Thursday, September 22, 2016

A grateful update

We are so grateful to be home. I'm so grateful to live in this country and to get to choose where I live. I'm so grateful for how QUIET it is here on the streets around our little town.  (It's not quiet in my house, but that's another story.).  I'm grateful for drinking tap water and familiar food.  I'm grateful that we're making progress on the jet lag. I'm grateful to have my entire family together under one roof, as crazy as it is.

Everyone has been asking for an update, so here we go:  Joey is doing great!  He continues to be laid-back and easy going.  He was quiet over the weekend and started to complain of his ear hurting. Turns out he had an ear infection and ruptured ear drum, poor kid! Ear drops and antibiotics have made him a happy kid again. 

Outside of that, he is mostly happy and relaxed here at our house. He plays and hangs out with us. He talks to himself in Chinese, which is the cutest thing ever.  He is sleeping 12 hours a night. He's understanding more and more of what we say, and even trying to say a few words himself (a few of his favorites to say:  Hamburger! Hot dog! Apple Juice! Cookie!)  We are using Google translate a lot to communicate to him, but I can't yet get him to speak into it so that I can understand him.He's not a huge fan of American food. I stocked up on noodles and fried rice and eggs and dumplings, and those always are a huge favorite for him. He just seems to fit right in. We know from experience that it's not always this easy and this very well could just still be the honeymoon phase, but we are so grateful for how well it's going so far!

What's very hard, though, is the level of physical care that he requires. He cannot bend his joints well (his knees barely bend, his ankles don't move at all, his right arm doesn't really function and his left arm is not great), so he struggles to do basic things for himself. He needs help in the bathroom, getting dressed, getting up and down steps, getting in and out of the car, etc. He's small, around 40 pounds, but that's a lot to lug around all the time!  We're working to figure out ways to modify things and are very anxious to start working with the doctors and therapists to learn how we can help him become more independent. He's also very wobbly, and has already had a couple of falls. We have to make sure things are picked up and that he has clear paths as much as possible, which is not easy in a house full of 7 people and 4 animals. (I think he thinks he has moved into a mad house, and he's right!) He's very determined to do things for himself and is much more patient than we are. We have so much to learn from him.

Despite how well he's doing, we're continuing to keep his world small for as long as we can. He has to learn that we're his permanent family, not just a fun place to visit for a while.  So we're spending lots of time at home, just being together and letting him get acclimated.  We have to keep reminding ourselves that this kid has been through enormous change and deserves plenty of time to adjust to his new life.  We've had people ask how they can help us, so here's some easy ways to help him continue to do well:

-Let us be the ones to provide his care. We need to be the ones to lift him, feed him and respond to his needs.
-Feel free to say hi to him and talk to him, but let us be the ones to hug him, hold his hand and show him affection.
-Understand that we're not in a place to have lots of company and visitors right now.  Our house is full just our kids and adding to that does get overwhelming for him right now. We'll get there!

We so appreciate all the love and support from everyone, it means so much to us!


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