Sunday, March 29, 2009

Andrew full speed ahead...
A squeal of delight.
Hello world.  It's me, Andrew.

After a long day of playing!

We have been a very busy but happy family.  Andrew is 21 months old now and he is the sweetest, most inquisitive boy.  Today we had an Easter egg hunt at our church, and although Andrew was not too interested in finding eggs yet, we still had a blast.  He loved going down the slide today.  He is not one for swings, however.  And now that he is walking, we spend 90% of our time chasing him.  He will always look back at us, though, and will laugh as he recognizes we are following him.  
Andrew is growing, too, although he isn't growing at rocket speed.  He is still in his 18 month clothing.  The upside is that he is getting a lot of use out of his clothes.  It has been amazing to see how much he has caught up in the past eight months at home.  He is probably 'age appropriate' for most skills now.  Andrew loves to pick up books and read to himself.  He will turn the page and go "ba...babooobee....daahh."  Or something like that.  His vocabulary is taking off, too.  This week's word is 'bubble'.  
We are planning Andrew's baptism and birthday celebration for May 31st.  We figure we will do his birthday a bit early this year, so we can catch family and friends before the vacations begin.  
Well, it is off to bed I go, but I just had to post some pictures before the day was out.  Have a nice week, everyone!



Tuesday, January 27, 2009

It seems like I am in the habit of waiting over a month to post updates.  I am determined to stay up and do this update tonight.  We had such a wonderful holiday season with Andrew.  It was so much fun taking him to our family Christmas parties.  Andrew got to meet even more family members!  Andrew didn't really get the concept of Christmas this year.  He did enjoy the wrapping paper on the gifts, but that was about it.  But we sure had so much fun with Andrew.  

Andrew also had his 18 month checkup in December.  Andrew is still in the 1st percentile in
 weight but he is in the 21st percentile in height.  He is at that finicky age where food may or may not interest him, depending on the mood.  Sometimes Andrew is more interested in the texture and feel of the food.  There are meals when he eats well, and meals when he doesn't eat much at all.  Vernon and I always eat with Andrew (at least as much as we can), and that is supposed to encourage eating.  And he loves his Pediasure milkshake, which we give daily to him, just to supplement what he is eating.

Andrew also began occupational therapy last month.  His occupational therapist (OT) works on a wide variety of skills with Andrew, from sitting in a kneeling position to working with a spoon.  There are other fun activities as well, such as swinging and climbing at his therapy.  We are already seeing much improvement in Andrew's skill level.  Andrew still faces a challenge with sensory overload at times.  Meaning, when too many sights, sounds, and movements are thrown at him all at once, Andrew might act a little hesitant, which can manifest itself in clenched fists, a blank stare, or most commonly now with drooling.  It is categorized as a mild issue, so we work on activities designed to help him begin to process all of the new sights and sounds he is experiencing a bit better.  

Andrew is also walking now!  It is the cute beginning stages of walking, where he will take 10 or 12 steps, looking like he will keel over at any minute.  It is amazing to see how much strength he has developed.  He is also saying words, which is quite surprising to us, as we really weren't expecting this so soon.  He says "mama", "bye-bye", "uh-oh", and "car".  A friend at church jokingly noted that those are the same words he will be saying as a teenager - mama, car, bye-bye, and uh-oh.  I had to laugh.

We took a family trip to the beach recently, and had a few nice hours outdoors in January.  Andrew really liked the sand and the toy dump truck in the sand.  Here are my favorite pictures from the beach:

We also went to Washington D.C. to the inauguration!  It was so much fun, although on the actual day of the inauguration, I made a last minute decision to watch it on t.v.  I am not known for braving cold temps, and I didn't want to subject Andrew to a long day.  We had a blast in D.C. the day before the inauguration, though.  Andrew got to visit with his cousin Audrey and the grown ups went to the S.C. Inaugural ball, which was so much fun.  Here is one picture of bath time and one picture in front of the White House the day before the election:
We also had a lot of fun visiting with friends in the D.C. area.  It was a very special visit.

I could post so much more.  I will finish with telling you how much Andrew's personality has developed.  He loves to have fun, has a ready smile on his face, and is quite smart and curious.  His only tough moments are when he is tired, and I must say that as a grown up, I am the same way.  I will post one last picture of that beautiful laugh of his:



Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It has officially been over a month since I posted an update, so I will quickly try to catch everyone up!  Life has become much more interesting since I returned to work.  Andrew seems to be adapting to the change well.  The question is "Are his parents?" :).   For the most part, Andrew likes his child care - the only exception is when we leave - then he scrunches up his face and cries.  One of his teachers, Ms. Kenya, caught us before we even left one morning and told us Andrew had already stopped crying before we even made it to our cars.  So I am relieved that a) he misses us and b) that he isn't so upset that it impacts his day.  I am very observant though, and watch him carefully for signs of any kind of regression or attachment issues.  I have detected very little change.  The biggest change is that when we are home, Andrew no longer likes it when I am out of sight.  As Vernon puts it, Andrew loves his mommy.  Which makes me smile.  He is still his normal, happy, cute self, though.
Andrew begins his occupational therapy today.  I actually have to leave in just a couple of minutes for our first session.  Andrew still isn't walking, although he is getting closer every day.  The therapists we are working with feel like Andrew has so much potential and they are encouraged that they can get him in the right direction.  It does make me realize how important early intervention is, though.  The key for us is finding the balance with respect to what we do and how much do we do it.  We could probably do occupational, speech and physical therapy, but right now we are starting slowly with occupational, and will probably start some speech next year.  
Andrew is still a littler fellow - he is hovering around the 20 pound range.  We have his 18 month checkup Friday, though, and we will discuss his weight and a few other things.  Overall he is doing so well.  He loves to clap and wave bye-bye.  Vernon will make an "Andrew Sandwich" by using 2 pillows with Andrew in the middle.  Andrew loves this kind of play - especially in the mornings.  Andrew discovered our kitchen cabinets not too long ago, and is a master at pulling out the contents of the cabinets.  And yes, he has taken his first step or two, but that is about all he can manage at this point.  Oh, and he loves to play the drums.  Go figure :).  
Well, I have to run to the OT therapist for now, but will update more Christmas week!  We are so happy that Andrew turns 1 1/2 years old tomorrow (Thursday).  We will be celebrating this milestone, of course.  


Christa, Vernon and Andrew

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Chasing Andrew

We have had a great couple of weeks!  Andrew is doing so well, and I really don't know where to start.  Well, I will start with this picture, which really is the story of my life.  Chasing Andrew.  

He is rather quick, but I like giving him free reign over the home right now, as all that activity helps him get stronger.  We have had early intervention evaluate Andrew, and we have also had a private occupational therapist do an evaluation.  There are just a few things they want to work on.  One is his right sided strength.  Andrew is really favors his left side, and we will work with him in strengthening his right side.  We are still doing testing, and will find out more later.  But the therapists are all encouraged that any issues should be resolved with some work.  One thing that made me happy was during his early intervention assessment, he was 'age appropriate' for his social-emotional development, which is really huge considering he has only been home with us for under 4 months. 

This past Veterans Day we had a play date with Niko, who was adopted from Russia just a few days before Andrew.  As a matter of fact, we met Niko's parents John and Lea while out to eat in the Novy Arbat district of Moscow.  Turns out that they live just a few minutes down the road from us in Charlotte.  We had a great time during our play date.  It was so nice talking to Lea and discussing all things adoption related.  Adoption can be quite a bewildering but amazing experience, and it was nice to chat about our experiences.  Here is a picture from our play date.  Niko is on the far left, his sister Emma in the middle, and Andrew on the right.

This past weekend we went down to Rock Hill to visit with family.  Of course a stop in Rock Hill means stopping at Lee's Chicken and PW's ice cream (we did both).  We had a nice visit.  Here is a picture of Andrew's cousin Claire giving Andrew his sippy cup. 

My return to work is right around the corner.  Much of this past month was spent looking at child care facilities and finding the right place for Andrew.  I think we have found such a place just a mile from our home.  We have been visiting Andrew's room this week, and plan to visit again next week.  The two ladies that will be caring for Andrew seem super interested and caring, and I am hoping this will be a good transition.  Andrew will actually be starting in the 6 to 12 month room.  I think he would be a little stressed if he was in the 12-18 month old room, as he cannot walk yet and although he feeds himself some food, he really still needs to be fed by an adult.  I was really pleased when we made the decision to put him in the 6-12 month room, because it put to rest my main concerns for him.  So I will keep you posted on how the transition to work goes.  

Other than that, we have just been hanging out at home, playing with anything that has wheels or anything that rolls.  I promise I'll post more regularly.  I will try to do once a week.  Here are some final pictures!

Andrew trying to get at Vernon's hat:
Andrew standing up during an event in our church fellowship hall:




Saturday, November 1, 2008

We have had a very busy week and a half.  It started this past weekend when we visited Asheville, NC.  It was Andrew's first road trip and he did pretty well.  Of course the crib provided in the hotel wasn't quite like the one at home, and Andrew wasn't quite as comfortable, but all in all it was a good trip.  The highlight was visiting our wonderful friends at our adoption agency.  We love our agency so much, and we had a delightful afternoon hanging out in the office, catching up, and letting Andrew play.  We also went to a farm - Hickory Nut Gap Farm - and tried going through a corn maze (failing miserably and quitting), and playing with the pumpkins (much more fun).  Andrew was a bit tired, and a bit unsure of his surroundings, but ultimately warmed up to the big orange gourds and had some fun.  Then we went to an apple orchard - Sky Top Orchard - on a rather chilly Sunday.  By this time, Andrew was maxed out on adventure.  Instead of playing with the hay, he would go straight to the stroller (not ours, of course) to play with the wheels.  He did enjoy playing with the leaves on the trees, and we got some more cute pumpkin pictures. But we didn't prolong the trip.  Some things are more for the parents at this age - like Halloween.
We had a nice Halloween.  Andrew was a frog and we went to one house  - our neighbors Mark and Joanna who love Andrew.  We got one Kit Kat bar and called it a night.  Again, some things are more for the parents at this age.

Today we helped out at our local adoption expo.  We got to meet a lot of families (some with our agency) and it was so nice introducing them to Andrew.  We spoke with many families interested in adoption and it was nice to be able to help out.  It is amazing what a year can do in knowledge and experience.  We ended our day eating at Mert's, a soul food restaurant, but Andrew was clearly ready to go home by that time.  Being on display, although fun for us and helpful to prospective adoptive parents, wasn't as rewarding for Andrew.  Plus missing a nap isn't too cool, either.
Earlier this week Andrew had his 'little boy' surgery.  It went as smoothly as could be expected, but Andrew is still in a bit of pain, and I tend to slack of the tylenol and motrin too much (I'm too reactive instead of proactive).  I add this because it was helpful to read other adoptive parent blogs about the process, and it helped me out a lot in asking the right questions to make sure the process went as smoothly as could be expected.  
And finally we had Andrew evaluated by the early intervention group.  We wanted to wait until we were home for a few months before being tested.  Andrew did well and actually impressed me with some of the things he could do.  Of course, he is still a bit behind in some categories, but I got the impression the only thing he might qualify for is speech.  We will find out more on Tuesday when we meet for their report and conclusions.  I do hope their recommendations will err on the side of recommending therapy, as I want to give Andrew opportunities to help him progress and learn.  I'll post more when we get the full report.
Andrew has done other new things this week.  On Monday the 27th he began clapping his hands.  On Tuesday he put the ring back on the stick.  He is really starting to mimic things we do and say with more regularity.  He will hold his bottle on his own for a small bit (this is one area we haven't really pushed, as we want to continue the attachment and bonding that goes along with bottle feeding).  He will walk now with only one hand on the couch.  He gaining weight and getting rather tall.  I looked at a growth chart and it looks like he is close to the 30% range for height, which floors me.  
We also hope to get our adoption announcements out this week, if we can ever get to the post office.  The picture is from early September, so Andrew has changed a lot, but it is a good reflection of Andrew soon after we brought him home. 
We will post more later.  Thanks for checking in on us. 



Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pumpkin Boy

First, for the pictures.  This is happy Andrew who is so inquisitive and wants to figure out everything:

This is athlete Andrew, whose favorite pastime is throwing a ball.  He likes to put it in my hands!
This is me and Andrew:
Andrew standing up by the piano bench:
Hungry Andrew, eating what I believe is a strategically placed cheerio.
We are doing very well.  Today we went in for a hearing test as a part of the early intervention program.  They saw some fluid in his ear so off we had to go to the pediatrician - turns out it was clear fluid and not gooky fluid, so no ear infection.  I did learn that Andrew is cutting his molars (did I say that right?).  I saw one coming in and one about to come in.  His gums are so puffy - he really has been agitated the past few days and now I see why.  She advised us to give him a bit of tylenol so I did that tonight.  I hope he will sleep well.  I'm glad Andrew checked out well because we will be traveling to Asheville this weekend and I am hoping we have a nice first weekend getaway with Andrew.  We hope to go to an apple orchard and maybe go on a hayride.  We'll see how things go!  I have to pack but have procrastinated by blogging, which I suppose is a good type of procrastination.  Andrew kept me going today so I didn't have much time to pack like I thought I might.  Anyway, I hope everyone is well!  We will report in after our trip.



Friday, October 10, 2008

Hurricane Andrew

Pictures are at the end of the post!

Having been reminded by Vernon's Granddaddy that I have not posted an update since September 20, I am at the computer on a Friday night typing away.  Actually, Vernon is out of town tonight and Andrew is happily asleep, so now is a good time to write.

Andrew has been home with us for just over 2 months!  I was looking at some of his pictures when we first met him June 4th, and he has certainly grown - physically and in personality.  When we left the baby home, one of his caregivers, I believe it was Oksana, told us Andrew loved to play with his food.  When he came home with us he displayed some playfulness with his food, but was really intent on eating.  Now he is becoming more playful.  We have so many Saltine and Cheerio casualties - food that goes straight to the floor.  I have learned to recycle some of the food.  He is also getting good at swatting the spoon.  Andrew's fun with food is a small part of a personality that is generally happy, inquisitive, and determined.  His smile is adorable and his babbling so cute.  He tends to reserve those moments for the home, though, but I'm sure as time goes by more and more of his personality will come out.

A couple of weeks ago I was very gently rear-ended as we were out running errands.  The person who ran into me was profusely apologetic, and as the policeman was doing his thing with our insurance cards, the man who gently rear-ended me asked me about Andrew.  I told him we recently adopted him from Russia.  The man mentioned he and his wife were just starting the adoption process, and it turns out we have the same adoption agency.  They are adopting through domestic adoption, and I assured him his family was in good hands.  I just thought that was a huge coincidence of sorts.  It was cute, because when I told him Andrew was doing very well, and was happy and easygoing, the man was all too ready to give me credit for that (which I declined to take credit for).  I think the guy was just thinking that my response to being gently rear-ended was a little unusual.  Once he mentioned they were adopting, I 
forgot all about being gently rear-ended and just asked him tons of questions and gave him tons of support.  

Andrew has also been introduced to college football over the past weeks.  I have some Miami Hurricane clothing for him, so he can dress like his daddy.  Unfortunately the Hurricane's have stunk the past couple of weeks, so Vernon has tried to explain to Andrew that the 'Canes are just having an 'off' year.  Maybe it is time for some Gamecock clothing for Andrew.

Anyway, Andrew has a few appointments scheduled in the next few weeks, and we are starting to look into the wonderful world of child care.  So far the place I always thought was ideal only has a 16 year wait list.  So maybe Andrew will get in soon after he gets his drivers license.  Okay, I exaggerated only slightly with the length of the wait list.  We haven't toured any places yet but will begin that process next week.  We are touring a couple of places that have availability and a couple of others with waiting lists.  I don't have to go back to work just yet, so we will have time to find the right place where Andrew will continue to thrive.

Well, that's it for now.  I am getting very sleepy.   I will post more later.  Thanks for continuing to follow our journey!  And now for the pictures...

Andrew when we first met him:

Andrew in his froggy jammies:
Hurricane Andrew walking with the lawnmower:

Andrew, Vernon and Lester the Cat:

Andrew and me: