Thursday, September 29, 2011

From Africa to America

 A friend of mine mentioned that I should keep track of some of the differences in life and how the twins are adjusting.  I hate to admit I've done a bad job of keeping track of some of these things but wanted to start somewhere. So, I'll  piggy back on the whole bathroom thing...or our modern convenience called indoor plumbing.
Oh where to start...bathrooms are so exciting (for kids)!

Well, I guess I'll start with what we know. We were honored with the opportunity to visit their grandmother's house. Her home has an amazing view of the countryside, everyone we met was incredibly hospitable and helped prepare an amazing meal for all of us. There was no plumbing in the house or electricity.
 They did the cooking behind the house and before we ate, we washed our hands with a basin. This was very common for us to place our hands above the tin tub (basin) and for water to be poured over our hands. Guess where the water came from...

  Water was collected from the local stream into these big yellow containers and carried back to the house/village for cooking, drinking and washing and used very sparingly.

During our first court appearance while we were in the waiting room, we got to spend several hours with the grandmother, watching the interaction with her and the kids was fantastic, we very much learned so much more about them and their culture and where they've been since birth. At one point, the grandmother (Jjijjia) started putting a strand of beads around Amiya's waist. Amiya very willingly stepped into the beads. Apparently she had gained a little weight around her belly so they didn't fit anymore. We asked our driver and friend Stephen what the beads represented. She told him she put them around their waist and when they had to go to the bathroom, they would take the beads off. Genius! knowing that could have saved us a LOT of pull-ups!

The children were placed in the care of a social worker 2 months before we arrived in Uganda so we didn't experience their transition to having running water, electricity and a bathroom inside the home but these kids LOVE some running water! But every once in a while we get to observe them squatting at a puddle on the ground, scoop up the water in their hands and start "washing" their hands, face and legs. More often, we see it in the bathtub with just a little water left (as it's draining) they'll scoop it up and wash again and "clean" the tub. It's becoming more seldom and playing with the  Nemo bath toy is becoming more common.

 When we were leaving the grandmother's village, we were stopped by the children in the picture below who were calling the kids by name, friends. These beautiful children were happy and very inquisitive of these strange white people in their village. As we left, I wondered how many of them would ever see clean running water inside their home in their lifetime. We have such abundance in our American culture. Everything is so easy for us, I often feel it is difficult for us to truly rely on Christ for all of our needs when things are so easily accessible to us but that's another post for another day.
It took us a while to adjust to everything automatic (especially in the bathroom). You forget on a plane that the incredibly loud sound of the toilet flushing could be so frightening until you have a toddler literally climb up your leg and into your arms. Or, while sitting on the toilet, the automatic flush sends a child flying off the seat (mid-stream) although I've heard that is frightening for most small children!

It took maybe a month before they wouldn't freak out over the hand dryer in bathrooms and we're a little better at not flying off the seat when the automatic flush sensor is extra sensitive. Paper towel dispensers on the other hand could be the best thing. Neither child will accept a towel that I give them. They each want to wave their hand and rip the towel off the roll. We love waving our hands  before getting a towel so much that we will even to it to the not automatic towel things and at home before we are handed a real towel!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Constipation Dr. visit #1

I guess I should go ahead and just apologize for the title. You see, I always said I wasn't going to be one of those parents that talked about poop, the consistency etc. that's just gross but doesn't God have a sense of humor!? He blessed me with 2 amazing children, 1 of which has trouble...well...pooping. So, it's always a big celebration around here when he goes and since it sometimes takes long sits in the bathroom for this to even happen, I just have a lot of stories that come from being in the bathroom so much. So for those of you that put up with my now frequent bathroom stories (mainly my co-workers and mainly Melissa) here's some more about...poop... I thought constipation was a better choice of words :)

Thanks for your prayers today. We really didn't get any answers at all today, it was a little frustrating. I guess I should have expected that for our initial visit with a specialist and figuring that they would want to rule things out as much as possible before they do anything too intrusive. It's kind of like going to the ER with stomach pains [pre-marriage] and they want to do a pregnancy test before anything else and you try to explain: only if I were THE Mother Mary could I possibly be pregnant (unfortunately the ER Dr. didn't get it but I thought it was one of my more cleaver moments). Ok, maybe you don't relate to that kind of experience. Basically, they want us to do the same thing we did when we first came home while we waited for this appointment. At the suggestion of the International Adoption Clinic we gave Malakai Miralax (stool softener) daily, did an Enema and a couple suppositories. It seems like all of that should do the trick. If you don't know, a suppository should help you go within 15 minutes- 1 hour. Malakai would go approximately 24 hours after receiving such assistance. The Enema, well, let's just say it didn't work. The Miralax softened to the point of he had no control and we constantly had little surprises, not to mention his stomach would make the most horribly loud sounds and he was so cranky and miserable. We were on this regimen for about 3 weeks before I just couldn't handle how miserable he was and stopped giving it to him, after all, nothing was changing.

At our appointment today, they told us they want him to go back on Miralax daily and do an Enema 3 days in a row (instead of our sporadic doses). We reminded them we've already done the Miralax thing and it just wasn't working but they insisted adding the enema 3 days in a row is their go-to and often gets kids on a regular schedule, no further testing needed (I'm not so convinced this is going to work). They also went ahead and scheduled an appointment for us for Oct. 14 for a Barium Enema where radiology will be able to watch the "process" and see more of what's happening or rather not happening. We wish they could have gone ahead and done that test today, it's frustrating to pay a co-pay, take time off work, sit in a waiting room for an hour, in the room for another hour and feel like you got nothing out of it (except for a rectal exam).

Malakai did great, there were obviously some tears at a key moment in the appointment. Once it was over I had to run both kids over to our pediatricians office to check out the TB skin test they had done on Monday. Poor kids were exhausted as they missed nap time. They fell asleep in the car and boy they were not happy to wake up and see that they were back at the Dr.'s office where they got so many shots!
I dragged them both in the door, they were much happier after they realized they only had to show the nurse their arms at the front window. They both got the all clear and we got back in the car to head home. After the week they've had, all the poking that's happened, they definitely deserved some ice cream and play time outside.

I forgot to give the enema before bedtime tonight so we ended the day with one happy boy (did I mention he pooped at the Dr. office today so he's was feeling better too!), probably won't be so happy tomorrow night if you know what I mean! 

Doctor Visit

Today at 1:15pm we have an appointment with a GI specialist for Malakai. Some of you may know that he has some digestive issues. Without going into a log of detail, here's a quick summary of what we know:
  • He had Pyloric Stenosis as an infant and corrective surgery at approx. 3 months of age (hence the huge scar across his the US, this surgery would have been done with a laser leaving no scar)
  • His "long calls" (ie. bowel movements) came every 10 days at best after surgery
  • In late April of 2011 he was placed in the care of a social worker (3 years old), with an adjusted and more nutritional diet his long calls were approx. every 5-7 days and continue at this frequency despite various OTC treatments
  • After an appointment with the International Adoption Clinic we discovered he had a parasite and began a 10 day treatment which we hoped would clear up the problem (nothing changed)
  • After various over the counter treatments and no change, nothing that helps, we find ourselves at another Dr. appointment hoping we can find some relief for our son. 
We ask for your prayers for some answers. It is honestly miraculous that he has survived so much already. He is so frightened by Dr. visits, especially those sterile metal tables. It's hard to see him so scared and in so much pain. We've been praying that the Dr. and nurses we see tomorrow will be patient, kind and caring. For wisdom and knowledge. We're thankful that so far no doctors have  passed off his digestive problems as common childhood constipation. We are anxious for answers!