baby love

I love this picture of Vivi. She looks like such an angel, it’s the one I have framed next to my bed. I think it’s my favorite picture of her, at least it’s my favorite picture this week. I really love all of them, she’s such a beautiful baby girl. All of us around here are totally and completely in love.

I have received quite a few inquiring emails regarding Vivi’s special need, specifically her arm deformity. We have purposefully not identified it on the blog, because we really don’t know what ‘it’ is. It is not arthrogryposis, that we do know. It isn’t a banding syndrome, either. We know her hands are quite functional and from her reports, she is able to do all sorts of adorable things with those precious hands. Which is wonderful news for her.

But there are some things that we will have to wait to find out. One is whether or not Vivi has a form of dwarfism. We were told early on that this was a possibility, before we even reviewed her file. And honestly, we are okay with that. Now, I’m not gonna lie… dwarfism was not on our short list of SNs we were open to. And it wasn’t on our long list either. When the friendly lady at WACAP mentioned the possibility of dwarfism, I was initially taken aback. For a moment. But when I called Chris, and told him what she’d said, he replied, “Oh! We’ll have a shortie, then!” It might not be the most PC thing to say, but it was one of the most tender and compassionate things to come out of the mouth on that big ol’ man ‘o mine. And ever since then we’ve simply accepted the fact that our little girl might be just that: a very little girl.

We have been in touch with not only our boys’ orthopedic surgeon, but also a geneticist who is very interested in Vivi’s case. Between the two of them, they have requested a laundry list of x-rays which, if China consents, will help us ascertain much more about her condition. We do know that she is relatively short. And that an arm deformity and clubfoot often occur together in a certain form of dwarfism. But she is missing some key features of that specific type. Another form, that is much less serious, occurs with a similar arm deformity, but not usually with clubfoot. This form usually just manifests itself as short stature: a normal sized body with shorter arms and shorter legs, and without the cranio-facial features typical of achondroplasia (the most common form of dwarfism). Or, she might just have an arm deformity and clubfoot, and that’s it. And it might not be until we have her home that we have any idea which of these (or something completely different) is the case for our Vivi.

Thankfully, both Chris and I are absolutely certain that this little girl is ours. Intended especially for us by the Maker Himself. And whatever the future holds for us, and for her, He knows. And that’s all we need to know.



  1. I can relate to what you’re saying. We had listed “orthopedic issues” on our special needs checklist. MISSING LIMB was not on MY list of orthopedic issues. But it was very very clear to us that Mia was our daughter.

    I have an 18 year old son who is insulin dependent diabetic. I wouldn’t have chosen that for him, either. That’s what we have learned in all of this…..even if your kids begin life “normal” and “healthy”, it doesn’t mean they will end up that way. That made it easier for us to accept the missing limb.

    I’m sure that with so many children, you have had a similar experience. I’m so happy for you! I’m sure Vivi is just the way God created her to be.


  2. I’m glad you feel peace in knowing she is your daughter, no matter what. She’s a beautiful little girl and she will thrive in your home!

  3. She is so stinkin sweet!!!!!!! I just love the great big hearts in your house!!!!

    And, your post yesterday just made me smile! You are a trooper my friend!

    Hoping that the flu bug has left the building!


  4. Mark, Rebecca and Sophia says:

    What a sweet post, and such a sweet little one!

  5. She’s adorable! I love your Husbands comment about “we’ll have a shorty then’.. too sweet!
    I pray all will be well with little Vivi.
    ~glad you and your kiddos are feeling better. One being sick at our house.. sets me back for dayz! lol!
    Don’t worry.. you’ll get to it when you get to it!

  6. Wuxi Mommy says:

    I’m enjoying watching the story of Vivi unfold on your blog so much! I think, when you’ve found “your child”, that part of the knowing is that peace that only God can give. There are still many unknowns about our Maia, and yet, my husband and I also feel such peace knowing that she was always meant to be our girl! I know He has a beautiful plan for your newest angel, and how wonderful that your hearts were open to taking this step of faith!

  7. That Chris!
    He is a kick!
    Can’t wait for you to get this little sweety home.
    We’ll take care of the rest when she gets here.
    She is a Love Bug.


  8. Oh, my GOODNESS! I agree, she looks completely angelic in that pic. And those rosy little cheeks!

    Thank you so much for letting us all follow along with your journey!

  9. Mom to my China Posse says:

    Vivi is just adorable. I am so glad you are her momma and no matter what her medical issues will be my friend you are going to be so well equipped to handle it. That is just one of the sweetest pictures I have ever seen. Glad you are feeling better.

  10. Nicole A. says:

    God bless her … she really is beautiful! What a terrific addition to your family. I hope you can go get her and bring her home soon!

    All the best,
    Nicole A. in OH

  11. The Gang's Momma says:

    Oh. You really must start posting tissue alerts at the top of the screen for posts like this.

    I am in awe. Of your heart for orphans, yet again. Of your heart for this little girl. Of your sweet tender spirits that are preparing to bring her home. Of our Maker who holds it (and us) all in His hands!

    Thank you for yet another encouraging, inspiring post. This is why I keep coming back over and over. Really.

  12. She is absolutely gorgeous. I especially love those precious rosebud lips. Oh my!

    It’s wonderful to hear that you are following God’s calling and not letting the fear that the enemy tries to fill us with stop you from bringing your daughter home. My prayers will be for your continued peace, for lightning speed turnaround with paperwork and for Vivi’s quick adjustment into her amazing new family.



  13. Heather Thompson says:

    I’ve been so busy and have just now caught up, CONGRATS! I am so very excited for your family. Vivi is another beautiful child to add to your amazing family! God is SO GOOD!

    Heather (FL)

  14. I know that you know when God Speaks, you listen!! Even if it wasn’t on “your list” – I am learning that the hard way about a lot of things these days!!

    Praise God for Vivi, she really is adorable!!

  15. Amie@HeartSmiles says:

    love that little Vivi!!!!!MWAAAAAH!

    love that you are so willing to share your heart.. all of it.

    just love you… and that little peanut! Looks like I might have to make two trips, since she won’t be home by the time I come visit, cause you know I need to give her some lovin!!


  16. Many prayers for your sweet girl!

    I’m thrilled you have such peace. May God bless your family ten fold for your obedience to love His children!

  17. That photo is TRULY angelic…and I cannot tell you HOW MUCH I ADORE the name Vivi!!! I JUST LOVE IT!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Regardless of her final diagnosis, she is an absolutely GORGEOUS little girl!

    Not to put any thoughts in your head, but after she comes home, only three more children and you’ll have an even dozen :) My kids LOVE the “Cheaper by the Dozen” movies. And I think you and your husband could successfully pull that off -something that would be WAY beyond my coping skills – and still have a happy crowd at home!

    Congratulations on the darling Vivi!!!


  19. 1st, i had been wondering where you were but figured you were up to something fun…guess not, as puked up poptarts are not fun!

    vivi is gorgeous! i am praying for God’s love to wrapped around her so tightly…and for your paperwork to flow smoothly and speedily!

  20. Patricia/NYC says:

    She sure IS an angel!! And so are YOU, my friend!

  21. she is beautiful. When you said she has upper and lower limb deformity, I thought I must be looking at the wrong photo.
    You mention dwarfism, I don’t know what state you live in, but here in PA the Amish people have quite a bit of dwarfism among their people. If you Google “Clinic for Special Children, Dr. Morton, dwarfism. you get quite a list from his studies. He also has a Dr with an Asian name working with him.
    Not sure if this is of any interest…

  22. She's just adorable and she's yours. That's all that matters.The rest will work itself out.'nuf said.

    Doreen in Montreal single mom to Faith-Jiangxi & Mia-Sichuan

  23. And she’s absolutely perfect for you!

  24. I’ve been reading Ni Hao Y’all for I don’t know how long now and this is my first comment. Thank you for sharing this! I had just posted last Friday about how I knew our son was ordained for us by our Maker! I can’t wait to follow you back to China! You, your family, and of course beautiful Vivi will be in my prayers.

  25. Lori Lynn says:

    Vivi is gorgeous! All that really matters is that Vivi will be getting a special family that loves her unconditionally and will do their best for her.

    I look forward to following your journey.

    Lori W

  26. I think she is just perfect…. especially that beautiful face of hers. You must feel so lucky and happy!

  27. Ah, vomit. My two kids managed 12 straight days of it back in December, and I actually thought of you. Managing two young kids throwing up every 30-40 minutes was hard- but 4 or 5 or 8!!!! Thinking of what it would have been like at your house ended my pity party! :)

    Vivi is beautiful, just beautiful!!! If anyone can handle whatever comes their way (with God’s help, of course), it’s you and Chris! Vivi is blessed beyond measure!

    I do have a question, because as we begin to navigate the waters of a waiting child adoption, where do you find the doctors ahead of time to look over your child’s file and/or treat your child? How do I know who is qualified to REALLY read the file and know what to look for and how to ascertain what the issues really are? I’m stumped on that part. I don’t even know where to begin? Where did you begin (you know, three or four adoptions ago when you weren’t the expert you are now who has relationships with several doctors I’d imagine).

    Thanks for always sharing so openly!

  28. Stefanie,

    She is so cute (which you already know). She has the prettiest lips. I hope you don't mind a little Q & A.

    How long did it take you to get pre-approval once you had everything sent in to WACAP?

    Did WACAP tell you how long the process is taking now, from start to finish?

    Just curious!

    Can't wait to hear more

  29. Heather says:

    What a sweet little girl! I am enjoying watching this adoption journey unfold right in front of me. Can' wait to read & see more pictures of Vivi!

  30. Anonymous says:

    You and Chris are so great, Stefanie!!! I know little Vivi will be a wonderful addition to your beautiful family!!!

    Ann (Lizzie’s Mom)

  31. AMEN to that last paragraph…I can totally relate;-).

    She has the most beautiful cherub lips in that picture….what a cutie!

  32. Virginia and Doug says:

    She is so beautiful. She looks to melike the she’s got just the right mix of sweetness and spunk God’s plans for her, and your special family, are perfect. Sorry to hear you guys have been ailing. I work in a Pediatric office and I know it’s running rampant here.


  33. living4him5 says:


    She is BEAUTIFUL!!! I love the butterball babies!!!

    We’re praying for a clear diagnosis.

    Love and hugs!

  34. Dawn S. says:

    She is a beautie. Your hubby’s comment reminds me of when we found out the little girl that we are adopting from Haiti had a brother. I said, “what if we find out he’s available?” and he said, “well, then we have a son!” Sounds like the confidence in which your husband said that to you gave you the same kind of peace that this gave me. Blessings! and yes! we have a son! :) and two daughters on the way! Blessings to you!

    LID 3-13-06 for China
    and waiting for Patricia and Philippe in Haiti

  35. The Frost Family says:

    I love your blog! Your children are all so beautiful! I hope you don’t mind if I follow along…your children’s stories are precious!

  36. And just knowing that He is the one who called you to bring her home is enough.

    She is so beautiful.

  37. Michelle says:

    Precious…just precious.

  38. a Tonggu Momma says:

    That firm sense of peace and “knowing” just makes everything else melt away, doesn’t it? The doubts just sort of drift away. Sometimes a storm may come up, so that they float back towards you, but then they drift away yet again.

  39. TanyaLea says:

    Isn’t it neat how when we give our thoughts and pre-conceived expectations over to the Master’s hands, there is just a “peace” in following His plan…I love the certainty He gives! God bless you all! Vivi is so precious! :)

  40. She is a little doll! Our daughter was born with brachial plexus (shoulder caught in birth canal) that causes nerve damage. That also was not on our “list” but is no problem and she’s doing great now! Congratulations to you!

  41. Daisy Dreams says:

    Vivi Claire just walked up to the laptop and asked me who the baby is and I told her it’s “Vivi.” You’ve never seen a more confused look on a little girl’s face. It was rather cute.

    As a nurse working in the NICU, I see so many different medical problems, conditions, syndromes, etc. I can’t tell you how often a geneticist will come in to evaluate a baby and the “collection” of problems never do point to any one “label.” Regardless of what Vivi’s problems end up being, she’ll be loved all the same and will be a blessing to your family!

  42. Michelle says:

    She is so adorable, Stefanie. And may I just say one more time that your hunky hubby is one amazing guy… perfect for your beautiful, amazing self!!

  43. Lost and Found says:

    Oh she is a beauty. I love the big diaper on her. I think it’s amazing how committed you are to bringing her home but those of us who have traveled this road know it all too well. I still will never forget the day I knew my peanut was mine and the day I found her living in her center through one of your links. I’d have never known, gotten 50 photos or reports. I am only hoping you have the same opportunities to learn as much as you can about Vivi (I call my friend the same name). She is precious!

  44. The Wanderers' Daughter says:

    She’s beautiful, and that is such a sweet photo. And it really doesn’t matter what she “has”. When you love someone, you love them. Period.

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