"What lies behind us, and what lies before us are small matters
compared to what lies within us."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Kori's Story

Today is not a story about my family. It is a story of a little girl named Kori.

My friend, Julia, did a post on her blog about this little girl who was in a mental institution and how she was treated by the people in her country when she needed help. It makes me want to fly back there today and yank all those kids out of there!


Monday, January 30, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Yes, I know it's Monday, but I always wanted to write that like other cool bloggers. Plus, a certain someone, with a parasite, just pooped all over the bathtub. Also, I am totally out of Oreos (which is my own fault since I am the one who ate about 20 of them for breakfast)

Of course, you all know I couldn't be totally wordless anyway.

The Executive Lunch Club

Look who's getting curly hair!

Reflecting on why mommy never cleans the windows.

Such a good sister! (yes we're still doing the finger/toe dressings, this was after a bath)

I'm sure by Wednesday, I will be full of words!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Sun Will Come Out....

We finally had a sunny day, so we decided to have a picnic in the park. I think we may need to get a bigger blanket.

Francesca really enjoyed the view.

Victoria is signing "more" for everything.

She is a girl who likes to get what she wants!

Once she spilled her chocolate milk all over herself, she needed a little ride.

Ahh....the joys of a dirt mound

and a hill....

I love this hat. It's like a hug for my head!

Guess I better go cook dinner......Cheerios for everyone it is!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Peeved About Parasites......and Doctors

Ah...the joy of Friday.

The joy of getting a message from the GI doctor on Friday, when it's too late to do anything about the great news that Victoria, still, still has Giardia. Apparently, the first dose of medicine did not rid her off her freeloading enemy.

What really burns my cookies, is that I called the doctor two weeks ago and politely suggested that we should treat Victoria again for her pesky parasite because she still has the scariest poop I have ever seen.

Did the doctor listen to me? Of course not. Instead, I had to take three more poop samples, which I turned in a week ago.

Did I get timely results from the doctor? I did not! I had to call and be pesky myself until they finally called me at 4:30 this afternoon. Too late to get Victoria the medicine to kill the nasty little creatures. Since she is so small, the medicine has to be compounded and those pharmacies aren't open on the weekend.

Giardia causes Abdominal pain, Diarrhea, bloating, headaches, loss of appetite and the inability for the host to absorb nutrients. The perfect friend for a tiny child who suffered from malnutrition.

Geez, my cats can get better treatment at the vet.

I am so mad!!!! Maybe I will file a complaint. Maybe I'll file the complaint by calling the doctor at 5 am on Sunday.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Questions and Answers....finally

Hope I have answered all your questions!

How do you keep humor in your life...and not let all of the worries ruin your day........ ..how do you keep problems from stealing your joy?
Oh, sometimes I am a big whiner! I call my friends and go on and on about my worries. I think the main thing that keeps me pretty happy most of the time is that I am doing what I really, really want to be doing. It was a lot of work to build our family and I am always so grateful for each one of my kids! Plus, I get to spend my days with some fantastic (and sometimes whiny) little people. I wouldn't have it any other way!

Can you tell me about your other adoptions and if any of your kids are biological?
Our son, who is 17, is our biological child. The doctors told me I had a 1% chance to getting pregnant again, but then I had our daughter, Anastasia! When Anastasia was about three years old, I felt called to adopt from Haiti. We thought we would adopt a baby, but Isabella turned out to be the one for us! It took two years to complete her adoption! Then, a year later, we were going to adopt a baby from China, but she died. My friend had adopted two girls and she gave me the name of her agency. They told me about little Catherine. She is from the Republic of Georgia. They had a whole list of problems they thought Catherine had, none of which turned out to be true. She was 9 months old when we met her and 11 months old when I brought her home. And of course, you all know about Francesca and Victoria!

Is there a surgery to make Francesca physically appearance better?
Francesca's first surgery, which is called a cranial vault, was not for cosmetic purposes. I think she actually looked better before the surgery. But the cranial vault re-shaped her skull so that her brain would have room to grow, which is way more important than how she looks. Also, the doctor had to over-correct the bones in her forehead so she wouldn't need to have frequent surgeries to relieve the pressure. Kids who don't have a cranial vault can become blind and have terrible migraines from the pressure of the skull squishing into the brain. When she is about nine years old, she will have a surgery called a "mid-face". Then the front of her face won't look so flat and she will be able to breath better (kids with Aperts have sleep apnea).

Do I ever regret adopting Francesca and Victoria because of all their surgeries?
no, no, no, not even for a second!

Why isn't my husband on the blog very much?
He is a more of a behind the scenes kind of guy. We have been married 18 years.

Who is Anya at the bottom of my blog?
She was a sweet five year old from the Ukraine with Down Syndrome. I really, really wanted to adopt her, but sadly, she died. It broke my heart to think she died alone, with no family. Her death really spurred me on to adopt from the Ukraine.

Does Isabella have any special needs and did she struggle with attachment since she was older when we adopted her?
Isabella doesn't have any special physical needs. We adopted her from Haiti when she was seven, over four years ago. She had been with her birth parents for four years, but they just couldn't afford to feed her. I can't imagine what an awful decision it was for them, but they wanted a better life for her. Isabella has good memories of them and we have several pictures of them. Someday, I hope we can travel to Haiti to find them. I think her bond with her parents made it easy for her to bond with us. She is a very sweet girl. She was in the orphanage for two years before we brought her home. The orphanage was horrible, which I think caused some of her challenging behaviors, like being sneaky and lying, but that is a whole other story.

Will Francesca and Victoria ever be normal?
I don't really know anyone who is really normal! Francesca is very cognitively normal, but she will always look a little different. Victoria should be cognitively ok, but we don't really know for sure since she was so neglected in the orphanage. There is a lot going on in her head! They have both made huge strides. They are perfect to me, just the way they are!

Why didn't you adopt from the US?
We looked into foster care, but I just couldn't bear the thought of having a child in our home for a year and then having that child taken away.

Why doesn't F have her cleft palate fixed yet?
Her doctor said that the research shows that kids with Aperts who do not have their cleft palate repaired, have an easier time breathing than if they have it repaired early. Breathing is pretty important! Not to gross anyone out, but several people asked me what a cleft palate is, so here it is!

What condition does little Catherine have?
Catherine does not have Apert syndrome like Francesca does. She had craniosynostosis, which means she had just one suture fused in her skull (kids with Aperts have several sutures fused). Kids with craniosynostosis often have widely spaced eyes, like Catherine does. When we first adopted her, the doctors thought she had some kind of syndrome, since part of her toes are fused, but all the genetic testing was normal. We say she has "Catherine syndrome". She doesn't have any delays and she won't need any more surgeries.

Why made us decide to adopt?
Well, that's kind of a long story. I couldn't get pregnant after our son was born, so I started thinking of adoption. Even after we had Anastasia, I just couldn't get it out of my mind. All the years that I was having trouble conceiving, I was so sad and upset that I couldn't get pregnant. Now, I look back and think that it was the best thing to happen to me!

Will Francesca need more surgeries?
unfortunately, yes. She will need at least 3 more hand surgeries and one more skull surgery.

Why didn’t I change Catherine‘s name since it was the same name as mine?
Catherine's real name was not Catherine, it was Miriam. Actually, Catherine's real name is not Catherine now. Her real name is Scheherazade, which is the name of my favorite symphony by Rimsky-Korsakov. My whole family thought Scheherazade was an awful name, so we started calling her Mary Catherine, after my mom. However, as time went on, it was apparent that Mary Catherine was a little bit too wholesome of a name for our sweet little terror. I still like Scheherazade!!! Catherine loves having the same name as me though!

Will we ever adopt again?
I hope so, someday. Maybe from foster care this time.

Would I ever like to move to Texas?
I would love to move somewhere where it would be warm all the time! I hate the cold!

What were Francesca’s and Victoria’s original names?
Victoria's name was Victoria, though I don't think anyone ever bothered to call her by name. Francesca's name was Anastasia (which is my 8 year olds name) so we changed it.

How did I know Francesca and Victoria were meant to be our daughters?
It's funny, because I was always drawn to them, but I did not want to adopt them. I knew how hard it would be, how expensive and that I would have to leave my other kids for a long time. I tried and tried to forget about them. I looked into lots of other countries, but in the end, I knew they were ours and we had to go get them, no matter what! Sometimes, you have to listen to your heart!
Francesca and Victoria only 7 months ago.

They are all worth it!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Super Sunday

I love the weekends. No one has to get up early, I ban cooking meals (except for chip sandwiches, that kind of counts, right?) and we can all just relax together.

Sort of.

Othello is quite relaxed on my bed, even if I am stuck cleaning up lots of raw eggs!

Keep the questions coming! I will try to answer them all tomorrow. Ahhh.....the suspense!

Happy Weekend Everyone!!!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

My New Mantra

"Things will get easier, things will get easier".....I have chanted this over and over this week. And, guess what? The dressings have gotten a little easier, though I still dread them. The screaming is horrible.

I guess the key to doing something difficult, is to do it, over and over and over. Then, you conquer your worries. You kind of have to force yourself, or in my case, be forced to do it, and it becomes routine. Isabella was my helper today. She was very patient, but firm.

Though, sometimes, after we do the dressing, we all have to sit on the bed and eat some Krispy Kreme doughnuts. It cheers us up immensely.

It's amazing what you can get used to.

Francesca is allowed to walk, but she doesn't want to walk yet. Hopefully soon. The child is over 33 pounds already!

In other news, I have been bribing the babies to speak. Several times a day, I strap them in their high chairs and pull out the fruit snacks and cream cheese (Victoria's favorite).

Francesca, the people pleaser that she is, immediately makes every sound possible, with our without a fruit snack. The doctors told us that she wouldn't be able to make many sounds since her cleft palate is unrepaired, but I guess no one told her that because she is a babbling away, even making the "d" and "b" sounds, which are supposed to be impossible with a cleft palate.

Victoria is a different story. She is quite stubborn. I am actually glad to see her pitch a fit. I remember how passive she used to be. Now, she will scream and try to grab my hand to get the fruit snack. The speech therapist thinks she might have apraxia, but I am kind of skeptical. Just a six months ago, we thought Victoria couldn't open her mouth. Now she is trying to say "ho ho ho".

Just two weeks ago, she didn't know how to chew. Now, she is eating pieces of hotdogs and pretzels. Once she figures things out, she is off like a rocket. I wouldn't be surprised if she starts reciting the Gettysburg Address soon. If anyone has any speech suggestions, that would be great!

I am thinking of doing a question and answer post, so if you have any questions, fire away! Feel free to e-mail me too! (zoo35511@bellsouth.net)

Here's one question I can easily answer. Yes, I do let little Catherine dress herself!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Cast Aways

Today was the big day. The day we had to take the casts off. I was dreading it all day. First, I stocked up on all the important supplies. Of course, the Chips Ahoy were totally essential.

The event drew quite a crowd.

Francesca was beginning to sense that something was going to happen and she was not at all happy. You know how sometimes you imagine things are going to be worse than they actually are? This was NOT one of those times.

The worst part was the gauze under the casts. They were stuck to her skin and scabs. We had to soak them in the tub for quite a while. Then I had to pull them off.

We had to take a little break after that. It was hard to see my baby in pain and so scared.

Poor Victoria. She was so upset at Francesca's crying. She wouldn't even look. We finally had to take her into another room.

Francesca felt a little better after her bath.

Unfortunately, we were not finished.
"Say What! We're still not done!!!!"

We still had to wrap each crevice with saline bandages. I was so stressed I had to call in reinforcements. Carol to the rescue! She is calm in a crisis and also not easily grossed out. She was perfect for the job. As you can see, I had the important job of trying to stuff Cheetos in Francesca's mouth to appease her.

The doctor also took away some of the skin to make her thumbs have deeper pockets. These had to be wrapped too.

Wanna hear some really exciting news! I get to do this three times a day for a week! I'm sure it will get easier - right? That's what I am telling myself, over and over.

We're finally done! A mere 3 hours later! Such a brave girl!

There is one thing that I have learned through all of this today. Things may seem impossibly hard, but if you have to do them for your child, you get tougher and you can do things you never thought you could possibly do.

Thank you also to Theresa, who kindly drove all the way over to our house just to bring us Chinese food! Without her, I think everyone would have gone to bed with a cup of dry cereal.