So much has happened that I can hardly believe we’ve only been home for a week and two days. Though my persistent cough that I caught in Ukraine is a good reminder that not too much time has passed.
Paul got to spend one night at home, but as I mentioned, landed in the hospital on Friday morning with low 02 levels, a terrible cough, and dehydration. After receiving some fluids, he gained about a half a pound; a significant amount for a 1.5 year old who only weighs 15 lbs to start. He got antibiotics and we also took care of some other things we needed to do, such as a swallow study and his echocardiogram. Good news on the swallow study-he protects his airway very well! Though, liquid was still getting into his lungs due to a vascular ring that caused thicker liquids to build up in his esophagus and spill into his trachea. But now we know what and how to feed him, so that won’t be a problem. The echo was helpful and a pediatric cardiologist has already looked over the findings. The structure of the heart is fine; the problems lie in the arteries and valves coming out of the heart. Another type of study will need to be done, probably in Salt Lake City. The hope is that they can do the study there and during the same trip, take care of his surgery. During that surgery, they will also correct the vascular ring I mentioned, which should take care of Paul’s chronic congested sound and some of his eating issues. This will probably happen within the next two months.
Truthfully, the long flights home (over 20 hours of travel) and two days in the hospital took a toll on Paul. In Kyiv before we left, he was smiling and laughing. He was content to roll on the floor and look around at the apartment. After we came home from the hospital, Paul was definitely more temperamental, crying or fussing whenever he was put down. Not smiling, not laughing and not particularly interested in his surroundings. He bounced back quickly though, especially considering that his entire life was just flipped upside down. Now that he’s been home for a number of days, he’s becoming more and more himself. Sometimes he will even smile and laugh when Ben starts to climb on him. I’m sure as he continues to feel better and have more energy, he will really begin to shine. He has already touched a number of people-a woman on one of our flights who I got to speak with a little bit, and two nurses at the hospital who showed up the next day after meeting him with a card and presents for him.
Perhaps the most exciting news is that another family I know who is at Paul’s orphanage now contacted me because they were given a crucifix, Saint card and e-mail address to pass along to me. They are for Paul from his birthmother! She wanted him to have those items and she wants to keep in touch and get updates on him. This fills my heart with joy. I never thought I’d get to have any variation of an open adoption when adopting from another country, yet here we are. I already e-mailed Paul’s birthmother photos and a little note. Let’s just hope google translate works well going from English to Ukrainian.
He is a special boy. I hate that he spent his first year and a half (almost) wasting away in an orphanage. He has so much to offer. I am so glad he is home. There are so many children just like him, including Justin, the boy we originally tried to adopt. Justin’s paperwork has now been sorted out and he is available for adoption now! During the months of November and December, I have committed to advocating and fundraising for him through Reece’s Rainbow’s Angel Tree Program. Please visit Justin’s Shop to see if you can help.
Here are some more photos from the past few days.