Thursday, February 5, 2015

Richard Here: A Few Days Later

I wanted to take a few minutes to post a brief update about the boys and their status since they arrived home. 
Gabe - After a few days of strongly disliking Valerie for the grief he has caused her, he has started to open up quite a bit. The first two days he was here he barely ate and had a hard time staying awake. After letting him rest up fully, he is starting to get back to his normal self. He is eating very well and is communicating effectively in Bulgarian. He's started to crawl around the house, exploring his new dominion and he enjoys watching Bulgarian children's songs on Youtube. He has bonded especially well with Joshua and Maren, with Joshua being his official "cuddle buddy". Aside from the normal anxiety leading up to the doctor visit today, he did very well at the doctor. He is going to have several referrals including the CP clinic, GI, Neuro and Vision. The biggest variable in his status right now is his vision - aside from nystagmus we think his vision is actually very poor - and we will not be surprised if he is found to be legally blind. He seems to be able to track objects, but beyond a few inches from him, he does not appear to be able to see well at all. We'll know more once we see specialists, but we're optimistic about his ability to progress within his realm of ability.

Eli - Eli is excited about learning English and he has been practicing by copying English words into a notebook, just like his brothers and sisters have. He is feeling the pressure of the transition and among the three boys has the most difficulty dealing with his internal feelings and emotions - he had a difficult episode Tuesday but Valerie helped him work through it and it was a positive sign that he's beginning to understand that he has parents who are here for him. He tests boundaries and sometimes has difficulty listening to instructions (but to be honest, his obvious hearing impairment probably doesn't help with anything involving "listening"). He likes to play with the other kids and loves listening to music (very loudly).

Jesse - First of all, Jesse is convinced that Valerie and I need to have another baby. Unfortunately, Valerie doesn't know the vocabulary to explain her complete lack of a uterus and the impact that has on our ability to procreate. But moving on... boy this kids loves to..... clean! That's right... women talk, men go to caves, but this guy cleans! When he's stressed or feeling anxious he has to clean something, ANYTHING! So far he's cleaned the boy's entire room (twice), Valerie's school closet, Valerie's desk, the entryway (imagine all those shoes lined up neatly by size) and tonight I cam home and he had organized... the trash cans on the back porch - all in a neat line in a pattern of trash and recycling cans. Jesse is also working on his English (and his was better than Eli's to start) and he's starting to pick up simple phrases. One other thing about Jesse is that he's been through a lot from a medical/surgical standpoint. His medical records are still being translated, but from what we've been told so far, his surgical record shows that he's one tough guy, but probably has some significant anxiety attached to medical events. So it was no surprise today when he sobbed through getting blood drawn as part of his physical.

That's it for now. So far, things are going "as well as to be expected" and we've seen no major surprises. The boys are integrating well into the family and we are optimistic for the future. As always, thank you for your love, support and friendship


Cynthia Curtis said...

I enjoyed the detailed update of how everyone is doing. Since I had been there briefly, I could picture Gabe making his way about, Jesse organizing, organizing, and Eli loving his loud music. Sounds very "normal" and healthy based on all your experiences.

Loren said...

Great post - please post some more and let us know how the boys are doing!

Jessi said...

I would love an update from your family!!

Eleanor Paul said...

Hi, Valerie! I don't know if you will remember me, what with the hundreds of people you meet and deal with whilst travelling, but I was the lady who talked your ears off on one flight from Detroit to Amsterdam, a few years back. I will never forget because, as I told you, you were the real-life version of my self-created literary heroine, who adopts children from all over. Since we met I have written seven novels about same but none are published --- yet! Anyway, I take such delight in having met you, it's even helped me write better stories (I think) but nothing makes me happier than to know that you & your husband are carrying on as before and adopting still more children. The need is so great, and the response is so small ... but I salute you for doing what you guys do best --- loving and caring for children that got such a raw deal to begin with.

So I immediately thought of you when I read this article about a couple doing the same thing for the same reasons and although they are a different religion and from a different part of the country, I feel that you would like to know about the tragedy that visited them whilst they were in the process of adopting two boys, to add to their already large family of seven children, some of them nieces/nephews. The poor man dropped dead before they even left Bulgaria! She & the boys got home to York (in PA?)and I thought you might know someone from your group that could perhaps write & give her some advice? (I know you've got your hands full but perhaps an associate or friend of yours? Anyway, I am copying and pasting the article here (if I can!)if you want to read it - I don't mean to impose, I just thought your blog group might like to know about this. In case this doesn't work, they are Natalie and Eric Quesenberry, if you want to look them up.

If you think I am being cheeky, then please ignore all this, as I do not want to add a stranger's problems to the ones you deal with already. For all I know, the woman already belongs to a support group. In any case, I will never forget either you or the tales of your wonderful family that you shared with me that time.

God bless all you good people --- and give you strength!

Eleanor Paul said...

Well, I've tried for an hour to whittle the article down to where it would be accepted here but could not manage it. I don't see a link to send, either, so all I can tell you is that they are/were Natalie & Eric Quesenberry, Mennonites from York, PA & Eric dropped dead in Bulgaria the night before leaving Sofia with their new children. The article was the news report from the York daily newspaper. You may already know all about them. If you can think of someone who or someway that she can be assured she's not alone, that would be lovely. I would do it myself except that I have no real connexion with the world of adoption. I hope you can think of some way - even if it's to give me some info I could pass on, I'd be happy to do so.

Thank you for taking the time to even read or think about this, and again, God bless you for what you already do and continue to do.

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Eleanor Paul said...

Your family is so beautiful!

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