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We're Home
We're Home  |  July 2007  |  September 2007  November 2007  |  February 2008  |  May 2008

September 2007

Where to begin? We've been home since July 31 and life has been a whirlwind! It took a few weeks for Jude to feel truly 'at home' at our house -- it was the 9th move we'd made in our short time with him in our family. Combined with the fact that he was recovering from his tenotomy and final casting and it's impressive that any of us got any sleep those first few nights home ;)

Jude's final cast went on easily after Dr. Morcuende performed the tenotomy. I usually do everything in my power to stay away from anything bloody or gory that has to do with myself or my children. But in this case, I really wanted to be able to tell Jude what the tenotomy was like. Well, I shouldn't have watched. It wasn't so much what I saw (because there really wasn't anything to see besides the Dr. making a tiny incision with a tiny scalpel) but what I heard. It sounded like a rubber band snapping. I asked if I really did hear what I thought I heard and Nurse Maria replied "Oh yes, that is a GOOD sound! Just what we want to hear!" Maybe good for her, but it made my stomach turn over a few times. Thankfully Jude was sedated just enough to not really care ;) After the tenotomy, the casts were applied quickly and after a short observation time, we were free to leave. Since I wasn't really sure the actual tenotomy was going to be performed that day, well, I wasn't prepared. We got back to the room and I realized that I was no where near being ready for Chris to come pick us up! Jude napped and I did my best to pack way too much stuff into way too small a space. Needless to say, when Chris' plane finally arrived (4 hours late) at midnight, we were all thrilled to finally be together again, but way too tired to celebrate.

We left as soon as we could get everything in it's place (if you know Chris, you know everything WAS in it's place) which was about 12:00 in the afternoon, Iowa time. A little bit later than we had hoped ;) The drive was good, considering we didn't arrive home until 5:30 in the morning, the next day. We did manage a stop at Chevy's in St. Louis, our favorite restaurant. Jude, as usual, did an exceptional job of taking everything in stride during the long drive. He was fussy due to the tenotomy and new casts, but was consoled by his attentive big brothers, a Baby Songs DVD and some Motrin every 6 hours.

Since we've been home it's been such a relief to be a two-parent family again. Thank God for my hard working husband!And I have a whole new appreciation for all the comforts of home, even down to our soft sheets. I remember being surprised that first night when I crawled into bed, half dead, at how soft our sheets were! Oh, the comforts of home!! I must have become accustomed to the poly-blend sheets at the Ronald McDonald House. I will try to never take for granted all the blessings God has bestowed on our family, even the smallest ones. As difficult as our time in Iowa was in regards to being away from family and living, literally, on top of each other, I would never regret taking Jude to Dr. Ponseti for treatment. Surgery is completely unnecessary for children with clubfoot and only causes future issues with arthritis and foot pain. I am so grateful we were able to take Jude to who I consider to be an angel on earth, a man who has devoted his life (all 93 years!) to giving children a new set of feet and a new life!

Three and a half weeks after we got home, the casts came off. Since we could not find a local orthopedist willing to take them off for us, I had to tackle the job myself. Thankfully I belong to a great clubfoot board that gave me the encouragement I needed to set my boy's legs free! The following few days were difficult for him because his feet and legs were so sensitive and WEAK! He was already lagging behind due to his time in the orphanage, plus his clubfoot, but the time in casts really exacerbated his weaknesses. The good news is that he doesn't mind his shoes and bar at all (in fact, in the first few weeks, he actually asked to have the shoes put back on after bath!) and we know his legs and feet will get stronger.

Celebrating three months together!

Last cast and saying goodbye to Dr. Ponseti

Enjoying his 1 1/2 birthday with lots of chocolate cake

"Look at my new feet!"

Playing with Baba

"I know I'm cute!"
He is making progress daily, even impressing his tough-as-nails physical therapist, Ms. Debbie. He goes to PT once a week and Jude never fails to leave with a completely sweat-soaked head. In the 5 sessions we have had he has gone from refusing to stand at all to pulling to stand on his 'new' feet, walking behind a push toy and now he's even cruising on the furniture on his own! He works so hard at trying to get stronger, I have such an incredible respect and admiration for his fighting spirit. So many things that happen naturally in a normal child's development that we never truly appreciate for the miracles they are...I am in awe of how God has formed our bodies to grow, heal and develop. Even when that process is hindered like in Jude's case, God has created him to be able to pick back up and with hard work and determination, catch up with his peers in no time. How incredibly and wonderfully made we are!

Jude has fallen seamlessly into our family. And when I say that, I truly mean it. God really had mercy on us and sent us a child that makes parenting easy and FUN! Now, he can be demanding, and does like to be carried ALL the time, but other than that, he's pure joy. He laughs all the time and when he starts to giggle it's truly contagious! I love love love this boy. And he is crazy about mama, but he is beginning to understand that baba is pretty cool too. When Chris comes home at night Jude starts saying "ba ba ba ba" until Chris puts his things down and comes to scoop him up for some WWF time. His vocabulary is constantly expanding, even though his pronunciation is sometimes lacking ;) If he can't say a word, he substitutes the 'ba' sound for whatever he can't say. Today we were at Isabelle's speech therapy and he kept wanting me to say "horse" (he LOVES animals!) He'd repeat "ba ba ba" when I'd say "horse", happily smiling as if he was saying it just right ;) He is always asking me to tell him what something is, pointing and asking "ma?" There is no doubt he knows exactly how to get what he wants...he's one smart little man. He says "mama", "baba", "puppy", "hot", "bye bye", "MeiMei", "ball", "noodles", "night night", "please" and is working hard on "horse" and "flower". He can point out our family members in a photo and is especially fond of Isbelle. He is signing well and loves to watch me when I show him a new sign. He regularly signs "help", "more", "all done" and "please". He cracked me up the other day when I was feeding him a cup of yogurt. It was only half gone, but evidently he was done because he started signing "all done"! He loves to make up games to get people to interact with him. He'll do something like put up one finger. If you imitate him, he cracks up. He is so aware of facial expressions, and knows when he's done something wrong without my having to say a word. One of his favorite (and only) acting out behaviors is either hitting me or hitting whatever it is that I am paying attention to, if it is not him. He really resents not having my undivided attention, especially if he is tired. If I ask him to say "sorry" he goes in for the big smooch, knowing that's all it takes to right any wrong. And when he wants me to come sit with him, he'll pat the spot next to him and smile. Yeah, he's pretty hard to resist ;)

His abilities in the eating department have increased rapidly also. When we met, three months ago, he had never had anything but formula and rice cereal out of a bottle. Chewing was completely foreign to him. He's gone from gumming food to actually taking bites, chewing and swallowing! Sometimes he forgets the chewing part (he can swallow a mandarin orange slice whole) but he's catching on. Thankfully he's got his first molar popping through today, since I am hoping he'll be moving onto more substantial foods soon. Since he still refuses to take a bottle, it's a good thing he's decided eating isn't such a bad thing. His favorite is still noodles, but his list of other possible choices is slowly growing. Now he'll eat oranges, grapes, apples, crackers, ice cream, tortilla chips (only the multigrain kind, thank you), along with the long time favs: yogurt, pudding and cheerios. The kid can eat his weight in cheerios. He's becoming adept at holding a cup of them and feeding himself without a prohibitive amount of clean up. The only liquids he'll drink are apple juice, yogurt drinks, coke and sprite. Needless to say he drinks a lot of juice and yogurt ;) He is growing well, but he's not going to win any heavyweight titles anytime soon. Slowly, slowly he's putting on a bit of weight here and there and filling out. Hoping that one day he'll have a little more meat on his bones like his big brothers!

September 18th marked three months since Jude has become a member of our family. We stand amazed at how God has already knit our hearts together and thank Him for His awesome plan of growing our family through adoption. Stay tuned for (hopefully) monthly updates on our sweet boy :)

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