical records. Jan and I couldn't believe it. We told them to treat the Pneumonia and fever only! Wednesday and Thursday when she received her first two IV's from the local children's hospital it was absolutely scary from a health and cleanliness standpoint. It was also sad to see all the sick children in there. They were everywhere. We have so much to be thankful for in America! Shelby and Katie are getting to do all the touring with our friends the Barbees, who we thank God for, and Jan, Lilly, and myself are touring the hospitals. Our next post will we be from Gaunzhou unless Jan can get on here in 24 hours. She is staying at the hospital tonight with Lilly and we will trade off tomorrow night. We fly to Gaunzhou in 36 hours to finish up paperwork. Pray for Lilly to get well or ......I might be staying a few extra days with Lilly in China! She was offically a Bryant on Monday, but we had the official adoption paper from the Chinese Government given to us tonight.
Lilly's Family

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Pray For Lilly!!

Well, Lilly has pneumonia accommpanied with cough and off and on fever. She has had IV antibiotics for the past two days and will continue today and tommorow. We leave for Gaungzho (sp)the day after tommorow. We will most likely be in the hospital there also for daily IV antibiotics. We are calling the shots on this situation because the healthcare is not near the quaulity of the US healthcare. So, we ask that you pray for wisdom in our decision making for Lilly's healthcare along with praying for Lilly to show improvment by having the fever go down,coughing to stop, and Lilly to drink plenty of fluids. We are doing alright, just continue to pray for us.
The Bryant's

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A Gamecock!!!!!-----Walmart Anyone????

Lilly already wants to go to a game!! I'm teaching her to say Go Gamecocks!!

Yes, Walmart is here and it is very popular. They have just a few culture differences. Fish..alive,dead in ice,or smoke dried. Eel,turtle,snake,rabbit,chicken(in the picture...Shelby wouldn't let me buy one) and many other strange type of animals we could buy to eat. There were no medicines in the store, but they had most anything else.

The girls continue to draw huge crowds. (I'm making sure it doesn't go to their heads)I just don't think most of the Chinese have ever seen blonde or light brown hair. At the park by the river and at Walmart today, many would either come up to them and touch their hair or just try to talk to them. Surprisingly, it has been easy to communicate with someone who speaks a different language.

Lilly has had fever today and we have given her some medicine and it has helped. We pray the medicine continues to work. Other than that, she is adjusting very well.

Shelby and Katie are swimming in the hotel indoor pool as I type this and Lilly is taking a nap. Everyone is doing fine, but we are just killing time until Saturday.(touring in the mornings and our guides are great) That is when we will get Lilly's Chinese passport. It takes five days to process it. Then we head to get the US passport paper work started on Sunday. That is it for now.
David, Jan, Shelby,Katie,&Lilly

Monday, May 14, 2007

Tuesday update....

Hi everyone-it's Jan typing for the first time since we got Lilly. She is napping now so I have a few moments to update you with some specific info about her. God has truly answered the many prayers which have been lifted up for this precious child over the last 5 months. We are so grateful to Him for His provision over her until we could be united with her. She is very active!!! She should fit right in with her big brothers Fulton and Ethan at home. The VSD does not seem to slow her down. She will walk while holding onto our fingers, but she is not real steady standing freely. That's exciting for us because that means we, her parents, will get to have the joy of her first independent step! She rolls on the floor to get where she wants to go. We have not seen her crawl. She loves her reflection. Thankfully our room has a large full length mirror, and she really enjoys standing up looking at herself. The floor by the mirror is a granite-type floor and is real shiny. When she is walking on it, she bends down to see her reflection- it is SO cute!!! She has made great eye contact with all of us which is a good sign of attachment. She enjoys being held and loves to rub my shirt- almost like a blankie. Very sweet. She is very tickelish and has laughed out loud several times!! So precious! She has a beautiful smile which we have waited 5 months to see because she never really smiled in any of the orphanage pictures. I am so in awe of the goodness of our Heavenly Father. All glory and honor and praise are His.

Lilly was called "Su Su" in the orphanage. Her Chinese name is Kai Shu, but the "Shu" is pronounced "Su" (like Sue) so we have been calling her Su Su or Lilly Su Su. Shelby said we could call her Lilly Sue at home, but she may not like that when she is older- LOL! Many of you remember that she had some reports of respiratory issues while we were waiting to get her. She does have a wheeze. Nurse Jan brought her stethoscope, but sometimes the wheeze is audible without it. She is not sick now per the orphanage doctor nor does she act sick at all. I called The Pediatric Clinic yesterday to talk with Joy (my favorite nurse) about the wheezing because Dr. Macpherson had actuallly suspected that she was wheezing from the medical info we shared with her at our consultation appt. Dr. Mac gave me a prescription for a bronchodialator. I wanted to know whether I should give her the medicine even if the wheeze was not affecting her. Joy said that I should not give it unless her breathing is affected. So Lilly may have asthma, but we will have to wait until Dr. Mac can check her out. Lilly also sweats a lot! In China, they believe in dressing the babies very warmly. Lilly's outfit from the orphanage when we got her was fleece on the inside. She and I were both drenched when we got back to the hotel. The orphanage Dr. said keep her dressed warm so she won't "get a cold". I didn't argue about that, but of course a cold or respiratory infection is caused by a virus or bacteria not the cold weather. And believe me, it is FAR from cold here now!!

Shelby and Katie are doing great! They have been real troopers with little if any complaining! Our family has adopted Phillipians 2:14 as our motto. "Do everything without complaining or arguing." So far the Holy Spirit has really been equipping them to obey God's word.

She is still sleeping. She is very tiny but many Chinese people that we have seen are very small. Her hands and feet are probably the size of a typical 6 month old in the US. We haven't weighed her yet, but the measurement from the orphanage regarding her feet was incorrect. I purchased sizes 4 and 5 for her, but the 4 tennis shoe slides off easily even when double knotted. She actually kicked it off at breakfast this morning. They have cute shoes here called "squeaky shoes" because they squeak when the child walks. We will have to get her a few of those.

Thanks to all of you for your prayers, love, and support. This is amazing and we are truly blessed to have been chosen by God to be Lilly's mama and baba. (Chinese words for mom and dad)

Bath Time!!

Bath Time,New friends at the airport yesterday, and leaving Beijing yesterday.
She slept well from 9:30 until 5:30am. She is definately tiny. Nine month pants don't fit. Today we will head out to begin paperwork at 8:30 and should have the afternoon for free time.
The Bryants


The first picture is Lilly being given to us. The second is Lilly and Lanie (they were in the same crib room)
She has had some crying episodes, but now is doing well. It has definately been a whirlwind of a day. Wow!! We are getting ready to put her in the crib and see what happens. Shelby and Katie are passed out in the bed with the lights on and Jan and I are hoping to get some shuteye soon. We and our friends the Barbees(Lanie's Family) are getting tired of Chinese food (some is fish with the head still on it) and will go to KFC or McDonalds tomorrow. They even have rice and noodles for breakfast. Anyway, it's been one exciting day!!


The great news is we have Lilly! The bad news is I can't get the pictures loaded right now. Has to do with the connection or server. I will try to get some on here somehow in the next few hours. Also, it is very hot and humid here.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Great Wall and The Forbidden City.

Today was lots of fun! We visited The Great Wall, The Forbidden City, and Tiannemen Square.
The weather was a bit warmer than we were expecting, and we are heading south tomorrow. We may be purchasing more pairs of shorts! We experienced a few new things today and learned a great deal about Chinese culture. First, Shelby and Katie are a curiosity to the Chinese people. Too many Chinese people to count came up to them and asked to have their pictures made with them. They just smiled and laughed at the girls especially when we spoke a few Chinese words. Then they would start speaking Chinese thinking we really knew the language. I guess our southern accent didn't get in the way! Shelby said now she knows how movie stars feel. Also, we learned that you have to be very assertive to the many street vendors who come up to you trying to sell souviners. We even had one lady follow us to our bus and then stand at the window showing us her items. She didn't budge until the bus started moving!! The Chinese people are very friendly. Tom, our guide who is Chinese with an American name, has been wonderful. The food is pretty good too although it is very different from the Americanized version that we call "Chinese food" back home. We also visited the jade factory and learned quite a bit. We made a few purchases there with one being a ring for my Mother's Day gift. We also got Lilly a rooster pendant to give her when she is older. She was born in the year of the rooster if you are wondering!
We also got to know the other couples in our group. We are all Christians, and we held a prayer meeting in our hotel room tonight. It was very special since we are in China and know that so many Christians here suffer persecution. We praised God for calling each of us to this journey, lifted up our concerns for our adopted children as they begin a new life tomorrow, and asked for wisdom and patience as we try to comfort them during their adjustment.
Tomorrow is David's birthday and "Gotcha Day". Our day begins early as we head to the airport at 7 AM. Our flight leaves at 11:10 and we should arrive in Changsha at 1:35. We will meet Lilly soon after arriving there. Please pray for Lilly and her adjustment and attachment to
us. We are so excited!!! Better try to sleep now. Hope everyone is doing well back home. Thanks for all of your prayers!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

We made it!!!

After waking up at 3am Friday,we finally landed in Beijing at 2pm Saturday and walked into our hotel room at 5pm. Exhausted but happy to be here. As we write this, it is Sunday 7:48 am in Beijing(7:48 pm Saturday in South Carolina). We have slept for about 9 hours and are heading to The Great Wall and The Forbidden City in about 30 minutes.
If you are wondering, the little girl in the picture is not Lilly. She is an adopted child of another family. Her name is Lauren, and Shelby and Katie have become good friends with her. Her family is from Beaufort, and they are here to adopt a son who is 7 years old.
We are so excited to finally be here. Shelby and Katie did great on the plane. They met several new friends and had fun walking around, playing card games, and talking to all the other passengers. We will post again in about 13 hours.(get ready for the picture of us on The Great Wall)

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Our Itinerary

It is hard to believe that we are now only 5 days away from leaving for China and just a week away from meeting Lilly. The time has really been flying by as we have been so busy making all of the necessary preparations. The picture above shows the paperwork that we have been working on to take to China. This stack of papers is actually rather small compared to the dossier paperwork that we did at the end of last summer. We have been packing and making arrangements for the boys as well as our dogs, cats, and chickens. Thank you to those of you who have been so kind and generous in offering to help while we are away. Thank you Granny and GG, and Mimi for watching our boys. Thank you Kim, Karla, and Kim for having the boys over to play. Thank you to Barbara for caring for our pets, garden, and plants. Thank you to Kendall and Olivia- 2 great babysitters for helping to watch the boys and ease the load on the grandparents. Thank you to all of you who have prayed for us. A special thank you to my sunday school class at Trinity. You all have been such a constant source of support during these last 5 months, and I have certainly felt your prayers. I'll miss you, but Lilly and I will be back soon.
May 11: Depart at 6:00 AM from Columbia for Washington, D.C. Depart for Beijing at 12:23PM
May 12: Arrive in Beijing at 1:55PM (this will be 1:55 AM back at home)
May 13: Sightseeing at the Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China (Happy Mother's Day)
May 14: Fly to Changsha, Hunan at 11:10 AM and arrive at 1:35 PM. We will meet Lilly in the afternoon- exact time unknown. (We will meet Lilly while you are sleeping so please pray before you go to sleep)
May 15- May 19: Some paperwork and appointments concerning the adoption and lots of bonding time with Lilly. Sightseeing and shopping as Lilly allows.
May 20: Fly from Changsha to Guangzhou arriving at 3:35 PM.
May 21: Photos for Lilly and her physical exam (standard for all babies being adopted).
May 22: Visa appointment at 11:30 AM at the US Consulate.
May 23: Swearing ceremony at the consulate and receive Lilly's visa.
May 24: Fly from Guangzhou to Hong Kong at 8:30 AM. Depart for home at 12:45 PM. Arrive in Chicago at 2:20 PM. Arrive in Columbia at 7:46 PM.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

A Suitcase Filled With Love

We have all been busy here getting ready for our big trip to bring Lilly home. For many months now the girls and I have been collecting items to take to the orphans who live at Lilly's orphanage. Shelby and Katie put a lot of time, energy, and most of all love in preparing this suitcase of clothes, toys, stickers, candy, bubbles, and other items. We have requested to visit the Chenzhou orphanage where Lilly is, but we have not been given an answer yet. If we are not allowed to visit, we will deliver the items in bags to the orphanage representatives that bring Lilly to us. Thank you to friends and family who contributed to our collection of much needed items for these precious children who still wait for their forever families!

We are set to leave on May 11 and will soon post our itinerary. Please continue to pray for safe travel, good health, and for Lilly's attachment to us as her parents. Lilly will be leaving everything and everyone that she has known for a year and a half. She will need to grieve for this tremendous loss before she is able to begin bonding and attaching to us. The first 3 days or so will likely be difficult for her. We will of course do all that we can to comfort her, and we specifically request your prayers for her. Thanks so much to each and everyone of you who have supported us thus far in our amazing journey to Lilly.