Thursday, April 19, 2007

Great is His Faithfulness

Many of you have heard these "stats" before.

Less then 10% chance of survival
Even lower chance of being "normal"

Those were the "stats" given to AM when he was born.

After the doctor's decided he would most likely live, they began to share with us his "outlook". The doctor that we most respected told us, on more then one occasion, that AM would likely struggle in school. That he would have a lower IQ then he would have had if he'd been born full-term. He wouldn't be as "smart" as he would have been if born full-term.

Most of you know that about two days after AM was born, I "hit my knees", so to speak, and told God I couldn't do it on my own. Ironically, that was before I acknowledged MY need for Him.......that wouldn't come for another two years.

But on that day, God made me a promise. He told me AM would be okay. When I had some of my darkest days (in the NICU), that still, small voice would reassure me "I told you he would be okay". When I would sit by AM's bedside and wonder if he'd ever walk, kick a ball, speak, see, or pass a test.....God would reassure me: "I told you he would be okay".

AM beat the odds and came home before his due date (unusual for micro-preemies), and I thought.......Great is His faithfulness.

AM started receiving occupational therapy almost as soon as he came home. Preemies are at a huge risk for developmental delays and learning disabilities, so "therapy" sessions where a way of life from the very start.

At one, he began to receive physical therapy. He hit every milestone (adjusted for his prematurity), but always waited until the very last minute to do so. If it was "normal" to walk by 18 months, he would start walking at 17 months 30 days. He was having sensory problems during this time. I would watch him gag just by TOUCHING certain toys. Eating was a big problem and he was seen at Children's Mercy's eating clinic.

Yet each of these things he overcame and I would think........Great is His faithfulness.

At two, he began to receive speech therapy. When he started, he could only utter a few words, and did a lot of deep, guttural growling (sensory feedback). At the end of that first year, his speech therapist called him her "poster child for success".

He was speaking in sentences, and I thought.....Great is His faithfulness.

At three, AM transitioned in to the school system and continued to receive occupational, physical and speech therapy. Gross motor skills where a challenge. He couldn't stand on one foot, let alone hop. His fine motor skills were no better. He wasn't able to open containers or apply enough pressure on a crayon to color.

At four, his physical and occupational therapy was reduced to once a month. Speech continued twice a week. During this time, he was enrolled in a special speech study at KU Med and they confirmed an ongoing delay.

At five, it was decided he needed more occupational therapy then he was receiving, so he received OT and speech twice a week that entire year. His physical therapy continued at once a month. At that time, we enrolled him in karate and watched him struggle to do any of the gross motor skills the other kids (younger kids) did. If they asked him to hop on one foot, he could do one or two and then fall over.

By the time he turned six, he could stand on one foot while throwing a kick and I thought......Great is His faithfulness.

Kindergarten began at six and physical therapy was discontinued. Speech and OT continued twice a week.

Today, I had his IEP meeting.

AM's hand strength has increased. He can now easily apply enough pressure to write legibly. In fact, his writing is at OR ABOVE those of his peers (his OT tells me it's above). His cutting skills (the very scissors he could barely open to use just 18 months ago) are at OR ABOVE those of his peers.

His speech therapist cannot believe the progress. In fact, his speech is now at OR ABOVE (she tells me it's above) that of his peers. She's amazed at the large words he knows and uses correctly.

Before the meeting ends, they both tell me that AM exceeded both of their expectations. That he is doing better then most in his peer group...........the "normal" kids.

And at the end of the meeting, they tell me he is no longer "exceptional". As of today, he no longer needs services of any kind.

I have a normal, AND SMART, child.

And all I can say is...........GREAT IS HIS FAITHFULNESS.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Update

Let me make a confession.

It turns out I'm not really bloggerific.

Oh, I like to talk. Scratch that. I LOVE to talk.

If you were to go back and look at all of my report cards as a child, you would see that all of them share a common theme. "Nice kid, but she talks too much."

I haven't really changed much.

Yet, oddly, that "skill" doesn't seem to transfer to my blog. Go figure.

I'm going to use this post to update people on the adoption progress.

Actually, can you call something that is basically standing still progress? "Slow and steady" doesn't really begin to describe it.

China has changed a LOT since we attended our first meeting. Oh it's still a "reliable" process, so long as your definition of "reliable" begins and ends with "eventually you'll have a child".

AM may be graduating highschool at the same time, but hey, who doesn't want to be a new parent with kids 18 years apart.

The last batch of referrals only covered two days. As in one-two. Two.

That's not good. Especially considering we are 228 days PAST the last date of referrals, which happens to be Oct. 27, 2005.

Now it's important to note that nobody expects China to continue referring two days at a time (TWO DAYS!), but nearly everyone is now expecting the wait to grow at LEAST 1/2 month for every month of referrals.

That basically means it will be a long, long time before there is a baby waiting for us.

There aren't fewer babies in China (by most accounts), but China is refusing to increase the number of babies leaving.....while allowing more countries to participate in it's program. The result: same number of babies leaving the country, lots more people trying to adopt those babies.

In fact, some US agencies are no longer accepting applications into their China programs. They expect people with recent log-in dates to wait around three years. Maybe longer.

If we're honest, we'll be lucky to have a referral in 2008.

So where does that leave us. I don't know. I don't have any answers right now.

Nobody has any answers. Not our agency, not the other families waiting with us. Nobody.

So what's a family to do when they don't want their kids 7/8+ years apart in age and, quite frankly, don't want to wait another year or two to grow their family?

Again, no real answers.

So for now, just pray for us. I suppose I sound "downtrodden" in this post, and really I'm not. I know that this is part of God's plan. Never said I had to LIKE the plan, but it's His plan nevertheless :).

I will be posting something a little more "lighthearted" in the coming days. Stay tuned.