Monday, May 30, 2011

Summer Break (from blogging)

After this post, I am going to take a summer break from blogging.  Nothing is wrong, I just think time off is good for many things in life (too bad I can't take a Summer break from motherhood!). 

I'll be back in a month or two (or three, we'll see) with updates on our family.  Hopefully I will have many wonderful things to report & tons of fun pictures of the boys having fun in the sun. 


One quick thing to share before I go: William pulled to standing for the first time today!  We are pretty excited about that.

Have a great Summer!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Early Intervention Rocks

Did you know each state has a program for children under 3 to receive free and/or low-cost occupational therapy, physical therapy, vision & hearing screenings? 

AND you don't need a doctor's referral or anything.  If you think your child needs help with something, you just contact your state's Birth to 3 program & they will assess your child ASAP.

Let me just tell you how thankful I am as a parent of a child who needs all of the above services.  We even have our own assigned "coordinator" who has been more than helpful & so very supportive of our family. 

In addition, we have an assigned family support lady who leads a support group (I have been to one already!) & has promised to put me in touch with other families who are dealing with the same medical issues &/or have adopted a child with special needs. 

Wow.  To say I am impressed would be a huge understatement!  When I felt God leading us toward Special Needs adoption, I knew He would have to surround us with a village to help us do it.  And he is.  Why am I surprised???

Thanks to these services, I'm pretty sure these feet are gonna start walking one of these days :)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Friday, May 20, 2011

Adoption Update: How Attachment Is Going

While reading this post by another blogger, I was struck by her description of her relationship with her adopted son.  It is such an accurate description of my relationship with William (and what a relief to know I am not alone in these feelings)!

This is what she wrote:

"And as for the whole attachment thing...well, I am learning just how much of a dance it is.




Sometimes he is moving forward and I am moving back.



Sometimes I am reaching forward and he retreats back.



Some days are effortless and joyful.



Some days are (still) painful and awkward.



But the longer we dance together...the more comfortable and natural we become with each other."

I hope that helps you understand a little bit of what it is like to love an adopted child.  So far, for me anyway, it is not like the love I feel for my biological son (which I am hesitant to admit). 

But, I am trusting in this process.  Trusting that God led us to this Liam and will grow this seed of love he planted in our hearts for him.  He did not lead us this far to abandon us now. 

And, for that, I am very grateful.  Because the fact is, adoption can be hard.  But so can relationships in general.  And I couldn't love anyone well without God's help.




Having Fun Learning Colors

Matching colorful chocolate-covered sunflower seeds to various color apple print-offs
Ooops, dropped one
And his favorite part - eating them!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

T-R-O-U-B-L-E

In case you were wondering, the answer is "YES, two toddler-aged boys are a handful."  Just two examples, but I could give you more if you're considering taking on a handful yourself:

The Toilet Paper Bandits


The Book Marauder


Monday, May 16, 2011

Shepism

Tonight while reading our bedtime story, Shep pointed to a group of kids in the book and said, "Look!   Children peoples!" 

Who said the Terrible Two's are all terrible?

And here is the man of the hour attempting to eat strawberries with chopsticks, a utensil he asks for quite often.  Don't ask cuz I don't know.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

State of the William Address


I have put off an update on William for awhile, mainly because we have been drowning in appointments for him, which has been overwhelming! 


We have now completed assessments with a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, & a speech therapist.  He really needs therapy in all these areas, which we will start soon.  The good news is, the government's Early Intervention program is going to cover all or most of the expenses.


Crawling: Liam is crawling a lot now, but he does a "bunny hop" crawl (moving both hands forward, then both knees), which the physical therapist says is because his core is not strong enough to move each side independently.  She wants to see him move each side independently because that is what he will have to do in order to walk.  So we are doing exercises to strengthen him and promote the use of each side of his body separate from the other side.


This week he is going to have ear tubes implanted because of his chronic ear infections & resulting hearing loss.  Hopefully this surgery will improve his hearing enough that he can hear us clearly & begin talking, as a result.


We have an appointment with a neurologist coming up to have a CT scan & MRI done since the last one was done at 7 months old (in the orphanage).  If there is something going on such as Cerebral Palsy or congenital CMV, this will help the doctors make a diagnosis.  


Obviously, we don't want a diagnosis (we would rather be assured he is going to catch up completely with time), but we need to know if he has something specific so we can get him the help he needs.  Having no diagnosis is hard because we have no idea what his long-term prognosis is.  Will he walk without assistance?  Will he have a "normal" mental capacity?  Will he be able to live independently?  These are all TBD.


Last but not least, Liam has to wear an eye patch part-time to work on correcting his lazy eye.  The neuro-opthamologist says he may need surgery down the road, but not at this point (yay!).  As you can see in the pics, he doesn't mind the eye patch much!  


That is one thing about him we notice constantly - he is such a happy kid to have gone through what he has and still be struggling with so many health issues.  What an example of joy in the midst of pain.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Breakfast with Ba Ba

Some hot chocolate for Ba Ba...
and some for me!

Shep adores his stuffed animals.  It's really cute to watch him pretend play with them.  He talks to them, they talk back.  They request specific foods, which Mama must procure for them.  His two favorites are his two Ba Ba's (pictured here).  He sleeps with them, plays with them, & asks to bring them everywhere.  If you asked him, he'd probably tell you they are his best friends.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Best Mother's Day Weekend Ever



All I wanted this year was a day off.  Billy & the boys granted me that & then some!


I was relieved of my duties for about 36 hours preceding Mother's Day, during which I slept at my parents' house, shopped, ate out, shopped some more, got a massage, shopped some more, and ate a $9 frozen yogurt (side note: what is with these ridiculously expensive frozen yogurt places around here?!).


It was the perfect Mother's Day gift - just the break I needed.  In fact, I'm going to ask if I can have it twice a year!

On Mother's Day...

Lunch at my favorite Tea Room
& fun with the slip 'n slide
(Shep didn't want to get his "clothes" 
- i.e. bathing suit - wet, so he took them off)...
Liam was not a fan of the slip 'n slide


Saturday, May 7, 2011

How To Adopt For Free

At least once a week someone says to me, "We've thought about adopting, but it's just SO expensive."

Let me set something straight here, it doesn't HAVE to be!  

William's adoption is free.  Giving birth to a biological child in a hospital would have cost us at least several thousand out of pocket in hospital bills.  So, in our scenario, adopting was cheaper than a hospital birth (although I prefer to birth at home, but that's a whole other topic).

So, why is William's adoption free?  
1. The federal tax credit: $13,000
2. My husband's employer is reimbursing us for $13,000 as well
(P.S. That tells you how much this adoption cost us up front, which we "borrowed" from our retirement account & grandparents until we receive the reimbursements)

No, not everyone is lucky enough to have a wonderful employer who will help with adoption expenses.  But you might live in a state that will.  For example, North Carolina offers tax credits for up to $6,000 in adoption expenses.  If you add that to the federal tax credit, you can adopt for free, too!

And if your state doesn't help out, there are plenty of adoption grants out there you can apply for, or you can privately fund-raise, which a lot of people do successfully.

So, don't believe the myth!  If adoption is something you want to do, DO IT ALREADY!  There are 150,000,000 orphans out there waiting for you.




Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sooo Sleepy


Baby-Wearing

You can see his elephant's head peeking out the top of the Ergo Carrier
Liam is highly amused
I love my sweet boys

Let's be honest, though.  All those high hopes I had of carrying William around for an hour a day (per the adoption books) in the Ergo have not panned out.  Why?  Because he weighs 30 pounds.  'Nuf said.  Shep got "worn" much more at age one, but he was substantially lighter & I was substantially more energetic with one child. 

Once again, Baby #2 gets the short of the stick.  Hopefully he accepts this simple explanation one day when we are sitting in the therapist's office. *wink*