Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A Day to Remember

Well, it finally happened.

After 38 long months of paper chasing, fingerprinting, and home study visits, it's official.   Theo is officially Theo and we are officially named as his parents.

It was a day to remember:

OT session and school first thing in the morning for Mr Theo.

A big big big lunch (I knew we'd have a hard time getting him to eat with everyone here, so we "front-loaded" everyone with Theo's favourite:  spaghetti)

A quick nap

Then a costume change and buckling into the car.

Unloaded at the courthouse, where we were met with many friends who took time out of their busy day to witness this event with us.

And then, this:

And some goofing off:

(he's actually signing "cow" here and mooing, because he's crazy goofy like that)

Celebrating the moment with friends that we love:

And then continuing to party at home with a few (*cough cough* thirty-something) of our closest friends.

I'm exhausted and emotional and so very very grateful for this day.   Thanks to all of you, there's a little boy sleeping a few feet away from me who calls me Mom and now shares my name.   I am so very grateful for the chance to love him and parent him, even as a part of me mourns the loss of his bio family.   His story is not mine to tell, but I know that they fought hard for him and tried so very hard to give him what he needed, and it just wasn't able to happen.  I'm humbled by their faith and their sacrificial love and determined to do everything I can to give this little boy all the love and care that I know they wish that they could.

There were times over the past three years when I doubted that God would ever bring this to a close - that we would ever hold Theo in our arms and rock him to sleep and hear his laugh and kiss his tears away.   Now he's here, and he's our son, and I am humbled by my lack of faith and God's generosity.

God is so good to us.   He is faithful, even when we struggle to be.

Thank you all for your prayers and support.


A few pictures that we couldn't share with you until now:

Friday, February 20, 2015

7QT: Mr. Theo

Linking up with Kelly today!  

I thought it'd be fun to do a Theo-Rio update as a quick takes.   Wanna know what our little guy is doing now?   Let's find out!


When Theo first came home, he was babbling and had a few signs ("more" and "eat" are the two that I clearly remember).   He's now signing up a storm and starting to string signs together into sentences.   Last night, after serving the boys a bit of ice cream for dessert, he came up to me and very clearly signed "I want more ice cream."   All four signs of it!


He's been going to speech therapy about 3 times a week for the past couple of months, and we're seeing definite progress there, too.   He's starting to babble more and has some very clear words, especially "MOM!!"  haha


When Theo first came home, he really struggled with the stairs in our house...and we have a lot of stairs.    He can now go up and down them all by himself (and don't even think about helping him, haha).  He holds onto the railing and does each stair with only one foot at a time, so not the step-feet-together movement that he was first doing.


He's been in school now for approximately 3 months and is doing wonderfully.   He comes home exhausted from playing hard, and tells me all about his friends at school.   He gets so excited when we pull up to the building to drop him off.  I'm very happy that it is such a good atmosphere for him.


To give you an example about how his food likes have changed, the other day I told the boys to go get ready because I was going to treat them to Chipotle for lunch.  All of a sudden, I heard a "YAYY!!!" and the thump-thump-thump of little feet running down the hallway.   He'd made a beeline for his room to get socks and shoes because he was so excited about getting burritos for lunch.  Considering this little boy wouldn't eat ANY Mexican spices when he first came home, he's definitely found a new favourite food. 


He's definitely growing.  We've moved from 2T in clothing up to 3T on a regular basis, and even those are seeming a bit short on him.   His little pudge of a belly is slowly disappearing, too, as he gets taller.  He's looking more and more like a little boy and less like a pudgy toddler every day!


He's running now.   Full-throttle running.   It's a little off-balanced still (we're working on that), but he's running.   A lot.   And keeping up with the older kiddos.  :)


And an extra, for good measure!   He's turning into an awesome BIG brother to Baby Girl.  When he first came home, he wouldn't even go near her - it was almost like he was scared of her.   Now, though?   He wants to hold her, he plays with her  (when I can finally post pictures and video, I will totally share him playing peek-a-boo with her, because it's adorable!), and he's the first to go running to her in her crib when she starts to wake up after a nap.  He loves his baby sister!


Have a great weekend!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

We haven't fallen off of the face of the earth...

I promise!

We've been quite busy here at home, now that Theo is in his various therapies and preschool on a regular basis.  We increased both his time in the classroom and his number of therapy sessions per week in December, and that's kept me and the other rascals pretty busy.    Even though his school is only 9 minutes from the house (according to Mr Google), and all of his therapists are housed in the same building, our life often revolves around his schedule.    The older boys have gotten pretty good at packing up their schoolwork and hitting the road with me, and it's actually made for some fun schooling sessions in places like Starbucks.     Homeschooling-on-the-road leads to great discussions with random strangers for the kids, which is fun to see.

How about I try to get you guys all caught up on Theo and what's happened since the last post, eons ago?

He's still doing well, settling in, here at home.   He's definitely bonded with his siblings, especially Rascal #2.   The two of them have a pretty tight relationship, and it's fun to see.    I can tell that Theo's gotten more comfortable with us and feels more "at home" purely by his behaviour:  he's started testing limits and asserting his independence.    I'll admit, as trying as it can be to have a child hit the "I want to do everything by myself and my way and I want to tell you what to do, too" stage, it makes me smile to see Theo move into that behaviour.   There's definitely a new level of confidence in his surroundings, and his place in our family, appearing.

Therapy and school are going really well.  He's already made amazing strides, which I think also has to do with his newfound independence and opinions.   He's physically able to do more, and he's very aware of his new abilities and is pretty proud of himself, I think.     The biggest hurdle is going to be getting him to talk, verbally.   He's communicating really well using ASL (he's picked up SO much sign language!), but we're struggling with getting him to vocalize his wants.    We're making progress, but it's slow going.

We've now officially gotten through all of the doctor and specialists appointments for evaluations.  Basically, we wanted to make sure that everyone had a baseline relationship established with our little guy, and we also wanted to check that there were no long-term side effects from medical treatments he'd received in his home country.   He's managed to pass all of those with flying colours, so we're now just going to move into an annual visit treatment plan with most of those doctors.  

All of his finalization paperwork was finally (haha) turned into the local probate office this week, after a couple of false starts.  I'd gotten the paperwork way back at the 6 month home mark, but it'd taken me a month to fill it out.    It ended up being a pretty big file of homestudies and official documentation from his country and our country, as well as a lot of forms specific to our state and county.    We were sick for pretty much the entire month of January, which prevented me from dropping it off.  Silly little boy and a weak immune system and all new bugs from this side of the globe meant that Theo was most often lounging in my arms on the couch, or sleeping off viruses.  January was a tough month for his immune system, but I'm hoping that we're in the clear now - at least for a little while!    While we were dropping off the paperwork, the secretary mentioned that she was currently scheduling adoption court sessions for April.  While I don't think our processing will move that quickly for us (it hasn't yet, why start hoping now!!), I'm hopeful that we will be able to finalize the adoption in May or June of this year.   I'd love to show you guys our little guy's face and truly introduce him to you!

On that note, here's a glimpse that I caught back at the beginning of January.   This little guy is so loved!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Friday, January 2, 2015

....so this happened today.

Yep.  More paperwork.   

But......it's exciting paperwork.   A new checklist, a new stack of forms to fill out....all to petition the court to finalize our adoption of Mr. Theo.

Here we go!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

First day of school

All of the paperwork was in....

The backpack was packed....

A very excited little boy went to bed signing "School!  School!" and woke up Friday morning signing it over and over again....

Breakfast was eaten (reluctantly, haha), and we loaded up the car after a quick photo op:

Soon, soon, I hope to be able to show you his beautiful face!!

He had a blast and did really well, according to his teachers.  We stuck around for awhile after getting him settled in the classroom (there are observation windows, so we were able to see him without him seeing us and getting distracted), and he seemed to be loving it.   Right now, he's only going to be going two days a week while we fill the other days in with therapy sessions, but I think he's going to love every second of those two days!!!   Eventually, the goal will be to increase him to every day of the week.

I'm so proud of this little guy for being so fearless and rocking his first day of school here in the US!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

4 months home!

I can't believe it's been four months already!   It seems like just yesterday that this little guy was walking through the airport to meet us for the first time....but at the same time, it feels like he's always been here.  The transition has been so much better than I could have ever anticipated.   I'm so grateful for the quality of care and huge amounts of love he got in his home country - what that has done for him cannot adequately be described.  So very grateful!

Things are plugging along here, just like before.   School takes up the majority of our days, now that all of the three big boys are being homeschooled.   What little "free" time I have goes mostly toward playing with the rascals...or driving.  I do a lot of driving, it seems.   We've added to our "extras" curriculum this year and now are doing gymnastics, music lessons, co-op, and French class.   My driving time has drastically increased.   Theo seems to love it.  I've been working on preschool projects with him (mostly arts and crafts based), and he LOVES being with the other kids at all of these other activities/classes.   I have to admit, watching him with other kids is one of the highlights that I wasn't anticipating when we started this adoption process.   Other kids just gravitate toward him and he brings out such a soft, compassionate, "teacher" side to them that I haven't seen before in some of the kids, especially the young boys.  They adore him, and it shows!

He has one therapy evaluation left to go, and it's scheduled for Thursday morning.   After that, we should be able to put his plan together and move forward, and the goal for a start date for school is the first week of November.  Assuming we can get all of the therapists together before then, we should be able to start him at school a couple of days a week.   Our goal for right now is to do the classroom 2 days per week, and then some extra therapy sessions on the other three days.  Eventually, we will work up to 5 days a week in the classroom, with the therapy sessions being integrated into his daily schedule.   I'm not quite ready to take him to school that many days of the week yet (I think it's going to be harder on me to drop him off at school - even harder than it was with my other kids!!), so this is a good solution, we think.   I can't wait to see how he does, but I'm already dreading dropping him off and walking away!!   

I need to get back to daily life - Rascal #1 was "teaching" an art class to his brothers and it sounds like they're wrapping it up, but here are some recent snapshots!  

Theo LOVES taking pictures, and Baby Girl is a very willing model!

He also loves to help me in the kitchen - here he is, washing the lettuce for dinner one night

It's football season, and he learned VERY quickly that when there's a touchdown for our team, we celebrate!

We visit a local library weekly, and this series has quickly become his favourite

That's it for now, folks!  Hope everyone has a great day!