Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday Flashback

To continue the story of last week where I met my baby boy, here is my journal posting for the day I officially became his mommy:

November 4, 2004: Wow! What a day! Our court date was set for 9 a.m. The other family went first, and I followed at 9:30 a.m. By 10 a.m., I was a mom. The judge asked why I was adopting, why from Russia, how I would care for Henry. The prosecutor asked if it was okay that Henry was older than I originally asked for. She smiled when I commented how special it was that we shared our birthday. Then, out of the room and back in to hear that my petition was granted but that the 10-day wait would not be waived.

Next, it was off to the store to buy cakes for the caretakers and then on to the baby home. Henry was brought to me in a pink snowsuit. This was removed and he was dressed in a blue overalls outfit from Aunt Leslie. Then bundled in his blue snowsuit. Henry cried some in the car, mostly because the other little girl was crying. But he calmed quickly and fell asleep. That should be his only nap.

When we returned to the room, we played with his toys. Surprisingly, he took his first steps. He also seems to want to talk. He seemed to say "uh-oh" and would grunt twice in imitation of woof-woof. He enjoyed playing peek-a-boo. It was apparent that he was not used to one on one attention, but he sure loved it.

He went down at about 8:30 and slept until 6:30 a.m. He woke briefly at about 10:30 but it seemed he had a tummy ache. After a few minutes of consoling him, he settled right back down. He ate well and loved his bedtime bottle.
Yep, I know, not the same warm and fuzzies from the last post. But at this point, I was stressed to the max. I'm glad I got even this little bit documented. I was a new mom to a 15 month old baby and had no idea what I was doing. So far, it seems that I haven't damaged him much. I was so grateful that my Mom was along to provide assistance and moral support.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

One more day at home.

I decided to keep the boy home one more day. Overall, he was fever-free yesterday (although he was up to 100 at bedtime). But he is still coughing badly and has no appetite. That's just NOT normal for him. I thought the day at school might just be too much for him to handle.

So he is nicely ensconced in my bed, eating Apple Jacks, and watching Donald Duck's "A Duck Tale". He's happy as a clam.

Monday, January 26, 2009

So we went to the doctor...

And came home with a prescription for 'tamiflu'. The doctor isn't absolutely sure he has the flu since they were out of the test strips that they use to confirm. Seems everyone and their brother has the flu, so the test strips are in short supply. But based on my description of the symptoms, she felt this was the best course of action.

I must say that the boy that spent the day with me today is completely different than the boy that laid in bed and watched TV all day yesterday. When we got home from the doctor, he asked "can I go outside and play?" Music to my ears...."of course, sweetheart!"

He's been fever-free all day, so unless something happens tonight, he's got the green light to return to school tomorrow. Yippee.

Thanks for everyone's well wishes.

Oh, and he was disappointed that he never got around to watching Episode III. I turned the TV off before lunch and it hasn't been on since. (I'm still not convinced that I am ready for him to watch Episode III, as my B-I-L reminded me that it is the most graphic of them all. Perhaps I can talk him into starting over with IV again...)

I have a sickie on my hands

Yep, my poor baby boy got sick over the weekend. At one point, his fever climbed to over 104 yesterday. I'm so grateful that he responded well to the tylenol that I gave him. So I will probably need to run him to the doctor today. It's been a long time since he has been this sick. He usually saves this up for when we are out of town.

His first winter home, he contracted RSV that landed us in a hospital for six days. That was while we were in the Chicago area for what was supposed to be a 4 day visit. I call that my Gilligan's Island trip to Chicago.

The very next winter, we went to Hot Springs over the holidays. There, we ended up in the ER and had to cut our trip short. The worst part of that was that we had driven for that vacation and had to make the drive home with an extremely cranky boy that required some kind of medicine every 2 hours.

Needless to say, after ending up at the hospital 2 years in a row, we decided to stay close to home for the next winter holidays. And, of course, had no issues.

Unfortunately, this weekend was our Circuit Assembly. We did get to go on Saturday, but had to miss the Sunday session. We'll see if we can make it up on another weekend.

During Henry's downtime, he has focused on watching the Star Wars series. Yesterday, we finished watching VI. We were also able to watch all of I and II. I had decided that the best way for him to watch them was the way that we all watched them. Therefore, we had started with IV (back when we were in North Dakota). We had also watched V while there. Since he seemed so taken with it all, we picked up the whole series at Target last week. Anyway, I was worried he'd be confused when we started back at I. I explained to him what we were doing and that the little boy Anakin would eventually grow up to become Darth Vader. He seemed to get it. I must say that I have been kind of enjoying watching the whole thing again, but fell asleep through a large part of II.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday Flashback

I recently came across a notebook that I had used to make different notes about milestones and such during the adoption process. I also took this notebook to Russia to journal some about my experience and feelings. Among the things I found in this notebook, was a outline of Henry's foot that I had traced, along with his measurements...taken on 9/30/04.

I also found where I had written myself a list of questions that I wanted to ask his caretakers. Underneath, in a different ink, I had written the answers. There were a few gems I thought I would share to demonstrate just how early Henry asserted his

Q: What does he eat?
A: He is not a picky eater. He will eat whatever we give him.

Q: How does he interact with the other children?
A: He is very inquisitive, he needs to know what is going on.

Q: What is his favorite toy or activity?
A: He likes music. When the music teacher comes, that is his favorite.

And now, to go with the picture above, here is what I wrote in my journal after meeting my Henry for the first time:

September 28, 2004....My stomach drops as Irina announces that this is the turn that will take us to the baby home. She has spewed out what little she knows about his short history. I almost cannot absorb and comprehend every thing she tells me. It hasn't really sunk in that she is telling me about MY SON. But now, with butterflies in my stomach, it is finally real. She tells me he is the best one in his age group. I am sure she tells every new family this, but no matter, I still believe her.

Now we are standing in the hall waiting for the caretakers to bring me my son so that I can take him outside. Every set of footsteps creates more butterflies. Finally, Irina calls "Paula, your son is waiting for you to come and get him." I walk into the room. My immediate reaction is to notice the strong resemblance he has to Kody and Caleb. He looks at me uncertainly. I do not immediately pick him up because I do not want to scare him. Instead, I begin talking to him and touching him. He is still not too sure about me.

Finally, I pick him up. He begins to whimper. I just keep talking to him, softly but confidently, and he calms down.

He's wearing a cute blue sleeper with a train on it. It looks brand new. Because the caretakers strongly feel that the kids need to be bundled up, I don't hesitate when they bring me a purple knit sweater sleeper. They also give me green knit booties, which I put on over the feet of his sleeper. Finally, they give me a Winnie the Pooh yellow cap to put on his head. I don't want to cover his precious blond curls, but even more, I don't want to bring on the wrath of the caretakers. So I put it on him. And we're off...

After disgarding the thought of using a stroller, we head to the playground in the back of the baby home. Irina and the other family head off to find their daughter. At last, I am alone with my little bundle of son.

I want to know everything. What color are his eyes? I try to look. In the bright sunlight, they look grey with flecks of gold.

I break out the snacks I brought for him. He is not shy to take them and eat them. He likes the little fruit puffs and he seems to relax a little. I bring out the photo album and he seems curious looking at the pictures. He points to the subjects in each shot and really seems excited when he reaches the picture of the dogs. I know I am practicing wishful thinking, but when I ask him where Mama is, he actually points to me in the picture.

We are together for almost an hour before he actually smiles and laughs. He responds the same way as Jack when I take his arms and throw them in the air, exclaiming "YEAH". And this earns me my first laugh. By now, I have made him show me his teeth. He has 4 on top and 4 on the bottom, and 4 more crowning.

Towards the end of our first visit, he allows himself to snuggle. He lets me hold him like a baby. He has his face against his blankie. And he just lays there calmly and lets me rock him. It was perfect. He is perfect.
Thanks for joining me on this journey down memory lane. To my loyal readers, I will admit I have been a very bad blogger as of late and have missed many good stories to share. I promise that I'll bet back to a regular routine of sharing the hilarity of Henry.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday Flashback

These pictures was taken while we were still in Russia. They were the only two that I sent before I arrived home. During the adoption process, I was warned to keep quiet about the details of my adoption as nothing was final until 10 business days after court. Afraid to rock any boats, I did my best to keep the most exciting news of my life at a low-key level. My friends and family were dying to see my son, so I sent these two pictures. The first demonstrates how happy he was, even if there was a bit of a devious look in his eyes. And the second showed what a good sleeper he was. He took these two items to bed with him every night...his Vladdy (the monkey) and his photo album. Most times, after he had fallen asleep for either bedtime or naptime, I would fine one or both of these items under his head. He still uses Vladdy as a pillow on most nights, even today.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Friday, January 9, 2009

Friday Flashback

I am going to try a new "feature" on my blog, called the Friday Flashback. Each Friday, I'll display an older picture. Unlike Wordless Wednesday, I'll tell the story of the picture that you see.

This picture is the first "family portrait" I have of Henry and I. It was taken in the studio of a professional photographer in Vladivostok, Russia. It was taken on my first trip to Russia where I met my little boy. I think this trip to the photographer was the first time he had been in the car and away from the baby home since he had arrived 7 months earlier. We "needed" to have this photo taken due to the fact that we would not be visiting the American Embassy in Moscow in person. Instead, we used a courier to go and complete our paperwork that allowed me to bring my little Russian back to the US. Since we didn't appear in person, it was necessary to bring a "family portrait" to show the embassy staff as some kind of proof. Regardless, I cherish this photo very much.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009