Well, we are almost at one month from our return from China. While we were away, we posted on babyjellybeans.com (type in Shane Roberto). If you weren't able to follow our journey, feel free to catch up.
It has been quite a month, and our lives have changed significantly since October 12th when we first met Shane. We are now a family of 8!!! Do you have any idea how many gallons of milk that is a week? Don't think about it, it will exhaust you.
When we arrived home on October 23, we were greeted at the airport with our Mick, whom we flew home for the weekend. Mick's flight arrived just as we were getting our bags, and we had a wonderful weekend with all the kids. We didn't get much sleep, but we sure were happy to be home. The girls absolutely flipped over Shane, and he has been engulfed in hugs and kisses from the minute he came in the door.
As for the adjustments...wow has it been hard. Matt and I have basically been doing shifts, in between swine flu, school working, and adjusting two kids to our time rather than China time. Shane has had a very tough time with the change in his life. We know it to be a better change, but this little guy has been thrown for a loop. He pretty much had little to no experiences in China that advanced his development. I know he was well-loved, and fed and taken care of, and I know his foster family cared for him. But it is so sad to think of how much time was lost, how much lack of sensory experiences have affected him... Anyway, we are moving forward, and not looking back.
It is now Saturday, November 21, and Shane had a good night's sleep, which means I had a good night's sleep! Wow, what a difference that makes. Besides that fact that I am too old for sleep deprivation: lack of sleep makes cowards of us all! There is no learning happening when you are exhausted. So, we are thrilled with any of the changes and advances Shane has made.
First of all, Shane loves to hum songs, and 'babble' the words. So, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star sounds like " Da da da da, da da da da, ga ga goo..." He loves it when we sing songs to him, and will stop his babbling and listen. The greatest thing is when he begins to hum new songs that we sing to him. The other day he hummed Row Row Row your Boat, and made the 'm' sounds with the right syllables for 'Merrily, Merrily'. Big, big, big.
Matt and I are overjoyed with what I call the 'glimmers' of change we are seeing. I describe it to people as a little boy, covered in cobwebs. We know he is there: we are not sure exactly who he is, or what he looks like completely, but we are slowly clearing the cobwebs to let him out. Good food, and lots of it, lots of milk and good things to drink, sleep, lots of hugs and kisses, sensory experiences, and stimulation are slowly showing us who he is. He brings us so much joy, and once again Matt and I are heading to the playground, and all of us are going around singing songs and playing 'pat-a-cake'.
We are slowly formulating a plan for Shane which includes Physical and Occupational therapy, which we will begin as an out-patient for CHOP, through our insurance. We want to give him a head-start on learning to use his body and muscles. He was never expected to feed himself with utensils, hold a cup, or walk very much. He walks very well, and has great mobility, but would rather hang on the floor, or be carried. He did not wear shoes, and we have to jump through hoops for him to wear them.
That being said, he now will hold a sippy cup with a handle, uses utensils with help, finger feeds himself appropriately, and helps getting dressed and undressed. He wears shoes when we are out, and usually leaves them on for a reasonable amount of time. He knows his name, and will turn to us when we say his name. He holds his arms up to be held, and is beginning to show anticipation when we are doing some fun game with him, like tickling, etc.
We have many many hurdles and obstacles, and lots of work ahead of us. But we are a united front, and we are so blessed to have the love and support of our kids and our extended family, and the resources for therapy and for school. We ask for your continued prayers and we know that without your prayers, we would have not been able to make it through. God's grace is leading the way, and we are following...bleary-eyed as we may be!
Adding some new pictures and video...enjoy!