Tuesday, November 13, 2012

How Dima Prepared Us for Holland

I just wanted to take a moment and share some happenings going on in our family.  While it is not about adoption per say, it will touch upon how Dima's adoption prepared me for something that I was not at all expecting.  Dima was my planned trip to Holland, however, an unplanned trip is in the works.

My youngest son, Sammy (his full name is Nathan Samuel but my boys have always called him Sammy), is a very special little boy.  He is here only by the grace of God and each and every day with him is a gift.  My little Sammy Wammy was born prematurely at 35 weeks via emergency c-section.  It was a swift and chaotic birth, one that left me feeling uneasy and not quite sure what was the fate of my little one.  Sammy's cry at birth was more like that of a little goat and he was having some serious trouble breathing.  It was a good 2 hours before I could hold him.  He eventually was flown from our little country hospital to Shands in Gainesville, FL where he spent one week in the NICU.  Given the fact that he was early and had such serious problems, one week in the NICU was a miracle!  At the time we did not think that he would have any serious long-term effects from his premature birth and life moved on...sort of.

Over the past 6 years we have experienced minor issues with Sammy and his health but over the past 2 years things have become more pronounced.  He gets respiratory infections at the drop of a hat, frequent body pain, muscle cramping, lack of fine and gross motor skills, he he clumsy, etc...  Being that Sammy is the baby and I homeschooled him for 2 years I really never compared him to other children his age.  Sure, I noticed that he was clumsy and had issues grasping a pencil, but I truly thought that he was being lazy or seeking my attention.  Not so much.

This past September at a parent/teacher conference all of these issues were brought to my attention by Sammy's amazing teacher.  OF COURSE I have noticed everything that was mentioned but again, I thought he was doing it mostly at home.  But then she pointed out something that I had seen but refused to believe.  Hand tremors.  I did not "pass Go" or "collect $200";  at that point I went right home and called the pediatrician.  By the end of the week Sammy had been seen and the pediatrician suspected that something was amiss.  Sammy needed to be evaluated by a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, and a neurologist.

Last week we had our first OT (occupational therapy/therapist) evaluation.  While she could not formally diagnose Sammy with anything, she was able to say for certain that he is physically delayed.  Sammy definitely needs to be evaluated by a physical therapist as well as a neurologist for there to be a formal diagnosis, particularly if it is more than just a physical delay.  The OT foresees leg braces in Sammy's future, lots of OT, PT, and lots of patience.  Until all evaluations are complete all we can do is try to strengthen Sammy physically and make him comfortable.  As for as his mental capacity, well, he is as his teacher stated, "brilliant!".  He made straight A's, is reading at a 5th grade level (he is only in 1st grade!), and has been tested for the gifted program at school (and way surpassed expectations there, too!).  So whatever this is, it has not affected his mind in terms of intellect.  For that I am so very grateful.

But how does Dima play into it all?

If Dima was not in our lives, not a part of our family, I think this situation with Sammy would really be upsetting to us.  We would worry more, not fully understand that no matter what, Sammy is still Sammy. Dima has given Eric and I a crash course in parenting a child with special needs.  While we do not have a formal diagnosis with Sammy, his physical state makes him have special needs.  I am learning that the term "special needs" covers a broad spectrum.  I am learning that I am strong enough to handle whatever it is that Sammy is battling in his little body.  Sammy is learning just how tough he is, too.  Dima has shown all of us that we can overcome and survive no matter what.

More than anything our family trusts in the Creator of the universe.  The author and giver of life.  Sammy knows that God is good, all of the time, even when things seem to not be so good.  Sammy exemplifies perseverance.  In fact, Sammy is the student of the month in his class for having so much perseverance.  So very fitting for him during this time of uncertainty.

Bottom line, it is well.  Sammy's future is secure in his Lord and He already knows what is wrong.  We just ask that you join us in prayer for wisdom and discernment for all of the therapists and doctors.  We are praying that all of this is just a mere physical delay that can be easily overcome.  In the meantime we just take it all day by day and live life to the fullest.

Our Sammy Wammy Bo Bammy.

Trying to play soccer with his brothers.

Trying to help daddy scoop poop in the back yard (from our dog, of course).

Thinking...Sammy is always thinking. Here you can sort of see how Sammy's fingers are a little misshapened :(





1 comment:

John said...

Early in my teaching career I worked with an Occupational therapist who created hope and tangible differences in children. We used sensory integration and I learned so much! 20 years ago SI wasn't widely accepted. I watched students adapt,learn,grow in healthy, holistic, self-esteem building playful ways. I enjoyed participating in a family's journey. God has created our bodies in amazing ways that adapt and compensate. We can learn to move in ways that serve us better. I encourage you to explore sensory integration with your occupational therapist to see if this would be an option for Sammy. Always see him as whole and a holy creation. Blessings, Barb