Sunday, October 23, 2011

Update on Clubfeet Surgery

After the first cast change on Wednesday, Andrei was in a lot of pain. They moved his feet to the full extended position and opened all the stitches behind his ankle. This was going to be done over a four week span, but the dr. was concerned that the feet were beginning to stiffen with the tightening of the skin. The wounds are now completely opened and depending on the healing process, he may need a skin graph.
The meds this week were not helping with the pain and they were making him "crazy". We took him back to the hospital on Friday and they removed a portion of the cast. One of his knees is not use to been so straight, and the pressure of the cast on it was causing a lot of pain. Since then we have seen a lot of improvement. He is still not sleeping all night, but now he is sleeping 3 hours at a time instead of waking up screaming every hour. We have also been able to remove the heavy duty narcotics that were causing stomach pains and making him "crazy".
All of the pain he has experienced has brought back some of the orphanage survival behaviors. It has been a rough couple of weeks, but hopefully we have reached a turning point. Monday he goes back for the second cast changed. I pray this time it will not be as painful. Thank You for your continued prayers.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Surgery went well!

His feet were tagged and ready for surgery. They look like "praying feet." So cute. It is hard to believe that they will be flat soon.

This picture was taken right before he went into surgery. He kept telling everyone his feet were going to be "straight". He was very excited about having his feet "straight", but did not understand what that actually meant. I don't think most 4 year old boys would. Staying still, having his feet elevated, and being in pain is not what he had in mind when we talked about "fixing his feet." As soon as he was out of surgery, he wants the casts off so he could walk. Poor little thing!
Scottish Rite is an amazing hospital! The surgery went well. The doctor was able to place Andrei's feet flat while maintaining good circulation. He will be in long leg casts for about 6 weeks and then half length for 6-8 more weeks. Then, he will have braces.

The pain is now starting to kick in and the next 3 months will be a difficult adjustment. Please continue to keep us in your prayers.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Summer Fun

At the beach in California

There he goes!!! Flying across the lake!

He loved riding Big Mable! Fearless!!!!

Pool! Beach! Lake! There was no stopping Andrei this summer!So many firsts! So much fun! One determined little boy!

4th Birthday Pictures


Sorry it has been so long since the last update.

Family Update
  • We had a good summer with lots of traveling. We went to California for 2 weeks and had a great time with my family. This is a picture of my grandma with Madison and Andrei. She will be 100 years old in November.
  • We also went to Disney, and Andrei was great during the 14 hours we were there. He loved every minute of it. We were exhausted, but we could not leave Cali without a picture with Mickey!
  • We are all back to school now. This is my second year as principal at my school, and it feels so much better to have a year under my belt. It was a great beginning! I have an amazing group of teachers and coworkers!
  • Madison is now in 5th grade and loving her classes. She is maturing everyday and "getting along"with Andrei. They act like siblings that have been together forever, and they know how to push each others' buttons.
  • Andrei started in PPCD at our district and doing well. He has speech, PT, and OT services.
  • Randell is continuing his landscape design business from home. The summer heat in TX has made it a little slow, but we hope it will pick-up again in the fall.
Andrei Update
  • Feet surgery is scheduled for October 10th. He will be in the hospital for 4 days. The first four days are very painful, and for two of those days he will have an epidural. Then, he will have casts for 12-14 weeks. At least 6 of those weeks will be full length casts. Please pray for the surgeon and for Andrei's recovery.
  • Depending on how he does after his feet are flat, we will look at hip surgery.
  • His English is getting better every day. He is speaking in sentences, but because of his articulation he can be difficult to understand if you are not use to it.
  • He is more affectionate and loves to be hugged and kissed. He spent this past weekend at Randell's parents house, and he kept telling me "I miss you mama" when I picked him up. So sweet!
  • He can be very sweet, but also very difficult.
  • We are still dealing with lots of "survival"behaviors and fits. Fits are not as aggressive as they use to be, but they are still exhausting. Please keep praying for us to better understand him and for patience.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Scottish Rite Appointment

We had our first Scottish Rite appointment. It was more of a consultation, and we did a few things to get the "ball rolling" on his treatment.

There are somethings that we knew that were confirmed, such as: his hips are dislocated, his left leg is hyper-extended with little mobility, his right knee is doing pretty well and he has control over movement on that leg, and his feet are clubbed and stiff. We also had some clarification on some other things, such as: his arthrogryposis is not typical in that it does not affect his upper body, and he may have a neurological disorder that is affecting his joints that is not necessarily arthrogryposis. They may or may not be able to identify exactly what he has, and the recommendation was to see a neurologist for some further testing. He had lots of x-rays done today, but we will not see them until our next appointment.

After our neurologist appointment, we will meet with our orthopedic surgeon once again and schedule his club feet surgery. This will not be a one time fix. The orthopedic surgeon explained that the process needs to be slow in order to avoid causing nerve damage. He will probably have at least two surgeries and there will be casting and physical therapy in between and after. There is a 50% chance that his feet will go back to club position after surgery, and we will look at other options if that happens. After the feet surgery, we will look at his mobility again. The doctor feels that often more damage is done to the hips and knee by having surgery, and with physical therapy, he may be able to compensate with how he is "built" once his feet are flat. We'll have to wait and see.

The physical therapist also looked at him, and she recommended the use of a walker with a soft brace over the knee he can not control. He walked all over the hospital and home with the walker. He is much slower with the walker than his "normal" walk, but I think he really likes being upright. Part of the reason he is not walking is not simply about the club feet. His hips and the muscles associated with that area which help us balance are not well developed.

We also have an appointment in May to look at options for a wheelchair. Although the doctor felt confident that he would walk, he was not as confident that it would be without some type of "device". He felt that it will be labor intensive for him to walk, and he would probably need a wheelchair for longer distances. This may be the case, but Andrei is one determined little boy, and if there is a way for him to walk, he will do it all by himself (words we hear often from him).

Scottish Rite is an amazing place. Not only will the treatment be free, they have some of the most gifted surgeons and specialist in the state. We are so blessed to have been accepted into their "program". Thank you for your continued prayer as we move into a new stage.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Fun Pictures

Andrei's favorite inside activity is drawing. This is a picture of his "cocodile". : )

He loves spending time outside, so we now have a back yard full of fun. We have a plastic pool, Randell made a huge sandbox, and Madison got a trampoline for her birthday. The yard is a mess, but he loves it, and we are all enjoying the fun!

Cousin Mathew is holding Andrei. He is loving it!

Madison and Andrei being silly.

Easter egg hunt at Mimi and Big Pop's house.

Monday, March 28, 2011


It has been a while since the last update. It is hard to find the time lately. In general, we are still adjusting.

Andrei is more loving and initiating hugs and kisses. He is eating everything we offer and sleeping well most nights. He has gained weight, his hair is fuller, and I think he is also taller. He still has dark circles under his eyes, so we are giving him vitamins, and we will try Claritin to see if it is alergy related.

He is still having fits, but they are not as long or as frequent as the first month. The worst part of the fits now is the self abusive behaviors (bites arms, pinches himself, and bangs body or head). It has been a couple of weeks since he tried to bite or hit us. Much improved! We can also usually talk him down and the fits do not escalate as much.

His English is really improving. He loves music and learning lots of songs. He can sing the ABCs really clear now. He is also able to count to 20 in English. He knows lots of words and will repeat everything. A diagnostician and speech therapist from the school district tested him last week. He did well on the developmental test, but he will qualify for special education under speech. They brought a Russian translator for the tests, and Andrei did not say one word in Russian. He understood what was being said and would point, but he would use the few words he knows in English to communicate. We knew he was limited in Russian, because we had only heard him speak in one word responses or 2 word “sentences”. He is being exposed to so much English that he has lost the little he knew. Part of his fits have to do with not being able to communicate...he does not really have a dominant language right now. We will have an ARD meeting after our Scottish Rite appointment on April 12th.

Madison (daughter) is doing an amazing job with Andrei. They are adjusting well to each other. The other day, while she was helping me to give him a bath, she said she was so happy to be part of our family. It has been a big adjustment for her to share mom and dad. Thursday will be her 10th birthday. I can’t believe she is so grown up. : ) She wants to go to the Movie Grill with Randell and I for her birthday. We need to spend more individual time with her. Andrei has taken over a lot of our time and attention, and as things are starting to settle down, we are learning to balance between two kiddoes.

We have been going to church for the past few weeks, and Andrei is doing well. He stays by himself in the 3 year old class and does well playing and following directions. He enjoys role playing with the baby and singing songs to put it to sleep.

Aunt Karen send Andrei some fun knitted hats of the Cookie Monster and Elmo. Andrei and Madison had a lot of fun with the hats. They look so cute! Thank you Aunt Karen!

Randell’s aunts, uncles, and cousins bought us a jogging stroller. We don’t jog, but we love this type of stroller! It is easy to get into, rolls well, and it is a very comfortable ride. Andrei likes his new stroller, but he loved the box! He played in it for hours.

Andre is a typical 3 year old boy in so many ways. He loves to play in boxes, can’t sit still, his favorite place to play is outside, the messier the better, and he wants to do things his way. : ) In other ways, he is not very typical. He wants to ride a bike, run, jump, and climb, but is limited by his legs, so we have learned to adjust.

We have found a little power motorcycle to take care of the bike issue. It as a button he can press with his finger to make it go, and he stretches his legs over the top of it since once leg does not bend. When we go to the park, he “walks” around on his hands and feet, so he wears batting gloves to protect his hands. He uses most of the playground equipment on his own.

He is a very determined little boy, and we can’t wait to see what God has planned for him.

He is such a cute "little stinker"!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

God’s love heals the broken hearted.

There is nothing better than a toddler who does not speak English and is adjusting to a new life to shine a light on all the areas of sin and weakness in your life. To say that the last few weeks have been chalenging would be to make light of what we have experienced since we brought our son home. My friend says that adopting a child is like having a bomb go off in your house for the first few months...or ...for some children years. That is actually pretty acurate. I can say that after almost 4 weeks the dust is starting to settle, but occationaly we have some unexpected "explosions". Thankfully, last week there was "hope" rising out of the ashes.

Prior to bringing Andrei home, I felt secure in my ability to parent him. Now that he is home, and we are experiencing all the ups and downs of this adjustment period, I realize that all of my life experiences gave me a false sense of security. I was relying on my earthly understanding of children and parenting.

I had forgotten that parenting is a spiritual endeavor. This is a walk that can not be taken in the pride of our own abilities but in prayer and humility while holding on tightly to God’s hand. May God give us wisdom to raise our children in His ways, love to show them mercy as He has shown us, and kindness when our patience runs out.

Micah 6:8 8
He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

The best way I can describe a child who has experienced abandonment and neglect is that he is “broken hearted”. Andrei is slowly learning how to trust and accept our love, and his behaviors are beginning to reflect the trust that is building, but true healing can only come from God. As his parents, we can love and guide our son towards God, but we can not heal the wound that is caused by abandonment and neglect. Only God’s love can heal the broken hearted, and I pray that someday Andrei may come to know God's healing love.

My prayer this Valentine's Day is that we may learn how to love Andrei as God desires us to love one another.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Chocolate Kisses - Happy Valentine's Day!

Little Rocker

Randell loves music and AC/DC is one of his favorite bands. He was watching a video of a concert when Andrei joined him. Andrei loves music too and thought it was a lot of fun to "bang your head" just like the people in the video! Hope you enjoy it. : )

Mall Trip

The mall was crazy today! The weather was beautiful and people were out. We mostly went to the mall to ride the merry-go-round. Andrei loved it, but did not want to get off. Poor little thing! He threw a small fit, but it was quickly over. He enjoyed taking in the sights while we walked around, watched the hockey players skating, and tried some new foods.

Cute Pictures

My Babies are sooo cute!

My beautiful girl is growing up, but she will always be my baby. : )

She wanted her hair cut today. We cut off 10 inches and are donating the hair to Locks of Love. She looks so cute with her new hair cut!

Andrei had his hair cut also. He too will always be my baby! That is his new "cheese" smile. Too cute!

Poor Minnie! She has that "HELP ME!" look. : ) There is a toddler in the house now, so she will have to get use to the occasional squeezing. Andrei is doing much better with the dogs, but since he continues to bark at them and holds them tightly, they are scared to come near him. We'll keep working on it. : )

Beautiful from Head to Toes!

We had a blast at Chuck E. Cheese!

We went early in the morning, so there was only a couple of people there. Andrei played on everything in the toddler section and had a blast! He even ate a slice of pizza!

Fun in the Snow

After 3 days of being looked up in the house because of the cold, ice, and snow, we decided to follow in the tradition of Andrei's orphanage and go out on the coldest day. Andrei rolled around in the snow for the first time in his life. They had snowball fights and made snow angels. He had a lot of fun!