cover photo

cover photo
The Chaos Reigns
"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that our lives belong to each other." - Mother Teresa

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Breaking of Old Habits...

Thank God there is all this mandatory training for adoptive parents.  At first, I wondered if all this parent training we were required to take was really necessary. I was the Mother of 4 bio kids already.  But, what I learned from the classes (which I am forever grateful for) was to be prepared for raising a child with trauma and potential attachment disorders.

I am not sure if I would be sane right now if I was not fully prepared ( OK. The me still being sane part is definitely questionable.)

If there is one main take away I have learned from this adoption is how much we take for granted all of those basic formative years of love/attachment and the teaching of basic boundaries from parents. And, what we are up against if that foundation is not in place.

My times, it is not pretty.

I am lucky to shower twice a week. Our families clothes are in laundry bins not drawers (OK> so that was the case before the adoption.. but now the clothes in the bins are dirty... not clean.) I have not seen the bottom of my kitchen sink in a few months.

And, my bio kids are trying to locate their Mother.

Although things have improved dramatically in the last few months, we are still in the trenches of mayhem.

So let's start with sleep or lack there of...

They both have major sleep problems.

Jia wakes up with crazy rageful protests. Think slam your finger in the door screaming. I am not sure if I can classify them as night terrors because she is responsive during her wake-up times.

But, her screaming certainly terrifies me.

We have tried every approach. We are currently co-sleeping... or co-sleepless.  At least, the screaming stops.

Jude does this crazy ants in his pants anxiety shuffle and moans for hours in his bed at night. It is wild.

Quirky Habits...

So, here are the top ten quirky habits Jude could learn to outgrow before his 3rd birthday. (if only for his Mother's sanity)

I have to write this stuff down, so we do not forget them because they are pretty hilarious.

1.  My head is not a napkin. This habit is getting a little more uncomfortable now that I have hair.
2.  Taking my food off my plate and putting it all back on my plate multiple times while I eat.

3.  Taking things from everyone. Jia's arm restraints after surgery were no exception.  Envy can be a strange thing.

4.  Screaming at the top of my lungs and stamping my feet when I am even slightly corrected.
5.  Drinking half the liquid in my cup then spitting the rest of the liquid out on my shirt. This equals spending the day with soaking wet shirt. (Emma observed the other day that I actually just continue to hold the cup in the tilted position after I am done drinking it.)
6.  Stuffing an entire mouth full of food in my mouth, then of course, when begin to choke, spitting my food out and screaming hysterically.
7.  Taking one bite of every fruit in the fruit bowl then putting them back into the fruit bowl for Mom to find.
8.  Stealing food and drinks (even when I have exactly what the other person has in front of me.) This is especially fun for Mom at the pool when I have free reign of other peoples belongings.
9.  Running at full speed and doing multiple face plants a day. This equates to constant bumps and bruises on my face, and my Mom constantly yelling "walk."
10.  High pitch squealing whenever the dog barks. OK add high pitch squealing for no reason.

Here are Jia's top 10...

1. Asking for more food, and after I receive it, throw it or refuse to eat it.
2. Dying cat screams whenever anyone walks near me, takes a toy from me, or bothers me in anyway.
3. Dying cat screams for no reason.
4. Napping for 20 minutes at a time and waking up with the crazy protest scream as described above.
5. Assaulting my brother Jude when I think no one is looking.
6. Dumping all my liquid on my plate, so I can play fun games with my food.
7. Taking every object off of every countertop in the house.
8. Emptying out every cabinet and drawer in the house.
9. Thinking I have free reign over every object in the house including items in the trash can.
10. Groaning. (My Mom would actually prefer whining.)

Fun (Exhausting) Times.

On a side note, I gave Jia her first haircut. The different lengths of her hair growing out was starting to get out of control. The older girls were laughing at me because they said I gave a her a China doll hair cut.  So, I had to take some cute photos in their Chinese outfits.

They are sure cute and lovable despite their quirky habits. :)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

3 Birthdays

So, we had 3 birthdays in the last 6 weeks.

The first one we celebrated was little Jude who turned 2!

Happy Birthday Jude.

The biggest change in Jude is.....

He has hair!!  And, it is wavy.

Who knew he was going to have a head of Fantz hair.

Jude's shaved head in China.

Jude's hair now.

He loved his fireman hat his Grandma and Grandpa gave him for his birthday.

.....and his birthday balloons.

...and presents.  This is the first time Joel experienced serious present envy having a brother.  If you look closely, you can see Joel playing with Jude's garbage truck in the background. 

Then, we celebrated Jia's 2nd birthday.

We spent the day with our good friends the Roche's who arranged a beautiful day at the botantial gardens in Vail for her.  Jess is Jia's Godmother.  Jia's Grandma and Grandpa joined us too.

It was a special day for her.

Jia has changed so much. She has gained 4 pounds since we brought her home.  Now that her palate has been repaired, she can drink her bottle at rocket speed.... which is helping in the weight department.

Our match photo of Jia.

China after Gotcha day. She was so skinny.

Jia 3 months later (even with a major surgery in the timeline.)  I can only imagine what she will look like a year from now.  

The hardest part about celebrating their birthdays is having so little information about their first 2 years of life. We just wish we could have held them in our arms and cared for them so much sooner. It was also heartbreaking to think about their birth parents on their birthdays. It is hard to imagine what they were going through that lead them to abandon these 2 beautiful children. The unknown information about their past is tough. We remember and pray for their birth parents in a special way on their birthdays.

And last but not least, we celebrated the birthday of our oldest Emma.

She has been such a huge help to us this summer.  It feels like just yesterday that I was pregnant with this little woman. She is turning into an amazing young lady.

Happy Birthday Jude, Jia and Emma!! We love you guys.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Super Momma!

Life is good/crazy. We are blessed. Here’s some quick thoughts and pictures to give an idea of our increasing carbon footprint…obviously set to exponentially leap as as our biomass increases.
· 1 to 2 loads of laundry daily.
·  3 loads of dishes daily.
·  1+ gallon of milk daily.
·  By 9am, we have changed 6 diapers.
·  I made 18 eggs for breakfast on Saturday. There were none left for mom or dad.
·  Ditto for the Stoeffer’s party lasagna tray for dinner on Sunday.
·  Sleep, erg. Persona non grata in the Fantz kingdom. 3 distinct nap routines, plus waking nighttime for 3 to 5. And still some adjustment issues to work through for our little Jude and Jia.
·  There are some nights that I have realized that I happen to be wearing the same outfit that I put on yesterday morning.
·  Lots of decibels. I feel like we have enough toys and space in our house for 2 daycare rooms, but somehow the 3 2-year olds (aka the Irish Chinese Triplets) make it a point to scream and fight over a single toy throughout the day.
·  While the sound level is always enough to ring a guest’s ears, somehow it feels eerily silent when one kid is gone from the house.
·  For this reason, when Mom or Dad leave the house for errands on the weekends, we’ll try to give relief to the other by splitting the brood…for example, I’ll run to Wallgreens to pick up a prescription and bring the boys with me …

I am fortunate to work from home. While I work long hours, the flexibility of popping in and out between conference calls (then finishing work after 9PM on weekends/weeknights), as a short-order backup parent, is a blessing.

Momma is AMAZING! The master brain of the operations…juggling meals, diapers, naps, outings, summer lesson plans, heck even teaching Emma and Caroline piano.

And, Emma and Caroline are mini Mommas. We are shocked at how devoted and ready they are to serve their young siblings.

So hard right now! But, life is amazing and rich!

Here are some pics from my not-so-good phone camera:

SUV all loaded up...

Day at the zoo...

Walk to the park...

Sandbox that seemed way bigger when we bought it 2 years ago...

Momma during family prayer time before bed...

Joel pushing Jia in the baby stroller...nightly act...brings us all to gut laughts(too bad we can't post videos)...

Bathtime in the land of shampoo horns and firemen...

Mommy trip to the neighborhood pool...

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

My Forgotten Blog :)

So, I failed in my commitment of trying to keep up my blog once a week. I think it was a combination of Jia's brutal surgery recovery and hitting a wall of exhaustion from all the lack of sleep the last 2 months.

But, nevertheless, here is finally an update on Jia's surgery....

Jia's surgery went extremely well. It took about 6 -1/2 hours. Her tubes took about 1/2 hour for the ENT. The plastic surgeon performed her palate repair which took about 5 hours! (He did the Z-plasty procedure after all... 4 layers of stitches)  Her ear tags took about a 1/2 hour.

I was told to expect a lot of blood when she woke up from the anesthesia. There was like none...maybe a drop. The surgeon did an amazing job. I was overall very impressed to look inside her mouth to see his handy work.  Praise God for the success.

The recovery was a different story.

She was not a happy camper. Look at this face.

She actually did not mind the arm restraints after a couple of days. (I secretly loved them. This child is into everything, so I was somewhat happy she was restrained. LOL)

But, she launched a major food and liquid protest which translated into having to force feed her. The PA said she had never really seen a child protest like Jia. She would shriek and violently shake her whole body every time we would have to use the syringe to give her the liquid diet.

Her crazy protest bought her an extra night in the hospital. They were hoping the next day it would be better.

It wasn't.

But, we got our ticket out of the hospital when I promised I would be willing to force feed her at home.

It was awful. She hated it. I hating force feeding her even more. I am sure it was terrible for attachment.

It was tough.

She also had a lot of regression in her behavior as well...which we were expecting.

The diet protest lasted about 7 days. She lost a pound in a week.

But, then we had a breakthrough. Someone advised me to try congee (Chinese rice porridge). I figured out how to make some, and it was a total hit. Jia completely refused to eat ice cream, but she would eat congee.  Go figure.

After a few weeks things got better. But, she was so sad about the diet restrictions. (2 weeks of pureed....  4 more weeks of only soft foods.)  Her whole heart would sink when I would tell her she could not have something the other kids were having. Almost like this was a past wound she had dealt with before.
I would gently explain and would sign to her that it would hurt her mouth. She got to the point where when I would tell her no to a food she wanted, she would sign back hurt mouth. It was adorable and heartbreaking all at the same time.

She is now doing so much better, and we are back to making lots of progress every week. She is actually starting to say some words now too.

Post Op

We had our post op today. The plastic surgeon who did her palate said everything looks perfect. He doesn't think she will need another surgery in her mouth until she is about 7 or 8.

But when we went to the ENT doctor, it was a different story. One of her ear tubes had already fallen out.  He told me it has only happened twice to any of his patients, and he has been doing the procedure for 16 years. Ugh.

So, back to the OR this Friday for new longer lasting ear tubes. Poor Jia. But, this time it is just an outpatient procedure.

She also had a hearing test with the ENT which was still in the range of (30db) mild-moderate loss.

But, it is a huge improvement from her China medical file which was (80 db) profound loss.

After the tubes, they will do another hearing test to see if she needs a hearing aide. I will just be glad when we finally get her hearing stabilized.    

I'll write more on the rest of the kids in my next post, but in the meantime, aren't they cute..