Sweet Theo goes back to the O.

17 Sep

Hello, Village.

I apologize for the radio silence.  I have been so overwhelmed and have not had the (emotional or mental) energy to sit down and write about what’s going on.  This is a stressful season for sure — remodeling the garage to create more living space for our family, my growing and very busy Etsy business, potty training Giselle, navigating all the typical boundary testing and tantrums that come from having a 2 yr old feisty female, preparing to travel to Ethiopia, preparing to bring Theo home, trying to anticipate what his health needs will be and how we will pay for that, bracing myself for cocooning and how Theo’s arrival will affect Giselle, etc, etc.  But more than all these things combine, the most overwhelming aspect of all of this is living each day with the fact that my child is in another country, in harm’s way, and there is nothing I can do about it.  It’s a very crippling feeling.  YES, I know God is in control.  YES, I know he is in God’s hands.  But that does not erase the fact that my son has experienced major loss, trauma and severe malnutrition.  It is a fact that he has and IS suffering.  I trust and believe God is good and in control, but that doesn’t mean bad things aren’t happening to my child.  God will carry us all through and I have no doubt that He will be glorified in the process but it still hurts a lot. I lose sleep over this reality EVERY.SINGLE.NIGHT.

Nevertheless, it’s so important to me to keep a current journal of every step of this process.  We document our pregnancies so well and I want the story of Theo’s journey into our family to be documented and remembered – even the painful parts.

As most of you know, we were very concerned about Theo’s health after we saw some photos of him at the end of July.  The first week of August he was taken to a pediatric clinic and examined by a doctor.  Here’s the quick facts:Roba2

  • He was brought to the Pommy Clinic in Addis by our agency representative and examined by the doctor in early August and diagnosed with Acute Severe Malnutrition.
  • The doctor prescribed a strict, high-nutrient feeding schedule and said that he needed to be brought to a “feeding center” which is the technical term for an orphanage.  In other words, Theo was so severely malnourished that the doctor did not realize he already was living in a “feeding center”!!!  AHH!
  • Theo was admitted to the Pommy Clinic (the pediatric hospital that is run by the doctor my agency uses in Ethiopia) and hooked up to a feeding tube right away.  He was too weak and listless to eat and the nannies at his orphanage told my agency rep “he won’t eat anymore.  We try but he won’t eat.”  The doctor didn’t want to fight him to take a bottle so they put him on a feeding tube right away.  I think he was only on the feeding tube for maybe one or two days because a couple days after he was admitted to the hospital I got pictures of him with an empty bottle next to him.
  • He weighed 14.7 lbs (at 21.5 months) when he was admitted to the hospital. He cannot walk, stand or crawl (that I know of) and looked too weak to sit up without assistance.
  • He stayed in the hospital Aug 20-Sept 4.  We wanted him to stay longer but the doctor felt like he should release Theo back to the Orphanage to make room for sicker children to be admitted to the clinic.  I understand but I was really bummed about this!
  • While in the hospital he received lots of food and 24/7 care from his own personal nanny that was hired by my agency.  The change we saw in him was DRAMATIC.  Food and love can do a lot!  Within just a couple days in the hospital, he was cuddling with his nanny, smiling, strong enough to eat on his own, and gaining weight.
  • He gained 3.3 lbs while in the hospital and weighed 17lbs when he went back to the orphanage on Sept 4.  Pictures and videos from his last week in the hospital show him smiling, reaching for things, comfortably sitting up on his own, and cuddling into the safety of his nanny’s arms when “strangers” (aka other adoptive families who went to check on him for me while they were in country) tried to reach for him and touch him.  I have never been so happy to see a child exhibit “stranger danger”.
I got several pictures and videos of him the day before he was admitted to the hospital.  He looked awful.  Listless, vacant, and very very sad.  To say my heart was breaking is the understatement of the century.  Thankfully, I knew he was in excellent care at the hospital and getting lots of love from his very own nanny, 24/7.  I have pictures and videos of him in the weeks he spent at the hospital and it is obvious that he was starting to bond with his nanny.  Knowing this is the best feeling and the worst feeling in the world.  It is AWESOME that he is able to bond to a caregiver, because that is a really good sign for him being able to bond and attach to us when he comes home.  But I have lost many hours of sleep thinking about how terrifying it must be for him to leave his nanny and go back to the orphanage, and have no idea why.  Traumatic.  I am grieving with him and for him over the amount of loss he has already experienced in his short life.
At this point, there is not a lot we can do.  Our agency is keeping a close eye on him and have promised me that they will check on him every week and relay photo updates as well as his weight and measurements.  If he starts to get sick or lose weight again, we will put him right back in the hospital.
Our court date is Oct 20th and we’ll be arriving in Ethiopia on Oct 17th.  I can hardly believe that I will be meeting my son in only ONE MONTH.  ONE month!!!  It is crazy!  We are aching to have him in our arms.  I will stay in Ethiopia for almost 2 weeks after our court date.  After we pass court we will have legal guardianship and be able to move him to a better orphanage.  I plan to visit him every day and feed him A LOT while I’m there.  When we come back home it will only be 2-3 weeks (maybe less??) before we get to return to Ethiopia and bring him home FOREVER!  More details on all that to come!
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