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.