Friday, December 26, 2008

Pictures from the Holiday

I missed our 11th month anniversary with Ricky. It has been a busy few weeks since his surgery. He is recovery although last night we ended up in the ER with Ricky. We thought we had a bout of bronchitis and with stitches still in his mouth this was not good. Well it was a bad cold but as a precaution they put us back on antibiotics and some heavy duty cough syrup.

He is doing MUCH better today. He enjoyed his day as did Emily.







Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

Ho Ho Ho


I found this outfit at Toys R Us. I couldn't resist.


Update on the Little Man

Fever is gone! White patches inside of mouth (fungal infection) is going away.

We still are working on eating. We are starting with baby food. We suspect we are going to work on re-learning how to eat. He gags on anything bigger stage 2 babyfood.

Here are some pictures from surgery day. This is presurgery:





Post surgery - notice the nose tube they put in to keep his throat open.

This is what it look liked when it got pulled out. Bill pulled it out of the garbage to get a picture of it. Holy Tube! Look at the size of that thing!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Not doing well

Ricky is running a fever of 102.3 - started this afternoon.
It has come down but it is of concern. The dr's have switched his antibiotics. If his fever is not contained we have to go to the emergency room which is at Childrens Hospital (45 minutes away). I hope it doesn't come to this as I'm not sure what we will do with Emily.

Please think good thoughts. Fever is down to 100.8 and he just got more tylenol. Hopefully we can keep in check.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Home!

We got home this afternoon.
He started eating last night - chocolate pudding, chocolate ice cream and applesauce - very little drinking.
He had to get 3 IVs....ummm trying to juggle Ricky in my arms, I ripped out 2. One led to major blood fest - looked like a scene from CSI - blood pools on the floor, blood everywhere. My pants were covered in blood and when I stripped my skin was stained red.
Very little sleep was had by mommy as I had snoring boy sleeping next to me and snoring husband on the couch.
I'm constantly amazed by several things
1) how much he wants me. Wanting mommy is instinctual. Even with the bad times I have had with him, he knows mommy loves him. I have carried him everywhere, held him in many chairs, and rocked him to sleep.
2) how much I do love him. I have to remember this during our struggles.
3) how little kids seem to snap back. We are home and he is about 85% himself.
I had a big episode of crying as I had to remember that when he was in China, he had no one to rock him, to console him, to sleep with him when he had his lip repaired.
I'm home next week with him and he should be back to daycare by the week of Christmas.
Thank you all for holding my hand virtually in this. It definitely helps!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Surgery Tomorrow

We are packed for our 2 day adventure at the hospital. It is only suppose to be overnight but last time we were in for 2 1/2 days.

Surgery is at 8 am. Not sure how long it lasts - probably an hour or two.

I will try to post an update in the afternoon.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Want to win a Leapster 2?

Another adoptive mom is giving away a Leapster 2. Visit http://www.goodhappenings.com/

Friday, December 05, 2008

Good Thoughts Please!

Ricky is scheduled for surgery on Thursday, December 11th.
This is his second surgery for his palate since we had him.
He is getting new ear tubes (as one fell out).
He is also have his back of his palate stitched up - on his last surgery 2-3 stitches opened up in the way back. He needs this closed for speech.
Finally, they are putting in a p-flap in. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pharyngeal_flap_surgery

They are suppose to put a very very small one in. The one on wikipedia looks huge.

We are very nervous about breathing issues. But they can always remove it if necessary.

Please say some prayers! Mommy loves you very much Ricky!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Sharing a Post and a Confession

A friend has written this post. This definitely could be written by me.

Elizabeth you inspire me to write this because you have the courage to do so on your blog.

My confession...

You only want to write about how great the adoption and adjustment is going. Go to all the adoption blogs - rarely anyone talks about it - post adoption depression. All the blogs - they are happy posts, looks how great she/he is adjusting. Heck my blog is this way except for a few lapses where I post truely how I'm feeling.

But behind close doors there is more to the picture. Emily has seen me in ways that I wish I could take back. I have cried myself to sleep wondering what the heck is wrong with me. I asked for this. I wanted this. I chased this dream. I dragged my family across the world for this. I took a baby from his only home he knew.

Then I come home and struggle with my day to day life. I struggle with being a mom to a child that I barely know. I struggle to be a mom to my daughter who I gave birth to. I struggle to be wife to my terrific husband.

Work seems to be my only salvation, my only escape from what I have experienced.

There are days that I don't want to come home. There are days that I say I'm busy so I just don't get home within a reasonable time. There are days I wish I could travel for work so I don't have to be home.

This doesn't mean I don't love Ricky and I don't love our family. I cannot imagine our life without him. He is a joy most of the time. He does make you laugh and he just loves you for you. Watching him and Emily play makes it all worth what we did.

It is just hard and a daily struggle to have good days. I actually think I have had a good week. I'm trying to let go and just enjoy and not be so worried about the little things. I'm trying to make our home happy once again.

But do not think this is easy. It is hard work - at least for me it is.
Thank-you Elizebeth for giving me the courage to really say what is true and what is real.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Brother Sister Love!

When we first decided to add to our family I was worried about the age difference. There is over 6 years between Emmy and Ricky. They play with each other, love each other, and torment each other just like a brother and sister should do. In fact, when Ricky gets in trouble the first person he usually looks for comfort is his Sissy.

Emmy was an only child for so long, she never really played like a child. We are now seeing fun wild childhood play. As long as no one gets hurt, it makes all the transitional pain worth it.
Ricky idolized his Sissy and Emmy thinks Ricky is so great she often says - who need TV we have Ricky for entertainment.















Happy Turkey Day!

I think you can say Ricky enjoyed his first turkey experience!

Emily watching her brother. Just look at the love in her face for him.


Friday, November 21, 2008

10 months with Ricky!

Today marks month 10 with Ricky. Wow where did the time fly. Pretty soon we will be at our 1 year mark. I'm at work so I don't have any updated pictures I will try to post some this weekend.

What is Ricky up to?

Undressing is latest feat. He doesn't like shoes on. Or socks for that matter. They are the first to come off. Bad thing is at daycare he is taking them off 8 times a day. I have tried to tell them they need to punish him but he is their king so they let him do what he wants.

The other day, Bill made the mistake of putting him to bed with his socks on. Usually they get tossed and sometimes lost in the middle of the night. Well I woke him up and noticed only one sock on. I went on to look for the sock tearing about his bed and moving his crib. No sock. After much frustration I gave up. I went to change him into his clothes pulled of the sock to find out that he had the other sock underneath. The little stinker pulled his other sock off and put it on top of the other one.

He can also unzip his pj's. He doesn't like to sleep with blankets so with the colder weather we put him in zip feet pj's. Well the zip is no longer. I found him with it totally unzipped and him trying to get out it.

He is starting to play with his toys. Absolutely loves anything with wheels on it. He also loves books. He turns pages but has no patience for reading to him. I wish that would change.

Speaking wise - well the speech therapist thinks he is making progress. I'm not seeing it but he is trying to say more words. I guess that is progress. This is very slow. Emily didn't really talk till she was almost 2 so I'm not sure why I'm so anxious about it. With Ricky's cleft, I know this will be slow progress. I just hope and pray that as he grows older his speech develops normally so he won't be teased.

We are headed for surgery on Dec 11th - closing the back of the palate (3 stitches opened up in the way back from last surgery), p-flap surgery and new tubes in the ears. The p-flap is what I'm nervous about. First Ricky is young for this surgery. They basically create a flap at the back of his throat to reduce the amount of air going into his nose. Major concern for us is sleep apnea and Ricky has breathing issues when he gets sick.

That's it for now. Stay tune for updated pictures.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Looking at SN? Need Some Help Deciding?

One of the most daunting tasks when looking at special needs adoptions is deciding on the medical checklist - what to check, what not to check. What is a Yes, No or Maybe. There are not alot of resources at there - all in one spot so this can be time consuming.

Well a special group of ladies has composed the following website.

No Hands But Ours


What a great resource!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Where Have I Been???

Sick...

caught from the little devil himself. While down in Florida he had a sinus infection. Well it came back in full force - bronchitis and walking pneumonia last week. We spent over 7 hours in the ER. Not fun. Well all he wanted was his mommy so I spent the days holding him with him coughing in my face...

well....now I got it. He is better. I'm now ill. Dr says it is an upper respiratory infection. I'm having a hard time breathing and have had several asthma attacks. I'm not sure if the dr gave me the right stuff because I'm still not feeling that great.

Ricky's bronchitis episode may put him in jeopardy of not having his Dec surgery. He has to be clear for 6 weeks. We will be at 5 weeks so they are having us come in 2 days prior to surgery for a lung check.

I've got a lot more to say but I'm exhausted.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

More Photos from Vacation











Grandma, Emily and Ricky




Vacation Pictures

I say vacation. It wasn't a vacation for me. Traveling to someplace with a 2 year for 10 hours in a car is not a vacation. Dealing with the little tornado is not a vacation. Some people are made to be stay at home moms - god bless them. I don't know how they do it. I am very thankful for our wonderful daycare. They do a great job keeping Ricky busy.
Here are some photos...


.















Happy Halloween



Here are my two little pumpkins...




The Zombie Doctor and Spiderman



Ricky and Emily went trick or treating in a local development near us. Our development - our homes are too far apart for little legs to walk. Ricky did 4 houses. Then we stuck him in the car with a lollipop and he was happy as a clam. Emily did about 15 homes and came home with a bunch of candy.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Ricky's New Best Friend


In preparing for our 9-10 hour trip to Florida in a couple of weeks, I have been trying to get Ricky to watch TV. He doesn't watch anything for more than 2 minutes. We bought Emily and Ricky each a DVD player for the car. Emily had one but it was ancient.

Well Ricky loves the computer. Loves to watch videos on the computer as well. So last week, I put him on my lap and we watch Elmo videos that were on Sesame Street. He loves Elmo now.

He is now saying Mo Mo for Elmo.

Last night I was getting changed into pj's and he pointed at the computer and said Mo Mo. How cute is that? We watched some ABC Elmo video's together. He was very excited.

His speech is progressing. We can get some very soft P's and B's out of him. he would never say O vowel everything was ma ma. So Elmo has helped in saying Mo Mo. We do hear l's by themselves but not with words really.

He also tells us when he is ready for bed by saying Milk well what sounds like Milk. I understand him. He gets very very excited when we understand what he is trying to say.

He has also picked up a couple of new signs - Help, Please, Thank you, Car, Jacket, and Water

Finally I will have to get a picture of this but Emily always brings a book to read in the car. Well, Ricky who loves to imitate big sister, has started this. He actually carries it under his arm just like she does. Very very cute.

Things are going really well here. We are exhausted all the time but who isn't with an 8 year od and 2 year old.

I will have to do some Emily brags on my next post.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Emily in Action

Emily is #7 - only pictures of her back.




Some soccer photo's of Emily.


Ricky Photos

Looking Cool


Being the Rock Star with his cousin Meghan. He wants to the play Guitar Hero!

Picture taken on our 8 month anniversary with Ricky.


Pre-Halloween Photos



Thursday, September 25, 2008

Pencils Needed to Remember 1.5 Million Children

I usually do no openly solicit for things but I feel like this is an important cause. It is important that we as society do not forgot the Holocaust. The Holocaust happened because people did not respect people's religion, race, and ethnicity. We need to continue to teach our children that no matter what religion, race, or ethnic background you are, you are still a person.

On that note, I am soliciting for donations. Please continue to read below.

Did you know that 1.5 million children died in the Holocaust?

As part of our Temple's rememberence service, we have started a project to collect 1.5 million pencils. We have a hard time understanding the concept of a number that large. To show us how large a number that is, we would like to demonstrate it in collecting pencils.

Pencils for children who never had the chance to grow up and reach their fullest potential.

Please consider donating a box of new pencils.

I will be collecting them until Holocaust Remembrance Day which is April 21st, 2009.

Please email me at pencils4children@yahoo.com and I will send you my address to send the pencils to.

Monday, September 15, 2008

She Scores!

We spent the weekend afternoon's on the soccer field. Very difficult with an active two year old. He ate his way through the games.

Emily scored her very first academy team goal! Way to go Emmy Girl! Mommy and Daddy were very proud of her. She is learning so much this year.

Ricky was also very excited to see Sissy play on the field. Bill and Emily left the house at 2 pm on Sunday to go watch the A team play. Emily's B team didn't play till 4 pm. So Ricky and I left the house about 3:45 pm. When we got to the field and he saw Sissy on the playing field he immediately got all excited - pointing and yelling. He started to sign Sissy and pointing and clapping. He loves his Big Sister!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Birthday Pictures and an Update on the kids

Here are some photo's of Ricky's birthday party. It was just a small party with family. He definitely enjoyed his cake as you can see! By the time he was done he needed a bath and his high chair needed a scrubbing.






Emily is doing great. She is number 1 in her class for reading. She has already met her goal and the quarter isn't over yet. I cannot keep up with her and her reading. She is in 3rd grade reading at 6th grade level. This sometimes presents challenges because I have to make sure the books are appropriate for her. She was also voted on by her classmates to be YellowJacket of the Month. Basically students vote for the person who has a good attitude, helps others and does well in school. She is learning about rocks and minerals in science, and Indians in her Focus (advanced placement class). Finally, she has started her academy soccer. She had to try out for this and be accepted based on her skill level. She is probably one of the youngest on her team of under 10 year old girls. Right now there are two teams the A team and B team. Emily is on the B team - it is hard to go from superstar on the rec league to being just good on this team. Emily has to step up her level of skills in this new league. She is having fun and that is what counts. Her last practice we saw some new skills emerge - her coach even came up to her and told her this is what he needs to see out of her.

Ricky is doing good as well. Boy is he a handful. Bill and I are exhausted. He is 100 percent go from the moment he wakes up to the moment he goes to sleep. We cannot wait for 8 pm to come each day! He is trying to talk his words include

Sit, Hat, Hot, Eat, Socks, Book, Banana, Night Night, Bye bye and Hi. Of course he says these words his own way but I can understand what he means.

We went to the cleft team today. Ricky is headed back for surgery already. The surgeon is being aggressive with him because of his age. Ricky's soft palate (all the way in the back) has opened - we knew this. Plus too much air is getting out of his nose. So they are going to lengthen his palate. Not sure yet when this will be done but we are looking at December.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

One year ago...

we saw this face that changed our lives forever. Happy Referral Day!




Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Happy 2nd Birthday Ricky!


Today is Ricky's birthday. We brought in cupcakes for his daycare class to help in celebrate. Officially we will celebrate with the family on Sunday, Sept 7th. We are having a small family birthday party then.

I'm also remembering Ricky's birthmother in China today. I would love for her to know that he is safe, happy, and healthy. I have to think that she is thinking about him around this time of the month.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hat Fascination

Our first full day with Ricky in China - he was very fascinated with Bill's hat.

That hasn't changed. See video.

video

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

So Busy So Little Time

Things are going into full swing with the kids. Emily is almost done with her first month of school. Emily is a joy. I cannot believe how much she has grown up - now 8. Seems like yesterday she was my baby. She will always be my baby girl. She has definitely become a young lady. Don't tell her I said this but she like Joe Jonas from the Jonas Brothers. I bought her a teen idol magazine (I couldn't believe they still have Tiger Beat!) and she cut out all the pictures of Joe Jonas.

We are trying to juggle alot of things which in all is more difficult because we now have a second child. A good thing but still a struggle as we learn how to do everything and be everywhere as a family of 4.

There are alot of Ricky anniversaries coming up...

On September 2nd is Ricky's second birthday - his first with us. I think about all he has been through - all the changes and he has seemingly come out a happy and well adjusted child. Heavy in my heart is his birthparents. I cannot help but think they wonder about him. It maybe unspoken but I'm sure they will think about him on this day. I know that they wanted him to have a better life than what they could give him. I wish there was a way I could let them know he is happy and healthy. I have to say we knew going into this that a Chinese adoption would mean no contact with the birthparents but it hard not be able to fill in the missing pieces for Ricky.

On Sept 4th is the one year anniversary of seeing Ricky's picture for the first time. Since we went SN, we didn't get the typical referral picture moment. In the NSN line, you know when it is your turn. You can video tape the call, ask all the appropriate questions etc. With SN, we really didn't know when it would happen, if we would accept the referral - we were very nervous about the whole process. I remember getting a call from Bill saying CCAI called - he let it go to the answering machine at home. Then they tried to call me at work - again I missed the call. I ended up calling them back when I was at work. They told me a little boy needed a mommy. I remember saying a Mommy needs a little boy. They gave me info over the phone and then emailed me everything including pictures. I told myself I wasn't going to open the pictures. I wanted to read the medical first. But when I got the email, the pictures opened up automatically in the email. When I saw his face, I said to myself, he is our boy.

On Sept 7th we are having a small family gathering for Ricky's birthday. He is celebrating it with Grandpa Z as their birthdays are very close together. I hope this day is very special for him. We are also going to our first Asian mentoring playgroup at Emory. We want to expose Ricky to his culture and one of the ways we are doing is by joining a playgroup mentored by Chinese students at Emory College. How neat is that!

Of course I have update photos of the kids but I'm writing this at work so I cannot upload. I got to run - back to work!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Food

Most of us take the ability to get food for granted.

Unfortunately, Ricky still doesn't understand the concept that he will be fed.

When we got Ricky in China, he weighed a whopping 18 lbs with clothes on. He was almost 17 months old. We were told he weighed that almost 6 months earlier. In my heart, I truly believe they fed him what they could. But he was malnourished when we got him. His belly stuck out - it wasn't baby belly.

That said, the food obsession for Ricky started when we were in China. He ate like there was no tomorrow. I distinctly remember we were at a Pizza Hut in Chongqing and Ricky ate 2 slices of pizza, about 6 meatballs (thank-you Paige's family!), and still wanted more. I never saw a child eat like he did. I was worried so much I placed an email to our International Adoption Dr. for advice. She said just to feed him. If he didn't get sick, let him eat. So we did.

When we got home and took him to the pediatrician (we had him about 3 weeks), he weighed 20 lbs. He gained 2 lbs in our care. We are now up to 25 lbs. This puts us in the 5 - 10% Weight Chart.

He still eats like there is no tomorrow and will often eat like a chipmunk - store all the food in his mouth and continue to pile in until he cannot get more in. We have to encourage him to swallow and show us what is in his mouth before he takes another bite. He eats more than our 8 year daughter Emily. When we are out a restaurant, Ricky will eat the entire time and continue to eat. Towards the end of the meal, we start to put napkins over the food that is left or ask the waitress to remove because he becomes very upset that he still sees food on the table and doesn't get to eat it.

People ask me what Ricky likes to do - my number one answer - EAT.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

6 Months Post Adoption





We had our social worker over for our 6 month post adoption study. China requires a 6 month update and a 12 month update. Ricky was asleep when she arrived so it gave us time to catch up with the social worker. When he woke up he was hungry and ready to perform. Things went well so I guess we are set.


Some new things Ricky can do...


1) Lock Doors. Yes we are very excited about the prospect of being locked out of the house.


2) He can now take the tray off his high chair when he sits in it. I'm pretty sure the manufacturer did not design this to happen.


3) He can buckle his buckle on the high chair. We usually find out he has done this done when we are trying to put him in his high chair.


4) He can put his sandals on his feet. They are velcro and he closes them properly.


He also got his first real haircut on Saturday.