"By adopting a child and helping them reach their potential, they help us reach ours. An adopted child is not an unwanted child; to the contrary. They are a child who was searched for, prayed for, cried for, begged for; received by arms that ached, making empty hearts full. Love is meant to be shared." Author unknown

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Corban - almost 8 weeks later

Corban after a buzz cut!

Corban has come so far in 8 weeks, it is almost hard to believe this is the same child.  He has gone from only ever having a bottle as his sole source of nutrition, four times a day, down to two bottles a day, eating and drinking from a sippy.  A month ago, I would have never guessed we'd be this far in his feeding progress.

We have had many doctor appointments and evaluations completed in the past 4 weeks as well.   At the beginning of December, we met with a physical therapist who didn't show much concern just that we needed to build up his leg, core and chest muscles. She showed us exercises or activities to do that.  We don't have to meet with her again unless we feel he isn't progressing.

We then met with an ENT to have his ears and hearing checked, this resulted in learning that he had way too much ear wax to have his hearing checked.  We were instructed to put a few drops of oil in his ears every few days to soften it up. We went back this past Wednesday to have the ear wax cleaned out, wow did he have a lot of wax in his left ear - gross.   Since Corban is still not responsive all they could do was to do the hearing test they do on infants to be sure he has the ability to hear and that he passed.  I knew he would because he responds to us calling his name from another room.  We won't know truly if he has full hearing till he is able to complete a full hearing evaluation.  Hopefully, he will be ready for that in about 8 month.

The main concern about his hearing is his lack of speech though he is beginning to say/repeat a few words.  The main four words he can say are hi, nice, more and up.  It's a start. He does mimic the basic sounds of some things we say and can do basic repeated sounds like: ba ba ba, ma ma ma, da da da, etc.

A few weeks ago we also met with a feeding therapist and she was quite impressed with him as well. She liked that he was willing to try just about everything she presented to him and that he has some good basic mouth movements.  Her main concern his his lack of oral strength so that is what we are to work on.  We will begin to meet with her about every other week to help him grasp the concept of chewing because that is really all that is holding us back in feeding at this point.

We also are also having him evaluated by our school system's early intervention program.  They have a whole team of specialists: physical, occupational, feeding and speech therapist included.  We are waiting for a few more evaluations.  They will then write up a report on where he stands developmentally and then we will figure out a schedule where they will begin to visit us, here at home ,to help him begin to achieve goals.  He's come so far already, I can't wait to see how much he continues to develop with their assistance.

We have been working on sign language signs for eat, more and all done.  He does a pretty good job with them. It is probably time to begin to work on a few more signs.

It seems like every few days I say to my husband, he doesn't seem to be doing such and such as often as he was. We are in awe of his progress.  What are some of these "such and suches" he isn't doing or is doing less of:
  • He isn't banging his head on things or with things anymore. He does still throws himself to the floor with a head toss back or he will hit himself in the head with his hands at times when he gets upset. Though we would prefer he not be doing these things too, it is a big improvement.
  • He used to just outburst with a high pitched scream/squeal, not as in upset or anything, just a sound he made. When he would do this and I was nearby, I would put my hand on his lips and say "uh uh" because is was ear piercing and disrupting depending on where we were.
  • We at times had to force feed him is bottles, now when he finished a bottle, (usually 8 oz) he gets upset.
  • He no longer bites, other than me occasionally when I am working on feeding things with him and my fingers are in there. Ouch.
  • He no longer sucks his thumb during the day or at snuggle time. Took about 2 solid weeks of pulling his hand out of his mouth during the day when he was just playing.  It did upset him at times and some might think that was a cruel but I think if we would have let it go too much longer it would have become much harder to break him. He does still suck his thumb in bed.
I'm sure there are many other things that I cannot think of right now but these are the major achievements.

I can see Corban emerging out of his shell.  He is becoming more comfortable with us and for that I am pleased.  At nap time he will actually relax a bit, at least until he begins to doze off, then he will throw a bit of a fit and relax again.  He has only fallen asleep in our arms a few times.

Corban likes giving kisses and hugs and seeks to be picked up.  He is still very much one who likes to do his own thing, for the most part. Corban still get's upset easily and often but then again he is two and constantly getting into/doing things he shouldn't. Redirection doesn't work well with him, it's what he wants to do or a fit. Slowly, this is improving.

I forgot to mention that he has gained 2 pounds and grown about an inch in the past month - it's amazing.

We thank God everyday for these two boys for without God blessing us with them, I cannot imagine how Tegan's but especially Corban's life would have ended up. Our lives are better with them as a part of our family too.  We have spiritually learned so much through them.

Tegan - 8 weeks later

Tegan trying to fill dad's shoes.

Tegan has come a long way in the 8 weeks since I met him. His adaptation to our family has been pretty smooth. The girls love to play with him because he will follow them around and do what they ask, most of the time.  He will stand his ground though if they keep taking things from him. Kailey has spoiled him. Tegan knows Kailey will pick him up if he ask her to (by raising his arms to her) or show him sympathies when he gets in "trouble".

Tegan has been testing his boundaries (as any 2 year old does) since the day we met him and it seems to come in waves now here at home.  Most of his testing is when you tell him to stop doing something.  He will watch you and keeps doing it, little stinker.  He's not a fan of being removed from the situation and that is "punishment" enough at this point.

He likes to help do tasks around the house.  After dinner he will take his plate to the sink and will clear other things off the table if anything is left behind.  We have to be careful what we leave because he will clear cups with liquids still in them. Wish the rest of our kids willingly helped like this.

His verbal skills have come a long way.  He can say many words on his own, though not perfectly but that will come. He even puts two words together at times!  A few of my favorite are:
  • banana
  • I love you - this is way cute as he will come up to me and say "mama" and I'll show him he has my attention and he will say "I love you" - oh so precious!!!
  • thank you - and he uses this at appropriate times - love it!!!
  • shoes on/off
  • awesome - this was his daddy's doing, he started out getting him to repeat "daddy's awesome"
  • huggy - when he wants a hug, the girls got him started on that one - he likes to pucker up and give kisses too.
He and Corban still do not interact much.  I am thankful that Tegan has done well with Corban though.  Sometime he will willingly give to Corban a toy that he wants. Tegan also does pretty well with the fact that we have to pay so much more attention to Corban. I feel bad that this is the way it is but it is unavoidable. We are blessed in that he has 4 older siblings who shower him in love and attention though, when we can't. 

I think Tegan still shows some reserve.  I feel like he hasn't fully let go and fully attached to us yet, I know it's only been 8 weeks. Maybe I'm reading to much into it but it's mostly at bed/nap time when we snuggle them before bed, he doesn't really snuggle in and maybe that is because he doesn't know how to.  He seems to be on alert and will fight falling to sleep in your arm, though he does on occasion if you sit with him long enough.

I have to add that he just did the cutest thing at breakfast.  He was sitting at the table eating his cereal and daddy sat around the corner from him.  Tegan said "baba" and then tapped the bench next to him, asking his daddy to sit right next to him.  Oh so sweet!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

8 weeks ago - is that all it's been?

Is 8 weeks all it has been since Tegan and a few days later Corban joined our family?  Why is it that is seems like it has been longer than that?  Amazing how much has gone on and how much they have adapted in that short time!

I know I have been slacking on the blog, there just haven't been enough hours in the day lately.  Where do I begin? I'll start with our family overall and then I'll do a post on each of the boys, as soon as I have some time.

The overall family dynamics have improved. Angel and our dog, Jewlz, are both showing less jealousy and are finding their place in the shift of family roles.  Angel loves to play with the boys, well mainly Tegan because he will play along, during the day when the rest of the kids are off to school. She likes having them all to herself because Kailey becomes "director" when she is home. Kailey is a huge help in entertaining them and seems to enjoy her new "little mother" role.  Michiael and Logan are helpful as well, when asked, and thankfully they haven't complained about helping.  They have become good big brothers to their new little brothers.

Our Christmas was nice.  We spent our Christmas, for the very first time ever, at our own home. Ever since Jason and I married (and even before) we always traveled back to Indiana for about a week to visit with our parents and extended family.  Though we missed seeing our family this holiday season, we really enjoyed starting our own Christmas traditions and waking up Christmas morning in our own home. We finally got to make the "Happy Birthday Jesus" cake I've wanted to make the past few years and then we sang Happy Birthday, Jesus in Chinese (Angel began taking Chinese lessons and this is one of the songs she has learned)

Overall, I think everyone is adjusting to their new roles quite nicely. It does get a little crazy here sometimes but we manage. Even in the midst of the craziness we thank God everyday for growing our family and the growth we have seen in Tegan and Corban as well as the rest of our family.

Well I know this is short but we are having family photos taken in a few hours so I must go begin to get everyone ready. I will try to get an update done on each of the boys soon.

Pictures of our Journey to bring Tegan and Corban home!