Friday, March 30, 2012

Journey in Ghana to Aburi and botanical gardens

On the home front Joy's heart checked out perfect.  A really nice pediatric cardiologist listened to her heart and had an echo cardiogram done.  The echo revealed her repaired PDA which needs no further evaluation unless she has symptoms.  He said her large scar on her back may cause some discomfort if she runs a lot just from the pulling of scar tissues nothing to do with her heart.    We are so blessed she had her life saving heart surgery as an infant in Ghana.  Next week we have many appointments lined up while the kids are spring break, so hopefully Elise will come with us.  Joy likes it when Elise is with us.  On Wednesday we see an ENT and audiologist to confirm her hearing loss and sign off so she can receive hearing aides.  Then Thursday she will have her teeth cleaned and get two teeth filled .  We are hoping the laughing gas makes this an enjoyable experience for her.  Then Friday we will see the eye doctor.  One of the nicest men who makes the experience of getting one's eyes tested a breeze.  Sneha really liked him and had a positive experience.  Joy's vision seems perfect, but better to have it checked before she starts school.  Elise has been very pleased with her contacts and there ease of use since February.  We are very happy to have such great insurance since our move to Washington, it makes everything so much more stress free.    

On the school front Graedy is all signed up for high school which will include Spanish and guitar lessons.  Elise is continuing to play the flute and excels at it.  Elijah received the citizen of the month-all star student 2 months in a row at his school.  Sneha received student of the month at her school an ate lunch with the principal.  Joy will begin school after spring break at Elijah's school in an individualized program to help her jump start her formal learning.  She has a lot of catch up to do, but she is very bright and will endure all the changes and challenges.  I have tried teaching at home, but  it is a challenge since she is learning the role of family and parents.  I think she will do much better with a formal teacher at school.  The educators are trained in non-traditional learning and teaching with special needs.  I want home to be her place of family and relaxation away from the stress of the world.  I was hoping she would jump into kindergarten at home, but my most important role is teaching her family and values.  When Elijah came home he loved to practice letters, colors, and he soaked up all the knowledge he could, but I think with Joy's hearing deficit it makes things very frustrating especially new language,  and an entirely new and different life. Life in a convent was wonderful for her growing up to this point.  We are so grateful to the Sisters and Father Campbell for loving Joyce .                                                           

Cocoa pods

Palm lined drive

huge termite mound

huge trees

A great shot from Elise


Saturday, March 24, 2012

First two weeks home......

  Time flies once a child comes home!  We have been so busy with appointments, phone calls, and lots of catch up from the trip and being so sick for a week.  Talk about the worst plane ride ever.  I was the passenger no one ever wants to sit by, would have been embarrassing, but I was too sick to care.  All that said, the good news is that Joy is HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!No more waiting to see her no more longing to fly to Ghana.  We finally feel that our family is complete.  The desire to add 3 to our family started in 2007 and now 3 more are here.  A big sigh of relief!

    The first week home we went to the pediatrician and poor girl had to get 4 shots:(  I am so glad she didn't get chicken pox when we came home since they don't exist in Ghana.  Then last week we went to an Audiologist in Portland at the hospital up on the hill in the woods.  Joy's hearing loss is permanent with unknown origin.  Her left is better at moderate-severe hearing loss and the right with severe to profound hearing loss.   Hearing aides will help the left and possibly the right.  She is not eligible for a cochlear implant.  The audiologist was great and was worth the drive, making it fun for Joy.  We went to the pediatric dentist on Thursday and they made her appointment fun and not in the least bit scary.  For older children that have never been to the dentist it was well worth it.  She has 8 cavities which will have to be addressed in 4 appointments including laughing gas to make it more enjoyable!  Next week we will see her pediatric cardiologist to make sure her heart repair was a success and doesn't need follow up or have premed at the dentist.

   The overall adjustment has been wonderful!  God weaves families together, each person hand picked.  Elise has been such a good big sister while in Ghana and at home.  While I was so sick on the plane Elise sat by and entertained Joyce for 10-12 hours!  I hope her first trip out of US will stay with her forever.  I know that I am so thankful to once again use the dishwasher, washer, and dryer.  I am also so thankful to be away from the heat.  We are so thankful to Jeanie that we could stay at her home while in Ghana.  We were able to shop, learn to cook Ghanaian food, and live the way a middle class family lives in Ghana.So much better than staying in a hotel.  We were so blessed to have Grandma Jean with us.  Hopefully an experience she will forever remember, her first time abroad and to Africa!!!!

    We hope to meet up sometime  on US soil with our friends Jeanie, Elena, and Celestina.  They will forever be in our hearts!


Friday, March 16, 2012