Actually it's from Ohio to Ukraine, back to Ohio, then to China

stacianddamon@gmail.com

please feel free to email if you have questions for us

Saturday, December 27, 2008

post-Christmas update and adoption #2

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas full of family, friends, and togetherness. We had a great Christmas - hard to believe that it is already over!! Wesley was too young to really "get" Christmas, Santa, and presents. I am sure by next year he'll be excited. My parents got us a Flip video recorder, so I'll be able to post more videos in 2009!! (I am having trouble right now though because the computer is working too slow, so I'll upload later)
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We've been home for three and a half months now, and attachment is going well. One thing that we were told before traveling had to do with us attaching to the child. So much time and effort is spent on the child attaching to the parents, but you also have to think about yourself attaching to the child. Now before our adoption classes at Cincinnati Children's, I figured that I would just meet this child and fall in love and we'd live happily ever after (you know the fairy tale). Now I knew that is not what the books all said would happen, but I thought it would for me. But at the class, therapist Deborah Joy told us to think about how we make close friends. Do we get close to friends as soon as we meet them, or does it take time to form close friendships? Personally, it takes me quite a while to become close with someone and to share personal information. So I realized that when we met our son, I may not fall in love instantly. It was sad to think that, but I had to be honest with myself. (Note to adopting families: do not beat yourself up if it's not love at first sight! I don't even think love at first sight is even love - unless it's a cute pair of shoes or a great purse because that can be love!! But seriously, a child is something entirely different)
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I am so happy to have been prepared for my attachment to Wesley taking a while. Now when we were visiting him at the orphanage, I knew he was meant to be our child, but I didn't get a rush of love for him or anything. I loved him because he was a sweet, innocent child, but I hadn't fallen in love with him. Now I don't mean for this to sound cruel or mean, but it was tough to like a child who didn't want anything to do with me! When we picked him up in late August, I began to like him more each day. And now that we're home, I love him. I feel that we are now securely attached. He looks to me (or Damon) for comfort when he's upset, and he calms down when I hold his hand or hold him.
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Wesley seemed pretty attached to us when we picked him up form the orphanage, but I can tell that he is even more attached to us now. He is more spontaneous with his affection, sometimes I cannot get him to stop hugging and kissing me. (I know - what a tough problem to have :) He is even starting to say "love you" when we tell him we love him.
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We are currently also looking into countries for our second adoption. I know people will say it is too soon after the first adoption and with Wesley's medical condition we should wait, but I really just feel like we are being called to start right now. The process will take at least a year, so Wesley will have had his esophagus repair surgery long before we add another child into our family. We are not sure at this point what country from which we will adopt, but several countries are being considered. A couple that are forefront in my mind right now are Nepal and India.

Prayer requests
- Wesley as he has his "man surgery" on Monday. It is outpatient, but the doctor said it could last four to six hours...I'll update as soon as I can once it is over
- Damon and I as we try to narrow down our choices for our second adoption (I forgot how overwhelming the process can be at the start)
- we are hoping to stay "illness free" this winter, especially with the upcoming surgery

Have a Happy New Year!!!

smiling in the bathtub (I can hardly get him out of the bath now! It's a big change from the first bath we gave him where he screamed like we were trying to murder him)

Duke was thinking about joining Wesley in the bath (thankfully he didn't)

Wes was unsure about his new horse on Christmas morning. He now pets it every time he walks by it in the house.

tearing open a gift from Uncle Scott and Emily (I love the tongue sticking out)

video

This is Wesley taunting my brother's dog Marlow with a plastic string from a toy. Finally Marlow gets tired of it and pulls Wesley down by the arm of his sweater - too funny!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Merry Christmas

We are looking forward to our first Christmas as a family. It's hard to believe that we've been home from Ukraine for over three months! In some ways I feel like I was just there, and in others, it feels like years ago. Wesley has gained 8 pounds (almost 50% of his body weight) and had grown about 2"! From what I can figure, he's in about the 15th percentile now - much more than the 2nd percentile a few months ago. He is talking almost constantly, and I am starting to understand words here and there in the babble so I know what he is talking about. He is much more affectionate with us than when we first brought him home. He also loves to give our friend's children hugs as well. That is fine, but I am sure the other kids get annoyed because he wants to hug them a lot!
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I cannot get over how much his personality has changed. When we visited Wesley in the orphanage, he was a quiet boy who played most by himself in one spot. I can assure you - he is no longer that child!! He is definitely a boy who loves to be loud and run around. Sometimes he just yells out to hear himself. We're working on that, but I think it's just the age. I am so happy to see that he is a typical tw0 year-old!!
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Please pray that we can all stay well through this Christmas and New Year's as Wesley has "man surgery" on January 5th, and this has been scheduled for months. Once that surgery is over, we can schedule the bigger surgery for his esophagus repair (YAY!!). I don't have the words to tell you how ready I am for that surgery. I can handle the tube feedings just fine, it's the neck fistula that is wearing on me. The poor child is constantly wet because all his saliva and drainage comes out the hole in his neck. And this may be TMI (too much information), but Wesley has sinus issues, so it is not exactly a pleasant odor. We change the wrap on his neck often, but as soon as you change it, he is wet again. But anyway...
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I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas! We are spending this year as the thankful parents of two year-old!!
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I'll leave you with a few recent pictures








Friday, December 5, 2008

Ukrainian birth family search complete

We received a letter and pictures today from our searcher Gene Sagin. Before I tell you some of what we found out, let me just put a little plug in for Gene. He did a great job and completed the search in just days!! His price was reasonable (our search in Kharkiv cost $400). If you would like to contact Gene, his email address is kadetsa@rambler.ru You can also contact me if you have questions for me that I don't answer in this blog (my email address is stacianddamon@gmail.com)
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And what you have been waiting for...When Gene called Wesley's birth mother, so was surprised (obviously), but sounded interesting in meeting him. They met and he read the letter I wrote to her and showed her the pictures of us and Wesley. She cried tears of joy and said that she was so happy that her son had found a family because she didn't know if he would live after he was born. Obviously this touched me because I can only imagine how she feels about the whole "situation," for lack of a better word. I can also see that she cried because her eyes are a little red in the pictures Gene sent of her.
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We found out that she gave Wesley the name Kirill, so I am really glad that we kept that as his middle name. I was afraid that a hospital worker had given him that name, but the fact that his birth mother gave him that name will mean something to him. (As a side note, Kirill means "Lord.") She also said that she feels that God directed Wesley to be in our family, and I cannot agree more!!
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I gave her our blog address so she could see pictures of Wesley, even if she couldn't read English. She told Gene that she wanted to send us a letter, and I was looking forward to that. I checked my gmail account this afternoon, and she had already written me an email!! I was so excited!! It was mostly in Russian, so I had to use an online translation website. It was only a few lines, but the gist of it was that she wanted us to let Wesley know that she loved him. That alone is worth the cost of the search!! How amazing to know that his birth mother thinks of him and cares for him!
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Wesley's birth mother also told Gene that she stopped smoking as soon as she found out she was pregnant, and she did not use any drugs or alcohol (I didn't figure that she did, but I wanted to know what she would say). Gene said that he felt she was telling the truth, and I think he's probably done enough searches to know when people might be lying.
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Right now I just feel so blessed! We have a wonderful son from a relatively smooth adoption, a productive birth family search, healthy attachment with him, he is healthy (except for that no esophagus thing), and right now things are going well for us. I am trying to focus on all that we have been given by God because so many times when things are going well, we start to think that we have done something to deserve favor or that we are "owed" something. I can assure you - I have done nothing to earn favor and I do not deserve anything that I have been given (Damon, Wesley, my parents, family, friends, dogs, job, house, clothes, groceries, etc.). I am not trying to sound preach-y, but please take a minute and think about the blessings in your life and give thanks.
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I am posting another video of Wes dancing at his Grandparent's house (per my mother's request). It's a cute video of him, and you can see how much he likes to dance! He also loves to whistle like his Grandpa!! This one's for you, Mom :)
video

Friday, November 28, 2008

first video posting

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. It was a great time for us to reflect on all the blessings we have been given in this last year - Wesley, a new home, health, happiness.
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I sent the pictures and letter to Wesley's birthmother through our searcher Gene. He is going tomorrow, so we will probably have answers this week!! It took me a while to complete the letter, but I am confident with the final product. I'll update as soon as we find out something!
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If you notice that I have not been posting as many pictures of Wesley, there is a reason...Wesley will hardly sit still to have his picture taken!! Most of the pictures I take are blurry because Wesley moves at between the time I press the button and when the camera actually takes the picture. I don't even use the red-eye reduction, so I have no idea how to take faster pictures.
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I have posted our first video as well. I took it on the way to our Thanksgiving with my Mom's side of the family. Wesley is showing his mastery of various animal sounds. His favorite sound to make is the lion's roar. I was shopping for our Thanksgiving dinner at the grocery, and Wes was growling at other shoppers!!


This could have been our Christmas card picture if I had been able to keep my eyes open!!

what a handsome man

sitting in his carseat (check out the static cling in his hair from rubbing it on the carseat)

video

check out the face he makes when he says "meow" - so funny!

Monday, November 24, 2008

thoughts from an adoptive mom

Now lately I haven't posted much about some of the deeper things that I think about and struggle with on a daily basis. As you can tell by my title, it about Wesley's adoption...Damon and I have started a birth family search for Wes. Everything good to go (sent money, sent pictures) except that I have not written a letter to the family. I know this is not something that is required, but it is something I want to do. The trouble is - how do you do it? I know how to write and type (obviously), but how do you express so much emotion in a short letter? How do I tell his birth family that we love and care for him as though he has been with us since birth and that we are doing the best to give him a happy and healthy life? I will probably never meet his birth mother in person, but this letter (and pictures we are sending) are something she will have to think of him for the rest of her life.
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Maybe I am putting too much thought and pressure into this letter...it is just that I can imagine the guilt she must feel about giving her child up for adoption and assuming that no one would adopt him due to the seriousness of his medical condition. Now at this point we do not know for sure why Wesley was available for adoption, but we have been told that it was because of his medical needs. If that is true, it seems wrong that we are able to raise him because we have more money and good medical insurance. No matter the reason, she has to wonder where he is, what he looks like, is he happy, has he been adopted, is he healthy, will he get the needed surgery, etc., and I want to convey to her that he is being well taken care of.
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One thing that I don't think is talked about much regarding adoption is the fact that someone experiences pain and guilt so another can experience joy, with the child experiencing both emotions. I don't claim to understand why the process has to work like that, and I will probably never find out in my time on earth. It's just something I think about...
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Now I don't want anyone to think that I am guilt-ridden because I adopted a little boy from Ukraine because I am not. I feel a pang of guilt now and then for his birth mother and all she is missing, but there is not a chance that I would ever give him back to her or anyone else!!! I believe that Wesley was meant to be mine and Damon's son from the beginning of time. I don't understand why things happen like they do, but I am glad they have happened like this for us.
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Sorry for the rambling post, it's just a few thoughts I wanted to get off my chest. Thanks for reading!!!

Staci



Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thanksgiving background

Isn't this the most adorable background?? I am in the Thanksgiving spirit, so I thought the blog should reflect that. I went to the grocery this morning to buy groceries for Thursday. Talk about the WRONG time to go!! Not only is everyone shopping for Thanksgiving, but the Ohio State-Michigan game is today at noon. So everyone was decked out in their OSU gear. One guy did have on a Michigan hat, and some people "boo-ed" him. I felt bad for the guy, but he just laughed it off. Maybe that is the difference between men and women...
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GO BUCKS!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

not much to write about

I don't really have much to post about, but I thought I would just say hello. The Bengals game was chilly on Sunday, but at least it didn't snow!! The game against the Eagles ended in a tie, so at least it's not a loss!! They are tied with the Steelers right now, so I'm hoping for a win!

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It's been snowing here in Ohio. Driving home from work I had trouble seeing the road. I don't know that I am ready for winter just yet - I feel like I didn't get to enjoy the summer because we spent it in Ukraine! I have usually started my Christmas shopping by this point in the year, and I have only purchased three gifts (two of the gifts are for Wesley).
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I took Wesley to my Mom's book club yesterday. They followed our adoption journey through this blog and my Mom, and I was excited for them to meet Wes in person as I know they have seen tons of pictures and heard lots of stories. I know that Wesley had a good time - he likes flirting with ladies :) He was pretty well behaved, but he did end up trying to climb the wall (literally)!

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Wes is his Bengal pajamas for the game tonight
(he was actually in bed before it started)


Damon and I at the game (as you can see, I do not just post nice photos of myself!! I am happy to report that I have gotten my hair cut since this picture)


the Eagles #58 Trent Cole played football in high school with my brother, so I enjoy watching him play


Do you think Katie is spoiled or what?


I think Wesley is tired of me taking his picture...


I finally found a television show that Wes is interested in. It is called "Super Why" and is a cartoon about books. I think it is too advanced for him, but he only watches for a few minutes.


I've been trying to teach Wesley to smile when I take his picture. The smile is more of a grimace, but we're working on it. (He was trying to smile on command in the top picture as well)
34 days until Christmas
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As an animal lover (especially dogs), I ask you to pray for our friends Juan, Mandy, Marisa and Mateo who recently lost their pug Walter. Walter was a wonderful dog, and he will be greatly missed!!


Friday, November 14, 2008

weather now not so wonderful

Happy 33rd Birthday, Damon!!!
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Less than one week ago it was sunny and beautiful, now the days are cloudy, dreary, and cold! Damon and I are going to the Bengals game on Sunday and the forecast says a high temperature of 32 degrees!! WHAT?? Why didn't I go to the game two Sundays ago and let my Dad go with Damon to this Sunday's game?? I already told Damon that I wouldn't let him drop me off at the gate, so I am going to have to walk probably a mile with the "boot" on my foot. I'm not complaining as it is my choice, but it's going to be a long walk.
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I met with the cardiologist and the pulmonary doctor (a pulmonologist?) on Monday. The cardiologist did an EKG and said that it was normal and he saw no cause for concern. In Ukraine we were told that Wesley had a heart murmur, but no US doctor could hear anything, so we weren't too concerned. The pulmonologist didn't see anything abnormal in his x-rays or hear anything abnormal, but they want to do a scope sometime under anaesthesia. Obviously they don't want to put him under just for that, so it will likely be when he has his "man surgery" in January.
On Tuesday a new g-tube was put in. The doctors will go down one more size, then we will get the "button." The button only sticks up from the skin a small amount and doesn't have to have a huge tube sticking out of his stomach all the time.
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Wesley got his first professional haircut (and maybe his last) on Thursday afternoon. I have been trimming his hair since we got him in August (he had a mullet!), but I figured it was time to let someone who knew how to cut hair trim it up. I took him to a place called "Cookie Cutters" that specializes in children's haircuts. There were three women working and only one little girl getting her haircut, but for some reason (unknown to me), it took at least 20 minutes for Wesley to start getting his haircut. (The subsequent haircut took about 7 minutes total) The place had a huge slide which of course he wanted to go down at least 30 times. I swore my back was going to give out before he got his hair cut because I had to life him each time to a height around my shoulders. I just realized that is why my neck has been hurting today - I assumed that I slept on it funny last night!! Ok, so back to my story...the little girl in front of us is finished up and we are called to a small car to sit. I buckle him in and the hairstylist starts to put a cape on him. Wesley throws a fit!!! He starts screaming and crying and hitting his head (which he does sometimes when he gets upset, maybe its an orphanage thing?). He calmed down once I got his hands out and she started cutting his hair.
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Like I said it was over in no time and we go to the counter to pay. She asked if I had a Dorothy Lane Market card (a fancy grocery store in the same shopping center), and I said that I do. Apparently having a grocery card saved me $1.50 off the cut, but can you guess how much I still had to pay? Let me remind you that she didn't even wash or dry or use clippers on his hair and it took seven minutes...the total was $12.45!!! My haircuts cost $15.00 and that includes a wash and style!! I realize that is crazy-cheap for me so it might not be a good comparison, but isn't that an outrageous price for a 21 month-old's haircut?? She was being paid $2.00 per minute which equates to $119.57 per hour!! I know attorneys who hardly make more an hour than that!!
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When I told Damon how much it cost, he said "you're never taking him back there again, he can go to Mike's Barbershop and get his hair cut for less than $3.00." Now many of you don't know what Mike's Barbershop is, but in the town where we grew up, this used to be the barbershop to go to. If it tells you anything about the barbers in the shop, one of the men who used to cut hair there was at least 80 years old and on oxygen!! I have to laugh even thinking about Wesley going there, but it would be a lot cheaper...or I could just go back to cutting it. We'll decide when he needs it cut again, but I will not take him to get his hair cut at Mike's!!!
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As you can see though, the haircut turned out pretty well

The Christmas presents are out in every store now!! Wes doesn't "get" Christmas yet, so we just show him the toys and let him play with them in the store. You can see that he is quite taken with the talking Elmo. I have a Tickle Me Elmo from back in the day, but the weird giggling just scares him. I just cannot bring myself to spend $50 on a red animal-thing that tells my son he loves him and then blows kisses. Just a little too strange for me...

We did purchase a sock monkey for him though!! I think sock monkeys are so stinkin' cute, so I had to get him one. That and when I showed it to him at Target he slobbered all over it as he gave him a kiss.


Here are just a few cute pictures of Wes from our everyday lives.


He was singing and dancing while standing in Damon's shoes.


When he sits in his car seat, Wes pulls his pants up to his knees every time. Haven't figured out why yet...


dinner at Steak N Shake

not exactly Mr. Sunshine in the mornings as I got him up earlier than he wanted to get up to go to a doctor's appointment

Saturday, November 1, 2008

still wonderful weather in Ohio

The weather here in Ohio is still so wonderful. Today the temperature was over 70 degrees and sunny all day! Wesley and I went to the park before running errands, and of course I brought my camera :) I was hoping to get a good picture for adoption announcements, and the best I got was the second picture down. I don't know if it is what I am looking for...such a big decision (not that big though), and I'm having trouble making it.
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Working from home is going well so far. I usually work during Wesley's nap, a few evenings, and Sunday afternoons. I go to work three days a week, and I look forward to doing that. I always thought I would want to stay home full-time, but now I think that part-time out of the house is good for me. I enjoy the people I work with, and I also enjoy what I do. My mom watches Wesley two days and Damon watches him one day. I don't have to worry about him at all, so I am able to focus on work. I look forward to going home at the end of the day, but I do enjoy it while I am there. I think if I disliked my job I might feel differently about staying home, but it is a personal choice that works for now.
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Wesley goes to the pediatrician tomorrow for the first time. We didn't select one before leaving for Ukraine, and we've put off finding one after getting home. I figure that he probably needs a flu shot, so we're going to get one and just to have a general check-up. Each of the other doctors that we take Wesley to is very specialized, so the pediatrician is more for general health.
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On Monday Wesley goes to a cardiologist and a pulmonologist. The heart and lungs are the last two things to check before the doctors determine that esophageal atresia is Wesley's only health concern. We look forward to either ruling those out or determining a course of action to deal with heart and lung issues. Preliminary findings indicate that Wesley does not have heart or lung problems, but the doctors will determine that for sure. After these appointments, we won't have too many until the surgery - YAHOO!!
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We had an appointment with a speech therapist last week. When we first came home, it was determined that Wes was only at 9 months developmentally in the speech department. Personally I thought he was further along than that, but I figured we should have him checked out. As I suspected, the therapist said that he was right on track with his age. I was a little surprised that he has caught up to his age so quickly - I mean, we've only been home 7 weeks!!! He is picking up words right and left, but his favorite word by far is "Katie." Katie is our Boston Terrier who avoids Wesley because he is so rough with her. She is 8 years old and prefers not to have a 20 month-old falling on her or squeezing her (aka giving her a hug). He seems to think though that any animal is Katie, so we're working on that.
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I hope everyone got out and voted yesterday. I actually didn't have to wait at all and I went after work at 5:00p! Damon went earlier in the day and the wait was over an hour unless you voted out in the open instead of in a booth. I won't lie - the person I voted for did not win, but I am hopeful that Barack Obama can turn things around financially in the United States. I took Wesley with me to vote and the whole drive to the polling place, I explained to him how important it is to vote in every election. I told him about how people died to give us that freedom, how it is the only way to change things for the better, etc, etc, and he just stared at me from the backseat. I guess maybe he'll understand when he grows up!
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I hope everyone has a good week! And if you are having good weather still - get out and enjoy it while it lasts!! Christmas will be here before we know it...49 days!! Is that an excuse to go shopping? I think it might be :)
Staci




the tongue out means he is having fun (or being mischievous)
my mom got Wesley this shirt and when he wears it, he constantly points at the dog and says "Katie"
crying because I told him not to touch the trash can
Wesley was a horse for Halloween - thank you so much for the costume, Dianne!!!


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

update on Grandpa, more doctor's appointments

Grandpa's surgery went well. The doctors had to remove most of his stomach, but they felt they had good margins in regards to the cancer. He is headed home today. Thank you so much for your prayers - I know God heard them and answered. I don't know what the next step is in his treatment, but please continue to pray for him and my Grandmother.
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Tomorrow Wesley has an appointment with the genetics department and also an evaluation with the speech department (it will be a long morning/day). I am curious to hear their thoughts on how delayed he is. Mom and I were just discussing today how Wesley is beginning to ennunciate more clearly. When you read a book to him, he watches your mouth and tries to immitate the sounds you make. (It is pretty cute) At our original evaluation at the International Adoption Center a week after arriving in the US, the therapist said that she thought he was around a 9 month-old. Personally, I thought he was further along than that, but he didn't talk much during the appointment.
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Full day one with the walking boot is over. So far it isn't as bad as I thought it would be (it still is not what I would call pleasant). I took Wesley to the mall today so I could practice walking around without fear of embarassment (I didn't know anyone and everyone was much older than myself). I think I pretty much have walking down now, but I did figure out that it is much easier to walk with the boot on my right foot when I have a heel on my left foot. Otherwise my right leg is longer, and I seriously wobble. Now at least 27 more days to go...the good news for me though is that my foot doesn't hurt at all when I have the boot on, so I guess it will do what it is intended to do (at least I hope so)!!

Wesley blowing a kiss

here's a wonderful picture of the boot. It is not easy to find pants with a wide enough leg to cover it either - luckily I wear a lot of wide-leg pants, but most aren't big enough to cover the boot!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

doctor's appointment

The tube change went well on Thursday. There were no problems putting it in (not that we expected any, but you never know what will happen). The test done at the time of the tube change revealed that Wesley didn't have any esophagus from his stomach up, but this was what we expected. We don't know at this point how much he has from the top down, so it is still possible that the doctors can stretch it if he has enough there. If not though, then it is likely he'll have his stomach pulled up. As Damon said when we first heard about the procedure, it is similar to gastric bypass in an adult. Strange, huh? I guess he won't have to worry much about his weight later in life.
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I posted a picture of Wesley eating green beans, but please don't look at it if you think you might be grossed out by green stuff coming out of his neck.
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My Grandpa's surgery went well. The doctor felt that he had clear margins and they were able to do it laproscopically, so he will heal faster. We are so thankful for that! I'm not sure what the next step for him is, so please continue to pray.
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I also found out today that I have a pretty bad stress fracture in my foot, so I am bummed about getting a beautiful boot to wear for 4-6 weeks - YUCK!! I am happy though that the doctor doesn't want to put it in a cast for that amount of time. I am not sure how the fracture happened, but it was probably all the walking in Ukraine in shoes that weren't made for walking that much. I didn't have any trouble when I was in Ukraine (I thank God for that!!), but it started hurting less than a week after we arrived home. I had gotten used to it hurting, but then it started swelling so much I had trouble wearing shoes. The pain has gotten increasingly worse, so I couldn't ignore that! I am praying that I am a fast healer and I won't have to wear the boot that long. We'll see...
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I'll leave you with a few pictures...
after his bath - I would have loved to leave his hair like this, but I thought people at the hospital might not think it was as funny as I did (or they might feel sorry for the cute little boy with the crazy mother)




Mom's sunglasses and necklace are so much fun to wear!
Wesley was trying so hard to wait patiently for the doctor (our appointment was delayed almost an hour and he had not had any food since 10p the night before and it was about noon when I took this picture). He did have my necklace to play with which kept him occupied.
I know that this billboard probably refers to the fact that you can listen to the Cincinnati Bengals on WEBN, but I got a good laugh sitting at a stop light thinking that it referred to the fact that the Bengals have lost every game this season (like they haven't shown up for any games thus far). I want to say though that I am still a big Bengals fan - always have been, always will be. I just hope they win one game soon...


WARNING - do not look at the picture below if you get grossed out easily!! As you can see, anything that goes in his mouth comes right out his neck fistula. You can imagine the mess that a 2.5 ounce can of baby food makes. The good news is that he was eating a lot of green beans!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

the last few days




I don't really have anything new to report. Wesley is getting a new tube put in tomorrow. Every couple of weeks, he gets a smaller tube until he can get the "button" (a g-tube that isn't really a tube sticking out of his stomach). The doctors have to change the tube every couple of weeks to allow his stomach to heal closed around the smaller tube. The actual changing of the tube seems like a fairly simple process. Wesley didn't seem to have trouble with that part, but as the hole was healing closed, it bothered him. I am not sure if the problem was that the healing felt itchy to him or the fact that the tube has a balloon at the end in his stomach. About 5 days after the last tube change, Wesley was waking up every 2-3 hours in the night. Now this might not seem like a big deal to you, the reader, but to us it was. Wesley has slept through the night, every night since we got him, so this was totally unexpected. The waking up in the night got better after a couple of days and stoppped completely a week ago. Now we get the tube changed tomorrow and we'll see if the waking up starts again. (Damon and I are praying it won't - for our sake and his. It makes for a rough day when all three of us are tired)

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When the tube is replaced tomorrow, the doctor is also going to do a test to see how much esophagus Wesley has. We were told in Ukraine that he has very little, so any more than a little would be wonderful! The more he has, the easier the surgery to repair (at least theoretically).

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We have been working with Wesley on taking food and drink by mouth. This is usually a tough issue with children who have never taken food by mouth due to feedings coming exclusively through the g-tube. We take a sippy cup with us when we go out to dinner and encourage him to drink when we take a drink. He is catching on, but it isn't something he loves to do yet. I did figure out the other night that he does like chocolate milk, so we're trying that.

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I have also started to feed him baby food. I won't lie - feeding by mouth is not my favorite thing to do. I know how incredibly important it is for Wes to learn how to swallow and chew, but the mess is, well, it is a mess. We had sweet potatoes the other day, and so far that seems to be his favorite. He DOES NOT like peas, but really, who can blame him?? I feed him about 1.5 ounces of baby food a day, and the feeding process takes at least 30 minutes. I am glad that even after the esophagus surgery Wesley will have the feeding tube until he can take enough food by mouth. If the feedings don't get any faster, then we will be feeding him about 15 hours a day! I am confident though that once he is able to eat a wider variety of foods that he will enjoy eating more. I am excited though that he has taken to eating fairly easily! I have to attribute that to how laid-back Wesley is.

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Wesley was at almost 21 pounds last week, so he has gained four pounds since we got him! Four pounds wouldn't be noticeable on most people, but so far he has gained 20% of his body weight and grown one inch. I am excited to see what he weighs tomorrow. You can tell that he is gaining weight as he has fat cheeks and a few fat rolls. He has also "lost" his knuckles due to the fat in his little hands. I have a lot more trouble carrying him than I did just a few weeks ago. That is due to the weight gain and the "squirminess" of a 20 month-old who wants to run around.

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Please pray for the tube change tomorrow for Wesley. Please also pray for my Grandpa as he is having surgery on Friday for stomach cancer. We are praying the doctor can remove the cancer laproscopically (the only a few small incisions) and with no other issues. I look forward to posting the good results!!
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