On Saturday morning I got an update from our caseworker on Theo’s condition. Our in-country staff is not working on the weekend but they called the doctor directly to get an update so that I would not have to wait until Monday.
The doctor says he is doing “fine” but they had to insert a feeding tube. He is too weak and/or too sick to eat and the doctor did not want to risk fighting him to take a bottle. The feeding tube is pumping nutrients directly into his stomach and when he is stronger, they will try to get him to take a bottle. The doctor also said that when Theo has recovered and is strong enough to be discharged, he is happy to continue to let Theo stay as long as we want, as long as there is room and they don’t need his bed for another sick child. That is all we know for now. My agency is working on getting all the other details about Theo’s condition, what he’s being treated for, how long the doctor expects for his recovery, the estimated cost of his care, etc, etc.
I hate to think about the fact that Theo was wasting away in the orphanage and none of us knew. If Robyn hadn’t asked EVERY DAY to be taken to visit him a few weeks ago when she was in country, we wouldn’t have known. And the orphanage wasn’t forthcoming with any information, that’s for sure! We have never gotten any information about his weight or health from them. Because of this, I am feeling SUPER cautious about getting frequent and thorough updates on how he is doing. I’ve emailed my agency a list of what I’m expecting in the realm of communication from now on:
1. Weekly updates on his health progress and weight gain, height, head circumference.
2. Photos (with the weekly updates) of Theo in his diaper, including a photo of him hooked up to a feeding tube right now.
3. 100% complete unfiltered transparency about his health and situation. If the truth is ugly, I want to hear it. Please DO NOT try to “spare” me any details that you think will upset me too much. I need to be prepared to care for him when he gets home and am already consulting with the International Adoption medical clinic here in Seattle. The more info I can give them, the better they can prepare us for what Theo will need when he gets home. There are no international adoption specialist in our health insurance network, but if I can prove the need for a specialist, our health insurance will cover the costs of an IA Pediatrician after Theo comes home. So the more info I have now, the better.
4. Permission for missionary friends and other adoptive families to visit Theo in the hospital. I have two missionary friends there who would love to visit Theo for me. Also several families will be traveling for Embassy in the next couple weeks and all of them are willing to visit him for me, if possible. For me, the more people who see him in person, take pictures of him and can just let me know how he’s doing — the better!
5. Any and all medical reports from the doctors, including the one from his doctor appointment on Tuesday (still waiting on translation???), the assessment of his condition after being checked in, etc. I want to know EVERYTHING he is being treated for and every part of his diagnosis.
6. A current report on his development milestones. For instance, can he stand up? Crawl? Walk? No one has been able to tell me this but it should be obvious information to anyone who spends more then two minutes with him.
7. Lastly, I want to be alerted immediately if his condition takes a turn for the worst or if he is not getting better. At the risk of sounding paranoid or fatalistic, I need to say this. If he is not going to get better and his life is at risk, I want to know immediately and will be traveling at once to be with him in person. I just need to get this on the table – if he is going to die, I want to be by his bedside holding him when it happens. As unlikely as this scenario may seem, we all know it is possible and I just have to say that.
I will keep this blog updated whenever I get new info. Depending on the cost of his medical care, we may set up a Care Fund for those who would like to donate. Several people have already asked me about this. We have NEVER asked for money during this adopting process. We have done a couple of small fundraisers (garage sales, the Skirt Sale I did in the spring, cape fundraiser) that raised a small fraction of our adoption costs by selling products that people wanted to buy. Josh and I knew we wanted to adopt before we got married, so we’ve been saving since the day we tied the knot. Through a lot of hard work, sacrifice and budgeting we have saved the majority of the $30k+ we needed for this adoption, but this medical care is an extra cost that we didn’t anticipate. For that reason it may be necessary for us to set up a Care Fund and humbly ask for support from anyone who feels led to give financially. I will let you all know if we get to that point.
Again, thank you so much for the outpouring of love, encouragement and prayers during this time. It has been a very stressful season. Many of you have asked how I’m doing. Well….I’m doing about as well as you could expect for a mother who has a child in the hospital, hooked up to a feeding tube, in another country. Some days I am seriously fine and am resting in the confidence that Theo is getting the care he needs from an excellent doctor. Other days you can find me sobbing in my car in the parking lot of Joann Fabrics, trying to pull myself together long enough to walk into the store and buy Seahawks fabric for the skirts being ordered off my Etsy site. All the while my extremely empathetic 2-yr old in the back seat is asking in a concerned voice, “Mommy?? WHY you crying? Are you sad, Mommy? Mommy, why you sad?” I’ve gained 7lbs in the past 3 weeks from stress, so that is really cool too. This is extremely frustrating to me because it’s taken me all summer to lose 3lbs (YES, I am still trying to lose the baby weight from having Giselle over 2 yrs ago) BUT if I needed to go through that much stress and chaos in my life in order to get my baby in a hospital and SAVE HIS LIFE, then you know what I say? Bring on the fat pants.