Busy. That pretty much sums it up. If you ask me how things are this is the much overused response I give "we are busy, but it's a good busy." It's a very good busy because I would not change it for the world! I find so much humor in it all and I love talking to other moms and laughing as we think about what we did with all our free time before kids. I look back at myself when I only had Ethan and laugh when I used to think I was so busy with him...haha, I didn't even know what busy was :-)
It's truly amazing to me how God provides though! He gives the strength and endurance, there is no other explanation for it! I thought I knew something about God before we adopted these boys (or had kids for that matter) but now I REALLY know something about God! I find it so hard to express in words but the spiritual growth Tyler and I have experienced in the last months has been amazing! God's promises and His truths are not just words on the pages of the Bible. Neither are the trials, for sure!
The last weeks have been very hard for us. We have been battling illness after illness, seemingly endless doctors visits (most urgent care visits), an overpacked schedule, and really just complete exhaustion. I think we all finally hit a wall and to be honest I don't think I have ever been so ill or so exhausted in my life. I really started to feel like we were never going to get well and I remember praying one night (exhausted with a 103.8 fever) saying "Jesus just please come back right now." We put off all non essential things but with 7 people in a house just the basics are a full days work. And there were just some doctor appointments we could not ignore. Again, it had to be God that provided the strength because I had absolutely none left. I remember taking Bohdan to the hospital for his dental work and while we sat in the waiting room I was so exhausted I could hardly keep my eyes open and I thought back and I actually did not remember how in the world I drove there. Have you ever had that happen to you? You know you drove somewhere but it was like a fog and somehow you are just operating on auto pilot or something? Crazy. Somehow we made it to today but man it's been a rough few weeks.
However I will say as far as bonding and adjustment goes everyone is still do beautifully, and honestly I will take exhaustion over behavior or bonding issues any day!
I am finally starting to feel better today. Ethan and Kai seem well. Bohdan is recovering from dental surgery (I will talk about below) and doing well, Daniel seems still a bit sick but getting better, and poor Emma I think got the parasite that Daniel brought with him. We tried so hard not to spread anything (sometimes a little overboard with the hand washing and sanitizing everything) but I think she still got it. We are waiting on the lab to do her stool samples to know for sure. But I am hopeful that maybe...just maybe...we could have a house full of healthy kids in the near future. That would be lovely!
So anyway here is another long post to catch up and I always go overboard with too many pictures and video but I just cannot help myself...
Just a quick update on the boys...okay, maybe not so quick:
Daniel had his first OT and Speech appointments. Really they were more just evaluations for insurance, we have not started any real therapy yet because of insurance (and lack of Physical Therapists at our children's hospital). I was a little disappointed that we really did not learn anything at the appointments and they didn't offer any real suggestions of things we could be doing with him at home. However we picked out an activity chair we are trying to order for him. Right now to get him around the house and to sit in we have him in a stroller. It really does not provide him with any support and like the OT mentioned it's hard to really work on fine motor skills when he is having to use his hands and arms just for stability. I am really excited to get the chair because it will give him just enough support that we can really get into teaching him self feeding and fine motor stuff. Plus it lifts and lowers a little so it might help save my back a little getting him up and down around the house! We scheduled an ophthalmology appointment for him and we are waiting for the Neurologist to schedule something. He had his first dental appointment and his teeth are fine. I am really getting anxious to get therapy officially started because I know how much he would benefit from even just some stretches. He is so tight I don't feel comfortable doing anything without someone showing me exactly what to do. Also, I am getting the run around about whether or not he will need to see Ortho. I would think he does but I can't seem to get anyone to get us a referral. Maybe once therapy starts? It seems like all we do is go to doctor and therapy appointments but nothing has been very helpful yet. However you will see in the videos he is doing amazingly well and learning some great things. He is pulling himself up onto his knees, working really hard at feeding himself, and even mimicking words (sometimes), and he is eating solid foods with no problem!
Bohdan was seen briefly by an OT too and same story, it was an evaluation for insurance and we have not received approval to continue yet. So we are at a stand still with him too. And same story with Ortho, now I KNOW he needs some AFO's or something to help with stability but I am getting the run around about who can refer for it. I think it will happen when we get into Physical Therapy...whenever that will be. He was seen by a Cardiologist and great news...his heart is fine!!! We had so little info from Ukraine other then "he has heart problem" so we didn't know what to expect. He has a slight murmur but other then that his ticker is good! We have Ophthalmology scheduled for him too and are interested in knowing what is going on with his eyes. We found a Pediatric Ophthalmologist that specializes in children with medical needs so we don't mind waiting a little longer to see him. We can tell he has a lot of vision problems so we are excited to get him seen. We are waiting on Neuro to schedule something. We took him to the dentist and they really felt he needed work done right away so within a few days we had started him on antibiotics and scheduled day surgery for him at the hospital. It was obvious to anyone who saw his teeth/mouth that he was probably in a lot of pain. So under anesthesia he had 3 fillings, 2 sealants, 2 teeth removed and spacers put in, and 5 caps. He handled anesthesia better then any child I have ever seen, it was amazing. He never seemed afraid and he seems to be very happy now. Tyler calls him Terminator because the inside of his mouth looks like all metal :-) One of the coolest things is that we had a translator there at the hospital the whole time to help explain everything but he showed no interest in listening to the translator, he just stayed focused on me and what I was saying. It's heart breaking to watch him slowly lose his Russian but it warms my heart that he finds comfort in me even when he probably doesn't understand half of what I say.
So, here's what we have been up to (other then being sick and doctor appointments). We got our new stroller!!! Finding a stroller that will hold multiple children who weigh more then newborns is not an easy task! We found the double stroller below from Valco Baby and added the Joey seat and the Hitch Hiker platform on the back. We settled on that one because it would work as just a double stroller if we ever just took 2 children out, because it folds smaller and weighs less then others we found (which isn't saying much because they are all flat out big and heavy), it was one of the less expensive ones, and it had a 30 day money back guarantee. We thought the zoo was a perfect place to try it out...
I am a zoo freak, we buy yearly passes to the zoo every year and I take the kids at least several times a month. It is good exercise for me, the kids enjoy it, it gives us all a break from our routine, and it gets us out of the house. Also as a home schooling mom it's amazing the opportunities the zoo provides to teach pre-schoolers. It's especially fun when school starts back up because we usually have the zoo almost to ourselves on weekday mornings. I knew having 5 kids now would make quick trips to the zoo a lot harder. The zoo is like a little retreat for me and the kids and so it's important for me to be able to manage and handle taking all the kids. Investing in this stroller is such a big help!!!
I don't know why but it is very important to me to be able to take all the kids out by myself. It's like a personal challenge when we get home with a new child, can I take all the kids to the store by myself, can I take them all to the zoo? I have such a supportive mom who helps me out with the kids and loves to watch one, some, or all for me when I need but there is just something in me that has to prove I can do it all myself. Maybe it's just me???? If we had all biological kids or even kids adopted as infants taking 5 kids out might be easier because we would get used to them joining our family at at least yearly intervals, we would have older kids to help, we would have years of practice getting used to Cerebral Palsy, and infants are easier to carry around and keep contained. We have completely messed that up! Our 'big' kids just joined our family and our 'littles' as helpful as they are really can't help with the big stuff. So, it's a lot of work to take all the kids out. But we did it!
One Sunday we even went to church, Costco, and Walmart! All without any major meltdowns and we didn't even lose a single child :-)
We celebrated Emma's 3rd and Kai's 4th birthday with a party at Peter Piper Pizza. This was Emma's first birthday with us so it was very special. I always love celebrating our adopted kid's first birthdays with us. Likely all previous birthday went completely unnoticed and that grieves my heart.
We kept it small and didn't even do the party package there, we just invited some close friends and family, ordered some pizzas, ran to the local grocery for some cakes, and let Peter Piper clean up the mess :-) It was a blast!
Thank you Selina for the matching shirts!!!
I had to choke back the tears when I saw Bohdan's reaction when we put him on the motor cycle video game. His expression was one of complete joy like it was the most fun he had ever had. In a flash his previous life ran through my head and I thought about what he would be doing at that moment if we had not adopted him. Tears still fill my eyes as I think of that moment and how all the work, all the money, all the trials, everything was SO WORTH THAT ONE MOMENT of seeing an innocent little boy find so much delight in just a simple video game.
I thought all the lights and noises might be to over-stimulating for Daniel but he seemed to handle it alright. I would have loved to put him on one of the games but it was just too much for him. He was still not feeling well and towards the end we had to take him to a darker and more quiet area in the back because he started banging his head and screaming. It was time to go home at that point but he hung in longer then I expected.
We celebrated Independence Day!!! We were still so sick and so exhausted but we wanted to make it fun for the kids.
You have to watch the video, do you think they had a good time????