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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Feeling Better

Bethany is feeling so much better already. I am surprised at how quickly she has improved this time. We are still having her do her vest a little longer than the norm,  and she still has a long way to go on the antibiotic, but she definitely is doing so much better. Eating is still a problem, but that is not unusual. I actually spent over sixty dollars buying some high calorie drinks (350 per 8 oz.) and they arrived today. I chilled them and gave her one. She hated it. She said it was going to make her sick. I got half of it in her and that was it. I guess a waste of money. I don't think she will be drinking many of them. 

Since Bethany has been sick, and it has been really cold, we have spent a lot of time reading -- a pleasant thing to do on a cold snowy day with a sick child. We read Here's A Penny by Carolyn Haywood, which happened to bring up the subject of being adopted and how special it is -- Penny is adopted and wants his parents to adopt a big brother for him. We also read "C" is For Cupcake by Carolyn Haywood and we are now on the last chapter of Annie Pat and Eddie also by Carolyn Haywood. I keep finding more and more Carolyn Haywood books to read and most of them are already in our home library. We are really enjoying all of them and if Bethany had her way I would read them almost all day long. 

Andrew has spent a lot of time putting puzzles together and playing with his Snap Circuits. He has made all kinds of neat things with them. Now Bethany, Caroline and Jordan are starting to want to play around with his Snap Circuits and they have definitely had fun with them. 






























It has been so cold the past couple of days that most of the kids don't want to go outside -- except Bethany. So, they had a baking day. Bella just watched and then ate a big cookie. 










Saturday, January 25, 2014

A CF Week

This week has been pretty consumed by cystic fibrosis. Bethany got a cold and then a slight cough and then she was coughing so much she was gagging and vomiting. A simple cold isn't always a simple cold when you have CF. So, now she is on 21 days of antibiotic along with extra nebulizer treatments each day, and 4 vest treatments along with two inhaler treatments. To make matters even worse, she just won't eat. She never eats much and it is always a job to get food into her, but this week has been awful. I think I have spent just about my entire day today standing over her trying to get her to eat something -- anything -- 45 minutes to get one banana in her and that was her entire breakfast. This is a kid that needs 2,500 calories each day according to her nutritionist  -- kids with CF need extra calories. It is so hard to get any weight on her and lung function is directly related to weight. Don't ask me why so many kids with CF don't want to eat, but it is very common. So, this has been a week of treatments and me pushing and pushing food -- which isn't working very well. At least I can get her to drink orange juice and maybe a PediaSure -- that adds a few calories. I will certainly be glad when she is better.


























Bella is doing so well, lately. Every single day when Bill comes home she says "Hi, Dad," as he walks in. Bill loves it. Here she is dressed up in a princess costume -- she definitely thinks she is a princess and we do, too.



Sunday, January 19, 2014

One Year Later

One year ago today Bella and Sophia got off of a plane and started a new life. Here is the post from that evening. 
























The first few days were a little rocky. Bella decided she would not eat anything. I guess the change was hard for her. For about two or three days she wouldn't let any food pass her lips except for a few cheese puffs -- an idea from my feeding specialist. I remember counting how many she would eat in a day and it wasn't many. Within a few days she had mellowed out and was eating. 

Sophia actually ate a little yogurt, but refused all liquids -- very worrisome to me. I was actually trying to get spoonfuls of liquids into her so she wouldn't dehydrate. Eventually, I realized she would drink a bottle of PediaSure if I thickened it with cereal. Thickening it seemed to be the answer. She still will not drink thin liquids. 

The first week was a little stressful -- trying to get enough food and liquid into both girls. Bella was a little stand-offish, but Sophia seemed to like being rocked and held -- though she never made any eye contact. 

Here are a few pictures from the first couple of weeks.





Bella with evidence of those cheese puffs on her mouth.





























































After a year, Bella has proved to be a pretty amazing kid. I would love to take credit for this, but don't think I can. She has attached to all of us, but definitely prefers me. She doesn't even like me to hold anyone else - ever. If I do, she cries and usually tries to pull them off my lap. She eats well and sleeps well -- 12 hours a night. She is finally speaking a few words, but not many. She does sign a few words -- eat, more, drink, baby, clean, bye and beautiful -- we are always telling her she is beautiful. She can follow easy directions -- put this in the trash, get me a diaper, bring me the doll, etc. She is happy and well adjusted and smiles all the time -- except when I am holding someone besides her. The odd thing is she never gets into things that she shouldn't -- really. It is strange how good she is. I keep wondering when she will be just a little trouble, but so far it hasn't happened. It seems too good to be true. Maybe she is saving it all up until she is a teenager. 

Sophia has ended up with a lot of hard issues. She simply will not eat anything except yogurt and her PediaSure bottles thickened with cereal. We have been seeing a feeding specialist for quite some time now. She will occasionally take a bite of something but one bite and that is it -- if it isn't yogurt. She knows before you even get it to her mouth that it is not yogurt and will turn away and fight you. She has been diagnosed with CP and also has part of her brain missing. This makes little things so difficult for her. It is hard to tell how much she understands because she is in her own little world so much of the time. But, there are those moments that I KNOW she is watching me and paying attention to what I am doing and is interested. She is moving around a little more, but because of her weakness on the right side of her body (from her stroke), she finds moving around pretty difficult. She is content to sit and watch the kids. It can be hard to motivate her to do things, but there are times that I know she wants us to help her. Times that she just seems more engaged. 

Pictures from the spring after they arrived. This post is going to be a little picture heavy.














































Sophia will now make eye contact, but only for a few seconds. She still likes to be held and rocked and she loves for the kids to play kind of rough with her. She loves being rocked back and forth by a kid -- very fast and hard -- she loves to be bounced up and down and have someone apply deep pressure to her arms. She still makes some really awful noises that are kind of hard to get use to. Her therapist says that she is actually stimming when she does this. Sometimes it is hard to get her to stop and hard to listen to for long periods of time. We are working hard on getting her to stop, but haven't found any solution yet. The funny thing is that she never made any sounds at all when we visited her in Bulgaria. She was very quiet. Emily and I were talking about that the other day, and how we never heard her make any noise at all. She was very subdued when we visited. Not now. She does laugh at things now -- not a lot, but will occasionally. She seems to be coming out of herself a little, but is still in her own little world so much of the time. Some days she will just sit and rock and rock and make noises and it is hard to calm her down. I have learned one thing though -- she does not like us to have a lot of company. We learned this at Christmas. The more company we had the more she rocked and rocked and make noises. She just can't handle a lot of people, yet. She also wants to be at home. She hates going out anywhere and lets you know it. 

Pictures taken this past summer -- about 5-6 months after they arrived home. 


































Both girls are loved very much. I feel that all in all the girls have both made progress this past year. But, I guess the truth is that it doesn't really matter how much progress they make, and that is something we all need to remember. They are both gifts from God and both deserve to have a home and family and be loved and cared for. All children need and should have that. There are so many children that need a home and someone to love them. Adoption is not always easy but who said life has to always be easy. I can honestly say that we have had more joy from adopting than most people can imagine. The joy of knowing that a child that might have been forgotten and left forever is now running and playing and laughing and feeling a part of a family. That is joy enough for me. What more could I ask for? 

A few pictures from fall and Christmas. I told you this was going to be picture heavy, but I just couldn't seem to help it. 





































We are so blessed by the children we have adopted and by our biological children who care for the orphan enough to adopt them into their hearts.