Thursday, June 4, 2015

The medical side

Its been an eventful couple months, medically speaking. We've taken 5 trips in 3 months, 8 hours away, for 3-5 days at a time, for 6 serial casts, 1 surgery, 1 spica cast (6 weeks long from armpit to toes) and 1 cast removal with brace fitting. 

We've had days filled with crying, muscles stretching beyond any previous position, serious pain meds, learning curve of diapering in the spica cast and drying the leaks, all kinds of new normals. Taking out 1/2" of femur on each side to put his hips back in socket just isn't a comfortable thing to deal with.

(Pre-op just before heading to the OR)

There were days I wanted to crawl in bed and stay there all day. Times when a sister's shoulder to cry on (I'm blessed with several) and a coffee got me through one more day. There were also a lot of good days, lots of happy days where Tavin blew away our expectations of how he would handle all that mess. He really has been such a trooper. His determination and sweet spirit has been inspiring and I'm just so proud of him! 

Casts are now off, and he's wearing AFO's (leg braces to the knee) 23/7 and a rhino hip brace at night and naps (it was 24/7 for the first two weeks out of the spica but now just night and naps). His hips are super duper sore but gradually more tolerant to movement. 

2 more weeks and he will have his KAFO's (full leg brace) and start working on standing! Eeeek we are super super excited!!! 

He also had his last day of preschool today. I know it wouldn't have been the right decision for every adopted kiddo within the first year home but for him it's been just fantastic. He has thrived in the small class, and his teacher couldn't have been more perfect for the job if I had hand picked her. I truly believe God orchestrated that. We've seen gains in his play level as well as verbalizations and interactions with Tucker and Maddox and I'm sure they are due in part to the classroom. 

If you've considered adoption, you know I'm a fan! If you've said "I could never throw special needs in the mix" join the crowd. We said that too. Guess what? We could do it. Because we are parents and that's what parents do-whatever their kids need. Has it been hard? The medical stuff? Sometimes, sure. But you guys it IS doable, and just because you haven't done it before doesn't mean you can't. And I mean come on. I get to kiss this face every day. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Happy one year "Metcha Day" to our sweet boy!

Today marks one whole year since we walked into a Ukrainian orphanage and met Tavin for the first time! A year full of firsts, new experiences, bonding, love, family. A year to see him changing into the little boy he was meant to be. A family does that sort of thing, an orphanage doesn't. The main thing I remember feeling after our first visit that evening was the realization that we had no way to know what we were getting into, idea the full affect of orphanage life on our son. You tell yourself that, but then it's actually real. The last year we have gotten to see the shell that an orphanage creates falling away, and a little boy emerging. As I write this, he came out of his room from nap time, excitedly exclaiming to see mommy, full of smiles - real smiles that he didn't know how to give a year ago. In just a few weeks we will celebrate one full year of having him home!

(Look at that face- how cute is he??)

Here is part of my journal entry from the day we met. Happy "Metcha Day" to our sweet son Tavin!


We arrive at the orphanage this morning and wait in a waiting room that looks like it would be more comfortable in the '70's. Lime green wall paper covers the walls above wooden paneling and a lace curtain hangs over the window. A small wooden coffee table sports a red plaid woven place mat. On two walls are large poster boards covered with pictures of previously adopted children from this orphanage. From the room next door comes the sound of children singing, having a music lesson. Adorable.

We are told they are ready and walk out to another building, the one that houses children with special needs. We go through a room where a woman is giving a PowerPoint to a group of women (nannies?), and ring the bell to his groupa. I'm thinking "he has been living on the other side of this wall for the last two years. This very wall." We are ushered into the entry room, and our facilitator speaks with the nanny. My stomach does flips like a roller coaster. Then here is the nanny and here he is! Here are his chipmunk cheeks, rosebud mouth, distinct ears, and deep eyes. And he's not a dream, he's a real live boy. A little boy laying his shoulder on the matronly nannies shoulder, as she and another nanny animatedly tell us what a sweet boy he is..that he is their favorite. They say "we love him so much we say our love will bring him a family! And here you are!" He is perfectly adorable.

(The masks are because the orphanage had just had a lot of sickness- we were required to wear them the first week or so.)

The nannies volunteer all kind of info, like a proud mama, no doubt trying to seal the deal, as if we need any urging. He obviously likes to go outside, as he spends most of the time craning his neck to see around the nanny to the door that leads out. We give him a toy car and the nanny spins the wheels, he immediately imitates her movements. The nanny clicks her tongue and he copies her-they are obviously trying to show him off.

The nanny swoops him low to the ground to chase the car and has him laughing, a deep little throat laugh...a laugh with no smile.

After a few minutes I ask if we can have a picture with him and the nanny hands him over. I feel the weight of this real, live boy in my arms. He twists towards the nanny but doesn't cry, he's more interested in trying to get the phone from our facilitator. Phones always rank high with toddlers and he's no exception.

We visited with Tavin alone in the evening. We had planned to go outside but the nannies switched on us and wanted us to be inside. I think it was because I didn't have on a coat even though it was 65 out. We saw the effects of being in the orphanage throughout the visit much more clearly. He shows very little emotion or reaction to anything. The two words that I would say best describe him now are "curious" and "resigned". His eyes take in everything, turning to any sound from outside the room, and intently watching anyone who walks through. We brought a small ball and Steve bounced it to us, me holding Tavin on my lap. I would catch it, then put it on my palm and take his hand and help him push it off. He doesn't know how to throw a ball. After several minutes he started to push it off himself. Occasionally when we caught it he showed excitement, bouncing back and forth, but no smiles to go with it. An hour later he reached both hands out for the ball when Steve slowly brought it towards him, grasped it with both hands, repositioning hand to grasp better, before giving it a little toss. Progress! His favorite things to play with though we're Steve sunglasses which he tried to put on his own head, and Steve's wedding band which he found VERY fun to examine.

Have you considered adoption? Take a look at the many children listed on Reece's Rainbow, children waiting for a family.  Advocate, donate to a family in process, or consider whether your family could welcome one more child. 

  Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. - James 1:27