Monday, February 24, 2014

Henry Wonders

Well, it's time for an update on our blessed family adventure with Henry. Things seem pretty calm and routine now as everyone has settled into a new normal. I hope you all enjoyed the family portraits posted last week...we have now had Henry home for two months! In some ways, it seems like he's been with us so much longer, probably because he acts like it:). He is truly an attached, comfortable, and happy guy who charms almost everyone he meets. His English speaking amazes people, including doctors, and he continues to soak up all the learning he can. There isn't much he doesn't want to know more about and though I need conversational breaks occasionally so I can focus and rest, it is quite fun to hear him process all He is taking in. His recall amazes me as he recounts names of people, conversations, activities in sequence, and stories we have read (all with his ADORABLE hand motions and facial expressions:). He has been sharing more details about his life in China as well...I don't even remember anything prior to Kindergarten! It is a blast watching him role play what he observes; like, one day after being with me when the chiropractor adjusted my back, he came home and pretended to be the doctor and adjust his brother's back. After watching the winter Olympics one night, he proceeded to slide around on the kitchen tile floor like he was ice skating. And, in case you were wondering, he is still putting out fires all around the house:). What would we do without Fireman Henry???

Henry was so excited to finally see snow here. He was so sure it would come on Chinese New Year's but, alas, it didn't. When it did come, he sat on the couch by the window and watched it fall until dark. Unfortunately, it was too slushy to play in the next day and he had a fever, so watching the snow come and go was all he could do, but it was still a memorable time.

Henry with his Valentine's gifts
We had a sweet Valentine's Day family date as we ate dinner out, then split up for the older guys to go to a movie and for Henry and I to attend a children's play. We didn't go to the right place and missed it, so ended up going to Chuck-E-Cheese's for a few rides and then Menchie's for ice cream before picking up the guys. It was a nice evening but thankfully, the theatre transferred our ticket dates and on Saturday, Henry and I got to see "The House at Pooh Corner." It was his first introduction to Winnie the Pooh and friends, and we had a great time! Henry is also a great shopping buddy!

Henry has been having stomach pains with no other symptoms for the last few weeks, ever since his fever, but they seem to be fewer and farther between now. He and I have had some rough nights with him waking and crying in pain multiple times. He usually goes back to sleep rather quickly, but then neither one of us get up and going very well the next day so just rest and do things around here. I have been concerned about that and his eye/head pain lately, so finally picked a semi-local pediatrician for general care that he got to see this morning. He had two more immunizations, of which he was very unhappy about, and I got some encouragement on some of our options for Henry. If his tummy pain continues and gets worse, we can have a stomach x-ray done, and if we would rather not wait until his April eye appt. at Seattle Children's, there is a pediatric opthamologist in the area he can go ahead and see. I will be calling about that tomorrow as his vision was pretty weak at the UW post-adoption screening; so, at the least, straining to see is probably bothering him. Good news, though...all of his blood and stool testing came out clean and healthy!

Henry's last IEP assessments for school were completed last week with PT and speech, so as soon as a plan and meeting are in place, he may be starting preschool a couple times a week. Part of me wonders if he is ready, but we are quite sure he is...I think it may be me that's not ready, even though it will do us both good:). He is very clearly attached and obviously loves me so much that I should be confident he won't be replacing me anytime soon. He told me once that when he goes to school, I will pick him up and bring him home like his brothers. Someone told me that this reference point makes him feel more secure in going (besides the fact that it's just a few blocks down the street!). I am excited for this opportunity for him- it will be great for learning, making friends, and encouraging more walking- and that the OT/PT and preschool teachers are already working to prepare the room with the supports he will need to be as independent as possible. Isn't God GOOD???

We are still waiting for citizenship papers so we can apply for Henry's SS#, but have at least applied for his tax ID#. I will be faxing some adoption papers tomorrow which will hopefully move his insurance coverage along...please continue to pray for all these details, and for Henry's health needs and appointments coming up. He has an audiology appt. on March 5th, MRI & spinal doctor appts. on March 11 & 12, and a vision appt. on April 23rd unless I can get something earlier as mentioned above. The back, neck, and eyes are his most critical areas needing attention right now. 

Update: Henry has a local pediatric vision appt. for Monday, 3/3, praise God!

Thank you for remembering us! The adoption journey still has its adjustments and challenges but every day I thank God for it and for the amazing family he has put together, including the best big brothers Henry could have! Tonight at bedtime, Henry and I read the book, "I'd Choose You," and we talked about how God chose him for our family; that out of all the children in the world, we chose him; and that we hope and pray he will choose Jesus. What a tender heart he continues to have towards the Lord, looking forward to family prayer, singing, and Bible time each day. We love him so much and the best part is, he loves us so much too! It melts my heart when he says so and gives his biggest hugs and kisses. Blessings! 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Family Portraits!

We are so excited to share our first family portraits with Henry, taken on Feb. 7th. These are Henry's first family portraits ever, so they are SO special for all of us! Enjoy!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

A New Normal

Things are quiet and pretty settled into a new normal in the Brown household. Henry obviously loves his family very much and loves to say "my Daddy," "my family," etc., as well as, make up "I love my family" songs. He has also made up an "I love airplanes, hot air balloons, rockets..." song. He's very entertaining and adorable. His new interests include astronauts and rockets, playing hide-and-seek, and shopping. Oh yes, and he just LOVES playing with his brothers.
We had a low-key Chinese New Year...we made paper lanterns which have decorated both home and church so nicely. We were going to get family photos taken and then eat Chinese dumplings out, but our middle son had a migraine and just wasn't up for the trip. So, three of us ate Chinese food right here in town and brought some food back to the other two. We are getting family photos this Friday though, so are excited about that. 

After worship on Sunday, the church family had an adoption celebration potluck with great food and a sweet cake that said, "Every good and perfect gift is from above," from James 1:17. Looks like Henry and I will be given an adoption shower in March. That should be fun too!
Every week, we head to the library to exchange Henry's stack of books for another. He also loves to attend story time on Friday mornings, which always ends in a craft. Besides the library for more books, we have laid low at home today. We were both tired from a quick (long) trip to Seattle yesterday to turn in Henry's stool samples, and I'm a little under the weather.I am also trying to get Henry's different medical appts. squared away. Unfortunately, it looks like we'll be back and forth to Seattle and Portland for now, both 2 to 2 1/2 hour trips one way. I do have some big praises though...we have the funds to pay off our last adoption trip expenses, as well as, cover some of these initial medical costs. We are still awaiting Henry's citizenship papers so we can apply for his SS number and then get medical coverage. In the meantime, it is important that he gets his different exams going to make sure nothing is in critical need of attention. He has been complaining of eye pain so is on the waiting list at Seattle Children's Hospital for an eye exam. We should also be talking again with Shriner's tomorrow to finalize Henry's MRI appointment date to see how his spine is forming and affecting his neck. Please keep all these things in prayer...thank you!

Even though we are slowly getting to a new family normal, the adjustments are still there for everyone. The guys have less of Mom's attention and energy as I give most to Henry and to just keeping up the house and meals. Long medical trips out can totally take my time and energy for a couple days as well. I think I may always wonder how I'm balancing everything and if everyone is getting the attention and care they need, and very grateful to know that HE is enough. I am trying to be patient, especially with myself, as I seem to be experiencing the most adjustment challenges. Returning to parenting the toddler/preschool age is a huge change, not to mention the special needs and cultural differences. All the lifting and lowering can throw my body out of alignment pretty good, and being on call 24/7 is draining for someone who needs a good bit of sleep. BUT, God's strength and grace are sufficient each day and I am doing much better than I thought I would. It is important that I remember to be filled up through time with the Lord so that I have what is needed to pour into those around me. I also have to keep the schedule pretty slow when feeling extra stretched and stressed. Some days are better than others, but I am thankful for new mornings with new mercies.

I want to share such a beautiful thing we are witnessing right now- Henry's incredibly tender heart towards the Lord. As we holds hands and bow to thank God for our dinner, he wants to repeat line by line whoever is praying. And today as I was drifting off to sleep with him at naptime in our bed, he began saying his own prayer, "Thank you God for my family, for loving me, for...," all in his sweet, broken English from a sincere heart. He loves praying, reading his Bible, singing Jesus-songs, going to church, helping however he can, and asking all he can about things. Did this start with us? Oh no. I believe he has been loved and touched by the gracious hand of God, saved and set apart since birth for God's great purpose and glory. I know he was prayed over time and again at New Day Foster Home, and we are getting to see the beautiful fruit of those prayers. As much as Henry loves to think deeply about things, we teasingly, but perhaps not incorrectly, say he may become a theologian. I will say again...big things can come in small packages! 

Most of all, I feel so blessed and so thankful for the family God has given me. To be loved and needed by them is a great gift that I do not want to take for granted. To be loved, forgiven, valued, and believed in by my Father in heaven is also a gift that I do not want to receive in vain. We are all in the pruning process and I feel especially so at this time in  my life as God works to more thoroughly produce the fruit of the Spirit in me: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). This is true for all of us I am quite sure.

Anyway, thank you everyone for prayers and words of encouragement. I thank God for you often. The special needs adoption journey is like no other and we are just getting started. What a beautiful, adventurous, and sometimes messy, journey to God's heart!!! Blessings!