We’ve been home from china for
six almost twelve weeks now. (I started this post at six weeks home but couldn’t bring myself to finish putting my thoughts down until now.) I honestly didn’t expect to go this long before writing another post but up until now I really haven’t had the opportunity to sit down and gather my thoughts and write… ok maybe I have but I’ve been indulging in my favorite pastime… reading. Let’s just call it maternity leave, lol!
In addition to adjusting to life as a family of five over the past twelve weeks we also moved into our house… seven days after being back in country! It was crazy and looking back I’m not sure how we did it but it was better than letting Judah adjust to our apartment and then uprooting him and moving into a house a month or two after returning home.
As much as I know you would all love to see pics of Whistle Haven I know you would much rather hear about Judah. Besides at this point the house isn’t exactly ready for pics. We still have construction workers coming by on a regular basis and moving boxes scattered all around. It’s beginning to look like we live there though and it certainly feels like home now.
So Let’s Talk About Judah
Noah for females in Hebrew means “motion”, Esther means “star”, and
Judah means “to praise”.
Both girls have certainly lived up to the meaning of their names and I don’t expect Judah to be any different. My heart and prayer is for Judah’s life to bring praise to God but I’ve realized over the past twelve weeks that to truly do that I must share where he’s coming from. So that as he overcomes hurdles and learns to work around barriers you will see the need to praise God for all the work that he is doing in and through Judah’s life. I will be the first to tell you that God has taught me so much already through Judah. Adoption is by far one of the toughest things (both times) that I have ever done in my life but also (both times) one of the ways that as I look back at my faith I can see the biggest growth and the times when I have clung to the scriptures and the love of God most.
Adoption is tough. As hard as it is for the parents it in no way compares to how difficult it is for the child. In Judah’s case it has been pure terror and it completely traumatized him for the first eight weeks at home. Suddenly everything he knew was ripped out from underneath him and he had no idea why. The only thing that soothed him was Michael Luke and me holding him WHILE walking. If we stopped even for a minute it was more than he could bear. He would almost immediately start biting his thumb and crying. I don’t mean sucking his thumb like some babies do I mean physically biting. Biting to the point that his thumb was calloused from biting it so much. In China his nanny told me that he bit his thumb to tell people he was hungry. I haven’t seen him do that since coming home because I don’t let that sweet boy go hungry but he does bite it when he becomes uncomfortable or is trying to go to sleep. I can happily share that he doesn’t bite his thumb as much now. About four weeks ago he started tolerating me holding him while standing still and he doesn’t bite his thumb near as much when trying to go to sleep. In fact sometimes he just accepts that it is bed time and rolls over and goes to sleep. I am thankful that during this exhausting and tough time of Judah adjusting he doesn’t tolerate his stroller and car seat. So let’s just say we may or may not have driven lots of miles out of our way just to remain in the car and we may or may not have wandered aimlessly around the malls and parks just to fill our time. It worked though and we are seeing light on the other end of the tunnel now.
Nowadays, Judah still likes to be held a lot but he does tolerate playtime a few times throughout the day and is starting to really enjoy watching his sisters play. He also loves music. So the girls and I love to crank up some Disney songs and dance around the room while he sits flailing his arms and head around joining in the fun with us.
A couple of weeks ago Judah got some adorable glasses that I think took his cuteness factor to an entirely new level. Apparently he’s pretty nearsighted so this helps to improve his vision. We aren’t sure how clear he sees though because on top of being nearsighted he also has nystagmus. Basically it means that his eyes are constantly moving back and forth making it hard for him to focus or see things clearly. Remember when you were a kid and you used to spin around in circles and then you stopped but everything looked like it kept spinning? Well, that’s similar to how Judah views the world… without the dizziness. It will be a while before we actually know how good his vision is but I think he sees pretty good. He’s able to distinguish foods on his plate and will track us around the room.
Nystagmus was one of the special needs listed when we reviewed his file last year. Michael Luke and I had been praying about Judah, at the time his name was Renquan (pronounced ren-cwhin) for several days. I was nervous about adopting a child with low vision who might possible be legally blind. For several days I had been praying to God, asking him for wisdom and to make it clear whether Judah was the child for us. One of my concerns was how would a vision impaired person get around independently. Well, I kid you not, the very day I asked God to make it clear to me he did! We were in Salt Lake City at the time riding the trolley around downtown and at one of the stops SIX blind people got on. The first waited at the door and used his cane to count each person as they boarded. He clicked his cane after the sixth one boarded and said, “ok, that’s everyone.” It was literally the blind leading the blind and God’s way of showing me that everything would be oik. I knew then that Judah was the child God intended for us. Now that we are home Judah’s low vision seems like such a minor thing.
This past week were finally able to begin our therapy sessions. So far we have started occupational and developmental therapy with physical and speech therapy beginning soon. Judah’s therapy doesn’t have as much to with the fact that he has low vision but that he also has hypotonia or as it’s more commonly referred to as low muscle tone. Think floppy baby. In short his brain has not fully learned how to activate and use all of his muscles to the best of their ability. This leaves him developmentally and cognitively behind but according to others who have been down this whole therapy route therapy can do wonders for children like him. So let’s just say I’m one ecstatic mama because carrying around 22lbs of baby all day is a workout!
Regardless of Judah’s special needs he is made in the image of God and he is fearfully and wonderfully made. And I’ve fallen completely in love with the little boy that makes the sweetest sound as he pats me on the back, squeezes my neck, and then gives me slobbery kisses. In this broken world he’s discovering love.
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