Hoping to someday find M's brother adopted in the U.S. -
Myckola Oleksandrovych Markov - 8/26/2003

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

You wanna tell them they're supposed to be dysfunctional?

Someone very recently told me that bringing kids into the home out of birth order almost always results in creating emotional chaos within a family.

I went outside to mention it to them, but they were too busy eating popsies they'd swiped out of the freezer and swinging on the hammock together to answer me.

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Mariah's been home for 18 months and guess what I found out as a nice little "One and a half years home" present.

She has Giardia. Yep.

At her Pediatrician visit when she'd only been home a week we expressed concern over testing for parasites. We got poo pooed (pun intended). They did have her poo in a collection cup but said it "Looked normal" so the dr just prescribed "something that will get rid of anything" and sent us on our merry way.

I think she DID have something else because a lot of her horrible gas and burping did go away after that but she still had no appetite and she still has had an awful time gaining weight.

At 4 years old she weighed 26lbs.
At 5 years old she now weighs only 34lbs.

But she EATS now. She eats as much as I do at most meals and she still hasn't gained weight in months.

Her hair was awful. Her hair was so thin and brittle when she came home. It felt like straw, crunchy and brittle. Not soft like little girl hair should feel.

Now, her hair looks much healthier and around 4 months home I noticed she had new hair growing in all over her head. However, it still breaks way to easy in my opinion and it will just pull right out of her head with almost no force exerted. It just worries a mama who keeps bringing it up and keeps getting told "She looks fine."

Another thing that worried me was the fevers. She'd just break out in a low grade fever for seemingly no reason at all. Her lymph nodes would swell up a little bit and then the fever would go... Just not right.

She's also had episodes where she'd have very loose smelly stool. Like BAD. I have two other kids. I've smelled poop before. This was always way worse, but then she'd also have "normal" looking poo so again no one thought anything was wrong.

More than once I even noticed that the water in the toilet had a shiny oil sheen to it after she'd gone. I thought it odd, but figured since I give her hemp seed oil that it just came on through.


She spiked another fever. She kept running to the bathroom. She had some "interesting" poo and I'd just had enough.

I took her to the Pediatrician and demanded a stool test. They agreed and after I dropped it off they even called to tell me that it didn't' have any bacteria in it and it "Looked fine" but they'd call back with a culture report next week.

So yesterday I get the call that she has giardia. The nurse called. The Dr. called. The pharmacy called. Within an hour I had flagyl in hand administering it.

I'm mad at the first Pediatrician for just dismissing this. I'm angry at the Developmental Pediatrician at the Children's Hospital for just dismissing this. They always blamed her low weight on her CP. Well, yes she has CP but she EATS!

So, I know a post about poop isn't always super fun, but I urge ANYONE out there who has adopted kiddos to TEST THE POOP.

Here's the symptoms of Giarida:

Abdominal pain


Gas or bloating


Loss of appetite

Low-grade fever


Swollen or distended abdomen


Mariah had SOME of these symptoms but not all at the same time.

Mostly what she had were the COMPLICATIONS:


Malabsorption (inadequate absorption of nutrients from the intestinal tract)

Weight loss (or no weight gain in a growing child)

The most likely reason she is not gaining weight? The stupid parasite has been absorbing her nutrients all.this.time. She can eat and eat and eat all she wants, but her body isn't getting it. The oily sheen in the toilet is an indicator that her body isn't absorbing food. :( SAD

I personally feel HORRIBLE that Mariah has been here for EIGHTEEN MONTHS and has had Giardia the whole time. A year and a half of Dr. visits and I've been quoted that "She's perfectly proportional" "She has CP so she expends more calories because she walks inefficiently," and "She was premature and malnourished so she might always be small."

They also suggested I give her an extra snack (I do).
Make her shakes with high calorie items (I DO!)
Give her whole milk (I DOOOO!)

So, the moral of this story is to listen to your gut (no pun intended) and make the Dr. check your kid out if you know something is not right. Here in the U.S. doctors just don't see children who've had to live with an intestinal parasite for YEARS. The body can adapt to the parasite because it HAS to so some of the most common symptoms (diarrhea, super smelly poo, gas & bloating) are no longer present or don't present acutely.

And no, we don't think anyone else in the family has gotten it but we are going to test the other kids just to make sure. The only way it can really be transmitted is by getting it into your mouth. Simple hand washing (which they do NOT practice in Ukraine) and general good hygiene prevents the spread of this parasite.

AND just an FYI: This super fun parasite, Giardia, can also be contracted by swimming in contaminated water. Beavers and muskrats are carries of this as well. So watch out for that pond water!

Monday, June 25, 2012

An Impossible Mission?

I asked our facilitator a while back if he thought he could get the photos of Mariah as a baby from her file at the SDA.

He said he thought it was impossible because once a child is adopted, they archive the file. Its put away and basically never looked at again.

Still, he made an appointment with the person in charge after telling me that he was sure it was an impossible mission.

We waited...

One day he sent an email and said he couldn't believe it but they had agreed to let him have the photos. He just needed updates ones of Mariah to give them in exchange. He signed the email at the bottom with "God loves you guys!" Basically meaning that he knew God was the only reason he was going to be able to get the photos for us.

And look what was in my inbox this morning!


Mariah is THRILLED. She asks all the time about when she was a baby. I am SO happy to have these for her :)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Hosting who?

So, if you have paid close attention to my blog then you've noticed that the face on the sidebar has changed... three times now.

First, we were hosting Zhenya who was 8. Then we found out that he got adopted so we had to choose another child.

Two new boys had been added to the list of host kids and one little guy stole my heart. Vlad. He wasn't turning 6 till soon before time to come to the U.S. so he was the youngest host child.

Then last week, we found out Ukraine decided Vlad was too young to come. So, after prepping for a 6 year old all this time, we figured we'd try to stick with that and chose another 6 year old who was older by a few months, Andriy.

We were looking forward to Andriy for about 2 days. Then we found out Andriy's bio parents still had rights and although they were in prison, they had to sign off for him to come and they had not done that.

There were only 6 kids left at this point... we felt like there was only once choice really. Vlad's older brother Vitaliy. He's only 7 so still in the age range we felt comfortable with and after all, I did fall in love with his and his brother's picture.

So, there you have it! That's why the face on the sidebar has been changing but we're hoping that the face there now is the one we'll see get off the plane next month!

We're only about three weeks out now :)

And just an FYI, I don't think this is how hosting typically goes. We just managed to be the family with crazy circumstances this time around!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Walkin' & Talkin' - Can we do both at the same time?

Mariah loves to talk. Its no secret! I've told her before that she shouldn't stick her tongue out while walking because she can fall and bite it. What's she worried about then? "Den I can't talk anymore? Den I can't say anyting!" Pain? Blood? No, it worries her to death that she couldn't express her opinions to the world.

She has to concentrate harder than most kids to walk. If she doesn't concentrate and pay attention to what she's doing then she will run into things or trip. Still, if she wants to say something and she's in the middle of walking; well she will either start talking and fall over or she'll stop walking so she can talk.

I've made rules for the stairs. No talking on the stairs until you are all the way up or all the way down. Why? Because she has fallen from not paying attention and at preschool she would just stop in the middle of two flights to chat with someone. Nevermind that 10 people wait behind her...

So, I've decided that since I probably won't be able to convince her not to talk while she walks; I should teach her to do both at the same time. Its more of a coordination issue and practice should greatly help this.

She's all for it of course. We take a walk down our little road in front of our house and she gets to talk and talk while I say over and over "Talk AND walk."

Check out the new paint job on her walker as well! I got a can of Metal X spray paint at Wal-Mart and gave it a make-over last weekend.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Home 17 months: A before and after...

Here are two videos of Mariah from 2011. In the first one she'd been home a few weeks and was singing her favorite song in Russian.
In the second video, she'd been home for about 3 1/2 months.

Here is a video of her last night!

Botox: Before & After

Here is Mariah's tight right arm just 2 days after botox. There had been no change in range of motion so this is what it looked like pre-botox.

And here she is 4 months later! She still can't reach way up high over her head because her shoulder is tight as well and we didn't do botox there. Her PT is working on that area and it is improving though :) The biggest change is how easy the motion for washing her hands is. The botox was injected into the muscles that help her open her hand and turn her arm palm up.

Think how many times a day a kid needs to wash their hands.

Every.time. she goes potty.

Before meals.

Whenever she's been outside.

Its a lot! This is easy for her now! It used to be such a struggle!

We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life; but those who make their journey home across time and miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them,are carried on the wings of destiny; and placed among us by God's very own hands. --Kristi Larson