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Coming Home
June 18, 2005
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Thursday, June 30, 2005

June 25
We celebrated Isabelle’s birthday a little early because our great friends the Williams were able to come over and share in the celebration with the added bonus for Asher and Dalton that Karey and Kayla (Williams’ girls) could come over and spend the night afterwards.  We lit the single candle on the cake (really brownies with sprinkles and whipped cream) and as you can see in the picture Ms. Isabelle had no clue what that was all about.  After Dalton “helped” her blow out the candle, I tried to help her eat some of the brownie but she did not want to get her hands or face dirty and that ended the first great birthday cake adventure.  The party wasn’t over yet because the Williams family brought Isabelle a present that she opened – with help from four other kids.  It is the “cutest, most adorable purse ever!” (not my words, wouldn’t know how to put those words into any sort of coherent phrase)  The purse contained a plastic credit card (great!), a fake cellular phone and lipstick, and a mirror.  We then went outside and watched the kids play with rocket balloons that make a ton of noise.  Unfortunately, Isabelle is not the biggest fan of noise so when they let one go she snuggled into Mom for protection.  I think Stefanie enjoyed the snuggling but it wasn’t Isabelle’s idea of fun.  We then took Isabelle up to the treehouse with all the other kids to watch as they took turns on the zip line. Not her idea of fun either. We called it a night, gave Isabelle her bath and bottle (now that's her idea of fun!) and then it was lights out at the Leist household.

June 26
We began the day by going to church and Isabelle was “dressed to the nines,” as always.  She fell asleep as she is wonton to do about that time because she usually naps about the same time that we are in church, so she was down for the count.  Let me tell you that girl can sweat (I mean perspires because she is a girl) like nobody’s business.  When she naps next to you or is drinking her bottle she absolutely glows (see I’m learning) as mine or Stefanie’s shirt get wet.  Isabelle received several rounds of "Happy Birthday" over the phone from friends and family. She really lit up when we put it on speaker phone! The joys of parenthood are never ending, thank God she is one year old and with her forever family.  Celebrating one year gave us pause to think of how much her life has changed since she was born and the “best guess” anniversary of that birth.  We’re just overjoyed every day to see her smiles and witness the changes she undergoes daily.

June 27
We celebrated my birthday by going to Chevy’s where Isabelle witnessed Dad wearing a sombrero while the wait staff sang “Happy Birthday.”  She didn’t even cry which is a surprise based on her past behavior whenever we ‘change’ our appearance.  Stefanie cannot change her own appearance without Isabelle freaking out.  After showering Stefanie’s hair is wet and Isabelle comes unglued.  It is even worse if Stefanie has a towel in her hair.  Isabelle is very particular about her Mama’s appearance but for the rest of us we apparently, at this point, can do just about anything we want and she is unaffected.

June 30
Big day!  We got everyone up to head over to St. Louis for Isabelle’s first appointment at the International Adoption Clinic at Cardinal Glennon Hospital.  Her appointment was scheduled for 8:45 a.m. and we arrived with plenty of time to spare, registered, and sat in the waiting room.  Well wouldn’t you know it, we were in the wrong wing of the hospital.  Fortunately the receptionist was nice enough to escort us to the correct location and tell them about our slip-up so we weren’t considered AWOL for our appointment.  The waiting room had a huge fish tank so Isabelle, Stefanie, and the boys were entertained for exactly .05 seconds looking at the fish.  The boys then decided it would be a good time to climb on Dada and we had some fun with that.  Kind of felt like a SpongeBob episode where he does everything possible and only two minutes have passed.  Eventually (about 30 mins later) it was time for Isabelle’s vitals to be taken (she's gained a pound!) and then we were taken into the room to wait.  Dr. Ladage came in and introduced herself all around and told us she would ask some questions and allow Isabelle to get used to her being around and talking.  The doctor has adopted from China three times herself so she knew exactly what we were going through and asked questions about Isabelle’s development.  The boys did an awesome job of not freaking out despite the cramped quarters and lack of stimulation for them.  Following the questioning, Dr. Ladage showed us Isabelle’s measurements and “where she was on the curve.”  Stefanie asked if it was an American growth chart or Chinese wherein the doctor told us that they use American charts to check growth because the sample size for Americans is so varied, especially in comparison with the Chinese growth charts.  Anyway, Isabelle is tracking along on the 10th percentile in height and barely hanging onto the bottom edge of the growth chart in weight. She is pretty consistent except for some deviations that may have been caused by past inaccuracies in measurements.  After the health and development assessment, Dr. Ladage informed us that Isabelle was a few months behind her age in gross motor skills but that she was close to age appropriate for social and language skills (sounds like a Leist).  Then the tough part of the hospital visit arrived…time for immunizations (sounds so much nicer than shots but children still think of them as shots I’ll bet).  The first was PPd and then she received two shots each in her left and right leg.  To say she wasn’t happy would be an understatement.  Fortunately Mom swooped in and comforted her.  We then traveled to the lab for blood to be drawn.  I also received the “Lucky You and Not Me” award for holding our precious daughter as she was drained of 30 ml of blood and screamed her little head off.  Again Mom came to the rescue and then we went to eat at the hospital cafeteria while Stefanie gave Isabelle a bottle and she fell asleep.  One more appointment and we could head for the house.  It was time for the echo cardiogram.  Stefanie braved this one and was able to calm Isabelle enough for the technician to get a good read.  We will find out all the different test results in the next few weeks. Please keep her in your prayers!

June 29
Isabelle is running a fever from her shots – we think – but otherwise is doing very well.  Her fever kept her from going to the concert in the park put on by our church but Asher, Dalton, and I played in the park and had a great time.  Stefanie and Isabelle enjoyed a quiet evening at home playing on the carpet.

June 30
Isabelle is an amazing child. Stefanie had to take the kids on a bunch of errands today and Isabelle was a champ. She just seems to take everything in stride, even a trip to the dentist's office where she had to sit on Stefanie's lap and watch her get her teeth cleaned. Next they went to the base hospital to have Isabelle's PPd test read and it was negative for TB. Praise God! She tried whole milk for the first time today. She loved it! She flapped her arms and leaned in for more after every sip. She is beginning to smile so much more spontaneously, it is an outward sign that she is feeling safe and loved. We are so grateful to be able to witness such an incredible transformation. Our wonderful friends are coming in from Nebraska and Ohio this weekend to meet our newest addition. We couldn't be more excited and look forward to celebrating the 4th with them. Our next update will be in a few weeks so we'll see you then!

"What's that?"

Every girl needs her own cell phone

I can clap!

Doctor visit (before shots)

I love to get phone calls!

Brothers share their new Rescue Heroes set
with Isabelle


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