Hello! It’s us! Apologies for being such strangers but life has been fun, full, and super busy the past year and half! We figured it was about time to bring everyone up to date on our lives at present as a forever family of four.
As most of you already know, we went to China in September of 2016 to bring our second son, Conor, home. This past Friday marked eight months since we met our little guy and he continues to amaze and delight us almost daily.
Our second trip to China was much more challenging in many ways than our trip to bring Gabriel home. But that is a post for a different day. Conor was 33 months old when we met him. His birthday is Christmas day! So Conor is now a few months over 3 years old. Our sweet Gabriel turned five years old this past March. Can you believe it? Next Thursday (May 18) will be Gabriel’s second Family Day with us! That means it has been TWO YEARS since we met our big boy! All those who told us time would pass by far too quickly? You were all more correct than I would have ever believed. I was reading over our older posts and getting teary eyed looking at his pictures and thinking back on how much he has grown and changed in his two years with us.
For those that don’t know, Conor has some special needs just as Gabriel does. Conor has what is called ABS or Amniotic Band Syndrome. For him, this means that when he was in his birth mother’s womb, the fibers in the amniotic fluid got wrapped around his left arm, left hand, and left foot. This resulted in his left hand being formed differently as well as leaving several bands around his wrist area, his fingers, and a couple of the toes on his left foot. After many trips to and consultations with many doctors for various things, we decided to take him to Shriner’s Hospital in Lexington, KY to have surgery on his hand/arm and foot. As I type this, we are in a hotel room as he is heading into surgery tomorrow. They will be doing surgery to release the bands (as these can constrict growth and cause future problems if not addressed) and to reduce the swelling/edema in his arm, hand, and toes. He will be in a full arm cast for two weeks and have bandaging on his foot. While all of this will be challenging for him and for us, I think the hardest part will be that he cannot eat in the morning before his surgery!!! This is a child that wakes up in the morning and the first word out of his mouth is often, “Hungry”. This kid LOVES to eat! So I am honestly more concerned about getting through until his lunch surgery time without too many meltdowns than I am for his actual surgery. Ha! Well, that isn’t entirely true. We know he is in wonderful hands with his surgeon at Shriner’s. His was the second opinion we received and his prognosis for being able to hopefully give Conor more use of his left hand was much better than the first opinion we received. We asked many questions and feel confident his care will be exceptional tomorrow and throughout any follow up visits. We have had nothing but wonderful encounters the few times we have been to Shriner’s either with Gabriel or now with Conor.
We would like to ask that you keep Conor in your thoughts and prayers tomorrow while he undergoes his surgery. This is a very big deal for him in that the surgery itself will likely be scary for him. He hasn’t experienced anything like this while with us or that we are aware of before he was with us. But it also has the potential to be fairly life changing as he will hopefully have better use of his hand as well as his foot after he has healed from the surgery! We are so excited for him and for what the future holds for both our amazing boys.
I will post more another day about Gabriel’s incredible progress since my last post I wrote not long after he had been home with us. For now I will tell you it has been incredible on pretty much every level I could have imagined. And the same has been true for Conor as of this writing.
As we are nearing Mother’s Day, I find myself, as always, unceasingly grateful that I get to be these kiddos’ mama. It is an honor and a privilege that I hoped for and dreamed of for many years. I love them with every molecule of my being with a fierce love I never felt before becoming a parent. But, also as always on Mother’s Day (and many other days), I think of their birth mothers. I wonder what their circumstances were that they had to make the heart wrenching choice to give up their babies. I wonder who else was in their mothers’ lives at the time and who is in their lives now. I wonder if they have other children and hope that they do as I feel like it may ease their pain maybe a tiny bit. Maybe that is naive of me. But I want to believe they have been able to make a small amount of peace with their decision. Or maybe it wasn’t their decision at all. Maybe it was parental, spousal, or societal pressure. Whatever the reason, I cannot imagine having to make that choice. And I wish I could tell them how grateful I am to them. For that awful choice was what allowed me to be a mother. That unbearably sad loss for them resulted in the most immeasurably amazing gifts I will ever receive. And I still cannot fathom how they must feel. But I can try. And I will continue to send them the most loving of thoughts and gratitude at this time of year and always.
I will try to update on our “baby boy” Conor following his surgery and subsequent recovery to let everyone know how he is doing. In the meantime, here is a recent pic of our little men in all their cute glory. Man, do we love these smart, sassy, funny, loving, remarkable boys. They are the greatest of blessings.
Happy Mother’s Day from our forever family of four!