Sunday, April 13, 2014

Number 119

A few weeks ago the adoption stats came out on the .gov website. I've been looking over those numbers since we began our journey. There's information on each country, updates, and the most profound tidbit are the numbers.

Only 119 children were adopted to the US from India in 2013. Compared to 2306 from China and 993 from Ethiopia. International adoptions are down overall but in India the numbers keep dropping...

I truly believe orphans in India are forgotten ones - and that makes my heart sad. India is extremely difficult to adopt from but is it worth it? Are these children worth it?

Absolutely! Someone has to be willing to fight for them. To do the hard work.

Here is Mr #119, or at least I'm assuming he was the last one to slip in since we stepped foot on American soil December 24th. Adoption is hard. Indian adoptions are excruciatingly painful - the unknowns, the delays, the waiting, the every-city/region-has-different-procedures-that-change-every-time-you-blink-rule.....IT WAS ALL SO HARD. But HE so, so was worth it!

Someone has to be willing to fight the good fight, and step in and do the hard work. Is that someone you?

The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few (Matthew 9:37) I read this recently and thought of the harvest we reaped through adoption! The blessings we've received are too great to count! I can't imagine what we might have missed had we said No to adoption. I can't fathom missing out on this precious little boy but to also miss all the goodness God bestowed upon us during the hardest of times and the most joyful of times. Those are the blessings I'm thankful I will be able to count from now until eternity. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Three months home!

I didn't plan to wait a month between blog posts. March flew by and now it's April. How did that happen?

March was a pretty busy month. We took our first weekend road trip to Atlanta since Ryan came home. He isn't real happy in the car. In fact, we recently bought a larger car because 2 big kids + a toddler in a car seat = an unhappy experience for all five of us. Plus our trunk was full with just the things we needed for 2.5 days. Needless to say, Ryan was fussy a little on the way up there. He had a really bad fussy spell on the way back. Like I said, the car is his least favorite place to be. But what a great place to annoy your big sister, right?

We made it to Atlanta and hung out with cousins and spent the day at Georgia Aquarium and then Coca Cola museum the next day before we went home. I was anxious about how Ryan would do sleeping in a new home but he rolled right with it. He didn't nap much Saturday and we were on the go the entire day. He crashed in the pack-n-play both nights we were there and didn't wake at all. So maybe he's ready for a week long vacation that we are planning for November?

The rest of March was filled with lots of days spent together as I was soaking up the last few weeks before I return to work. Most of the day, Ryan is happy and joyful. I'm not sure how we got so lucky with this amazing little boy. Out of all the orphans, God chose ME to be his Mama. I'm his "my Mama" as he calls me when he pats his chest, proudly reminding everyone I'm HIS Mama. It's so very sweet. Those moments are the ones that make the other moments worth it all. Ryan does have his cranky times throughout the day. In usual toddler fashion, he gets super cranky when he's tired. Sometimes I can predict it, others I can't. Of course he has moments when he should be perfectly content and the only thing that makes him happy is for me to hold him. Of course I'd love to do this all day long but I can't. Because of this, there are lots of days when he can be found clinging to my legs, head between my legs as I attempt to cook, wash clothes, move from one room to another. Nap time is still difficult since he doesn't sleep the entire duration of rest time. I have to put him back to sleep a few times in the 1.5-2 hour time span. I am so grateful he sleeps well at night so I try not to complain about the lack of naps too much. Then there are times when he has to be touching me all day long. By touching, I mean holding my hand, pinching my arm, rubbing his hands on my legs/arms/belly/back. I must be within arms reach and let's not even talk about me leaving the room. He's super attached to me and that's exactly how it's supposed to be. 
Here's a great example of dinner time clinginess. I'm trying to cook and Ryan is in the Ergo carrier - happy cause he can touch me and see me, even if it is just the back of my head. :)

But who can resist these sweet, sweet smiles? I look down, see this and my heart is so very happy!

It seems that his language has plateaued. I'm watching it carefully and trying to offer more language rich experiences for him that include talking to him all day long - explaining what I'm doing, where we are going, why we are going there, what color the car is, the sounds it makes, etc, etc. His receptive language is excellent. He understands 98% of what we tell him which I think is pretty amazing! I'm sure if he spent more time with kids close to his age, he might be talking more than he is but that's not an option right now so we have to be creative. 

Ryan's Certificate of Citizenship arrived this month. That's the official document that proves he's now an American citizen! With this we were able to send off for his Alabama birth certificate which is the very last of the adoption paper work to complete! SO EXCITED TO BE DONE WITH PAPERWORK - in just under two years to be exact! 

Last weekend we spent the day at the beach. Ryan had a blast digging in the sand, walking on the beach, throwing the beach ball into the waves which resulted in two very nice gentlemen that kindly retrieved it for us.
My crazy little people. I adore them so so much. 

 I do believe we have a little beach babe on our hands. 

I have been praying about how God can use this adoption experience for his glory. The entire story is HIS story, not ours. God did this through his provision, his guidance, and his faithfulness. I feel compelled to advocate for all orphans, specifically those from India since that's where my heart is. In all of this, I feel God is calling me back to India. I'm not sure where exactly how or where but I do know when - 2015. At the moment I'm praying about joining or leading a mission trip to work with  children in orphanages and children's homes. I've requested information from a few organizations that do this type of work and I'm waiting for a response. I'm sharing this because I KNOW someone reading this may want to do mission work with God's children in India, too. So pray with me about this, ok? :) Let's see where this road leads us....

Three months home! Thank you Lord for this sweet blessing. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Two months home

It's hard to believe that two months and one day ago we landed in Alabama and were reunited with our big kids. Our family was WHOLE and we were all TOGETHER after years of waiting to adopt, and paper work, and nearly a year waiting just for Ryan.

We are home and life is ebbing and flowing as it should. Ryan is JOYFUL nearly every minute of the day. The littlest things make him so happy - helicopters flying by our house, the dogs barking, riding in the car with the windows down, going for walks in the stroller, seeing Papa, big brother and sister walk in the door after a long day. He is just a happy kid and we are blessed. He's still a toddler - so we have moments when he whines because he's tired, hungry or wants to be held but it's not anything the average toddler wouldn't do who struggles with communicating his needs and wants. He's thrown a few tantrums here and there and that's a great sign. It shows he's comfortable being his true self with us and while they're challenging at times, thankfully they aren't too common and it's easy to distract him unless we are in the car. Yeah, the car tantrums are the worst...

But the fruit of the spirit is JOY 
Galatians 5:22

Thursday, February 20, 2014


Today he turns two. Last year - read here - we had just been matched and we couldn't send a gift or anything since we hadn't received or signed official papers yet. And this year we are praising God HE'S HOME!

I've been praying for his birth mother a lot lately. She had a very hard life and I'm not even sure how sick she is or even if she is still alive.  I know she must be thinking of him today.  How I wish she could see how much he is LOVED, how he is thriving, and learning and growing! He's gained 3.3 pounds since we've been home, he can say 18-20 words, and I am guessing he understands about 90% of what we say to him. I know she would be so proud of how brave he's been with all the changes that have been thrown at him in the last two months. I am so proud of how brave SHE was to choose life for our son when her own life has been so turbulent. She was brave enough to hand over her 3 day old baby, not knowing what would become of him or if he would be struck with the same illness that will take her life.

We are so very thankful for her.

Happy birthday to our sweet little chocolate muffin!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Car seat dancing

Ryan does a lot of this. He LOVES music! I have a few Indian music stations on iTunes radio that he enjoys. We listen to kids music, Christian music, whatever floats our boat. Some days Daddy will play 80's hair band or mariachi music at bath time. Last week Katie took this video of Ryan getting his groove on in the car seat to Peter Furler. He brings us such JOY every single day!

Thank you Lord for sending Ryan to us! <3

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Halloooo? Halloooo!

That's what Ryan says when he needs to get our attention. When he wakes up, he stands in his crib and says, Hallo? Hallo! HALLOOO! Until we get him out of the crib. If he wants to show us something, Hallo hallo halloooo! If someone is outside and he seems them at the window, Halloooo!!! It is really so very cute. I know one day he won't do it any longer so I'm enjoying it for the moment.

This video is from his first or second week home

Yesterday I took some photos of this handsome boy in his traditional Indian outfit. While we were in Pondicherry, we bought this one for his 2nd birthday and another one for next year.

Thank you, Lord, for this sweet blessing. We waited 11 years and he was so worth the wait. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

One month home

Last week Ryan had an appointment with an ENT. I wasn't worried about his ears but his adenoids since he lightly snores and sounds hoarse all the time. The appointment was at nap time. Not good considering I've been working fervently on getting him on a strict napping schedule so he feels more secure at home. We were there almost two hours and by the time the doctor came in to see Ryan, he had been asleep for about 15 minutes. He woke understandably upset to a man all in his face. The dr was very nice but that didn't help. He checked both ears and found he had an ear infection. I was surprised because I hadn't seen any signs other than waking often which could have been attributed to a dozen other things. I then recalled that often times adopted children don't show signs of pain because their hurts and falls have been dismissed at the orphanage. I'm not sure if this was the case but I did notice many times kids at the orphanage would fall HARD and not even cry. They were picked up and brushed off instead of being hugged and loved on. So possibly Ryan had this infection for a long time and didn't show signs of pain. The dr then checked his nose and noticed the drainage we've seen. Nothing green or major just a runny nose. I was disappointed he didn't check his throat but Ryan was screaming and it was traumatic for all three of us. We go back for a follow up next week and I will ask that he check the adenoid/throat area again.

This week we went to the International Adoption Clinic in Birmingham. What a God-send for adoptive parents! International adoption is complex and having a team of doctors and therapists who have adopted internationally or have been adopted themselves brought me such peace knowing there are specialists that  REALLY understand us. We met with the therapist for nearly an hour. She asked dozens of questions about how he's adjusting, adapting, bonding, attaching, prior life at the orphanage, etc. We were so thankful that most of our responses were positive. Ryan is obviously adjusting and adapting well to us but to know the therapist also noticed it was very comforting. She was very pleased with his interaction with us and our responses. She said a big part of the reason he's doing so well is because of the care he received at the orphanage. (insert my huge tears of relief here..seriously I cried and cried)  He was loved and cared for and it shows in his interactions with his family. He is very affectionate with us, gives us hugs and kisses all day and is so thrilled to see Papa, Katie and Braden when they come home that he squeals with JOY. He LOVES his family! He isn't showing indiscriminate affection with strangers which is a wonderful sign. In fact he's scared of strangers and clings to me if someone even tries to hold him. I know everyone is anxious to love on our boy but it's still too soon so for now give him a high five if you see him or knock some knuckles. :) He will be ready to give and receive hugs soon and we'll let you know when it's ok. She did recommend it was fine for me to start leaving for 30min every once in awhile. I can tell him goodbye, leave and show him that Mama comes back. I had been afraid to do that yet  so it's good to know the right way to do it. We met with the dr after the therapist completed our session. Dr Chambers checked him out from head to toe and found one ear impacted with wax. We've got some drops for that. She pointed out two TB inoculations on both arms that we hadn't even noticed. She said his foot that he kicks out may resolve itself but if it not, we will see a PT in six months. He gained TWO POUNDS in one month which is awesome! He's showing growth in height and weight since we first shared his file with IAC a year ago when we were matched. All positive signs! The dreaded blood work came at the end of our appointment. They drew antibody titers to see what immunizations he's received, they also checked for Hepatitis, lead, and a few other things. The first draw was traumatic and Mama could not take it once Ryan moved and they lost the vein. I sent Daddy for the other vials which resulted in a total of NINE. That poor baby was screaming in a way I've never heard before (THANKFULLY!). I also have to do a sweet little stool collection over the week to check for parasites. We will get all results when we go back next month plus a developmental session with the therapist. 
Playing at IAC. It was a long day and we found a ball and played in the hallway. I happened to catch one of many wipe outs in the hallway. Crazy kid!

After the blood work. Those tears came off and on all the way home. Did I mention it was a three hour drive back to the house? Very long day! 

Here are some happier pictures of everyday life with our little chocolate muffin. 

Ryan's first trip to the grocery store. He sat IN the cart which was a huge since he's usually in the Ergo, or being carried if we shop. He said, "Mmmmmmmmm Mmmmmmm" down every aisle. He loved holding all the groceries. He even insisted on helping me bring the groceries inside. He loves to carry things on his arms so I put a bag on his arm and he toddled on in the house. 

Nap time snuggles help with the crankies. 

He officially LOVES bath time now! It's Daddy time which he enjoys since Daddy is gone to work all day. The first few weeks bath time was torture but he's LOVING it now which is great cause we're clean people around here :) 

He is understanding so much English. He learns something new every day. It's amazing to watch! He goes to his room to get his diaper without being asked now. If he's poopy, he will go and get the diaper and wipes. This morning his wipes weren't in his room and he was confused. He was looking for them and called out, Hallllooo!?!? (people what did you DO with my wipes?)  He then puts the wipes away on his dresser when he's done. He does the same with his shoes - gets them and puts them away. He understands the nap/bed time routine. Lights off, white noise on, door shut, he grabs the elephant lovey and blanket, then we rock. He will dump all the duplo blocks out of the bag and when we tell him to clean up, he cleans them all up. He finds satisfaction in cleaning, whether it's cleaning up his toys, helping me clean the french doors with Windex, taking a towel and wiping down walls or floors. I know these are things he's seen the ladies do in the orphanage and they taught the kids to clean, too, I'm sure. A few days ago we had let all three dogs outside. Two came back in but one didn't. She started scratching and Ryan ran to me, gave me a pat and showed me Nugget wanted to come inside. He's loving the dogs now which is a huge relief. He was so scared of them the first time he saw them. He now gives them hugs and kisses and obviously looks out for their well being, wanting them to come inside from the cold :)

A few of his new words he can say:
PupPup (puppy/dog)
Gabbbblablab (or something like that for Yo Gabba Gabba)
Cocoa (he loves chocolate)

He can name the following body parts by pointing to them: teeth, nose, eyes, belly button, and he's almost got ears down, too.

Nap time is still a struggle. He wakes every 20-30 minutes and I rock him back to sleep. He will wake again and we repeat. This means Mama is not productive but we will work on it. I'm hoping by next month we can start putting him in the crib and sitting by him until he falls asleep. Bed time is much better. He usually only wakes 1-2 times now if at all. Praise God for that! Daddy gets up with him when he wakes around 5-6am so I can get a few more winks. 

We are slowly settling into a new normal life with our precious toddler boy, after one month home. 

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