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knock on wood

Monday, March 10, 2008

We had good weekend.
Unfortunately, Shad didn't get see much of it.
One of the hazards of his job is that he's on call a lot.
And when he's on call it usually means all of our family stuff goes right out the window.
Unfortunately this weekend was one of those times.
Thankfully we're not living in Iowa anymore. Nothing against Iowa but when he worked there we couldn't leave our little town to do so much as go out to dinner in the big city because he had to be within a certain radius of the clinic.
It's not so bad here. It's only 20 minutes to the 'big city.' So sometimes we can sneak away.
Take Sunday for instance.
To start off
I managed to take all four kids to church by myself.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Yes, I am impressed as well.
It was my first time by myself (taking four kids to church is much easier to do tag-team) And I have to admit, it wasn't so bad, although I didn't get much out of the sermon because I was too busy keeping Maddie quiet. She hasn't quite mastered the art of being quiet during church. Actually, she hasn't mastered the art of being quiet at all, so anytime she wanted anything she asked at full volume.
For those of you who may be saying, 'But she can't hear, of course she's going to talk loudly,' let me just say she whispers all the time. Especially when it has anything to do with going to the bathroom. Half the time you can't hear her request for a potty break.
She KNOWS how to whisper. She just hasn't figured out she needs to use her quiet voice to ask for things in church instead of yelling for a crayon to color her picture of Jesus riding the donkey on Palm Sunday.'
Where was I?
Oh yeah...church.
So I survived.
All two and a half hours of it - Sunday School and the church service.
Maddie even tried singing this week. It was so cute. I wish Shad could have seen it, but alas, he was south of town pulling a calf.
Anyway...
The second big thing we did this weekend was go to the circus. (And Shad made it to this one! ;)
Maddie LOVED it, which is surprising considering she doesn't love ANY animal.
At least not up close.
But it seems from far away they're pretty cool.
She oohed over the dancing bears, aaahed over the lions in the cage and was mesmerized by the trapeze artists.
She ate tons of cotton candy and popcorn and drank her weight in water. (We went potty three times! ;)
Surprisingly she didn't seem to become overstimulated At least not in the same way my other kids did when they first came home. She cried a bit when we left the arena, but there were no meltdowns, no tempertantrums. In fact I don't think anyone around us realized she was upset.
And she certainly didn't become hyper. (even with all that sugar)
I may be tempting something here...
I don't want to get too far ahead of myself...
But I have to tell you...
So far her adjustment has been a breeze.
Alright!
That did it!
Quick! Somebody find me some wood! :)

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more questions than answers

Friday, March 7, 2008

Sorry it's taken me so long to post an update. It's been a little crazy around here lately.

I picked the wrong time to go back to work. We're in the middle of our biggest project of the year and since our old supervisor is gone, it is up to my co-worker and myself to pick up the pieces.
It's not going too well.
So by the time I get home all I want to do is crawl into bed.
Exhaustion doesn't make for a very good blogger...
or a very good Mommy.
Back to Maddie's appointment.
We met with Dr. Culler, who was very nice, seemed very knowledgable, but unfortunately is not my favorite person now.
He told us that just because Maddie has bilateral microtia, does not mean she is automatically a candidate for reconstruction.
Evidentally there is a facial nerve that runs through the area where the ears are. If the nerve is in the wrong place, she would end up with permanent facial paralysis if they did the reconstruction and opened up the ear canal.
So in other words...she may never be able to have her ears fixed and will have to rely on a hearing aid for the rest of her life.
Sigh.
Honestly, it's not the end of the world, but it is a huge disappointment.
We had hoped Maddie would be able to have at least part of her hearing restored...after all, everything inside is working perfectly...the sound just can't get inside.
We won't know for sure for another couple of weeks what the final outcome will be.
Maddie will have a CAT scan done on the 18th to take a look at where that nerve is.
If it's not in the way we're back to having the surgery in the next couple of years. If it's in the way, then we'll have to look at other options.
If that wasn't enough, we also discovered the hearing aid they are recommending for Maddie is four times more expensive than we thought it would be ($4400).
And insurance still isn't covering it.
At least not without a fight.
I have no idea where that money is going to come from.
So you can imagine the emotional roller coaster we've been on in the last few days. Going from hope to despair.
Yes, I know, it's not the end.
There's still a chance.
The results on the 18th might be good...but honestly we're not holding out a lot of hope right now. The doctor wasn't too optimistic. Evidentally since what there are of her ears are further forward than the normal, there's a pretty good chance the nerve is right there as well.
To cope I keep trying to look at the bright side.
Maddie is home.
She is perfect in our sight and in the sight of the Lord.
She has brightened our world just by being in it.
She is growing, learning, loving and living.
Even if she doesn't have the surgery, she is adding so much more to our lives than we could even ask for.
It's HER we want this for.
Think how much brighter HER world would be if she could just have the surgery.
Unfortunately, the light on that side is really dim.

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searching for answers

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Tomorrow is a big day for Maddie.
It's a day when we should finally get some answers about her condition.
And start getting some solutions.
You may remember when we first met Maddie we didn't have any qualms about adopting her, even though she was born without any external ears.
That peace was was due, in large part, to the fact that my niece, adopted from China last summer, has the same condition. My brother and sister-in-law had filled us in on what Kaycee was going to have to go through, so when we were presented with Maddie it was a no-brainer.
I remember thinking at the time how gracious God was to give us those mini-courses in bilateral microtia so we wouldn't be scared to bring Maddie home.
Now, a month after she stepped off the plane, Maddie will be going to see a pediatric ENT to see what our options are.
I am still amazed at how far God has brought our precious girl.
I know He has big things planned for her...and for our other three children.
Sooooo...tomorrow the journey to healing begins.
We'll start with the ENT and go from there.
We have already done a little bit of research and have a bit of information, but it's going to be wonderful finally getting answers to our thousands of questions.
I'll let you know how it goes.

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hamburger, steak and fillet mignon

Sunday, March 2, 2008

A month ago today I carried our little girl off a United Airlines airplane and collapsed into the arms of my family.

I can't believe it's been a month already.
Where did the time go?
Truth be told, the Maddie's adjustment hasn't been that bad.
I credit a lot of it to her personality. She's VERY easy going.
She wakes up with a smile and most nights goes to bed with one. (And she's back to using her toddler bed, although she still won't hear of using a blanket.) I think our experiences as international adoptive parents has also helped. (Although I should probably knock on some wood here).
We've experienced the ups and downs before - and we were prepared for the worst.
Thankfully we've experienced the best!
On our way back to Ukraine in January to adopt Maddie, we talked a lot on the plane about all of the issues we thought she had. (It's amazing how it didn't matter at the time.)
We were absolutely convinced Maddie had ADD. The girl didn't sit still at all during our 30 minute meeting in December. We were convinced she had attention deficit problems with a probability of hyperactivity mixed in.
A month after bringing her home we now know Maddie is no where near ADD. She has a great attention to detail and can work one project for any length of time needed. She doesn't flutter from one activity to another, in fact there are times I wish she would let go of an idea (she's like a bulldog! A kind, gentle bulldog, but a bulldog non-the-less)
We also realized on the way back to Ukraine we hadn't paid any attention to whether she displayed any symptoms of FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome). That had us worried. Our older three children don't have it, which had made us complacent. We had let our guard down.
Again, I am thrilled to say (so far) there are no indications of any FAS or FAE issues.
Our biggest concern was with attachment.
Our only experience in international adoption was with young children...under the age of two. Anya was 21 months at the time of adoption, Alex was 14 months and Nick turned one the day after court.
Coming home with an almost four year old was something we knew NOTHING about.
Thankfully, Maddie has been pretty easy on us so far.
The bonds of attachment are starting to show. She cries when she goes to the babysitter and is thrilled to see us when we pick her up.
She comes to us for comfort on even the smallest of owies and isn't afraid to maintain eye contact.
She loves to be held close and rocked. She is a little cuddlebug.
But there are still areas of concern.
She will still go with anyone at any time.
Not good.
And indiscriminate affection is just below the surface. At first she wanted everyone to hold her and she would grab their faces.
Now she just reaches out to touch everyone, so it's getting better.
Our friends and family have been so understanding of all of our precautions. Everyone at church have been AMAZING. Their hearts have been touched by Maddie and they're willing to give Maddie the space she needs to bond.
They're also more about orphans and international projects than at any time we have been involved with the church.
Their eyes are opened and that makes me feel so good.
They have always loved and accepted our children as they would any other child in the church.
And Maddie is no exception.
It's wonderful to see how they've opened their arms (figuratively, of course) to welcome Maddie into the church family.
The only other issue we have is that I'm
not Maddie's only Mama.
She calls Anya, the babysitter and just about any woman who has authority over her, Mama.
Great.
So while I'm not necessarily chopped liver anymore, I don't think I've made it much further than the 'hamburger' level.
I certainly am not a T-bone.
And I'm sure it will be quite awhile before I'm Fillet Mignon!

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joy of adoption




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