Wednesday, April 23, 2014

So True!

I had a really good laugh at this blog post today! It is so very true! I have been asked every single one of these questions already! I don't think people mean to be rude or insensitive. I really don't. I just think they don't know how offensive their questions can sound! Watch this video and take a mental note: if you wouldn't say it to someone that got a boob job, don't say it to an adoptive family!

Sunday, April 20, 2014


This past week has been an exciting one! My cousin got married in Arizona, so I flew out with the kids to be there! Quin couldn't take any more time off work, so luckily my mom flew with me on the way there and stayed with me in the hotel. Milo is still on oxygen while he sleeps, so our home health company had a sister company deliver an oxygen machine to the hotel. So convenient!

We had a great time in Arizona being with family. Milo was able to meet all of my mom's side of the family! He also went swimming for the first time and soaked up some Arizona sunshine!
Milo loved splashing in the pool!

Big sister thought Milo made a cute princess! She dressed him up all by herself!
Milo was mesmerized by the cooling mist at my uncle's house!
Milo's uncle was a help to me at the wedding! He and Milo bonded for sure. This is the first time someone other than Milo's parents, siblings, or grandparents has held him. He did great and seemed to recognize me when I took him back!

I HAD to take this picture of Milo against the beautiful blue sky. The Chinese people long to see sky like this, as it is extremely polluted in China and blue skies are rare!

Milo with his siblings, first, second, and third cousins on my mom's side of the family!
The hardest part of the trip was sleeping. The first night Milo woke up seven times. I had no backup and had to get up with him every single time. It was SO, SO exhausting!!! I don't know how single parents do it! 

The flight home was nerve wracking! I was one adult with four kids. We weren't even all sitting by each other at first! Luckily the flight attendant took mercy on me and moved me and my two littles to a row by my older kids. The flight ended up being a breeze! The hardest part was definitely getting through security!

Milo has, thankfully, made his way back to us mentally. The change was gradual at first, then suddenly on Monday I met a side of this boy I've never seen before!! He made eye contact with me all day long!! He smiled at me all day long!! He laughed with I tickled him!! He would follow me around the room with his eyes!! He turned his head several times when I called his name!! I could not believe it! I was in heaven all day! I couldn't get too many great pictures, even though he smiled all day. As soon as I'd put the camera up, he'd lose focus. He loved it when I was in his face making eye contact. I tried to take it all in to keep in my memory forever. It was one of the greatest, most rewarding and satisfying days I've ever had! Here are a few of the shots I did get:

We haven't had a day quite like that since, but he's still super duper smiley and darling. His eye contact definitely gets better as time goes on. He is just loving life!! In fact, my kids have nicknamed him "Smilo" and call him that whenever he's in a smiley mood. I love it! None of us can get enough of this guy! He's such a love!

One of my favorite things I've discovered about Milo recently is his love for music. He starts bobbing to the beat when it's a fast song, and a great way to calm him when he's having a night terror is singing gently to him. I love this so much!

I have a couple of random topics that have been floating in my head, and I want to blog about one of them today. First of all, every single person that meets Milo comments on how much he loves his hands and how they've never met a baby that was as fascinated by his own hands as Milo is. The comment itself is harmless. It's true, in fact. He really and truly is in love with his hands! (I am, too! They are the cutest, bittiest, stubbiest hands I've ever seen! I kiss them all day long!) Looking at his hands is, what I consider anyway, a very endearing trait Milo has right now. Hopefully he'll eventually grow out of it, but for now it's sweet! Every picture we have of Milo in the orphanage he's looking at his hands. Since he couldn't sit up, Milo was doomed to be laying down in his crib alone all day. All the other kids could get out of their cribs and sit by the toys or crawl around. If you can't sit, though, you're left in your crib. Milo's hands and all the funny noises he makes with his mouth and nose were the only stimulation he had!! They saved his sanity, and I'm so, so grateful for those beautiful hands! They are definitely still a comfort item for him! He holds his hands up often in the day, and even in his sleep! Even though the comment itself is benign, it's sort of starting to drive me crazy because of the sheer volume of times I've heard it and feel like I had to explain! I have started just saying, "Yup!" I get very exhausted trying to explain it to everyone we meet. This is why I'm addressing it on the blog! If I haven't met you in real life but do sometime, now you know why he's enthralled by his hands so you won't have to ask ;)

I called Early Intervention this week, and I can't wait to start! I'm hopeful they'll help us help Milo come out of his shell even more! He turned 17 months old this week, and I'm anxious to help him get sitting and eating purees better as well! Milo also has a follow up visit with the ENT, his 18 month check with the pediatrician, an ophthalmologist appointment, and the much anticipated visit with the pulmonologist all scheduled for the next little bit! It's a busy time, but we're hoping to get this little guy on the right track!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Renewed Hope

On this Easter weekend, my hope has been renewed for Dasha girl. The first child with Down syndrome who had met an American family before the ban was just adopted by a Russian family!!! I am so overjoyed for this beautiful girl! You can read about her story on my friend's blog by clicking here.

Just a few days ago, my heart was broken all over again as Dasha's picture was updated on the Russian database for only the second time since the ban. It has been over 15 months since I've seen a picture of her, and I was shocked while performing my routine of checking the database and a new, beautiful picture popped up! I cried all that day and my heart felt heavy. To hear news that another has been adopted gives me such joy! Our efforts are beginning again to find her a Russian family. We have help from a few loving, wonderful Russians who are going to translate for us and promote her adoption on Russian adoption forums. Please pray that the family intended for this beautiful, perfect child finds her quickly! With her third birthday fast approaching, we only have a year until the dreaded transfer. I wish with everything in me for her to be in the loving arms of a forever family before then!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Big Week

Our week can be divided into two parts: pre surgery and post surgery. Pre surgery was much more fun! We had a blast with the kids out of school for spring break! We hit Chuck E Cheese, had play dates with friends, went to see the baby animals at This is the Place park, and had lots of sibling play time!! Milo was really coming out of his shell! He was smiling like CRAZY! He'd look me right in the eyes and give me a big smile. Seriously, it's the best feeling in the world!! He started giggling when his daddy would tickle him, he was eating his baby food really well, he was babbling, and we were having such fun!


The second half of our week was, well, not nearly as much fun. We found out on Wednesday afternoon that the cardiologist and ENT could both do Milo's surgery on Friday. So Friday morning we went in for surgery to have tubes put in his ears and his adenoids out. They were also doubling up and having his echo cardiogram done at the same time. We couldn't feed him Friday morning, which was torture for all of us! I'm the one that feeds him 95% of the time, so I couldn't hold him or he'd scream. He tolerated Quin playing with him, and soon enough he went back with the anesthesiologist. We are extremely lucky to live 10 minutes away from an excellent children's hospital! We felt very calm that Milo was in good hands and went to wait in the waiting room. After about 45 minutes, the ENT came out to tell us that he was done with his part. He said everything went well. Milo'd adenoids were huge and it should be a relief for him to have them out. He also said there was tons of fluid in both ears as well as lots of wax. He was confident that the tubes will help Milo as well! The only complication was when the anesthesiologist was trying to put the breathing tube in. He said he tried the size that is generally used for kids Milo's height and weight, but it was too large. I guess they tried two or three times with different sizes before they could get the tube in. As a consequence, they scoped his airway to make sure there were no blockages. His airway looks good, thankfully, but is extremely small. The only solution, we were told, is to wait for Milo to get bigger.
The cutest little guy in a hospital gown you'll ever see!
After another little wait while his echo cardiogram was performed, we were paged to come back to the recovery area. Milo was not a happy camper. He was crying inconsolably and his oxygen levels were low. We rocked and patted and sang until he FINALLY fell asleep. One of us would hold Milo, and the other had to chase his face around with an oxygen mask. He wouldn't keep it on, so we have to just blow it by his face. After Milo had finally calmed down, the nurse could see just how labored Milo's breathing was. The recovery nurse let us know after about an hour that we wouldn't be going home any time soon. She was quite concerned with his breathing and called the anesthesiologist. He ordered an Albuterol breathing treatment, which we started immediately. It worked only moderately well. It calmed his breathing slightly, but it was still very labored. They transferred us to a different recovery area where we had our own little room. We were doing our best to keep Milo sleeping and comfortable. When he would wake, he would scream inconsolably again and his oxygen levels would plummet. He was given an Epinephrine breathing treatment, which also only worked moderately well. We continued to rock Milo and blow oxygen in his face. As the day went on, his O2 levels only got worse. He was only maintaining about an 85% level with tons of oxygen blowing in his face. Nobody could figure out exactly what was going on, but it was suspected his airway was irritated by the breathing tubes being put in several times. He was given a steroid in his IV to try to combat the airway swelling, and the ENT called in a pulmonologist, who came right up to see Milo. The pulmonologist came in and was quite alarmed. He was extremely concerned with how labored Milo's breathing was and how low is oxygen levels were. After a few minutes of observation, Milo immediately and drastically turned around. He woke up and smiled and, for the first time since he was taken back for surgery, wasn't crying! His breathing slowed and his oxygen levels shot up to 97%. It was so immediate we were all shocked! The pulmonologist said we will still have a long road ahead of us in treating Milo, because he has some serious breathing issues. In the mean time, though, he was out of immediate danger! We were all relieved! Plans were made to transfer us to the intensive care unit for overnight observation.
I love Milo's growing Buddha tummy!
A few hours went by, and Milo continued to do well. A different anesthesiologist came to check on him and said he was looking much better! He took the oxygen away and Milo was able to maintain mid 80's all on his own! He said he didn't think Milo needed to go to intensive care, but could instead stay in the recovery room where we would still have constant supervision. We were happy about this decision!
It was a long, long night. Milo's oxygen needed close monitoring, plus he received a steroid dose every 6 hours, had his vitals checked every 3 hours, and received Tylenol or Ibuprofen every three hours. He was absolutely exhausted, but could never fall into a deep sleep. Finally in the morning, we checked his oxygen again. He was fine on room air while he was awake, but he needed a little boost while he slept. We were eventually sent home, and home health brought some oxygen and a monitor. So far he's perfect while awake, but we turn it on during naps and bedtime. His oxygen dips into the high to mid 80's while asleep. Another complicating factor is that Milo now has an awful cold. He has mucus dripping from his nose and down his throat. This does NOT help the breathing issue! Thankfully the first night home (Saturday night) he slept amazingly well. We were all zombies after no sleep the night before and I'm not sure I could have made it through if he'd have had a rough night! Last night was a different story, unfortunately. Lots of sleep crying. He was hard to calm down, and we're all exhausted again. Such is the life of a family with a baby! I think he's feeling okay from surgery, but the cold isn't treating him very well. Poor guy! We're really hoping he gets better quickly!

We haven't heard from cardiology yet. Apparently the report has not been written up. I'm assuming everything's okay, though, or else I'm sure they wouldn't have let us go home!

Since surgery and being sick, Milo has gone back into his little shell. You can tell he doesn't feel well, and he deals with it by shutting down. He's fascinated by his hands again and makes little eye contact. We haven't seen a smile, save the one he gave us when the steroid first worked. I hate watching him disappear! I'm praying like crazy that the cold will get better and he'll come out of hiding again! I miss him!! This whole hospital ordeal has made me extremely sad to think of all he has gone through all on his own. Who would rock him in the night when he cried? Who held him when he woke from heart surgery? Who has wiped his little face as his nose drips? It breaks my heart! We're doing all we can to prove to this sweet little guy that we're here for him and we're not going away! Hopefully someday his mind will come out of its cocoon and stay with us, sick or not!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Settling In

This week has been so great in so many ways. We are getting to know Milo more and more each day, and he is beginning to trust us more and more each day. He has started to really cry when he is tired, hungry, or has a messy diaper. He engages a little more with each interaction. He is SO much more aware of what's going on around him than he was when we first got him. He really enjoys playing with toys now! He is snuggly as can be and has started to babble a ton! My very favorite thing he does is pat me on the arm while I'm rocking him and patting his back. Sweetest! He's doing a little better at night, too. He still cries out (in grief, I believe) every few nights, but the episodes are getting further apart. He still wakes up at around 5:00 to eat, then goes back to bed. He's such an angel!

This week has been the week of appointments. Milo's first appointment was a haircut! He looks so dang cute! Sometimes this boy rocks the photo shoot. His facial expressions kill me! I don't know how we got so lucky to get the cutest boy in the entire world as our son, but we sure did! 

The next appointment was with the cardiologist. Milo was supposed to have a sedated echo cardiogram, but they felt his breathing was too labored and raspy to safely do one. They did an EKG and chest ex rays as well as reviewed his file from China. The cardiologist was pleasantly surprised at his heart surgery! He said it was "cutting edge" and that everything looked great! WAHOO!! The cardiologist wants to do an echo cardiogram on Milo when he's fully under on anesthesia so his breathing can be more controlled.
Milo and I snuggling at the cardiologist appointment
The next stop was to the ENT. Within minutes of observing Milo, the ENT said he had a sinus infection as well as fluid in his ears. He prescribed amoxicillin and said that Milo needs to have his adenoids removed and tubes put in his ears. Not shocking news, but of course a bit scary! The ENT and cardiologist are going to team up and do both procedures while Milo's out. 

Later in the day (the same day as the ENT), we had Milo's first pediatrician's visit. Mr. Milo is almost 14 pounds and is 27 inches long. He's growing!! Everything went well, though it's a bit overwhelming how much we need to do to play catch up on the life Milo missed! He needed a lot of immunizations. He also needs to have blood work done to test for parasites (standard procedure with kids adopted internationally), see several specialists, and arrange for Early Intervention. There's a lot to be done, but the relief we feel to have Milo safe at home with the ability to get him the care he needs is indescribable. We're so, so grateful!

We decided we didn't have enough going on Thursday, so we gave Milo his first baby food (pears) between the ENT and pediatrician appointments ;) He really enjoyed it, but didn't quite get the concept of swallowing the food. He would eagerly open his mouth, then spit it all out again. Cute boy! When Milo gets excited, he starts blowing raspberries. He was really enjoying the pears and started blowing raspberries; pears were flying all over me and the kitchen! It was so funny!

Today was the fourth day with pears, and he's doing a little better! He started swallowing a lot more this afternoon. Yay!

The antibiotics have really helped Milo!! His eyes are no longer runny and he's WAY less congested! He seems to feel much better and has been so happy and fun! He's also been eating a lot more and just seems so much more content!

We bought Milo an exersaucer yesterday and he is so darling in it! He loves it! I know if he'd have been put in this two weeks ago, he would have had no idea what to do. Now he plays with all the toys like a champ! His core is getting so much stronger as well!

Every single day my love grows for this little guy. He has such a grip on my heart! I honestly don't know how we functioned before we had him! He is such a joy. Being his mom is the most fulfilling thing I can imagine. Every time I rock him, feed him, bathe him, change him, sing to him, I feel overwhelmed with gratitude for the chance I have to take care of him. It has, of course, been an adjustment for sure. Adding a child to the family has always caused me a measure of anxiety and stress. Being a mom of FOUR can often be crazy, hectic, and loud! Overall we're doing so great, though! Milo has the most beautiful spirit. He is full of life and love, and he's blessed us more already than I ever thought possible.

Quin's paternity leave has come to an end (BOO!!), so he heads back to work tomorrow. The kids also are out of school for spring break. Yikes! I'm a little nervous! Hopefully all goes well and the kids don't give me a run for my money ;) It'll be my first full time day parenting four kids by myself!

I can't wait to see what changes Milo makes this next week! I know he's going to love having the kids around to play with him all day!