Wednesday, June 20, 2012

13 days home

I am so very sorry it has taken me so long to post.  I promise that everyday I have been trying desperately to finish this post.  I have been working on it for many days now because I only have seconds really of any free time.  Every morning I think "today is the day I can finally get that darn blog post up"...and then the kids wake up...and well as you can see day after day no blog post.


It's busy, it's crazy, it's challenging, it's stressful, but it's also such a joy!  It's a good busy.


So, I give up on trying to keep the boys' names private, in theory it's a good idea but it just doesn't work.  We end up saying their names every time we shoot video of them and how in the world do you edit that out?  And it's just getting so confusing, they have their birth names, their orphanage nicknames, their 'blog names', and their new names...sheeesh.  So in case you didn't catch their names in the videos...drum roll...Valentin's name is Daniel (Hebrew meaning "God is my judge") and Joey's name is Bohdan (slavic name - Boh meaning "God" and dan meaning "given").


Thank you for praying for their first Pediatrician appointment!!!  Pictures on our way to the doctor...






It went VERY WELL!!!  Having a translator there helped tremendously!  The boys were so good and tolerated everything so well.  The blood draw was a completely different story.  Poor guys, it was very traumatic even with both Tyler and I there and the translator.  It did not help that the girls drawing the blood were not very patient or nice at all.  We got through it and with special treats afterwards the boys don't seem traumatized by it.  But I think the picture of the 3 bandages on Daniel speaks for itself...poor guy!  




We love our Pediatrician, he is very adoption friendly and he takes time to research their countries and what blood work they need and he jumps on getting referrals for us.  However he is definitely just a referring doctor, he does not answer any of our questions very well about things that concern us, he just refers us to specialized doctors.  So we really did not learn much at the appointment.  Both boys' blood work and tb tests came back fine (other then low vitamin D levels which we expected - being out in the sunshine is totally new to them) and only Daniel has one parasite that we are treating right now.  Other then the CP and obvious slow growth and being so skinny (they are both in the 1st percentile for weight and height for their age) the boys are healthy otherwise.


Okay, so I'll back up a bit.  I am not going to talk about the plane rides home, is was traumatic and exhausting for everyone, and I mean everyone sitting in economy class and probably some in business class too.  There were a lot of tears (mostly mine) and really I am glad it is quickly becoming a distant memory.  A necessary step to get us home that I am glad is over, but even in midst of it God was teaching and comforting and we are grateful for that!


Our plane arrived late to the airport and our wonderful friends and family waited at the airport for us for over an hour and a half (even with small children).  God bless them!




I cannot tell you the SHEER RELIEF of stepping off the plane in our hometown and knowing that in minutes we would see our family and we would all be reunited.  I started the 'ugly cry' before we even saw our kids running towards us.  And I completely lost it when my mom hugged me!




My mom meeting the boys for the first time...






Our friends showed up with gifts for the kids, food, and 'thickit' for Daniel (by the way 'thickit' is the greatest invention EVER for children who choke and aspirate on liquids!).




So very grateful to have all the kids together at last...and to be going HOME!






Surprisingly all the kids slept through the night that first night, and praise God they have all continued to since then.  Daniel and Bohdan had no problem switching time zones.  It has been an amazing blessing!  One of the hardest things for me about bringing home a newborn or newly adopted child is the lack of sleep, I have never handled lack of sleep well.  But God in his mercy has given us all rest!  I thought the boys would 'stim' a lot to fall asleep but I was surprised that Daniel does not stim at all and Bohdan only rocks his head back and forth singing Ukrainian songs and nursery rhymes, it's actually quite soothing to all of us!  Everyone falls asleep pretty quickly and everyone stays in their beds all night and even in the morning no one gets up, they just call for me.  I know right, how great is that????


So how is bonding going?  Daniel and Bohdan are fitting in like they have been here all the time.  The difference in behavior with Daniel from the orphanage to here is huge!  He is not fearful at all, his screaming and head banging has significantly reduced.  He loves his new found freedom!  Other then some potty issues Bohdan has not had any significant issues at all.  I am really surprised that is has gone so smoothly.  But then again I am not surprised at all...we serve a big God!  I am not saying it's easy...easy is not a word I would EVER use to describe our days or adoption in general, but it has been better then I ever thought.  There has been no real anger, acting out, sadness...anything.  I can tell Bohdan is very happy, first of all he tells everyone who speaks Russian how happy he is in his new home (isn't that the sweetest thing ever?) and second he is nothing but love, giving spontaneous hugs and kisses all the time.  Again, it's not all sunshine and rainbows but the hard things are brief and minor, we are not having to deal with the big bonding issues that I expected.  The hardest parts have been just the addition of two more bodies in the house and the work that entails and all the lifting and carrying with Daniel.  He is very light for his age but still very stiff dead weight and we are still figuring out how to best carry and move him around the house.  We are still getting a routine down.


Bonding between the kids has been slow but it's coming around.  Daniel really does not want anything to do with other kids, he likes to play by himself.  He has been isolated, separated from kids by cribs for  6 years so it will take time.  Our 'littles' are still getting used to having 2 'bigs' in the house, admitting to me that they are scared of them so everyday we work a bit more on playing together and sharing and loving.  Bohdan is a bit obsessive with blocks, spending hours doing the same repetitive things with them if we let him so it was a HUGE day a few days ago when he started to share his block and the boys all played with blocks together.  One of our adopted kids regressed significantly when we brought the boys home...and I mean SIGNIFICANTLY.  Like scary 'we are back at square one' significantly.  We have spent some one-on-one time with him/her (won't give away who it is) and it has been a struggle but slowly we are seeing a change back to normal, praise God!


As you can imagine there has been lots of running back and forth to the doctors office and lab, getting the right referrals, making lots of doctor appointments, working on getting adaptive equipment, tons of therapy and making therapy plans, check ups, blood work, stool samples, plus all the therapy Emma is already getting.  We have some sort of appointment almost every day and referrals from our doctor keep rolling in so we just keep scheduling more.  Plus there is just the daily things that need to get done.  Busy does not even begin to describe it.  But again, I would not change it for the world!  It's not easy but it is so totally worth it!  It just leaves little time for things like emails and blog...and some days even just showering.  Just for some humor, here are some of the things I find myself saying most days, "Someone smells like pee, I sure hope it's one of the kids still in diapers," "Didn't I just do laundry???," "Next trip to the grocery store we are getting paper plates!," "We are moving to a color coded system, each child is assigned a color and that is their toothbrush, plate, bowl, and cup color," "Did everyone's teeth get brushed this morning, I can't remember,"  "I just stepped in something wet, please tell me it's water," "Did we turn the water off to the pool? (by the way no we didn't and it overflowed),"  "Oh forget it, we are all staying in our pajamas today," "Remember the time long ago we said we would never let your kids watch cartoons on tv?" "Who got into this (let the finger pointing begin),"  "Oh no, I forgot to defrost one of the meals, who's up for sandwiches and fruit...we have bread right?"  I am certainly not winning any mother of the year awards but I am grateful that even in my lack God still chose me to be mom to these kiddos, and Tyler their dad!


We have been greatly blessed with meals.  Several friends have brought us huge amounts of food!  We even had some dear friends buy us a brand new chest freezer for the garage!  And we have received clothes too!  I know right, we have the most amazing friends!!!!  Thank you to all of you who suggested setting up a 'chip-in' so you could donate towards meals.  You are just too kind!  I might do it if I had time to figure out how to add a chip-in but alas time escapes me and God is providing.  I just cannot thank all of you enough for your generous prayers and support even as they continue!!!!  I continue to be blown away!  And please forgive me for not being able to update you all sooner, I am feeling very guilty because I know how much you love the boys and are eager to see how they are doing.  Thank you for hanging in there and for your patience!!!!


So here is a little about each boy.




Like I said Bohdan is a love bug.  He has such a tender heart and has been nothing but sweet.  We have our moments with him, he of course is grieving and figuring out his place in his new home, but overall he has been a delight!  He LOVES to help me, if I am unloading the dishwasher he stops his playing and comes to help with a big smile.  He also helps with laundry :-)  The language barrier has been tough.  He typically understands what we are trying to tell him or we can use the phrases and words we have learned or use a translation app, but the hard part has been when he is speaking to us and we want so badly to understand what he is saying (we of course understand the important wants/needs like potty, hungry, thirsty, hurt, etc).  The translator we had at the doctor appointment was EXTREMELY impressed with his grammar.  She told us how highly intelligent he was and bragged about him the whole time!  He says the cutest things too, like when the translator told him the doctor was going to look at him, he lifted his shirt and told her "tell him not to forget to look at my tummy too" and he was giving the doctor instructions while he was looking at him.  It was precious!  And we are missing out on those cute things he says, it really is very hard for me, we are missing out on this huge part of his personality.  But we continue to learn more Russian and he continues to learn more English and I know that soon enough we will be communicating well.


Bohdan's Cerebral Palsy seems to only affect his legs.  He has adapted but his walk is a little unstable and long distances are hard for him.  I love to watch him run, he is all over the place and it takes his whole body to do it but his exuberance for life cannot be contained when he runs and it is absolutely precious!!!  He had orthopedic shoes at the orphanage and they let us take them, they are primitive but seem to help until we can get him in some AFO's which I am assuming will help him.  With some therapy (which we are starting this week) and AFO's he is going to do so much better and I have a feeling he is going to love it!  Cognitivly and developmentally I don't see a whole lot of delay, other then what you would expect coming from an institution, once he picks up English there will not be any stopping him!


So here are his needs (in order of importance):
Cardiologist - in Ukraine we were told he has "heart problem, but not need treatment" and that is the extent of information we received.  It was not much of a concern in Ukraine because he seemed fine, but now at our high altitude some days he appears a bit blue so getting him to a Cardiologist is a priority.


Dentist - he does not have one single healthy tooth.  A few of his teeth are so black and rotted that they are almost gone and the rest are yellow/orange and filed down or chiping.


Ophthalmologist - he has a hard time keeping his eyes focused, they usually shake and roll up - it looks like he is rolling his eyes but is not.  It is hard for him to focus his eyes on an object.  He has issues with depth perception too, often running into things or not seeing steps, etc.


Occupational/Physical Therapy - for his CP


Orthopedics - for his CP


Neurologist - for his CP




Daniel...our precious Daniel.  This kid is amazing!  Especially coming from where he came from!  How he can still smile and laugh and be so full of life is truly a testament to God's love and protection!  I am ever more convinced that he was heavily medicated in the orphanage.  I can never say for sure but the difference in his demeanor, his behavior, and his alertness now as compared to in the orphanage is shocking!  We could hardly touch him, look at him, or move him in the orphanage without it confusing him and leading to screaming and head banging.  Don't get me wrong, we had great times in the orphanage as you saw in the smiling pictures and video, but what we did not show in pictures or video was the anxiety and self-injury that marked most of our time with him.  He is so much more alert and for lack of a better description, adaptable here at home.  I hope that makes sense, it is hard to describe.  In the orphanage change, even the slightest change, freaked him out.  But here he does not mind change as much.  He does very well here at home and the other day I even took him (and all the kids - thank you mom for your help) to the store just to see how he would do and he did great.  He would get a little anxious and whine a bit every time we turned down a new isle but with a little rub on his head and assurance there was NO HEAD BANGING.  This is huge!  He still bangs his head to express his opinion when he is upset.  I assume the only attention he got in the orphanage was when he did something negative so we are fighting an uphill battle to get past that...and it is a battle...but we see great progress and that is reassuring.  I don't want it to sound like it is easy, again it is SO not easy, it is a daily battle to undo what the orphanage did, but again it is so much better then what I was expecting.  And my goodness, one smile from that kid and my heart melts and all the hard times fade away...and if he laughs...forget it, I am done for!


Daniel's Cerebral Palsy effects both legs, his trunk a bit, and his left arm.  The physical progress he has made here in such a short time has been nothing short of amazing!  You will see it in the video at the end.  He is already army crawling!  It started with just pulling himself with his one 'good' arm, then using both, then arms and one leg, and now all 4.  And the speed in which he does it now is amazing!  I get him dressed after a bath and I go to get his toothbrush and he is gone!  He can bring himself up to sitting all by himself and he can keep himself balanced sitting up more and more every day.  You will see in the video that I stood him up just to see if he would bear weigh (his toes are pointed because of the CP but he still puts weight on them) and not only did he bear weight but he took steps.  I sincerely believe that with therapy he will be independently mobile somehow.  His legs are so much stronger then his left arm, I think it will be his arm that will slow him down more then his legs.  It's a long road ahead and it will take a lot of daily persistent work but the great news is that he is HIGHLY MOTIVATED and that is 90% of the battle!


Let's get real for a moment, he is very much a 36 pound baby.  Please hear me that when I say that it is in no way a judgment or complaint about him when I say that.  I would never blame him or judge him for what the CP and orphanage have caused.  I don't want anyone to misinterpret what I am saying, I am simply stating the way it is.  He is 100% dependent.  Some of that is simply the CP but a lot of the self-care type things are a result of the orphanage.  He has the physical ability to feed himself but he was never given the opportunity.  Sadly despite our efforts he still will not feed himself.  It breaks my heart that he will either throw or play with cheerios on his tray.  I know he is hungry and he wants the cheerios but he is so conditioned that feeding happens by just lying there whenever it suits someone to feed him.  So so sad.  He has no concept of expressing hunger, the orphanage did away with that.  The great news is that I have been able to get him to come to the spoon to take a bite if I hold the spoon a little away from his mouth.  So we are starting the very basic concept of him coming to the food.  And we continue to work on hand over hand getting him to put cheerios in his mouth.  I really do not mind feeding him at all but I want him to begin to not just be independent but to 'feel' independent.  To be able to express needs and wants and to be able enjoy some freedom from being on someone else's schedule.  Cognitively he is no where near being able to understand the concept of potty training.  Mentally he is very much a baby.  I don't know how much is the CP and how much is just not being able to have opportunity.  Language and communication are almost non existent.  He has the physical ability to help with dressing and other self-help things but sadly despite our efforts to teach him he still just doesn't 'get it'.  I don't know how else to explain it.  I feel like I have to say again that I don't want anyone to misinterpret what I am saying.  We knew all this and we were prepared for it, I am not complaining AT ALL about having to care for him, I consider it an honor.  Even if he stays 'baby like' we will day after day feed him, bathe him, brush his teeth, change his diaper, carry or transport him around, etc.  But for his sake I want him to have some freedom, I think it's important for him to feel independent.  I have high hopes for him all the way around, but if I am being honest I believe the physical aspect of his CP will be much easier to progress in then the cognitive aspect.  Other then the physical strides he has made I have been so delighted to see how amazing his play skills are!  He takes such delight in figuring out toys and playing with them.  In the orphanage all he did was throw toys so it has been such a joy to see him enjoy toys.  Again, you will see in the video :-)


Most of all, it is such a delight to see Daniel's world open up, to have a front row seat to his 'new life'.  It is so much fun to watch him splash in a pool, get excited about reaching a toy he pulled himself to, squeal with delight over being able to stand up, and all these new experiences that bring joy to a little boys heart!  And again we praise God for putting such happiness in his heart despite what he has been through!  I am not joking when I say it is an honor to be his mom.



So here are his needs (in order of importance):
Occupational/Physical Therapy - we are starting this tomorrow and it is going to be huge for him!!!  The Occupational Therapist will also help us with feeding.  He cannot swallow liquids without choking so we thicken all his liquids.  He can chew foods but can only handle very small chunks.  We have to leave him sitting up for at least a half hour after eating too because he throws up easily.  We are excited for a feeding evaluation.  They will also help us with getting the right equipment for him.  We have him in a stroller which works but there are too many hard things for him to bang his head on, he really needs a more specialized stroller/wheelchair.  Carrying and lifting him all around the house is hard.  We don't mind it but we have been told there are great hi/lo type chairs and adaptive equipment that will help us with everyday tasks so we look forward to learning more about that.

Speech Therapy - we also start this tomorrow.

Neurologist - for his CP

Dentist - his teeth look much better then Bohdan's but his breath is horrendous.  It has us wondering if he has an infection or something in his mouth.

Ophthalmologist - I think I have mentioned before that one pupil does not seem to react much to light at all so we wonder if he can see out of that eye at all.  He has at least some vision because he will pay attention to things.

Here are some more pictures and a video




Thanks Nana and Pa for the pool!!!  I think it is a big hit!!!






Since I shared recent pictures of Bohdan and Daniel, here are our other blessings








I think we took like 50 pictures with dad acting goofy behind the camera to get all the kids to look hoping ONE would turn out...not too bad








Helping dad with yard work




The kids have so much fun in the back yard and I am so happy Daniel and Bohdan are getting some much needed sunshine!  Picnic lunches are the best!




video


Sheeesh, for taking so long to get a post up I sure did make it a long one didn't I????  Again, thank you all SO MUCH for your continued prayers and support!!!  Thank you for your patience, I am so sorry if I worried you by not posting :-(  I want to say that I will post more often but I should probably not make that promise.  I know how invested ya'll are in these boys though and I know how much you love them so I will work very hard at keeping everyone updated.  I know I have said it a million times but we could not do it without you!!!!

42 comments:

  1. Ive been one of those silent followers for a while. Thank you so much for the update. I was so happy and thankful to read that things are going relatively well for your family. And I think you do win the mom of the year award at least in my book!

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  2. I have thoroughly enjoyed following your blog - I learned about "Valentin" on someone else's blog and was thrilled that he has found his forever home! I look forward to all you will have to share about both boys - and the other 3 - they are ALL just absolutely adorable! I was wondering, since you did share the boys' names, if I can get a little more info. Is Bohdan the name "Joey/Dima" will go by here or is that his Ukrainian/Russian name? How is it pronounced? Just curious. I have a younger sister adopted from Russia and know a little of the language and culture and that is not a name I am familiar with. Also, I am looking forward to the day when I can adopt children of my own. God bless! ~Katie

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  3. I think you do a great job. It's so lovely to see what's going on. :)

    Kind regards from a german women following your blog with contentment

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  4. I love their new names! Glad to hear that they are progressing in development. Continuing to pray for you all!

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  5. This is so wonderful to have a long newsy post!! And sweet "Valentin's" smile is just the best sight. I'm happy to hear all the good news about how the boys are doing.

    And I think you ARE a "mom of the year"! (And "dad of the year" too!)

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  6. This just fills my heart with SO MUCH JOY. I am so ecstatic for your family.

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  7. So thankful to get an update. God is good. Thank you for your inspiration as a mother. I pray I am half the mother you are.
    God bless and keep you,
    Hollie

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  8. Wow those boys have come such a long way in such a short time. Just imagine what a difference a month, a year, a lifetime will make. Thank you for sharing.

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  9. So glad for the update. They have come so far already. It's hard to believe Daniel is the same little boy who had trouble staying upright even with back support a few weeks ago. He is so tight...stretching will do wonders for him. Bohdan is just blooming. I wouldn't be surprised if he is rattling off full sentences in English in just a few weeks.
    I've been worrying about how things are going. Now I can stop worrying and I have new things to pray about for your family. God Bless.

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  10. I just stumbled across your website a week ago and am so excited for you and your family!!! I LOVE the new video.....I too cannot believe how far both boys have progressed in such a short time....Love is a powerful thing.
    Blessings Indeed~

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  11. Hi Jamie,

    Wonderful to hear how well the boys are doing. I took a look at the video and I am very optimistic about Daniel's ability to develop cognitively. While you describe him not seeming to "get it" when it comes to self help skills I suspect that is more about conditioning, lack of experience and uncertainty than ability. When I see him playing with the toy kitchen, quickly figuring out what he needs to do in order to achieve his goal it really suggests to me that there is a fair amount of thinking going on. Whether or not he will have be cognitively typical is of course something that only lots of time and input will tell but I do not think he will remain a 6 year old "baby" for long. He has figured out so much in just a few days. The future looks pretty bright I think.

    Best,

    Ellen

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  12. Amazing progress already!!! The boys look like they are fitting in and figuring things out beautifully! I am impressed by Daniel's skills as is commenter Ellen! I think he is just going to blossom as he is allowed his "freedom". So happy that you have such a joy about all of the busyness...it is SO worth it, as you said! Continued prayers for adjustments, growth, bonding, and most of all just abundant love!! Thanks for updating....whenever you can! It's worth the wait!! ((((HUGS)))) from RI!

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  13. Hi there. So glad things are going relatively well. I'm a special education teacher and can tell you that I agree with the previous poster, the self help issues are not reflective of his cognitive ability. Those are learned behaviors from the orphanage. What I would call "learned helplessness". That will take time to correct, but it is correctable. His ability to reason when playing shows he has some considerable cognitive ability. Only time will tell.

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  14. Good update and we know you can't do them often. I was worried that all h--- had broken loose when you got home... I have to say that the video of Daniel playing and THINKING was amazing. He figured out how to get that white box back into the fridge! The change in him is remarkable and I am so happy and blessed to see it. I won't worry now that things are falling apart. Update as you can and whenever you need some extra prayers.

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  15. Thank you for posting - I've really enjoyed following your adoption process and look forward to reading about the boys' progress in the days to come. Whenever you get the time for it, of course!

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  16. So glad for an update and to hear how well the boys are doing. Best wishes to all of you, and you will remain in my prayers!

    Holly S

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  17. Thanks for taking the time to update us! ;) The boys look so great. Daniel is so clever and totally problem solving. So adorable. He may be "baby like" right now but I think looking back a year from now that boy is going to amaze us all. He looks so ambitious! Hang in there mama! Your family is adorable.

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  18. Thank you so much for the update, Jamie! It was truly thrilling to watch you and Daniel walking together! On the video, one can see how eager he was!
    Stacy in Indiana

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  19. Amazing post:-) It was a wonderful update, you have a beautiful family. Hang in their you are doing awesome.

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  20. I didn't have time to read everything tonight (I will, because I've been following your story since before you committed to Daniel!) BUT! I wanted to compliment you on your car seat usage! Sunshine Kids/Diono Radians, all used correctly! WAY TO GO MOMMA! I'm a child passenger safety technician by trade and I'm so used to seeing kids, especially special needs kids, restrained in grossly inappropriate ways. It's refreshing to see you keeping them safe in every way - especially in the car, since riding in it is the most dangerous thing your kids do all day. As the boys grow (especially Daniel because of his CP and stiffness), if you have any car seat questions, let me know. There are special needs seats out there that could accomodate a grown adult, and I think they're crazy cool. Plus I know the manufacturer's reps, so if you needed one I might be able to get you a discount ;) Anyways, thanks for taking the time to update. I know how hard it is with kids around!

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  21. Thank you so much for your post. It is such a gift to those of us who have prayed for these two little boys & for your whole family. If you weren't absolutely frank about Daniel and Bohdan's status how would we be able to rejoice in the great progress they will continue to make. The contrast in how they were before and now after only a couple of weeks is already amazing. Your constant care of the 5 with the particular needs and demands of each reminds me of the parents with new triplets, quads, quints: rarely a moment to think of one's own needs. May God heap blessings on you and Tyler...and these children's grandparents. They are also amazing!

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  22. Love it all. Write as much or as little as you have time. You and Tyler are doing an AWESOME job...praise God for His Joy through it all! Love you!
    JJL&G

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  23. well worth the wait! I did notice the names in the video but assumed Valentin and Joseph were 'fake' RR names and that Daniel and Dima (for some reason I think I heard a Dima for Vadim?) were Russian names and that you then gave them new names! hahaha...oh, at one point I was like 'wait, RR sticker says Ashton Grant with Valentin's picture...they just gave away his name Ashton Grant' haha....

    Love the pictures. Thanks for the update! I know it's tough. I don't blog because too tough for me but I love reading certain blogs, especially the kids I've grown to care for.

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  24. Ok, so I still didn't make it through but I loved that my boy was so quick to sleep. It really helped like you said. And he slept 9.5 hours (and still does) which made life so much easier!

    Bonding and behavior went really well for me and we had no potty issues either. Very picky eater though and even now only eats about 40 foods if you include the 10 specific fruits, 4 drinks, and 3 veggies. Sometimes I'm embarrassed by how well that went as I know how many families struggle.

    One of the ways I saw God working was in all the Russian speakers who suddenly came out of nowhere. I didn't take a translator to my son's first MD or blood draw place and BOTH places just happened to have Russian speaking nurses to do the exams! At first prosthetics visit: I just randomily picked on close to me, and I'm standing in hall using my best Russian with my son and up walks a tech who is Russian AND from the same region my son was AND had 2 kids in the daycare I was planning to put my son in which that daycare had 3 kids in his class who spoke predominantly Russian and 1 teacher's aide from the Ukraine who spoke Russian! Amazing right?

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  25. WOW! Amazing! Thank you so so so much for the update...... The boys are doing amazingly well! You are doing fantastic job Mama!
    Continued prayers for your beautiful family!

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  26. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGsU4vuJAIo&feature=related
    The word of this song fit your beautiful children to a TEE! I almost started crying and KNEW I had to share it with you.

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  27. WOW!!!! So excited to see how beautifully your family is doing. I can't imagine all the work you and your husband do each day. God bless you both. The boys seem great. I am so excited to see how well they do once they begin therapy. Therapy can be an amazing thing. May God continue to bless each of you. So excited for your next update. God bless you all.

    Steph

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  28. He looks like a Daniel...I have thought all along that his name should be Daniel...how funny is that!!! Beautiful kids and I am AMAZED out how well they are doing at this point!!
    I love folling the journey...cannot wait to watch them blossom!!
    Sunnie in NC

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  29. Thanks for taking the time to post an update--I was wondering how things were going and hoping/praying they were going well! The boys are ALREADY flourishing with the love of their family, time and especially, God! I can imagine it's not easy--in fact, I hope if you find yourself discouraged or just plain worn out, that you don't hesitate to ask for help! This is a whole new world for your boys as you WELL know (moreso than I most certainly!) and I am sure it is an adjustment for your other children as well.
    The boys are looking wonderful and progessing very nicely! Continued prayers for you and yours!

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  30. Jamie and Tyler, You need never apologize for not posting. You are parents of FIVE little ones! Plus, all of us are privileged that we get to share in your miraculous journey as a family and you owe us nothing. Praying for your family is a daily honor. Truly.

    Daniel and Bodhan (not to mention your other ADORABLE little ones!) look just wonderful! It is so wonderful to see both of them in a home full of life and love and attention and stimulation. God is indeed great! Reading all about them and seeing their beautiful eyes light up is a joy!

    And please don't feel you have to put a hundred disclaimers about how you are joyous in the work of mothering special needs children. We mommas have to HONEST to survive. There are internet trolls out there lurking for moms of special needs kids who might be telling the HARD truth of the HARD work they are putting in...and we can't kowtow to these mean spirited people.

    It sounds like a TON of work! It sounds like it would push most of us to our limit. So be human, be proud of your humaness and know that most of us won't judge you. We will honor you.

    With love from California, Jane

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  31. Thank you thank you thank you! This long post makes up for it all. So good to see that everyone is well and adjusting. You are doing an incredible job of being a new momma. Enjoy those boys. I see so much potential in both of them. It's going to be amazing to see where God leads them in just the next few months. They are precious and so are your other blessings. Thank you for sharing them with us. God bless.

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  32. First I have to say, your house is SO quiet for having five children!!! I have two and it is no where near that peaceful! LOL!!! Man, have the boys blossomed sooo much already. I love it!! The videos always make me tear up. It just simply amazes me. Watching Daniel figure out that "pop up" toy just fills my heart, then his smile when he figured out how to do the one you showed him... so proud of himself. Bohdan is so cute how he repeats "hi buddy" ;) He's learning so much too. I also loved the dancing scene. Ethan cracks me up!! He has some moves :) Your family is truly a blessing. Thank you for allowing us to live vicariously through you.

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  33. A-maz-ing! Thank you for the update, the pictures and the video. ALL of the kids look wonderful. I pray that everyone's adjustment continues to go in a positive direction. Dealing with regression had to be disheartening. I know you are probably gunshy because of the insensitivity of some people, but you really do not come across as a complainer - AT ALL. It's hard. It's gonna be hard. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't have done it! You are very generous in continuing to share your life so publicly when you've been subjected to undue criticism and abuse. Thanks for allowing us in. You are planting seeds in hearts and I have no doubt you will be responsible to breaking down the barriers (fear, selfishness, etc.) that are preventing many others from adopting.

    Judee in Iowa

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  34. Is there a way to privately message you? We are committing to a little boy on Reece's Rainbow and think you may have had a chance to see him while meeting your boys. Thank you, Danee

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    1. Danee, your comment comes through without a return email address so the only way I can think of is for you to comment again leaving your email address. I absolutely will not publish your email address, but since I moderate comments I will be able to see it. I will email you when I get it. I so hope you are adopting one of the kiddos I saw. I payed very close attention to every child I came across in hopes of advocating for them so I might have some insights to give you :-) I cannot wait to hear from you!

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  35. I love to read updates of you but understand highly that you don't have enough time. The change in the faces of Daniel and Boghdan are hugh, they are so lovely. And I love the pictures of all the kids. What a nice family. Wish you Gods blessing.
    Reg from Switzerland

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  36. I think about you guys often. I can't wait to read in about 6 months how things will be going! (of course I'll keep reading in the meantime!)
    Blessing and hugs,
    Christina

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  37. Jamie - You probably have already talked to Adeye, she adopted Hailee from the same room that Daniel was in. Much of what you are describing sounds similiar, to me, as what she went through with Hailee. I believe she even knows the name of the drug that they were given which may or may not be helpful to you. Just wanted to mention it in case you haven't been in contact with her :o) Sounds like everyone is doing wonderfully, overall, thanks for the update! I've been reading along but I think this is my first comment :o)

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  38. thanks for such a detailed update. so happy you all are doing well and adjusting to a larger family, God is so good.
    such handsome boys

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  39. Just dropping by to see how the boys are settling in. Hope all well.

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  40. I am so proud of you parents who are bringing these little treasures home and blending them into your families as God intended. I refer to you and Tyler, and the others who make comments who have done so, or are stepping out in faith to do so. You are my heroes. I am almost 72, so in lieu of adoption, I contribute $ when I can and pray and attempt to encourage when it seems to be needed. I hope you can resists any naysayers' words sinking into your hearts when you have to review their comments, but speak a blessing ("bless those who curse you -- Jesus") that their "curses" on this work you are doing will not have any lasting bad effect.
    I understand fully that you cannot blog very often, though I do watch for new entries. I have your blog bookmarked and I check it daily just in case. You were so generous in your recent posting in that it sustains us for a long while till you can snatch a little time from your busy lives to update us further. With Love, Tharen

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