Author Archives: bwvick2014

Orphan Sunday

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In honor of Orphan Sunday this Sunday I thought I share some of my heart.  You’ve read or heard me time and time again say that God calls us all to care for orphans! All orphans everywhere.  I’ve struggled some with others thinking that is a job for someone else.  And I get it, you’re overwhelmed with your life now, your kids, your expenses, etc.  But we are all called to help in some way.  First of all, be burdened by the orphan crisis.  There is around 153 billion orphans in the world.  And many believe that number should be higher.  Let that sink in 153 BILLION.  Let that grieve you, let our hearts be broken for what breaks His!  And a child living without a family BREAKS GOD’S HEART.  Second, do something – pray, help adoptive families, don’t judge families with tons of kids all of different races, don’t mistreat a biological mom trying hard to raise her kids she chose LIFE for sometimes in the hardest of circumstances, give, donate, foster, adopt.  Just do something!!

Please don’t let things of this world confuse you.  Please don’t think if a child has a roof, food, and clothing then they’ll be fine.  Children NEED families.  Children all over the world for thousands of years have lived without much, without a good roof, without clothes even and have thrived because they have the loved of a momma and a daddy.  Someone to cuddle them, to give them attention, to LOVE them.

Adoption saves lives truly.  And I don’t mean adoptive parents are some sort of saints or saviors, but they are the tool God uses to give children what the need.  I have so many examples of this that I’ve seen from other people but I’ve never been more sure of this until I saw it right here in my own family in my own home.  Flint is a completely changed child.  I could go on and on with page after page of things he did when we adopted him.  Things that were heartbreaking, sad, annoying, and painful to sooth himself to make it through life ALONE.  I could give you list after list of things he couldn’t do when we adopted him, things he should have been able to do if he had a home.  But I won’t.  I’m going to tell you what he CAN do now after almost 10 months with his family.

Flint lets us rock him to sleep for nap and bed time every day.  He enjoys it, he fits right in the crook of my arm and right on his daddy’s chest.  He smiles and laughs at his brothers and us 50 times a day.  He hugs and kisses many times every day, read that again – he HUGS us just because.  He dances to music.  He (just this week) yells MOMMA when he wants something.  He gets excited and signs “daddy” everytime his Daddy drives up, and yells “nanna” (Ha! I don’t know why he calls his daddy nanna).  Flint can grasp small toys in his hands.  He can put puzzles together, build towers with blocks, and figure out how to twist and turn everything.  He go a whole day without a throwing a fit.  He goes 95% of meals without crying.  He can find his parents and brothers in a crowd.  Flint loves his grandparents and can stay with them without any bad regression (other than being spoiled).  He can feed himself and eat off of a spoon and fork on his own.  He can make choices about food instead of just eating everything he sees.  He doesn’t need a bottle at night to sooth him.  He can use about 25 signs.  He can say Momma, Nanna, look, yeah, and thank you own his own (most of them don’t sound perfect but we know what he means).  He signs I love you when you tell him.  He doesn’t cry when we change him.  He can blow kisses.  He can touch and hold an animal with no fear.  He can jump off the side of the pool and hold his breath and swim all over the place.  He play with toys on his own happily.  Flint has gained 5 pounds.  His tone and core strength are both great.  He hasn’t been sick once since we have had him.  His kidneys are doing great.  He has a wonderful working hearing aid that is all his own.  He will drink milk cold out of a cup.  He pats and hugs anyone who is sad or crying or hurt.  He loves to watch baseball and loves the zoo.  He uses every object that resembles a baseball bat as a baseball bat and throws up another object and hits it across the room.  He loves to wrestle with his daddy.  His skin is soft and smooth and his hair is soft and silky.  He LOVES to take a bath and isn’t afraid.  He LOVES trying on new clothes and is so excited to get them.  He obeys most of the time.  Flint is a Vick, he is happy, he is healthy, he is LOVED.

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Gotcha Day – 1/12/2015

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Flint’s Baptism – 10/11/2015

This is what love does.  No special people.  No perfect people. No therapy (he has only had speech therapy).  We have lost our patience, had to hide and cry, been on our knees asking God for help, been scared, been clueless, needed breaks, been broke – Ha!, but God can do anything if you follow his will.  When we were about 2 1/2  months home and things were much the same as the day we brought him home I was terrified.  My friends who have adopted before said, “Just wait 3 months.  Just hang on for 3 months and it will get better”.  Finally at 3 ½ moths home we could see some change, some big change.  Things have only gotten better since.  Oh there is still hard stuff, but he is easy to love.  He is actually, other than being the fastest 23 pound human, a pretty easy kid.  He is a complete joy.

I hear over and over people say they’d love to adopt, but…  And usually that but is because of money.  Things have not been easy and we have struggled, but God has gotten us through and stretched pennies and we have made it work.  Please please do not let money or lack there of be a reason not to adopt.  Pray and ask God to guide your steps. Be open and let him show you how, where, and when.  (I can promise you though most times God will say NOW)  We started with zero towards the adoption and 1 year and $35,000 later we were done.  God provides when it is his will.  Yes our house is small and our cars are old, but our hearts are full and we know Flint was meant to be here just as much as his brothers.  There are so so many grants available to adoptive families.  So many people who hear the call to help the orphan will donate.  So many ways you can fundraise.  Just do it!!!  And please consider a boy, so many boys need homes!

This is another sweet boy home 6 months – a before and after picture.  No surgeries, no therapy, just love.  Adoption saves lives!

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Finally an Update!

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Today Flint will have been home for 7 months!  I really can’t believe it!  Just crazy!  He is so much fun and full of energy.  I thought I’d do a little update on him.

 

 
Flint is signing like crazy.  He gets his signs confused sometimes so I’m looking for some good flash cards to do with him.  He is saying a few words, his favorite word is look – “OOK” and he says it 75 times a day while pointing.  Because his hearing aid gives him hearing at a normal level he will begin speech therapy in September at the University of Montevallo.  We are really excited about it.  I can’t wait to see what he’ll do.  I’m sure there will be some crying and fit throwing involved.

 

His health is good.  We are a little frustrated that he hasn’t gained as much weight as we’d hoped but he eats as much as a grown man so we think he’s fine.  His kidneys are still doing well as far as we know with no UTIs.  He sleeps GREAT which is a huge blessing.  He will be having another surgery on September 10th so please keep him, the doctors, and us in your prayers.  We are hoping for a simple surgery and a fast recovery.  He will be having his neck fistulas removed.  We are planning to spend one night in the hospital but we are hoping that won’t be necessary.

 

Flint loves to swim and can hold his breath and swim with his face in the water.  He can kick himself everywhere.  He also holds his breath and jumps in on his own.  This is so amazing to see, since he was terrified of water when we gave him his first bath.  (Those big brothers help out a lot!) He does everything his brothers do especially Fisher.  He has gone to nursery at church a few times and has done great.  He loves to ride his new little 4 wheeler he got for his birthday, he loves bubbles.  He’s just a wild and crazy fun 2 year old.

 

I’m hoping to do an update in the next week or so all about his 2nd birthday and how special it was to us.  And hopefully he will treasure the pictures of his 1st birthday as Flint Jacob Vick his entire life. Ligthouse-0188 Ligthouse-0295

China Pictures – 12

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Well this brings us to the last of the pictures from our China trip.  Finally!! 🙂  In a few hours we will have had Flint in our arms for 5 months.  In many ways it seems crazy to say that, but mostly just because during the process I couldn’t imagine being home this long with our boy.  But really this trip seems like so long ago.  And when you adopt a child that isn’t an infant AND you knew them and loved them for 9 months before you got them it messes with your brain in terms of timing.  I always think he’s been here for a summer before this one.  But nope.  This is his first Alabama summer.  Flint is loving it.  He loves swimming, playing in his water table, feeding the chickens, playing outside, and wearing shorts instead of giant snowsuits.  He absolutely hates living creatures (other than people) his biggest nemesis is a FLY.  Oh he is terrified of them.  We just think its sort of like a little 3 or 4 month old baby that has never seen them and doesn’t know what to think.  But we’ve seen progress in that area and the chickens (especially the new baby chicks) have helped a lot.  Flint is doing really great and one of my biggest joys is to see how strong his body has become.  I sometimes just can’t get over it.  His muscle tone when he came to us was terrible.  He fell every two seconds when he walked.  He couldn’t pick up small toys and he’s arms flailed about when he walked.  This is all completely better.  He can stack small blocks.  He can run across the yard (well he still trips some, but that is because he refuses to watch where he is going!)  He can do flips (yes flips) all over the place.  And he can climb on anything.  ANYTHING.  It also amazes me how terrified he was that first bath he had with us in China.  He LOVES water now.  At the splash pad he literally puts his whole face right in the sprinkler and loves it.  We love that boy so much.  And he is such a beautiful child.  That dark skin just kills me.  I’m so jealous!!  I mean I look like a ghost next to him.

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Okay so this picks up on Friday, January 23rd.  The day before we had gone to the US Consulate to get Flint’s Visa to get into the US.  We had to remain in Guangzhou until around 5:00 pm on Friday to wait for the Visa to be completed.  That morning we got up and had breakfast and finished up packing.  The hotel was having a World Hotel convention (or something like that) and the lobby was all fixed up.  The night before they were having a party – like a cocktail party – in the lobby.  That was strange.  And a little annoying walking through all of those people with my three kids.  But they thought it was fun.  (Flint did not agree with his brothers)

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We went to see the goldfish one more time!  Fowler said just today that the fish were one of his favorite things.

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We went back to our room to finish up after getting some lunch at the hotel.  And soon it was 4:00. Our guides had arranged for us to have late check out because we had to wait to get Flint’s Visa.  We met in the lobby with all of the families that went the day before to the consulate.  And they were done.  Yay!  If for some reason the Visas weren’t done we would have had to wait until Monday to get them.  That would have been not so fun.  🙂  Praise the Lord they were there!  And right now in China the US Consulate is having some sort of computer issues and families have been delayed.  Please pray with me that this will be worked out FAST! So they can get home with their sweet ones.

Now here comes some craziness.  So we decided when we bought tickets to fly out of Hong Kong back home to the US on Saturday morning. There were more direct flights from there and well that’s just how it worked out.  I highly recommend it and it worked great for us.  We went back and forth on weather or not we should leave early Saturday morning to drive to Hong Kong to get to our flight, or to leave Friday afternoon, stay in Hong Kong for the night and then leave the next morning for the airport (only like 30 minutes from our hotel).  Well if you are reading this and are getting close to travel, this is what we decided…  We decided that making the longest travel day of our lives with a child that hadn’t even known us for 2 weeks even longer by having to leave the hotel in Guangzhou very early and then driving 3 hours to Hong Kong and then getting on a plane was just too much.  We decided to drive to Hong Kong Friday night.  We 100% recommend this.  It was great!!

Right after getting Flint’s hot ticket into the United States we headed out to our van.  (After Brad made a mad dash back to our room to get laundry we left in the dryer in our room!!) Our guides took care of it for us.  So right outside of the Garden Hotel sat a beautiful brand new VW van and it was very small.  Remember it was Brad, Tiffany, Amy (my mom), Fowler, Fisher, Flint, and all of our luggage!  The driver, the guides, the hotel bellmen, and Brad spent a long time trying to pack it all in.  It wasn’t pretty.  And the driver was not too happy!  But we got it all in.  In Hong Kong the driver is on the “wrong” side so that was funny.  There of course were no car seats.  So it was Brad in the front with our super um… unhappy, trendy, hipster driver (who played pop Chinese music the whole way – hilarious – I had to literally hold in the laughter during one song, lets just say whatever they were saying in Mandarin or Cantonese sounded like VERY inappropriate words in English!).  In the middle was myself holding Flint, Fisher in the middle (not in a seat or a seat belt but sitting on a little table sort of thing), and Fowler on the other side (thankfully in a seat belt).  My mom was in the back with all of our luggage.  You could barely see her eyes.  She was completely surrounded.  That was the scariest ride of my life.  I have never prayed so long continuously in my life.  It was a three hour drive mostly on interstate and our driver was driving pretty fast.  AND ONLY ONE OF MY CHILDREN WAS BUCKLED.  But he seriously was a good and safe driver.  He paid attention the entire time.  And he knew exactly what he was doing.  And I would absolutely do it again.  Really.  At the end my arms were throbbing from holding Fisher and Flint with a death grip for 3 hours.  All three boys slept the whole time.  And we were all silent for the whole drive.  🙂

Part of the journey from Guangzhou to Hong Kong is that you have to cross through the border.  (Which was AWESOME!) We had watched that border patrol show a million times during our trip (they had discovery channel in English) and I felt like we were on an episode of that show.  As we pulled in to the border there were cars parked EVERYWHERE.  We figured out that because they had Chinese license plates (our car had both) and not HK plates they couldn’t cross the border, so they just left them.  Now it was a Friday night so I’m assuming many people just go to HK for fun on the weekends.  But someone or a taxi would pick them up after they walked across the border.

We pulled up to our first check point. (I so wish I had pictures but I was too nervous and remember the death grip.) Our guide had our stack of passports and he knew exactly what to do.  He pushed a button on the van and all of the doors opened.  Someone looked at our stuff from afar I guess and then he shut the doors.  They looked at our passports and then at our faces.  My mom had to poke her head out of her luggage cave she was in.  Then on to the next check point.  This time they held a laser gun up and pointed it at our heads and checked our temperature!!!  We knew they would do this but it was still CRAZY!!  Of course Fowler loved it.  Thankfully my mom did not have a fever!!  We made it through and on into Hong Kong.

Once we got over the border it was like we had stepped back into the US.  Everything was in English!  Signs everywhere! Hong Kong is like Manhattan x 10!  It is a beautiful city and mountains  and water all around.  Though we were there for less than 24 hours we realized that it was super easy to get around.  We went by car. But because everyone spoke English and they are masters at getting millions of people to and fro everyday it all works pretty well. And we were alone at this point.  No more guide.  There is no need for a guide in HK though. We stayed at the Courtyard Marriott.  It was about 30 minutes from the hotel.  It was pretty cheap and VERY nice.  Two other families traveling back to Birmingham and on our same flights stayed there too.  We got settled and checked out our view.

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We decided to just eat in the hotel for convenience and it was very good and everyone was very nice.  HK is very cool and we met lots of young people from the US.  One guy was so impressed that we had traveled from Alabama with all of these kids to adopt another.  🙂 We went straight to bed after that.  And woke up the next morning to lots of fog.

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We packed up and headed to the airport.  We made it there safely and easily.  And found our gate.  We bought 8 bottles of water after we went through security and they decided to do another security check in the terminal and they took them all away.  Oh well we survived.  The flight went fine and all the boys did great.  We got to Dallas and found a TGI Fridays and everyone got the most American food they had and all the adults had a huge glass of sweet tea and the boys had lemonade.  It was AMAZING.  I mentioned that I would pay money to take a shower.  (13 hours wrangling 3 children, 1 of which had no seat and was laying on me the whole time.  And I didn’t wear socks and that was the only time they made me take my shoes off going through security – put me over the edge to feeling gross) My mom said, well I saw a place right back there.  So off I went to find out more information.  Indeed a SHOWER!!  It was $25 and any and all of us could use it for an hour.  It was spotless clean and they had washcloths and soap and shampoo.  It was the absolute best shower ever.  Brad watched the kids and then we swapped and he took one too.  The lady working there was so nice and let us use the lounge even though that was supposed to be $10 more.

We left the shower store 🙂 and found our gate.  We slept some at our gate and finally boarded to Birmingham.  I cried when we touched down.  The Lord had blessed us so much.  What a journey!!  I just couldn’t believe how smoothly our trip had gone.  The kids did so great!!  It was so good to see our family and friends that met us there!  Some friends even sent us home from the airport with a tray of Chickfila chicken and two jugs of Milos sweet tea!  It was so wonderful to have all three boys in the car!  Flint did fine in the car seat for the first time in his life.  We got home and our newly made keys to the house wouldn’t work and we almost made Fowler climb through a window to unlock the door.  But I came to the rescue.  When I was in college we used to forget our keys to our apartment all of the time.  I learned how to unlock a door with my credit card.  So guess what, 12 years later I still remembered how to do and I got us in.

We finally went to sleep at about 3:00 am with the full intention to wake up at about 10:00 am.  We slept until 3:00 PM and I had to force everyone to get up.  Jet lag was TERRIBLE but we finally came out of the fog about a week later. So thankful Brad took that extra week off to recover!!!

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Thank you so much to a sweet friend and amazing photographer who took our coming home pictures!!!  They are so good and I will treasure them always!  Check her out! – http://www.visualartsbyjessica.com/    https://www.facebook.com/VisualArtsbyJessica?pnref=story

Thank you all so much for following our journey!  I hope to continue posting some other tips for traveling to China.  As well as more information about Flint.

China Pictures – 11

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Hopefully I’ll finish this one day! 🙂

This update picks up on Wednesday, January 21st.  On this day we made the short trip to Shamian Island.  Shamian Island is a beautiful small island where the US Consulate used to be located.  It has now moved to another location and did so about 10 years ago.  All families adopting and traveling back to the US used to stay on this island.  Many stayed at a hotel called the White Swan.  In fact almost everyone we talked to that adopted from China years ago, assumed it was still there.  It is still a beautiful place with so much to see and do.  It is a tourist attraction for foreigners and Chinese families.  It reminded me a lot of what I would assume Bermuda’s architecture looks like.  But it also reminded me of a tropical (and much more tame) New Orleans.

You can see in the picture below how nice our buses were in Guangzhou.  And my mom (GeeYah) felt like going on this excursion so that was so nice.

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We loved seeing these signs here and there was even a church on the island.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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The entire island is really like a park.  There are walking tracks and exercise equipment all along the way.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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This was THE place to take wedding photos and to do modeling shoots.  There were brides and grooms and models EVERYWHERE.  FYI it is strange to watch a modeling photo shoot in case you never have.

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It was a really really fun day.  So nice to walk around and let the boys run and stretch their legs.  But Flint had a really hard day.  Maybe his hardest of the trip.  We were reminded that he had never ever been outside before he became a Vick and he was completely overwhelmed.  He screamed, cried, rolled his eyes, and was shut down most of the day.  I’m so glad to say he absolutely loves outside now and plays outside peacefully for hours.   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This is a statue that everyone takes pictures with their new kiddos.  I wish you could see some of the precious glorious perfect photos some of my friends have done there.  But Flint would have NONE of it.  This is all we got.  🙂  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Right before the following picture was taken, a cute college age Chinese girl sat down right beside me.  RIGHT beside me, like touching me.  She and her friend talked to me and Flint.  They were so sweet and all of the sudden she said, “Okay” and took a selfie with me.  She then got up and walked away and said.  Thank you thank you.  That was so hilarious.  I wonder where that picture ended up.

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That night we ate supper (I can not remember where).  The next morning we had to be up really early for our Consulate Appointment.

If you remember our whole trip timing was based on this appointment.  Appointments for Visas for adoptees at the US Consulate in China can be on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday.  We were set for Thursday.  If all goes as planned you can leave China 24 hours after your appointment.  So yes people that get an appointment earlier in the week, get a shorter trip.  But we were fine with it.  In fact I think it helped Flint to have a little more time with us before the long flight home.  And if we would have left earlier my mom would have probably been too sick to travel comfortably.   Just to make sure you understand.  This was the US Consulate in China (so like a little mini United States within China).  The employees work for the US and there are lots of Americans there.  We were there to get Flint’s Visa into the US.  He had a passport already, but he had to have a Visa into the US to get in legally and to become a citizen.  Just like we had to send our stuff to a Chinese consulate here in the US for our Visa to get into China.  (Its confusing I know.) You are not allowed to take anything with you in the Consulate except your documentation.  No cameras, no phones.  Our guides couldn’t even go in with us.  But it was fine.  Very easy and everyone was very nice and helpful.  We had a big group of families doing it with us.  That was fun.  We got to spend that last bit of time with the group we had become so close too.  When you go in you have to remove everything (its like airport security x 10) and then into the building.  Up the cool fancy elevator, then into a room that looked similar to a bank.  We had to do an oath and fill out some paper work.

Outside all around the building there were Chinese people lined up to get Visas into the US.  This made me sad for them, and thankful we were blessed to live in the country that everyone wants to get into.  It is very difficult for an average Chinese citizen to get a Visa into the US.  This also made me so thankful that the Chinese government is so organized and on top of there adoption process.  They know what they are doing and have it down to a science most of the time.

Apparently Flint was glad to get his Visa!

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And of course Brad had to take pictures of the Wine vending machine.  Which was quite funny!!

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That evening we said goodbye to Lilly.  She came in to help as a guide because there was such a big group of us with Lifeline in Guangzhou at the same time.  I’m not sure if we would have made it without her.  She was so amazing to us and got us through our MANY doctors appointments.  She took phone calls from us in the middle of the night, called doctors for us, made appointments, yelled at the taxi drivers, fussed at the doctor, and even held Flint’s head down while they cut his cyst open because we didn’t want him to see us and relate us to the pain.  She is an adoptive mom herself so she understood it all and was absolutely thrilled to see so many babies going home.  I seriously thought I was going to cry when we told her bye.  She was such a blessing to us and I can not wait to see her again.  I so wish she could see Flint now and see how far he has come.  (If you ever get to read this Lilly, the Vick’s love you so much and are so grateful for you!!)

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That’s it for tonight.  Hopefully this “trip report” is almost complete.

China Pictures – 10

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This was Tuesday night.  We went on the Riverboat dinner cruise.  It was really really fun and I’d love to do it again one day.  The food was just okay, but they had corn on the cob and that made all the Vick boys happy.  The only thing that wasn’t so fun, is the “tour” was done in Chinese and it was non stop – loud and on speakers.  Ha!  It was funny!  Fowler and Fisher loved it!

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Brad was glad to have a COLD beer!

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This is the Canton Tower, the tallest building in China.

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Our entertainment for the night.  She was really funny, and held the attention of a lot of kiddos!

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Fowler made a new friend on our trip.

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We had a great time!

Flint’s 3 month update!!

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Flint has been with us for 3 months now, so it’s time for an update!

Health
I’ll start with Flint’s surgery about a month ago. I realize I never fully explained what happened during the surgery. He had surgery to remove what the doctor believed was an ear infection that ruptured out of his skull. It ended up being a cyst instead, no infection. It was large (we don’t really know what it was, but the doctor believes skin cells) and it was all around his facial nerves. The doctor was very worried that he would cut the nerves. Flint’s nerves were like little tiny hairs vs. the tube like structures they should be. We told him we were fine either way and to get that thing out. He did just that and got it all out successfully. But he did severe the nerves. We didn’t know what the result would be and really we had to wait several days to see the outcome because of his swelling. Flint did have some facial paralysis before which is common with kids with microtia. But it is worse than before. It is not noticeable at all unless he cries or smiles. One of half of his face basically doesn’t move. His eye sight seems fine (we go to an ophthalmologist in the next few weeks) and he can eat, chew, and suck from a straw. We are fine with all of this, just God’s plan. He looks perfect to us.
Flint also has some kidney issues, he does have some kidney damage, but overall he seems to be doing great.
Flint will most likely have a few more simple surgeries this summer. They should be outpatient.

Hearing
So before getting our Flint, we thought he was deaf. Well we knew what the pictures looked like (basically no ear on one side and a small folded over ear on the other) and his file said he was deaf. But then right before we traveled, we received a video and he seemed to be able to hear. Honestly we did not care either way. And we really had no idea what to think. We arrived in China and our guide overheard us discussing what signs we would be teaching Flint first. And he said, “Oh he can hear.” He had met Flint many times, but we were still skeptical and knew he surely couldn’t hear very well. Then we got Flint. He did not respond to noises for several days. We thought, okay, he’s deaf. Then as the days went on he began to respond. It seemed he was just ignoring us, I’m sure he thought we were crazy for at least a month. Eventually after a week or so, we knew he could hear. In fact on the flight home he was sound asleep, and our sweet friend sitting in the chair next to us started crying. He sat straight up and looked at her. (I never even heard her with my head phones on.) Now we know he can hear pretty well. He responds even without us talking loud. And has started to mimic noises and a few words. He says, “mommmmma”, “datdatdat (for daddy)”, “bubububub (we think for bubba)”, and just tonight “ow”. It’s crazy really. We know he has no ear canals, but apparently the inside works. He hears like if we put our fingers in our ears. We went to the audiologist last week and they tested him with his potential new hearing aid. This is most important right now to make sure he is a candidate for it. He did pretty well and we are trying to get it ordered but are having to do more testing before then. He was in the normal range with this hearing aide. He will be wearing a BAHA which is a bone conducting hearing aide. It basically brings the sound to his head since his ear doesn’t do that for him. He will wear it on a head band for a while. Then eventually he will have an abutment placed surgically and he will snap the aide on everyday. (Pretty cool!)

We did try on a hearing aid for him and he loved it! He stomped his feet and danced. It was so hilarious. We are hoping he still loves it when it comes in.

This boy amazes us so much. I honestly can tell you that Brad and I have witnessed a complete miracle before our eyes. If you would have seen the endless struggles he had when we first got him, to how he is now you would be shocked. In the last 2 weeks he has become a different child. It’s like a switch went off. He is still a wild man, but he is loving and responsive. Answers questions with a head nod or shake. He asks for things by signing and signs all on his own. (he’s even made up a sign and I have no idea what he is telling me!) He is really a joy!! Those were some hard months and I often wondered if he would communicate in any way with us ever. He wouldn’t respond when we asked him a question for two and ½ months!!! Then one day he woke up and started communicating. He even hugs me! 

We still have hard days (like today and yesterday) but we know he is moving in the right direction and to just know that he can do certain things, makes it a lot easier even when he won’t do them.

Thank you so much for all of your prayers and please keep them coming!

Flint Update – 2 months!

Standard

On Thursday, March 12th, Flint had been in our arms for 2 months.  It seems like yesterday and at the same time it seems like Flint has been here forever.  It is so strange, I constantly think things like this — What did Flint wear last Easter, or what size did he wear this fall?  Of course Flint was still in an orphanage in China then, but in my heart he’s lived since we saw his face almost a year ago.

I thought I’d fill everyone in on how he is doing.

Attachment – I really couldn’t ask for better as far as attachment is concerned.  He seems fully aware that Brad and I are his mommy and daddy and that his brothers are his brothers.  Flint is still controlling me as much as possible.  He refuses to let me teach him anything and has a major fit if I try to get him to sign, etc.  He will let me read him a book, finally, and seems to enjoy it.  Thankfully, he will let Brad, Fowler, and Fisher teach him things.  If I want him to sign something or to nod his head yes for me, I get one of the big boys to do it and he immediately does it as well.  Just not for momma.  I think Flint just needs someone to control and he is just so strong willed that he can’t just let go and follow too much direction.  It is hard for me, because it is in my nature to teach my kiddos.  But right now he just needs me to love him and cuddle him, oh and feed him lots!  🙂

Eating – Flint eats anything, and everything.  He likes to eat at all times except when he sleeps.  🙂  He loves to snack and prefers Graham Crackers thanks to Fisher.  He has shown that he is tired of a few things and doesn’t seem to over eat at meals as much as he used to.  He does still seem to be thinking about food all the time, but hey he is a Vick.  🙂

Health – This is a long one. Our boy has lots of troubles and we are trying to find out more about them all a little at a time.  We are currently overwhelmed with doctor appointments and are trying very hard to just do the most important ones first.  We are also trying to weed some doctors out that don’t seem to understand parenting a child adopted with medical special needs.  Our goal for Flint is health, happiness, and a love for Jesus.  Perfection, trying to figure out exactly how he is going to turn out and why aren’t even on our radar for him.  (and not for any of our children) Our children are in God’s hands and he will direct their steps.

Flint has renal reflux – basically kidney reflux.  He does have kidney damage from it being untreated in China.  The kidney damage will not get better, so we are trying very hard to keep it from increasing.  The good news is his kidney function is still normal.  So between his two kidneys they are still getting the job done.  We are praying the reflux goes away on its own and his kidney’s stay strong and there is no more damage.  We have to watch him very closely for any sign of a UTI, and so far we’ve noticed no signs of any.  Flint’s hearing seems to be getting better by the day (or else he is choosing to ignore us less and less).  He responds to his name when I say it at a normal tone.  (Also he seems to be understand everything we say – yes English!!)  We were hoping to get to go to the Hearing Clinic this week to get his hearing ability checked, but that is being pushed back because Flint is having surgery that day. You probably remember me mentioning Flint having a sore/cyst/boit/abcess on the side of his head when we got him on January 12th.  It was huge and purple and swollen.  In China the doctors worked on it and tried to get rid of it and gave him antibiotics.  Then when we got home, we saw our pediatrician and she thought it was one thing – test showed it wasn’t that.  Then we went to another doctor, she thought it was just sort of like a bed sore, but it never got better.  Then finally about 2 weeks ago the ENT said he thought it was an ear infection.  Something we never even thought about!  Children in orphanages are notorious for getting ear infections because they lay flat on their backs when they take their bottles. The infection started out in his inner ear, and because he has no ear canal the infection made it’s own way to get out.  It burrowed its way out of his skull and through his skin.  We are so so thankful that the Lord had his hand on Flint, because it could have just as easily traveled the other way to his brain and the results would have been tragic.  He then gave us another antibiotic to try.  After that round of antibiotics we did a CT scan.  We found out today that it showed infection still in his ear.  So on Thursday, the doctor will go in and clean out all of that infection, possibly leaving in a drain so that all the infection can come out.  We will also be coming home with a PIC line so that he can receive IV antibiotics for a few weeks.  They promised me that it wasn’t a big deal and that it was easy to manage.  There are many risks, some of them pretty serious, that go along with this surgery, but the infection has got to go.  We feel fully at peace that this is the right thing to do.  We also feel that our ENT is on the same page with us as far as Flint’s care is concerned and we are so thankful for that answer to prayer as well.  Please please keep Flint in your prayers throughout the day Thursday.  We are praying that the surgery isn’t very involved, and that it is a success with no complications.  We are praying that after the time with the PIC line, that ALL of the infection is gone for good.

Behavior – This is still Flint’s biggest area of struggle.  Because Flint seems so happy when we are out people often ask what a bad day looks like for Flint.  So I’ll try.  Flint was never taught and never had any examples of appropriate behavior.  So he taught himself things.  He doesn’t know not to laugh when he is told not to do something.  He doesn’t know not to roll his eyes when his mommy is loving on him or talking to him.  He thinks its a great idea.  🙂  He doesn’t know to just show me what he wants, he throws huge fits.  There are lots of these “undesirable” behaviors that he taught himself growing up in an orphanage for 18 months.  They are getting better and less and less.  But he will go back and have a few really bad days here and there.  And even though I knew to expect this and knew it would happen, I can’t tell you how hard it is when you are loving on your baby and he just rolls his eyes.  It is hard!  And Flint is so strong willed he really thinks that all of these things are awesome and he’d just prefer to do them verses what we are trying to teach him.  We know the best way to teach him is for him to see appropriate behaviors.  I’m so thankful for his brothers.  They help so much in this area!

Brothers – Still his brothers are loving him and doing great.  I’m so proud of Fowler and Fisher I cry every time I think about it.

Sleep – We’ve had a few rough nights here and there.  And because Flint’s nutrition has really improved he now has TONS OF ENERGY!!  This is good but when it is bed time there is usually a lot of wrestling and rocking and it usually takes a while to go to sleep.  But he is still a great sleeper!  We are so so thankful!!!

Thanks so much for all of your help and prayers during this time.  Please continue to give us grace as we go through this surgery and dealing with the PIC line!