We are leaving for Ukraine this afternoon! I cannot believe how quickly the past two weeks have gone by. I should probably be packing right now (no, I am still not completely packed), but wanted to pop in and give a quick update before we take off.
Things continue to go smoothly on the home front. I am still amazed how well and how quickly Joshua has adjusted. His body clock has made the transition to US Eastern Standard Time and I am VERY happy to report that he is almost sleeping through the night (by almost I mean that he wakes up around 6 am for a bottle, but goes right back to sleep for another hour or so once he has received sustenance). He has also started to eat baby food AND some table foods. . .something that we were very far from achieving while in Uzbekistan!
We also received good news from his doctors this week (after a barrage of appointments and tests) concerning the possibility of a tethered cord. After an MRI and a consult with the neurosurgeon, it was determined that we would not be adding this condition (and subsequent complicated surgery) to our list! Such a relief!
Josh also had his physical therapy evaluation this week and we have already started working on strengthening his trunk muscles and left arm (he favors his right due to a misplaced scapula and there is an obvious difference in muscle mass on the left side, although he does use his left arm quite a bit). We are also working on crawling, which he has developed his own form of, and helping him to sit unsupported (well, unsupported by another person. . .because his legs are so short, it is hard for him to balance, so he has to sit with his arms out in front, which helps him to balance). Honestly, I am amazed at Joshua's physical abilities. He is doing more, or at least trying to do more, physically than my other children were at his age. He definitely has to work harder to achieve many of these things and does so in a different way than most, but he does them! He definitely has the potential to achieve whatever he wants to in life. With his personality and his drive, I don't think his disabilities will ever get in the way of accomplishing the things he sets his mind to!
The other kids continue to adjust well to their new baby brother and I think Josh is finally starting to get used to the noise level and rowdy little people constantly in his face. He is definitely entertained by their antics and the kids love performing for him and speaking his baby language! It does occasionally get difficult to balance the time between all of the kids, but it is certainly doable and I love the special mommy and me moments that I am able to spend with each of them throughout the day.
Amidst all of the doctors appointments and preparations for Ukraine, Richard and I also had the chance to go to a Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert (a gift from my mom for my birthday)! It was FANTASTIC!!! I could rock out to Mozart and Beethoven any day (not to mention the fact that I LOVE their Christmas music)!
All in all, it has been a wonderful week and I am excited and ready (are you ever really "ready" to travel half-way around the world) for our next adventure! While the Ukrainian adoption process is complicated, I feel much more relaxed and at ease than I did while preparing for our adoption from Uzbekistan (so relaxed that I still have not finished packing!). I am excited to experience Ukraine and am very excited to hopefully be meeting our Evan so soon!
Just as before, I hope to update our blog frequently, so stayed tuned for the latest Rieben Family adventures! As always, it is sure to be a wild ride!!!