We made one month with Henry just a few days ago on the 9th. The time has gone so quickly and been incredibly full, so this last week seems to have been my hardest as I struggled to retain the emotional energy needed for this attachment and adjustment period with him. He is an incredible four year old who is already communicating a ton in English and moving all around the house doing his four year old activities. A bit of preschool work with Mom is going well and he is incredibly intrigued with fire trucks, putting out all the fires he can. Not a day goes by right now that we don't read his fire truck books. He also loves pretending being on airplanes and boats...I guess vehicles in general are pretty exciting. Verbally, his favorite question now is "Why?" And sometimes, I just don't know why or how to explain clear enough for him. Every day is an adventure!
History in the Making:)
He also needs constant supervision for the most part, and to be lifted, held, helped, and lowered a lot. His sleep has much improved so strangely enough, I don't feel as physically exhausted as I do emotionally, although some days it takes a lot of willpower to roll out of bed. His attachment has gone so well that he has allowed me breaks on occasion without too much fuss as he spends time with his dad and brothers. However, the 24-7 on call is still a huge adjustment and I started to feel myself shut down this past week. We had a good post-adoption visit on Saturday with our social worker; being able to share how things are going and receive words of encouragement and insight helped me recharge a bit and reconnect fully with Henry. He is such a joy and incredibly bright, bringing a lot of smiles and laughter to our home. He is also a child who has experienced great loss and grief in his few short years, and who has a number of physical challenges to overcome that require a lot of extra patience and assistance. We have only had Henry home a little over three weeks, and it seems so much longer than that, so the adjustment is going really well and probably couldn't be better. We thank God for His love, care, and grace for all of us as we experience one of the greatest changes, and inevitably stresses, in our lives. His grace is sufficient and power perfected in our weakness!
With that said, on Thursday, Henry and I went to Shriner's in Portland for his first stateside medical examinations. It was a really good day, very fruitful, and of course, tiring:). We left with a new walker for Henry! The day went like this:
2. Visit and examination with two orthopedic doctors
4. Physical therapy examination and walking practice with new walker
5. Molds made for new braces
6. Chinese dumplings (gyoza) for Henry as promised:)
Henry did amazing and the doctors were astounded by his English communication already, as well as his range of mobility and activity considering his physical special needs. He saw one of the best orthopedic doctors out there who knew immediately what Henry's condition is by looking at his recent China x-rays. A spinal exam has already been scheduled, and we return in two weeks to pick up his new braces. They are very cool- blue with trucks, airplanes, tractors, etc. An MRI will be scheduled soon to look at his back and neck, one of the doctor's biggest concerns. He will also be having leg surgery to straighten the lower leg bones at some point, and needs an OT evaluation as well. Ongoing PT is not recommended at this point. This is all I know right now...no doubt a lot more medical appointments and information is to come. Henry is 32 inches and 26+ lbs. Our scale at home was 10 lbs off, so Henry hasn't gained weight since his last checkup in China. That could be good or bad, depending on how you look at it. For us, it is a relief that he is not overeating because he really likes to eat! Henry is going to be small and depending on the severity of his condition, could be anywhere from 3 to 5+ feet tall as an adult. As you can see, our precious Henry has a lot of challenges ahead and though sometimes his strong will can be tiring for Mom and Dad, it is going to help him fight through these to become and do all that he can, with God's help!!!
Well, you are probably wondering what his diagnosis is! It is Spondyloepiphyseal Dysplasia. There is a severe form (congenita) and a less severe form (tarda)...just from reading online about it and because the doctor didn't specify it in her diagnosis, we don't think Henry has the severe form, but time and more information will tell. You can learn about this condition online...a couple links are HERE and HERE.
I had better wrap this up and wake up Henry now. I hope this has been helpful; we continue to need and appreciate your prayers. I don't think any of us know just how much our lives have been forever blessed and changed by the adoption of Henry...it is an amazing thing but not without its challenges, stresses, and adjustments. Our new normal is evolving, but then again, what about our lives is normal? Smile!!!
Just a quick note on visits at home and around town...we are keeping them short so that this attachment and adjustment period within the family can occur as smoothly and quickly as possible. Henry has my full attention right now so between Henry, keeping up house, taking care of the family, errands, church responsibilities, etc., I do not have a lot of time for socializing (FB, phone, etc.). I take snippets where I can but am staying as focused as possible on what is best for our family. I will respond and visit as able but let's just say, even rest is a greater priority than my social life right now. I am sure you all understand and it's only for a season!
Many blessings from all the Brown's.