Friday, February 28, 2014

Baby D. Update

While Baby D. was in the hospital, it was discovered that he has a heart murmur. Until he had an EKG, we couldn't know the severity of the murmur. Casa de Amor has had kids with heart murmurs in the past, so it wasn't a new issue… but we still wanted Baby D. to have the EKG as soon as possible so we could know for sure. 

He had the EKG a few days ago, and his results were ready today. It turns out, he has a hole (or maybe several… I'm not sure) in his heart and will need open heart surgery. These were not the results we were expecting! The defect is congenital, and it has also affected his lungs from working properly. He had pneumonia while in the hospital and was then also diagnosed with bronchitis, and his body has had a really tough time fighting the infection. It also explains why he is so tiny. 

From what we have been told, the surgery must be done. Without it, he can't survive. He'll be five months old on March 3rd, but we have to wait at least another month until he's six months old. The surgery can be done any time between six months and a year. It must be done before he turns a year old in October. We also know it is a very, very expensive operation, so if you would like to donate/help us with the cost when the time comes, please let me know!

Baby D. has been living with two volunteers, Kaley and Linnea, since he was discharged from the hospital. He is on several medications (for his heart and various illnesses), but is slowly growing! He will be returning to the baby house in a few days as Kaley is leaving and Linnea will be moving into Casa 2 with the boys. I know I'm looking forward to him returning. It'll be fun to have a little group of 3 babies again!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Arrivederci, E.!

Just the other day I wrote about E. meeting his parents for the first time. They have come back to visit every morning and afternoon since their first meeting. They are thrilled with E., and it is so mutual. He has been so excited every time the doorbell rings and asks "Mamá? Papá?" They have been allowed to take him on a few outings, and everyone has come back to the baby house declaring what a great time they had!

We were told that after their first meeting, E. would stay with us for another two weeks. At the end of that time, his parents would have another court hearing and if all was going well, they would be allowed to take him. They must remain in Bolivia for 2 months until the adoption paperwork is complete, but E. can live with them during that time. Well, their second court hearing was this morning, and as expected, E. was allowed to leave with them! Although we'll definitely miss our wild child (the baby home has been unbelievably quiet today!), I know I can speak for all of us in saying how happy we are for E. and his parents! We hope they'll come back for one more visit before they are officially allowed to leave Bolivia. I bet he'll be speaking more Italian than Spanish!

E. attended this morning's court appearance with his parents. He knew he looked good in his new outfit!

One last picture together! 

His parents have arrived! …And off they go to court! Soon to become a family of three :)

I had to get one more picture of E. and Baby C.! E. is OBSESSED with her! He's pretty indifferent about the other babies, but if Baby C. is near, you can bet E. is right there with her! (And by "right there with her," I mean he's trying to lay on top of her stomach to get as close to her face as possible) Sometimes I worry that he's a bit too rough with her, but he almost always has her smiling and laughing!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Visits to the Nutrition Center

Ten days ago, I wrote a post about R., one of our new baby home kids who had just been admitted to the Nutrition Center. Click here if you'd like to read that first!

R. has been at the Nutrition Center since February 14th (11 days). I've been visiting her every day, and she appears to be doing really well. She is very happy there, she runs and plays (and fights!) with all the other kids, and she eats whatever she is given. At first, it seemed like all of her food was pureed so she didn't have to chew anything. Because we weren't sure how long she'd be there, it concerned me a bit because I knew that when she was discharged and back at home with us, she would have to chew her food and we don't puree it (except for the babies at times). However, her real meals (lunch and dinner… maybe breakfast too but I've never been there that early) are regular food that she has to chew. She's also given bread sometimes in the morning so she chews that as well. So, actually having to chew her food isn't going to be a problem when she's back with us.

I'm enjoying the time I get to spend with her. The Nutrition Center isn't close to any of our homes and going there and back can easily take up half of the day. I've learned how to time my visits for when she's in a good mood. As she isn't made to nap, she is very cranky sometimes!

At two years old, she's definitely on the older side of the group of kids at the Nutrition Center. I would guess that most of the kids are a year old or younger. I've had fun getting to know some of the other kids, too! Although most days R. doesn't seem to care that I'm there to see her, it's a whole other story if I try to talk to or play with another child!

It's been hard to get a lot of information about her progress, but today I was able to speak with someone about how she's doing. For various reasons, we would like to bring her home. However, they want her to stay a minimum of 50 days. We'll be talking with them again next week to see if we can come to some sort of compromise and bring her home early. I'll keep you updated!

These pictures are all out of order, but they do show some of the fun we have!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Feliz Cumpleaños, V.!

Today we celebrated another special birthday! Our V. (baby home) is 1 year old! She has three tías who fight over the title of being her "mom," so we left them in charge of the celebration. Tía Serafina agreed to bring the cake and jello and we celebrated this afternoon.

Personally, I can't believe V. is one! She was only 3 months old when I arrived last May and was one of our three youngest. Our once tranquila baby is now very vocal. She's learned how to stand up without support and is practicing walking. Her adoption papers are moving along and she's one of the next few kids who should be assigned a family… We're hoping that happens soon! Until then, we think she's pretty fun to have here at the baby house!

Before the celebration began, V. tried to grab a handful of cake!

Snacking on some frosting! 

 V. and Tía Serafina (one of her "moms")

E. helped V. blow out her candle! 

V. was a willing participant when it came to biting the cake!

How do you like that birthday outfit?! That combination is something else, V.!

V., Tía Serafina, and Dilan (Tía Serafina's son)… I don't think you can see lots of similarities in this particular picture, but V. and Dilan really do look a lot alike. We've often said that Tía Serafina must be her real mom as she and her "little brother" look like siblings! 

The birthday girl had to take a break from her party and change her clothes after a blow-out diaper… 

Party guests!

So excited for cake she just couldn't sit down!

Waiting patiently for her piece of cake!

Unfortunately for them, they didn't eat cake or jello… Baby C. especially doesn't seem too upset about it!

It wouldn't be a party without one of the guests throwing a tantrum!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Feliz Cumpleaños, E.!

Today, E., the oldest at Casa 2, celebrates his 9th birthday! This afternoon, all of the big kids got together to celebrate at the boys' house. I also brought three from the baby home, Johanna brought Baby A. (he was staying with her for a couple days), Kaley and Linnea brought Baby D., and Jennifer and Jake came with their four kids, so we had quite the crowd! There were two cakes (one by some volunteers and one by Tía Sarin), lots of jello, and tacos for dinner (E.'s favorite meal). It seemed like everyone had a great time, and E. really enjoyed his party!

I've trained my baby home kids so well! They're so used to taking group pictures before we leave the house, S. immediately went to this chair and asked "Picture, Tía Hannah?"

J. loved babysitting Baby D. for us! 

The boys have a foosball table which is a favorite of all the big kids!

We think K. may be a future crazy cat lady (man?)!

J. and K. with one of the kittens! K. LOVES cats but was scared to pick it up, so J. helped him!

J.K. and D. playing outside before the party started! 

Forget the party… They'd rather torture stalk play with the kittens!

She's a pretty big fan of kittens, too :)

L.M. and E. are pretty new to the boys house… They are precious! 

The birthday boy himself! 

L.M. and D. were ready to start celebrating! 

E. opened his gifts first… He got some pretty cool stuff! 

It's not a party if gelatina isn't involved! 

This vanilla cake was made by Tía Sarin… The chocolate one was made by Linnea.

Some of the party guests singing "Happy Birthday!"… We sang in Spanish first and then English.

E. didn't want to bite the cake for fear of being pushed into it, but we convinced him to take just a small bite. He did and avoided having his face in the cake! 

We ate cake and jello first!

We may need to work on his camera smile :)

A. and her mini-me, S.! A. and E. (the birthday boy- siblings) look like older versions of S. and her little brother L., both at the baby home.

Tía Rosi reliving her days at the baby home! 

Yummy tacos!

Although Baby C. is normally the most tranquila baby in the world, she's really not a fan of going to the girls' or boys' houses… She was perfectly well behaved during this outing though!

Baby A., Tía Sarin, and Johanna having some fun together!

S. unfortunately missed most of the festivities as she (and a few of the other girls) goes to school in the afternoon, but she didn't seem too bummed out about it… She jumped right in to the party when she arrived!