Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Update Part 2

As promised, I'm sharing the rest of our recent update!  There isn't a lot here, but what is here is so precious to us.  Honestly, sometimes it is difficult for me to share all the details we have about Titus.  Not because we aren't excited to share, but because they're the ONLY details we have!  It's like... well, I put it out there for you all to read and all of a sudden our blog audience knows almost as much about our son as we do.  The information we received here is the only information we know about him that isn't in his official file that was accessible to thousands of people, and yet there was still a middle man (fantastic woman!) who got to know these things and see these videos before we did.  I can't wait until he is home and WE can be telling OTHERS about this amazing boy instead of the other way around.  In the meantime, I'm thankful for the care he is receiving and pray constantly for his nannies as well as for him and the other children.

Just a side note here: Zane is just as in love with Titus as the rest of us are.  He gets really excited to see his pictures, and LOVES watching his videos.  He was so animated about seeing Titus that it was hard to get a good still shot.  Here is a glimpse of his enthusiasm while watching the videos for the first time!

Here is how his orphanage answered our questions:

First of all, there was the great news that his nannies believe his hearing is normal!  See this post for more details.  We still believe he may have mild to moderate hearing loss and will be sure to get testing done quickly when he is home.

Has Titus had any surgeries or needed hospital care?
In 2012 he got sick often, hes weak, so we sent him to hospital to get needed care. 
     Thank you, Lord, for nannies who were attentive to his needs and for the orphanage's approval for his hospital care.  Thank you for the funding, likely through various charities and generous donors who took care of the hospital bills so that he could receive this care!  

What things are difficult for Titus to do with his right hand and arm that other children his age can do?  Does he seem frustrated about it?
His right hand and arm are very strong and flexible, just cant nip tiny objects. He has no problem holding a ball, or pick up something. He doesnt get frustrated. Hes always very happy. 
        Already a little overcomer!  I can't wait for this little one to blow us away with his abilities!  Lord, help us not to impose limitations but to help him find ways to do every task you set before him.

 What makes him happy or what does he like to do?
Just give him something to eat or play, he will be very happy. He also loves outdoor activities. Hes very affectionate, likes to play with the nannies hes familiar with. 
          Let me just note here that before this update, we had never seen a picture of him smiling.  It filled our hearts to know what makes him happy.  Also, many people would take this for granted, but their response tell me that HE GETS TO PLAY OUTSIDE... a totally normal childhood activity, but I wasn't sure if they did take the kids outside.  I love to hear that he is affectionate.  He'll fit right in with his siblings here!  Also, my heart aches a little bit thinking about how he will feel to leave behind the nannies he is familiar with.

How do his nannies describe his personality?
Active, brave and eager to do well in everything. 
        I can not wait to get to know this little guy!

Please describe how Titus interacts with other children.
He shares his toys with other children when hes happy. He likes to chase and play with other children in the playroom. Sometimes they play hand in hand also. 
        They have a play room!!!!  I wasn't aware of this, but we did get to see it in the video below.  So glad to know this, as I've never seen many toys in the photos of his room.  And, I love to hear that the other kids play "hand in hand" with him.  They're all growing up together, have a variety of special needs, and probably don't see him as any different.  I pray the Lord will surround him with friends throughout his life that will see him as the absolutely extraordinary fun little guy that he is without discriminating.

We received his most recent sizes and are thrilled that he has grown so much since the last measurements we had for him.  He is small for his age. Actually, he is almost exactly the same size as our son Zane.  

And without further adieu, here are 77 seconds of pure cuteness!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Say WHAT?!?!?!!

I'm sorry, could you repeat that?  I'm not sure I heard you right....

"His hearing is good.  We think he has normal hearing just like other children.  He hears everything."

This was the orphanage's response to our question about Titus' hearing.  It may not seem like a big deal, because we didn't share with many people about the doubts we had.  To catch you up... First of all, we've been aware from the beginning that in facial differences like Titus has, with a smaller ear, it is possible that there would be some hearing loss on that side.  Initially those concerns were put aside when his basic information sheet listed his hearing as "normal".  However, as we sifted through his file, we found results from a hearing test that indicated profound hearing loss in both ears.  Given the connections to other health conditions, we believed this test was likely to be accurate, except that there was an inconsistency with some information I recalled seeing on his profile with the agency who had his file when we "found" him.  I had a vague recollection if it saying "He hears and is beginning to say words such as..."   I tried to track down the source of that information, but could not.

So, believing that it is best to prepare for the worst, our family began learning ASL.  I got in touch with a friend who works for a Deaf preschool in Tulsa and sent her some of Titus' information to see if she could help us make sense of it and how to prepare to bring home a deaf toddler.  Our kids started watching "Signing Time" daily and are having fun using their signs throughout the day.

While it would have made no difference to us in regards to his adoption, if Titus were completely deaf it would change how we spend this waiting period in preparation and education.  We knew we needed clarification, so we asked some questions to the orphanage trying to determine whether the test results or the vague update were more accurate.  We had completely prepared our hearts to receive confirmation of deafness.  Instead, whoever answered the questions seemed to be confused as to why we even asked!  They also sent two new videos that seem to confirm him following verbal instructions and at one point responding to a noise heard behind him.

I have learned that many factors, such as severe illness, ear infection, and improper conditions regarding sedation, background noise, etc can influence the test results to reflect a much higher degree of hearing loss than is actually present.

So, imagine with me that you've spent the past several months suspecting that your son is completely deaf.  By completely deaf, I mean no speech communication possible, unable to hear the jet take off behind him, deaf.  Now, let me say it again so it sinks in:

"His hearing is good.  We think he has normal hearing just like other children.  He hears everything."

It is hard to know what to do with 2nd or even 3rd hand information from 7,000 miles away, but for now we are trusting that we do not need to prepare for Titus to be completely deaf.  I am just so glad for Titus that it will not be one MORE difference for him to navigate.  We will not know for sure whether he has some milder degree of hearing loss until he comes home and we are able to have all areas of his health properly assessed.  For now we are processing this unexpected news and continuing to look forward to having him home in our arms!

Coming soon... the rest of our update!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What Do They Need?

We received an update today!!!!  We needed Titus' sizes to make sure we didn't put any clothes in our upcoming garage sale that Titus might use, so we ordered an orphanage phone call.  We got to ask 10 questions in addition to his sizes.  We were encouraged in so many ways by the information we received.  I can't wait to post more about our update, but I'm saving that for another time.  One answer from the orphanage staff gripped my heart so much that it deserves its own post:

10. What items are most needed for the children in Titus' room?

"The children in his room are all abandoned by their parents. Their most need is accompany, love and care. Material things they need is supplies like clothes, formula, rice cereal and diaper."

Just look at these adorable children in the background of our update video!  I just LOVE this little guy with the wig!

 And this sweet little face in the background here!

This photo was taken by another family who traveled to his orphanage a few months ago.  Look at those precious boys!

"Their most need is accompany, love, and care."

The state of Arizona and US Department of Immigration will only certify our family to bring home one.  Do you have accompany, love, and care to give to one, too?