Archive for the ‘Adoption’ Category

This week’s text in Galatians focuses on adoption, God’s adoption of sinners as His sons as a result of Jesus’ work of redemption for us.  J.I. Packer comments that you can’t really understand Christianity unless you understand adoption.  John Calvin says you aren’t really a Christian unless, by the work of the Spirit, you call God your Father.

There are not many books on this topic.  It is a much neglected topic- but there are a few great books just the same.

Great Books I’ve Read:

Children of the Living God: Delighting in the Father’s Love by Sinclair Ferguson.  It is not a big book, but it is a great book.  Ferguson does what Ferguson does best, put the cookies on the shelf so lesser beings can enjoy them.  I can’t recommend this book enough.

Adopted by God: From Wayward Sinners to Cherished Children by Robert Peterson.  It comes recommended by Packer, Ferguson, and Steve Brown among others.  It is a very good book.

Knowing God by J.I. Packer.  Though not on the topic of adoption, there is a great chapter on the topic.  This is one of the great books which influenced me as a young Christian.  That chapter is just one of the reasons.

Redemption Accomplished and Applied by John Murray.  He includes a chapter on adoption as one aspect of the application of our redemption.

Books I’d Like to Read:

Adopted into God’s Family: Exploring a Pauline Metaphor by Trevor Burke.  Part of the New Studies in Biblical Theology Series, this is a more academic look at this topic (which exceeds use by Paul).

Heirs with Christ: Puritans on Adoption by Joel Beeke.  That should be an interesting read.

John Calvin and the Good News of Adoption by Timothy Trumper.  It is 2 CDs with lectures by Trumper.  Interesting…

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My, he's a squirmy one!

My, he is a squirmy one!

It was long overdue.  This is what happens when you don’t have a call and you are a Presbyterian.  My membership is with my Presbytery, not a local church.  This complicated & delayed the process of baptizing CavSon.  [I have a few posts on the Reformed position on baptizing infants- not all views on infant baptism are the same.  I forgot to put a post up about mode of baptism.  This week, Lord willing.]

Amie has now joined the local PCA church in which we worship.  Yesterday morning we had him baptized.  Our friend Danny, who is the Associate Pastor, handled the explanation and vows.  I handled the squirming son, and the actual baptism.  It took quite some time as Danny kept losing his place due to the side show going on around him.  CavSon kept wanting to play with the ear piece from the wireless system I had on since I was preaching.

May blessings break upon his head.

May blessings break upon his head.

He did much better when I actually poured water on his head.  He seemed to like that.  Of course, he had been working up a sweat.  Afterward he wanted to play with the rest of the water, which was not a surprise to either of us.  It was great for CavDaughter to watch this.  She was up there with us initially, but she was quite antsy too, so we had her sit with friends.  She’s on the video.  We talked with her a little bit about it the previous day or two.  She knows she has been baptized, and we should show her that video.  She’s fascinated by pictures of herself when she was a baby.

We received word while we were in Jacksonville that his new birth certificates had arrived at the lawyer’s office.  I picked them up this morning.  Now we can work toward his U.S. citizenship.  But he is now part of the visible church, which is great news in my book.  May his adoption into our family eventually result in his being adopted into God’s family.

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I watched a fair amount of the Presidential Nominees’ Forum hosted by Saddleback Church.  I both liked it, and didn’t like it.

What I liked was that both candidates answered the same questions, and didn’t interact with each other’s answers.  They were able to stay on task and not get caught up in attacking one another.  I also liked that the audience was well prepped.  They applauded both nominees, and did not boo them.  They were respectful.  Their reactions will be reserved for the voting booth, which is great.

What I didn’t like is the notion that they were somehow trying to win the “evangelical vote”.  I don’t care if either of them can share the right terminology to explain their understanding of Jesus.  I’m not looking for them to be my pastor, but to be our President.  That has a very different set of criteria.

Both candidates playfully pandered to Rick Warren.  I have no problem with that- it helped set people at ease and it was for show.  They knew they weren’t pulling something over on people, nor were they trying to.

For me, the big differences between two candidates was the Obama certainly came across as more personable.  But McCain’s answers (whether or not you agree with him) were more clear and decisive.  Obama sounded thoughtful, but that doesn’t help me know how he’s going to lead us as a nation.  For a candidate proposing change, the notion that Edward Kennedy will be one of his most trusted advisors is shocking.  He is the ultimate insider, and stands behind some of the most messed up moments in American politics in recent memory.  Not a good move by Barak.  Nor was hemming & hawing about abortion.  Women don’t get abortions because they have inadequate healthcare or don’t know they can easily and quickly find someone to adopt the child.

I thought McCain had a better grasp of economics.  I also thought Obama doesn’t get that people don’t mind taxes for roads and schools (unless they fail).  It’s all the entitlements and earmarks that people are frustrated with and don’t want to see their taxes raised to continue.

Obama also didn’t seem balanced his view of America, or other nations.  Yes, we are FAR from perfect.  We are not the only nation to deal with racism- it is a problem in every nation in which people of different ethnicities live.  But I’d take our track record with the poor and disadvantaged than any other nations’.  Are we jailing and murdering political dissidents?  No.  Religious people?  No.  This is, by and large, a generous nation.  Think of all the humanitarian aid we provide each year- even to nations that don’t like us.  Think of the numerous people, mostly Christians, who’ve given their time and money to rebuild New Orleans and other areas devastated by Katrina.  Just one of my pet peeves- only mentioning the bad we do, and never acknowledging or downplaying the good we’ve done.  Yes, we have some really dark marks on our record, but also some good ones.

I thought the forum was helpful, mostly.  Any thoughts?

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There has been plenty going on to occupy the CavFamily.  For one thing, we have put our home on the market.  We did this to preserve our equity since the prices are only going down, and we probably won’t get this much for at least a few years.  We hope to be moving elsewhere soon.  If I receive a new call, we’ll have a headstart on selling the house.

This means lots of work.  We have been “de-cluttering”, which mostly means packing up unnecessary items to create the perception of more space in the home.  The real estate agent is hopeful; our home is priced competetively and the market for smaller homes is better than for larger homes.  I got plenty of work done Friday and Saturday- to which CavGirl commented “You’re a workhorse, daddy.”  She picked this phrase up from Jon & Kate Plus 8.   The excess stuff is gone and the home is ready for the virtual tour photos.

With a vacation coming up, we also had to “de-dog” the home.  He is a shedding machine.  As a result, the prospect of asking our neighbors to not only let him out, but being able to vacuum the home on a moment’s notice if an agent wants to show it and how he might respond to strangers means he needs to go on vacation.  Just not with us.  Former neighbors agreed to watch him while we are away.  But, they now live a few hours away.  So, on a trip to visit family they stopped by last night to pick him up.  CavGirl was not quite down with that.  Tired and hungry, she had a mini-meltdown because the dog is gone, temporarily.

It was a good thing the dog is gone.  Shortly after putting the kids to bed, CavWife realized it was getting warm in the house.  The A/C was not working, period.  Not even the fan or heat.  I think the lightening storm must of wiped out the thermostat and a nearby fan used to create white noise for sleeping children.  It was a long, warm, sticky night in the house.  We had some doors and windows open.  No telling how the dog would react to the various noises and critters outside.  I didn’t get much sleep, crashing in the living room since it had better airflow.  Thankfully, the forecast says that it is only supposed to get to around 88 today.  Much better than 95+.  But I passed on the shower in the hopes that the A/C guy has it up and running around lunch time.  Then I take CavBoy to his re-evaluation for his hearing.  They wanted to see how the better tubes affected his hearing.

Saturday was a long, tiring day.  We had the joy of going to another wedding.  We sat with a friend and her 3 year-old.  CavGirl, CavBoy and their friend had too much fun.  We should have gotten a babysitter since I got so stressed out at the noise and endless questions.  I found them a huge distraction but the people around us didn’t seem too put off.  At the reception, I was able to spend time with a guy I rented a room from while getting my 2nd degree from RTS.  He also rented a room to the groom.  Like CavSon, he was born with a cleft-plate, so we spent time comparing notes as it were.

We left the reception around 2, after CavBoy’s diaper seems to have sprung a leak.  Too much to drink for that boy.  So we had to slip out the back quietly.  He crashed on the short ride home, but CavGirl was another story.  Her whining was a preview for the evening.  All my parenting tricks failed.  Nothing seemed to get through to her and grew increasingly exasperated.  It was a good prelude to my sermon on Sunday on how God loves us enough to discipline us.

This morning, our speech therapist called to say he wasn’t coming.  We requested a new speech therapist, but wanted the transition to take place when we went on vacation.  He decided “what’s the point”- ah, our son’s well-being…  We don’t want him to go 5 weeks without speech therapy.  This therapist seems to have little experience with cleft-palate kids (though he talked like an expert).  His recommendations were about 180 degrees different from everyone else’s.  He also refused to take his personal history as a recently adopted kid into account and determined his progress in 4 sessions was insignificant.  I’m not sure why he was informed of this change now, but I’m not liking how he bailed on CavSon today.  So now we are looking for a new therapist with experience working cleft-palate kids locally.  As if we didn’t have enough happening.

So, I have now escaped to my ‘office’ for cooler air and a quiet atmosphere.  Much needed for my sanity.  My stay here will be much too short.

Update: The A/C repair cost about $160.  It didn’t look good at first, but it turned out that the transformer and relay had been blown out by a power surge.  Had it taken a direct hit by lightening, the whole shebang would have to be repaired costing about $1,600.  So we are thankful!

CavSon’s hearing exam came back as borderline normal, which is great news.  He’s had a rough day since he didn’t sleep well.  He was crying most of the way home, even when I held his hand he was not comforted.  Not the best thing for my shoulder.

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While CavWife helped a friend pack for a cross-town move into their new home, I took the kids to the playground.  I hadn’t been there with them since March or April.  I was joyfully amazed at the progress CavGirl has made.  He was climbing the various ladders, without help, and going down the slides alone.  She even had me teach her how to climb the “rock” wall.  She did pretty well for a first timer.

CavSon did okay.  He’s still not excited about slides or swings.  They’ll grow on him.

They both enjoyed the deck that goes over the lake.  We saw plenty of fishes among the junk that had been tossed in.  You can’t swim at the beach anymore.  It is covered over with weeds on land and in the water.  Probably too hard to keep the gators away.  The beach was probably victim of a previous budget crunch.

The victims of the next budget crunch were sitting there the entire time we were there.  There were 3 emplyees from Leisure Services sitting, talking and reading.  Their job would be to play with neighborhood kids.  But there were no kids there.  Which is unfortunate- it was an overcast day so it wasn’t mind-numbingly hot, and we saw a bunch of kids down the street.

CavGirl has experienced a number of falls off her bike lately.  Tumbles in general.  She’s got a cut on her big toe that keeps opening up.  She did a good job banging up a finger.  She rides too fast and tries to turn.  We are still working on actually stopping to look both ways before entering the road.

She is currently engrossed in Jon & Kate Plus 8 while CavWife taught aerobics.  She loves watching all the kids.  She just calls it watching the kids.  We now have a video tape dedicated to the show.

His speech therapy is going okay.  He’s trying.  He can make the ‘p’ sound, but has not yet integrated it into actual words.  But the therapist isn’t happy.  He disagrees with the surgeon regarding the need to repair the fistula.  We have decided: 1. he has little experience with cleft palate kids, 2. he is not taking CavSon’s speech in context (here 6 months, this is his 2nd language, undergoing major surgery…).  So, when we return from vacation, we should have a new speech therapist to work with him.

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Apparently CavBoy’s eardrums were rejecting his ear tubes.  They were the “old school” kind.  It was time to insert the ‘high tech’ kind (yeah, I have no idea what all that means).  Today was the day, and it started very early.  At 5 am the sounds of Charlie Peacock’s West Coast Diaries Vol. 1 woke me far earlier than I want to be awakened.  But we had to be in Orlando by 6:30, so I had to roll out of bed and stumble into the shower.  Yes, the no-longer-dripping shower.

At 5:30 we were out the door, CavBoy and me.  Early morning did not help me when it came to reading the directions later on.  This meant I went in circles for awhile, growing more frustrated by the moment.  In the hospital complex, they had less than adequate signage.  As a result, I ended up missing the reserved parking (thanks in part to a big truck blocking my view).

Paperwork was sure to follow, and it was.  In the paperwork I brought with me, I did not have all the answers I needed.  But, after a few quick calls home the preliminary round of paperwork was done.  Out to move the car and place the parking permit on the dash.  Since I had to drag CavSon with me … I was irritated.  The fact that I’m not a morning person didn’t help.

Next we went into a minuscule office so I could sign the release forms.  CavBoy has now perked up and it into just about everything in the tiny office.  I’m sure she had heard my “I think you need a bigger office” comment a few times.  Wrongly suspecting he’d made ‘boom-boom’ (as a friend says) I was looking for a bathroom to change him.  No need, I was escorted to his room for pre-op.  He was not happy to see the little heart rate monitor they attach to digits.  He hated having it attached to his thumb for his major surgery.  They put it on his toe this time to change it up.  But it was only on for a few moments.

The anesthesiologist came in to prep me.  They have him a valium-type liquid, turning him into a sloppy-drunk sailor.  He couldn’t stand or walk.  It was mildly amusing to me, but certainly not to him.  Time passed quickly in the private room as the surgeon showed up and soon he was off to have the procedure done.  It took about 15 minutes, of that.  They waited for him to wake up before bringing him back.

They should have kept him longer, but I don’t blame them.  He was like a raging drunk.  He was quite angry- like the return of the terror of the first 6 weeks or so.  He still couldn’t stand, but fought off a diaper change and change of clothes.  He repeatedly pushed me away and, of course, was screaming most of the time.

He seemed to keep the juice down, and totally pounded the second cup.  Still screaming and squirming, they escorted me out the door.  I wish they would have let us stay so he could calm down since it is a one hour drive with a screaming child.  But they wanted this to be a private nightmare.  I tossed him into the car seat and refilled his cup.  Since he then tried to rip it apart, I took it away which prompted more anger.  I think he started to turn green at one point.  This prompted me to call CavWife to ask for prayer.

Back on the highway, still screaming, I soon heard the juice come back up.  Big decision…. pull over and prolong the nightmare or keep going to minimize this visit to Hades.  I took the Bad Parent Award and pressed on.  It was just juice folks.

At the 40-45 minute mark he finally stopped screaming and crying.  When we got him we was nearly himself.  Still wobbly, he was more interested in being comforted.  Then the ‘boom-boom’ came.  I didn’t care, I’d survived my visit to Hades, I mean Orlando, … and CavWife took care of this one.

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Although it has only been just over 5 months since CavWife brought CavBoy home from China, we just had our 6 month post-placement appointment with the social worker. It was a good time to remember how far he has come, and how far we have come as a family.
The first month was incredibly difficult on the whole family as he adjusted to everything and we adjusted to him. As I type, the kids are playing “going to the wedding”, a result of going to “Uncle” Morgan’s wedding last weekend. They packed their bags for the hotel room. The 2 of them usually play very well together as CavGirl revels in being the ring leader, I mean older sister. She has all the makings of a Red Leader 1.
Last night on the short ride home from a friend’s they were serenading us from the back seat. It was mostly nonsense. Last weekend, CavGirl was shouting song lyrics like “your love is better than life” (Newsboys) and “I am a friend of God” (from a worship CD CavWife plays often). CavBoy can’t quite do that yet, so it is interesting to hear them ‘sing’ together like some childish opera in a strange tongue.
CavBoy has grown 2 1/2 inches and gained 4 pounds in his 5+ months with us. This despite his liquid diet post-surgery. This is still a fistula in his palate which the surgeon thinks isn’t a major problem, but the speech therapist thinks is. They can duke it out … the surgeon is one of the most respected surgeons for this in Orlando so what do I know.
Speech therapy is going slowly. But this morning he was doing more of the noises in Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?. That is good news. He’s starting to try, which is a start. It takes him time to start trying something- climbing into his car seat, into his booster seat for meals, etc. I realized the other day that I tended to pull him out of his car seat. I thought, “Dude, the kid can climb out on his own!” and now he does. Now, if he can just start using those expulsive consonants…
That is the main area of improvement- trying things. He still seems overwhelmed with new experiences (he was utterly traumatized by the merry go round at Cypress Gardens) and places. But he’s beginning to try more things like climbing up a playset and going down the slide last night.
Another area of improvement is handling his anger. He had horrible tantrums at first. But his trantrums are now pretty sedate for a 2 year-old. We are so thankful since those tantrums made meal time in particular quite difficult. Now meal time is stressful because it takes forever for him to eat as he plays and procrastinates. At least he isn’t eating us out of house and home anymore (that’s now CavGirl’s job).
We have some concerns about his hearing. He tested with some minor hearing loss, but that might have been related to the fluid in his ear. The ear, throat & nose specialist wants to put in larger tubes. These tubes would not fall out, but would have to be removed. However, they should aid in relieving pressure on his ear drum and preserve his hearing (but probably not his singing).
When I think of all the doctor’s appointments and bills I can become overwhelmed at times. But I wouldn’t trade the time and money back. He’s our son and an important part of our family. The boy stays!

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The last few weeks have been just that.  It has been good that I am not working because I feel like I’ve been all around central Florida.  I have taken CavSon for doctor’s appointments and testing in Lakeland and Orlando.  I’ve gone to meetings about job openings in Tampa.  Lunch with pastors in Avon Park, preaching in Avon Park.  I brought the laptop to the Geek Squad in Lakeland (reason for the decrease in the number of posts, and lack of pics of the family).  Gas is $4/gallon and I’m driving more than ever.  This weekend we all head up to Brooksville for a wedding.

CavSon may have some mild hearing loss associated with the frequent ear infections experienced by children with cleft palates.  Next week I bring him back to Orlando to make sure his left ear is healthy.  Our surgeon expressed some concern about that ear.  He has begun speech therapy (no driving, the guy comes to our home).  We are trying to work on the expulsive consonants (b, p and so forth).  He has to learn how to use the muscles in his mouth.  Much of what he says is a slur of vowels right now.

CavDaughter is going everywhere on her new bike.  A friend down the street got a new bike for her birthday, and decided to give her old, smaller bike to our daughter.  She is excited to be riding it, though she has not yet learned how to use the brakes.  This makes for some interesting moments.

She’s trying to “sow her oats” as only a 3 1/2 year-old can.  We are having to address an increase in disrespect and demandingness.    This can make for a long day.

While I’m in my borrowed office, I try to look for work on-line.  Not terribly exciting.  It confirms my internal call as I await a new external call.  I’m trying to keep up with what is going on in the world (theological, political, sports etc.) but am falling way behind since I can’t surf at night.  Perhaps this is good for me.  I’m not reading as much as I’d like, either.

The return of rain also means the return of mowing season here in Florida.  My brown desert hath bloomed all green.  I will need to put in increased lawn time now.

Put it all together and I feel quite harried and pressured as the future intrudes on my present.  I’m looking forward to a few days away from it all for the wedding.  Perhaps it will clear my head and heart.  But until then, I’ve got to work on a homily.

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Yesterday was not a completely sad day.  We had our court hearing for the re-adoption of CavSon.  Since only CavWife went to China, he was her legal son.  He wasn’t mine.  Great thing we weren’t divorced in the last few months 🙂 .  So we had the court date to finalize the re-adoption.

The judge asked if I had a job.  “No, I am a pastor between pastorates.  I was in PA last weekend and am hopeful they will offer me a position.”  Oh, the irony of it all.  But, in God’s providence they may be connected somehow. 

Either way, though life may be difficult for CavFamily the next few months life with us will surely be better than life in a Chinese orphanage no matter how good the care.  Here the adult-to-child ratio is 1:1.

He has adapted quite well to CavFamily thus far.  He is a mostly happy little boy.  Like any other 2 year-old there are moments when you are frustrated by a lack of listening and downright disobedience.  But we enjoy him.  He is beginning to imitate more of our speech, which is a great improvement.  He should begin speech therapy soon to help him learn to use that new soft palate of his to make the sound of consonants.

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I caught an update on the Steven Curtis Chapman family.  Here is some:

On behalf of Steven Curtis Chapman, his management team thanked the public for the outpouring of support he and his family have received in the wake of their daughter Maria’s death, noting it will be a long road ahead for them. “The Chapman family is struggling with grief and wrestling to come to terms with the new normal,” they said. “And yet, we want you to know that we see them holding on to the truth of Gospel, just as we hope we would, just as you expect they might. It is not a false strength, nor a false hope. It is authentic sorrow and true belief simultaneously.”

In related news, Shaohannah’s Hope, the charity the Chapmans founded to help families adopt children from around the world, has received more than $275,000 in donations in response to Maria’s death. “We are overwhelmed at how many people have generously given to Maria’s Miracle Fund and we have a strong sense of the responsibility we now carry to steward the fund and the calling in a way that would honor God, Maria and the Chapman family,” said Scott Hasenbalg, the director of the nonprofit.

As someone who has adopted internationally (and CavWife wants to do it again), I am so excited to hear about the gifts  that will help many other families bring an orphan into their home.  Many need medical care.  Many will receive opportunities they could never imagine if they stayed where they are.  This is a great gift indeed.

It does not take away the sorrow.  But God is working it for good- for the Chapman family, and many other families.  What an awesome, gracious God we serve.

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If you are the praying kind (and I hope you are), please keep Steven Curtis Chapman’s family in prayer.  Wednesday their youngest daughter, Maria (she is the one sitting on his lap and was 5), was accidentally hit by a car in their driveway.  Though she was airlifted to the hospital, the injuries were too severe.

On top of the obvious loss of a much-loved child, there will be the guilt and blame that the Evil One will try to use to debilitate and destroy.  I’m sure this will be a long and difficult process for them.  They may be tempted to forsake God at various times.  So just like any other family, they could use the support of their siblings in Christ at this time and the days to come.

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Yesterday CavSon had his speech and hearing evaluation.  I brought him up to Orlando to get lost in the new construction downtown.  Not too lost.  The exit Map Quest wanted me to take was for a toll road, not the road I wanted/needed.  I figured it out without the help of a GPS or Onstar (p-p-p-please). [apparently the photo file is corrupted, which is a shame since it is a great picture]

The therapist and the intern were very nice and he played well with them.  They checked for his comprehension of what was said, what sounds he was able to say, and if he could identify objects that are described rather than named.

His comprehension was good.  He was only a few months behind- which considering his time in the orphanage (particularly the first 6 months) and having recently moved to the U.S. was not bad.  It was to be expected.  His speaking skills are quite behind, as you would expect since he did not have a palate until a month ago, and English is not his original language.  He does well with the vowels, which are easy.  He is able to pronounce “h, m, n, th”.  I can’t remember if he did “s”.  He has to learn to create suction for some of the other consonants.

He is actually trying to speak more than we thought.  With the missing consonants it just sounds like he’s humming or babbling.  He’ll need plenty of speech therapy, which is not a big deal.  This is something else he probably wouldn’t get back home. 

CavDaughter is discovering embarrassment.  She becomes embarrassed when she discovers she has done something wrong.  I’m still trying to figure out the best way to respond to this new behavior on her part.  In some ways it is funny.  In others, a bit frustrating.

At a birthday party she got a memory card game and wanted me to play it with her.  Before her nap she seemed to grasp it and do fairly well.  In the evening it was like a completely different person.  She was distracted and didn’t follow the rules.  Go figure.

The highlight of Catan Night (we play Monday nights) was listening to one friend describe the rules of hockey to another who had grown up in CA.  The best part was explaining why scoring has gone up and describing the role of the enforcer and how goalies used to hit opposing players in the crease.  Lots of hand motions and Batman sounds (think the campy old TV show- which we also talked about at length).  This all makes more sense when you realize I didn’t win.

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I’d include a new photo, but I can’t seem to insert photos on the laptop, only the PC.  How very strange.  Nothing I’ve tried to resolve it has worked.  And now, back to our regularly scheduled program.

CS has been home for 2 days now.  We were not sure what to expect.  We heard some horror stories from some people.  A few mentioned that it completely threw off the children’s sleep patterns.

The night after his surgery he woke up frequently, often needing some water.  The second night, our first back home, I slept like a rock for about 9 hours in the back bedroom.  CW was happy since I snore louder and longer when I am in such a state of exhaustion.  So she had CS duty that night.  He woke up about every 2 hours.  Last night he didn’t wake up until 6:20.  So, he is pretty much back to his normal sleep pattern.  Big sigh of relief there.

One family we know said their son was going to have his surgery in June.  The doctor recommended putting casts on his arms rather than restraints.  Sometimes kids do figure out how to get free.  The first 2 weeks are probably the most important, so he won’t pull at the stitches on his lip (creating some ugly scar tissue) or put something in his mouth that will damage the repaired palate.  He is adjusting fairly well to the restraints.  He’s able to do most things.  We feed him and help him with his cup.  We give him some freedom around bath time as well.  I do get concerned when he’s running around.  It is a bit hard to break your fall with arm restraints.  But he’s doing well.

He was still a bit “off” from the anesthesia (we think) when he got back.  He is back to being his usual self now.   He had a rash on his torso yesterday.  We think it was the penecillan.  He’s still on his tylenol w/codeine, but should go to straight tylenol tomorrow.  The pain and discomfort seem to have improved greatly (this was another reason he was waking up so much).

The 2 of them have been playing outside.  Sometimes I cringe, fearing that he’ll get hurt.

CW is now the Magic Bullet Queen.  She loves using it to puree his food.  She even pureed a biscuit yesterday.  It has been a big help.  He’s able to eat most of what we eat, just with one extra step.  Okay, we also have to spoon feed him.  And sometimes CD as well.  She doesn’t want to feel left out.


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Home Again

If I have to do this again … shoot me.  I told CavWife this must have been payback for the China trip.

Yesterday morning I was up at 5:30 after not sleeping all that well.  CavDaughter woke me up twice, so that didn’t help.  Since I’d watched the Red Sox beat the Yankees late Sunday, I didn’t watch the come from behind victory against the Indians.  I was a good boy.  But tired even before loading CavSon into the car to head off to the hospital at 6 am.

He really did great yesterday morning.  I thought he’d become super-whiny since I couldn’t give him anything to eat or drink.  But he was in a good mood until crashing at 10:30.  I brought one diaper with me.  Shortly after arriving I noticed some leakage so I traipsed off to the men’s room to change him, seeing a sign that they had changing tables in there.  Sadly, 1. some guy occupied the bathroom for about 10 minutes, and 2. the changing table was in another bathroom.  I also learned they decided to save money on toilet paper and had an ample supply of sand paper in its place.  At approximately 8 am the magic moment I had feared came.  I asked the lady at the desk for a new diaper.  She directed me to the bathroom with a changing table!

A few minutes later they called us back for him to change.  A series of nurses checked in on us to make sure we didn’t need anything.  Very friendly people.  They put in a Barney video for him.  His first Barney experience.  I wanted him to hate it, but he liked it.  Blues Clues was not received quite as well.  He was restless and the surgeon was behind schedule.  I had not read a page of listened to anything but Barney.  Sadly, I’d left my headphones in the car.  After wearing him out he was ready for a nap when the surgeon came by to go over final details.  He was off for surgeon, happily waving ‘bye-bye’.

I spent the next few hours reading half the PCA Book of Church Order, which nearly put me asleep.  Then I went to the car to grab my lunch, once again forgetting the headphones.  After reading some of my novel, I gave up and went into the children’s waiting room which was empty.  A recliner was a great place to nap until the surgeon woke me up with the good news that he was in recovery.

I joined him in recovery, holding him until he was ready to head to the pediatric ward.  No reading, no sermons.  Up in pediatrics, he was doing pretty well.  But between the phone calls, crying and nurses talking to me I actually heard about 10 minutes of Grahame Goldsworthy.

Before he could leave in the morning he had to be drinking and eating.  He was pretty thirsty and quickly took care of the first.  For dinner he had some applesauce and babyfood bannanas.  Paydirt!  We just had to make it through the night.

My dinner was late.  A friend was bringing me dinner, but circumstances conspired such that he arrived at 8 pm, when visiting hours ended.  But we went off the cafeteria to talk.  He brought me a Joey Bag o’ Donuts and a beer from Moe’s.  He figured I probably would need one.  Oh, a true friend.

I was back in the room by 9:30 and started to watch a movie on the DVD player I borrowed.  After about 20 minutes I faced the fact I would not finish the movie.  I was in bed by 10, so very un-Cavman-like.  It seemed that every time I was close to falling to sleep something happened: a monitor alarm went off, he woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep, a nurse came in, he was thirsty ….  It was as if they had some special detection device.

When the surgeon arrived he found everything in good order and the wheels were in motion for discharge.  He enjoyed his breakfast of applesauce and scrambled eggs.  He also had time to work the floor, flirting with all the nurses.  One of the interesting things about the hospital that I learned as the transportation specialist pushed us in the wheelchair is that they don’t allow child patients out via the parking garage, where I was parked.  So, I had to leave him with the specialist while I went to get the car and drive to the other side of the hospital instead of 150 feet in the parking garage.

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CavSon had better get used to being confined, so to speak.  His surgery is next week.  His soft palate will be corrected in out patient surgery.  He has a high threshold for pain, but becomes VERY whiny when he sees a scab.  So it will be interesting to see how he responds.  We are not sure if he will need arm restraints yet.  After the surgery you really have to protect the palate, which means no sucking (which would be a new experience for him since he can’t really develop suction).  However, he is used to having much of his hand in his mouth.  You don’t want to risk damaging the palate with the fingers.

He will be on a soft food diet for 6 weeks.  He’ll love that too.  While CavDaughter enjoys cookies, chips etc.  he can’t.  I’m not looking forward to any tantrums that may produce since he won’t understand why he is being deprived of food he likes.

Another possible concern is reports we’ve heard from other families that sleep patterns are greatly disrupted.  He sleeps very well.  Actually, I figure that if the time change from China didn’t really disrupt his sleep schedule, this shouldn’t either.  But you can never know for sure.

I am reminded of Romans 8 which includes many incredible themes, including the adoption as sons of the elect, the groaning of creation and the sufficiency of grace in the midst of any circumstance.  Verses 28-29 pertain here.  These difficult circumstances of his (painful surgery) are being used to restore wholeness and health.  The surgeon is going to hurt him, but not harm him (at least that is the plan).  God often brings difficult circumstances, painful things, into our lives as part of the process of conforming us to the likeness of His Son that He might be the firstborn of many brothers.  The Father may ‘hurt’ His children, but the goal is to heal them, not hurt or destroy them. 

Until Tuesday we have to pray that he doesn’t become ill.  That would postpone the surgery.  He hasn’t been sick since we brought him home, so it would be odd if he became ill.  But, we specialize in odd around here.

Yes, CavWife loves the messy face pictures.  Perhaps you can join me in praying that she will be able to resist that temptation in the future.  Until then, enjoy.

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This is an older picture of the “old man”.  He’s been on the anti-biotics for over 2 weeks, and his skin is doing much better.  The scratching has lessened greatly.  The tumor has even shrunk a little.  But, his arthritis seems to be slightly worse.  He’s limping more than he used to.  The kids had fun with him this morning, and I did get a good picture of CavDaughter lying next to him.  I haven’t downloaded it yet.

CavDaughter got a big dose of relational disappointment this morning.  There are some older kids in the neighborhood who come over to play with her.  After CavSon came home from China, they seemed a bit too preoccupied with him.  But the novelty wore off.

With Spring Break, one of her older friends has been busy with kids her own age.  I don’t blame her.  But my daughter has missed her.  Yesterday she couldn’t quite understand why she couldn’t go swimming with them.  And then today she was very disappointed that her friend was with a bunch of other kids and essentially ignored her.  She wanted to play with her and was very sad.  It was sad for us to watch her sitting there in the middle of the street looking quite disappointed.

I talked with her putting it into context.  CavDaughter has lots of friends, and sometimes she plays with one, and other times another.  That’s what her friend was doing.  She was still sad.

I told her that God heals the broken hearted.  I told her that Jesus had a hurt heart too, and can help us with our hurt hearts.  A little dose of the gospel for the little girl.

Fortunately all this took place while I was trying to mow my lawn.  I say trying because the mower kept stalling.  It was way humid and the rain for the previous night still had the grass wet.  My previous mower was indestructable.  I never changed the oil and it would start on 1 or 2 pulls everytime.  I might stall if the grass was too thick, but that was it.  But you had to push it.  Very tiring in the August heat.  So I bought a used self-propelled mower from a neighbor friend (he didn’t realize it was self-propelled, which is another story and illustration for another day).  This one is very sensitive.  If the gas is more than a week old it stalls.  So it was during this otherwise frustrating downtime that I needed to minister to my disappointed daughter.  I would have been utterly oblivious otherwise.  Praise God, even for his severe mercies.

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We bought her a “big girl bed” about a month ago.  It would have been sooner, but with the adoption there was enough change going on.  We decided to wait a little longer.  She picked out the comforter with her mom.  But, we kept the crib up thinking she might slowly transition over.  No way, Jose!

So before I left for my trip last week we told her that the crib was coming down after I returned.  She seemed excited about this, and wanted her brother to have her crib.  We borrowed one for him.  So Tuesday morning I took the cribs apart.  She wanted to help, so I let her use the Allen wrench and put bolts in plastic baggies.  This was a huge improvement over her previous attempts to help me.

So last night was the night.  She often rocked against the side of the crib, now it was against the wall.  She can rock hard, so I had to talk to her about it since I didn’t want any picture frames to fall on her head.  Soon it was after 9 pm and she was still rocking.  I was the one designated to go in.  At first she wasn’t very communicative.  Being the expert counselor that I am I asked some questions and discerned that she was sad about her crib.  “It’s okay to be sad.  Change can be hard.”  So I held her for a few minutes, prayed with her and she dropped off to sleep.  (I honestly don’t know where this sensitive parent thing came from.)

That is until about 12:45 when I heard her screaming.  She was on the floor.  CavWife had put pillows in there thinking they would keep her from rolling out.  But they acted more like a ramp allowing her to more easily clear the side protective rail.  No harm done, but hopefully lessons learned.

Yesterday we were able to schedule the surgery for CavSon.  2 weeks.  Amazingly, it is now an outpatient procedure, meaning he’ll be in the hospital for less than 24 hours.  I’ll stay overnight with him.  “You make him laugh” was CavWife’s rationale.  I don’t think he’ll be laughing.  She’s also concerned that CavDaughter may be frightened and wants to stay home with her.  She’s thinking of that Curious George DVD when he goes to the hospital and she was frightened.  CavWife is afraid she’ll be worried/scared for her brother.  So CavSon and I may head to Florida Hospital (S. Orlando) alone.  But, his ‘boo-boo’ will be fixed.  It will be painful, but it will restore God’s intention.  There’s a lesson there, but I’ll let you figure it out.

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We sent this out as a family photo.

The evaluation with the cranio-facial team went well.  It was a bit overwhelming at times.  There were anywhere from 1-4 specialists in the room at any given time.  That was pretty overwhelming for me at times- too many conversations to follow.  It felt like dinner with my wife’s family.  This would be why she felt at home.  My job was to keep CavSon reasonably quiet while not being examined.  The plastic surgeon wants to do the surgery ASAP.  We are to call his office tomorrow and try to set up a time for it.  Life is pretty complicated right now.  There will be lots of changes in the next few months, and we aren’t sure precisely what many of them will be.

At least I’m not this guy!  I’m currently watching the Simpsons Movie.  Homer’s ability to consistently do the wrong thing is absolutely amazing.  So, compared to him … I’m  a pretty good husband and father.  It is pretty funny.  Utterly pointless and irreverent, but really funny.  Hopefully I won’t wake up the little girl.

However, my wife just doesn’t get the Simpsons.  But we still love each other.

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My Breakdancing Boy


Okay, he really isn’t breakdancing.  He’s falling down while trying to walk in adult shoes.  But I thought it looked cool.

It is hard to believe it has nearly been 2 months since he entered our home.  Overall he’s fitting in well.  He and CavDaughter get along most of the time.  Just like siblings.

He no longer gorges on food.  He’s picked up some more words, but still prefers to just point and grunt.  He has trouble staying still when you change him, which can become very frustrating  when you are in a hurry.

He is doing well when we leave him in the nursery at church.  Our main complaint would be the whining.  But most kids his age whine.  That and how he can’t make up his mind: he’ll want to be helped up on the couch, then down.  Then up.  Then down.  Repeat ad infinitum.  Oh, and he likes to step on your feet.

Tomorrow (Thursday) we bring him for the monthly CMS cranio-facial surgical team evaluation.  CavDaughter gets to spend some time with a friend in the morning while we take him to Orlando.  The evaluation should take 2 hours, and we’ll get the dictation in about 2 weeks.  It will be the treatment plan for the next year.  I’m hoping he only needs one surgery this year, but we’ll see.

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This could be why he has gained 2 lbs since coming home, without any increase in height.  Yes, he has quite the bhudda belly at this point.  He can’t see his diaper.  His belly gets stuck when he tries to climb down from his booster seat.  He’s becoming a bit more adventurous- now able to climb in the car and up to his car seat.  He’s no longer afraid to climbe down from his booster seat.  He’s content on the swing as long as he can keep an eye on a big person.  It is funny to see him craning his neck to keep an eye on you.

He’s still cautious in new places, and with new people (not altogether a bad thing).  His first time at the play area at the mall it took him about 10 minutes to even get near something to climb on.  After another 10 minutes he was finally getting into the play houses and cars.  It was a process, and we had to wait CavSon out.

Parenting him is very different than CavDaughter.  He is all boy, and tends to throw things & hit when he’s angry.  She finds the boundary and comes as close to it as she can without crossing it.  He …. well, forget that boundary.  He wants what he wants when he wants it, and that makes life interesting.  Living with 2 toddlers is like experiencing James 4:1-6 non-stop.  Ultimate desires rage (“I need that!”) and we’re supposed to restrain the insanity.  No matter what you do someone is crying, so you feel like a lousy parent much of the time.  I’m not so wild about that part.  But they sure can be cute when they want to.

Oh, the laptop is back from the shop and now we have lots of photos to enjoy.  A family photo will be heading out to various family and friends.  I hope to get a copy of it on here too.

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