Monday, April 28, 2014

Two Years Home - Dear Emery

You have been with us now for two years Emery. Two years with your forever family. You came to us a tiny frightened little girl. You did not know how to be loved. You never said a word. You never sought help when you were hurt. You never wanted to be tucked in bed at night. But you have blossomed sweetheart. When you say "mama" and put your hands on my cheeks, look deep into my eyes, and then lean in for a kiss, it completely melts my heart. You are a precious little girl. You are full of giggles and happiness. You love to cozy up and adore being tucked in every night. You are now saying many words. You know how to love and how to be loved. Despite your speech issues, you have no problem understanding everything around you. You are a very observant little girl, which sometimes gets you into trouble! Mom knows you are a smart little girl working very hard to overcome the negative effects of your first 7 years. You had a rough few months the beginning of this year. My heart broke to watch you suffer. I am so grateful you are beginning to get better. You are slowly conquering the effects of your illness. I love you with all my heart Emery. Whatever God's plan is for you, you will always be the light of my life. Thank you for letting your family into your heart Emery. You have blessed us beyond anything we could have imagined.


Two Years Home - Dear Blake

You have been home with your forever family for two years now. The time seems to have flown by. You came to us a little boy with a big personality. Well, you still have a big personality. But, you have so much more. You have a strength I never thought possible of a little boy. You have overcome so much adversity in your young life. In two years time you have moved over 5000 miles away to live with strangers, you have learned an entirely new language, you have endured two surgeries, you have learned to be a member of a family, you have entered a new school, gained 3 and 1/2 years of education, and you have walked for the first time in your life on two legs. You have changed from a little boy that was frightened of all the changes in his life, to a young little man that has control over himself and knows that his family loves him. One thing that amazes me about you Blake, is that you have such a big heart. You care about how people feel. You hurt when you make a mistake. You try so hard to do the right thing. You are a wonderful person. You found your way into my heart through a written profile description on an adoption agency website. Now, 4 years later, I have fallen in love with you. We have had are ups and downs. We have had many happy times and a few not so happy times. But through it all, I love you with all my heart Blake Rumen. You are living proof that anyone can over come adversity. You are a strong, loving person. I am so grateful God chose you to be my son. I know you were meant to be in our family. Your file was sent to 3 families prior to our family. For various reasons, these adoptions fell through. Do you know why? Because God wanted you to be with us. You were meant to be our son. Thank you Blake for being you. I will love you forever.


Sunday, April 20, 2014

A Thoughtful Gift

A few days ago, Emery received a nice card from a friend of my mother. Inside were some of Emery's favorite items - stickers! Dora stickers, even better. Can you tell Emery was thrilled! Thank you To Betty and Armin for thinking of Emi.



Bike Riding - finally

Blake has waited 9 years to be able to ride a bike. When we first brought him home from Bulgaria, all he could talk about was getting two legs and riding a bike. After two years at home, he has two legs and he has built up enough strength to ride his new bike. He is a very proud and happy guy.

Way to go Blake Rumen!

Emery also enjoyed her new bike and her new pink razor scooter.


I enjoyed finally having some nice sunny weather in Michigan!


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Spring Break Pics

Ashley and Avery

Conner, Emery and Ashley

Ashley, Avery and Ava
Emery super excited to be going swimming
Emery and Blake at the pool
Ashley and Emery at the beachA
Ashley being a great big sister
Ashley doing a flip on the bungee tramp
Emery tickled pink to be on the bungee tramp
Blake on the airplane on the way home
Blake catching some waves

Blake, Emery and Avery posing by the pool

I couldn't find a pic of our rental house, but it was just like this one
Avery posing at the pool
Emery loving the ocean
Best Buds - Ashley, Ava and Nicole
The whole gang
Ava Emery Conner Blake Nicole Avery Ashley
Blake and the girls


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Family Update

Emery being back to herself was short-lived. She came down with a bad cold April 3rd and her OCD symptoms resumed. Hitting herself hard and major pulling out of hair. And yes, of course this began the day before we were leaving for vacation. Took her to the doctor to check for strep the day of our departure. Negative strep test and no ear infection. We were told it was viral, but the OCD symptoms continued.

My family has never went on Spring Break vacation due to my husband working in the tax industry. The same is true for my sister. So this year, my sister and I decided to take the kids and head to Florida over Spring Break. It was a hard decisions for financial reasons. My wonderful sister decided to pay for the house rental for all of us so we were able to go. We stayed in a large house in a gated community in Destin, Florida. My sister, me and 7 kids! Her two, my four, and a friend of my girls.

Despite Emery's hitting and hair pulling, she had a great time. She was in a happy mood, enjoyed swimming daily and loved the ocean waves. She also loved going on a bungee trampoline and hanging out with all the kids. She had an extremely runny nose the entire time and was a bit clingy, but overall she really enjoyed herself.

We all had a great time. It was nice to break away from the daily routine and enjoy some sunshine and warm weather. I actually read two books for fun. Normally I only read about PANDAS, OCD, developmental delays and apraxia.

Since being home, Emery has become extremely clingy to me. The hitting and hair pulling continue. She has a large bald spot on the side of her head. Her nose is still runny. She was diagnosed with a toenail infection. The list seems to go on and on. By the end of the day I am drained of energy, sanity, and hope. Fortunately, after a good nights sleep, I am ready to take on the daily challenges again.

Emery had an appointment with a neurologist the week before vacation. He ordered a lot of bloodwork, MRI of her brain (scheduled for May 7th), a sacral ultrasound (more on that later), and recommended we start her on an extremely low dose of Prozac to see if it helps the hitting and hair pulling. I stated I was concerned about trying any SSRIs due potential severe reactions in PANDAS patients. He basically doesn't appear to believe PANDAS exists, but assured me that the dose should not result in any severe reactions. Other than his polite dismissal of PANDAS, he seems to be a very knowledgeable and caring doctor.

Based on hours of research, we decided to hold off on the Prozac and continue trying NAC (natural supplement to treat OCD recommended by Emery's therapist). We have two more dose increases on the NAC to see if we see any lessening of the hair pulling and hitting. Praying hard that this works, but I have my doubts.

So many issues. So many things to consider. It really makes me feel lost. It is horrible to see Emery suffering and not know the reason and not know what steps to take to help her. I am a person that prefers to have a set plan and scheduled steps to resolve issues. Emery, however, is a mystery. I pray daily for God to lead me in the right direction so I can find the help she needs. She has suffered enough in her short life.

Blake and Emery both began gymnastics awhile back. They both love it but Emery does not follow directions well. No surprise there. She probably will not finish out her last two weeks due to the return of her OCD symptoms. Blake starts soccer tonight and will have a couple weeks of overlapping sports. He is super excited to start soccer.

No Spring sports this year for the girls. A little sad, but nice to focus on activities for the twins.

A lot going on the next few weeks. Easter, 1st Communion for Blake and my niece, Adoption Day celebration, my birthday, Conner and Avery's birthday, 8th grade graduation for Ashley, and a few other things. Always a busy time of year. Looking forward to Summer break.

Weekly Dose of Amusement: Blake informs us last night at dinner that he needed a tissue during lunch at school. He then says he kept trying to sniff but it just wouldn't stay up there. The girls thanked him for his excessively disgusting explanation!