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Monday, June 21, 2010

Adoption, club feet, & the current status

I've gotten a couple questions re Jujube and his progress.

I'll start by saying when you adopt a child, and especially through international adoption, you go in with the mind set that anything's possible, both good and bad.  And with that mindset, {hopefully} comes a surrender that you love your child unconditionally regardless of the unforeseen challenges.  There's a prevelant saying in international adoption, that you plan for the worst and pray for the best.  And this is especially true when you adopt special need's children.  All that being said, Jujube's special need, bilateral foot deformities as it was first called on his referral, (or as we later confirmed when we got home, club feet) was a complete best case scenario.  We got what we prayed for.  Thanks God!

Wow... those tootsies look really dry.  Where did I put that lotion?

  • 5 months Jujube had his first set of leg casts in VietNam
  • 6 months he had his first surgery to correct foot deformities
  • 10-12 months orphanage did not care for his feet properly (by not having him wear his brace.  They believed the brace caused him a fever and illness) and his feet reverted back to their original clubfoot positions
  • 12 months Jujube came to our arms, forever ours.
  • 13 months he began a second set of casting here in US
  • 15 months a second surgery to release his Achilles tendon
  • 16 months casting finished and started physical therapy, wear DB bar 23 1/2 hours a day
  • 18 months walking, reduce DB bar to 12 hours a day
  • 26 months graduated physical therapy
  • 29 months started physical therapy again due to "wobbily balance"
  • 30 months therapist determined wobbily balance due to sensory issues.  Stops physical therapy and starts occupational therapy
  • 34 months currently

As kiddos with club feet age and start to walk, their bones and tendons stiffen, making it more difficult to correct the deformity.  This is why optimally babes with club feet start treatment very young at just a few months old.  When we got our sweet boy at 13 months, Jujube was starting to walk on his club feet, (it looked awkward and dangerous at best, even painful) and his tendons and bones had started to harden.  We saw his pediatric orthopedist within 2 days of coming home and he started treatment immediately.  Thankfully his feet were still "loose" and responded easily to casting.  His feet remain "loose" and pliable, and although he's "wobbily" and prone to head injury, (thus his many goose eggs) his special need has been easy for us.

Jude still wears his foot brace, otherwise known as a Dennis Brown/DB bar, 12 hours a day, while he sleeps at night.  He'll continue to wear it for at least another 2-3 years till he is at least 5 years old.  The biggest side affects of the brace are constant snagging and holes on blankets and furniture.  And Jujube just sits in his bed each morning loudly hollering "mama" until someone comes get him, since walking is near impossible with his brace on.  He may also require a 3rd surgery around age 4 to again release his Achilles tendon, (it can tighten over the years) which will likely be minor and outpatient.  

This best case scenario is not what we planned for.  It is what we hoped and prayed for.  In fact it's gone so well, that if we were to ever adopt again, this would be a special need we would gladly accept. 

Another significant update for y'all, both Tess and Jujube qualified for Early Intervention preschool starting this August.  To be honest, I'm not sure how Jujube qualified, but he did, and I wasn't going to ask any questions.  I'm not sure he needs these services, but it certainly is to his advantage to have them.  Plus I really don't want one of the babes going to preschool without the other.  They will attend the same school 4 days a week at the same time but in different classes.  Jujube will be just 3 and Tess will still be a couple weeks shy of her 3rd birthday when they start.  I've never had any of my children start school this young, but on their 3rd birthdays, all their services/therapies stop.  Speech, occupational, and behavioral therapies all cease.  So starting Early Intervention preschool is the only way to retain their services, ie occupational and speech therapy.    And if emotionally it weren't enough to part with my babes, Tess and Jujube will be riding the school bus!  The school bus, complete with car seats will pull up directly in front of our home and pick them up/drop them off.  Someone be ready to catch me!  I might just hit the earth!


  1. Jude is perfect, from his head to his toes. He is one beautiful little boy! You are blessed. Your family is a perfect example of "God helping those who help themselves." :)

  2. GREAT post! Wow, you've done a wonderful job summing up bilateral clubfoot as a special need :)
    Your little guy is positively adorable too!! Lovely pictures!
    So glad you left a comment and delurked, it's wonderful to 'meet' you :)

  3. Beautiful pictures!! So happy to meet your wonderful family!

  4. I know you wrote this post a while back, but I just now happened upon it as I'm continuing my research. We just received preliminary approval to adopt a toddler girl with bilateral club feet from China. It was wonderful to read about your experiences! Hope Jude is still doing well!

  5. I'm glad I found your blog. If we go sn to China this is one of the conditions we'd consider.

  6. your son is adorable! we just got PA on a little 3 year old boy from china with club foot. so we are busy researching what we can. so glad I found your blog!



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