Fall 2013

Fall 2013

Saturday, August 27, 2011


The first few days after surgery, Matthew was on some pretty heavy duty pain medications. He slept quite a bit of the time which was probably good. But now, we can tell Matthew's feeling better. He is ready to be up and running around like usual. However, the surgeon wants him to be sedentary with minimal activity, really only walking. Yeah... try explaining that to a four year old!! The dressing greatly limits the clothes that Matthew can wear so it's not like we can take him places either. Poor kid.
He goes back for a recheck on Monday and the plan is that the urinary stent and dressing will be removed then. I'm not sure exactly what the follow up is after that.
We're sitting out on the deck right now trying to burn up a little bit of energy, yelling at the neighbor dogs (well, the kids are - not me, lol!), drawing with chalk, passing time. Mark is getting ready for the 19th Annual Fly -In at Cherry Grove Airpark near Wanamingo. For those of you who may not know, he has a small ultralight plane that he keeps there. Last summer, we were busy getting ready to bring Maia home and you know what we've been up to this summer... so he has not had any opportunity to fly for quite a while. But, it is a fun day. Small planes fly in, old cars and steam engines are on display, there's music, and good food. Mark spends a lot of time helping get the grounds ready for event and on the day of the fly-in, he is busy with helping park planes, direct traffic, whatever needs to be done. I usually spend the day there as well, but it's not going to happen this year. I may try to take the kids out for a little while and keep Matthew in the stroller. I'll have to see how he's doing in the morning. There's the potential for a lot of activity there and we're finding that he struggles a bit more with sensory overload than Maia does. The excitement just winds him up and it becomes difficult to get him calmed down.
But all-in-all, he's doing pretty well. We've got a few more appointments to get through. Tuesday, Matthew will see the ophthalmologist. The neurosurgeon appt has to be rescheduled since we totally spaced it off (it was 2 days after surgery and we forgot to cancel). We did decide to go ahead with pre-school a couple of half-days for Matthew. It will be good for him to be around kids who he will be in kindergarten with next year, help his English, teach him play, etc. Maia will begin pre-school through the Early Childhood Intervention program. She has come a long way in the time that she's been home, but she is not at the same level as her peers. So, she will benefit from some additional support and assistance.
That's where things are at. I've got a couple of posts running around in my head right now so stay tuned. I've been meaning to blog about "reluctant spouses" for a while now and just want to give my perspective on that for those of you who may be feeling strongly about adoption, but your spouse isn't on board.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Pink Ceiling

Matthew shot his Tylenol at the ceiling when he didn't want to take it.
How do you get liquid children's tylenol off the sprayed ceiling?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Just a quick note to let you know that all went today. The surgeon was pretty sure he would not be able to fix everything in one operation. Things were more extensive than he had anticipated. But I think God knew Matthew absolutely needed to have things corrected in one procedure. Dr. Kramer is optimistic that this will be the only surgery needed.

We are home now and getting settled in. Matthew is having a difficult time - he really wants this dressing off NOW so please pray that he can adjust to it because it has to remain in place until next Monday!! It's hard when we don't have the words to explain what has happened and that it will only be temporary. It must be very frightening to all of a sudden wake up with a huge dressing over your private parts and not know why. We have to keep him as quiet as possible until Monday and this is going to be a challenge. Would you also pray that God will just quiet Matthew's body during this time so that he can heal?

Thank you for your prayers!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Prayers for Matthew

Please pray for our little guy tomorrow. We will be reporting to the hospital at 8:15am for his surgery. I know that Matthew is in God's hands and I trust the urologist who will be operating. But, my heart still aches for what he will go through. Specifically, would you pray for the following?
  • Peace and protection for Matthew - he will not fully understand what is happening because of the language barrier. Pray that God will speak to his heart and soothe him in ways that we cannot.
  • Wisdom, knowledge, empathy, and God's guidance for the hands that are caring for our boy. That God chooses each person to be in the pre-anesthesia unit, OR, and PACU perfectly to meet any needs that Matthew has.
  • Of course rapid, uneventful recovery for Matthew.
  • And peace for Mark and me - well, mostly me - lol! Somehow, this seems like a bigger deal than Maia's eye surgery and I'm feeling a little anxious. I have to go back to work on Wednesday and I know Mark will take wonderful care of Matthew, but it's not the same as me being home with him.
We'll try to update as the day goes along.

very busy doing nothing

As I sit here on our deck watching the kids in the kiddie pool I find that we have been very busy doing nothing. Cleaning up after the kids is a full time job and you can't keep up. Thanks to everyone who gave our kids gifts, they have more stuff to mess up the house than anyone needs. And they can mess it up faster than I can clean. Oh well that makes for very happy kids.

Melanie's friends at work gave her a very nice shower last Sunday so now they have more stuff to keep me cleaning. poor poor me. But I have some happy kids so a big thanks to all who helped make that happen.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Please help!

Please click here to read a post about a little girl who desperately needs saving. I am in tears and heartbroken to see the pictures and read her story. Can you help?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Three Weeks

Not sure if anyone is still out there reading - I know I've been pretty bad about blogging lately, but I think things are starting to settle down a little bit so I can catch up.

Three weeks ago today right about this time, we arrived home (yes... as in walked into our house). In some ways, it seems like only a few days ago. In other ways, it seems like it's been such a long time since we left Kyiv. There are definitely moments when I long for the moments in Ukraine. We were able to enjoy time together without all the day to day stressors that we have here at home. Work and finances were low on the radar screen. I didn't think about laundry or keeping the house clean.

But, it's also good to be home - to sleep in my comfortable bed in a house with central air, drive my own car, go shopping at places where I can read/understand the labels, see friends and family.  We (Mark, Maia, and I) are in our familiar environment again. Maia settled in to the old routine quickly. I'm grateful for that. Sometimes, I have to remind myself that things were challenging when we first brought her home, too. Well... I guess they still ARE challenging some days - lol!

Matthew is slowly adjusting. Although I can't tell what he's thinking, I see him struggling to make sense of all these changes in his life. It feels like he is bonding appropriately with us. He seems to need a lot more reassurance than Maia did, but I think that is to be expected given his history. He is curious about everything. We are working on establishing boundaries, but it is going to take some time. Matthew is loving being part of a family, though!

Yesterday, we drove up to my parent's place to check on the cattle, dog, etc. while they are away. When I told Matthew where we were going, he was so excited to be seeing "babushka and dadushka!" And when we got to their house, he ran all over looking for and yelling "Grandpa Jerry." He was pretty disappointed that they weren't home.

So bottom line, we're settling in. I can't speak for Mark, but now that we are home with Matthew, things feel complete to me. I was thrilled when we arrived home with Maia, but a piece was still missing. I can't explain it well, but I felt that way until Mark agreed that we needed to return to Ukraine for our son. It got better as we worked through the process to adopt Matthew. However, I didn't realize how much of a difference it would make until just a few days ago.

Ok... now that I am way off track from the title of today's post, I will just add a few pictures since we have been home.

What's better than a jack-in-the box? A Maia-in-the box!
 Meeting of the minds
 At Grandma Hansen's party
 Thanks for the gummy bears, Aunt Sandy!
 Matthew getting some love from Aunt Betsy
 Matthew and great-grandma Hansen (I just missed him giving her the sweetest kiss)
 Cuddle time with great-grandma
 Dreaming of driving my own race car one day!
 Life is pretty rough!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

100th Birthday

Aug. 5th was my Grandmothers 100th Birthday. Today (Sunday Aug. 7th) we had a celebration for her on my Uncles farm. This was the farm where she and her husband raised 5 children. My wonderful wife Melanie made a video scrapbook for her. It turned out great. We brought a TV with us that would play a DVD over and over again. We let it play for a few hours.

Maia and Matthew had a great time with all the cousins giving them lots of attention


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Matthew Update

It's been a busy few days. Mark took Matthew to his Urology appointment on Thursday (thanks Nana for watching Maia during that time!). As anticipated, Matthew will need to have surgery to correct his hypospadias. It will be an outpatient procedure on August 23. He will have some type of dressing and catheter in place for approximately one week.
I received a call from the Pediatrician that afternoon saying that most of Matthew's blood work looked fine, but there were a couple of abnormal values. One of these was his TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone). It is borderline and the pediatrician was concerned that this may be the cause of his small size (he's in the bottom 3% of the growth chart for stature). So on Friday, Mark took Matthew to see an endocrinologist. X-rays were taken of his left wrist which will provide some information about whether his bones are underdeveloped, properly developed, or overly developed for his age. This will help determine if he is on target from a growth perspective and give some guidance about treating the thyroid issue.
Pending appointments include eyes, hearing, and the neurosurgeon - they will be later this month.

Overall, I think he is doing well. Sometimes, I have to remind myself that he has only been home two weeks. It seems longer and my expectations are probably too high. There are moments when I get a reminder of just how far that Maia has come since she's been home, too. This afternoon, I was getting the kiddos ready for a bath. I helped Matthew get his clothes off and he immediately had me lift him in the tub. Then, I helped Maia take her clothes off. She picked up her clothes and took them to the laundry basket because she knows that's what she is supposed to do with them. Now believe me, she doesn't always do that willingly but it was a pretty sweet moment that she did that without being asked or without fussing. Yes... she did get lots of praise for that!

I'll take a few moments soon to write more specifically about how the adjustment is going for each of us. But tonight, we are trying to get a "movie" put together. Mark's grandma is celebrating her 100th birthday tomorrow and we are looking forward to getting together with family to honor her. Mark chose some pictures and I am putting them in a slide show format set to big band music. And on that note, have a wonderful night!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Matthew's first MD appt - didn't expect to hear that!

Days off go by so quickly... but I guess that is partly my fault since I try to squeeze so much into that short time. Today was no exception.
We had a meeting this morning about preschool for Matthew. We're thinking it may be good for him to attend a few days a week this year to help with socialization and maybe give Mark a little break. Just depends on whether we can afford it or not. Maia will begin ECI (early childhood intervention) preschool this fall as well. She qualifies for this service through the school district and I think it will be really good for her! It is doubtful that Matthew will qualify for ECI. He is much further along developmentally than Maia is and picking up things SOOO quickly - he already has about 20 words of English and is able to count to 5. We will have him tested just to make sure, but I'm confident that he will catch up with his American peers very quickly.
First doctor's appointment this afternoon. We had hoped to have Matthew seen by the same pediatrician as Maia, but she wasn't available in the near future so he saw a different doctor which was fine. She asked if we had any specific concerns and we asked about checking for diabetes. After we first got home, Matthew was urinating very frequently and drinking a lot of fluids. This has improved, but we don't want to overlook anything. So... as the doctor was examining him, she found something that we were completely unaware of. Matthew has hypospadius. What is that? Well, his urethra is not in the normal spot. It is located on the underside of his "thing." This was not mentioned at any time in the information we received and to be honest, I did not feel that I needed to closely examine that part of his anatomy. Would it have made a difference in adopting him? No, but we just did not expect that condition. So now what? Well, he has an appointment to see a urologist on Thursday and will need to have this surgically repaired. Fortunately, Matthew will see the same urologist that Maia sees. He will also see a neurosurgeon because of the titanium plate in his head. This is the same neurosurgeon that Maia sees as well. And guess what? The ophthalmologist will be the same one who performed Maia's eye surgery. God has really answered my prayers because I have been impressed with all of these doctors as they care for Maia. For me, it is also a blessing that they already know us a little because of her.
I was hoping that we wouldn't need much in the way of specialty consultations and referrals for Matthew, but it looks like the next few weeks will be busy. Please be praying for our little guy - based on his response to blood work today, I think this is going to be a a lot more traumatic for him than it was for Maia. After the lab techs finished taking his blood, Matthew scrambled into my arms, crying and begging me to take him out of the room. :-(  One thing is for sure, he's got excellent lungs - lol!! Also pray for Mark. Most of this is going to fall on his shoulders because I just can't take time off from work for these appointments.