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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Surgery done, YEA!

Just an update to those of you cyber-buddies asking how it's going.

Our Jude had his surgery on Tuesday. I'm both thankful that it happened and sickened that the US gov't allowed this sweet boy of mine to languish in the orphanage additional unnecessary months that made this extra surgery necessary. Just to clarify, Jude had already had this exact same surgery when he was 4-5 months old. He had all the casts and the orphanage, being uneducated, took the very necessary braces off his feet. When we got Jude, his feet had reverted back to their original position making it necessary to start the whole process over. Yes, I know it was the orphanage that took the braces off, but I still find the USCIS staff in HCMC at fault.  They are educated, knew he was a special needs baby and knew it was important not to waste a moment of time. Yet in the extra months they waited to approve his case, they did not investigate a thing.  His case sat untouched on someone's desk all the while. (getting off my soap box now)

So surgery went well, and we were home by 2:00pm. 2 more weeks with the casts then we move to the braces. Rest assured we will NOT take the braces off this time. He still continues to amaze me with how little the casts slow him down. He crawls all over the place and pulls himself up and scoot around the furniture and is usually covered in bruises from how often he topples over. Yet he keeps on moving. One of my favorite recent comments was at the grocery store. A lady came up very concerned and inquired, "How did that poor baby break BOTH his legs?" Folks have SO many questions when they see us coming! It's hard for them to know which questions to ask first!

Tess continues to learn to eat. She now eats about 3-4 oz of pureed baby food a day. More importantly, she is learning to put in her mouth and that food is not the enemy. I think just sitting in a high chair next to Jude watching him eat, helps her see what to do. She still gets stressed out however, and buries herself in the back of the high chair trying to escape the pressure of it all. (Gotta love her meal in this pic of peanut butter, Fruit Loops, pretzels and Cheetos! Don't ask! It's all in the name of therapy!) We have a pediatric appointment next week too. I'm anxious to see if she has gained more weight.

Tess has also mastered pulling herself up on furniture. Every where she goes, she seems to be looking for a way to get up higher to look around. Several times I have found her IN the toy basket so she is learning to climb too.
More later. I'm impressed with myself if I stay bathed these days. Kinda embarrassing, but I will admit that I FINALLY got the suitcases unpacked. I'm sure that's some sort of record for the longest it took anyone to unpack from a trip. Oh well. At least it is done!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fall is in the air

The pic of all the kiddos in the back seats isn't a very good one, but I could resist passing it on. You can see them all except Tess who still needs her seat rear-facing for a few more pounds yet. Throw in a few "she's looking at meeeee." and a some dirty looks and thrown elbows and you'll have a pretty accurate idea of what or what a 3 hour ride to the AZ mountains is like with 6 kiddos in the car. Actually, they were all great, help each other out, and is was a delightful 3 hours. We are such lucky parents.

Fall was in full swing at the cabin. Gotta love Arizona mountains in the fall. Had to include these pics for those of you who think AZ is all cactus and Gila Monsters. We wrapped the babies up in blankets and hats and took lots of walks in the brisk weather. It was lovely.

Jujube will have surgery next week to help correct his feet. Should be a minor out-patient surgery to "release" his Achilles tendons, but it is surgery never the less with all the risks involved. I'll let you know how it goes. His casts have both his knees and his ankles at 90 degree angles, yet this baby still pulls himself up and manages to shakily cruise along on the furniture, falling every 3 steps or so. He certainly is persistent and I am sure will be off and running as soon as he has the opportunity to do so.

Tess is still learning how to eat. Today I got a lollipop in her mouth. Rather, she got it in there. Any efforts on our behalf to get food in her mouth are met with HUGE resistance. She attends weekly feeding therapy sessions. Rather than a food aversion, the feeding doc calls it a food refusal and says her actions are very characteristic for a baby that has been force fed. Poor baby... the orphanage was probably worried about her not gaining weight and pushed much harder than they should have. If you think about it, there is so little a baby has control over, but food is one of the things she could/can control. We will give her all the food she needs and wants on her own time frame.

One of my favorite comments lately-

Random 60-something couple "Are they your babies?"
me-"yes"
R60SC-"Are they twins?"
me-"no"
R60SC-whose wheels are quickly turning at this point-"Where are they from?"
me-"Saigon"
R60SC-"Oh WOW! Well they be GREAT piano players. ALL the Asians are!"

Well at least it was a nice prejudicial comment!







Thursday, October 9, 2008

Tess

was 15 lbs....... now 16 lbs and counting




was 5 teeth......now 6 teeth and has learned how to bite



was drinking 6 oz 4 X a day and no solids...... now drinking 5 oz 4 X a day and 2 oz of purred baby food a day. It's a start.



was wearing 3-6 months clothing and size 2 diapers...... still wearing the same sizes




loves to wake up in the morning, swing, go in the swimming pool, crawl on top of her brother and pin him down, pull herself up, and her blankie







Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Trying to catch up...

Where to start after so so so long...

Jet lag was a KILLER! It would have been ok if we didn't need to wake up with the babies, but we did and it took a good 2 weeks to recover. I lost 15 lbs in just those 2 weeks from no appetite and loss of sleep. Good thing I've regained them by all by now, hahaha!

Jujube has completely started the process over to get his club feet repaired. Sad thing is that this has already ALL been done once before in VietNam when he was a wee baby, but like a retainer is to orthodontics, feet braces MUST be kept on or the feet will return to their original deformed position. The orphange did not keep his braces on and the feet reverted right back to how they were when he was born. So new casts are now being put on once per week, and another surgery is scheduled for 2 weeks. Poor boy. Without the casts and for the first time in his life, he was able to explore and was cruising around on the furniture and taking a few steps, all on rolled ankles. Then the casts went back on, and he spent 3 full days, day and night, being the angriest baby I have ever seen when the casts were first put on again. Then he finally figured out how to maneuver around somewhat, kinda a belly crawl, and became happier. 3 additional months of waiting in an orphanage courtesy of the US gov't.

Tess is doing a lot of catch up too. When we got her the day after her 1st birthday, she was 15 lbs, couldn't sit or bare any weight on her tiny legs. She has some sort of food aversion and won't anything but formula. We're working on it and now she will eat about 2 oz of pureed food a day. It's a start. She is doing well and making tiny improvements everyday. She has a long road in front of her and we will do this all together as a family and give her all the lovin' and calories in her that we can. So far she has gained almost 2 lbs and can sit, crawl, pull herself up, and still has a smile that lights up a room. She is a beauty although not traditional Vietnamese looking.

We have about 3-4 doc appointments a week and it has made it impossible to get the babies on a day time nap schedule. Last week there were 7 of them!!!! Hopefully now that things are finally settling down a little, I can get them to nap at the same time. Maybe that's wishful thinking.


Thank your thank you thank you to all those that have reached out to help us. I can NOT even start to share how much you have all meant to us. I'd like to claim otherwise, but half my luggage is still sitting in my closet still packed. Oh well. There are more important things. This road is difficult, but with faith and each other, we feel invincible... and very tired.
I'll try to post once a month for at least a while.

Hey Jude

And anytime you feel the pain, hey Jude, refrain,

Don't carry the world upon your shoulders.

For well you know that it's a fool who plays it cool

By making his world a little colder.







































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