Tuesday, August 20, 2013

2 Months with Davis

Monday was not only the first day of school, but it also marked 8 weeks since we first met our Davis. After actively working towards this adoption for over a year and knowing his sweet face since last October, some days it seems hard to believe that he is actually here with us and that he is ours forever. And other days it seems like he has been part of our family for much more than eight weeks because he fits into our family so well. 

So how are things going? That's a question that we get asked a lot. Most of the time we answer "Great!" or "Better than we expected." But we wanted to give a more in depth update here to record for posterity for Davis and for all the adoptive families in process who are following our blog now. 

Attachment and bonding is still going well. He's a snuggler and loves to be held or sit on your lap. He likes to be clean and definitely likes to be a helper; last week when I was cleaning for company, he followed me around with a dust cloth and his own closed bottle of Windex and was a very happy boy! Davis can be both a Mommy's boy and a Baba's boy depending upon the situation during the day. For instance last Friday after school orientation for the big boys with Daddy, Davis and I came home and he was not happy with anything I did. Eventually Baba came home from work for a few minutes and Davis calmed right down and happily ate his lunch! He is friendly with other people when we are around, but he still doesn't just go to anyone. He gives hugs and kisses freely to family members  and repeats "I love you." He's been testing some of his boundaries a bit which is a good thing and has responded well, even though he isn't always happy, when we stick to our guns about "No." The last two Sundays he has spent time in the church nursery at Druid Hills with big brother Wesley. Many adoptive families keep their kids out of the nursery or daycare for months after bringing them home. But we don't have that luxury. I go back to work on September 1 and we have no family in town, so he will have to go to the church nursery then. Both times he's been upset when I left the nursery, but after a few minutes he calms down and plays with the other kids. 

In terms of language, he continues to make slow and steady progress in this area. There are new words and new phrases starting to pop up in his vocabulary. Our favorites are "Come on!" and "Come here!" usually accompanied with a very insistent hand gesture. In the last week or so, he started saying Mommy all the time, even to the "wrong" people. But upon listening closely we've realized he's using "Mommy" in exchange for the concepts of "help me" or "give me." So at least he associates Mommy with helping! We just correct him on the names and concepts and move on. Also he likes prayer time and has picked up several phrases from the prayers. Actually whenever we ask him to fold his hands to pray (bedtime, dinner or in church) he starts right in with "Now I lay me down to sleep." It's so cute! He understands SO much of what we say that we know it's frustrating for him that he doesn't always have the words to communicate with us. Most families of internationally adopted children seem to notice a marked explosion of language after six months. He starts daycare part-time next week and we're confident that being around other kids all day long will help with his expressive language in the next few months. 

Davis still eats very well and he doesn't really overeat anymore. We have discovered that he loves spicy food. How many 3 year olds do you know who like jalapeno cheese grits with bits of jalapeno in them?!!! He also really likes Cajun red beans and rice. Vegetables are another favorite - peas, carrots, corn, and green beans will disappear from his plate often before anything else does. He still doesn't like temperature extremes in food (which could be a preference or a tooth sensitivity) but we did get him to eat a few bites of Uncle Jonathan's ice cream this weekend after it sat out for a bit. And he only gets upset about not being able to eat immediately if he is already tired or off his routine in some way. 

Our one big challenge is sleep right now. We've been reminded that sleep is a precious, precious commodity. Parker slept through the night at five WEEKS old. And because God has a delightful sense of humor, Wesley didn't sleep through the night until he was nine MONTHS old and even then it wasn't a feat that was repeated every night. In the last two weeks Davis has been experiencing some sleep disruptions. He wakes up every couple of hours screaming. Usually we can comfort him and he goes back to sleep right away, but sometimes it's a good 30 minutes before he falls back to sleep. About four days into this I was so sleep deprived I didn't realize that I was drinking decaf coffee expecting it to help! Fortunately the disruptions are starting to taper off and Monday night he only woke up once. So what happened? Well from all of our pre-adoption training and talking with other families this seems to be an expression of grief.  The first few days it was happening the only other sign of something off was that he refused to wear any of his new shoes and would only wear the sneakers that he came to us with from China. Davis does so well during the day, that it's easy to forget that he has experienced a lot of losses in the last few months - a foster family that loved him, not to mention the loss of his country and language, as well as familiar food and smells and more. So this is a normal, natural and healthy process but still hard to watch him go through. 

The medical stuff has calmed down here lately too. All of the urine and stool specimens came back clean, so there are no digestive bugs that we need to worry about. Davis is a tiny but healthy little boy.  That is a tremendous answer to prayer. In Davis' initial referral file he was severely anemic, enough that the doctors in China ordered additional testing to check for a blood disorder called thalassemia. Depending upon the type of thalassemia some children need monitoring and others need regular blood transfusions for the rest of their lives. All of the test results were included in Davis' file but were inconclusive. The international adoption doctor and our pediatrician felt that Davis' anemia was due to being malnourished in the orphanage. But there was still a chance that he could have thalassemia and in conjunction with his cleft lip/palate that would mean there was some kind of syndrome at play and Davis could have other medical issues. We felt certain after we met him that Davis did not have thalassemia and that has been confirmed with all his test results. And not only does Davis NOT have thalassemia, but he is no longer anemic either! We only have to see the pediatrician on the same well visit schedule now as Parker and Wesley, and keep up with the cleft team for monitoring. 

So that's where we find ourselves eight weeks in. Getting to know our son more and more every day and getting used to being a family of five together. It's been quite a wonderful adventure. 

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