Wednesday, September 28, 2016

One year closer....

I am one year closer now to when I will see my baby in Heaven again.  She is singing and dancing - free of the weight of this fallen world. 

Hold your loved ones close today - one day can change everything.

Someday, this pain will be gone.  My Savior promises He catches my tears in a bottle - that not even one is missed by Him.

I love you, my Brookie.

Until He comes, I will praise His Name.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Hosting thoughts and Jesse's nose

First, Jesse's nose.  He has arhinia - which literally means "no nose".  Unlike our Hope, he does not even have nasal passages.  With Hope, they can build an artificial nose and use the nasal passages.  That is not an option for Jesse.  I have heard that they can do a "magnetic" nose - where they place a magnet under the skin and the nose attaches to that and can be taken on and off.  I have also seen a little girl where they are slowly building up and artificial "bump" where her nose would have been so the skin stretches out naturally over it.  Honestly, she looks very cute! :)  But both are simply cosmetic.  It does not provide another airway, allow them to smell, or to breathe.  We will wait for the cranio docs here to do MRIs, CT scans, etc and then offer their suggestions.  Honestly, we will probably leave it up to Jesse to decide.  He is adorable without it and in some ways I don't think his face is as "shocking" to people as Hope's is.  We just don't know how important it will be to him especially with his lack of vision.

Honestly, it doesn't stress us out more that there is only "one" airway because as we have fully realized with Serenity - everything comes down to the passages in the neck anyway.  If that is blocked, he would be in trouble - nose or not.  We would like to avoid a trach unless absolutely necessary - try every other option first.  This is in terms of sleep apnea, which may be a very real problem.  We will try every other thing first, just as we did with Serenity.

No, he cannot smell and yes, this does probably effect how things taste.  You have the four basic tastes - sweet, sour, salty, and bitter - on your tongue.  You can also taste "textures" - dry bread, mushy mashed potatoes, hard peanuts, etc.   Much of "taste" after that does have to do with your sense of smell.  As he does not speak much English yet, we can't really probe what he likes about certain foods yet, but he does have definite favorites.  (Interestingly, the new pediatrician was the first to suggest that our struggle with Hope and her food may have something to do with the lack of smell as we don't really know if she has a full sense of smell or not.  I am very curious!)  There is not a way to give him nasal passages/smells at this point in medical we are talking (as with Hope) about purely cosmetic things when talking about a nose.  The trach would be the "second" airway if needed.  I will keep you updated as all the appointments start...


I haven't posted a whole lot on hosting, mainly because I am so split in my emotions over it.  There are some very good points.  There are some very hard points.  In the end, a bunch of orphans end up as sons and daughters who never would have otherwise....but I have never been a "the end justifies the means" person.  Both are equally I am just going to leave the pros and cons aside for now.

This is more for the new hosting parents - wanting to know what we did and how it worked...

The first thing I need to point out is that both the girls we hosted had Down Syndrome.  This will make our experience a little different than those hosting kids without cognitive challenges.  Both Nora and Lucy are very high functioning kids with DS, but I do wonder how it did effect their expectations/understanding of the situation.  Nora was 9 when we hosted her, Lucy had just turned 11.

When we were preparing for Lucy, we wanted her to have all kinds of experiences.  We planned for the zoo, parks, the Space Needle, a Mariners game, and even the church camping trip.  We had her for 5 weeks - so we felt we had a lot of time to explore and play.

Her plane came in very late at night so she basically came home and went to bed.  I don't know how we could have done that differently, but it had to be hard on her to lay down in a place she didn't know in a house she didn't know.  She did sleep through the night (or was at least quiet).  Nora arrived in the middle of the day, which was much better for everyone.  We all welcomed her and then took her back to her bed (in the girls' room) and helped her unpack a few of her things.  This helped her calm down quite a bit - to see that she had a "space" for her.  With both girls, we left their luggage by the side of their bed for the entire time they were here.  I wanted them to know that "their" stuff (as little as it was) was safe and accessible to them.  I also wanted them to be reminded that they did have to go back.  (Even though my heart split in pieces at the thought.) 

With Lucy (whom we hosted first), I bought some clothes before she came.  But even though they warned us that she would be smaller than we thought and I downsized even farther than I thought she would be, all the clothes were too big.  With Nora, I only bought a pair of pajamas (elastic waist) and a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt so that she would have something to start with.  (Even with our experience with Lucy, I had to buy the next size down for Nora!)  Lucy only came with a change of clothes, Nora had several.  Lucy's clothes were obviously newly bought for the trip, Nora's were older but clean.  Both girls enjoyed the trip to Walmart to pick out their own clothes very much.  I am sure even a thrift store would be fun.  I just wouldn't load up on a bunch of things until they are actually there.  It was also very fun and telling to see what they would pick for themselves.  Lucy chose everything "Frozen" and "Hello Kitty" - she was more than happy to "ask" for something.  Nora was very quiet and a little overwhelmed.  She would choose between two outfits but didn't ask for everything she saw as Lucy had done.  If I could go back again, I would have bought Nora some better shoes at the beginning of the trip even though she probably wouldn't have been able to keep them.  It was just something that didn't really register until just before she went back that her shoes were too big and very thin.

As far as food, with Lucy we just fed her what we were having.  She did like milk - and drank a lot of it - but didn't like any canned fruit.  Where she was in China, they probably had fresh fruit much of the time.  She liked sugary things very much - breads were not her favorite.  She really enjoyed that she got a drink and some sort of food whenever she asked for it.  Eating just wasn't an issue other than she fed the canned fruit to the dog. :)  We had talked about taking her to a Chinese restaurant, but it just never really happened.  With Nora, we stocked up on Cup of Noodle soups for some odd reason and it was a good thing we did!  We also had rice handy for both girls.  Don did take Nora for sushi and she devoured it!!  It made us sad that we hadn't tried it with Lucy.  We found out VERY quickly that Nora loved sugar but it made her very cranky and irritable very quickly!  Away went the sugar snacks!  Don said he would tell anyone hosting/adopting to avoid sugar at all costs. :)  Now with Jesse, Peter, and Lucy home, we do keep back up Cup of Noodles just in case.  Jesse will eat anything but sandwiches, Lucy now does not like meat, and Peter does not like cheese.  Hmmmm.  I know some host families do an amazing job at having foods the kids would know and like - and I wish I was able to do that - but with a house full of different opinions, it would be very hard.  I would say at a minimum have Cup of Noodles, rice, eggs, and fresh fruit.  Then just try new things and see what the responses are.  And avoid sugar unless you are sure they can handle it!

As far as what to do with the kids?  Again, some host families are AMAZING and do incredible things.  One of the issues for us was that we knew we wanted to adopt the girls and we didn't want to give them a Disney-like experience and set them up for disappointment when they came home forever.  So we really worked to have a balance.  Both girls came in the summer so we took each of them on one of the camping trips that were already planned.    We did more things that we usually would - for their benefit - but still tried to let them experience "normal" life as well.  We had Lucy for 5 weeks and Nora was only 4.  It is amazing how much of a difference that made.  We really felt rushed between needing to get the doctor/dentist/eye appointments done (especially with 4th of July weekend in there) and wanting to spend time with her.  We probably were much more "pre-scheduled" with Lucy (i.e. Wed we will do ______, Thurs we will do ______) and with Nora we winged it more.  But they were also very different personalities.  Lucy is up for anything - always ready to go - especially with Daddy.  Nora was more reserved and needed more "down" time.

Communication?  This is probably the biggest area that the DS played in.  Lucy did not talk clearly or much in Chinese, let alone English.  Nora was pretty clear and communicative in Chinese.  We used a lot - A LOT - of hand gestures and sign language and managed to do very well.  I have heard that the language barrier can be hard for the older kids that were cognitively typical.  There are lots of translation apps you can try.  Our agency had an interpreter available.  With Lucy, the interpreter barely spoke English - almost not at all - plus Lucy wasn't clear in Chinese - so it wasn't helpful at all.  With Nora, the interpreter was amazing and we did end up calling once or twice outside of our scheduled calls to have her talk with Nora.  It was a gift to know what she needed.  (Once was constipation, the other was tiredness.)  I think you just jump in with tools like pictures, Chinese words (if they know how to read), apps, and the interpreter and figure it out.  It is kind of a scary leap - but it works in the end.

You will be told REPEATEDLY to avoid the "A" word - adoption.  PLEASE, please heed this - even if you are convinced that you will adopt them.  It is too long of a process with too many unknowns to do that.  Our agency asked us not to say anything until we had official permission - meaning the LOA/LSC (Letter of Approval/Letter Seeking Confirmation) that comes a few months after you send your dossier in - so think about five to eight months AFTER you start the process depending on how quickly everyone does their part.  The agency did have care package that we could send to the girls.  With Lucy, we thought we had to wait until we had LOA but it turns out we did not.  It broke my heart to realize that we could have been sending things to her for months and she had silence instead. :(  We found a business - - that we really like and have already sent Nora a package in August and then a birthday cake for her birthday in Sept.  We are still NOT saying anything about adoption - but we send her things just so she knows we love her.  It is a little pricey - but worth it to us.

As far as their understanding of what is going on?  This is one of the "negatives" to me of hosting.  It doesn't matter how many times and ways these kids are told they are going back to the orphanage, they still want to STAY.  They DO NOT WANT TO GO BACK.  There is a desperation that builds - honestly, in both of you! - to find a way to not have to go back.  YOU are what they have always wanted....maybe if they are just good enough, or loving enough, or hide their Chinese shoes and clothes - they will not have to go back.  It is heartbreaking - there just isn't another word for it.  There is no way around it.  No way to change it.  As I said, we kept their luggage out and they both panicked when we started packing it again. Lucy tried to hide as many things as possible in her luggage.  Nora kept taking things back out.  Both of them had such a look of heartbroken betrayal when it was time to go back.  I don't know how to fix that.  It doesn't matter what anyone says to them or how they are prepared - they don't want to go back.

We have gotten several pictures of Nora since she left and they are all so very sad.  It is ripping my heart to shreds.  We got nice, happy pictures of Lucy which was so wonderful - but once her Daddy was back for her (see video below) she was NOT taking any chances that someone would take her away again.  She PANICKED when she was asked by the translator if she wanted to go back to her orphanage to say goodbye.  Daddy cancelled that trip immediately.  I can't tell you how wonderful it was to tuck her into HER bed when she came home and put that luggage AWAY forever.

I hope this helps, Melissa - please feel free to ask more questions if you have any!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

They are back...

I apologize to those who have tried to get on this page the last several days only to see it set to "private".  Unfortunately, the trolls are back in force.  I get a report on where the hits on my blog are coming from and when they jumped by quite a bit, I knew we had probably been listed on one of the troll sites.  Sure enough, when I looked at the report, there they were.

If this blog was about just me, it would be easy to overlook their foolishness.  However, when it is my kids and other kids that are in desperate need of families, it is hard to get past that.  I am always amazed when I read their comments on their page how foolish and arrogant they are.  This is not a group of people that feel strongly about another option to adoption or have a coherent argument about why they think people shouldn't have large families or adopt or ? is just a bunch of critical, arrogant people who want to hear themselves talk more than anything else.  It is a site dedicated to their own knowledge-less opinions.

I am sure some are reading this post even now.  As I have said before, you may think you are clever and witty - but there is no wisdom in what you say.  Swapping foolish comments with other foolish people does not make you wise.  You don't like large families - okay, so what?  You don't think kids with special needs should be adopted?  So what is YOUR solution?  Do you have ANY information beyond your own opinion and emotions?  It is very easy to criticize - it is much harder to have an informed perspective - and nothing I read was informed or even worthy of a tag other than "foolish".

Most importantly, I tremble for you.  Someday, it is guaranteed that you will take your last breath.  It is 100% sure.  It may be may be 70 years in the future - but that moment will come.  When it does, you will be face to face with your Creator.  Your Creator who also calls Himself the Father to the fatherless and the defender of His people.  He is also holy, righteous, and perfect - NONE of us are.  None of us come close.  He is not playing a balancing game where as long as you have enough "good things" stacked on the scale, it will cancel out the "bad things".  He tells us very clearly that there are "none righteous, no not one" (Romans 3:10)  He tells us that we will be held accountable for every sin (anything that falls short of His perfect righteousness) and even that we will be held accountable for every careless word we speak. (Matt 12:36)  God's wrath is sure - it is being stored up against those who have sinned - which is all of us.  God's love is also sure.  Because He loves us, He sent a way to be saved through His Son - there is no other way.  The ONLY hope we have is salvation through Jesus Christ, His Son.  He will not just look past our sins like a doting grandfather and pat our head with a smile on His face.  He will not just say, "Well, you tried your best."  His holiness demands a complete change of our utterly wicked hearts and lives.  This only came through the death and resurrection of His Son.  When we are truly saved, He makes a new heart within us.  It is a radical transformation - it is not just that we pray once "Jesus forgive me" and we can cross that off our list and continue on our merry way- it is a transformation of the very core of who we are.  If you do not understand why my family does what it does, there is a very real chance you are not saved, even if you think you are.  Not all of God's people are called to adopt, but His Word is FULL of His commands to care for the poor, the fatherless, and the defenseless.  You may not be called to adopt, but if you are His you cannot be in doubt that we are doing what He has asked.

I am sure that many will laugh this off as foolishness.  That is your choice, but I am praying you do not.  This is your only hope.  This is the Truth.  Your time now may seem without consequences and you can shrug off the thought of a holy God - but someday every knee will bow before Him and it will be too late to seek His salvation.  When my eyes meet your across eternity, my conscience will be clear that I tried to warn you.  I showed you the truth.  I have deep compassion for you - I pray for you - I do not want you to spend eternity in hell, even with the hurtful words you have thrown our way.

A place to start if you want more information -

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Scattered pictures

 Lou had fun with the camera today - she knows I love the up close face shots - of course that also means that it is very clear we didn't clean faces after breakfast.  But we needed to get out in the sunshine before it was gone!  Above is Jillian.
 Little Man
 Little Man and Jillian are best buddies.

 Serenity and Hope
 Serenity, Peter, Jillian, and Little Man
 Daddy and Peter in China
 Daddy, Peter, Snip in China
 Daddy and Jesse
Daddy and his boys

Interestingly, in the above picture it is clear that Peter is taller than Jesse.  Now, roughly 3 weeks later, Jesse is taller than Peter!  That's a pretty significant growth spurt!  

We are still in the trenches of figuring out the "new normal" - none of it unexpected, but it does wear us out.  However, we have done this enough times now that we know we will eventually find a new groove to settle in to.  My biggest struggle so far?  I keep underestimating the food we need for each meal!  These 3 new kiddos can eat!  We are doing a lot of add-ons after the main course is gone because bodies are still hungry!  With four teen boys (one in football) and then healthy appetites by everyone else we go through A LOT of food.  We are easily at 2 gallons of milk a day.  Even with our extra fridge, we are not quite making it a week between trips.  We have chickens, but they are not cooperating with where they are laying their eggs - plus anytime we need eggs, we need 30+ eggs.  So also buying those frequently. It has been a little funny to see the faces of the checkers at the grocery store when I pull up with an overflowing cart and have to explain this is a "light" load - if I was truly shopping we would have 2-3 carts.  Yikes.  Again, I know we will settle into just takes time.

Serenity is finally starting school tomorrow.  All the paras and nurses have been trained/refreshed on trach care....but my mama's heart may need some help.  We always have our kids with us.  It is hard to hand their care over to another group of people.  I don't know how to communicate it all to Serenity - she is going to have to just walk through it and see that we do come back and get her.  We will be watching closely to see how she does.  Your prayers would be appreciated.  

Lucy has been a little more emotional this last week.  There have been several times she has cried on my lap.  She does not seem unhappy at all, I think it is just years of emotions coming out.  The changes have to be hard, even if they are good changes.  Relief?  I think that could be a huge part too.  She spends a lot of time drawing and coloring.  She is facinated to see William (who is her best buddy right now) doing schoolwork.  She sits down next to him and watches him and then draws on her paper.  I need to see how much copying she is willing to do.  Will she write her own name?  In the next few weeks, I need to begin working with her on a preschool level - but I have given myself these first weeks to get everyone else in their school groove and then we will begin.  

Peter is doing well, but can be a handful.  He isn't just sitting on the couch anymore - which is VERY good - but he doesn't know how to appropriately explore his environment.  Everything gets thrown or put in his mouth.  He has broken several dishes and we thought he broke the camera.  Lots of spilled food and drinks.  This is just part of the training process, but what makes it harder is that we have so many little bodies to keep track of.  Again, it will come with time, we just have to be on hyper alert right now.  When he first came, he loved being outside.  Now, he is not so sure.  He wants to just wander off but we have enough property, including a creek/pond, that it is not safe.  He loves playing in our water table but has to be watched that he does not drink it (the water gets dirty fast due to all the kids putting toys and such in it).  I am anxiously waiting the appointments for he and Lucy to have their hearing tested!  This may explain a lot about his behaviors - but I cringe a bit at trying to get him to keep glasses and hearing aids on!  A battle for another day...

And our little Jesse.  With several of the children, I wish I could watch a day or two of them at their orphanage.  What was their treatment like?  Were they favored?  Did they get away with a lot?  Are they just testing the new boundaries?  Jesse is amazingly smart.  He is also very, very determined to get his own way.  We know that a stubborn streak is what helps this kids to survive in their orphanages - and it is what will drive them to learn and grow - but oh, it can add grey hairs quickly!  It isn't just that he wants to be part of something and can't - we are making sure that he is included in everything! - it is that someone else has something he wants and he wants it NOW.  However, the biggest temper tantrums come over wanting to be outside.  He cannot tell of course that it is pitch black outside and not time to be out there.  But more often than not, it is after they have played outside for an extended period of time and it is time to come in.  We are trying to work on transitions, but the language barrier is limiting that effectiveness right now.  Our days are a swirl of loving affections and playing and having to sit on mama's lap until a temper tantrum is finished.  I just keep praying that the "loving" is balancing out the "correcting" in his little heart.  I know he is angry and frustrated - and that hurts my heart - but I also know my job as a mom is to teach him to be in control and to be kind to others....all the while recognizing the emotional/physical/cognitive effects of all the changes happening in such a short period of time.  Even more to trust my Savior for wisdom and discernment.  I have a deep confidence that he will continue to grow and adapt and astound us with what he is able to do.  Our first "round table" appointment at our Children's hospital is on Oct 3rd.  I am eager to begin the journey to see what doors we can open for him.

Needing to move along - it is my oldest son's birthday today - feeling a little melancholy at how quickly the years are going by.  How I wish I could pause each day to savor it a little longer.

Until He comes....

Friday, September 9, 2016

A few more things....

I just found a huge amount of comments waiting for moderation.  I should get emails when those come and can't quite figure out where the breakdown is - so I am sorry it looked like I was ignoring some questions and comments!  A couple of things to answer:

1)  Bryson.  This sweet, precious treasure is an ache in my heart.  I did follow up with him awhile ago and read more of his information.  In the country he is at, the "file" of each child is only assigned to an agency for a 2 month period.  Unless an agency is willing to transfer the file to another agency (which I have found in my experience to be rare), the agency holding the file is the only one able to facilitate the adoption.  I believe his file has now gone back and has either been reassigned to another agency or is just in the "pool" of unassigned cases.  An agency, with identifying information, should be able to get that file is it unassigned.  His file does look very bleak. I have seen many of these kiddos saved just in time (obviously by God's grace) by a family - but I have also seen these babies go home to Christ before their families can get there (still God's grace, but not what we would choose).  I will be honest, we have prayed and talked for many hours about whether we were to try to go get him.  My heart aches to do that.  But we both feel that it is not what God is allowing us to do.  For now, He has set us in China, with bringing Nora home.  That hurts.  It hurts, but one of the hardest things of this orphan journey is trusting that God loves Bryson more than I do and that He does have a plan - even if it is not what I would want.  His file has been taken down from Reece's Rainbow.  The files from Bulgaria never stay long because they are only with an agency for so short a period of time.  If someone was interested in finding who has his file now, I could help with that.  Please leave me a comment (that I will not publish) and I can try to help.  I cannot thank you enough for those who are praying for him.  The hard truth is that we would not necessarily know if Jesus had called him home yet or not.  :(

2)  Serenity and school.  Ugh, what a mess right now.  Serenity was supposed to start school on Sept 1st.  When I last met with everyone in June, it seemed a solid plan was in place.  I started emailing two weeks before school was supposed to start and did not get a response to repeated messages.  I then start calling - feeling badly because I know how crazy busy they all must be with school starting , but I needed to know about her status.  To make a long story short, the head nurse finally called the day before she was supposed to start and they had never gotten her paperwork or referral for a para educator (someone who is with her the entire time she is there who is trained with a trach).  Then began a series of phone calls with many different people, each with different information.  "We are training tomorrow, she can come."...."Oh, wait, no.  I guess the training is scheduled for the 12th, 13th, 14th - so she should be able to come the 15th."  The newest phone call is that the training is still not scheduled, but they are trying.  I know they are all so busy - I have compassion for that - but my mama's heart is afraid that something is going to be missed that she needs because we can't even get clear communication on a training date. :(  This is making my already nervous heart beat even faster.  We are using Serenity as the trailblazer for the school system for some of our other kiddos, like Jesse - and this is not boding well.  We are praying for wisdom and assurance that this is still the right path.  Yes, I do know that the school district is REQUIRED to provide these things - but we are not going to force our "rights" and put her in danger because they are not ready for her yet.  Not an easy place to be in.

Jillian, Nora, Donald, and Serenity (with Jeremy in the background)

3) Brooke.  My sweet baby.  Yes, the one year point of her passing is coming.  The 28th.  It still makes my heart feel like it stops to think about it.  In a way, part of my heart did stop beating that day.  I feel sick thinking about waking up to Sept 28th this year.  But I also had to remind myself that I didn't think I would live through the first 28th....and I did.  I will make it through another 9/28 this year....and next...and the next - until the Lord calls me home.  I still have not gone back to her grave.  Partly because I know she is not there.  Partly because there is a feeling of fear for the dam breaking and the tears never stopping.  Life is SO busy.  Every moment is full.  I have deliberately tell myself that it is okay to stop for a cup of coffee because life starts before 5 am (sometimes WAY before 5 am) and doesn't stop until 10:30 pm or later.  I do a lot of sitting and feeding babies (two g-tubes, two that cannot feed themselves, and one nurser still) but I am still doing something, I am always on-call.  Someday there will be a time for tears - a few days ago, I asked the Lord if it was time yet - and it isn't.  I know He will sustain me until that day - and when it comes, it will be necessary - but it is not here yet.  That's okay.  I am even trusting Him for the tears.  I would so appreciate your prayers as that day creeps closer.  One part of the day is mourning - the other part is realizing that one of my children has made it to eternity with Christ - which is my hope for all my children.  I was just not ready to let go yet.  So many dreams that did not have time to come true....

Until He comes....

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Sorta update?

I know so many of you are wanting to hear how we are doing?!?!  This is only a sorta-update as I need to get kids up - some to school, some to doctors appointments, etc....

Don and the kids arrived home last Friday.  It was amazing to hold each child in my arms - new and old!  I need to get some pictures posted because I have some of the cutest kids ever!  Until then a quick update on each of the three new ones:

Lucy:  This girl!  She gave everyone monster hugs several times and then bee-lined to the house.  We followed her to see what she would do.  She went right to her bed (which may or may not have had new "Frozen" sheets on them, even when a certain mother swore to never buy "licensed" products....ahem) and began unpacking.  Honestly, you could just see the weight roll off her shoulders that she was finally HOME.  I cannot imagine what her little heart went through for a year waiting for us to come.  She has settled right in.  She has put on some weight from last time as she has matured - which honestly, she needed more weight!  She is definitely bossier to her younger siblings, but really, really wants to help.  She wants to help dress the little ones and work in the kitchen.  She wants to do things by herself, which is awesome with proper directions and oversight.  We have a new pediatrician for these new kiddos that has a child with DS herself.  She is going to run just about every applicable test there is to just get a "baseline" on each child.  Lucy has a tooth that really needs to be taken care of and then my next priority is a hearing test.  We will be getting all that put in place very soon.  What a treasure this girl is.  What a relief to have her home forever!

Peter:  This little guy was the hardest by far in China - but he has settled in relatively easily here.  He did have some meltdowns the first few days and he is NOT sleeping well - which is hard on everyone.  He also gets a very nasty grip on hair that is hard to get him to let go of.  He does have a lot of "orphanage" behaviors, like Hope.  We will see how many he grows out of in time.  BUT he loves to snuggle and be touched.  He loves to sit on our laps. He LOVES to be outside on the slide.  He does have an issue with his hips or with lack of muscle strength which makes for a very awkward walk.  The doctor has already done x-rays and we will see what comes of that.  We will be checking everything with him - sight, hearing, sleep apnea, thyroid, etc, etc.  The doctor recognizes the difficult background he has come from (other than the time at Swallow's Nest) but she has great hopes for him as he gets consistency, love, and good nutrition and medical care.   This little guy has already been swept under my mama's wings.  As we watch our new baby chicks out in the barnyard be tucked safely under their mama's wings, I just think it is a perfect picture of my heart for him.

Jesse:  Oh my goodness - what a kid!  He is amazing.  There is just no other word for it.  But his needs may be a little more complex.  He is so loving and affectionate.  He wants to kiss and hug everyone!  But, you adoptive mamas already know this is a danger - he is completely indiscriminate in his affections.  He loves on EVERYONE.  Although this is a gift to everyone around him, it is a danger to him being emotionally attached and bonded to his family which is absolutely critical to his long-term emotional health.  We "cocoon" with all our new kids - meaning they are always with immediate family and we ask others to be kind and warm - but no kissing, etc. - until the bond with his family is firmly established.  This is going to be especially critical with Jesse.  He is adored everywhere - and we do not want to take an ounce of that away!  But he needs to know "I am adored, but THIS is my family.  THIS is who I belong to.  THIS is my safe refuge.  THIS is where I belong."  He never had a ounce of trouble in going with Don and the girls and leaving everyone else behind.  This honestly makes for a really easy "gotcha" trip - but is not a good thing long term.

He was very happy to be home and have so many to love on him.  He won even the most reserved over instantly!  He sleeps fairly well and eats a lot.  This is a tiny boy - like 28lbs - but he can pack the food away!  But with our experience, the hyperactivity and the extreme eating without weight gain makes me think we have a sleep apnea problem. :(  I am praying it can be resolved with removing tonsils and adenoids and not a trach. 

He did finally begin melting down a few days ago - which I am actually relieved to see - some release of all the emotions that have to be pent up inside.  Some days a nap helps, a snuggle from his family always helps.  He definitely is not used to being told "no" and having that be the end of it.  He keeps asking and asking and then will try to do whatever it is anyway.  Then a full blown temper tantrum starts.  Just like all my others, that is a signal that they need to be restrained in mama's arms until they can pull it together.  This is much easier with such a light-weight!

He will have many months of appointments and tests ahead of him as we find out what he needs and how we can help.  The sleep study and then the eyes are at the top of my list...a very, very long list. 

Have so much more to say but need to get the crowd moving.  Thank you for all your prayers!