Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Quick update...who am I kidding...a long update

I started typing this post thinking it would be quick, then I kept thinking of more and more to talk about and finding more pictures and video.  So, as always, probably a lot of useless chatter and a long post because it has taken me so long to finally get around to updating everyone.

Last month was a month of big projects.

We have been trying to figure out ways to handle the stress of our 'new normal'.  Anyway, it was taking so much time to try to cook dinner everyday so we decided to try once a month freezer cooking.  And I LOVE IT!  Preparing recipes, compiling a grocery list, and the day of cooking are time consuming but WOW it is so worth it to just have to thaw and heat meals!  I love anything that gives me more time with the kids and this once a month cooking has been such a wonderful way to free up some time!



Our other huge project was the kids' new play set.  We finally received our adoption tax credit for Emma's adoption and although most of it will have to pay for medical expenses, we wanted to do something for the kids.  I have said before that we are big on getting out of the house and into nature but with our schedule of doctors and therapies and such it is so hard to get out as much.  A play set just seemed perfect!  The kids all get to have fun and it's great therapy for all of them.  They get to work on those great gross motor and play skills!  It took three weeks (and questions from the kids everyday asking when it would be done) but we finally got it done!  I was so impressed with Daniel being able to hold himself on the glider swing!  He absolutely loves to swing.  Bohdan really likes the slide.  I love to see both of them gain some more coordination and strength while also having a great time!  Lots of pictures ahead, I know, but I wanted to document our progress for the kids :-)


I hated ripping out all that lovely grass but it was so neat what God did.  Our neighbors who moved in not too long ago were trying to work on their back yard and sure enough they needed some grass.  So cool!











We also started homeschooling.  I had not intended to start so early but every day the kids come to me wanting to learn and create and I just kept running out of activities for them.  I really have never seen kids so eager to learn more and more and more.  They are constantly asking questions about the bible, how things work, what things mean, etc.  I just could not keep up with keeping their little minds fed so I finally had to seek the help of a curriculum.  We are doing the My Father's World kindergarten curriculum.  Kai is 4 and Ethan will turn 4 in October so I thought it might be a little advanced for them but they love it.  Since Bohdan is learning English (and has delays caused by institutionalization) he is at about the same level right now so it really works well for all 3.  Emma and Daniel enjoy participating too, especially the books and activities.  It's really a lot of fun for all of us.  





Daniel and Bohdan had a great time at their first baseball game!!!




I was so proud of all of us, I took all 5 kids to the Bio Park/Aquarium all by myself!  They were so good for me!  Bohdan absolutely loves our fish tank at home so I was especially excited to see his reaction at the Aquarium.  He LOVED IT!  Daniel was mesmerized and it was such a joy to see them experience another first.  With our adopted kids we missed so many of their firsts so we take extra joy in seeing new ones!







Daniel and Bohdan are finally receiving therapies on a weekly basis and are doing very well.  Bohdan sees an OT and Daniel gets PT.  I absolutely LOVE Daniel's PT!  Not that I don't love Bohdan's OT :-)  She is so good with him and pushes him and sets high goals to get him MOVING!  He is so ready for it!  She is so good about giving me things to work on during the week too and I see more strength in him every day.  And Bohdan, man that kid is amazing!  In the last 2 weeks his English has exploded!  We have found that music works best for him so we do a lot with music.

It has been a real battle to get these boys the services and appointments they so desperately need.  We have hit wall after wall after wall and we have had to fight for every appointment it seems.  I started typing all the battles we have been facing but I just went and deleted it because I started getting upset and started bad mouthing people.  That just does not bring glory to God so why get into it.  It has been incredibly aggravating and exhausting, but you know, it is totally worth it.  I am honored that God trusts me with these boys and that I have the honor of being the first person who has ever really fought for them!

We did learn one sad thing though.  While a lot of what the boys have to endure is somewhat 'correctable' for example Bohdan is becoming more coordinated and his ankles are getting stronger just by having opportunity to run, jump, climb, etc., and Daniel is becoming less tight and moving towards more independence by getting therapy and being stretched everyday and also just having opportunity to roam, but at the eye exam very recently for both boys we learned that there is nothing they can do for Bohdan's eyes. I am not sure I have talked too much on here about his eyes.  His eyes shake and he cannot keep them still to focus on anything.  That is why he always looks like he is rolling his eyes because they shake less if he looks up.  As you can imagine he has a hard time concentrating on anything.  His depth perception is way off and he falls a lot, he completely does not see steps or changes in elevation.  When we are out of the house we have to basically treat him as if he were blind and lead him by holding his hand and warning him of obstacles or steps.  The ophthalmologist confirmed that he has Nystagmus.  He was not very helpful and basically told us there is nothing that can be done and sent us on our way.  However there is a school for the blind here and so many people have told me that they are wonderful so we are contacting them to learn how we can help Bohdan.  Especially since we are homeschooling we want to know how best we can serve him and help him learn.

Have I rambled on enough?  Just a little more :-)  I love reading blogs after people have been home for a few months and seeing before and after pictures so I thought you might enjoy that too.  Bohdan's before and after pictures look pretty much the same (with the exception on finally putting on a little weight and growing a bit) so I am just posting some of Daniel.

I got so tired of waiting on doctors and therapists to start working with us that I just starting working with Daniel on building strength and stretching him.  I worried that I might be doing it wrong but I must be doing ok, just look at the difference in his legs.  His legs were so crossed and feet so pointed that I literally could not pry them apart to change diapers.  But look how open his legs are now and almost a 90 degree bend in his feet.  This is only with daily stretching, no medicine, braces, or anything!  God is so good isn't He?!?!

Before and After




Before and After



 I really cannot say it enough how much we appreciate how all of you contributed to Daniel and Bohdan's adoption!  Whether in money or prayer, look at what has happened in their lives.  I cannot help but think most days about what they would be doing at the orphanages.  Instead of laying in a crib or sitting in front of a t.v in a group, they are living life and receiving desperately needed medical attention and therapies.  Again, we absolutely could not have done it without you.  I hope you all take great pleasure in seeing the fruit of your contributions!!!  We hope you enjoy the updates (even if it takes us forever).  Tyler and I never forget you!


video

25 comments:

  1. Woweeeeeee! This is more exciting than the Olympics! I'm glad you are finding some ways to make life more manageable (i.e.once-a-month cooking). What you have accomplished already is phenomenal. Phe. Nom. En. Al. Questions for the next post (if they're ones you want to answer, that is...): 1) You mentioned previously that one of the first three children experienced a regression after the boys came home. How is that child doing now? 2) Daniel is TALKING??!!! You haven't mentioned speech therapy, so how did you bring that miracle about? God bless you and your beautiful family!

    Judee in Iowa

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  2. So excited about your post! Your family is doing so great!!!! You all are simply amazing. Your family all look so happy. The boys are developing so much and seem so very happy after receiving your love. May God continue to bless each of you. God is good!!!

    Steph in California

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  3. I am almost positive nystagmus can be corrected with neurodevelopmental therapy. I will see our therapist on Saturday and ask her about it.
    Love the update! Thank you for taking the time, I know it isn't easy.

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  4. I'm so proud of you and all you've done. Thank you for the update!

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  5. What a wonderful update! I love your outlook on things, and you are a Mama after my own heart installing a fall surface under your playset. EVERYONE around here just has them on the grass, which I guess I can somewhat understand given the expense of creating a fall surface on top of the expense of a playset, not to mention the extra effort... and every kid wants a swingset, we can't protect them from everything... but I have always thought that if I buy a house someday (single, horrible credit... renting is my future unless I meet someone, LOL) I will have a playset and it will have a fall surface. I especially love rubber mulch but it's so expensive! I think I need to marry a doctor or a lawyer, haha.

    You are doing a wonderful job with ALL of your children and I am so absolutely thrilled to see those smiles on Daniel's face. I followed his story since he lost his last family, when he was Valentin, and he was such a sad little guy... my heart broke when you wrote about what you saw at his orphanage... I'd have been brought to tears by the aquarium experience. Actually, my DBK (who I refer to as A) and I went to Disney World in June thanks to a wonderful group I'm a member of, and as I boosted her up on a brick half wall to watch the princesses sing "Dreams Do Come True", I started bawling like a baby, because, well... dreams DO come true... and mine did, that day, watching my sweet girl have the time of her life. Those are the experiences you wouldn't trade for the world.

    Always praying for you!

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  6. Thank you so much for posting! I love reading your updates and after a hard week this was just the reminder i needed about God's blessings.

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  7. I love to hear the joy in your voice on the video--and the laughter. You are a great mom. What a blessing these children are to you and you to the children! Thank you for the updates--so encouraging!

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  8. Thank you so much for the update. You made my day!

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  9. I just can't get over the change in Daniel....amazing!

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  10. Thank you so much for the update. Those boys have changed so much. Such a blessing you have been in their lives. Look at them go and in such a short time. And the smiles!!!

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  11. You win mom of the year in my book!!! The boys look amazing. The changes in Daniel are monumental. You took all five kids to the aquarium by yourself?!! Some days I don't think I can handle taking my two year old to the grocery store by myself! You absolutely impress me more and more every time I read your updates. Blessings to you many times over. Please keep us posted as time allows.

    Sue - WI

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  12. I wonder if eventually Bohdan might be able to use a guide dog to achieve more independence.

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  13. What a wonderful update. First, Is there Kindermusik class in your neck of the woods? I found Kindermusik to be incredibly beneficial to our son when we adopted him. It helped him learn English fast, built coordination and got his mind and body moving. Since you said they love music, this class could be very helpful.

    Second, I know of another child who had the same eye condition as Bohdon and they found an eye specialist who does some sort of computer based eye therapy where their child looks at a screen and watches it. Following the ball or curser or whatever helps to stabilize the muscles in the eye. Not sure what it is called or if that therapy is available where you live but it is something to look into.

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  14. Wonderful update! Both boys are amazing.. please do some more research on Nystagmus...I can't believe there is nothing that can be done!

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  15. Love this update, wow the kids look so wonderful and happy. You are fabulous parents. x x x x

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  16. I was so thrilled to see your nice comprehensive update on the children. I have watched daily for a new update. Tyler looks like such a good daddy to do that excellent job on the swing set. I am amazed and overjoyed to see the progress in Daniel and Bohdan. Daniel in particular looks so good, happy and healthier. I know nothing about Nystagmus but I felt a check in my spirit as did a few others who commented, concerning the ophthalmologist's statement that nothing can be done for Bohdan's vision. Surely that can't be true. I am praying for God's miraculous healing of his eyesight. Our God can do anything. ~ Tharen

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  17. So happy to see this update! I love the picture of Daniel gazing at the fish.

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  18. And oh, I love the video of Daniel signing "More!" Such a joy to see this. Thank you so much for saying Yes to this journey.

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  19. Such a good update. You do a great job keeping us in touch. Thanks so much for taking the time to do that. I will keep all of you in my prayers.

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  20. Wow! That's about all I can think to write. I've been following Daniel's journey for ages it seems and of course just love him to death and love seeing how far he's come. But, wow, I really felt such pride and love (and for me rare 'sappy' tears) as I really SAW Bohden this time...I was so proud of his alphabet!

    YWILBUR

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  21. I did ask our neurodevelopmentalist about nystagmus and she said it is definitely treatable. She begged me to beg you not to give up on
    Bohdan's vision. She has worked with several adoptive families and even other Reece's Rainbow families besides us. If you have questions, you can email me through my profile.

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  22. I just realized you updated your blog, and I'm thrilled to see how well everyone is doing (especially Daniel!). I've done freezer cooking in the past (may do it again this year, we homeschool, too!), and I'm glad it's helping you. You continue to be in my prayers, and I look forward to your next update!

    Holly Schoeppler

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  23. These photos made me cry after seeing how happy they are at home! You look so beautiful and happy. I thank God for what He has done in your family's lives. We truly serve a beautiful God that keeps His promises. All Glory goes to Him
    Much Love all the way from Miami.
    God bless you,

    From Amelia's soon-to-be mom.

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