May 30, 2012
We arrived in Chicago on Wednesday around 12pm and at approximately 1240pm on Wednesday May 23, 2012 Konnor cleared customs and officially became a United States citizen. WhooooHooooo!!!!!!
It is just so hard to believe that after everything we have been through that this is really happening. I think that it is just starting to sink in that he is really ours and noone is going to take him away. After years of struggling with infertility you kinda start to live on the edge of a "when is the next shoe gonna drop" pessimistic view of things. The whole time we were in China I would just look at Konnor and keep telling Mark, "he's really ours." I still have a hard time believing that they are letting us be the parents of this amazing child. I am not really sure what we did to deserve such a blessing, but I can assure you that blessed is what we are. Just in the 2 weeks he has been with us we have already started to see him make huge advances. He now walks with holding fingers (much more steady than when we first got him), he started pulling himself up to a standing position about 4 days after we got him and just 2 days later he figured out how to sit himself back down from a standing position. Yesterday he was walking and let go of one of my hands and took 2 steps with just holding on with one hand. I have a feeling our days until he starts walking unassisted are numbered : ) We have a little work to do on his fine motor skills, but overall he is doing amazingly well.
He did well on the 14 hour flight home. He just took short 90 minute naps and played inbetween. I tell you what though I had more people come up and touch him on the plane than the whole time we were in China! Seriously people quit touching my overstimulated child!!! It was kinda sweet though, because in China alot of the people would stare at Konnor's cleft, but on the plane all the Asian people were obsessed with if he was warm enough. This one lady came up to him several times and if he was sleeping she would adjust his blanket to cover him more (then he would proceed to move it back to where he wanted it : ) and there was an elderly gentleman in the row behind us that kept trying to give us his blanket. I had to keep showing him that between what we brought and what the flight attendants brought us he had like 4 blankets. He really didn't fuss to much at all until we got on the plane from Chicago to Springfield. By this time we had been traveling for almost 24 hrs and he was done with a capital D! He screamed like I have never heard the entire 45 minutes from the time we boarded until we walked off the plane. Thankfully everyone on board was so understanding. We were greeted at the airport by both Mark and I's parents and our wonderful cousin Holly was there with her husband Larry to take pictures to capture this moment for us.
After our little meltdown on the plane Konnor was much happier. We got home and introduced him to our dog Baxter. Thankfully Konnor is not scared of him and Baxter is doing wonderfully with him. Baxter gets very worried when Konnor is crying and tries to go over to him and give little kisses. Usually Konnor doesn't mind unless he is already in total meltdown mode. Baxter is already learning to get out of the way fast when Konnor is playing or you get bashed on the head with a stacking cup. Baxter just moves a little further away, but keeps on watching him. Earlier today Konnor was laying down for a nap and when Baxter came in the room he looked for him, then circled the playpen and sniffed it, came up on our bed and peered over the edge to look at Konnor before finally laying down. It was so sweet. I anticipate these two getting into loads of trouble together.
He did so well in China, but we knew that coming home it would be a struggle to get him onto the new time zone. What we failed to anticipate was that moving into yet another environment would trigger his grief reaction. We wondered at how well his transition went in China, but truthfully we just considered ourselves one of the lucky families and didn't give it much more thought. We think that once we got home into yet another new environment after such a long travel experience that he finally started to really grieve the loss of his previous life. I know I talked about this in another post, but we do have to keep in mind that his life in the orphanage is all he has ever known. We have moved him into a new environment with new food, new smells, new toys, new textures on his clothes and new people. Everything is new to him and right now his only constant is Mark and I. It is actually a really good thing that he felt attached enough to his previous life that he is missing it now. It is heartbreaking to watch his sadness, but I know that in the end it will be good for him to acknowledge these emotions (as much as a 1 yr old can anyway).
Right now we are really struggling with sleep patterns. Konnor is having alot of night terrors. For those of you that don't know, night terrors are common when children (any child, not just adopted children) have a major life change. The child will usually wake screaming, but they aren't really awake. When he wakes he has the most heart wrenching scream. I swear you would think we were torturing him. You can tell by the look on his face that he is completely terrified. He reaches for us as if he wants us, but seems overwhelmed by his new environment (he is constantly looking around as if he is trying to find something familiar). Even though he reaches for us once we pick him up he arches, hits, kicks and pinches. We have actually found that when he is having a night terror the best thing to do is to lay him on the floor next to us and just talk to him and rub his back/stomach. He calms himself down alot faster when he self soothes and we walk away with alot less bruises. This is also leading to him being a little sensitive about other people touching him. We were originally limiting it to just Mark and I holding him with Grandparents holding him for just a couple minutes at a time. If there is any fussing then he comes right back to Mama and Baba. We have decided in the last few days that we are going back to just Mark and I holding him. We are also limiting touching by other people. He seems to have alot more night terrors on days when there are other people fussing with him. We are trying to make sure that he has us as his security blanket until he feels ready to branch out. Right now we are having a couple of visitor free days so that he can just have some time to settle into life with just Mama, Baba, Konnor and Baxter. Mark and I are really struggling with the sleep deprivation. Sometimes his night terrors will last up to 4 hours before he can get back into a restful sleep. It wouldn't be so bad except that Mark and I have both been sick since we got home. Right now Mark and I are just taking turns napping thru the day. We will work it out, but in the meantime there is an awful lot of coffee being consumed in this house, and my amazing husband is polite enough not to point out the insane amount of cookies/chocolate I have consumed in the last 2 days. I only wish the scale would be so kind when all these sweets catch up to me. I will say that last night was a pretty good night. He still had 3 night terrors, but they only lasted 30-60 minutes and he was able to go back to sleep. We ended up getting 3 good chunks of sleep. Yay!!!! We are really working on getting on a schedule right now to help him feel secure. I have also been talking to alot of other adoptive parents to get ideas for how they have handled night terrors. I am a list maker so it helps me to have a list of all the different things people have tried so that when I am at a complete loss of how to help him I have something that I can reference.
On a good note Konnor is a great eater. We have started expanding his foods since we got home and he is loving it!!! He is mostly on baby foods thickened with rice/oatmeal cereal or soft foods. He has to have things thickened to be able to swallow due to his cleft lip/palate, but that sure doesn't stop him from gobbling up every last bite of food. We have also started getting more fluids in him. He still won't take a bottle and can't work the sippy cups we bought, but he is drinking alot more that we are offering off the spoon. I talked to the cleft team and last night we tried a new sippy cup with him. He LOVED IT!!! We made a total mess, but he was able to take 3 1/2 oz in a fraction of the time that I could have spoon fed it to him. YAY!!!
We are also working on getting him on a meal schedule that includes snacks in the hopes that we can put some weight on this baby. We had our first appt with the Pediatrician Friday 5/25/12. She said to keep doing what we are doing as far as feeding and pushing fluids. We do need to put some work in on the fine motor skills like I talked about before, but overall he is really doing pretty well. He was 16 lbs 5 oz and 28.5 inches long. That makes him 1% for weight and 2% for height. Poor little guy had to get 4 shots though. I didn't cry, but it was close. We had to go back yesterday for lab work and that time I did cry. They had to stick him 3 times. It was nothing they did wrong, his little veins just would not give up enough blood for all the screenings he needed. We have gotten back about half the labs though and so far everything looks good. He is no longer anemic so that made me happy. While we were waiting to get his labs done this elderly lady came up to us and asked if we had adopted to which of course we said yes. She then said that she has supported Operations Smiles for years and that she thinks it is wonderful that he has found a family and that he is such a handsome boy that will be even more handsome once his lip is fixed. She was teary eyed the whole time she was talking to us and you could tell she really meant well. It was very sweet. Konnor then got to make his 2nd trip to the Dr. yesterday b/c he woke up wheezing and his dry cough that he has had since we got him turned into a wet cough with green junk draining from his mouth. He had been running a low grade temp all weekend which I had just attributed to his shots. Verdict was possible bronchitis or possible ear infection. He has very small ear canals so she can't see into them very well so we are just going to treat with a broad spectrum antibiotics to cover all the bases. See a couple posts back where I thought he had an ear infection in China, but the Dr. at his medical appt told me his ears were clear--REALLY cause my Dr. can't even see in his ears very well so I think that guy was just brushing us off! He will see the Cleft Palate team on Friday so we are working with the insurance to get that all squared away right now.
Here are a few things we have learned in our first few days home:
-we will never have enough stain remover
-laundry is tripling
-If there is something we don't want Konnor to have then it will be the object of his obsession
-dishes with a toddler in the house are never ending
-our grocery bill is going to double
-we can function on only 3 hours sleep
-when you are getting up at 430 am to start your day you really can get alot done by 9 am
-teamwork is a must in getting everything done around the house
-you have to be able to admit when you have had enough and need a nap b/c your spouse is NOT a mind reader, but will support you in anyway possible
-our lives will never be the way they were before, but will only be better
-when you are sleep deprived and on your last functioning brain cell your Son's smile when he wakes up from a nap can make it all better
just to name a few.....
|I'm an American Citizen!!!!!|
|Snuggling with Baba on our first night home. He was tuckered out.|
|Best Buddies : )|