Friday, June 24, 2011

Off to Boston

So much to say so little time.
I would like to start blogging again so I'm going to try to give a recap of our Boston adventure to get Ricky's palate surgery done.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Lame Blogger

I'm sorry I'm so bad about posting here. Life gets busy and Facebook rules. I will try to be better. I have alot to say but no time right now but here are some pictures from our Florida vacation.

Someone liked the beach...can you guess who??

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sponsoring a Child

If you don't think giving up a cup of coffee at Starbucks will help a child then think again...

$35 dollars a month gave this child the care he needed.

$600 Hundred US Dollars changed this child's life FOREVER.

You can make a difference in a child life. The above picture is of Isaiah before and after. He is the little boy that we are sponsoring in China.

Go Change Shelby's Life. Give 10 dollars, Give 20 dollars. Step up and Do Something!

Ok I'm now off my soap box.

For now...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Adopting a Cleft Child

Some people say cleft lip and palate is a minor need. I cringe when people say minor. To me, minor is more like a club foot - you fix it and then hopefully never have to deal with it.

Personally I think it is a medium need that needs our attention on a weekly / yearly basis. I recently posted everything that is involved with adopting our son Ricky. I thought I'd post it here.

Ricky was adopted at 16 months with a repaired bilateral cleft lip and unrepaired bilateral cleft palate - it went through the gum. Each child is different but this is Ricky's plan....

1. Lip repair - sometimes China does these prior to adoption. Ricky's was done in China

2. Palate Repair - we did this at 19 months old. Basically they take tissue from the side of the mouth and transplant it to the roof. This is how it was basically explained to us. We were in the hospital 2 days - some kids are onlyin overnight. Ricky was able to go back to daycare after 2 weeks home. Our surgeon did not limit his diet - some do to just liquids. Some will also insist the child is off the bottle - again ours did not.

3. Ricky has a short palate so he had a z-plasty done at 28 months. Some doctors do a phalengeal flap. Age wise - ranges from 3-6. Some children mayhave nasal speech despite closure of the palate. Z-plasty may be done to extendthe soft palate and decrease nasal escape of speech sounds. A pharyngeal flapinvolves raising a flap of tissue from the back wall of the throat and attachingit to the soft palate. The flap deflects some of the air that used to leak outthe nose. The purpose of the z-plasty or pharyngeal flap procedures is to decrease thehypernasality and nasal emissions evident in speech. Nasal emission and nasality generally occur because a person can not consistently close the opening between the oral and nasal cavity. In such instances there is air coming out the nosewhen talking rapidly or during conversational speech. Nasality and nasal emission of air can be observed by either plugging up the nose while talking orplacing a mirror under the nostrils underneath the nose. Small amounts of air can either be seen or felt coming out the nose.

4.Fistula repairs - Ricky doesn't have this but thought I'd throw this in...After the palate repair is performed the tissues may heal in such a way thatthere is still an abnormal opening, called a fistula. This opening may allowfood to move from the oral to the nasal cavity when eating. It may also allowmore air to pass out of the nose during speech. If there are problems with either eating or speech the fistula will most likely be closed when another procedure is to be done.

5. Nose job -Ricky has no cartilage on the bottom his nose so they will take cartilage from the ear and transplant it to the nose. There is talk that they will do this now at 3 1/2 years old but I have read about kids at 5-6.

6. Most children have their lip repair redone as they grow. Typically around age 5. We are thinking this will be done sooner than later for us because he has muscles in the lip that need to reattached. He might need it done again later when he is a teenager as well.

7. Ricky will have to have an applicance put in the roof of his mouth(not sure of name) in which we will turn daily in order to re-align the top jaw. His teeth on top form a V with the tip of the V being his front teeth basically. It needs to be more U shape. This will be done before the bone graft.

8. Alveolar bone graft - Alveolar cleft repair is a secondary cleftprocedure performed when there is insufficient bone in the area of the alveolar(gum-line) defect. Surgical repair of the defect involves taking bone marrow from the patient's hip and grafting it into the cleft defect in the boneyridge. This procedure offers several advantages: a. Provides bone support forthe permanent teeth. b. Provides stability of the boney segments of the upperjaw. c. Assists in closing oral/nasal fistulas that may be present. The improved bone support for the permanent teeth will enable the orthodontist to align individualteeth in the cleft area. The increased stability of the boney segments will helpthe prosthodontist to replace any missing teeth. More than likely we will not use the Hip bone but a manufactured product. They are currently testing this and by the time Ricky needs this I expect that thisis the way we will go. Age I guess 7 -9. Depends on when baby teeth are lost.

9. Complete Orthondontic work - braces, dental implants. We believe he will need probably 2 dental implants.

10. Oh yeah ear tubes - we have had 3 sets due to the first two not stayingin. Ear tubes were done at other surgeries except for the last set.

11. Weekly speech appointments (now done at preschool), one a month speech at the local cleft clinic, 6 month hearing tests, quarterly craniofacial exams (hopefully this will go down to once a year).

I don't post this to scare you off a cleft child. Our day to day life isn't impacted. He doesn't take special meds or need special care. Communication with him is affected and he gets frustrated if we cannot understand him. Right now, he is not understandable to most people. His teachers and family understand him.

Finally, all cleft children are different. Some might NOT need what Ricky needs. We did not know how much he would need until we got him home and looked under the hood so to speak.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

2 Years with Us

Today is the day that we met Ricky for the first time. Really it was all a blur for me. I think was running on adrenaline. We missed our flight to Hong Kong due to weather so we only had one day in China to prepare. We didn't know how to work our new camera or camcorder. The camera wouldn't take any more pictures because I had it on the wrong setting. Too many pictures not enough space. So I had to erase all the pictures I took on the way to Fuling SWI because I needed pictures of Ricky not the countryside.

Ricky was so much smaller than what we thought he would be. He was 16 1/2 months old but was wearing 9 month clothing. He cried and cried when we met him. We finally pulled out the Cheerios and he became our friend. This was about 10 minutes after meeting him for the first time. He still wasn't happy but at least he wasn't screaming. From what we were told he was moved from foster care to the SWI about a week prior. So he probably went through alot of grieving prior to us getting him.

We had a couple of things surprise us. One - He didn't really grieve - other than that first moment of crying (well more like 10 minutes), he was okay with us. I was expecting alot more grief. I have figured out since then he is a go with the flow type of kid. He reacts okay to change. He does like structure but after a bit - he just goes with it.

Two - He was very very active. He was climbing all over us and seats of the bus on the way back from the orphanage. He wouldn't sit still. This should have been a clue to us! This hasn't changed.

Three - He came to us running. In December we got a report that he was taking a few steps but I really thought China embellished this report. Well this was the one thing that was correct. He was running. Emily and Ricky chased each other in the hallway of the Hotel.

Four - He is a clown. I say that affectionately but this kid likes to make you laugh. It was apparent in China and still is today. Here is my clown then:

and my clown now:
My little baby is growning to a little boy each day. We have grown to love each other. Our love wasn't immediate like some adoptive parents and we had some really huge struggles in attaching to each other (well really me to him). It took Ricky and I over a year (maybe 12-14 months) to bond and it was hard year on me, Bill and Emily. We struggled alot to maintain our family bond.
Our first year home with Ricky represented alot of struggles emotionally. I didn't know if we would survive.
We turned a crucial corner our second year home. We have a lot of laughs, joy and love now in the family. One of my favorite quotes comes from Emily " Who needs TV when we have Ricky".
Emily has taken on the role of big sister quite well and is teaching him all the bad things to do - she says it is her job. She was older than her years before we adopted him but now, she acts like the kid she is suppose to be. Ricky idolizes her and follows her around like a lost puppy. It does get on her nerves at times but that is what little brothers are suppose to do.
Ricky, my son, I love you. There was a time when I didn't think that I would be able to say those words and mean it. But with all my heart, I do. You are a special little boy. I'm very glad that we are your family.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Formula to Fuling SWI

We made a donation to Ricky's Orphanage. Not a huge amount but again a little goes a long way.
Look at all those boxes.
Look at all those bottles.
Look at those cute little babies!