Monday, July 22, 2013

Colton's orthopedic surgeon appt.

We had an appt. today with the orthopedic surgeon I met on flight for Trip #1.  It went well...he will see Colton and has a plan-lengthening a tendon and transplanting another to help his leg and foot.

Following our tradition, each appointment leads to a few more...he being sent to a dr. at mayo clinic (Yes, in Minnesota) who is a neurosurgeon and has had some great results.  I have spent this afternoon getting results sent to different doctors.  I would love to make this trip before school starts!
It would be great if Colton could have these surgeries soon.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Planes, trains, and automobiles....Blackmon style

About two years ago, we purchased a week at a house in Montana, with two other families, from our schools auction. We were able to get our whole family ( all 7 of us! ) free flights with Troys miles, but these free flights are never exactly convenient or direct paths.

Day one, we leave from Houston to Shreveport, then on to Denver...with final destination of Jackson hole Wyoming. We got to Shreveport and on to Denver fine. Our flight in Denver was delayed, which was great because it meant we got dinner. Then it was delayed a little more, then a little more. At 11:00, it was canceled. We had 5 kids in the airport until 1:30 that morning while united figured out what they were going to do with us. We were sent to a hotel for two nights, because they could not get all 7 of us there any sooner( Jackson hole isn't the biggest airport...not many flight)

On Friday, we woke up and decided to make the most of out time there. We visited a candy factory and drove up mount Evans. The kids enjoyed throwing snowballs at each other. That night we had intended to get everybody to sleep early for an early flight. At 10:00, we got a call from our driver that he would not be picking us up. Troy spent the next hours finding us new transportation( our hotel was about 45 minutes from airport). We woke up early the next morning, and headed to Jackson hole.

Our time at the house was amazing. It was absolutely beautiful. We enjoyed rafting( Caitlin's favorite part.. She fell out!) horseback riding and hanging out with great friends. The kids were all wonderful! Colton caught his first trout in the Yellowstone river. We were able to see Louis and Clark caverns and enjoy lots of good fooOn Friday morning, we left Montana and headed to Yellowstone park. The weather was bad, we got hailed on several makes great stories for our kids. We got to see lots of buffalo, elk, possibly a grizzly. We saw waterfalls and geysers. Kids had a blast. The cabins here were not quite as fancy as our previous accommodations, but it was all good.

A funny story from Friday night. Our family was in our cabin, we had brought Colton's sleeping bag because the cabin was small. Last December, Colton had lost his very special blankie....the one he had for his whole life and deeply loved. We had looked everywhere, but could not find that blanket. Anyway, when everyone was getting in bed, Colton starts SCREAMING! Blankie was in his sleeping bag. You should have seen the happy dance that boy did.

Saturday night, we drove to Teton village, Wyoming and stayed at a neat hotel. We had a fabulous dinner and headed to bed.

Sunday was another adventure in blackmon traveling. Our flight was scheduled to go through San Francisco. We sat on the runway for about an hour before taking off. When we landed, we got a great view of the wreckage from asiana air flight from the day before. Thankfully, we did not miss our flight, but had no time to get food. Our next flight was 3hrs 55 min, so they should serve something. Right..wrong. Our flight also had to stop in Albuquerque to refuel (problem with runways from wreck day before) so, we landed in Houston at around 6:00 hungry and with no luggage. While Troy worked out luggage issues, I went and got car. We stopped for pizza on way home and came home to our nice clean house, with no electricity! Don't you wish you could travel with us?
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Home...what's next

On Sunday, June 9th, I got back to Houston from meeting our boys.  I was very sad to be leaving our sweet little ones there, but also very ready to be home with my family.  So...we got back to the paper chasing part of adoption.  That Thursday, June 13, I mailed our 1800 in to us immigration for approval, along with a check.  Unfortunately, I sent the check for the wrong amount.  I got it back June 22 and resent it on the 24.

This 1800 application is where I found out about of a huge "gods timing" part of our adoption that I had not been aware of before.  The 1800 has two parts, part one had been filled out months before and we were approved through the us government to adopt up to 3 children, ages 3-8.  I knew that Braydon had turned 3 in april...I hadn't given this much thought.  He would be three when we got him   Home.  What I became aware of was, he had to be three by the time of our written referral.  This is what we waited and waited on earlier.  It was truly God's timing.  As I was so consumed about not getting this signature that was taking forever, God had it all under control.  Brayden turned three on April 27, and we got our signature 3 days later.  I am not sure what exactly would have happened if it the signature was given before his birthday.  I know if we were able to continue the process, it would involve much time and paperwork, starting with revisions to our home study.

So, here we are mid July.  We have gotten approval for our 1800.  It has been sent to the country along with all the rest of our paperwork.  We are ready!  Today, I received word that the courts in this country will be closed until September 15.  They usually are closed about a month in August, but not two.  I was hoping that our dossier could get through...but we will continue to wait.  I was told some judges will choose to have their cout remain open.  Please pray we are assigned one of these judges.  Brayden really needs to get home and receive medical care.

At this point, it is likely that it will be October or November when our boys will walk out of their orphanage ( or be carried) and come home.


My week with Brayden was much different than the week before. Brayden can not walk or crawl. He can sit, but only when someone puts him in that position. He is precious.

Troy left early Tuesday morning to go home to our kids and work. I spent the week going to a small room at the orphanage twice a day to love on him.
When Brayden is interested in things, he truly analyzes them. He puts things he likes very close ( touching) his left eye and looks at them. For a long time, from every angle. He did this with a watch, a water bottle...anything he thought was cool.
He also loves to a little monkey.
Wednesday, I got brave. I said I was taking measurements ( which I did want), but I was able to take his pants and and tights off and get a good look at his little legs and feet. It was more than I was expecting. He will need quite a bit of medical care and therapy. I was able to get contact information on the specialist in Philadelphia for his condition, arthrogryposis.

I will send info to this Dr soon, I would like to get him there soon after he comes home.
I also spent a lot of the week trying to see if Brayden would talk at all. He would make a few sounds. On day, he even repeated me saying "kk". While we were looking at a photo album. He did it twice! I was so shocked that I had to confirm with yavor( my translator) that he also heard it! This small thing was an answer to prayers and gave me so much hope. I had been questioning if we were taking on too much...if we were able to give Brayden the care he needed? I am an RN, so medical does not scare me too much, but I did not know how this little boy could possibly make it through surgeries and rehab without some self motivation.

On Thursday, we were able to take Brayden to get his visa picture. I thought it was so cute that the staff cared so much what he was wearing for this. The first shirt he had on had a button missing, so they changed him. His hair was also brushed that day. Brayden was scared in the car. He showed this by pulling on my pants. I think this was his second trip in a car. After the pictures, we went on a walk around the city and he feel asleep.
As I am typing this, I just realized something. Brayden never cried. All week he spent with people he did not know...he had to have been scared...he is only three years old...he never cried. How sad that a three years old he has already learned not to cry. He already knows that he gets no response to his cries. I can not wait to bring him home and love him. To teach him that we will respond to him, we will hold him when he is hurt or scared.
On Friday, I was able to only see him for a morning visit before we headed back to the capital. I checked back into the hotel and meet back up with Melissa.

We went out to lunch and then went to a lawyers office to sign papers and to our attorneys office.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, July 15, 2013

Meeting Brayden

Monday morning, June 3, Yavor, Troy and I headed to Brayden's city.  It was about a 2 hour drive from the capital and we had a nice drive through mountain areas.
We got there around 10:30.  The orphanage was going through renovations, so everything was a mess. 

We had a little trouble figuring out where to enter, then had to sign in with a guard (we had to do this on each visit).  We were led into a very little room with a child sized table and two chairs.  The director then talked to us for a few minutes and then he was brought in.
All I can remember about the first interaction is meeting Brayden brought tears to my eyes (which is a big deal for me- I have never had tears).  It was emotionally very overwhelming.

Brayden is just cute.  He is a sweet little guy who is very timid.   He is 3 years old, but size wise closer to 18 months.
He is timid, but likes to play...although he really does not know how to play.  We were able to get him interested in a few different toys and show him how to play.  He really liked throwing a light up ball and getting us to chase it and bring it back.
We were able to feed him lunch.  He likes to eat, but it is obvious that he has never been allowed to feed himself.  He would not (even when I encouraged) reach for his food.  He would only open his mouth when I got the food close.   He would not reach for food when put on his tray.  I thought this was very odd...he can grab things.
Brayden has a condition called arthrogryposis.  We were not sure how he would be affected by this.  The first day all we really could determine is that he can't walk.  He has very thin legs.  He can move his knees to about 90 flexion.  His ankles are very stiff with very little movement, very little rotation.  He was wearing tights under his pants (very common in this country), so I was not able to look at his legs at this point.
We left after lunch and were able to come back in the afternoon.  He was slow to wake up after his nap.  It was a short visit.
During this first day were able to see a little bit of Brayden's sweet personality.  He does not make many noises, no words...but he loves to laugh.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Weekend in Sofia

On Friday afternoon, we left Stephen's city for the capital.  We were able to meet our friends from the airport for dinner.  They were on their pick up trip, so we were also able to meet their new daughter.  It was great to hear about their experiences through the week and how life with their first child had been so far.   After dinner, we headed to the hotel and tried to download a movie from iTunes....we were not even close to being able to watch it that took about 12 hours to complete.   I need to remember to download several kids show before the pick up trip!
Saturday,  Troy and I spent the day exploring Sofia. 

It is a beautiful city.  Very interesting mix of old architecture mixed with socialist panel type buildings.  The country is very poor, so nothing appears to be well maintained, but it is all very clean.  We spent the day walking around, touring beautiful cathedrals and parks. 

We shopped for souvenirs for our kids and walked more at an outdoor market.  We tasted several different Bulgarian pastries in the morning.  We had a wonderful early dinner at a Greek restaurant.  It was an excellent treat! 

That evening, we headed back to our hotel and watched to movie that had finally downloaded.
Sunday morning, we woke up and tried to attend church.  We had found a church listed on EEM's website and decided to go.  We took a taxi to the hotel that was listed.  When we got there, we were told the church had not met there in about 6 months.  They gave us a name and address, but we were not sure if it was the address of where the church met, or just the residential address of their contact.  We started walking, but the area got worse and worse.  We spent about 30 minutes, but could never find the correct place and we were not feeling very safe.   I really enjoyed our adventure.  It let us see part of the city that was not the tourist area.

Sunday evening, we went with Melissa Schmitt out to dinner.  We set out for a pizza place that Melissa had found earlier in the week.  It was closed and it had started raining, so we ate at the next place we found.  It was a restaurant that had meat hanging in the windows.  They served some type of sandwiches with this meat that had French fries on them and a sauce that looked like sour cream.  The men working there enjoyed laughing at us because we could speak only English and were clearly tourist.  After dinner, we went and packed up to go meet Brayden on Monday.

We also got to meet Stephanie Roodhuyzen and Abbie Caple over the weekend. They were also there on a trip one visit to meet Stephanie's girls! Abbie is a sweet young woman who has advocated for orphans and has supported Stephanie during the adoption process

I know I am very late in adding the events of the second week of our trip.  I think I was overwhelmed during the second half of my trip and was not ready to share it yet....Then I got really busy when I got home.  I am going to try to get up to date in the next few days.