Monday, September 1, 2014

One year of love!!

Where does the time go? In some ways it seems like the blink of an eye and in others an eternity. What a year it has been, and it is just the beginning! The transformation between then and now, not only for him but for us as a family, has been amazing to see. We have gone from a family of 7 plus 1, to a family of 8. From survival mode to living. It wasn't easy but oh has it been worth it!

When we got home, he could not hold up his head. He choked on even thick foods, and got so excited and frantic every time he saw food that we could hardly pry his mouth open (he clenches his jaw when he's excited) to put food in his mouth. His head would pull to one side with his tone if he was excited or upset. He could not bare the weight of his tiny body on his legs. He weighed 17lbs, and was 31.75" long (actually likely less as they had a hard time measuring him, and later measurements were closer to 31"). He took at least 1 two hour nap a day, sometimes 2. If you laid him on his back, his legs 'frogged' out instantly and he was unable to move them unless doing a wild flail to scoot across the floor. He cried silently and would turn blue any time he was jiggled or bounced even the slightest, or patted on the back to burp.

Now he can hold his head up about 50% of the time, he can drink juice from a sippy cup, and he opens his mouth all on his own. He licks suckers and popcicles. He LOVES to try new foods. He's learned to stand with support, can sit on my hip, and holds his face towards you when you feed him. He weighs 27lbs and is 35" tall, and only takes one short nap in the afternoon (sometimes). He can also extend his legs, and use his feet and legs to kick things on purpose (which he thinks is hilarious). He is getting better about reaching for things and manipulating toys. He can hold a sippy cup with help. If he cries, it's a full out cry that you can hear across the house, because he finally has enough strength in his diaphragm to force air to move that strongly. He no longer cries at being bounced and actually loves to 'ride the horsie' and be bounced on your knees. He has a pet chicken that he likes to pet because she's soft and fluffy. He loves watching fish. He has a crazy goofy sense of humor and will laugh at the most ridiculous things. He's extremely ticklish. All of his doctors and specialists adore him, as does his family.

He still has a lot of hurdles to overcome but we will be with him through it all. This year he gets a cochlear implant, as we have discovered that he is profoundly deaf. What windows that will open for him to develop even further! And he has started medication to help with his dystonia so that he can better control his body. He is a very hard worker at therapy and the sky is the limit for him. We are so blessed by this sweet boy. I cannot wait to see what the next year home holds.

 Here are some pictures from the last 6 months.

Cookies!! MMMMMmmm

Snoozin and looking adorable after therapy

Sporting some nifty AFOs

Killer pouty lip

Playing in the corn at the fair!

Strolling in the 4th of July Parade with 4H

First time sleeping in a tent

Adorable even in a gown while waiting for his sedated ABR
Straight legs!!!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Six months home!!!

We are a busy bunch but having a lot of fun.  Our little man is doing great! He's had 2 EEGs, an MRI, an ECHO, Xray of his hips, and all of them came out very good with no issues. His movement specialist is thrilled with his weight gain and according to her scale/chart he is around the 10th percentile. Not the official # though since his pediatrician has him weighed undressed, and not clothed like at the specialist. Great though as he has gained about 5lbs in the last 3 months, and almost 10lbs total! He starts PT tomorrow, OT and speech next week, and gets a couple other tests coming up (hearing, vision, and a swallow study). He's starting to engage more with us, plays more, and tries to express his wants. He lights up when he sees us and his siblings. He is a joy.

We celebrated his 3rd birthday recently. A few times actually! First with a yummy chocolate cupcake (mmmm frosting!!).

Then a few days later we had a yummy cake (no sprinkles, too hard to chew)!

 We have also gone shopping at the art store. Such a cute helper!!

And now that he has gotten up to a healthy weight for his height, he's starting to work on developing skills like holding his head up, chewing on things, and putting his hands in his mouth.

It's been wonderful to see all of his progress, but also heartbreaking.  Six months ago we met a lot of other children that we came to love. Children we knew we could not bring home even though one of the nannies begged us to. It broke my heart then, and now, it breaks my heart more. One of the children we met there, who shared a room with our boy, slept in the crib next to his, and had a family coming for him... he did not make it to feel their love. He was very sick when we met him, and I feared he would not make it through the winter. His breathing so labored, and his tiny malnourished body frozen by his medical condition. The staff did what they could, but it was not enough. The ability to care for such medical needs is just not available. Precious little "Royce" passed away in February.

Through a friend we learned that another in that same groupa, one that the nanny had begged us to take back with us to "Amerika" (but we were not able for a few reasons) has also taken a turn for the worse. His hydrocephalus was under control, but his shunt has failed. Please pray for this little one. A family we love very much is there and found him and is working to bring him home. He needs treatment desperately and it is not an option in his home country.

Please pray for Ukraine and it's independence from Russia, and for it's 'least of these', the orphans that need families to come forward. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas!

We have been really busy with the holidays and a bunch of specialist appointments and tests. He's had an MRI now, two EEGs, met the movement specialist, had a few more shots and another check up, met with the neurologist a few times, and had an ECHO done of his heart. We still have a few more tests to go but he's doing well. He gained 2 pounds this month and is up to just about 22lbs now!

And that is 22 pounds of darling cute boy too..

Merry Christmas!!!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Someone's child...

A little over a year ago I wrote a post about a boy whose picture was on my phone. This is part of that post:

"I keep a picture of one of the Reece's Rainbow kids on my phone as the wallpaper, and pray for him throughout the day. Yesterday someone saw his picture and asked who's child he was. I replied that he was no one's, and a quizzical look came over their face. They asked again, explaining that it had to be someone's child. Again, I said it really was no one's child, and my heart broke. He is God's child, but he has no earthly family to love him. No one to tuck him in at night or sing silly songs to him. No one to explore the great outdoors with, or buy him the goofiest Halloween costume possible. No one to show him the love of the Creator. Oh how my heart aches for him. I wish we could be those someones."

That picture was "Jacob" and that person was my husband. Here we are a year later and he is most definitely someone's child now! He is so loved and cherished. We get the priveledge of tucking this sweet child of God in at night. Kissing his cheeks and forehead, singing him silly songs, and taking him outdoors to explore the world. He didn't wear a super goofy costume this year but he did wear a cute hoodie with ears. ;) He has bonded so well to us, especially me, just as he should. He's gaining weight, learning skills, and oh is he a happy little guy. I cannot fully grasp the way God carried us through the last year. We have so much to be thankful for. God is so good. 

There are so many other children that need families to step out in faith for them. Will you be one of them? Or maybe someone you know? Share, Donate, Pray.

Friday, November 1, 2013

I'm an Angel Tree Warrior!!

I tried signing up on and off for the last couple weeks but every time I did, the kids I chose were already taken. Today I checked to see who needed an AT Warrior and sweet sweet Samuel still did, and now I am that warrior! I am so excited!! The goal is to raise at least $1000 for his grant and/or find him a family. I have a few ideas on raising funds for him, and I can't wait to get started!

Check out the Angel Tree program if you want to see all of the kids or find out more about the program! There are still a few kids that need warriors!

Our Angel Tree child is Samuel!!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

One month home and doing awesome!

Praise God, he has done such an amazing thing by adding our lil guy to our family.  He is a perfect fit for us, and we for him. He has gained over 3lbs since we have been home and is much more active and talkative. Bonding is going terrific, lots of eye contact, people preference (mom & dad, then siblings), and he is exploring toys. His teeth have come in a bunch with the added nutrition and you can tell very clearly the line of decay from not having them cared for before we got him. The tops of his teeth where they were through the gum line are decayed to tiny sharp nubs. He's eating like a champ and is taking things by spoon once in a while. We just love him to bits. My only regret from the whole thing is that we did not bring two children home. But God has a plan and I am quite sure our family is not finished expanding.

Here are a few random photos, though none are terrific since my good camera stopped working just after we got home.

(Snoozing in his swing after playing for a bit. 1 week home)

(2 weeks home. Playing on his playmat. video capture)

(Meeting one of the ponies with a few of his sisters. 3 weeks home)

(Playing is hard work! 4 weeks home)

He has gained a lot of muscle control so far. He scoots around on his blanket on the floor, tries to roll over, and holds his head up side to side (front to back is harder). He loves being tickled and flipped upside down like any 2 yr old boy. He's started to do things he thinks are funny, like scooting across the floor the second I get his diaper off for a changing, or tossing his head to one side when he's sitting on me and I move it to the other side. He gets a smile on his face when he does it. He's a goofball and it's fun to watch him grow and show his personality.  He's very sensitive as well and if he's not happy, he will let you know. When we got home he pulled a killer pouty lip face quite often. Now he does not do it as much, and he's gotten better at vocalizing. He's not speaking words yet but does make a wide variety of sounds so I am sure we will get there eventually. His hair has grown a ton since we got home as well. It sticks up in the cutest whirl at the front on one side. I'm not sure if we will just let it grow out a bit or if we will trim it to some sort of faux-hawk.

Well back to 'work' now for me. Writing blog posts does not help the housework or art get done!

OH and since we are done funding adoption stuff for the time being, I want to give you some options for my friends to help with their funding!!!

I LOVE this family!! Their kiddos are just home a year and they are going back. Please support them! They ROCK! The fudge is amazing and I now have a super cute "Feather Man" in my art studio as an inspiration.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Home at last!!

We are home!! It was a grueling 29+ hour journey but we made it. We got home at midnight on the 12th and are still catching up on sleep and adjusting but things are going well.

He had his 'just home' doctors appointment and weighs 17lbs 7.5 oz and is 31.75" long. Our doctor loves him and is as excited to see him grow and progress as we are.

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