Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Great Report!

When we received the initial medical reports from Vietnam for Ephraim's referral, he had a diagnosis of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), grade I, zone I. Ben called and spoke with the attending physician at Vandy when we reviewed his referral paperwork, and we were told that his diagnosis was impossible. Grade I was minor; zone I was major. The two couldn't go together. Zone I involved the focal point and generally went with a grade III to IV diagnosis. We really didn't know what we were facing. Either the zone was incorrect, and we had little to worry about, or the grade was incorrect, and we were facing something serious.

Today Ephraim FINALLY was able to see the pediatric opthalmologist at Vanderbilt. We were there for nearly four hours. Ephraim was so well behaved while he was poked and prodded, and he didn't even make a peep when he had to have his eyes dilated. We filled out tons of paperwork and told the doctor what we knew about his extent of prematurity, birth history and complications, and initial weight. At the end of the exam, the doctor told us that when he reviewed Ephraim's paperwork before the examination, he expected there would be a problem, and he conducted the exam expecting to find those problems. The doctor said Ephraim had the most perfect eyes he'd seen that day, and many of the other preemies he'd seen had weighed as much as two of Ephraim at birth! He figures Ephraim's original diagnosis should have been grade II, zone I ROP, but it has resolved completely.

A few weeks ago Ephraim had his hearing screen. Micro-preemies are also at an increased risk for hearing complications. Although his screen wasn't as positive, we do know that he has hearing in his left ear, and he passed the screen well enough so that he could qualify for speech therapy. He wasn't reacting on the right side when they used what looked like iPod ear buds, and he was flatlining on that side on the machines (I won't even begin to pretend to understand all the tests they performed), so another series of tests is going to be repeated in May.  He had some fluid, so hopefully that was the culprit. Eprahim is beginning to imitate the sounds we are making, and he now has a pretty good repertoire of initial letter sounds and funny noises, so hopefully his hearing screen in April will be as positive as today's vision screen.

Ephraim's speech evaluation is scheduled for the last week of April. It's four hours long! Whew! We are BOTH going to be ready for a nap after that morning.

Fine and gross motor skills ... not. a. problem. That kid has talent! I only hope I can keep him safe while he expresses those climbing, jumping, running and general daredevil skills before he learns self preservation!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Temper, Temper

When Ephraim gets mad, he has very small, ineffective temper tantrums.  He goes behind the sofa in the playroom, squeezes himself between the sofa and the sofa table, and he lays very still and quiet.  Occasionally, if he gets really worked up, he thumps the back of the sofa with his tiny feet.  We have to listen hard to hear his furious thumpings.  I'm sure I'm being a terrible mother by doing this, but I can't help but laugh at his miniature misbehavior.  Our adult children are right.  Ephraim gets away with murder.  When the older kids acted up when they were little, they got in trouble; when Ephraim does it, it is cute.  That's the difference between that ubermom of the 80's versus this old-and-tired mom of today who realizes just how quickly those childhood years zip past.  I'm trying really hard to enjoy all of my little ones' antics -- even those of which the ubermom of my previous life would not have approved.

Today is Ben's and my twenty-eighth wedding anniversary.  I feel so old!  I know there are folks out there reading my blog who aren't even twenty-eight years old!  We started dating our freshman year in college and married during spring break of our senior year.  I was only twenty years old, and Ben had just turned twenty-one years old.  We have been together more than half of our lives! I'm still totally in love with Ben and thank God for giving me such a perfect mate. Tonight we plan to stick the kids in front of a movie, eat a little steak and shrimp (prepared by Ben) and sip a little wine. I know that doesn't sound like an exciting date, but it's perfect for me.  Ben offered to take me wherever I wanted to go, but I'd much rather eat his wonderful cooking and have a couple of hours of quiet time together than have to find a babysitter, drive forty-five minutes into town, wait and wait and wait for a table at a restaurant on a Saturday night, spend money on food that's not any better than Ben's, and finally come home late to overly-tired and overly-excited children who should have been in bed hours earlier. 

The Temper Tantrum
Front View
Making Sure I'm Watching
Kicking the Back of the Sofa

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Little Sleeping Prince

What can I say?  I love it on those rare occasions when Ephraim snuggles with me and falls asleep.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Wii Wizard

The kids got Wii Music for Christmas, and Ephraim loves it!  His favorite instrument is the tambourine. Here he is "shaking his stuff".  You can see how hard he's concentrating and how pleased he is with himself.  He thinks he has to stand on the Wii Fit balance board whenever he plays.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Remodeling Project - Part Three

The ugly lights we replaced.

We're almost through with the bathroom at the lake! We installed a new light, which is a 1000% improvement over the 1960's swag light we replaced. We also cleaned up and re-hung the bathtub/shower doors. I guess they are OK. I voted on hanging a shower curtain instead but was overruled. The shower door is more practical, I guess, since the kids are constantly in and out of the lake. I bought a new curtain for the window, but I can't figure out where in the world I've stored it. That's the problem with planning "honey do" projects months in advance. I'm sure it will turn up though. We also finished painting the kitchen table and chairs. What a chore that was!

Sunday, March 1, 2009


Ephraim was nineteen months old on Friday.  He joined our family at nine and a half months old, so that means he's now been a part of our family longer than he lived in Vietnam.  I just can't believe Ephraim has been here for that long!  It seems like the seven months we waited to travel after referral lasted forever, but it was just yesterday when we got back from Vietnam.  Then again ... it feels like Ephraim has been a part of our family for a very long time.  We are so lucky! God has blessed us with one very special little boy.

Referral Picture

Referral Picture

Adoption Timeline

  • 2006
  • November 8 - Application Mailed
  • November 22 - Accepted
  • November 24 - I-600A Mailed
  • November 27 - Delivery Confirmed
  • November 28 - Receipt of I-600A
  • November 30 - Fingerprint Notice
  • December 15 - Home Study Update
  • December 21 - Stacey Fingerprinted
  • December 28 - Added to List (#116)
  • 2007
  • January 24 - Home Study Mailed
  • January 25 - Ben Fingerprinted
  • February 8 - Waiting List (#111)
  • February 20 - Waiting List (#109)
  • February 27 - Waiting List (#105)
  • March 8 - Waiting List (#101)
  • March 22 - Waiting List (#99)
  • April 19 - Waiting List (#98)
  • April 25 - Dossier Authentication
  • May 2 - Delivery Confirmed
  • May 2 - Added to SN Wait List
  • May 3 - Waiting List (#97)
  • June 7 - Waiting List (#86)
  • June 25 - Dossier Translated
  • June 28 - On Waiting List Six months
  • July 9 - Waiting List (#81)
  • August 6 - Waiting List (#4 SN)
  • August 8 - Waiting List (#76)
  • September 7 - Waiting List (#70)
  • October 8 - Waiting List (#67)
  • October 22 - Waiting child -- OURS!!
  • October 23 - Official Referral Date
  • October 25 - Letter #1 Submitted
  • October 29 - Referral Receipt - CHI
  • 2008
  • February 5 - Fingerprint Request
  • February 7 - Proof of Delivery
  • March 1 - All Fingerprinted
  • March 3 - I-600 Application Mailed
  • March 5 - I-600 Acknowledgement
  • April 17 - I-600 Approval!
  • May 2 - Original G & R Date
  • May 3 - Fly to Ho Chi Minh City
  • May 5 - MEET EPHRAIM!
  • May 6 - Drive to Kien Giang
  • May 7 - G & R Ceremony
  • May 8 - Medical, Apply for Passport
  • May 12 - Fly to Hanoi
  • May 13 - Visa appointment at USCIS
  • May 14 - Pick Up Visa, Fly Home
  • May 15 - Arrive in Nashville!
  • May 23 - Certificate of Citizenship
  • June 12 - Re-Adoption Filed by Court
  • July 3 - Tennessee Birth Certificate

G & R Day

G & R Day