It's Been One Week!!!
We've been home one week already! Crazy! The time has flown by and we are all adjusting to our "new normal" quite well.
I did want to give a quick update and tell you about our Christmas Angel (from Reece's Rainbow!) So, bear with me while I ramble for a bit.
First, before I get to the good stuff and the stuff you want to hear, I am going to ask you for money.
Every year Reece's Rainbow has the Angel Tree Project. As an extension of this project, they are hosting the Christmas Warrior Project this year as well.
This tells you a little bit about the Christmas Warrior Project:
"As an extension of our Prayer Warrior project, and an enhancement to our annual Christmas Angel Tree Project, we are seeking passionate folks to be one child's Christmas Warrior this year.
Our Christmas Angel Tree Project is our biggest and most important fundraiser of the year. All of our orphans with Down syndrome from ages 0-5 are posted on one page for people to sponsor and donate for their adoption grants. It runs from November 1- December 31, 2011. Those who give more than $35 recieve a beautiful photo ornament of their sponsored child to hang on their Christmas tree. These ornaments make fabulous gifts for your friends, family, and fellow Down syndrome advocates, while providing a life-saving gift for the child who is in desperate need of a "forever family" of their own."
Brian and I have signed up to be Yegor B's Christmas Warrior! I will be working on a couple of fundraisers to raise money for Yegor's adoption grant.
OUR GOAL IS TO RAISE $1000 for Yegor by December 31! I know Christmas is coming up and many of you are strapped financially; but, every penny helps bring Yegor closer to a family. He has been on the Angel Tree 3 times now and his grant isn't even at the $3000 mark. PLEASE help us to raise his grant up so that a family will have a great start up fund for his adoption. It's incredibly sad to say (but it's true) families look mostly at younger children and children with strong grants. If we can raise Yegor's grant money we increase his chances of finding a family.
If you donate $35 you get an ornament for your Christmas tree that will come to you with Yegor's picture on it! This comes from Reece's Rainbow. I will also make you a personalized necklace using the photo of your choice! (You will need to email me your photo!)
I know that many of you have donated and helped us to get to where we are with Sterling and we REALLY appreciate it! Let's work together to get Yegor taken care of!
To donate click here: http://reecesrainbow.org/yegor-b then click the yellow DONATE button at the bottom of the page!
Thanks with LOVE-
From Erin, Brian and Sterling
Yegor is 4 and needs a family NOW!
Now that we are done with that I can update on Sterling! I'm going to use a Q and A format with the questions I get asked ALL THE TIME! I'll be sure to add some new pictures too!
How has he adjusted?
Amazingly well! In some ways I'm glad that developmentally he isn't super aware of what happened. He knows we feed him, keep him clean, dress him, let him play and love him. His basic needs are being met and that keep him happy. He is very easy going, he loves to go "bye bye" and he is good with people. Everyone that has met him LOVES him. He is fine with the dogs (he and Hannah are inseparable) and he walks around like he owns the house. We have spent time doing some behavior training and he knows what timeout is and he knows what "no" means. (Not that he always cares - total toddler!) We are lucky his transistion has been so easy. It's not to say we don't have meltdowns - we do - but they are almost always typical toddler meltdowns. The only real issue we have is with food.
How is he sleeping?
Amazingly well! We went with the crib to be sure he was safe. Developmentally he is about 15 months old so its a fit developmentally too. He sleeps between 10-13 hours each night. He is NOT a great napper. I will put him upstairs when he gets tired (red eyes, crying, fussy, rubbing his eyes, etc) but at the orphanage he taught himself to keep himself awake so he rarely naps...at least I know he is resting a bit.
How is he eating?
Amazingly well! He eats anything and everything. The only thing he won't touch is apple juice (but he will eat applesauce...) He isn't a picky eater and will eat and eat and eat. Our only issue is that he flips out and melts down if he isnt eating and you are or if you dont feed him fast enough or when he wants to be fed. That being said, he has made HUGE improvements in this area. He self feeds finger foods but doesn't have the fine or gross motor to use silverware yet. The good news is he KNOWS what to do with a spoon (if you give him a spoon with food on it he will try to get it to his mouth) but he just can't get it there yet. That will come soon. We are also working on throwing. When he has too much in from of him he will pick something up in each hand, realize he can't pick something else up and throw the first thing to get to something new. (BTW the dogs LOVE this and lay under his chair when he eats!)
Does he like the dogs?
Yes! He is in LOVE with them and they with him. A match made in heaven. I've had Hannah since she was 9 weeks old and we often refer to her as "Meth Lab". She was seriously CRAZY and still puppy at 6 years old. Nothing calmed her down...until we came home with Sterling. She is so different and she won't leave his side. I'm so relieved and grateful that both Sterling and the dogs adjusted to each other so well.
How is Sterling medically?
OY! The short answer is fairly healthy! Yesterday we went to the pediatrician and the opthalmologist. His strabismus is significant in his left eye and the ophthalmologist prescribed "patching" for him. Starting today he will be "patched" over his good eye for 2-6 hours a day to strengthen his "lazy eye."
At the pediatrician we received a referral for a cardio; she is not expecting any problems as she said his heart sounds great and she can't hear a murmur (let alone anything of more signifigance.) But since a "congenital heart defect" is listed in his adoption records she want to refer to be safe. We also received a referral for a urologist, a script for his 5 year old neck xray, and a whole HOST of scripts for outpatient lab work including Thyroid panels, a CBC, blood allergy testing, and parasite screenings. On a positive note, she is not concerned with his tonsils or adenoids (yet.) He has no sleep apnea, he doesn't snore and he doesn't really have any tongue protrusion. So at least we get to skip that visit!
What are you going to do for school for Sterling?
I called our developmental testing center downtown this morning. They only screen on Wednesday mornings. (Alas - today is Wednesday - thanks Murphy!) So we have to wait until next Wednesday. Once he is screened they will set up a testing schedule for him (hopefully much sooner than the anticipated wait.) Sterling will be going to a school for kids with special needs called UCP (http://www.ucpcfl.org/) and we are trying to get him into the PK4 class (which will still be way too much for him) but they won't bend with me here. Until he is cleared through the school boards developmental testing center we will have to pay for his schooling. Once he is cleared, he will be covered under ESE pre-k. Luckily he can receive all of his services at this school too and they will bill insurance directly so that helps a lot!!! He will be starting there on November 14th (hopefully - still need to call them back!)
How are YOU?
Brian and I are great! I am still at home with Sterling. Brian went back to school (and coaching) Monday. He is glad to be back. We have FINALLY adjusted back to Eastern Standard Time (thank goodness!) and are finally sleeping well. Everything is going great here! I'm super busy with calling doctors, Cigna, labs, schools, the developmental testing center and I still need to do his whole register with the consulate thing. We also need to get him a US passport and I need to get him registered with Medicaid, SSI and Social Security... So I am BUSY!
Like I promised - here are some updated pictures since we've been home.... If you are HAPPY to see Sterling home PLEASE drop us a line AND also help us find a family for Yegor by DONATING to his grant! Help us get to the $1000 mark and find him a FAMILY!!! (If you think you are Yegor's parents even better! Send me an email and I'll help you with the next steps!!!)
Notice how often the dogs are near him....