I thought I would share a bit more about K and how he is doing. He is starting to look a bit better after the Elimite treatment for the scabies. All but one of the open sores on his scalp have scabbed over, but there is a large sore in his hairline above the center of his forehead that he keeps scratching open. It is swollen and fairly unattractive. The antibiotic ointment I keep slathering on it doesn't help its looks either. K is still pretty itchy and probably will be for another week. And his hair is starting to grow back. Now when we look at the three large, hairless patches we don't just see scalp but are starting to see little hairs growing in. I am relieved because at least one of the patches was hairless at the time of our second to last report which was ~5 months ago. What if the hair follicles were dead? (Yes, I can obsess about just about anything.)
When you adopt a child internationally, you just don't know what to expect. The medical reports you receive are complicated by translation and cultural assumptions. We are happy to report that we haven't discovered anything (so far) that seems worse than we were expecting. I had one bad moment when giving K his first bath and found a port-wine stain on his scalp under his hair. (If you have to have a birthmark, having it in the hair is the way to go.) I did ask the Wises to put on their medical hats and assure me it's just a birthmark. (Thank you!) It's something I will have the doctor look at when we get home, though. The other surprising thing is K's palate. Our suspicions about the cleft started when after the first 24 hours we had yet to experience the drooling and the food coming out of the nose that other parents of cleft-affected children had warned us about. Last night, K was a little fussy, so we took advantage of the wide-open mouth to shine a light in it a get a good look....at a complete palate. We are baffled. At referral we asked some specific questions about the extent of his clefting and were told both his hard palate and his soft palate were open. Were they examining the same child, or did they repair the palate at the same time as his lip? I also had asked specifically about what surgery was performed and was told only the lip was repaired as the palate didn't look too serious. I will be interested to see what the cleft team at the hospital says when we get home...was his palate ever open? His alveolar ridge (the bony ridge the upper teeth grow out of) is cleft, but the tooth I was expecting him not to have is there, just coming in at a slightly funny angle. (He teeth look straighter than some of our other children's.)
Developmentally, K is much younger than his 2 year old age. There are a few things that tell us he is two...helping to get himself dressed, his ability to stack the stacking cups, his desire to try to do things. But there is so much that is so babyish about him. (I am greatly enjoying his babyness...I know that it will be short-lived.) First he is just tiny. He is in a 9 mos. outfit today and some of the 12-18 mos. clothes seem a bit big on him. B is convinced that K has gained weight over the past week, but that could be related to the fact we had to give him (K not B) a suppository this afternoon. We hope to see some "progress" on that front later today. (Sorry for everyone who thinks that's too much information.) K has a very long attention span, happily playing with a cup and a spoon. I'm unsure whether to be glad he can be interested in something for so long or to be sad that coming from an impoverished environment, cups and spoons are so fascinating.
K has no language. He can understand some VN words, but he only makes little grunts and no consonant sounds at all. This is perhaps the thing that concerns me most at this point. His hearing seems fine, so I don't think it is a result of hearing loss. I just think back to when P was 2 and I had to leave the pediatrician practice we had been going to because I "had words" with the doctor over P's lack of verbal abilities. She had far fewer words than the doctor thought she should...>20 verses 100. But P understood absolutely everything we said, had refined her own personal sign language, and had 3 other siblings who did all her talking for her. K has fewer words and no extenuating circumstances.
But K is as cute as a button. He grins and runs around and plays ball with TM and B. He adores his two big brothers and how they play. M, like J and I, are OK. He happily goes to anyone of us and will smile and look at us, but we are nowhere near as fun as those brothers. He does not like his shoes, though. It's not surprising since he has never worn them. He allows us to put them on, but then it's as if they are made of cement. He absolutely will not move his feet once they are in shoes. We have jokingly wondered if we can find these wonderful cement shoes for TM.
Speaking of whom, TM has been terrific; so much better than we could have ever hoped. He is good with K, walks and walks and walks all over with us, has managed to behave in the endless string of restaurants, and has even been OK with VN people coming up to him and touching him. The most difficult thing has been waking up every now and then with leg cramps. This is something he is prone to, but we haven't been very good about making sure he has been getting enough calcium. In the endless cornucopia of pharmaceutical products that I packed, somehow I overlooked calcium supplements. Imagine.
Before we head down to the pool, I want to thank everyone for all of their prayers. We know they must be being heard. We have felt so loved and supported by all of you through the past 16 months of waiting for K and especially now while we are traveling. So, thank you. I'm sure J will be back later to fill you in on our latest wanderings around Hanoi...which I must add I like so much better than Saigon. It's nice to be back here. Now if only we were in a hotel not in the VN equivalent of the far western suburbs...