The first 100 days

It’s been a roller-coaster, mostly fun and rewarding, but it hasn’t been easy. Discovering what issues the kids might be affected with, learning about their family and their first days of life was the most difficult part so far. We’ve had plenty of medical visits, bills piling up, etc., but some great days have offset all the other difficulties put together. We’re not doing too bad at this parenting thing! Ahh, on-the-job training.

Isaac’s MRI testing was done and we’re still waiting for results. He wasn’t a happy kid coming out of anesthesia and I’m not looking forward to tomorrow’s surgery. Due to cancellations, we were moved up from a 9:30am surgery to a 7:30am appointment, which means leaving the house around 5am to get there at 6am. Meaning waking up even earlier! I’d rather someone shoot me than go to bed early. See? It’s 10:15pm and I’m typing this up instead of sleeping =)

This past weekend the kids got to experience the Houston Symphony at Jones Hall in downtown Houston. They have a great program targeted for kids on Saturday mornings and we decided to give it a shot. My wife doesn’t like symphonies. She says something on the line of “what’s the point of watching music?? I’d rather watch a play!”. Needless to say it makes my blood boil and jaw drop to the floor. But what can one do? Anyway, the kids did great and regardless of whether they end up culturally inclined towards classical music or not, they’re at least getting exposed to new things, learning how to behave in public, encouraging them  to focus their attention on something, etc. They seem to have enjoyed it overall, especially when the volume was high. Isaac was particularly alert when percussion was active, but when the notes got too soft, he starting to doze off and snooze! I held him on my lap most of the time while Isabella sat by Lori. They had no clue what the “Wizard of Oz” was, but you gotta start somewhere. Lori dressed Isaac in a great outfit (thanks Lucas!) and he looked like a conductor. The only flaw was that we forgot to purchase any dressy shoes for him, so we had to go with the trusty “Cars” sporty shoes. I like to think of him as a little version of “House”. So that’s the next thing on the to-buy list. Here’s the gang heading for downtown & Isaac pointing at cars.

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These were taken before the performance started. It was only an hour long.

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Later we went for lunch at Buca di Beppo and ate a LOT.

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Fleur and Elton, this is for you! And yes, there’s still leftovers in the fridge. Did you think we were gonna eat all that at once?? Especially not after myself and my parents munched down a Buca Large, meant for 4 to 6 people? PS: My Dad ate most of it and boasted he could chow it down on his own. Bluff!

Ok this post is getting long and I gotta go to bed. So I’ll end it with some more pictures from an outing yesterday with our great friends A, G and O + parents at Old MacDonald Farm. Here’s to the next 100!

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Thanks O for the “O-some” photos!

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6 clicked here to comment!:

Milena said...

Your going to the symphony sounds like a wonderful experience for the children! Being "surrounded" by the music the way you are at a concert sure is living the music with your whole body. I'm sure they will keep talking about it for a while! Their smiles in the photos say it all! They are such sweet-looking children!

Not by any means wanting to be rude, but sure you must have guessed the children would have some level of FAE issues? Not that it makes the knowledge any easier since you always want the best possibilities in life for your children, but it mustn't have been a surprise, was it?

Dave Baldacchino said...

Hi Milena,

We knew there were issues. We're by no means experts on FAS/FAE, but had done some reading and most of it dealt with the typical facial features. We didn't think that if they were absent in one twin, that the other could have been affected. Well, let's say they might have been subtle enough in one that we missed it. As you might know, it's a collection of symptoms that points to FAS/FAE (in the absence of actual knowledge of pre-natal alcohol exposure). So initially we thought that one twin had some abnormalities caused by something other than alcohol exposure. One big thing we didn't know was how FAS affects weight/height/development. Now we know a lot more about that :)

Regardless, I think it was great that we were a bit naive so to speak, as we might have opted to rationalize the decision and decide to go for another appointment instead. We felt a connection with the kids right away and we knew there was a long road ahead, especially with Isaac. Now that we know what most of the issues are and have connected with some families that are in similar situations, we don't feel as lost or alone. Most of the information in the internet re: FAS/FAE is pretty dire, but reality is that these kids can be successful. Will it be easy for them? Probably not, but we hope it'll be easier now that they have someone to care for them as individuals rather than as part of a larger group.

Both kids show a lot of affection and have connected well with us. They interact and socialize really well too. Sometimes kids affected with FAS/FAE have issues with bonding and socializing. I don't know to what extent they'll change as they grow up, but so far their behavior is promising.

Milena said...

Thank you for kind answer to my not-so-polite question. Being a frequent reader to several adoption blogs and dreaming about adoption myself, I just thought the FAE characteristics were rather obvious.

Please be sure that I'm by no means judging your decision to adopt your children! They really seem like great children who are affectionate and happy, and it's wonderful to hear how you felt an immediate connection to them! I agree that it was a good thing then that you were a bit naive. It would have been awful if you had missed the children that were meant-to-be yours!

And I must say that I really enjoy reading your blog. Your posts always have an approach of love and humour that I like! Please keep on writing even though life is busy with two children!

Dave Baldacchino said...

Hi again,

The characteristics might have been obvious in Isaac, but we didn't think they were so obvious in Isabella. Being twins we thought perhaps there was something else that could be the issue. In fact even the doctors don't automatically assume the delays etc. are due to pre-natal alcohol exposure because there are also tons of cases of kids that were exposed to pre-natal alcohol but turned out just fine. That's why we were referred to Genetics for testing, and we're not done yet (there were some findings that require further testing and assessment).

Truth be told before we left for Ukraine, we were like..we don't want to adopt kids with FAS/FAE. That was a decision based on perceptions generated by what we read. Once we met Isaac and Isabella, the potential for FAS/FAE was there but we didn't feel like this is something we can't handle. I think it has to do more with whether the instant connection is present or not. The fact that the kids are very loveable, personable, happy and so darn cute, makes you view future challenges in a different light, especially knowing that the condition they might be affected with is not their fault. FAS/FAE is not black and white: there's a wide spectrum of effects and severity cannot be gauged easily. So sometimes you gotta just go with your gut.

As to the writing style, I'm glad you like it :) It's how I am anyway. What's life without some humor? At times I feel unhappy and upset about things like everyone else, but we're in control of choosing our attitude towards life.

brandy.gailey said...

Just wanted to let you know I check all the time for new post. It's very exciting to see how everyone is doing. Wow! They really look so happy. I love the picture of Isaac & Isabella holding the pumpkins. The two of them have really come along way. Ya'll our doing such a wonderful job.

Dave Baldacchino said...

Hi Brandy! Helen tells us all the time about you.

Yep, they sure keep progressing. They have days where they don't want to listen at all costs! But we work through somehow :)