>>Wednesday, May 03, 2006<<
Special Needs....


Yes, I know I have written 3 posts back to back. But hey....Nikolai is asleep. S and B are supposed to be in the other room watching a movie. But, with all due respect to my husband...it sounds like our bulldog is in there. She snores so loud that the foundation to our home rumbles. That is the sound coming out of the family room in the Host families apartment. So, now you can see why I am catching up on my blogging time. All is quiet in the house....well, for the exception of the snoring in the other room ;)

This week is what I affectionately like to call the last 6 miles of the 26 mile marathon. We have our sweet son with us, but, he has no passport, no visa, no medical clearance. So, no going home until we have all of that. If I stay here much longer, I can figure out how to ride the train to Siberia and back. (Actually, it isn't that hard ;)

So, today was his Medical Clearance for the United States. He needs to be cleared before we go to the US Embassy to get his Visa to enter the US to state that he is not carrying some crazy disease and that he checks out ok.

The doctor is Russian and we understood her just fine. She had a very thick accent. She began to read off his medical charts. All of which we knew prior to this. We knew that he was considered "special needs". He has a malformation of his right hand. It is called Amniotic Band Syndrome. His birth mother's sac broke before he was born and the fluid caused this banding syndrome to malform his hands. In some children, their whole hands or arms are amputated. To give you and idea of what I am talking about...we don't mind sharing Nikolai's picture. It might help someone if they ever saw this diagnosis...


Basically, 2 of his fingers are functional and he uses the 3 that are banded together as one limb. In Russian orphanages, you are really "marked" if you are considered "special needs" We were told by our tour guide here that although things are getting better...it is still hard for Russian men to want to adopt Russian orphan boys. They do not want to raise another man's baby. And she said, he is unheard pretty much for a Russian to adopt a special needs boy. So, I don't know what would have happened to Nikolai. But, I am not going to go there.

The doctor kept on talking about his medicals. She said he had hip dysplasia, a heart murmur, the list went on. She said he will have to have a lot of tests and ultrasounds done. I felt a little sad for him knowing that he was going to have to have surgeries for his hand and pokes and prods for all of the other tests. He was a premature baby like our second child. So, he is prone to a lot of bronchial issues.

We knew what we were getting into when we accepted Sasha (Nikolai) as our referral. There can never be enough words to describe how "led" we felt to adopt him. I think I have talked about this before. We didn't want to adopt him because we felt sorry for him or because we could save him or anything like that. There was something about him.....something deep down that kept nagging at us, pulling at us...letting us know that he was meant to be our son.

When we are with him now... we know why we were led. He is our son. I totally believe that God has a plan for each of us. There are no mistakes. We might have been able to have 2 children on our own. Some think that is enough...why more? Now, we can't have more. I had to have a hysterectomy because of cysts which turned into a tumor (fortunately benign). Even before that, we decided to adopt because I had gotten so sick with our second. We didn't think we would ever have a third. But, life has a way of changing your mind sometimes. I also believe the word "never" should be deleted out of everyone's vocabulary. As soon as you say "never"...it will happen. :)

Had those events not happened....I would not have been standing on Red Square holding our sons hand looking over at the Kremlin or looking at Saint Basil's Cathedral.

What is special needs? Does that make Nikolai different because of his hand? People sure do look at it on the Metro. They smile at us as if to say "oh, what nice people to be taking care of this boy" Nikolai is like everyone of us on this planet. We are all special needs. We all need special attention. We are all longing to have someone to love us. We all want someone to just say "I will take care of you, I will be there for you".

We might be changing Nikolai's life forever, but, trust me when I say this...he is changing ours forever too. Love doesn't look at deformities. Love looks at the heart. When he smiles at me, my heart melts. When I look at him, his eyes brighten. Just like our two daughters. He may not be from my flesh...but, he is surely from my heart.

13 Comments:
Anonymous Chrisann said...
Man...thank goodness I am a US citizen. If I let your doctor get a hold of my medicine cabinet she would probably think I was ninety years old and never let me in the country. ;O)

And as far as special needs, I would have never labeled Nikolai as special needs. It sounds to be more asthetic.....and as far as asthetics go...he is a cutie. Now as far a special needs.....check me out without chocolate or espresso. Not a pretty picture.....

And talking about pictures...thank for the updated Nik pics.....Is he already lined up for prom? Erin could use date.

Big hugs, speedy going through the red tape and let us know when you are planning on getting back in the old US of A!

Chrisann

Anonymous Leggy said...
This is a beautiful post. I am so glad that he found a loving family and that you found your son.

I'd be curious to know what the doctors at home say- he may need surgery for his hands, but I thought hip displasia could be treated with a harness. Not fun, but certainly not hopeless either.

Look forward to hearing more Nikolai stories.

Blogger Margaret said...
Beautiful post, Caroline. I thought the picture with you and Nikolai walking in front of St. Basil's was incredible. But the close-up of the two of you takes the cake. You're family.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Hi Caroline,

I adopted a 4 1/2 year old girl from the Stavorpol region in 1996!! I'm a "old timer" now.

As I ready your blog today, I was reminded of a poem that I have on my wall with her school photo in it. The poem says, "Never forget for a single minute, you did not grow under my heart but in it."

Also, I am a former teacher of special needs children. You are correct in saying that we each are special needs. My child has inner scars, emotional and perhaps mental, from being the child of an alcoholic and probably from her mother having some kind of mental illness. Nikolai will do fine with such wonderful parents and siblings.

Thanks for your blog.

Shirley

Blogger Starfish said...
Oh that face, I can't take it! He is so dang adorable. Who would notice his hand with eyes like that anyway? I guess some people can't look beyond such small flaws. Thank goodness Nikolai has found a wonderful family that knows what really matters.

Blogger 6blessings said...
How beautiful!! Isn't it amazing how God orchestrates our lives? What a precious thing you have found in him and him in you! All of you are so blessed!

Blogger megz_mum said...
This is so lovely! Thank you for sharing. He is obviously in the absolutely correct family - very much loved and accepted just as he is!

Blogger ipodmomma said...
all these posts were wonderful, each in their own way...

I totally understand that being 'led' bit... keep on following that path, for it will bring you all such joy, and much love...

your 'little' girl is having an experience that is so fantastic!! I am so glad, for you all, that she has been able to accompany you there... how thrilling for her!

and I LOVE that pic of the babushka!!!

as for bathtime... yeah, it is a little different... having had a girl first, then a boy, and it's like whoa... :)))

thanks for sharing your journey!!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I feel like I just finished a great book - I laughed, I cried! I LOVE the pic of you and Nikolai in front of St. Basil. Thanks for sharing so openly. As for Nikolai's hand, my best friend from college had the same thing to happen - her son is now 16, driving, dating, loves marching band. I'm not even sure if he had surgery to correct his hand. After the first time I saw him, I've never noticed it again. Best of luck on the rest of your journey!

Betsy

Blogger Gaye & Andrew said...
Hi Caroline...your posts were beautiful and Nikolai is gorgeous! You are truly blessed and so is he :) I wish we could have met up while we were still in Moscow...big hugs out to all of you. ~ gaye

Blogger Elle said...
He really is just a beautiful baby boy!

Blogger Rhonda said...
What a cutie. My goodness, you can get lost in those eyes! This was an awesome post.

Blogger Gina said...
Oh I could cry, this post is so beautiful. The last sentence melted my heart. Congrads on your sweet baby boy!