Wednesday, March 26, 2008

All About Evan

Lest anyone think we have forgotten about Evan, this blog entry will be entirely devoted to him and all of the wonderful progress he is making as the newest member of our family!

Evan is such a bright spot in our lives! His 1000-watt smile just grabs you and reels you! He is adjusting so well to his new life that, at times, it is hard to believe that he hasn't always been here. While he is very happy to have a new mama and papa, he is even happier about having siblings! After spending 3.5 years lying in a crib, listening to all of the other kids play in the next room and likely wishing he could be there too, he is finally able to be right in the middle of all of the action and he absolutely loves it! Although he is not able to physically do everything that Maren, Lukas and Jacob are doing, he is happy and content as long as he is with them, even if all he is doing is observing. Up to this point, Evan and Joshua have shared a bedroom and he has seemed content with that. However, a few days after coming home from the hospital with Joshua, he started asking me what Lukas and Jacob were doing as I put him to bed (he can hear them talking and laughing through the walls). It was obvious to me that he wanted to be in there with the boys, so last night Richard bunked the boys beds and we moved Evan in with Jacob and Lukas. They boys were so excited to welcome Evan into "the club" and I am happy that he is able to be in there with them rather than having to listen to them through the walls. . . he has had to do that enough in his life already.

I am a very firm believer in integration and I try my hardest every day to integrate Evan into all of the activities that the other kids are doing (bathing with them, sitting at the table to eat, playing with toys or in the backyard, coloring, reading, etc.). Because he still relies 100% on me for his mobility, that can be tiring, but having witnessed the progress that comes from being able to be a part of the group, it is worth every minute of my time and every ounce of my strength! It is just amazing to see how he has flourished over the past few months!

The day we took Evan from the orphanage, one of his caretakers said to us, "He has a beautiful mind and is very smart, his body just doesn't work." Over the past few months I have witnessed for myself what a beautiful mind he has. While I believe that all of my children are smart, I can honestly say that Evan is one of the smartest kids I have ever met. He has been home for three months and already speaks amazing English. His expressive and comprehensive language are impressive. While it is, at times, still difficult to understand him (especially when he is excited), it is just amazing how much he has learned in such a short time. Not only is he smart, he is also very determined (and very stubborn). I really feel like there will be nothing he cannot accomplish if he puts his mind to it.

Smart, determined, stubborn, funny and also very loving and caring. He hates to see others hurt or upset and is always the first to tell you it will be okay if you are having a tough time. He loves to gives hugs and kisses too! Needless to say, I enjoy taking advantage of huggy, kissy, snuggly nature!!

Not all has been peaches and cream. We have had our struggles over the past few months. Our biggest struggles have been with input (eating) and output (constipation), but we are slowly working our way through those issues. In the orphanage, Evan got most of his nutrition from pureed, watered down food fed to him in a bottle with a large hole in the nipple. He also ate a lot of bread and cookies. Consequently, he hasn't been very open to trying a lot of new foods up to this point. Bread, bagels, muffins, pancakes, rolls, biscuits, dry cereal, pbj sandwiches, pretzels, cookies and baby food (generally only fruit) are among the only things he will eat. He is finally starting to eat off of a fork which is fantastic and occasionally he will broaden his spectrum of what he will allow in his mouth, so we feel like we are slowly making progress.

Medically speaking things are coming along quite nicely as well. We are well into physical and occupational therapy now. We just finished fitting him for his hands splints which he will officially start wearing next Tuesday. He is sitting for longer periods of time and is even able to kneel (when placed in the kneeling position) while leaning against something (usually the couch). He will be having surgery on April 10th to correct his clubbed feet. He will be in casts for several months following his surgery and then he will have surgery to help with the contractures in his knees. Hopefully he will be able to start working on bearing weight in his legs by the end of the year.

All-in-all, Evan is doing exceptionally well and we absolutely love having him as part of our family! We are incredibly blessed!


mom 2 many said...

I must introduce myself finally.
My name is Carla and I have been reading your blog since before you traveled for Evan. I just love all your little ones. Evan is precious! I have 2 kiddos through IA (Thailand & China) also with AMC. It is amazing that there are so many different issues with AMC, seems that no 2 children are the same.
Evan seems to be doing so well. I'd be interested to hear about the surgery he is going to have. We are facing several surgeries here as well. I'd love to hear from you when you have a minute or two. LOL
Blessings to all of you,

Shelley said...

What a blessing! He does have the most beautiful smile...and looks like he enjoys having his picture taken too! Evan will be in my thoughts as he undergoes his surgery. We've been there and while it's not fun, the results will amaze you. I believe with all my heart that there will come a day when you will be posting pictures of Evan standing....and as a mom who's watcing the transformation of clubbed feet to functional feet now, I can tell you that it's nothing short of amazing!

AZmomto7 said...

I enjoyed your post. What a lovely story about a remarkable little man. You must be a very busy mommy right now! Such a cutie, and with a big heart too. How wonderful! Praying for him and a successful surgery.

Kelly said...

Oh Valerie!!!!!!! This posts just makes me cry with JOY!!!! I am so thrilled to see Evan doing so well. What a completely different little guy than I met three years ago in Artemovsk! May God continue to bless you and your family. I want you to know that this post really lifted me - I even posted about it on my blog. Perfect timing. The spirit is definitely watching over all of us! With love from your friend in Omaha, and a kiss to Evan from his special friend Kelly!

David and Sarah said...

I have so enjoyed reading your blog. Even is precious, as are all of your children. The Lord's blessings to your family!

Jill said...

He is so cute! A lady from my ward told me about your blog and then I realized that I just spoke with you today! How funny! Evan is adorable! :o) I look forward to talking with you soon!

Christine said...

Thanks for sharing! He sounds like one incredible little boy!