We have now been home for over a week and a half, and we are settling in pretty nicely. Given the adjustment as well as some attachment issues with Daniel in particular, we have been sticking close together and close to home. Things are going really well. It’s not necessarily easy, due to the language barrier in large part, but I am so happy that the Daniel and Eden are navigating life in this new environment very well, for the most part. I’m very thankful for Google Translate, which I use whenever I feel like I really need to explain something to Daniel and Eden. I am trying to just use English for the most part, because it’s better for them to be immersed in the language and learn through context, tone of voice, or gestures combined with the words.
Daniel is a little charmer. He has a really sweet spirit, and I think he genuinely likes people. He certainly likes attention! I have taken him out with me a couple of times, and he will say “hi” to everyone he sees. Today I took him to the grocery store and he was charming lots of people around him with his smiles and greetings. One of the reasons we feel it is so important to stay closer to home and keep mostly family around is so that Daniel can begin to make healthy attachments to us as his family; Todd and I as his mama and daddy. Sometimes when we have been out, Daniel has started calling another person “mama” or “baba” (daddy). A lot of times, he will walk up to someone he doesn’t know and motion for them to hug him or pick him up. He’s so cute that people often respond by letting him hug them and sometimes even picking him up. We are “cocooning” to try and help him establish the connections he so deeply wants and needs with us, his mama and baba, and his siblings. Daniel continues to be very active, but he is really improving daily on responding to correction well and obeying us. He is even learning how to say, “Yes, ma’am” when I ask him to do or not do something. Daniel loves to collect little things from all over the house and put them in his backpack. Sometimes he also will hide things he finds in the house. It can be a little bit of a problem, depending on what it is. Most things aren’t that big of a deal, but there are some things that would be a problem to have “hidden” somewhere. I’m sure that at the orphanage, part of surviving was to hoard things He has improved a lot about just picking fights with siblings. Our older kids especially love Daniel, and he enjoys being with them. Abby just thinks he’s the most adorable thing (he really is super cute and adorable), and she’s sad that she has to move out soon to return to nursing school. I’m so glad we have so many older kids to model appropriate behavior and to help keep an eye on this active little boy. Daniel is super smart and very lovable, and we are so happy to be able to be his family.
Eden is a sweet girl. She is my little shadow, which is really cute. Eden follows me everywhere and helps out with whatever I am doing. It’s actually kind of nice. Every morning and evening, she comes out to do the animal chores with me. She helps take the feed buckets down for the horses, fill them and hang them back up. She helps me carry the supplies for milking and watches with delight as the milk comes shooting out from the goat’s udder. Eden is an excellent kitchen helper as well. She has helped me make several dinners, and loves to throw away whatever trash we are producing as we go. All the kids have learned that Eden also enjoys washing dishes. She will happily wash while the other child loads the dishwasher. She has even taken pots and pans out of my hands as I was washing them to take over washing for me. Eden is also learning English words very quickly. She now can say, “More, please,” “Mama help,” “eat,” “hot”, plus a number of other words. Eden knows all of her siblings’ names. She is very careful to watch over the younger kids and let me know if something isn’t right. She loves Tovi, and is always careful to let me know where he is. Eden is really good with Daniel. One night while we were watching a family movie, Daniel fell asleep on Eden’s shoulder, and she kept her arm around him until the movie was over. It was very sweet. Sometimes Eden will just randomly repeat everything I’m saying, mostly when I’m on the phone. I’ll say, “Oh hi! How are you?” and she will repeat it word for word. We are so blessed to have Eden in our family as well.
Both children were seen by our pediatrician last week. It was mostly an appointment for getting all the referrals we will need for them to see specialists. Eden was referred for an x-ray, and it was confirmed that she has scoliosis. We will be taking her to Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas to help with her limp as well as the scoliosis. Both children were referred for eye exams, which I think will have to be read on them by a machine, due to communication and/or behavioral barriers. Daniel has a variety of things we need to look into, and we are getting started with all of it. I’m trying to be patient as I wait for all of these appointments. We know Daniel has Cornelia DeLange Syndrome, which is a genetic syndrome similar to Down Syndrome in that it has specific physical and behavioral markers. We have been referred to a geneticist, although we believe they are only going to confirm what we already know. They can’t even see us until March, which is a little frustrating. However, there are other resources through which we can learn about CDLS so we can better help Daniel. We also took Daniel in to our wonderful dentist for a look at his teeth because he seemed to be really uncomfortable, and kept pointing to his teeth. He has tons of cavities–I’m sure he has never had anyone consistently help him take care of his teeth, and it’s sad to see how much work is going to be needed to help his teeth and gums become healthy. The dentist wasn’t able to do much except take a look. Daniel has so much fear inside of him, and of course, we don’t want to traumatize him further with something like dentists or doctors making him do uncomfortable or painful things. Yet, he really needs the medical and dental attention. For the dentist, we will be bringing him back to be put to sleep and have extensive work done, including the x-rays we couldn’t get him to cooperate with (we tried lots of tricks and bribes, but no luck). We have had some trouble getting Daniel to eat well, which I have learned has a lot to do with digestive issues related to his CDLS. I also think the discomfort in his mouth plays a part in his eating issues. He will eat fruit, and I can pretty much always get him to eat Ramen noodles, to which I add eggs (both kids LOVE this). He will drink Pediasure, which is HUGE. I’m thankful for that, and hoping we can find some things that will help with the discomfort he has with eating so that this little guy can grow strong and healthy. He’s already looking better, but it has been a little bit of a struggle.
I’m trusting God, that He will equip us and give us everything we need to raise these two special children He has added to our family. They both have had a lot of trauma in their past. Both have so much fear, and it’s easy to see that they aren’t sure they can trust anyone, which is very natural. We have so much hope, however, as we can see that both of these sweet children have the potential to bond well and thrive now that they are in a family. I feel so privileged to be able to give them love and hope for the future. When I read Daniel’s medical file at the beginning of our adoption process, I saw that his name means “bright and hopeful future.” I am trusting that God holds His future, and that it will indeed be bright and hopeful. Thanks for your prayers! We feel them and appreciate them so much.
“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Jer. 29:11