Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Happy Birthday Dima!

Today is a very special day in our home - it is Dima's 8th Birthday!!!  I can recall how last year all I could think about on this date was how much I wanted Dima home with us.  I wondered all day if anyone at the orphanage had celebrated Dima's special day with him or made him feel special in some small way.  If his nanny, Vika, was working, I would like to think that she wished him a Happy Birthday and gave him an extra hug.  She loved Dima and it showed.

This morning a very alert little boy woke up and came running out of his room to find some balloons tied to his breakfast chair and a sleepy rendition of "Happy Birthday" came from his half asleep mama and papa.  He desired to have a bowl of Cheerios, a banana, some keifer (he calls it "Ukrania milk") and a cup of Pediasure to start the day.  He is excited since we are all making a fuss over him and has been talking non-stop since he bounced into our room this morning.  We love seeing him so happy.

My mind also wanders to his birthmother.  While Dima was actually removed from her care I cannot help but hope that somewhere deep within she cares for her son.  She was not a fit mother, no doubt, but I pity her.  She neglected 2 out of 3 of her boys and attempted to end her life.  She must be so sad and desperate to have done that.  I wish I could share the love of Jesus with her and let her know that there is a hope and a future for all.  Not a day passes that I also hope that somehow she knows that Dima is safe, loved, and thriving.  Wouldn't any mother want to know that her child is O.K.?

I then think about how we missed out on almost 7 years of that precious boy's life.  Don't get me wrong, Eric and I are beyond grateful to have him now and rejoice in knowing we get him from here on out, but as his mother I wish I could have been the one to carry him in my womb, to rock him to sleep as a little baby, feed him, bathe him, and give him a safe and stable start to life.  I bet he was a super cute baby with squinchy baby cheeks and an infectious smile.  The earliest picture we have ever seen of him was from when he was about 4 or 5 and he sure was a cutie pie!

But here we are.  Today.  Today is truly all we really have.  So today we will celebrate Dima and rejoice that he is here now.  We will also give thanks for his birth mother and pray a special prayer for her today. Our family and friends are so blessed, however, to be the ones who get to enjoy this super blessing from the Lord.


I also wanted to take a brief moment to update you all on Dima's various medical appointments.  On the 12th of this month Dima has officially been home with us for 8 months!  It seems like another lifetime ago that we were in the Ukraine visiting him at an orphanage.  The after effects of orphanage life and his years with his birth family, however, are just now really catching up to him.  At his genetics appointment we received a referral to see a behavioralist to help Dima work through some things that must be bothering him.  The poor guy has been lashing out a little and we suspect he is working through his past as well as still adjusting to his new life.  Overall Dima is a happy boy, but he struggles a little bit and we just need to know why and how we can better help him.  The geneticist also suspects that Dima may have Mosaic Down Syndrome.  I will not get into all of the specifics here, but you can easily "Google" it to find out what exactly that is.  We should know for sure this week or next.  Also, the geneticist insisted that Dima get checked out by a cardiologist.  None of the doctors that we have seen has ever suspected that he has a heart condition, but since heart problems are common in people that have Down Syndrome, we want to make certain that everything is indeed fine with Dima's heart.  So in July we will see the cardiologist.

Finally, Dima had his sleep study.  Eric was a trooper and took Dima and they both survived (ha ha!).  We do not yet have the results of the study, but we are eager to find out what the ENT learned from it so we can move forward with Dima's surgery.  The ENT did not want to operate until he knew how bad Dima's sleep apnea is for Dima's own safety during surgery.  Eric and I are also hoping that once Dima has his surgery he will feel better and that will help him not act out as much. We suspect part of the reason Dima lashes out is due to his not feeling well most of the time.  Those tonsils are HUGE and he even has trouble eating solid food at this point.  The Magic Bullet has become my best friend in the kitchen when it comes to feeding Dima.

I will say it again:  adopting a child with special needs is not easy, but it is doable.  God never calls us to easy, and adopting Dima is certainly one of the most difficult things Eric and I have ever done in our lives.  But the rewards far outweigh the hardships.  Seeing Dima thrive, be happy, and enjoy the simple things in life reassure us that we are on the right path.  We just need to continue to follow our Father's lead and love Dima regardless of his past.  And today we especially rejoice in our new son and celebrate who he is TODAY!


Jed and Kimber said...

Happy Birthday Dima!!!! Wow, 8 months. I've been reading your blog all along since you met Dima. It seems like it went so fast (to me!). I'm so happy he is in your home today. :)

Aislinn said...

Happy Birthday Dima!!!
We keep you in our thoughts and prayers!