4 Months and More

Ari has been in my arms for 4 months. I haven’t quite decided if that feels like a long time or a short time. I feel like my days run together and that there is never quite enough time in the day. There are some times that I have a hard time remembering when he wasn’t in my life and there are others that I can’t believe it has already been 4 months.

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There are times that all of this is so hard … working all day, missing out on so much with him. Worrying about the upcoming surgery, stressing over finances …. but then he laughs and my heart melts.

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In the last month, we have gone to Memphis, swam in a big pool, shopped for skinny jeans that actually fit him (I do NOT have that problem) and began preparing for his surgery … Surgery, ANOTHER surgery. I am very anxious about this and beyond ready to be on the recovery side of this one. I know in the long run it will HOPEFULLY be very beneficial for him, but I just hate knowing that I am the one who has made the decision to put him through more pain, more trauma, more hospital and more doctors.

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I am so thankful that he is here and that we will be facing the hurdles together.

I have been dealing with the inflow of medical bills from the last 3 MRIs, the last surgery and the fee for the upcoming surgery. I can see how people can EASILY go into major debt from medical bills … and we have decent insurance!

I called the Dallas hospital a few days ago to take care of one of our bills and the billing person said, “Well, I am showing a credit on this account” … not sure how there was a credit. She said, “Yes, you have a $422 credit” … WOW. So, that balance is now being applied to our outstanding amount and we are almost there! It is a relief to have the last surgery almost paid off and only have the upcoming surgery to worry about!!

I am so thankful to so many people for helping us, from babysitting in a pinch, to donations for some of Ari’s medical bills … It has been so humbling and amazing.

This amazing little boy is worth ALL the frustration, worry, anxiety and concern …

Prayers Being Answered

Somehow, someway … I will never understand but always be thankful! Ari managed to wiggle his way into the heart of a dear sweet friend who has now covered the first payment I have to make for his surgery!  For this I can never thank her enough … this feeling that it will be ok and that somehow it will all work out. 

Thank-you, sweet friend, I cannot begin to explain how thankful I am but please know that I will actually sleep tonight for the first time since I got the news on Wednesday! 

Unsure

Tentatively, Ari has his big skull surgery scheduled for August 23rd. However, I just found out today that his craniofacial surgeon is not in network with our new insurance (my work switched insurances starting June 1) or our secondary.  With the new insurance, I have to pay our out-of-pocket max again (so fun to do 2 months in a row) and now with the news that the main doctor is not in network, things are up in the air.

Once we got home from China, I took care of Ari’s deductible and out-of-pocket max as well as all the lawyer fees for the Arkansas re-adoption (to get his AR birth certificate) from savings I had done during the adoption process. Unfortunately, that is all gone now and being a single parents is fully in my face. Ya’ll, it is HARD!  I knew there would be times that it would be difficult, but man … never imagined the stress!

The out-of-network doctor requires 1/2 of the almost $4000 fee be paid when scheduling the surgery (aka this week) and then the other half the day before surgery … I have no idea where this money is going to come from. How do you choose between giving your child the GREATLY needed and NECESSARY surgery for them to progress in ALL skills and not going into further debt (there is already a house, car and a credit card in the mix). It is an impossible choice … one that I didn’t realize I would be making so soon. Both change the future of both of our lives … my heart is heavy and my head is spinning …. somehow it will work out, but I really have no idea how.

thanks guys for listening, this is the real part of coming home … it can be very hard, not just for the child dealing with trauma.

 

3 months

3 months of giggles, smiles, hugs, snuggles, kisses and family.

 

He has been doing so very well and I’m getting anxious again about the next surgery. I should hopefully know what the surgery plan/date is sometime this week.

We are also getting all his paperwork and such ready for the special needs preschool he will eventually go to in the fall. Hopefully I will be getting some more information on this soon as well!

3 months and I really cannot imagine my life without him …

Just in Time

Today is both a very happy and very sad day all wrapped into one.

First off, today is Ari’s 4th birthday, his first with a family and first in the US! He has had so much fun experiencing new things (like chocolate cake and presents). He has experienced a sugar high and is loved beyond measure. I am so blessed to experience all of these new and exciting things with him!

 

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Today has also been a day where China released new criteria for prospective adoptive parents – yet again narrowing who is eligible to adopt and what is considered “acceptable” for a parent. This means that less kids will be able to find their forever families and more children like Ari (with multiple MAJOR needs) will never find their forever home. Just saying that makes me upset…

With all of the changes, it makes me reflective upon the fact that I started when I did … before there was a crack down this past January on not giving waivers (which I needed), before these new rules came down limiting who was a “fit parent” ….  I really cannot say what made me decide to start the adoption process. I definitely wasn’t “past my prime” to have my own children. I wasn’t in a relationship (still am not). What made me think that December 2015 was a good time to start an adoption?! The ONLY answer I can give is God … God put that urge in me to find out more information. He sent me on the way to bring Ari home – knowing the urgency to start then and get things completed while I still could. I really cannot fathom what it would be like if I waited a year … having known that Ari was there and ultimately being told “No, sorry, you cannot adopt this child who no one else wants … “. I cannot imagine that heartbreak (which many families are experiencing now).

All I can say is that I am thankful … thankful for the sweetest boy and for God’s perfect timing. IMG_9879.jpg

2 Months of Forever 

2 Months ago today we were in China signing papers to officially make Ari a McIvor forever! 

He is doing very well. He enjoys most foods (unless they are crunchy or hard to chew).  This past week his sleep has been rough (especially with me going back to work) … but the past 2 nights he has done better thanks to his new weighted blanket from a sweet friend (check out Worth the Weight

We went to the eye doctor yesterday who said his optic nerves look excellent. This was a big concern since he has had hydrocephalus for so long and we were unsure of how long the shunt that was removed last month had not been working. When you have increased pressure in your head, this causes pressure on the optic nerves which can cause damage and limited eye sight. However, the dr said his optic nerve look healthy and pink. He is slightly farsighted, but not enough for glasses at this time. He does, however, have a lazy eye on the right. So, we now have to patch 3-4 hours daily. He’s not a fan of this yet… hopefully he will learn to tolerate it. We go back to the eye dr in August to determine if there has been any change. 

He has started seeing Speech and PT, OT will start this coming week. Hopefully soon we’ll get into a good, consistent therapy rhythm.

As for me, honestly, this transition back to work has been harder than I expected. Just like all the other working Moms, I feel like I miss a ton and by the time I get home he is cranky, wanting dinner and then it is time for bed. I know I will get adjusted, but it stinks. As crazy as it sounds, I feel like I’m just not enough for Ari. Adding in the lack of sleep this past week, I’m ready to feel like things are starting to settle again.

This coming week we will have just a normal week. A week from Thursday we will be headed back to Dallas for another sedated MRI. I’m so very thankful that his eye appointment went well because it confirms to me that the surgery he had is still working (even though he has had some funky things going on like tremors and jerking).

I’m looking forward to next weekend – Ari and I are going to a screening of a Cat in the Hat TV movie at the movie theater … it will be his first movie theater experience … we’ll see how it goes!

2 months in and a lifetime to go … love this little boy!! 

The Night Before

Well, this is it … the end of my leave time from work. Tomorrow starts real life, I am ready and not ready all at the same time.

My sister is staying with us over the summer, taking care of Ari while I am at work … but man I am going to miss that little boy! He will be at the clinic most days for therapy, so I will see him … but I have a feeling that tomorrow is going to be a rude awakening into real life.

As a “tribute” to our time together, here are a few pictures from when we met up until now … crazy how fast the time has flown!

 

I feel like in the almost 2 months that we have been together that he has grown up. He has been through surgery and scans and multiple dr/dentist appointments … and he still has a smile on his sweet face.

Today he didn’t want to nap – I got him out of his bed, laid with him on top of me and he was out in a few minutes … this little boy has me wrapped around his pinky … and I love it.