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

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween

Jude and Gia's 1st Halloween

What is not fun about going to people's houses and getting candy.


They were pretty excited about this concept...


I am hoping the neighbors giving out candy in frightening masks gave Gia some much needed stranger anxiety.


Jude and Gia loved giving out candy to the trick or treaters even more. Imagine 4 little kiddos fighting over who gets to put candy in kids bags. It was quite the scary scene to come to our house. Lots of shrieking and screaming.


I'm preparing for 6 kids who will have a frightening candy hangover tomorrow. It will be a long day.


Happy Halloween!!




Thursday, October 17, 2013

Layers of the Onion- Part 1 {Medical and Attachment}

The adoption community talks about uncovering the many layers of the onion when getting an institutionalized child back on track developmentally. This has been a pretty intense process for us to accomplish with Jude and Gia....


Medical....

The medical appointments have been countless. Trying to rule out this...rule out that. When we first brought them home, our pediatrician ran blood test on every potential blood born disease known to man. Twice. We actually just finished our 3rd round at Children's yesterday. Everything has come back negative the first 2 times, so we are hopeful we are in the clear. Same goes for stool tests..and we have treated everything.  I am pretty sure Gia's parasite was the reason for her malnutrition.

Jude's heart
Jude's had his echo and EKG on his heart, and the cardiologist said everything looked great except for a slightly large aorta. He thought Jude probably just had a typical 3 month old heart murmur. He hypothesized that the murmur probably just made him eligible for international adoption, and it was never anything serious. However, because of the slightly enlarged aorta, we do need to go back for another screening in a year. But, overall great news!!


Gia..
I am so thankful the first major palette surgery is behind us. I still need to have her kidney's screened (I guess the external ears develop the same time as the kidneys, so because of her ear deformities, she needs to have a kidney ultrasound). We also just saw a GI specialist for another round of testing.

Gia failed her first two hearing test, but after the second set of tubes, she finally passed!! Although she failed her early childhood screening one a few weeks later.:(  I am confident she can hear fairly well, but maybe not softer sounds...and of course, she is very selective in her hearing. :)

Attachment
Gia..

Here are some signs that a child has had some sort of serious disruption in their attachment cycle...Gia is showing many of these signs....OK all of them.

Superficially engaging and charming behavior (Gia will smile and jump into laps of strangers while she treats us like we are neglectful abusive caregivers. This hurts my heart so much, especially since I spend practically 24/7 with her.)
Lack of eye contact on parental terms (She will always look away when trying to promote eye contact.)
Lack of impulse control (She is into everything and does not remember boundaries.)
Learning lags (We see holes in her cognitive development.) 
Lack of cause and effect thinking (Does not comprehend simple discipline like time-outs/ins. We have brought out a lot of baby cause and effect toys to help in this area.)
Inappropriate demands and clingy behavior (Clings to us for dear life...but pushes us away as soon as we insert any structure in her life.)
Overacts to negative stimulation.  (If you do anything uncomfortable....like wipe her nose, she screams like she is being tortured to death)
Hyper-vigilant to their surrounding (She sometimes darts her head in fear back and forth when something startles her.)
Cannot maintain play with other children.  (She becomes easily hysterical when a child play does not go her way...like hysterical 30 times a day)
Finds a new adult when corrected.  (She is notorious for this...even if corrected ever so slight. If there are no other adults around, she will attempt to get sympathy from a sibling.)
Does not fall asleep or stay asleep easily. (Miss 20 minute napper.)
Rapid fluctuating in mood changes.  Crying and rage seem out of proportion to the circumstances. (Even the slightest correction causes her to rage. She is giggling one moment...screaming the next)

All of the above signs are slowly disappearing, but they are all still present in some form.

This was the state of our little Gia when we got her. This would have been a more realistic match photo of Gher. I cannot tell you the number of times a day she made this face the first few months we were
home.  Exhausting is an understatement.  But, we know it is not the real Gia, and we are slowly uncovering a sweet little girl behind all of her fear based outbursts.
We are working to stretch these happy moments from those constant sad/angry moments

So, how are we handling this challenge...Honestly, some days better than others.

We have an attachment therapist who we are working with, and we are hoping to set up even more visits. We are attempting to regress Gia as much as possible. Treating her like a little baby to give Gia what she never had. However, this is easier said than done since Gia has the gross motor skills of a 3 year old and a impulse and emotional control of a one year old. For all of the hard work we have put into getting Gia on track, I am not convinced she would be phased at all if she had to move to another family tomorrow. I could just see her smiling and happily waving bye to us. So, focusing on attachment is our top priority right now.

Jude and attachment
We are making huge progress with Jude. Thank God for Jude because if we just had little Gia, I would be completely convinced that I totally stink at this adoption parenting.

He is super cute with me now. He is constantly jumping into my arms. He is visibly distressed when I leave or I am not around.  He is constantly pulling me around the house to show me this or that.

He always brings me my keys, purse, and phone. (Seriously, I needed this kid in my life a long time ago...He now keeps me from losing all these things.)  If Gia gets into any of my things, he will sound his alarm and go to my rescue. He loves my praise and gets extremely upset if he is corrected by me.

So, we are headed in the right direction for Jude. But, he had a much stronger start to life than Gia did.

I swear no one goes into adoption thinking they are a lousy parent...you go in with the idea that you are actually quite competent in your parenting on some level.  But, boy do these little ones take a swing at your credentials. It has definitely been a humbling journey.

Next post....Trauma and Sleep

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Photos of Jude- 9 Months

So, I spotted some baby photo's of our Jude on a fellow adoptive Mom's post (in a Facebook adoption group.)

It was a link to a past blog post, and her daughter in China was having her 2nd birthday party and some Zhengzhou foster Moms came with their kids to celebrate.


Jude is in the yellow and white with the foster Mom who is wearing the gray and pink jacket.



We also thought he moved to foster care around the time he was about 1 year old.  But, clearly, he was in foster care earlier.



I am so grateful to this woman who gave our Jude a strong foundation.   


Its is such a special find when you discover baby photos of your child.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Happy Birthday Molly

Dear Molly,

Happy Birthday Molly!! It feels like yesterday I gave birth to you. These last few years have flown by.


I had an easy water birth with you (you were the smallest of all my babes), and you made the most peaceful entrance into this world. You still love the water and have been a little fish ever since. There is not a day that goes by that you do not ask me if we can go swimming.


You refuse to believe that you are not on your older sister's swim team and keep asking me if you can go to their swim practice in your floaties.

You adore everything ballerina, princess and pink....

You are constantly looking for your ballerina dresses and ballet shoes. You love to comment on other peoples clothes and shoes...


You are always making new friends at the park...


You have taken the official role of CEO of our house, and bark orders at your Mother...

This is what I hear from you all day long in your commanding voice...

"Mom be quiet, you are going to wake up Jude and Gia"

"Mom, be careful when you are crossing the street."

"No Mom, that is not how you do it."

"Mom, don't do that."

Your favorite phrase is "What the heck"...thanks to your brother Joel.


You are dropping your afternoon nap, and I sometimes find you cat napping in odd places around the house.

You love playing with your siblings, but you have your own ideas on what you want to play.



You have a "don't mess with me attitude" thanks to your overbearing brother Joel.

Once a little boy came up to you at the park and roared in your face to intentionally scare you, and you calmy responded, " My name is not Roar, it is MOLLY."  It was not the response he was expecting.

You are beaming with confidence and joy.



We all love our cute little boss of the house.


Happy Birthday Mollster!!










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Saturday, October 5, 2013

Heroes and Prayers post by Emma

Last night was full of excitement in the Fantz house.
I woke up at about 3 am to the noise of

BEEP!
 
BEEP!

BEEP!

FIRE, FIRE!
(x 1,000,000,000,000)

Then, something flies toward me, and starts crying and saying
"Emma, I'm scared!"

That "thing" was my little sister Caroline.

We leave our room, and see dad run down the stairs, and see our little sister Molly at the top, so I run upstairs, grab her, and notice there's no smoke, or any sign of a fire, but, it does smell like something is burning. Not a fire, but something electrical burned out.

Caroline, Molly, and I are the only ones up (except for mom and dad, of course). So, we get on the couch with a blanket while mom and dad look around to try and see what's causing it.

They couldn't find out what it was so, mom calls the fire department. And Joel wakes up.

Next thing I know is that Joel, Molly, and Caroline run to the window by the door while flashing blue and red light pull up to our house.

We run outside, and watch them all go inside in their fire gear.

I'm glad to go outside (even since it's cold(if you live in Denver, you'd know it snowed the day before)), but my feet were FREEZING!!!!!!!!! The only reason I'm glad is because, inside the burning smelled so strong, it gave me a head-ache (I normally don't get head-aches, I can sit through anything, like ANYTHING and I'm fine, but this was too much for me).

When we were all snuggled up in a bundle, with a blanket, and the Fire Fighters announced that something burned out (it was an electrical thing) so, we had to turn the heating off........SERIOUSLY!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

So, here I am all curled up in a blanket, typing on the computer.








If you live in Colorado, you'd remember the floods.

Well, our basement got flooded.........IN MY ROOM!!!!!!!!!

I was so mad! Dad should fix it soon, but in the meantime, my room is taken out of my room ( if you know what I mean).

So, we pulled up all the carpet padding, aired out my room, and... nothing's happened since.

So, I've been having to change in the middle of the basement.

When I heard about the flood, I prayed.



A few weeks before that, OUR CAR WINDOW WAS FULLY SHATTERED!!!!!!!!!!!

That was not a good day for the Fantz family.