"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

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Expansion Journey #2

Preparing to watch their first Homecoming parade, days before surgery! 

On September 28th, the boys had their second set of expanders placed.  Tegan had three placed, one in the back of his head, one in his neck and one in his forehead.  Corban had two expanders placed in his back.

This is how Corban's back looked just before round #2.

This is how the expanders looked the day after being placed, one on the left and one on the right side of his back.

This is Tegan the day after surgery, not a happy camper.


 (Above ) This is about half way through expansion.

(Above ) At their max


Good 'ol Papaw joins us on surgery day for entertainment and moral support!


Corban post surgery.

And drum roll.....Tegan's amazing results.....

And Tegan, today after removing all drains and a bath!  

Below is a before.

Once again, Dr. B has amazed us with his abilities.

Praising the Lord that we had a smooth round of expansion!!!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Time to catch up...

Life with 6 kiddos sure does make time fly, so much so that there has been little time for me to keep up with this blog.  Where should I begin....

Well, on top of everything, this spring I decided to apply to grad school and after 3 months of my application getting misplaced, I was accepted in early August to a 100% online program to earn a Masters in Social Work!  I started my first 8 week class August 27th and just finished my second class on December 16th!  Earning A's in both classes!!!!  Now that I'm half way through my winter break, I've found a little bit of time to do some catching up on the boys' progress.

Corban and Tegan began three day AM preschool just after Labor Day.  This took some adjustment for Corban who struggles with changes that aren't done on his time and for his teacher who I'm sure has never had to work with a child who has been has strong avoidance behaviors, as I knew it would be.  Tegan fell right into the routine and loves it.  He admires his teacher, Mrs. B, and tells me often how pretty she is.  We are thankful the preschool has been willing to work with us and Corban's concerns.  

First Day of Preschool!!!!

On September 28th, Corban and Tegan had surgery, in Chicago, to have their second sets of expanders placed.  I'll make a separate post about that.

On October 10th, Corban's big brother, Michiael, and I took him to the University of Iowa Clinic to have an Autism evaluation completed.  It was a long day of testing.  In the morning, we spent over an hour with a pediatric physician answering many questions about the mannerisms Corban presents that brought us there and his history.  We then had about 90 minutes for lunch and returned another few hours with a psychologist and speech therapist.  Thankfully, the latter two worked together, completing the appointment sooner than we anticipated.  We received reports from each of the specialists about 2 weeks later.  They did not diagnose him as autistic but said that he had strong concerning avoidance behaviors.  Anytime he is pressured to do something new, that is not on his terms, he throws a huge fit, will hit is hand (or sometimes just a finger) on something saying "owe" to seek attention.  He had other behaviors before this (throwing himself backwards to the floor, hitting himself in the head with a toy) but those faded and this one started about May of this year and we saw it many times a day.  

At home, this behavior has not worked to his advantage and the psychologist agreed with how we were dealing with it.  We ignore the behavior, not feeding him the attention/response he was seeing and continue to work with him in completing the task presented to him.  With new people he encounters, he tests this behavior; therefore, we have to tell people not to give in to him.  This presents a challenge at preschool because there is only one teacher for 8-10 (depending on the day) kids; therefore, she does not have time to be persistent with him, we tried to make this point with AEA in May during his initial evaluation meeting, but they thought exposure in a regular preschool would be all he needed to make progress.

After a few weeks in the preK, the AEA contacted us about checking in on Corban to see how he was adjusting.  After observing him, providing the teacher guidance on working with Corban and then the reports from his autism evaluation, they quickly decided they needed to do a reevaluation because he was not progressing like they had hoped he would.  (When they called me in October, seeking permission to do the reevaluation all I wanted to say was "We told you this is what was going to happen," but I instead did a little happy dance and said "most definitely because we were going to request you do a reevaluation") Don't take this wrong, I wanted Corban to succeed but after seeing, what we already knew was likely to happen, my heart broke that we had wasted all this time.  All I want is what is best for Corban and right now that is a special education preschool equipped with adequate staff and teachers who know how to work with "challenging" behaviors.  Thankfully, we had his IEP meeting on Dec 12th and he has been accepted into the program and will begin on January 7th! YAY!

Batman (Corban) and Spider man (Tegan) for Halloween!

That is the quick overview of what has happened over the past four and a half months.  I will do more specific posts following this one.  Thank you for checking in on us even though it's been quite.  God Bless!

Pictures of our Journey to bring Tegan and Corban home!