Wednesday, February 26, 2014

6 months

Today marks 6 months since "Gotcha day" aka the day I got Hudson. So much has happened in these 6 months. It is still so weird to sit back and realize he is home, he is finally home. It took us almost 17 months from the time I saw this little boys photo until I got to bring him home, that's a LONG time.

Hudson is doing WONDERFULLY! We had such an easy transition, we were lucky I know. He attached and bonded wonderfully with each of us. It is like he has just always been here. I'm going to try to hit some key points for each month that he has been home.

August 25, 2013, I met our little Hudson, I know I've written about this already, but what a special day that is. He was a little shy at first, but once it was just him and I in the room, he was smiling and coming over to me. When we were in the car on the way to the hotel he was all smiles. And in the hotel when we got to Skype with family, he was funny and excited. It was an adventurous trip, one I never thought I would be taking alone, but I did. I would do it all over again as long as I got to bring this little guy home!

Gotcha Day!
Gotcha day, on the way to our hotel.


We came home on September 5th, 2013. We had family waiting on us in Chicago, we had 2 flight delays and were rerouted all the way to LA before coming home, but we finally made it.

  Left: He went straight to his daddy. Aunt Whitney brought him some cookies too!
Shown is Aunt Lexi, Hanna, Papoo, Grahmie, Aunt Whitney, and daddy holding Hudson.



Below: Grahmie and Papoo brought him a magna doodle, he was quite interested in in being opened right away.

Shown is Aunt Lexi, Grahmie, Papoo, Aunt Whiteny holding Hudson, Averie and daddy.















Our first few weeks at home were a bit rough, I was exhausted, Hudson was having a little difficulty settling into everything, it wasn't anything too bad, but he was expected to have about 2 major melt downs a day for the first two weeks. They were exhausting and stressful to all of us. But, he didn't know what else to do, this was all new and strange to him. We took him from all that he ever knew, he wasn't asked if he wanted to come here. Now, Im sure if he was asked if he was glad he came home he would defiantly say yes, but he wasn't prepared for all of this at first.  He formed a relationship with dad right away, we Skyped so much he knew who everyone was.

October-

Hudson was diagnosed with mild cerebral palsy shortly after coming home. We knew he had a weakness in his right leg before the adoption, we just didn't know why. He was fitted for a leg brace. He didn't care for the brace much at first and it proved much more difficult for him to walk with it. We decided more physical therapy would be necessary. He continued to make improvements with speech and he was even dismissed from speech therapy.

Hudson began preschool on October 16th, only 5 weeks after coming home. I was hesitant, but wanted to let him try. He loved it! I think it helped that he went with me each day to take Averie to school and pick her up, so he knew Ide always come back for him too. He continues to improve with speech, especially being in a class of children his age.

First day of school



He loved Halloween, he dressed up as Captain Hook and Averie was Tinkerbell. Hudson enjoyed going house to house saying trick or treat. Too bad it was a cold rainy evening, hopefully next year will be nicer weather.

Captain Hook & Tinkerbell

Also in October or early November he began to sleep in his own bed! He does really well there still and it really was not a struggle at all. Now, most nights he does still wake up and comes and slips in our bed. Sometimes we will redirect him back to his, but really, it will only last so long until he no longer wants to cuddle between us, so we let him...and Averie too!
Sleeping in his bed!


By November Hudson really had no communication issues, maybe even sooner. He is such a bright and happy boy. He continued to love school, he did get to start speech and physical therapy at school, he continues physical therapy weekly also at our local hospital. He is making great progress, but still has a way to go. 
November 25th, 2013 Hudson was readopted in the USA. He had mom, dad, sisters Hanna and Averie and Grahmie, Papoo and Aunt Lexi there to celebrate!
Re-adoption Day in USA

 He enjoyed all the food at Thanksgiving! He is a meat eater, kinda funny with having a mom who is a vegetarian.
Our wild Pilgrim

December came and went so fast! We had Hanna's birthday and Hudson's first Christmas home! He loved decorating the house, the Christmas tree, and all the little traditions we have. We have an Elf on the Shelf that comes to our house each year, her name is Pixie and as much as I thought he wouldn't understand the concept, he really did! He enjoyed getting up each morning and seeing what kind of mischief Pixie had gotten into. He also enjoyed his daily piece of candy from the advent calendar, counting down the days until Christmas! We watched lots of Christmas movies and tried to explain as much as we could of what Christmas is like. On Christmas morning, this little boy had some huge eyes at what all he saw. He just couldn't believe that he was getting all these gifts. We went from home to daddys parents to my parents. By the time we went to my parents, we were passing out gifts and he just sat in the middle of a huge pile looking around and looked at me and said "is all this for me? For Hudson?" I laughed, "yes buddy, its all yours!" Lets just say he is caught up for some missed Christmas'.   

Decorating
Christmas morning at home

"Is all this for me? For Hudson?!"

We brought in the new year at a hotel. He loves going to hotels and swimming. He also enjoys the science center and shopping! He still really enjoys getting new clothes! He has stayed pretty healthy, he has spiked a few fevers here and there with not much explaination. He has also tested positive for a bacteria, that he contracted from China. We are working on getting rid of this. Hudson began playing soccer at the local YMCA. He was so excited to be on a team, we even talked Averie to stay back a year and play on the same team as him. They have a great time together. He just runs and laughs while he plays. He is so excited when he gets a chance to kick the ball. He is not afraid to get in there with all the other kids at all. 

Handsome soccer player!

Celebrating The Chinese New Year

Now, it is February. He enjoyed Valentines day at both his school and Averies'. We went to a hotel for a few nights because he was scheduled for a sleep study. He did very well for the sleep study and we are waiting for the results still. Hudson continues to have the bacteria, we have tried two rounds of antibiotics and a cream and it is not helping. We are in process of figuring out what is our next step.
 
We found out that Hudson has grown 6 inches since coming home! This is awesome! He will need a new leg brace, but not only because he has grown so much, but also because he has had regrowth of a muscle they didn't think he would have. So, he will be getting a new style of brace and hopefully some cool colors! 


Valentines Day


Enjoying the hot tub with Averie


Sleep Study



Bowling with daddy



 I cannot believe that 6 months have passed by since meeting our son for the first time. We are so blessed to be led to this child of ours. He is an absolute joy! I sit and stare at him and just smile, he is so beautiful, so funny and smart. I love riding in the car with him, he likes to watch movies with the headphones on and he just gets laughing at some funny parts, he has one of those contagious laughs, you just have to laugh with him, even if you have no clue why he is laughing. Hudson is so loved by each one of us and he loves his family and friends so much! We are so lucky to have him as our son! 

February 26, 2014
August 26, 2013

Thursday, September 26, 2013

1 month

     I always wondered why adopting parents would drop off the planet once they got their child. I would be so hooked and excited for them and then nothing. Well, Im so guilty of that. I understand now how hard it is to be able to take time to blog again, you are so busy and worn out. I do have notes from while I was in China, it was so hard to blog there with an IPad, but I will post those at a later time. Now, I will reflect on our time since returning home, I met our Hudson 1 month ago today.

     We arrived in Chicago around 9pm Thursday September 5th. We were suppose arrive at 1pm, but we had some missed flights and had to detour to LA before Chicago. It was very stressful and irritating, but it was wonderful to finally get home. As we were just getting to collect baggage I saw Brock and the girls coming our way, I was so excited to see them I cried. I missed them all so very much! Quickly after seeing Brock and the girls behind them came Brock's parents, sister Whitney and her boyfriend Eric, and Lexi. Hudson was excited to see dada or baba as he called him and went right to him! He was happy to see everyone and and as we spent more time there visiting he went to and visited everyone. On the way home we stopped at Denny's and he got to show his true personality and had a good time with everyone.

     The first several days home were also very exhausting and hard. Yes, there were wonderful moments and we are so lucky that Hudson has bonded so well with us. But, he also had a lot of fits. He is 4 years old but socially he is about 18 months old. He is so full of energy and never stops moving. I wont sugar coat things, I want to be honest. But, Ill tell you, when this little guy is being sweet, he is the sweetest little thing. The first couple of nights sleep times were pretty off for him, which is expected, but that doesn't make it any easier on anyone.

     Ive heard of many families that keep their adopted child at home for a few weeks and do not go anywhere, to help with attachment and bonding. But, we did not do that. Hudson has had no problems in either area and with our busy life at home, we have not worried about it. He has attended many soccer games, had lunch with big sister at her school, went shopping, been out to eat many times, visited grandparents and some friends houses and much more. He has handled all situations so well. The first several days we would drive separately just in case he needed to go home. He has done so well. As far as siblings, he attached to Hanna right away. He thought of and still at times thinks of Averie as competition. Im sure he thinks she will be like the other children at the orphanage were, fighting for toys, food and attention. Poor Averie just wants to help him and play with him. He is slowly accepting that and is being better with her each day. Since Ashton is not home as much as he has late soccer practice and games and school all day, he is not as close to Ashton as I would expect yet. Ashton loves kids and loves Hudson.

     Hudson has been evaluated by our local pediatrician, speech department, and physical therapy. He is doing so much better than I expected! He does have a parasite, which I expected, it is common for children coming from an orphanage. He is on a medication to treat and rid of that. He also has some bad reflux, I noticed this in China, he throws up in his mouth 20-30 times a day but just chews and swallows, he is very used to this. He is on medication for this and it does seem to be improving some. He also has some pretty bad asthma. If he gets a little bit active and running around he starts hacking and wheezing. This is not yet under control, but we are starting a new treatment. Speech says he is going to do so awesome. He has already picked up so many words in English and can put together some short sentences. He also has learned a little sign language and has made up some of his own to help with communication. They have said with how good he is already doing, they think he will be fluent in English within a couple of months. And with PT, he will have a custom brace for his right leg made and he will have to wear it all of his waking hours. They hope he will tolerate it well and that they will be able to cut down the amount of support needed and eventually he will not need the brace any longer. That is the best case scenario. Worse case scenario he will need to wear it longer term or permanently. Today we were told by the pediatrician that Hudson does have mild cerebral palsy. This is not a diagnosis we knew about or really expected. But, it is not a big deal. His weakness is not going to get any worse, it will only get better as long as he is being treated. This has only affected his right leg. We know that he will be just fine.
     For those who do live close, we are having a welcome home party for Hudson and we would love you to attend. It is on Sunday October 6th, from 3pm-6pm at Salisbury Church in Charleston (2350 Madison Avenue)
     While times may be rough and we may get totally worn out, we love this little guy so much and he loves us. After a few nights home, he laid in bed between Brock and I to go to sleep. He looked at me and gave me a big smile and then looked over to Brock and gave a big smile. He is so happy to have both of us in his life. He has added so much excitement, love and silliness to our family. Thank you so much to everyone who has supported us in bring home Hudson. We could not have done it without you!

     

Monday, August 26, 2013

Gotcha continued

Please do forgive me of spelling and grammar, it's hard to blog with my IPad.

Anyways, he handed me his cup, saying mama and something else. I could tell he didnt like the cup. So I got a bottle and he was happy. So he laid next to me in bed, I cuddled him, after a few minutes he said mama and handed me the bottle. I thought he was done, but then he grabbed my hand and wanted me to hold the bottle for him. How sweet! So I did. He began to get very sleepy and so did I. I just dozed a little and woke to whimpering. He didnt have tears, but was clearly holding them in, he began sobbing. I rubbed on him and gave him kisses. I gave him a little time, then tried to hold him. He curled up in my lap and sobbed, he let me rock him and kiss him. I too cried, not letting him see. It was so sad. I know he is confused and will miss his orphanage. But I am so happy he lets me cuddle him and love on him. He worked himself into quite a sweat. But, he fell asleep cuddling me. Oh, how I love this child. I held him awhile longer and then laid him next to me in bed.

The girls tried to FaceTime me at 9pm and I felt bad that I couldn't really. The noise from they calling in woke Hudson and no way did I want him awake then. So I went into the bathroom. And talked a few min with them and explained he had a little rough patch and I didn't want him to wake. I let them go, I hope they all had a good day at school. I can't wait to Skype with them in a few hours! I love and miss my family so much, I can't wait to get home with Hudson.

Today I go and officially adopt Hudson! Tomorrow we go to the orphanage for a final visit. Thursday we go on a tour and Friday we hop a plane to Guangzhou. This trip is going much slower than I anticipated, but maybe once in GZ and there is other families around, it will go quicker.

I'll try to add photos soon. Lots of love to everyone.

Gotcha day

I sit here at 2:15am China time typing this, I don't think I will get use to the time here, but we did go to sleep early and I slept the best I had yet. My sweet boy is laying in my bed, asleep, so precious looking. He sleeps with his legs criss crossed, I am assuming because his baby bed was too small.

Reflections from gotcha day...
I could not sleep, I was awake from 12am partially because I was so excited and partially cause of this 13.hour time difference. I did get to Skype with Brock and Averie a lot though! I was up and around and down stairs by 820am to meet my guide. She was running a few minutes behind as the streets were very busy. We drove about 45 minutes to the civil affairs office. I was the only person there adopting for the day. No other families. So I signed a lot of papers and did all the legal stuff.



Then we waited...and waited. My guide called them and they had been stuck in traffic, but should be there in 15 minutes. About 7 min later they came walking into the room! I had already prompted my guide how to use the video camera, so she grabbed it and began videoing. Hudson looked sad, but they said he had gotten car sick and that he fell asleep. I'm sure he did get car sick, he rarely rode in a car and the drive is so bumpy and jurky. They sat him in a chair and he was thirsty, they gave him water and I pulled out a cup I brought him and they poured the water in there, he drank the whole cup while I signed more papers. I wanted to give him all my attention and couldn't focus on the papers, I'm hoping I signed them correctly! After a cup of water he started to come to a little bit. He was wanting his car he brought and a snack. He asked where his baba was! so sweet and so smart. the guide to.d him, baba (dada) is at home, you will fly on a plane with mama to America soon and see dada) he was content with that. They began to show me the gifts they brought for us. A beautiful photo album, his name plate (stamp with his name in Chinese), a DVD from the orphanage, a tea mug from orphanage, all the gifts we sent him, a t shirt, and they sent a new box of formula. I was happy to hear he is potty trained! After we talked for a little while, they said we were done. The      nanny said good bye tomHudson and he waved and said good bye. They all left the room and it was just the 2 of us. He. Continued to play with his toys and was just a happy boy! Oh, he did come to me as soon as I reached out for him. I didn't do that right away cause I didn't want to scare him. I realized the nanny was watching at the door, but he didnt mind. She walked with us out and he again told her bye and just kept walking with us.  He was excited to go!

The car ride was fun, he laughed and was silly. He ate more snacks and drank more water. We stopped at a  Chinese restaurant to get him some lunch. He got rice, chicken, egg and vegetable.

As soon as we got into the room, i skyped with Brock, pam, roger and the kids. hudson was so silly and tried to feed them food through the ipad and would just laugh. he talked to them and called brock baba. He liked the rice and ate and ate. He feeds himself. He did play with his food a lot, but I was not going to take his food away. He would take it from one bowl to another.  After sky ping, he continued to eat and drink. He used the potty, a lot. He thought it was funny to use the toilet paper, but he would go and flush and pull up his pants. He is too little to get on and off the potty alone. I finally cleaned up his food mess, which he helped doing. He got on the bed with me and just laughed and played. He played cars, we tossed the cars to each other, he had a singing Santa we sent him and he loved it! And he loved his sunglasses. He was very busy and everywhere. I'm glad our room isn't huge!

Around 3pm he kept repeating something to me, I didn't know what it was. He grabbed his photo book I made him and sat at the desk and stared at a photo of him and 4 or 5 other friends. He repeated the same thing, but quieter, as I think he knew I didn't understand. I decided I better distract him, so I got out some snacks. I also made oatmeal. He loved both and wanted me to feed him the oatmeal, which I did. He ate it all and then was content. He hopped onto my lap and we watched a little tv. He began to get sleepy. When he got up to go potty, I ran him a bath. He helped get undressed and I helped him in. He stood there and quickly grabbed the washcloth and washed his face and body and handed me the rag. I helped him to sit down, he acted like I was crazy! I gave him a few bath toys. He didnt know why they were in there. But I got him to play a little. He be ate afraid of the frog, so we put it up. He did his wash cloth routine. Few more times, the. I washed his hair and body, this was new to him. He let me. I rinsed him and he once again grabbed the rag and did his routine. I squeaked his bath toy at him, trying to get him to relax and play, it scared him, he shook his head no and pointed to the frog. I put them all up. He was ready to get out. So I got him out, dried him off and put lotion on him. His skin on his back is very dry. Again this was new to him. He was excited to see underwear and quickly put them on. (He wasn't wearing any when I got him).  He helped get himself dressed. I put him in warm Jammie's as he was cold and I'm sure this room is much colder than he is use to. We played around some more and by 6 we were both exhausted. I made him so e of the formula in a cup. He tried it but looked confused.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Sunday


The flight from Hong Kong to shanghai was fine, no problems, it was comfortable and more vegetarian pasta was served. I think good on pasta for awhile. My guide along with the taxi driver were waiting on me as soon as I got my luggage, they were very nice and helpful, insisting I looked too tired to pull my own luggage. It was about an hour drive to the hotel, imagine a teenager learning to drive stick shift in potholes and that's what the drive was like! The whole way here the guide and I talked, about my schedule, my family, her husband and family she is sweet.
Upon getting to the hotel there was a guy asleep by the front door outside, wearing only boxers. Nothing was said about that. Once we got in they couldn't find my reservation. The guide and taxi driver were getting onto them and asked me to go sit and wait, they really started getting onto them and then my room was ready! Idk what happened. They require a deposit of $300 and I was able to leave it in US dollars and will get it back upon check out. The room is nice, a standard hotel room, but on the nicer side. Comfortable king bed! They are bringing up his baby bed today. I requested a baby bed as that is what he sleeps in now. Ide gladly share my bed with him if that is more comforting to him.
I'm at breakfast now. There is a lot of food, but being a vegetarian is hard. I had a muffin, hash browns and another pastry. Thought IDE loose weight here, but idk. Drank 7up but then they stocked some water and juice. So now drinking all 3. Guess Ill be plenty hydrated! The staff here is nice and most know some English. I did get called sir, but then. Worker scolded him and he apologized several times.
I'm going to go get the hotel room in order and at 3pm my guide will take me shopping at a place similar to Walmart. I need a stroller, water, and idk what else at this point. She said its not far but would be happy to take me, which is good cause I don't want to get out on my own quite yet.
I'm so excited to be less than 24 hours away for meeting my son. What an awesome journey this is. I'm thinking he will cry, maybe even shut down. But I hope and pray that he lets the bonding start and accepts me quickly. I love him so much.

I'm in China!

Ive been keeping a journal and will just copy that here. Thank you for everyone's prayers, my travel was safe!

Friday/Saturday


Plane ride has been great! Don't mind planes at all. The view is amazing. They also constantly have beverages and plenty of snacks and food. Both vegetarian meals were pasta but they were good. I slept for a little while! It's so hard to keep track of time on here but at this point we are about 5.5 hours away. The little bits of turbulence don't feel much worse than bumps on a school bus. Take off was not bad at all, noisy but not bad. There are movies, games, musical tv shows and more programmed on the tv. I've watched 2 movies so far and a few tv episodes. I wish Brock and Averie were here to experience this, but I know The Lord had other plans for this. Seats are much more comfortable than expected. I would defiantly rather fly to Florida!
Got into Hong Kong with no incidents. The airport is huge but was easy to maneuver. I got the the airway to board Shanghai with 15 minutest to spare. Then we all jammed on a bus, picture a Disney bus with no seats, we were packed in like sardines for the drive over to the plane. This plane is smaller, across with 1 little isle between and no tv. But they are eager to feed you. It's only a 2.5 hr flight. I see no other western ears on the plane. Doesn't bother me, just now I know how some people feel back home, being a minority.
I'm looking forward to getting to shanghai, getting to th hotel and finding out the plans for when I'll get Hudson! I still can't believe Im here to get him. This is so exciting, to finally meet your son, whom you have watched grow up for the past 18 months through pictures while he was on the oath side of the world. I am wanting to take picture of everything, idk if ill come here again, so I want to be able to remember if for him.
There was free wifi at the airport but unfortunately I only had a couple of minutes, I quickly text Brock and posted on FB where I was. Hoping to at least have wireless access I. The hotel lobby. Guess ill find out soon.




Thursday, August 22, 2013

I ts one, the countdown is almost done!

I leave in 8 hours, out the door for the drive to Chicago! I think Im ready, then I keep remembering there is more I need to pack. I did break down and decided Ide do a second checked bag. Its going to be a small suitcase, but I just couldn't stress anymore about trying to make everything fit into the 1 checked suitcase. So, I have a total of 2 checked suitcases and 2 checked bags. It will all work out, I rather have to hassle a little bit at airports than to get there and realize I forgot stuff.

I got to have lunch with Averie today. Took her to Subway, she is so sweet, she ate most of her sandwich then she couldn't stop loving on me. Just hugs, kisses, being so sweet. We even had a guy come up and said how she really loves her mom! She is such a good girl. On the way back to school she did say "I really wanted to go with you to China." It really breaks my heart that she cannot come with. I never pictured going without her or Brock. But, I have to remind myself that God had another plan. He has a reason why I am going and they are staying and I have to let that go.

There has been some crying today, Im staying strong, and hope I can keep it together tomorrow. As long as I can keep it together in front of Averie, I don't want it to be a sad farewell. Im so glad she is coming with Brock to drop me off. Ill get to spend that much extra time with her. I just hope her and Brock don't cry all the way home together.

I cant believe that I am FLYING tomorrow! Ah! One thing I said I would never do is fly anywhere. Man, was I wrong. Im really not worried about flying, that's what kind of worries me. I don't want to get on there and not be prepared. Im sure it will be ok, I hope I can stay comfortable and sleep. Im sure Ill be pretty tired when I hit Shanghai at midnight and hope to go to bed right away and wake up around 7 or 8 and have breakfast, get the room ready, do a little shopping and prepare to get Hudson. I will get Hudson Monday morning, which is Sunday evening here. I hope the Internet works well and that I can post updates and pictures as soon as possible.

I just ask all friends and family, please do not call or text my cell while Im gone, unless it is an emergency. I will not respond to them or answer unless I know I HAVE to. If its an emergency, please have Brock get a hold of me as I know he wont just call or text for nothing. It is $1.99 per minute and $.50 to send a text and $.05 to receive a text.

Well, wish me luck and please send prayers for safe travels. Averie told me tonight that she wants daddy to call the church and have them pray for me while Im on the plane. She also told her kindergarten class to pray for me. She is so loving and sweet. Please pray for my family while Im gone. I know it will be tough, but Brock is a great dad and he can handle it.