Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sleep, or lack thereof...Fun Facts

Did you know that if you consistently loose 2-3 hours of sleep a night, you are actually losing 2-3 nights of sleep a week.

2 Hours a night x 7 nights in a week = 14 hours ~ 2 nights sleep
3 Hours a night x 7 nights in a week = 21 hours ~ 3 nights sleep

And for those special nights:
4 Hours a night x 7 nights in a week = 28 hours ~ 4 nights sleep

These fun facts along with my decreasing my caffeine intake have resulted in the following:
  • Slow to respond,
  • Lots of yawns,
  • Unintelligent correspondence,
  • Continued cough,
  • Lots of typos,
  • and on-going forgetfulness
So in case you were wondering, I am a horrible friend right now, but I appreciate all of the friends who are patient and understanding through this.

Now what was I doing again?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Muna Is Home!!!

I can't post her picture, but Isaac's crazy roommate Muna is home now!!!  It's so awesome to see how quickly these children are going home and what loving families they are going to!  What a great way to start Thanksgiving week!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Iris...The Complete Story

Some people ask us why we chose to adopt internationally, and while there are a variety of reasons why, one of the reasons we chose not to adopt through the US foster care system, is because of the number of children who cannot be adopted through the US foster care system.  Their lives are put on hold, because their parents, while not able to take care of them now, hope to someday be able to.  While it is important for these children to have families, we felt God calling us to adopt a child, and not be in a transitional phase.

Well, we found out that this transitional phase is a lot larger of a problem in Ethiopia.  In the orphanage Isaac was in, there are EIGHT, children who cannot be adopted, because their birth parents will not relinquish them. 

One of those children is Iris.  So Iris' status can be changed, but only by her biological Father. What we would pray is that her biological Father will overcome the financial, physical, medical or whatever battles that face him and don't allow him to care for her now, and be able to bring her back into their family, or if this is not possible, for him to know this and allow her to be adopted.  Either way, our wish for her is a forever family.

But that's not the end of the story.  So with the water project in progress, recently learning of another child who got malaria while at the orphanage, and learning of the number of children who are living in this limbo status, we are asking God, Why did you put the little girl who loves zippers and velcro on our hearts?  What do you want us to do?  Is it to provide mosquito netting for all of the children there?  Are we to move forward to pay for a teacher for the children in the orphanage in this predicament?  Is is to commit daily prayer for them?  Is it more? Our prayer for us is discernment in figuring this out.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Scared the Poop Out of Him

I have heard people say "that scared the poop out of me" before, but yesterday, we witnessed this first hand with Isaac.

Sherman was at the top of the stairs and Isaac was telling him all sorts of things in Amharic.  Sherman seemed to understand completely (and here I thought Sherman was slow).  And then out of no where, Sherman went into protector mode and started barking and howling.

Isaac, who I had just checked his diaper, let out a howl and a little something else.

"Yes, I was so scared I pooped." ~ Isaac Hendrickson
So the point of this post, the saying is a true story. ;)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Welcome to Our Dinner Table.

Verified. No male patterned baldness at age 5.
Kevin predicted Isaac's male pattern baldness and Isaac thought it was hilarious.  Dane then told Kevin about how he doesn't want to loose his hair because then he wouldn't be fancy, and then the bomb dropped.  Kevin asked if he was fancy, and as I cringed, I mean seriously cringed, Dane told Kevin, you are loosing your fanciness Dad.  Then Isaac spit his food out, which makes me almost throw up and we called it a meal.

Monday, November 7, 2011

One Orphan + One Family + One Week =

A bigger family.
Isaac pointing out the health info on the Ethiopian box of childrens' cereal.

Mr. I can do it myself has started to be Mr. I need your help.  This is a pivotal point in adoption attachment and one where we have to be very careful.  He's still feeling out who his parents are and "who's in charge" but we had thought we would be waiting for weeks before Isaac would accept us as his family, so we are very happy with this transition so early.  This success has primarily done with sequestering.

As much fun as it isn't, this short term sequestering him provides:
  • Stability.  He's so used to people coming in and out and nothing being permanent.  By keeping all of the key players in his life the same in the same place, this provides the stability he hasn't experienced before.
  • Lack of non-family stimulus.  Everything that Isaac does is new to him.  Whether it's opening a fridge and seeing food in new places, or even new foods, driving in a car in a car seat that doesn't beep at everything and slam on the breaks or swerve. Elevators.  Escalators. Stores. Cold. Toys. People. Everything.  If he gets to much stimulus, he falls apart, starts hitting, yelling, trying to bite, etc.  This is a sign that he no longer feels safe and secure, so when we start to see this, we know it's time to pull back the reigns.  By making family the familiar, this means he will go to family when he needs comfort today, tomorrow and forever.  Kind of a big deal.
  • Confirmation he is no longer in an orphanage.  The more children he sees at one time, the more it brings back the orphanage feelings and behaviors.  We've seen it happen a few times when we have too many toys out or when it gets too loud.  When he goes into this mode, he starts zoning out, getting angry and possessive.  Pulling out of this is getting gradually easier, but it's not a picnic.
  • A better relationship with Dane.  When Dane and Isaac are alone, Isaac has to chose Dane as his playmate, so Dane is not having to compete with other kids for Isaac's attention.  This means that Dane feels more important and he responds as the super-hero big brother rather than a minimized child.
  • Much needed time for adjustments.  Adding a toddler into your household is a challenge, I'm not going to lie.  Luckily for us, he likes to pick up small items on the ground bring them to us and tell us they are "ca ca" and hand them over, so we are doing pretty well with that.  The tantrums, well those are not a picnic.  We have figured out how to prevent and calm the tantrums, but when we make a mistake and do something that a normal toddler would get mad and then move on, but Isaac decides it's the end of the world, well those are the times we struggle with.
  • A non-stop food supply.  So if Dane is a good eater, then Isaac is an excellent eater.  We kind of wonder if once the parasite(s) clear if his eating will be more normal, or if his eating constantly is an orphanage supply-type issue.  He has turned his nose up to a few things, so we think he might be making up for lost time.  But seriously, he eats nonstop.
  • A healthy environment.  Until we get all of the medical tests back and prescriptions completed, we are going to try to keep him home.  No need to risk passing any of the bugs he brought with him along to anyone else.  We think he is now "clean" but until we have confirmation, we just don't want to risk this.  (Although, we might start getting commissions from Huggies and/or Pampers if we do...Maybe I need to think of this from a different light).
So, Isaac's progress has been significant, Dane's progress also significant.  Mom and Dad are tired, but doing well.  I'm pretty sure that each struggle we have now is one we won't have to hurdle as Isaac grows older, so we will just roll with the punches.

We have decided to advocate for Iris, which means we are trying to find out any way to overcome her current status and if we can't, find out how we can make a long term impact on her life (including making sure the clean water source is installed ASAP at the orphanage).  It's taken a bit more time to get information on the next steps, but it allows us more time to pray for discernment. With 150 million orphans worldwide, we hope that there will be more advocates, as Iris is not the only one in a bad predicament.

Busy, but life changing week.  Wonder what this week will bring?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Mommy's Little Biohazard

Being the germ freak that I am, Isaac has been handled with "kid gloves" or "biohazard gloves" or what have you since we first met him in August.  We don't share drinks, we don't share food, we keep everything seperate.
"Want some snacks from my bowl Mom?"  "No, no I don't."

Now I feel justified, Mommy's cute little biohazard has 3 issues and there are still more tests pending:
  • He has already HAD Hepititis A.  He no longer has it, but he probably had it when we were there in July/August.  He has some high liver readings, but they will retest for his 2 year old well baby appointment.  No more Hep A vaccines required, he got the immunity the hard way.
  • He has Giardia.  No wonder we have been going through diapers like they are going out of style.  Rx to start tomorrow, as I am sure you can imagine it is not common here, so the pharmacy is having to go through some extra steps to get it on hand.
  • Ear/Sinus infection - Amoxicillin to the rescue.  Except I can't have it exposed to my skin without risk of another anaphalactic reaction, so this is 100% Kevin's job.
The best news is that good hand-washing and access to clean water sources are the best way to prevent these diseases, so there is really no reason we have to worry about it spreading.  We feel like it is just another reason that putting in the clean water source is so important.  We may be looking at what we can to do bolster the clean water supply at the foster home too.

Even better, our insurance has decided to cover him, which on Monday was in question.  I guess my knowing all of the laws and quoting them or asking if they needed to speak with our attorney paid off.

Dane's still the world's best big brother!  He is helping Isaac with everything that he needs help with and being so kind and loving.  Not that he doesn't get upset if Isaac takes his toy or gets something he shouldn't have.  It's almost like they have been living together since Isaac was born.

The county health department has called twice this week, and who's to say what tomorrow and next week will bring. And since all of his records have his name recorded as it is spelled in Ethiopia, I am enjoying hearing all the different ways to butcher it.  Is Y-is-a-Q's mom there?  ;)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My Heart is Broken

While I was in Ethiopia, I asked God to speak to me and to allow my heart of be broken for what breaks his. To clarify how He would ask me to live my life in love.  Well, my prayers were answered, and I am so sad to report why.

Remember, the little girl who loves zippers?  This one who absolutely loved Kevin, called us Mommy and Daddy and hopped in the van to come home with us? Iris?

Upon arriving at the foster home, I looked for her, as we had been told her parents were arriving the week after us, so she should be there.  I asked, I couldn't wait to give her this special gift I brought for her...A jacket with a ton of zippers.

Well, when she wasn't there, I asked everyone, and I mean everyone where she was and what happened to her, was she already home, at the Mati Orphanage still?  Where was she?

I was told that her parents came, but left and would not be adopting her.  So I immediately began to pray and try to get a hold of Kevin. (Yes Laura, this was one of my SOS messages). When I got a hold of Kevin, we immediately agreed and wanted to know how we could add her to our family and if I needed to stay longer to start the process I would.  They told me that as we had both already met her, they could proceed without me being present, so I was free to go home and proceed from the US.

So after a week of waiting, and Kevin and I wondering about what the next few months would look like we found out today, she is unadoptable.

Yes Lord, my heart is broken.  Without a miracle, that little girl four-year-old girl, will live her life in an institution.

Please pray for Iris that God will be her comforter and her deliverer, that whatever has caused this status will be lifted and removed.  And please pray that the special gift I sent back with the orphanage director for her can remain hers for a while that that the other children will not take it from her.