Has it really been 6 weeks since we arrived back home??? The time has flown by – but at the same time it seems like our family has been just like this - all five of us - forever.
Daniel has just fit right in. The transition from 2 to 3 children has proven MUCH easier than the transition from 1 to 2 children! Even when that third child is a loud, opinionated toddler! (And to think – all the reports we received about Daniel beforehand (from the orphanage and other adoptive parents), told us he was SHY!) Elisabeth is still mainly loving on Daniel and trying to help him (putting on shoes, unbuckling his car seat in the van, etc.) which Daniel USUALLY accepts graciously, although not always. Noah and Daniel, predictably I think, have more run-ins (they are interested in all the same cars, trains, etc.) But seeing all of them kiss and hug as they greet each other for the first time in the morning, and as they’re saying “night night”, just melts my heart!
Speaking of hugging and kissing: Daniel has turned out to be quite affectionate, which I love, of course! Many times a day he will pucker up (it actually looks more like his mouth is just very full of food) and want kisses. And he can give the best and strongest hugs around your neck! When Noah is apologizing to Daniel for some infraction (which happens all too often), Daniel actually goes up to Noah to initiate their required reconciliation hug and kiss! Daniel is very into wrestling now also. It took him a while to get with the program and see the fun in rough housing on the floor with Daddy. (Mama still doesn’t see the fun, but that is exactly why it’s important to have both a Mama and a Daddy!) Now Daniel will be the first to try to pile on top of Daddy if he is on the floor!
Daniel’s vocabulary is expanding every day and it is so much fun to watch and see this progress. Here is a list of what he is now saying: Mama, Daddy, Noah, Lao Lao, Hi-lo (a combo of Hi and hello), thank you, bye bye, uh oh, dirty, more, I’m done, poopoo, tee tee, help please, stop, hot,NO, drink, bath. You will notice that “Elisabeth” is not on the list. That is because Daniel calls BOTH Elisabeth and Noah, “Noah.” It exasperates Elisabeth, but she’s taking it pretty well. I know it won’t last for much longer, and it is so cute! A couple of weeks ago, Daniel went running after Elisabeth in a restaurant and yelling, trying to get her attention - “Uh oh, Noah…NOAH!!!” The poor thing couldn’t understand why she didn’t respond!
Now most of the above words might not be understood by anyone but me, Jas and Lao Lao. “More” actually comes out “o oy” and “dirty” is pronounced “duy” (it is also said with furrowed brows and finger pointing!). Daniel is VERY particular, and if a drop (and I mean a miniscule speck) of food drops on his place mat or gets on his finger, he cannot proceed with eating until the situation has been remedied! If a piece of toilet paper is torn off jagged – it must be fixed! This “attention to detail” comes in handy sometimes though - he does a great job when we’re picking up toys!
Daniel’s eating is coming along. Daniel’s utter dislike for ALL fruits (and I do mean ALL, there is not ONE fruit that Daniel will willingly eat) totally baffles our other two kids (whose complete UNpickyness I’ve apparently just taken for granted). Noah will rattle off “Daniel doesn’t like to eat apples, or bananas, or blueberries, or cantaloupe, or strawberries, or pears, or peaches, or kiwi, or grapes…” I don’t know if Daniel wasn’t exposed to these at the orphanage, or if he was just picky there too. Whether it is the taste, or texture that Daniel doesn’t like (or perhaps just isn’t used to), we are slowly but surely making progress. Whatever fruit we’re eating at a meal, Daniel has to have a small (and I mean small!) piece of it also before he gets the rest of his meal. He fussed the first couple of times, but now he knows the routine and will eat them (without too much fanfare) and then raise his arms in the air and say “YEAH!” I’ve been sneaking veggies (steamed and then pureed) into Daniel’s hot breakfast cereal (sometimes oatmeal, sometimes a combination of brown rice and lentils made into a porridge). He’s now had spinach, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, and avocado. If you’ve never tried this it might not sound appetizing, but it actually tastes good…Noah has actually started asking for it! Daniel scarfs down his breakfast cereal (with veggies, shhh!) and then has scrambled eggs also. This subterfuge has also worked with hiding fruits in Daniel’s yogurt. He has now had banana, pear, peaches, and kiwi that way. I have to mash it up good and stir it in though, or no deal. I once put blueberries in Daniel’s yogurt, and he would just tilt his spoon enough to dump any offending blueberry and then happily eat his yogurt!
Daniel sleeps like a champ at night, which is a HUGE answer to prayer. Our older two always have been good sleepers, and we just thought we couldn’t get so lucky again, especially adopting an older child. He’s transitioned seamlessly from sleeping in the crib right up against my bed in China, to me laying him down in his crib and then sitting in the rocking chair next to his crib until he was asleep, to now I can just lay him down in the crib fully awake and walk out of the room! All three kids go to bed at 8 p.m. (well, that’s the goal anyway). Daniel started out sleeping until 9 or 9:30 every morning, but the last week or so he’s started backing it up and getting up at about 8 a.m. He is taking a 2-3 hour nap in the afternoon. He likes his sleep, just like big sister did! (And totally unlike Noah, who is awake before 7 a.m., and usually takes about a 45 minute nap!)
I have started back on the pre-school homeschool curriculum that I’ve been doing with Elisabeth and Noah (we’re almost done with it – we started “U” today!). Daniel will usually hang with us during The Pledge of Allegiance, and the Dance of the Week (typically involves stomping, marching, clapping and lots of hand gestures). But he usually disappears (to go play with cars!) right about prayer time and Bible reading time. He does usually like to be involved in the crafts, though, even if he doesn’t last the whole time. (He gets mortally offended that I don’t trust him with scissors like I do his older siblings!)
Now, to medical thoughts, of which there are many!
We have already had many doctors’ appointments and even an unexpected hospital stay! We had our first pediatrician appointment four days after we got home and did the routine blood testing that you do when an international adoptee arrives home (everything turned out fine). And then a week later (we’d had Daniel for 3 weeks and 1 day) we were back in the pediatrician’s office (we were originally scheduled to be there for Elisabeth’s 4-year well child visit) with Daniel running a fever (it turned out to be 104.4 – YIKES!) Our pediatrician (whom I’ve always liked, but now I LOVE!) is very conservative and was especially concerned since Daniel is a “heart baby.” She spoke with our pediatric cardiologists (who had not even seen Daniel in person yet!) and they all agreed he should be hospitalized to run tests and start IV antibiotics. It turned out that Daniel had a kidney infection, with the culprits being some bad bugs that only respond to ONE antibiotic (not the one they originally started Daniel on). We only ended up having to be there for two nights, and Daniel did GREAT in the hospital, considering. When he wasn’t spiking a 104 fever (happened a couple of times), he was very happy and contented. Staying in our local hospital (instead of in a different city as we did for Noah’s open-heart surgery last year) was nice – lots of nice visitors, balloons, gifts, etc. We so appreciated the care and concern and PRAYERS!
There is an abnormality on Daniel’s back (not mentioned in his medical reports fromChina), at the base of his spine – it looks like a hole. After “googling” it I felt we needed to see a Neurosurgeon and would probably need an MRI. A couple of Daniel’s other doctors agree and we have an appointment with a Neurosurgeon on August 27thto check this out. We’re praying that he will say it is nothing and that Daniel will not even require an MRI. (How much fun would THAT be for a two-year old?!?!)
We met with the pediatric cardiologist on July 20th – the boys had back-to-back appointments. We went into the appointment for Daniel praying that 1. they would be able to tell us exactly what heart defect Daniel had had 2. that they did such a good job repairing it in China that nothing further was needed and that (just for the cherry on top) 3. Daniel was so good that he wouldn’t even require antibiotics before dental procedures (as most heart patients do). God SHOWED OUT! Looking at Daniel’s EKG, echocardiogram and a chest X-ray, Dr. English was able to tell us that 1. Daniel had a PDA (patent ductus arteriosus) 2. They repaired it in China with an Amplatzer PDA device (Dr. English was VERY impressed!) and that 3. we can “forget that Daniel was ever a heart baby and he doesn’t even need SBE protocol before dental procedures!” Go God!!!
We have met with the pediatric urologist and she has scheduled to run some tests (they do NOT sound fun) on Daniel on Sept. 28th. The severity of Daniel’s fever during his kidney infection makes her suspicious that he is having vesicoureteral reflux. Even though the tests don’t sound fun, the fix wouldn’t be too bad and could be accomplished in tandem with the outpatient surgery that we have scheduled on Oct. 24th for a second (and final!) stage repair of his urological issue, hypospadias (the first stage repair was done in China – another “thumbs up” on a good job says our urologist!).
We would greatly appreciate prayers for these upcoming medical appointments for Daniel. We would also appreciate prayers for our family’s continued adjustments. WARNING: I had trouble just picking out a few pictures of our first six weeks home, so I picked out a BUNCH!
Daniel's dedication at church
Daniel's first trip to our town park
Hangin' at "the little table"
Daniel's look when he's upset about something
"Helping" mama in the kitchen
Daniel is digging his new room
Our little stair steps
Daniel loves anything with wheels!
Having a blast in our huge pool
Heading to church
Daniel loves to dress up
Our little cowboy
The unhappy hospital patient - NOT
Listening to daddy with rapt attention
So sweet - sharing with big brother
Serving Papa some tea
Playing "Thomas" is serious business
Daniel's first trip to Wild Adventures - He LOVED it!