Tuesday, August 31
Check back tomorrow for the 'unveiling' of photos of our little man (which I've been DYING TO SHARE! LOL) and on Thursday for details on how you can support our adoption AND have a chance at a vacation give-away! :)
AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D :D
Monday, August 30
We got our invitations for fingerprinting today! This is a biometric appointment at the US Citizenship and Immigration office in Central Florida and you have to have an appointment to go. This is for the approval that we are praying to have by the time I travel in just over 3 weeks. In fact, we'd like to have it in our hands in exactly 3 weeks so that I can have it apostilled in time to hand carry it with me!
So, the date isn't until over 3 weeks away (while I'm in Ukraine). Please pray that we can get our fingerprinting done EARLY!
I tried to access USCIS' automated service to find out who our case manager is. I tried the web service. Neither seems to like my number.
I called USCIS to find out my case manager as well. I waited on the line (forever). Even pressed 1 to hear the prompts in English AND got hung up on once because I was attempting the automated service using what says "receipt number" on my paperwork when they asked for the "receipt number." Eventually, I got to a person.
"Are you the petitioner?"
"You are the main petitioner for what form?"
"And you are the main petitioner?"
"um... well, it's a joint petition with my husband and I."
"Please hold....(waiting...) I'm sorry, your husband must be on the line for me to provide you with any additional information."
"I'm on the form, it has me listed on it. It's a joint petition for adoption."
"I'm sorry, I can't help you."
"Can you just tell me how to get the computer system to accept my receipt number?"
"No, I can get in trouble for that since you're not the main petitioner."
"For telling me how to access the website?"
"Yes, I can't give you any other information without your husband on the line."
"Please call at any time if we are able to be of further assistance to you, thank you. (wait) Well, if your husband is with you anyway."
Yep, that was how it went down. I suppose we'll be calling again when Michael is home...
Why is this even more ironic? Because I have called USCIS on families' behalf MANY times to ask questions about eligibility and processing and ALWAYS have had them answer my questions! Never specific to a case, but always an answer. And what, pray tell, does it matter if she tells me how to use the WEBSITE just because my husband and I are both on a petition?? LOL
So yes, I'm laughing, because this is just one more example of how "the system" works. Praying that this is the only 'glitch' in the process and that whoever's desk our petition is really sitting on is going to approve it IMMEDIATELY after he/she receives our fingerprint clearances!! Last adoption (2007) we prayed specifically that the person that received our file would have a heart for children with disabilities and would approve us immediately. We hold the same prayer up today, that whoever's desk it is sitting on will see that it is for a child with disabilities and for orphans, and that as soon as our fingerprints come through, they will approve it.
The answer to that prayer, last time, was a woman who called me and said "My daughter is disabled, please pray for her, and for us." Yes, that's whose desk it was sitting on. God shows up in the strongest ways and when we pray specifically, He often shows himself in answering those specifics!
Sunday, August 29
That's what I spent the day doing today.
And now, I'm tired :).
If all goes as 'planned', ALL FIVE kids will be going to school in the morning. As of right now, all systems are clear!
James decided that after pooping non stop for a good 12 days, he wouldn't go AT ALL since then. Yes, day 8 with no BM was today. So a warm water enema and... we've had poo up to our armpits (his anyway). Hoping that he works it all out before morning and doesn't gift his teachers with that!
Saturday, August 28
A few minutes later he cried out again. And this time, too, he was not awake. I climbed up into his bed and laid at the foot of his bed, close enough to put my arm out and touch him when he woke up and to comfort him. Otherwise, he had no idea I was even there. He didn't wake for another 30 minutes and I quietly climbed back down and returned to my own comfy bed.
A third time he woke, just an hour later, and again I walked through the darkness, climbed into his bed, and calmed him with my touch. He never woke, didn't know I was laying next to him in the bed, but just my presence seemed to calm him enough to be able to sleep. About 20 minutes later, he rolled over and his eyes opened for the first time. He said, Mom? Why are you here? With a smile on his face.
I said that he had cried, and I had come to comfort him, and that he had gone back to sleep. Then I got down and brought him a tissue (sneezing had woken him the last time) and told him to go back to sleep, that I would be in my bed. He went back to sleep smiling.
Each time that I returned to bed, I had two things cross my mind. First, I thought about how much I love my son, and that even though I wasn't getting to sleep, and I was tired, and it was dark and I was having to leave the comfort of my bed to go enter into Kristopher's 'world' and climb up onto the top bunk and lay- not nearly as comfortably- just to be near him and comfort him... that so much more our Heavenly Father has done for us. Through Jesus leaving heaven, entering the Earth filled with darkness, coming into our world and leaving comfort behind... and then sending the Holy Spirit, always being there, though we do not see Him, His comfort is never out of reach when we cry out to Him.
And second, I thought of "Monroe." He's one year younger than Kristopher and he's alone in this world. Though he's surrounded by people, just as Kristopher was last night (he shares a room with Brianna, and three of the other kids are just a room away), he still cries out into the darkness with no one there to sooth him or lay beside him and provide comfort by their nearness. Not much longer... and we can show him that love. And until then, I pray that the Holy Spirit will be a comfort to each of those that lay in the darkess with fears or pain or hunger or sickness, and that the whispers of "you're loved" will flow down from Heaven, so that those still waiting will know that their Father in Heaven knows their name and calls them His own.
Friday, August 27
Well, James and I got a LOT of that last week :) And this week has been pretty nutty busy! Michael took Kristopher, Brianna, and Emma to church on Sunday and then took them to McDonald's for lunch because I needed him to pick up a prescription in the town north of us (ours was out of stock and the med had 'gone bad' by not being refrigerated when we went to the hospital... they wouldn't refrigerate it because he was in isolation... anyway...). So tonight on his way home from work Michael called and asked if I wanted to take Brianna and get a little time out with just her. Do dinner, do-- whatever-- and he'd take care of the rest of the kids' dinner and bed time. How can you turn that down?
We had a great time tonight! Brianna and I ate at Panera in East Orlando then walked all over the outdoor mall there. We bought onesie t-shirts at Carter's for James so he has something to wear when he starts back at school on Monday (he wore regular t's with the mic-key but now the tube would hang out and it's TOO HOT to be wearing an undershirt-type onesie under his clothes right now!). She helped pick them out (on clearance and on sale on top of that even, not bad!) and carried them to the register. We got her a long sleeved shirt for the fall and a cute little pants and t-shirt for Lynae (of course both of them were on clearance too...).
Then we walked over to Old Navy and looked around for a bit, went to Ross and found some shirts for my trip to Ukraine, and kept going all the way to Target. Of course by this time it was nearly 9pm and her bedtime is 7 usually. She was dragging, but she was loving it :). We looked around at a few things at Target and though this isn't generally something I'd blog about, it was too cute! Having just weaned... I needed bras! So I took her to go try one on, and she was SO insistent on trying one on herself! She just about figured out how to get her shirt off in the dressing room and just cracked me up. Of course there's mirrors all over so I held up a bra for her and she just GRINNED and GRINNED at herself. I said "oh, too big" and that was that, she was happy to have tried it on too! LOL. I REALLY wanted to take a picture, but then thought that surely we would be called out on it for taking photos in a dressing room LOL. So... I didn't... But she had fun girl-shopping with mommy! She then got to pick out a little toy and chose a 'littlest pet shop' set. I hope she enjoys playing with it tomorrow... because by the time she got in the car there was nothing on her mind but... slleeeeepp.... zzzzzzz
I've got several things all going on at the same time and it's hard to focus on one before the next is calling. Of course the forefront is the kids that are sick. James went back to the ped this morning and is CLEARED to return to school! I have a note and everything ;) He has had no symptoms since last Saturday and will go back to school Monday. A blessing and a curse... Glad he's better, hope he doesn't catch anything ELSE! He's only been to school 3 days out of the last 3 weeks...
Micah is seeming a little better but still poop blowouts 2-3x/day so we'll see what the weekend does for him. Lynae is having 1-2 loose stools a day so we're continuing to keep an eye on both of their fluid intake (and output) and make sure that we're not dealing with dehydration.
Interesting tidbit-- When James was in the hospital, they said it's very contagious, etc... and he was on isolation (not like we were leaving the room anyway, but nurses all had to wear the gowns and gloves to come in...). Ok, so then I got the phone call from the health department on Monday afternoon and wouldn't you know, the lady says "we rarely ever see secondary cases of Salmonella." Hmm... ok, then how is it so contagious?? She then said not to worry too much, not to go nuts cleaning, just use good hand washing and she wanted to know what he'd eaten (pediasure and babyfood) and whether he was around exotic animals (nope!) before getting sick. That was it, plain and simple, short and sweet... and the health department really did tell me not to worry about it!
So... of course I didn't listen to the health department! We have chuck-pads for each of the kids to be changed on that we're throwing away if it's soiled at all and getting a clean one at least every day for each of them. Gloves, a separate diaper cream, etc. I have a quart of hand sanitizer on the changing table so nothing, nothing, else is contaminated!! I also have 3 playpens set up in my family room (where the changing table is), along with the baby's swing and the boys' and Lynae's high chairs. They have the TV, some washable toys, and that has been where we've all hung out ALL WEEK. Yes, seriously. Though I don't like to do it, I cannot have them get anything else in the house 'germed up' and we cannot have 6 kids sick!! So, one week of "isolation" at the house and lots of cleaning and Lysoling and hand washing and germ-x, and hopefully we will see the end soon!
Ok, so then today I take James to the ped and leave the 2 that ARE currently pooping at home. I mentioned to the ped that the other two are sick. She says "of course, I'm surprised it's just two." She then went on to say that it's so contagious and he was at home the first 5 days that he had it, so it's almost a given that some of the other kids would catch it. Except that it was the end of the incubation period when Lynae got sick. So maybe it's not that... It is just one of those things that when it gets into the house and the kids are throwing up and having nasty diapers, it's a given that everyone else will get it. But once James was admitted to the hospital, he hasn't been contagious here at the house... which means that L and M could both have virus' or one could have a virus and one could have Salmonella... and if so, M probably also got it from the original source (which she is guessing is school, and she thinks L's might just be a change in diet...)! UGH!
She also said she doesn't need to see L or M unless they're dehydrated and need immediate medical attention, that what we're doing is what they need... keep them hydrated and keep them home (which is why I didn't bring them along). So, I'm guessing that the health department never KNOWS about the secondary cases because if one kid has it, you just assume that's what it is with the rest of everyone and since they don't treat it, you only know about it if they end up in the hospital. And we still have no idea if this is from school or if there IS a secondary case, and we are praying that Brianna doesn't end up with it too since she's still in that class at school, but is not near any of the kids at home (and hasn't been around anyone that is sick in over a week!).
Anyway, our routine continues for Micah and Lynae, but James has been "released to play" today :).
In the midst of the sick kids, I'm planning for this mission trip. I appreciate the tips on clothes and weather in mid-September that were left on the last post! 50-60's is COLD here :) It's in the 100's right now! In fact, I keep the house at 79 most of the day and only turn it down when Michael is coming home since he thinks that's hot LOL! Looks like I'll need to figure out what warmer clothes I own! They are buried away not to be brought out until mid-November around here.
I'm also compiling my dossier and am getting closer and closer! I need to make it up to the property appraiser's office next week to try to get that form redone, but I did get my I-797C, which means that USCIS has our application and will give us an appointment for fingerprinting soon. PLEASE pray that we get a quick appointment and FAST processing! The approval from this is what we are wanting to get before my mission trip so that I can bring it all WITH me to Ukraine in just a few short weeks! It may be improbable, but nothing is IMPOSSIBLE with God! We also need a form from one other person that is being 'held' still. I think that when we ask that it be released... that it will. We are believing God that it will. Your prayers for that situation are very much appreciated! (and no, this is not regarding our families ;) ).
On that note-- Our families!! Our parents are all supportive of our adoption and we are SO BLESSED by their help the last few weeks! Both sets of grandparents have helped with the kids while James was in the hospital and we are so thankful for them and for their willingness and desire to be a part of our children's lives and to help out on our time schedule with the kids! They are some of the people that really make this WORK for our family, having them available to us and our children and having them WANT to be there. They know that our family is our ministry (in addition to our 'outside ministry' and they support us and our family in every way they can. We are SO BLESSED by our parents!!!
And... both have had some time to themselves as well :) Mike's parents are vacationing close-by this week, and my parents leave on Saturday for a week in Montana. Please pray for safe travels for all of them. My older sister is also moving next week from MN to PA. A little closer but not close enough :).
WHEW! Quite the 'dump' post, but now you can see how my mind has been working :) or... not.
And on that note, the school just called that Brianna is 'feeling droopy' and has a 99.4 fever (we don't call that a fever here... hmm....). It's nap time. Hoping that's all it is... Mike is going to pick up all 3 kids and K and E will miss the last 90 minutes of the day. This is getting to the point of ridiculous... *sigh* off to sanitize James' playpen so Brianna can have it!
*** A very happy, very spunky, little 4 yr old girl with a temperature of 97.4 just bounced into my living room and is home from school. She is fine, thankfully. And hopefully no symptoms will show up any time soon. James' playpen is being put away :)***
Thursday, August 26
These are all a few weeks old, the first few are the week before school started!
Everyone’s backpacks full of their school supplies (and overflowing! hence the bags below)
Just too cute, and so big with her sippy cup! Lynae is now fully weaned (thanks to my 5 days away from home…) and is taking a sippy cup and eating finger foods, crackers, and purees. My my how time flies!
One of the reasons we decided to buy front loaders as opposed to high-capacity top loaders is because our kids WANT to help and learn to do things. Brianna has done great emptying the dryer and moving the wash to the dryer. Such a big helper, and the smile shows how proud of herself she is!
My sister in law graduated from UCF with her Master’s degree a few weeks ago and we brought a few of the kids out to dinner with them after. Here’s Brianna dancing with Grandmommy outside of Logan’s
Yep, I’m a few weeks late, but James only made it to 3 days of school before he got so sick! So, here are LATE first day of school pictures of the kids that I can post here (James’ pics will be added to his blog soon too!)
This goofy face Micah is making is what he does when we ask him to smile. NO idea… funny little boy :)
Well, here’s a pic of James that I can post bc it isn’t “identifying” :). This is what I mean when I say that he is leaking pretty bad! This was about 15 minutes after he ate chocolate Pediasure, and since it’s brown, it’s easy to see what is soaking wet :(. Only 3 oz every hour and we’re still ending up with all of this coming out through the g-tube sometimes 3-4x/day. He seems to be staying hydrated ok so we are just trying to keep him clean until we can get the tube ‘fixed’ as best as possible!
And this is from this morning. This Big Bird Sesame Street CD ROM game is very simple! Emma LOVES it and will play on it for an hour and more, going through ABC’s and numbers and shapes and colors! We have a touch screen ‘attachment’ (magic touch) for the computer and the LCD monitor is screwed on to the desk. We use the kids’ booster seats to sit at the computer, and even Lynae is enjoying it! She will touch Big Bird or the item on the right (this one is colors) and it responds and goes to the next one. LOVE it!
If we determine that there are specific items that we will purchase here rather than buying in-country (our preference for travel reasons!) then I will be sure to post! Until then, if you'd like to donate toward the cost of the therapy items, you can send donations WITH A MEMO "FOR CTR" via paypal to email@example.com or mail a check to PO Box 4024, Gaithersburg, MD, 20885.
THANK YOU for your interest in helping support birth families abroad and the centers seeking to provide services for them!
We have all kinds of neat goodies for the therapy centers that we'll be visiting as well as things for the birth families to take home and use! It was so fun! Now I have a large duffel bag packed with teaching tools that either wouldn't be available there, or would be MUCH more expensive.
Now... what is the weather like in Ukraine in Mid-September, and what in the world am I going to wear to interact with all of these birth parents?? In Ukraine the women dress like they're going to a formal theater performance just to grocery shop. When we were there adopting, we didn't feel the need to "fit in" so well because we really weren't there for looks. We brought a nice outfit for court and for the SDA visit but that was it. Otherwise we wore jeans and since it was winter we always had a huge jacket on!
Looking forward to preparing for our trip! :)
Wednesday, August 25
James' adoption will be finalized on SEPTEMBER 1st!! :) YAY! (Then I can unblur his photo LOL!)
And... I got notification from USCIS that they have our file and that we will receive fingerprint appointments soon!
And... I got our mortgage letter back today and I do believe it is as close to perfect as it will get!
And... Ok, I think that's all, but I was on a roll :)
Sick Kid Updates:
James is feeling better, perked up, and has now had NO bowel movements in 4 days. Not sure that's the swing we were hoping for so hopefully the pendulum will come back to a nice 'normal' soon! Lynae and Micah continue to have several loose diapers/day but are otherwise eating and playing and generally happy. Though they are ready to be FREE and go play (and I am keeping them contained so the entire household doesn't get whatever bug they have... we don't think it's Salmonella based on how it is presenting itself, thank goodness!).
Tuesday, August 24
I'm excited to share a give-away that I will start a chip-in for next week. This is for a vacation package which includes 7 nights at an RCI timeshare available in the US and abroad! Here's just a few examples:
Wyndham Durango, Durango, Colorado
Wyndham Sea Gardens, Pompano Beach, Florida
Wyndham Nashville, Nashville, Tennessee
Albatross Golf Club, Hurghada, Red Sea, Egypt
There are HUNDREDS of hotels available and the certificate is good for six months! (approximately- specific details will be listed with the formal announcement).
Take a look around this website for more hotel choices! www.getawayweeks.com
We currently need approximately $3,000 to have our adoption of Monroe fully funded, and this is one way we are working to close the gap!
Check back, I’ll post details and ways to enter soon!
Monroe’s region is the most expensive and one of the longest expected trip lengths in his country, so the estimates for our trip are on the higher end of an adoption from his country.
Sunday, August 22
Also, he is not on milk based formula, just straight Pediasure.
THANK YOU for all the replies, though, and I will certainly bring some of those ideas to the ped.
We will probably pump in Pedialyte tonight while he's sleeping and wrap his middle in a diaper (an idea from another friend) to 'contain' the leakage. Then see what happens. The continuous 24 hour feeds are the only thing I can think of but it still seems he'll have continuous 24 hour leakage and eventually, with so much 'forced in' will start spitting some up as well if he isn't able to physically process that much at a time.
Thanks again, sorry I wasn't clear!
James has always processed food VERY slowly. For instance one day he ate breakfast at 7am, 10 oz. Then he spit up, say, 3 oz. Then he started on lunch, got an ounce or two in at 11:30, and spit up 5 or 6 oz. Problem being, at 11:30 it looked and smelled JUST LIKE when it came out at 7am... but it obviously had been sitting in the stomach for 4 1/2 hours already (at least most of it had). Yes, gross... I know...
Now with the Salmonella, that slows down the gut even more. While in the hospital he drank 8 oz of Pediasure and leaked out about 5 oz of it through his g-tube over a period of 6.5 hours. That means that in that 6.5 hours only 3 oz was digested. The reason we can be sure of this is because at the end of that time his g-tube didn't just stop leaking, but it began leaking clear for a bit. No more milk.
That brings me to yesterday. We were released from the hospital with the plan of 3 oz every hour 10 hours/day. Hoping and praying it would stay in. It isn't. As soon as he sits up on his own, it is leaking out. Those darn ab muscles... And I can't very well get a very mobile 4 yr old to lay down all day (like he was at the hospital). I am putting him in his highchair, reclined, to drink, and having him sit there for about 20 min after (which he hates). But at that point, he has to get down! That's 25 min of sitting EVERY HOUR. As soon as I put him in the playpen (aka germ containment device) he has leaked everywhere within a matter of 20 minutes. At least half of what is going in is coming back out.
Based on his weight (he lost down to ~24.5lbs) and the idea that a person in general healthy circumstances should have 1.5 oz of liquid per pound of weight daily (and more if having symptoms like diarrhea), he should be getting about 37 oz of liquid on a normal healthy day. He usually drinks about 32 oz (4 cans of Pediasure) in a day. Giving him 80ml every hour all day, he will need to drink 12 bottles a day to get that 'normal' 32 oz in. With more than half of it leaking, he would need to do it every hour, literally 24 hours a day. Assuming that only half continues to leak out.
And that is with spending about half of his waking hours sitting in a high chair so that the entire amount doesn't leak back out.
Ok, there you go, any ideas, thoughts, etc?? The tube itself is the "best we can do" at least for the next 24 hours until I can call my ped again and see what she says. One idea from the GI (which they said several times they were going to do but never did... and I am not comfortable doing it at home) was to remove the tube for 1-2 hours and let the diameter close up a bit then reinsert the tube. A tighter fit. Makes sense... but no idea if that would do it, and, again, I'm not comfortable doing that at home (in case I can't get it back in if it closes too much!)
Any thoughts on alternative plans for feeding and keeping it in... ANYTHING??
(PS. He has not had any stools today. Which I think is good. Except that he also has not wet. Not even overnight. I'm not overly concerned yet because he will often 'hold it' a long time and with less to need to pee, he may hold it longer. If he hasn't had a good wet diaper (or two or three) by morning we will be visiting the Ped.)
((PPS.He is already on EryPed (erythromiacin- sp? ) due to his slow motilty.))
Saturday, August 21
YAY because no one has a FEVER!
YAY because Lynae's stool, though soft and frequent, I would not categorize as "loose"!
YAY because everyone went to bed NICELY!
YAY because Brianna got out of bed... and went to the bathroom, peed, and went back to bed!!!
I won't share any of the not so yay things. I'm tired of them and feel like I'm beating a dead horse, but they persist.
Let's just have a YAY kind of night!
The plan from here is that we should be discharged late afternoon/early evening (though the nurse just said she got our discharge orders and thought it was for now??). For feeding we'll do 3 oz every hour 10 hours/day. Any leakage we're supposed to try to 'replace' with an extra feeding between feeds or at the end of the day. And to use the gtube to use water to keep him hydrated because of the excessive diarrhea.
Friday, August 20
Her temp is down with Tylenol, and Mike will check her through the night.
As far as his actual physical illness part of this... we don't know how long that will hang on. Today is day 9 and though it's slowed some... he's still having multiple diapers each hour and has nothing in his stomach... So once he's able to eat more, we may see that increase again.
In addition to the diarrhea... We have a few other things going on.
Yesterday he was allowed to drink 8 oz of Pediasure. We spread it out over the course of an hour. Unfortunately, it brought on two not-so-good things. 1- He started screaming. Not an "I'm a fussy little kid" kind of scream, but an "I'm in pain" type of cry and scream :(. That lasted for about 7 hours! 2- His new mini button (a replacement for his Mic-Key) leaked. Not a leak of just dripping a little out. A leak as in... over the next 6 1/2 hours, at least 5 oz of liquid came back out of it!
What's significant about 6 1/2 hours? That's the amount of time that it took for his stomach to stop leaking white and start leaking clear. In other words, the 3 oz that stayed IN his stomach, took 6 1/2 hours to empty. :(
So, there's 3 other issues in addition to the diarrhea and risk of dehydration, he also has a pretty significant 'leak' and an obvious emptying problem. Not to mention the screaming... which we still don't know the cause of.
Today I've given him 4 oz and am about to give him another 2. This 'new tube' (a mic-key but not a low profile button) doesn't appear to be leaking. I hope that continues! Now we'll see whether he can empty that and not scream. If it isn't going to work doing it orally, we can do sloooow tube feedings as well. The idea is to get him to get the intake very slowly and spread out so that his stomach doesn't have a lot just sitting in it. Less chance for it to leak right back out, and less chance that he'll have pain or discomfort or that he'll throw it back up.
For now we're here tonight, possibly longer.
The GI said he won't be able to get a 'normal' read on him for several months because of the Salmonella. But obviously we need to take care of the immediate issues now so he can get home and get to feeling better!
Oh, and we don't know what the contaminant was, and it will be reported to the health department, so we get to have the joy of having a visit from them to ask us 10 million questions in the next little bit. Yay! (haha) And... oops, forgot to tell Michael that part... Guess I should since he's at home!
Wednesday, August 18
- Who came up with naming the new "smaller Mic-key" button, Mini (Mickey and Minnie?)
- It is either hot or cold in the hospital rooms.
- This is not the way I planned to wean (nor the most comfortable way)
- Showers must be overrated.
- A pack of 24 diapers CAN be used in just over a day.
- Green slime can come out of many different orifices (today just one-- but not the nose!).
- A 4 yr old boy can be spoiled in a matter of hours and refuse. to. be. put. down. EVER. AGAIN.
- I can sleep in a single cot with a wiggly boy for about 5 hours before deciding that I really HAVE to sleep some and putting him in the crib.
- That same 4 yr old loves Elmo enough to play the ABC song repeatedly from his new Elmo doll (that he was supposed to get for his birthday but instead was 'revealed' to him on our way to the hospital...) that he will play it nonstop at 3am when I put him in the crib.
- Take the warning of wiggling as a foresight into what is to come. (2 BLOWOUT diapers *just* after I laid him back in bed and thankfully not covering anything but the chuck pads provided for that reason.)
- Nurses tend not to notice when a child is crying in pain, but when mom goes to the bathroom and they whine, a nurse always comes in (and has no idea I'm in the bathroom)
- Two days with no shower while cleaning up poop can be pretty waring all by itself.
The good things:
- The doctors and nurses here are knowledgeable and kind
- We were able to see a GI doctor that immediately changed out James' Mic-Key button for one that is MUCH smaller (2.0 down to a 1.5) and FITS. (and yes, it's called a mini!)
- James has had IV fluids and has perked up a lot since yesterday even though he's still whining and upset a lot of the day. I would be too with that much poop coming out :(
- They have parent trays at this hospital so I haven't had to leave James in order to eat (and the food isn't bad).
- They brought in a cot for me and let James sleep with me since he was so fussy.
- Right now, James is in the crib and I have had 2 minutes where he's not crying nor is he on my lap. LOVE having him on my lap (it has been great bonding time!) but, a small reprieve is welcome every so often.
Tuesday, August 17
Monday, August 16
In reality, I have been avoiding the subject here. As you know from my post shortly after our announcement that we committed to Monroe, about RR's integrity, this adoption is tied in with some animosity from another family. And though we sought the Lord's will, sought Christian counsel and counsel from family and friends before committing to Monroe, there are still those that have other interests in mind and are not fully supportive (aside from that family). We were prepared for that, and know that God's will generally is NOT accepted by everyone-- Christian or not! In fact when we adopted the first time, got pregnant with Lynae, and when we adopted James we were met with some of the same people saying the same things.
Generally, these people are looking out for a "best interest" somewhere. Whether it is the "best interest" of our children already in our care not to have to share their parents and family any more, the "best interest" of us for not having even more work to care for another child, the "best interest" of an organization for not having to allow a long vacation leave (3 weeks), the "best interest" of themselves to not have to share US and our time any more than they feel that they do with our current kids. But none of those is looking out for the best interest of our family unit, of Monroe, or of following in Faith what we believe is God's will for such a time as this.
Just because they aren't strongly supporting our adoption does not mean that they are not Christians, nor does it mean that this is not God's will for our family. It simply means that God has revealed this to us that this is His plan for us and that He doesn't always tell the entire world "Hey, I've called the Cornishes to do this!" Oh how I wish He did sometimes though! And so, as we've processed through the different things that have resulted from those that are not in support of our adoption, I've been hesitant to write about it.
I've been hesitant because of concern that someone would try to cause harm to us. Yes, seriously. When people are angry about things, when they are hurt, they tend to hurt others. So not speaking openly about the adoption has been one way of us closing out that possibility for the people we are concerned about to not feel further strife towards us and possibly just leave us be. So far, that has been the case. But that is not what our Faith says. Our Faith says that God called us into this and that we should be sharing the JOYS and the TRIUMPHS of the Lord, as well as going to others to request PRAYER. Not hiding away in fear.
I've been hesitant because one of the people that opposes our adoption holds a 'key piece' to our dossier at their disposal. My mind and humanity have feared that this person will not agree to provide it, and that we will end up, in the end, having to release Monroe. I know that God has brought us to Monroe, and that this is all for His will and His plans for us. So that fear needs to be released. Not hidden away. We have faith that in the next few weeks as we are trying to complete our dossier, that we will be given blessing in that area and that we will receive what is needed.
Holding out those areas of my life for you to see, those things which I'd much rather keep hidden away, I am asking you to please pray. Please pray that the fear of what others can do in this situation will not be something that we hold on to, but rather that we will be able to continuously release it to God. Knowing that He has revealed His Will to us, that we can carry forward knowing that He will provide everything that we need for it to all happen. MAN cannot stop what GOD plans to happen, except by our reluctance to follow His will.
And so... On to an update on our adoption. Because God is in control and has already done GREAT THINGS for us that we should be celebrating instead if hiding!
Our homestudy was completed last week and sent off to USCIS! We are awaiting a fingerprinting appointment and then hopefully a quick approval. We are asking for your prayers that our file will make it to the desk of someone that recognizes that Monroe is living on a short time frame before being transferred to an institution, and that we will have approval in our hands before September 13th! The significance of that? I will be traveling to Ukraine on September 17th and feel led to pray that I can hand-deliver our dossier at that time. Is that incredibly fast and on all 'reasonable' fronts not going to happen? YES. But God doesn't ask us to pray only for what might happen already but to ask GREAT things in His name so that there is no other explanation than the power of prayer! (For those of you outside the adoption realm, USCIS is the US Citizenship and Immigration Department of Homeland Security. They provide clearance for international adoption which is a required part of the dossier. It is currently 5-12 weeks for immigration approval.)
We have already begun putting together our dossier and have our county paperwork, our marriage certificates, some of our financial documents, our agency and social worker licenses and homestudy. We've sent away for notarized state clearance letters and are waiting for those. Our CSP and POAs have been sent overseas which will help the SDA and the orphanage to know that we intend to adopt him and to submit our dossier soon. We sent these via FedEx last week and they were supposed to be delivered on Tuesday (tomorrow). We received word from another adoptive parent that they were picked up by our facilitator on Thursday! What a blessing for them to arrive 4 days early! We pray that because they have those forms they will 'hold' him at the orphanage baby house until we are able to travel. If you followed our first adoption journey from Ukraine, you can understand why that is another part of this journey that the fear creeps in on. Our Sasha was transferred from the baby house to an institution much like Monroe is at risk of and she was then 'unavailable' due to the views of her institution director toward adoption and Americans in general. We pray that God's hand be on Monroe and that he will wait right where he is for us to come and get him!!
Thank you for joining us in prayer, to pray for us, for our hearts to continue to seek God and His will, and for those parts of this process that are being met with reluctance to be smoothed. For prayer and protection over Monroe as he waits, unknowing, for us! And, please stand with us in prayer that our dossier will be complete for me to bring it to Ukraine in mid-September!
Saturday, August 14
You're four years old today, and though we only met you 5 months ago, you have certainly blessed us and melded into our family quickly!!
On the day you were born I don't know where we were or what we were doing... I know that we were just about 2 months post-op from Brianna's open heart surgery and finally starting to relax after a 3 week stay in the CVICU after it. Brianna was so tiny and it was just her and Kristopher in our home. In no way would we have been considering adoption at that time or ready for your needs. God knew that and put others in your path to care for you until our family, and you, were ready!
When you were born I'm sure there was much fear in addition to the expectations. Such an early preemie, the doctors were likely all gathered around for your c-section arrival and ready to determine whether or not you would even survive in this world. At just 2 1/2 lbs with see-through skin and not being very reactive, everyone probably held their breath and prayed to see you breathe.
Your rush into this world carries on in your personality today! You are in a hurry to get everywhere and your feet and knees move faster than the rest of you! You tend to be a bit impulsive, but you're also determined! Determined to live from day 1, and determined to do everything else you set your mind on thereafter. We've been blessed to see you so determined to walk and to learn!
There have been many people in your life that have loved you! From the nurses whose hearts I'm sure you stole at the NICU as an infant, to your Momma Ruth that fostered you from 3 months until you came to us, your "Aunt Megan" that helped Momma Ruth, and your night nurses taking turns caring for you.
Momma Ruth shared with me that after you were life-flighted due to pulmonary hypertension issues that someone offered her another child to "fill your bed" in her home. She refused, knowing that you would be coming back home to her and ready to wait for you to be better. Her love for you has been unwaivering!
Now you're coming in to the next adventure in life-- life in your very own family! You'll no longer be called a foster child or 'ward of the state', or even, an orphan. Instead we call you son.
This week signifies not only your 4th birthday, but also the closing of our 90 day period for you to live with us before we can finalize your adoption and give you the greatest gift of love that we can... your new name. We love you, James Hunter Cornish, and we can't wait to see you learn and grow and to share your achievements and love with those special people in your life that gave you the start you needed so that God could orchestrate our lives to meet at such a time as this.
We love you,
Your Mommy and Daddy
and your big brother, your little brother, your two big sisters and your baby sister!
PS. We are waiting on a court date to finalize! :)
Friday, August 13
Please pray for James!
Thursday, August 12
The Virus Department of the Florida Public School System.
Wednesday, August 11
Almond milk (because it was on sale) for Micah.
Rice milk (also on sale but a little more $ than the almond but I don't want to give Lynae almond) for Lynae
Soy milk (because I bought it after the other two at Sam's!) for Lynae and Micah both
Whole milk for Brianna
2% milk for Emma, Kristopher, Michael and I
and breast milk for Lynae
Who would have thought? Weird... :)
It's been a great week so far. LOTS to update on which won't be happening tonight because I'm EXHAUSTED! We spent 11 hours on the go today for a Ds clinic visit with Brianna and Emma! Third day of school.. and so much more already and yet to come this week. More later!
Monday, August 9
It was Emma's first day as a first grader with her kindergarten-3rd grade assisted level classroom! She had a good day with the two aides from last year and a substitute teacher (who happens to be Micah's aide from last year!). I DID meet the teacher that they've hired for her class and I am looking forward to a great year with her! She has to get her fingerprints cleared before she can be in the classroom since she's a BRAND NEW hire, so she won't be in until Wednesday. Emma's class last year was FIVE kids at the beginning of the year, and this year they are ELEVEN! WOW! And, I believe that my 3 kids w/ Ds were the only ones in the school last year at the beginning of the year. Later on one more joined the Pre-K. This year... there are three new little ones with Ds in Emma's class including a little boy that used to be in her same orphanage in Ukraine. What a fun class! Emma had a good day and though it was a "typical first day" complete with a bit of chaos, they all did well :).
Today was Kristopher's first day as a first grader in Mrs. S's class! He went right in and found his desk and met his teacher. I think it's pretty unusual that we don't meet the teachers before the first day of school here... but anyway, I met his teacher and he got right to work! He's at a table with three little girls to start the year off which is probably a GOOD place for him :). He's my little talker and he'll be much less likely to go be a loud and entertaining little boy to three girls than he would be to his guy buddies! LOL But he does have several friends in his class and I think the teacher is going to be a good match for him :). He said he had a great day!
It was Brianna's first day as a K-4 student, James' first day as a K-4 student (and his first day at this school) and Micah's first day as an official K-3 student! Their class only had a teacher and Micah's aide for the beginning of the day and I'd already planned to stay for a while and had my mom watch Lynae for me to be able to do so. James is a bit... busy! I had forewarned them of this and prepared them the best I could for what would be needed for him, but I think his energy still caught them by surprise :). Micah was unusually stubborn (no, not my Micah LOL!) today as well and was planting his feet and seeing just how far his aide would make him go. I stuck around almost the entire day and left while they finished lunch and prepared for naps and pickup. So... I kept on Micah and tried to reassure his aide that she really really could be firm with him. And I was James' 1:1 today. They did end up with a second aide part way through the day and even with the 4 of us... and only 5 kids... it was busy! I couldn't help but think there are only 5 kids here... I'm sending my preschoolers to school with less kids than we have at the house and many times more hands and yet it's still BUSY! Of course it's no one's fault that it's busy, it's just the FIRST DAY of school! And they're needing to work through what supports James needs. Half the battle is having the right equipment on hand to make the day go better :). Brianna was able to be 'pulled out' more today than usual and I'm looking forward to her coming in to her own and getting some confidence in the classroom! She's one of the three "big kids" this year rather than one of the little kids and I think she'll do great as well.
I really like their teacher and Micah's aide is someone that Michael and I have known since we were in high school (him longer) and we are looking forward to a good school year!
On to day two! :)
Saturday, August 7
Our pediatrician called me herself on Thursday. That's never a good sign when you're not expecting a call! Emma's tests are all within normal ranges! YAY! And James... were not. Thankfully, his WBC and CBC counts were all fine, but his TSH is well above normal (she told me the range and the actual number... but I didn't catch the numbers!). I will ask soon. Anyway, his T4Free wasn't below normal range but was at the bottom of it.
What does this mean? Basically, his thyroid isn't functioning how it should be. His body is still getting the amount of 'stuff' that it should be to properly function (T4 measures this) but it is low. The TSH measures the "amount of hormone" that has to be sent to the thyroid to get it to produce what it's producing. Basically, the thyroid isn't doing enough with a "normal" amount of hormone, so it's being sent more and more until it makes enough. This means that the thyroid is likely in the process of not working right, and it's probable that soon the thyroid won't be making enough even with the extra hormones being sent.
Make sense? I'm not sure I've described that all that great, but in essence it means that James will probably be medicated with something like "synthroid" (synthetic thyroid) to get his thyroid to produce the right amount. I think. :)
We're waiting for a referral now, and the results of his bloodwork have been sent to the Endocrinologist.
Just to make things interesting, I actually canceled Brianna's Endo appt this coming week because we have appointments at Hope Haven Down Syndrome Clinic this Wednesday and next. Girls first, then the boys! We're looking forward to it! It's always a very informative trip!! :)
Friday, August 6
Tuesday, August 3
Right now we have 3 bedrooms that we are using for the kids. Three kids are in one room, two in another, and Lynae is by herself. For now that is working quite well, except when Kristopher gets up at 6am and turns the lights on and the radio and wakes Brianna :). And when we had Patrick, when he would get up at 4:30 and turn the lights on and be ready to play! (yes, we used tape on the light switch for a few days in there and Patrick learned to go back to sleep for a bit LOL!)
Now we're looking at 'adding one more' and inevitably the bedrooms will shift a bit! Right now we're thinking about putting the 3 girls together, the 3 younger boys together, and putting Kristopher by himself in what is now Lynae's/guest room. My hesitation with that is the idea of putting Brianna and Lynae together... because Brianna loves Lynae! Sometimes... a little too much :)
We are also considering whether we will use Emma's bunk for Monroe (at least for a little while) when he first comes home. Emma has been 'trying out' Brianna's bed when she's not in it and will go in there and wait to be put in it in the middle of the day! Emma has come along SO MUCH since we first decided to make her a bed, but I am still not sure she could do with "just" a side rail. If we did move her over, we would probably cut the legs off of the bottom of the bunk bed, lowering it to the ground. We'd also add a few other supports such as attaching the ladder better (right now from the bottom bunk you can just push it and it moves away from the bed) and possibly adding another 'bar' on the headboard so she can't get stuck trying to wriggle out there. Otherwise, if it's lowered to the ground, it should be fairly good... even if she managed to get out. Then the question becomes whether the other bed in the room is also 'safe' from her.
On top of that bunk? Well, little miss Monkey herself that loves loves loves to be on the top... but a foot closer to the ground! I'm trying to figure out whether it would really work for Brianna to be on a raised bed or not. She has a side rail so she doesn't fall out of bed, but she has the ability to get down whenever she wants. When she's on the top bunk, we'd need to be sure she still couldn't fall out of bed even if it's lower to the ground. Some suggestions have been a 'staircase' going up the end of the bed with big steps and a rail, or a ladder to go up and a slide to go down-- since climbing down is what she's not very good at. We're still tossing that one around.
Looking out 6-9 months, we have 3 kids in cribs right now. Micah, James, and Lynae. By 18/24 months I imagine that Lynae will be ready to be done in a crib, much as Kristopher was. Brianna wasn't much older, around 30 months. The boys are both still 'comfy' in their cribs and definitely more SAFE! But what's the next step for them? And how can we incorporate the knowledge that they'll need something different in a not-so-long time from now into our current plans? After all, we hope to have Monroe home before Christmas (PRAYING!!) but that is still almost 5 months from now and that 6-9 months idea isn't so far down the road.
I really like the idea of giving Kristopher a bit of his own space at least for a little while. A place he can have his Lego's and knights and games and books and not have to worry about anyone else getting a hold of them. Right now he and Brianna share and it's a good setup (she won't eat his toys but does get in to them!). I also like the idea of continuing to have a place to offer to guests that stay overnight (including the occasional babysitter, you know, so we can go for our adoption for a bit!).
So... the "where are you going to put him" question, though it's 'easy' to say "with the little boys" is really a bit more complicated when you add in the whole what-kind-of-bed-will-everyone-need-in-6-months thing!!
Any ideas or suggestions? Low bunks, home made beds, and bed rails are at the top of the list at the moment :)
James has had so many big changes in his life since moving in about 10 weeks ago. He's gained 5 siblings (he had 2 foster brothers ages 9 mos and 20 mos before so he was used to some kids). He now has a different sleeping, eating, playing, and traveling situation. He has a daddy. He's been given expectations to follow. He's got role models showing him how to do things. He has competition to do things!
James' foster situation was great! He was very well taken care of and was loved and treasured by his foster mom and "big sister" since he was just a few months old. Some of the HUGE differences between having James come in and having brought Micah and Emma home are that he is medically very 'secure'. It was a matter of transferring his doctors not in finding out what was going on. He also learned appropriate bonding and for us it was a 'transfer' in that bond, not establishing what a parent was and teaching him how to love. He has that one down :). James also was used to school and playing with other kids, so teaching him how to play wasn't an issue.
It has been a wonderful 10 weeks, and James really fits right in here as if he's been here forever. We are all so proud of him for all the adjustments he's done SO WELL with and all the new things he's doing!
The 'quickest' accomplishment James made was that he learned to hold his bottle by himself :). I was kindof glad that he didn't hold it on his own when he came to us, because that gave us some good snuggle time! James has some DEEP and soulful eyes! He would sit and drink and look right into our eyes the entire time we fed him. And yet, with six little people, we knew that he not only needed to learn to do it for the sake of developmental reasons, but also for the sake of sanity within our home :). And so... within a week of being here James was holding his own bottle with a reclined seat (initially with a 'prop' under his elbows too) and now is holding it up without being reclined much at all!
Another big thing that James has recently accomplished is... WALKING! He's doing so well now! About 90% of the time he is up and on his feet, though often with reminders to do so. He's still pretty wobbly and he prefers to crawl, but he has gone from "taking steps" to being a full fledged walker :). And, has even made a few 'great escapes' with this new found freedom and headed toward the road rather than the car when we are all headed out the door.
James has done great with the new boundaries and new freedoms, and we are so blessed by his smile and his bright blue eyes :). He will mimic any and everything we do or say, though he isn't actually talking much of anything yet. He signs quite a few things and is picking up on those quickly. He will probably do great with talking and signing very quickly... but one thing at a time :) He's working really hard on some gross motor skills right now and once he's more secure with those, I'm sure he'll start in on the next thing!
Also, James is taking all of his calories through the bottle now! We haven't had to use his Mic-key tube at all and he is maintaining if not gaining weight. He still has some major reflux incidences... he will give back a good 5-6 oz out of 8-10 that he drinks in one sitting on occasion. He will sometimes also go to 'burp' and bring up everything. In spite of that he's still a healthy weight so we are happy with that! We've also had a tough time getting him in with the GI doctor here, which doesn't help. His appointment was made in June and couldn't be scheduled before NOVEMBER! Annoying, but we've done everything we can and that's all we can get. If he has issues before then the pediatrician will have to deal with it (and she already had to refill his meds) or if it's an emergency we'll have to go to the ER. Hopefully we can deal with it all until we can have him seen!
Overall, the transition has been great! James is loving and very 'easygoing' around the house. He prefers to be with Michael and I, but in the last 3 weeks we've started leaving him in the nursery during church for 1 hour/week and he's done fine there too. He has stayed a little with our regular babysitter and with each set of grandparents so Mike and I can go out for a little alone time (generally after the kids are in bed).
We have been blessed by James' great start in a good home, and we are looking forward to having his foster mom and sister come over to celebrate his birthday next weekend!
I'm sure there's more that I could share because I could generally talk all day about any of my kids, but, I must run, time for blood work...