Adopting Caroline Li

Monday, August 20, 2007

Gotcha Day Anniversary!

Today marks the one year anniversary of "Gotcha Day". It really is hard to believe that a year ago we were in a hotel in Nanchang nervously waiting for the moment that we would be introduced to Caroline! That night we wrote in our blog: “Caroline is so tiny…probably the smallest baby of the bunch. The orphanage caretaker said she is quiet and sweet. While other babies were screaming their heads off, Caroline just sat with Amy and stared at everything going on.” What a difference a year makes…yes, she is still very sweet, but FAR FROM quiet and still! Caroline is everywhere, with tons of energy, spunk, and constant noise. Even Joshua and Katie struggle to keep up with her. We love her so much and can’t even remember life without her. God has been so good to us and Caroline. We praise Him for His sovereign control over our lives and for the precious gift He gave us one year ago today.

Celebrating Gotcha Day and Scott's Birthday

Our completed family!

Caroline loves to dress up...nice pumps!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Back to Normal!

We’ve waited a couple of months to update because we discovered some “interesting” facts after Caroline’s surgery. We’ll explain a little further down in this post.

The three weeks after surgery were brutal. Caroline was really unhappy…weeping & crying because she was so uncomfortable. Sleep was difficult and so everyone was tired. However, Caroline is now back to normal…full of life and into everything! Caroline loves baby dolls and gives them hugs constantly. Joshua and Katie are great siblings and it is so obvious how much they care for her. None of us can imagine our lives without her.

Now for the “interesting” facts…during surgery the doctors had drawn some blood to test for the presence of Chromosome 22 which is sometimes missing in children that have a cleft pallet (which can signal potential health issues later on).

The good news is that we received a call about a week after the surgery informing us that Caroline does have Chromosome 22. However, the test also revealed that she has “Turner Syndrome” which can signal difficulties with growth and fertility. Turner Syndrome is when a female has one instead of two “x” chromosomes. The confusing fact about Caroline is that she has cells lines with both “x” and “xxx” chromosomes.

Because this pattern is unusual, we went to a ton of doctor appointments and had numerous tests performed. All the tests (echo cardiogram, kidneys, ultrasound, etc.) came back normal. Also, Caroline is growing fine and doesn’t appear to have physical characteristics often found with Turner Syndrome children. Bottom line is that we simply have to monitor her growth going forward. If she slips on the growth charts, we will visit the specialists at UNC Hospital to see if any growth hormones are needed. If she continues to grow normally, the doctors suspect that the “x” and “xxx” chromosomes might be balancing each other out and everything will be fine.

We are very thankful for God’s sovereign control over Caroline’s life. He knew that Caroline would need both cleft pallet and Turner Syndrome specialists, and UNC Hospital (45 minutes from our house) has great doctors who handle both. We continue to thank Him for the blessing of making her part of our family.

Caroline...Carolina. They go together well!

Yuuummmy...Krispy Kreme!

Getting ready for the 2025 Winter Olympics

Caroline definitely has gotten her appetite back since the surgery!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Surgery's Done!!

We mentioned in our Christmas post that Caroline was scheduled to have surgery at UNC Hospital January 11th to repair her cleft pallet. We are thankful to report that everything went well and she is now recovering at home. The 3-4 hour surgery also included having tubes put into her ears as ear infections are common in children with cleft pallets (the doctors estimate new tubes will probably be necessary another 3 or 4 times). We have a followup visit with the surgeon this week to make sure he is comfortable with Caroline’s progress. Assuming everything is fine, the next stage will be for us to begin speech therapy as the soft pallet (the location of Caroline’s cleft) is very important in creating the sounds necessary to produce words. THANKS to our many friends who have provided meals for this coming week! We are not getting much restful sleep and Caroline needs lots of comforting during the day, so we appreciate all of you so much. We also must thank God our Creator who is intimately involved in Caroline's life. We praise Him for His goodness to our family: Psalm 105:1 - "Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim His greatness. Let the whole world know what He has done."

Caroline showing off her new hospital ID bracelet before surgery.

Waiting for surgery….nice socks!

Fortunately, Caroline was heavily medicated so she was not feeling as bad as she looks in this picture. The black string taped to the side of her face is attached to a stitch in her tongue. This was needed just in case her tongue swelled after surgery and needed to be pulled forward. Thankfully it didn’t swell and the stitch was removed a few hours later.

Although this picture shows Scott with Caroline, Amy actually spent the night with her at the hospital while Scott was at home with Joshua and Katie (and Nana Hall).

This picture represents how Caroline has felt for the first few days after surgery….weepy, uncomfortable, needing to be held. We give her amoxicillin 3 times each day, ear drops twice per day, and pain medicine every 4 hours. Given all that, Caroline is handling everything incredibly well.

On Sunday, we decided to get out of the house and go on a bike ride. Being outside really picks up Caroline’s spirit. She already seems to be getting some of her spunk back.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


It is hard to believe that four months have already past since we first held Caroline in our arms in Nanchang. In fact, Caroline has so completely assimilated into our family that it is hard to remember life without her. Joshua and Katie have adjusted well, and it is easy to see their love for her. Thanks to all of our family and friends who have supported us along the way in the form of meals, visits, gifts, etc. Many people have asked us for an update on Caroline’s condition since we originally reported on our blog that she was born with a cleft pallet and that she had some malnutrition/anemia issues. We’ll discuss this further down in this post.

As Christmas time approaches we often find ourselves reflecting on how much our lives have changed since this time last year. One of our favorite music groups (Third Day) just released a song that captures much of our feelings from last December as compared to this Christmas:

Christmas 2005

There’s a little girl trembling on a cold December morn crying for mama’s arms,
At an orphanage just outside a little China town where the forgotten are.
But half a world away I hang the stocking by the fire,
And dream about the day when I can finally call you mine.

It’s Christmas time again but you’re not home
Your family is here and yet you’re somewhere else alone.
So tonight I pray that God will come and hold you in His arms,
And tell you from my heart, I wish you Merry Christmas.

Christmas 2006

It’s Christmas time again and now you’re home,
Your family is here so you’ll never be alone.
So tonight before you go to sleep, I’ll hold you in my arms,
And tell you from my heart, I wish you Merry Christmas.

In the four months that we have had Caroline (she is now 14 months old), her weight has increased from just under 13 pounds to a little over 18 pounds! She has also gone from not being able to sit up on her own to just on the verge of walking. The only health item remaining is surgery to repair her cleft pallet (which is scheduled January 11th). Ear infections are common in children with cleft pallets (Caroline has already experienced two), so the doctors will also put tubes in Caroline’s ears. Finally, a chromosome 22 test will be conducted after surgery. Basically, we are looking for the presence of this chromosome to rule out further potential health issues that are sometimes found in children with cleft pallets. We have been several times to UNC Hospital in preparation for the surgery, and basically everything has checked out well so the doctors are not expecting problems after surgery. We plan on updating our blog shortly after the surgery for anyone that is interested.

As we have gone though the process of bringing Caroline into our family, our awareness of the global crisis of 143 million orphaned children has been significantly heightened. We have also been enlightened as to how much the Bible talks about God’s heart for these children. For example:

“…you are the defender of orphans…Lord, you know the hopes of the helpless. Surely you will listen to their cries and comfort them. You will bring justice to the orphans and oppressed, so people can no longer terrify them.” --Psalm 10: 14, 17-18

“Vindicate the weak and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and destitute. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.”— Psalm 82:3-4

“Dispense true justice and practice kindness and compassion each to his brother; and do not oppress the widow or the orphan…”— Zechariah 7:9-12

A great website that we feel does a good job to raise awareness of the problem is We encourage everyone to visit this site as it provides many practical suggestions and various ways we can respond to God’s call to “practice kindness and compassion” to orphaned children.

Wow, what a change! From hanging out in a tiny Chinese orphanage to cheering with 50,000 people at her first Carolina football game!

Katie always makes sure she is with us when we get Caroline up in the morning and really enjoys pretending to be mommy as well.

Joshua loves taking care of Caroline!

Happy 1st Birthday Caroline!

Yummy...this is good cake!

Learning to walk!

A pumpkin and a princess!

Having Fun!!!

Saturday, September 02, 2006


After 28 hours of traveling from Guangzhou to Hong Kong to Chicago to Raleigh, we arrived safely home at midnight. We were greeted by a throng of family and friends holding signs, flowers, and balloons at the RDU airport! This picture shows some of those who came to welcome us. The sight of Joshua & Katie and everyone else brought tears to our eyes as the long journey to adopt Caroline is now over. As we reflect back on this experience, the main thought that comes to mind is the incredible grace and mercy of God our Creator. We are overwhelmed with thankfulness that He decided to choose our family for adopting Caroline. The path of Caroline’s life has been changed significantly, but so has ours. She has already enriched our lives, especially spiritually. Adoption is used in the Bible to describe the process of salvation and its subsequent benefits. God the Father graciously adopts those of us who are believers in Jesus Christ into his spiritual family and grants us all the privileges of heirship. Therefore, salvation is much more than forgiveness of sins and deliverance from condemnation; it is also a position of great blessing. While we can never fully grasp the depth of God’s love for us, adopting Caroline has helped us comprehend and appreciate it a little more. In closing this journal, our prayer for Caroline is that early in her life she will experience spiritual adoption as well.

Joshua, Katie, and cousins waiting for Caroline

Our completed family

Katie meeting Caroline

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Homeward Bound!

We spent today packing up and purchasing last minute necessities for the long trip home tomorrow. This has been an incredible experience that we will always cherish. However, we are ready to come home to be with Joshua, Katie, and the rest of our family and friends. In addition, Scott is tired of watching ping pong on ESPN world. We are leaving Guangzhou tomorrow morning to fly to Hong Kong. Although we arrive in Hong Kong at 12:30pm, our flight to Chicago doesn’t depart until 5:45pm! Then, we fly15 hours straight to Chicago (where Caroline will officially become a US citizen) and then take another flight to Raleigh where we will arrive around midnight. It’s going to be pretty brutal, but we’ve armed ourselves with Cheerios, crackers, and other “Caroline calming” snacks.

Happy to be headin' home!

This is what we hope Caroline will look like during the flight from Hong Kong to Chicago! On another note, Caroline has made a lot of progress physically since Gotcha day on August 20th. She can now sit up on her own, has PLENTY of energy, and is quick to smile.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Finally Done!

At 4:00pm this afternoon we took an oath at the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou which officially completed our adoption process. Currently, Caroline is still a Chinese citizen, but she will become an American citizen the moment her passport is stamped in Chicago! Tomorrow, we will say goodbye to many of the families in our adoption group. The rest of us fly out on Friday.

China is known for pearls, jade, and porcelain and we have enjoyed visiting great shops for each while here. Our adoption agency has been really helpful in that they have recommended the most reputable stores to visit. CCAI brings these stores a lot of business, and so the owners make sure they take care of the adopting families. Today, prior to our U.S. Consulate appointment, we visited a pearl wholesaler. We had fun learning a lot about freshwater and saltwater (Mikimoto) pearls. They assist clients in selecting their pearls and then string them up right on the spot.