Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cav - 1 year

Ya'll can ignore these next few posts if you want LOL but my memory is so bad and this year has been so life changing, I wanted to document in one place
(I recognize that the negative is longer and more detailed than the positive but I never want to forget how bad those first months were and truly how far he has come.)

Today on 12-12-12, will be the one year anniversary of Cav stamping his hand in red ink and becoming our son.  In the days to come, we will have still had reservations if we had made the right decision to bring him home.  Would he destroy our family? Were we equipped to handle his extra special needs?  Was this fair to FeiFei who was actually the "first child" we chose to adopt?  and a thousand other questions in those dark first days.

Our first week was a rollercoaster and exhausting as we had to go to FeiFei's city (2.5 hrs each way) but had been smart enough to leave most of our luggage in Jinan and spend the night.

The hotel we stayed at was a business hotel which must have seen very few white people.  We were the freak show.  It did not help that Cav threw food, screamed, and hit constantly.  We went to a museum and the guide finally told me that they don't discipline their kids (I had left where we were at and took him to the bathroom because he had thrown another temper tantrum.)  In talking to her I realized that the biggest difference is that they have ONE child.  When I had one child things were very different.

By Friday (our last day in JinanI was done
* we were charged for "overuse" of the towels since I wiped up a beverage Cav had spilled
* our guide never thought we needed to feed our kids
* we had paid a 500 RMB bribe for Cav's passport to be on time
* the pillows were literally made out of straw

We prayed that getting to Guangzhou things would be better.

They weren't.

I was sure by then that we were dealing with institutional autism.
*he screamed terrified of the plants
*he screamed terrified at the bronze statues (yeah shamain island was fun
*he screamed terrified at any animal that walked by
* he had explosive diarrhea and numerous accidents (thus the name stink)

We gave ourselves 3 months - this was our safety net.

We arrived home Dec 23rd.
THings were still super hard but they would even get harder as I would come down with pneumonia AND what they think was the Norwalk virus a day and a half later.  I wanted to die.

This is how we found him our first morning home - heartbreaking
And him seeing the man-eating cat which saved us as he roamed the house at night
 AS January dawned we tried hard to find the precious boy we had prayed for all those months.  We had marveled at how incredibly adapt he was at moving despite the fact his legs were useless.  By medical standards he shouldn't have been able to stand on the longer leg - but he did.

We slowly, started focusing on how to make him a little more comfortable, treating his chronic giardia, and make him all around healthier.  Lots of Dr appts.

February we saw the first glimmer of hope.  We noticed one day he had lined up the train tracks - he actually PLAYED!

He had already started school by that time as I knew I jsut couldn't do it, he needed regulation and so it was school or daycare.
I found this one day and cried - they are a picture of our boys

He was still hard - we had to constantly by on guard as his manipulation skills (which helped him survive) were incredible, along with the triangulation and mommy seeking (not me LOL).  On the other hand he was very much a baby.

March - Connected child came - I got a last minute seat and only was able to go one day but it gave me enough hope to invest in Cav for a little longer.  We changed our original deadline to after he had healed form his surgery.

We were seeing tiny steps forward AND he had finally stopped terrorizing our other kids - so we no longer feared for their safety.  We stayed home a lot, it was jsut easier then having to deal with his fits.  My kids dreaded when he would come - even to their games because he was either mommy shopping or screaming.  At home he was stealing, lieing and destroying.

June dawned and he had his much anticipated surgery.  Everyone asks how we prepared him.  We talked often about him getting shoes and showed him dolphin tale.  BUT living in an orphanage where he was very different was probably the best preparation.  He jsut wanted walk, he wanted feet and most importantly he wanted shoes - yeah if that doesn't make you cry thinking about it.

The stinking kid left the hospital less than 48 hours after double amputation surgery!  When people would come in - he would ask if they wanted to see his owie (they would look horrified, but I would smile and nod yes.)  It was his IV he wanted to show them.

EIGHT long weeks in casts as they had to place a rod in the remaining tibia to straighten it.  We went back to Denver new casts about every 10 days.  BUT we began to see a new boy emerge.  We finally began to fall in love with our son, the resilience of the human spirit AND he finally calmed on the mommy shopping LOL!
THis will always be my favorite picture of him - our on guard child looked up and found peace

By Sept - exactly 9 months to the day we signed for him - he received his first set of legs.  Holding onto the parallel bars he got up and walked.  My step dad who was in Vietnam used to talk about POW's reviewing things like golf or piano in their heads while in captivity.  Once they were released they could play beautifully.  THis is our only explanation for Cav besides God.  His gait was perfect, he walked alone in jsut 2 days and he hasn't stopped since.

He also became a brother
His fits have calmed and we can now talk him through it.

Everything he should NOT be able to do he does.  He is so inspirational
THe newest is of course adding Griffen.  Cav is born 5/12/08 and Griffen is 5/13/10.  Griffen seems to have given Cav a purpose.  We are seeing him sit and play with the baby, he will come get me when Griffen is done with his meal.  I am in shock and disbelief that the child we almost didn't bring home because it was jsut to hard in those early months, is now the glue.

AS for language - Cav had almost NO mandaring - they call it alingual.  He didn't say much of anything for months.  We learned partially this was because of his very high seratonin levels (also why he was on guard sleeping those early months).  All of a sudden in May he started talking like crazy.

We think he is at about a 3 year old level (which is awesome since we had to start at newborn when he came home.)  I am not sure if he will ever completely catch up after so many years of "neglect" but I do have hope.  Today one of his classmates said Hi, Cav and without prompting Cav said Hi right back!!

 THings aren't perfect and we still have a long way to go, but a year later we are no longer wondering how long he will be with us.  We have embraced him warts and all LOL!


  1. Through your love and the Lord the sky will be the limit. You will be amazed! You are strong. I could never let my husband read this post because he might call off the adoption if he read all that went wrong in china let alone the struggle you went through. How crazy!

  2. It sometimes is hard to rememeber where these kids came from when you know how your biologicals have been raised since birth. I'm so happy for Cav that he can find peace and love and know that life is rough at times but there are many happy times!!!

  3. You have given us hope. We just brought home our sixth daughter from China and we have thought about disrupting on a daily basis. She is wild, she is on the move constantly, she is cute, and she is delayed. It has been tough on our family. I read this and had my husband read it. We have now set a goal date to re-evaluate and will focus on her and not what we are going to do about her.

  4. Amazing!

    One of our Ethiopian sons had a similar first year. It convinced me more than ever that children were made for families and not orphanages.

    I am so proud of you and for Cav. What a sweet and brave boy!

  5. Beautiful. Tears in my eyes. What a story of love and redemption...

  6. I love Cav's family story. It's his. It's real and it's all about faith and love!

  7. redeemed... what a beautiful thought and a beautiful picture in Cav's life. You made me cry today:)

  8. Thank you for entering the mess and pain of redemption and staying the course. Thank you for being there for all your children. Thank you for not hiding how difficult this has been.

  9. Thank you for sharing it ALL. Both sides - ugly and the beauty. It takes time. We will NEVER understand what these children have endured before being found.
    We have to accept that it shapes them, and sometimes forever.

    I've seen far too often some families expecting this child to just fit a mold they have for them, instead of learning to adjust and bend their ideals for reality. I've even seen some children sent away when they didn't fit. I know it's hard, but there is a redemption song! I'm so glad you see it and can share both sides.

    It also has to help that is little face is so perfect. I can't get over how handsome he is!

  10. Thank you for sharing your beautiful, beautiful stories. I'm so glad Cav is settling and feeling a purpose now, too, with his new little brother. We saw a similar calming in our first Korean arrival, who had screamed, vomited and had raging night terrors most of his first year. Something about new brother coming home put his heart at peace - perhaps he knew then he was staying? Praying for many blessings and much peace as you begin year two together.