Thursday, September 15, 2011

Happy Birthday Mommy

One more thing I just remembered and had to include. After many days at Ft. Myers Beach, Kathy and I decided to celebrate my birthday on Sanibel Island. Joseph had been viewing this island from the beach for days and desperately wanted to go. This is the video Kathy got on our drive. Absolutely precious...


Well, if you read Jacob's post then all of the beginning stuff applies here also. Joseph is doing well, though I am afraid he is silently troubled...more on that later.

This guy who came home at 37.5 inches and weighed 33.5 pounds  has finally begun to grow and is now up to 39.3 inches and 37 pounds. His August visit to the pediatrician also resulted in a diagnosis of giardia. I was not at all surprised as his appetite has been horrible. Then, there is the stinky poop that required a gas mask to enter the bathroom within 30 minutes of his visits. This was only the second treatment for Joseph and based on his improved appetite and less frequent visits to the potty, it was successful. We will re-test soon. Joseph has caught up on vaccinations and does not return to the doctor until next year. His dental visit went well with two teeth beginning to show signs of decay, so lots of extra brushing going on in the back. Other than a few minor colds, Joseph has been quite healthy.

After a lot of thought and weeks of driving to two different locations twice a day, I made the decision to move Joseph to Smyrna Christian School with Jacob. I struggled because he was so adjusted there. He had two fluffy African American teachers who were wonderful, not to mention all of his friends. I find it so important to keep some contact with his own race and so this created the most difficulty in my decision to move him. But, I am happy to report that he is settling into his pre-k class and quickly making new friends. He proudly displays his accomplishments daily and is slowly learning to write his name as he puts the letters of the alphabet to practice.

This is where we struggle. There have been reports of Joseph twisting his friends arm, hitting his friends, and kicking the bathroom wall while in daycare. Then, there is the heartbreaking tale of several weeks ago. We were having a great day...kicked back, watching his favorite movie "Tangled" and eating popcorn....when out of the blue came this question: "Mommy, will YOU ever leave me?" Oh my! I talked through the adoption and that he was with me forever and thought things were soothed over. At bedtime I could tell he was still troubled and so I said, "Joseph, you do know that your Emiyet in Ethiopia loved you very much, don't you?"Well, that did it and the flood gates burst open. I sat in the bed and explained why he was left in the orphanage and how glad I was that he was with me and we cried. There were several days of unsettled emotion but for now he has quieted the outward display. It is the inward that worries me. This sweet, quiet child that others can't believe would behave inappropriately is angry. I hope to speak with the doctor at his next appointment to see about counseling.

Joseph loved absolutely everything about the trip to the beach. He kept my daughter Kathy and I quite entertained with statements on the drive such as, "Florida sure is a LONG way" and "Mama, I'm afraid of the water" as we passed over a bridge. Joseph, I asked, why are you afraid of the water? "Because I can't swim" he replied with a hint of duh. He played happily in the water and sand, picked mangos from his PawPaw's tree, made a hole-in-one on his first shot at the putt putt golf course, and bonded quite nicely with his PawPaw. There are so many pictures I could share, but here are a few favorites.

In general:
As with Jacob, I am sure there are things I am leaving out, but that is the beauty of this method of entry as I can always add later!

This boy loves him some mango!
Playing in the rain while at Shell Factory Nature Park seemed to remind him of a time in Ethiopia
PawPaw couldn't wait to get Joseph in his golf cart and drive him around

Catching up with Jacob

As it has been a while since I last posted,  I figure each of the boys deserves his own post to catch up. August was a wonderful though busy month. Jacob warmed up nicely to his big brother David and enjoyed as much playtime as we could squeeze in before he returned to Hawaii. We celebrated his niece Kensley's 4th birthday, saw the pediatrician and dentist, and went on the first family vacation!

Medical: Hard to believe how much Jacob has grown. He began in January at 31 inches and 23.4 pounds and is now 35 inches and 28.9 pounds! This despite the giardia...yes, he tested positive again. I was a little surprised as he has been asymptomatic but we treated and will re-test later this month. He has about caught up on vaccinations (PTL) and was not scheduled to return to the pediatrician until November. The dental appointment went better this time. He hates having his teeth brushed and this was no exception.
Jacob contracted hand, foot, and mouth disease at daycare and let me tell you, that was no fun. I have never seen this before. He began with fever and within 24hrs was covered in blisters. He is still peeling from this infection three weeks ago and will definitely have scars resulting. Everything including his little mouth was blistered, so we got some real time to bond and attach further as the only thing comforting was my arms (and ibuprofen, though I like to take credit).
He began coughing last Friday and when I picked him up on Tuesday I wasn't sure I would make it to the hospital in time to prevent a full fledged asthma attack. After a couple of hours, ibuprofen, steroids, and albuterol we were released from the emergency department. Follow-up with the pediatrician was today and he has now crossed the threshold with steroids and is labeled asthmatic. Hopefully the addition of daily zyrtec and inhaled steroids will get a handle quickly on this illness.

Daycare: Here is the other point of interest for this guy. So, after much prayer he began a new daycare the 22nd of August and is doing wonderfully. To catch you up, he was asked to leave the first daycare because of biting. This behavior continued in a home setting so I had no real expectations for improvement. After speaking in length to the director and finding his classroom size to be quadruple that at La Petite with only five other students max, he began Smyrna Christian School. I am beyond thrilled to report that there have been zero incidents of biting and he seems to be adjusting well!!

The start of a very long drive to Florida
Vacation: We traveled by car to Ft. Myers, Florida to continue the tradition of celebrating my birthday on the beach. Jacob did quite well traveling with his DVD player and driving by night as much as possible. He was not a fan of the ocean as the waves were up due to lots of rain, but he loved the sand up to and including eating it! I know, this boy is just not right:) He even took his cheese stick and rolled it in the sand for more and discovered that a sea shell makes a nice spoon for dipping!! Despite that (and the fact that he got sick two days into the vacation), we enjoyed a week stay and he won his PawPaw's heart. This has been a long prayer as my Dad was not a fan of the adoption, especially with the color difference, but these two became quick buddies.

In general: It seems I am likely missing some important detail, but for now I will close with the promise to update on Joseph later today. It's hard to believe that a year ago I was in the midst of fundraising to bring this little guy home. God is good indeed!!

Though a little blurry, I love this picture made during a rain storm while we visited the Shell Factory Nature Park.
Leaving dinner with his new best buddy!

This was the usual expression when we tried to get him in the water!