First let us once again thank everyone out there who helped us to bring Harper home, and there are many, many of you. In particular, we want to give extra special thanks to Nancy Robertson of the Grace Childrens Foundation (http://www.gracechildren.org/), Rebecca Johnson of Project Hopeful (http://www.projecthopeful.org/), Whitney Reitz, our friend Tricia and her mother Pat, Dr. Jeffrey Starke, and Cathy Doheny of the International Adoption Examiner (http://www.examiner.com/x-7928-Interna
And, to digress a momnent, if anyone out there is looking to donate to a good cause, please take a look at the Grace Childrens Foundation. Nancy Robertson does incredible work, most of which involves helping (mostly Chinese) orphans get medical assistance, operations, etc. that they cannot get without help. You would cry for days if you could see the stories that she is involved with, and the unfortunate circumstances of many of these children. We can't think of a more deserving organization. Again, if you are looking to donate money at some point in the future, please consider them -- http://www.gracechildren.org/.
Back to the thank yous. This will sound a bit strange, but we also have the CDC to thank as well. The reason is this: while they were a barrier to us for a long time, in the end, and rather quickly, they got to work with the DHS and various doctors, including Dr. Starke, to revise the TB immigration protocol to raise the age of children affected by the regulations from age 2 to age 10. I believe they also enacted a provision to review each case individually to allow for judgment calls when needed in certain cases. the bottom line is, they changed the regulations for the better, and all of the cases of families that found themselves in our situation (that we are aware of), including those listed below in this blog, were able to come home with their children without extended stays and without having to leave them behind. We have been remiss in announcing that; it was an important development and we apologize. The CDC done good. And again, I have to add that Nancy Robertson and the Grace Childrens Foundation were instrumental in those happy endings as well.
Harper has been with us for 3 months now, give or take a few days. She is happy and healthy, although she is still taking her TB meds every day under the watchful eye of the local health department. She has grown several inches already, we think, and she seems to be pretty smart. She is VERY bossy, and takes joy in bossing the dog around. She and her brother play very nicely together, although Ivan is pretty rough and Harper eventually ends up crying. But, she loves it and always goes back for more.
Her english is coming along, and she certainly understands everything we say. She speaks at the level of a 2-3 year old I suppose, but has no problems getting her point across even if she doesn't have the words. She is very artistic, and the thing she loves to do the most is draw -- she is quite a good little artist!
She is a fearful child, though, and has yet to make it through a night without wandering in to Mommy and Daddy's room. Not. One. Night. And, for a while, she could not be taken anywhere without throwing a fit, no doubt because she has separation issues and thought we were going to leave her again. This was the worst when visiting friend's houses, I guess because she thought it more likely that we'd leave her with another family than at, say, a grocery store. Slowly, though, she has shaken this off and the separation anxiety is certainly not as bad as it once was. New places are still somewhat unwelcome, however.
She is definitely Mommy's girl. Daddy only gets respect or affection when she needs someone to fall asleep with, or give shoulder rides. Mommy, on the flip side, has Harper attached to her leg from dawn to dusk! Both parents are extremely happy and love their little girl, but nonetheless look forward to some middle ground!
Below are some of our Christmas pics -- we will update with some more candid shots later this week!
Jay and Candace