Thursday, December 31, 2009

One of the positives from getting up so early this week from the jet lag... some beautiful sunrises

Some pics of our joy this week....

Gracie kept staring at Ben's cake... and finally he shared and she smiled. She will place the food she does not like on the person's plate next to her very secretly... and she sniffs everything on her plate before she eats it. We woke up to snow this am and the kids loved being outside... Gracie had a wonderful time and even Mya was wrapped in a trash bag to protect her fixator leg and she was pulled around on the sled for 2 hrs... Ava and Mya together enjoying making a gingerbread house and I love the one with Andrew in his pillowcase :)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Andrew's first pediatrician's visit, first ride in a car seat and first trip out

Paul met me at our pediatrician's office for Andrew's check up today since Andrew has so many things we wanted to go over.... I had spoken with our neurologist's office and we have coordinated with our doctor to communicate with him to decide about the seizure medicine... I believe that our doctor thinks like we do that he was given that medicine to calm him and not for seizures... he said it is often given in the US for anxiety ...even given for stage fright for actors... and not used to often for seizures here... this was was very interesting since we were also given medicine to "calm" him... needless to say we have not given him that second medicine because he has not needed it. I have given him the "seizure" medicine because I was told I had to wean him off of it ... this is true and next week we should know how we are going to do that...

Andrew has a strange way that he eats.. besides getting all of his food from a bottle that I have put our regular food into a small food grinder ( electric) and he drinks it from the bottle with the nipple cut bigger. He takes 2 bottles at each feeding and is done with them in 2 to 3 minutes. He will supp on it and then throw the bottle away ( we hold onto it and give it back and he takes it after he swings his head back) . It is very odd and of course he now sits in the high chair. We shared this with the doctor and after seeing the inside of his mouth we will be seeing our cleft doctor at Hopkins as well. I have thought something was different and so we will see. He has a very high palate.. so we will be doing that soon as I call our cleft doctor. We are also going to see about speech therapy and a feeding school. I will let you know exactly what the feeding school is . We already have his opthamologist appt. in Jan. and because Gracie has exotropia, she is going with me that day as well. She has her check up next week...

Our doctor was encouraging and said we were doing everything that he would suggest for Andrew... I will be taking him tomorrow for lab work . So we have a plan and follow up.. I am excited to see what this month will have for our sweetie. He did great even getting his ppd and 3 shots. He is also do for 2 other shots but that will be later. When he came home he was tired and spent some time on the floor with the kids... we put a pillow down for him and today he crawled all the way into the pillow case... we had some friends over to meet the kids... and I pulled him out and he found it again and went in. He loves to be under things... sometimes we will find him crawled under the carpet . He is very silly sometimes.. he loves to laugh and will mimick our laughs. He also loves his bath... lots of giggles and splashing ... it is a sweet sound to hear and to know he is ours forever... to see him loving things and expressing himself is so good to be a part of.

Gracie is very affectionate with us now. She was not in July when we visited her... she will come up to us and ask for us to pick her up, she gives and receives kisses. She went up to our other blind son yesterday and raised her hands for him to pick her up... she did not realize he was blind... it was a cute moment and then she was picked up when Abraham understood what she wanted.... at times it is like she lets her guard down and just relishes the attention. So much positive change in such a short time for both our kiddos makes it all worth it. Tonite one of the kids asked me if I thought Andrew would have lived much longer... to be honest no. He was being starved slowly and the other things done to him have me really boiling inside... actually I am sure I have adoptive post partum depression sort of... I have anger that is deep inside me and I think it starts with what I see my little one had to endure and then I think of all of them and what was done to them... it makes me deeply sad...not really depressed just sad that people can treat a child this way or the ways I have heard my children express or share about. Then it makes it very difficult for me to be around even other christians because to be honest lots of times I just hear church people lament about things that to me are not that important... ( like what to do on New Years Eve or petty family issues) especially when I have seen how most orphans live. I will be forever grateful to the Lord for opening my eyes to the plight of the orphan and giving me an overabundance of love for them... it is like I can see and feel how much the Lord loves them and how much we can do with His help and provision to change the life for a child.....

Andrew is our most delayed and neglected child we have adopted... and it will be hard to help him overcome but please check back with us because I know he will.....I have seen it many times before... tonite my friend reminded me of when she first met Mya... and how pathetic and sickly she was... and in a short time how quickly she changed to a spitfire of health and energy. Andrew is at about a 6 to 8 month level developementally... just remember this and pray for him and us to know and be able to give him the optimum chance to do all that the Lord wants for him. If you have not figured out I love a challenge... and these precious ones have come many times with many challenges.. we even have been told by a doctor you do not want that one... and I said right back you just made me want him more... and she was wrong and our son, Luke was right...and Luke has had to overcome open heart surgery and will need more to replace his damaged aortic valve, he had no palate and a major cleft lip, his leg was attached to his back like an accordian and his other leg was webbed and he had a severe clubfoot... all of these except the second heart surgery have been done... he now walks on his own ( actually runs), talks well and is an extremly brite boy... and do you know what he wants to be when he grows up? A doctor and he could do that.. he is very smart in school. The rest of his body was not "normal" but the parts that really count have made up in compassion, love and his ability to use his brain.... I am excited to see what Andrew will accomplish....Gracie too.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Jet lag... aagh for Paul and I

I am so tired at specific times of the day... where I almost hit a brick wall. I was like this last July but I do not remember from our other trips... I guess it is like giving birth... you forget the negatives when you are holding the baby.... I also get very hungry at about 3 pm .. so I eat a snack :) It takes me a good week to get back to feeling normal. I have been waking up very early and have even gotten up at 5 am to start my day... which usually for me starts at 7 or 7:30... On Wed. we take Andrew to the pediatrician ... he is on seizure medicine but we were told he does not need to be and in his medicals did not have one listing of a seizure but the director/doctor gave us the medicine and told me to let the American doctors wean him off... I have spoken with our neurologist's and the plan is for our pediatrician to call the neurologist after our visit tomorrow and decide what to do next.... I have a post as soon as I am not so tired at nite about medicals and referrals. Because it was a total surprise to us that Andrew was on seizure medicine or even had seizures... for us it did not change our desire to adopt him ( I know for some parents it would though) ... it just would have been good to know so I would already have made his neurologist's appt. before we got him.... sort of like knowing if your unborn child has a medical issue before you give birth so you can prepare the best way possible to help the baby when they are born.... it would not make us decide to have an abortion... because we are prolife... just a better way to bring the baby into the world with us educated about the medical condition the baby has....More later on this subject and what our doctor shares tomorrow.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Andrew up right and walking :)

I forgot to add this picture last nite... it is a favorite of mine... since he is walking. As I shared most of his first 5 yrs was spent lying down... but not now. He is sitting, trying to get up and at times just being forced to sit up but he does it... and even walking. He is a bit cranky this am but he caught Joseph's cold . Here is Gracie reaching down and touching Willi... Lily stayed home from church this am and she has been encouraging her little sister all am... to touch the dogs or play... Josiah has really taken to Andrew too.. as you can tell from his smile.... just warms my heart.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

How we are doing :)

Just fine and even better.... We have been home now 48 hrs. and we are doing very well. Gracie was very afraid of the dogs but is getting better each day... we just ingnore her behavior now and she has relaxed about them... She loves to play or at least watch sitting by the girls as they play.. she will pick up toys... and see how they work. She loves balloons and does not mind when they pop. She loves to wear everyones shoes and clops all day with her brothers clogs on. She is very timid still about eating but we have found some foods that she will eat and with help she does fine. Both are sleeping on our schedule at nite and they have taken a 2 hr rest or nap... ( so have we). Both are loved by everyone here... and each new accomplishment they do is applauded by all... it just amazes me how much compasion these kids have... they clamor to hold or play with Andrew.... he is doing more each day... I will elaborate more about each one of their conditions when we got them... his was more appalling than we thought... which makes each one of his accomplishments even more rewarding.... He is fed food thru a bottle... about 6 to 7 bottles a day.... food we eat is ground up with my food grinder and placed in his bottle... the one picture of Joseph feeding him is how he was used to eating... lying down...this am I put him in a high chair and fed him his bottles and he did fine... he has spent almost all of his 5 yrs prone... lying down ... look at the picture of him walking holding on to Cate! We have had him only 12 days ... any guesses as to how much he weighs now? Tonight he was 28 plus lbs.... on our scale that weighs you lite...

I will write more later just wanted to share... we had a very sweet Christmas! Being home and seeing how all the kids welcomed their new brother and sister was very special.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

We made it home!

Just a quick note to share we made it home actually our flight was 30 minutes early.... and it is so good to be home! More later... the kids did fine but we are exhausted.... Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

A quick update... more later

We are done... embassy medical and interview went well. We pick up our visas Tuesday and do our tv interview... I just wanted to share how much our little guy Andrew weighs now... he was under 20 lbs at the orphanage and now he weighs 24.8lbs.... I was shocked at how much he has gained with us in just a week. I imagine how much he will weigh in a few months. I will share more later though.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Andrew's first bath and smiling all the time

State Agency for Child Protection Visit

This was a gift that Mrs. S gave to us for the children to remember Bulgaria by. It is the virgin Mary and baby Jesus. We were very touched by her kindness and desire to help the children of Bulgaria. Gracie and Andrew were great during our meeting and Gracie loved the goodies.

Our meeting with the Director of Child Protective Services and our day

We had such a pleasant surprise when we walked into the meeting room... they had set up a reception for us with cookies, water, candy , coke and other treats. She was very nice and very interested in picking our thoughts on adoption in general and special needs adoption. She even took notes and because she is new is starting to implement changes in the care of the children and the adoption process... then it was decided that we should be interviewed on their national tv... so they are coming to our hotel to do the interview... We pray that we can be a light to many even more now that we will be on their national tv.... please remember this time in prayer.

More signs of progress in both our blessings... Gracie is eating well now. I guess she has decided to give us some control there. She sings all the time...actually no words but humming songs we recogonize. We were playing hide from Joseph and Andrew in the hotel this afternoon( very few people here today).. Cate, Gracie and I were in and out of the elevator and Joseph and Andrew were trying to find us... all of a sudden she starts humming the Elmo song... and they found us. They both were great at the restaurant which can be a glimmer of hope for our trip home :)

Andrew continues to show positive signs of change too. He slaps himself less and we rarely hear him cry his sweet soft cry. He is very oral and drools alot with fingers in his mouth and he will purposely make spit to slurp. He crawled over to my chair and was under in and thru it to be by me... and he loves to be kissed... he is such a needy one but loves the phyisical touches and play we do . I can't wait to see him just a few months from now. We think when we were leaving today we heard him say da many times as we were going out.... Gracie tonite was so tender with him .. she was trying to connect with him face to face again.....

The picture I hope to post will be of the people we met with today at the Division of Child Protective Services....

Friday, December 18, 2009

How they are getting along

Someone asked how the 2 new ones are getting along... Andrew loves to be by any of us... he does not show any real preference to slide himself up to Gracie but,he does enjoy being by her. She does not mind him either. Tonite we saw her with her face an inch from his on the bed... she moved before we got the camera. She is not bothered by his eyes or inability to play with her... she was more a loner when it came to playing ... very much an observer with her group. Joining in when she wanted to.... We thought and still think she may have institutional autism... although we have seen her connect with us in such a short time... she loved her bath tonite and both enjoy when I put cream on them and give them a massage.

Another great day!

We woke to snow...about 5 inches. Things in Sofia did not slow down and thankfully we have already gotten the kids... Toni said that Vidin where Gracie was is snowed in... ptl they got here when they did.

Today was an even better day with both kids. Our little nite owl decided to play until 1 am... very happy guy , making lots of happy noises... I woke at 8 and decided to stay in bed ( must have needed to because usaully I am up and out). Paul woke me and I did not even hear him get up and shower. We got ready and fed both the kids... Gracie is eating better today. Of course Andrew the pig is eating lots.... he was much better today about leaking but we have to watch him so he does not leak on beds...

We met Toni and drove to the MOJ. We had to wait for about 15 minutes until the meeting adjourned... it was their weekly referral meetings.. deciding on prospective adoptive parents dossiers and their referrals... when they came out we got to meet them and share about our very large family and they loved our picture album... we took a picture of the director with us. She was very pleasant and spoke English. Toni said they were very impressed and that we helped give adoptions a positive picture... we prayed that we would be able to. Then the sec. deputy of Child Protective Servicres who was a part of the referral team was so impressed she wants us to meet her boss the director of the division of social on Sat. we have an appointment to meet with them... please pray that we can share and give a very positive picture of how adoptions are very good for their children...not to mention the families who have been blessed by these wonderful children.

We have had a very positive day.... Gracie is much more comfortable with us and is looking like she is enjoying all the new experiences... and Andrew is such a happy one... he makes us laugh and smile with his antics... we still see lots of auto agressive behavior and it really does upset Joseph when he does them... we just tell Joseph we can't change all of his behaviors at once and time will help with those.

More snow tomorrow and I hear our back home is going to get walloped with snow Friday nite and Sat.... it is looking like it will be a white Christmas.... We did also get the kids passports today and the only thing left is our medicals and the visas interview... then home!

Thursday, December 17, 2009