I have been waiting to share these photos. Who doesn’t love a good before & after photo?! Well, it is even better when it is a child, once abandoned with no hope to live past the age of 5 or 6 who now has a family that adores him. The boys have made such great progress. They have far to travel yet but the ride has been one of the most fullfilling I can ever imagine. The photo’s below are of Andrew, 1 week home. Look at his hands. His muscle tone was so low that his fingers didn’t stretch out and his whole body was floppy. I thought he had an ‘outie’ belly button when he came home but it turns out he was just that skinny. That along with his muscle tone made it appear that he had an outie. Now his belly button is almost complelty an ‘innie’. He weighed about 17 lbs when he got home and was wearing 12 month old clothes. Now, he weights 28 lbs and wears 2T-3T clothes. When andrew came home he was afraid to touch his food and feed himself. And when encouraged to feed himself he would frantically shove as much food as could in his mouth until he would choke. He now can sit in front of a bowl of yogurt and feed himself with a spoon! Understand, in the orphanage they do not like the kids to feed themselves because they don’t want to deal with the mess of cleaning them up. There are usually 2 caregivers for 16-20 children. They don’t have time to teach the kids how to feed themselves. They put the kids in a table/high chair contraption that restrains their arms down so that they cannot move their arms and thus not touch the food. Andrew knew 4 Russian words that I could make out. He would say ‘over there’, monster, yes and mother. Can you imagine that one of the first words a child learns is monster? There are reports, from older children, that the nannies motivate the children by telling them that monsters will get them if they move in their beds, don’t lay down, etc. Andrew now knows over 40 signs! He can communicate all his basic needs. Tell us if he is happy, sad or mad. This is just the tip of the ice burg, I know he will continue to learn, grow and become who God wants him to be!
Elijah, Sweet Baby! Thats what I say to him constantly. He truly is the sweetest baby I have ever known. While most kids with Down Syndrome and other special needs do not live very long in an adult mental institution Elijah had even shorter time to live. He had a massive hole in his heart since birth. Doctors here told us that 1, they don’t know how he survived and 2, He would not have survived 6 more months. The doctor who operated on him told us that ‘That was the most massive hole I have ever seen in a babies heart, It was truly massive’ Time and time again this little boy, my sweet baby, has survived when he should not have. He has defied the odds at every turn. He now weighs 18 lbs and is nearly 18 months old. His pediatrician has told us we can slow down on the food now!
The first time we met Elijah: