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!