Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Isaac and Daddy

This is my favorite picture of Isaac.

Isaac and his sweet smile!

The cousins are checking each other out!

Update: Long time coming!

Ok, Jason is overwhelmed with teaching high school, his online class, and finishing his Master's Degree, so I am taking over the updates on the blog.

Last Month: We arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia late Saturday September 6th. We weren't able to see Isaac right away, we had to wait until the next morning. Sunday morning we traveled by taxi (what an adventure!) to the Myungsung Korean Children's Missonary Hopsital. We were able to meet Isaac at that time. He looked soooo small lying in a regular hospital bed. He was all hooked up to an IV for anitbiotics, oxygen, and a feeding tube.

He looked like such a sick little boy. Everyone kept telling us how good he looked and that he would be fine. What we didn't know at the time was that he almost didn't make it. A few days before we arrived his condition worsened and they had lost hope for him. A doctor from Tampa FL was in Ethiopia adopting his own child and made a trip to the hopsital to check on Isaac. He properly diagnosed his condition (pneumonia and a bacterial infection) and ordered a different set of antibiotics. Jason and I firmly believe that God sent this person to save our son. Many people that we spoke to at the hopsital had limited English skills, but one lady said it best when she said "God saved your baby." We know that God loves Isaac and that we are blessed to be able to call him our son.

Over the next week Isaac's condition continued to improve. On Friday September 12, he was completely unhooked from all tubes and we were able to take him back to the Guest House. I think we slept a total of 7 minutes that night because we both couldn't stop looking at him! He did great and continues to thrive today. We have adjusted very quickly as a family. Jason has really impressed me as a dad. He is a natural! For someone who never changed a diaper in his entire life, he is a very quick learner. We have done a good job of splitting the night time feedings so neither one of us are feeling overly tired these days.

We left Addis for home on Tuesday September 16. It was a long 24 hours of travel, but we made it back to St. Louis on Wednesday the 17th. We were greeted at the airport by both of our parents and it was so good to be back. We were tired, but happy to be home and get started on being a family of three.

Move ahead 2 weeks: Isaac had his doctor's appointment today and was such a trooper. We were very impressed with his pediatrician, she seems very nice and personable and was great with a screaming baby. He weighed in a 6 lbs. 13 oz. We were hoping for 7 lbs. by now, but maybe by the weekend. We go back in a few weeks for a weight check. Other than being a small 4 month old, he is doing great. His heart and lungs sound good and he has no visible signs of illness. Which after all he has been through in his short life, that is fantastic! He got a shot in each leg and we go tomorrow to get a heel prick done at the hospital. The dr. has ordered a newborn screening that would have been done automatically if he had been born in the USA. We are going to wait until the 6 month appointment to run blood work to make sure that all of his birth mother's antibodies are out of his system so that we get a more accurate reading.

In the two weeks since we have been home Isaac has really changed. He is more alert now and is tracking with his eyes. Jason and I think he can recognize our voices and he is full of smiles (we are hoping they are genuine and not just gas!) He is getting more control of his head and neck and has found his fists. We are still working on his grip and trying to get him to reach for objects. He was a preemie baby so it will take him awhile to catch up with other kids his age. For now, the main focus is on his gaining weight. He has a Buddha belly! We can't see ribs anymore so we think we are making progress!

I have two more weeks to enjoy this little boy before I have to go back to work. Jason will then take about two weeks off to be home with Isaac and then our boy is off to the babysitter! We are lucky to have found a great one and we know he will be in good hands while we are at work.

That is it for now! This is kind of fun...I might have to post more often! :)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Since our referral...

Our court date for approval of adoption for Tatiso (which since then we've found it is Takiso) and Tenaye was scheduled for August 1. Takiso passed court with no problem, but Tenaye had some paperwork issues and did not pass court. Since that time her paperwork has been refiled but we don't have a new court date for her as of yet. We were glad that one passed, but that meant we'd have to travel twice to bring home our children. Over the last month we've realized that this is all in God's plan to bring him home first, and then her.

Typically a family will travel 6 weeks after they pass court. We had planned to leave towards the end of September to get Takiso, but our little guy (who was born a preemie at 4lb. 8 oz.) lost a little weight and wound up in the hospital. After one round of antibiotics the doctor figured out that he had pneumonia. They switched the medicine the IV antibiotic and they think it will do the trick. We were able to obtain a medical visa to bring him home 3 weeks early, which meant we had about a week to make travel arrangements, figure out lesson plans for three weeks, and get everything ready at home. Talk about stress!

As I finish these first two blog entries, Laura and I are in a hotel room in St. Louis, waiting to fly out early Friday afternoon. If Takiso is healthy enough to travel, we will have an embassy date on Wednesday, September 10 and be back home on the 14th. If not, then we may be in Addis Ababa another week or so. We truly feel that this is the reason that one child is coming home now, and the other later this year. Takiso is needing a lot of love and care, and it'll be easier to give him that with only one around the house.

A Leap of Faith...

Last November we saw a notice in a church bulletin about an informational meeting by Adoption for Families, an agency located in Springfield. It was being held at another church on a weeknight for anyone interested in getting more information on domestic and international adoption. I'm not really sure what struck both of us about that notice, but we both read it and brought up the topic of adoption one evening. We had always talked about adopting a child one of these years, but only after we had a biological child or two of our own.

We went to this meeting and met some very nice people from the adoption agency and a few couples that were interested in adoption. We also met a family who had just brought a little girl home from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Her name was Jayden. And she was beautiful. Laura and I looked into domestic adoption as well as international adoption. Over the next week we discussed all the pros and cons about adopting from the US, Russia, China, and Ethiopia. Something about that little girl and the Hope's Place orphanage she came from stole our heart.

We proceeded through the adoption process starting in December, 2007. Over the next few months we filled out a lot of paperwork and had several meetings with Crystal from the agency. In April, 2008 our paperwork arrived in Ethiopia and we were officially waiting for a referral. From the beginning we requested an infant girl, although we were open to a boy and were even open to adopting a boy AND a girl. We never really figured we'd be given two children, and were planning to bring home our first child and then eventually go back and adopt a second.

That thought process changed on June 30 of this year. Jason was in Atlanta for a national FBLA conference, while Laura was at home. On a Sunday morning, Crystal called and said she had a referral for us. A little girl who had just turned 3 had arrived at Hope's Place and they wanted to find a home for her as soon as possible. The courts in Addis Ababa would be closing in early August and to get a court date, we would have to say OK to her within 48 hours. But that wasn't all. A baby boy had been born June 10, and shortly thereafter was at the orphanage. Crystal wanted to know if we'd be interested in adopting both. After many phone conversations we both realized that we were destined to welcome both these children into our homes and lives and said yes. A family of 2 was about to become a family of 4!