Home Sweet Home!

After two and a half long weeks, Mikki and Luke returned home to stay. Instead of driving and meeting halfway, then driving all the way back, Mikki, Luke, and I stayed overnight at the luxurious Memphis Downtown Marriott.  Then today we finished the drive and arrived home at 3pm.

Mary stayed overnight with my parents, and they arrived at our house shortly after we did.  Mary didn’t know how to process her emotions.  Her face kinda scrunched and she looked conflicted, but she clung/clinged/clang to Mikki for several minutes.

Mary acted jealously toward Luke, and even got a little rough with him.  She showed a little affection, but her emotional state overwhelmed her, and she wasn’t able to control herself.

So, a couple of hours after arriving home, we donned our “stupid caps” and decided to venture out to Lowes for a little storage crate and rug shopping.  Both kids were exhausted, cranky, and generally sick of everyone, which made the trip fun with a capital…

Anyway, I am the official last man standing for the night, and now I must go.

Good night and thanks for the prayers.  Maybe we’ll take pictures soon.

No other way to put it

UPDATE: The overlooked documentation would make no difference in Mikki’s departure time.  The issue delaying their return lies with the fact that the state office didn’t get to our adoption paperwork until Monday.  The paperwork must be sent from Luke’s home state to our home state, and approved by our home state, which we hope will be done tomorrow for a return home Friday.

It seems a little piece of documentation was overlooked, so Mikki and Luke will spend their Thanksgiving away from home.

Please pray that the state office here will receive the paperwork first thing tomorrow morning and will process it immediately so Mikki and Luke can return home Friday.  If the state office here does not process the paperwork until after the holiday, then the soonest Mikki and Luke could leave is next Tuesday, making Mikki’s total trip duration 19 days.

Well timed email quote of the day:
“Every moment of every man’s life is precious in God’s sight, and none must be wasted through doubt and discouragement.”
     –Father Walter J. Ciszek

Word of the day:

ineffable (ĭn-ĕf’ə-bəl) pronunciation

  1. Incapable of being expressed; indescribable or unutterable. See synonyms at unspeakable.
  2. Not to be uttered; taboo: the ineffable name of God.

Tuesday Morning

First things first.  Good morning everyone!  It’s raining in Louisiana which is a very welcome change from the summer-long drought.  I welcome the coll precipitation with open arms!

Last night I took Mary to the doc to see if her spider bite became infected.  By that point, her penny-sized blister had burst at daycare which inspired a call to let me know Mary couldn’t stay without a doctor’s note stating that she would not become a zombie and infect the class.  The doc says she’s infectious.  For the sake of your appetites, I won’t detail what the doctor did, but he says she’s infectious, so I’ll be watching for the telltale signs (low groaning, pale skin, and desire to eat human flesh).  She’ll be on antibiotics for 10 days and I’ll need to change her bandage and put topical ointment on her wound until it heals.

Day 2 of daddy and Mary at home together.

Today is the last day to receive clearance so Mikki can return before Thanksgiving.  Here’s my plea:

Here’s a Dr. Seuss inspired poem about my breakfast:

I don’t like you with my eggs
I don’t like you on two legs
You can’t be fixed with a cast iron skillet
You can’t be fixed even if you will it
It doesn’t matter what you’re makin’
I’ll never like you, turkey bacon

A sad departure

My day of departure has finally arrived. After five days bonding to Luke, and learning how to care for him, I said goodbye, but only for a short while.  I rose at six, ate three eggs and toast, prepared Luke’s medications and headed downstairs once I heard my stirring little prince over the monitor.  Luke has grown more accustomed to my face being the first he sees each morning, a welcome sign that he recognizes me and has found some comfort in our new arrangement.  I carried Luke from his bed to the rug, changed his diaper, dressed him, and prepared to administer his medications.

Luke receives medicine through a Mic-key button which has been surgically inserted into his stomach.  The button has a six-inch long extension through which food and medicine are delivered.  Removing the Mic-key button actually causes the contents of his stomach to leak out.  (I half expected to hear a hissing sound like that of a deflating bicycle tire.)  The skin between his stomach and outside of his body has healed in a similar fashion as a hold for an earring closes the surrounding skin.

One important step in the process of administering medicine is remembering to clamp the extension tube before removing the syringe from the tube.  This morning I forgot and ended up with a mess of medicine and last night’s bottle formula on my hands.  I joked in a pretend Luke voice, “Dad, you’re making my stomach leak.”  I didn’t make the same mistake for the next two syringes.

After giving Luke his meds and morning enzyme, I scooped up the little prince, plopped down in the rocker, and fed him a bottle, the last bottle for a while.  The time was 8am.  My ride to the airport was scheduled to arrive at 8:40.  Luke made me proud and finished 5.5 oz of formula from his bottle in 30 minutes, a rare feat.  I combed his hair, attempting to tame the curly mane, and accidentally pulled once.  He let out the saddest of small cries to let me know his displeasure, his little lips quivering in pain.  I kissed him, rubbed his head, and continued on.  No more tangles.

8:40 arrived and my phone buzzed with a text message simply reading,” Here”.  My heart sank.  Giving Luke to Mikki, I darted upstairs with my luggage.  Mikki and Luke followed.  Showering the two with hugs and kisses caused the tears to well up.  I played the rock all week-long, but continuing the trend this morning proved difficult.

On my way out the door, I stopped and gave a big hug to Foster Mom, thanked her for her love and hospitality.  This will not be the last time I see her, as we’re going to meet in the middle to transport Mikki and Luke home by car, a long day trip, but an easier journey than shipping Luke’s clothes and toys and other personal belongings, reserving oxygen and refrigeration for Luke’s medicine, clearing TSA with his feeding pump and oxygen, etc..  It’ll be far cheaper and Mikki will not need to face the early Thanksgiving air traffic.

A full day

Last night was Luke’s first night in our “apartment” (fully furnished basement in foster parents’ house.)  This morning he awoke at 7am because we didn’t think to close the blinds.  He was slightly groggy, but cheerful.

I headed upstairs, ate some eggs, toast, OJ and returned downstairs to dress myself and Luke for church, which required far less time, energy, and effort than dressing Mary the lady lightning bolt.

Mikki, Luke, and I attended Mass with the foster parents, their 5-year-old son, and two little munchkin foster kids, their first 1 to 1 ratio of kids to adults in a long time.  At Mass, right before our row was excused to receive communion, I disconnected Luke’s oxygen tube from travel tank and cranked the switch to the “off” position.  We stood to cross into the aisle when the fire alarms sounded.  My heart filled with panic at the thought that Luke could suffer a case of apnea from the sound of the alarms.  I took a deep breath, sat back in my seat, and plugged him back into the tube, closely monitoring his mood and breathing.  By that time, a steady flow of parishioners swiftly exited the building, despite the ushers’ announcement, “There’s no fire, just stay where you are.  Ignore the alarms.”  Yeah, right.  Most of the parishioners (myself included) ignored the ushers and sought safer shelter.  Mass quickly ended when the fire department arrived.

We then headed to California Pizza Kitchen for lunch.  Arriving right at opening, the hostess led us to two joined tables with plenty of child seats.  The foster parents orchestrated the seating chart so each child sat near two adults, thus allowing a double team strategy for any unruly behavior.  The seating chart dictated that one toddler would sit at the end of the table, which was unacceptable to the hostess who claimed that she could not put a seat at the end because it would block other customers.  I looked around at the empty restaurant and replied, “What other customers?”  Crickets chirped.  The hostess repeated her first line, then walked away and returned to her hostess stand where she promptly produced a box of 64 Crayola crayons and coloring book and spent the next 30 minutes coloring.  (I am 100% serious. No kidding.)

We returned home and all was well.  Mikki, Luke, and I napped for two hours.

After dinner, Foster Mom showed us how to change the “tender grips” which secure the cannulae to Luke’s face.  The poor little guy started bawling, grabbing for his face, and fighting to get away.  There was no pain involved because we used a solution which dissolves the glue.  Foster Mom explained that the NICU inserted a feeding tube through Luke’s nose which caused him to dislike people messing with his face.  An apnea episode accompanied Luke’s distress, which we intended so Mikki and I could learn hands-on how to treat such a case.  My heart broke into a thousand pieces when he cried out and his throat collapsed.  Foster Mom directed Mikki to turn the oxygen from 1/4 to 2 which provided more oxygen to Luke’s airways.  Foster Mom explained that Luke’s cheeks turn red, and the skin around his mouth becomes pale, then blue from the lack of oxygen. Writing about it makes me tear up.  It was soon over, and Luke and I quickly returned to our regularly scheduled playtime.

A few hours later, the trio descended to the basement for bed.  Last night, Foster Mom supervised Luke’s daily hormone shot.  I volunteered and took the syringe in hand, pinched the fat on Luke’s leg, drew back and hesitated.  At that very moment, the words, “this will hurt me more than it hurts you” rang through my head and I finally understood what my dad meant all those years ago.  In a split-second, I cleared the thought from my head, poked the needle through, and mashed the plunger, holding for a count to twenty.  Luke flinched and gave a soft cry for the duration.  Each time he moved, my mind focused on the thought of the needle wiggling back and forth in his leg, causing more pain with every twitch.  Tonight, I did it again, unsupervised.  Luke cried even more because his n00b daddy put the needle in his butt instead of his thigh and lost the grip on his fatty portion.  Shortly after, Luke was back laying on the rug, watching the flame in the fireplace.  He dozed, so Mikki and I prayed with him and put him to bed.

Tomorrow, I return home, leaving my wife and new son in a far off land until the state grants clearance and we can finally welcome Luke into his new home.

Mamma’s Boy?

Matt is leaving to head back home while I wait for interstate clearance. You’ll notice that there are ALOT of pics of Matt and Luke. Or at least more than Luke and me. I’ve been very good at letting Matt have his time sice he had to leave sooner. I think however that in that time, Luke has become a daddy’s boy. Now I’ll have the time to see if I can sway his attention to Momma! Let the fun begin!

I will miss Matt though very much while he’s gone. He really has learned Luke’s care quickly. I have too but Matt just seems to be more confident with some things. I still haven’t given Luke his hormone shot yet. Matt’s done it twice already and acts
like he’s been doing it for years. Tomorrow night it’ll be all my turn.

Today was a great day. We went to Mass for the first time with Luke. I had some very proud mamma moments and a few times just got overwhelmed with joy at everything God has done for us. Not only am I so thankful for my precious son but ALL of those who have had a hand in his life, care, and development. The more Luke’s story has been revealed to Matt and I the more we are beginning to realize just how many people have been touched by Luke. I am eternally grateful to those who came before me for bringing Luke to where he is today. My heart is full of joy and thanksgiving.

A week of firsts

This should be a short post.

1. This week, Luke received his forever family.

2. This week I received my first son, with whom I am well pleased.

3. Yesterday, Luke took his first bites of sold food. At the feeding therapist’s office, he took three bites of a Ritz cracker. At Panera, Luke grabbed by half-eaten apple from my hand and forced it to his mouth, taking ten very quick, very strong bites.

4. Mikki, Luke, and I took our first outing together, just the three of us. We drove to Target and all the ladies swooned over Luke’s flirty smile.

We’ll see what other firsts are achieved this week.