Friday, December 28, 2007

The Newport Aquarium

Check out the monster turtle behind Kerwin!

Kerwin and I in front of the jellyfish. (Kerwin is signing jellyfish)

Kerwin with Grandma and Grandpa

Kerwin got to pet some small sharks.

He said that the sharks were his favorite. Even though the aquarium was packed we had a good time. I think Kerwin has had more world exposure in two months than most kids have in two years. Tomorrow we head for home.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Festival of Lights

We went with Grandma and Grandpa Haake to the Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo last night. We went out to eat first and then on the way there Kerwin fell asleep in the car. So we had to wake him up to take him in. The first picture is how he looked at the beginning. However, within about 20 minutes he began to cheer up. We watched a Polar Express 4D movie and he seemed to really enjoy it. He also enjoyed the manatees (Grandma's favorite) and the polar bear. Because it was evening, most of the animals were asleep. I'm sure he would love to go again some time in the daytime.

More pictures from Christmas break

Kerwin looking for snow in our back yard

Kerwin with Max

Kerwin plays in snow for the first time in PA

Kerwin decorates cookies with Grandma

Kerwin and Daddy having trouble waking up

Kerwin takes a call on Christmas

Sunday, December 9, 2007

December Update

-Kerwin and Mike playing air hockey
-Kerwin and Mike in the rain at Southern Lights
-Kerwin petting the pony he rode
-Kerwin in the Lego room

I know it has been quite a while since the last time I wrote. I see that other moms' blogs that I check have not been updated as frequently during the Christmas season so I don't feel quite as bad.

Things are just moving along here. I feel like we have finally begun to fall into a routine of school days and days off. We still have more than the usual amount of medical appointments to go to but other than that we are on a pretty normal schedule. So, again I will try to hit the highlights.

Kerwin got his hearing aids a week and a half ago. He seems to be hearing a lot of speech now but it is somewhat difficult to tell because he doesn't respond to very much. He will go back for a formal test in January once he's had some time to adjust to them. In the last few days he has looked at us when we say his name. But he has only done this a few times and we call his name all the time. He is doing a good job of imitating letter sounds. He will try to repeat words but they are not so great at this time. He was making a really great "w" sound today in the car and we are working on his "m" so he can say mama. He doesn't seem to hate the hearing aids but he doesn't seem to love them either.

They are somewhat like the school bus which he has also been tolerating well. School is going well. He is learning new things and new words. His sentence length is increasing. I am excited because his PT, OT, and Speech through the school are getting ready to begin (finally). I had to be a big nag and force an ARC meeting but they school was really great once we held it and they are going to begin all of his services immediately. He lost a tooth at school last week. If you look really closely in the Lego picture you can see it missing. He now has two missing teeth and about three loose teeth. Poor thing, he can hardly eat.

This weekend we spent most of Saturday at home and then went over to my parents to watch the pitiful UK basketball game and then for dinner. But after dinner we went to Southern Lights out at the Horse Park. Kerwin sat up front on my mom's lap and he was fascinated by the lights. Then he got to ride a pony, see the model train display and go through the petting zoo. It was a really late night but he had fun. On Friday night we took Kerwin to Gatti Town for the first time. He had such a good time. He loved getting to watch a movie while he ate dinner. The movie was "Racing Stripes" and he absolutely loved it. He actually came really close to pronouncing "zebra" (he got the 'br' part in the middle right) and he was so enthralled by the zebra beating the horses in the race. He has been to Keeneland before so he understands the concept of a horse race. Then we went back to the arcade part and he had fun playing there. He rode the carousel, shot the water guns, got on the bumper cars, played skee-ball, shot basketball, played air hockey, and took a "helicopter ride." When we counted up all the tickets we had enough to get a giant blow-up bat, a bouncy ball, and two "poppers."

And if all of that isn't enough to be thankful for we have one more HUGE blessing. While in Haiti, we realized that we were not going to be able to continue to pay for all the travel and living expenses that we were acquiring while there. Additionally, we knew there would be some fairly big medical expenses to deal with once we got Kerwin home. So we decided to apply for a grant to help us dig out way out of the debt we were incurring. The process was several months long. During which time the foundation came back to us several time to ask us more questions and to see how we were doing so we thought that the chances were good that we would receive something Well, we got a call last week to find out that we not only were going to receive a grant but we were going to receive a grant much larger than the foundation was typically able to give. There had been a special circumstance in which an anonymous donor had come to the foundation wanting to make a significant contribution to two families in memory of his wife. We were chosen as one of those special families. We are so thankful for God's provision. From the beginning of this process I felt like I had a word from God that he would give us our son with all of the paperwork and finances that were needed for the process. However, I was somewhat prideful in the fact that we had paid for our adoption and all the accompanying expenses as we went leaving us with no debt. And then the Haiti stay began. I stopped working, we saw all of our savings go and then we began borrowing. While in Haiti, my main concern with being there was financial. Otherwise, we were healthy, happy, and we had our son. Of course we wanted to go home but generally we were okay. Then we got home and I was still not working and we had many more expenses than we ever had in the past. Now as each day goes by I see more reasons for our stay in Haiti. How would we have been able to see, feel, and testify to God's provision if we felt as if we were self-sufficient; if we felt that we could meet all of our own needs? Now we see so much more clearly the bigger picture and this is only a FRACTION of the whole picture. All glory belongs to you, God! Also we send a big thanks to Shaohannah's Hope, Kathy, and the gentleman who gave the money for allowing God to work through you to bless us.

So that's us for now check back later for more Christmas season news.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Hitting the highlights

1) Kerwin's first time bowling
2) Kerwin as a pilgrim at the school Thanksgiving feast
3) Kerwin playing the mandolin and singing on Thanksgiving night
4) Kerwin playing with the water works at the Cincinnati Children's Museum
5) Kerwin shoveling rocks in the construction area at the CCM

I have been intimidated by thought of blogging because so much has happened since the last time I posted. But I am back at it now and I will try to hit the highlights.

Our open house went great! We had so many folks come and Kerwin had a great time. He loves having people over which is great because we do too. My grandma came down and stayed at our house for two weeks which was wonderful because Kerwin really got to know her and she helped me so much with getting ready for the party. She even helped with taking the school run several times while I was at work.

That's another development. I now have a part time job. I took a contract with the Berea school district and I am working with preschoolers. So far everything is going great. It seems like a really good place to work.

Last Wednesday, Mike and I were both off but Kerwin had a half day of school. So we dropped him off and hung out for a few hours and then came back to visit his classroom and go to the school's Thanksgiving feast. It was really fun and everyone loved my dessert which I had just learned how to make. It was super easy to make so I gave the recipe to everyone. They typed it up right away and passed it out to everyone who wanted one. They didn't know what to call it so one of the teachers named it "Kerwin's Mom's Pumpkin Fluff Cake."

Thanksgiving was a lot of fun. My mom had a big meal at her house with my all of my grandparents, an aunt, a cousin, and then all of Mike's immediate family plus grandma and great aunt. So now Kerwin has met all of his great grandparents; he has five. Thanksgiving night we drove up to northern Kentucky to celebrate with Mike's extended family. Kerwin had a good time and seemed right at home with all those new people. He just ran around playing with his toys. Then he got to play the mandolin and sing into the microphone. It was so cute. He had all the motions down, he was really rockin' it.

Friday we went out for breakfast with Mike's dad and then went to the Cincinnati Children's Museum. Kerwin had a great time. He played with lots of different things and was VERY well behaved. Which I really appreciated after seeing the way everyone else's little brats were acting. I was again reminded of how thankful I am for Kerwin. I only intervened with other people's children when there was violence involved and that was twice. The first time I had to break up a fist fight between 4 year olds. The second time, I had to stop some little hoodlum from whipping my kid in the face with a stuffed rat tail as he crawled through the tube on the way to the slide. I couldn't get to where they were so I just yelled (really mean and loud) into the tube, "STOP, STOP IT." It got the intended result but the other parents were less than impressed. They were encouraging their children to stay away from "that lady." But give me a break, my poor, less-than-confident child was being assaulted in a dark tunnel by a kid with a rodent. The good news is, Kerwin was completely unaffected and continued on his way to the slide after he took his whipping. I was kind of hoping he'd have at least taken away the kid's weapon and chucked it. I guess I didn't give him much time to react. I was all over that kid. Besides the aforementioned incident we all had a great time. Kerwin loved playing in the water, the ball area, the construction area and with the wooden train set. When we stopped playing and finally left the museum, he was so hungry. He couldn't talk about anything else but eating. After eating, we went back to Mike's parents house and they had "card party" at their house. A few of the neighbor kids who are right around Kerwin's age came over. He had such a great time with them and they stayed over pretty late.

Today he was tired and grumpy when we left him with grandma to go the UK game (ugh, we lost in quadruple over time). But by the time we met them for dinner he was all smiles again.

We have a big week this week: a play date with a new friend tomorrow, riding the bus to school for the first time Monday (I will still pick him up in the afternoons), an appointment with Shriner's Tuesday to find out what course of treatment they will take for his legs, and an appointment at Cincinnati Children's to get his hearing aids on Wednesday. I'll post again soon to keep you updated. Please pray for these appointments and that Kerwin will adjust well to his new hearing aids.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The first (and second) day of school

Kerwin started school on Thursday at the school for the deaf. It's about 35 minutes from our house and so far I have been driving him. I think in the near future he will start riding the bus. There is apparently one other little boy that rides the bus from our county to the school everyday. And I met the bus drivers and they seemed very nice. Kerwin and I and my mom went to the school on Wednesday in the morning for a visit. Everyone was extremely nice. They made Kerwin feel very welcomed and he had a really good time on his visit. We had been telling him all week that we were visiting school on Wednesday and then starting school on Thursday. However, I don't think he understood that I was not going to stay with him until Wednesday night at bedtime. He cried about a tear and a half that night and I was afraid that the first day was going to be really tough for him. We prayed that he would be confident and not scared and would have a great day at school. The next morning we got up and got ready for school with no problems. He was excited because our friend Andy was going to be at school for the first day taking some pictures. So with the usual amount of goofing around, we got ready for school and out the door. When we got to school he had no trouble separating. He remembered the room and the teacher got him sitting down and engaged right away. I gave the teacher my cell phone number, gave Kerwin a quick hug and was out the door. I got a call from Andy during the day and he said he was doing just fine. When I went back to pick him up that afternoon, everyone was telling me how wonderful, cute, smart, talented, etc. that he was and how happy they were to have him. I think he had a really great first day and felt like he fit in immediately.

The next day, I was anticipating no problems. I dropped him off and left to drive to a job interview. (Which, BTW, I was offered but haven't decided on yet. I have one more interview lined up for Tuesday). Friday is a short day at school which I thought would be good for Kerwin being that it was his second day and he's never had be in school for that long, ever. Well, when I got to school the teacher said, "We saw a little bit of a stubborn streak in him today." Which is second-day-of-kindergarten code for, "Your kid was a real brat today." I was not at all surprised by this but I did feel bad that he acted that way and caused a lot of frustration, I'm sure. Later the teacher and I were talking in the bathroom on our way of the building and Kerwin was trying to get out the door before we were done. She said, "He's probably had enough of me today." Which is think is second-day-of-kindergarten code for, "I've had about enough of him today." I think we may go through a few more rough days before he gives into the fact that school is here to stay and he must participate. He saw what another student was working on and wanted to do that instead of his work so he closed his eyes and wouldn't participate. There is no way that I would put up with this behavior at home but it's hard for me to regulate what he's doing when he's at school. It seemed so abstract for me to say on Friday afternoon, "Now, Monday when you go back to school don't act like..." I hope for everyone's sake that this was a fluke. I guess we still need prayers for school.

Kerwin was dedicated (kind of like a baptism without the water) at church today. It was especially great because both sets of grandparents, his great-grandma, and his aunt and uncle were there and then we all went out to brunch afterward. It's one more afternoon of play and then back to school tomorrow. Please add your prayers to ours.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Kerwin update

There are so many sweet moments in life. It's a shame that when I sit down and try to remember them I come up with very few. Today, we had a busy day of running around but I went to the firehouse to vote. Kerwin enjoyed meeting the firemen, seeing their uniforms, and looking at the fire engine. One of the firemen gave him a hat, sticker and coloring book. When we got home we put on our firemen hats, watched ourselves int he mirror and pretended to be firemen. Kerwin wanted to go to every mirror in the house to check out how he looked. So cute!

Tomorrow we are going to visit the Kentucky School for the Deaf and, if all goes well, Kerwin will start school Thursday. I am a bit anxious about him starting school. I don't know how he will do with separating from us and for the whole day. Please pray that he will have a great time at school and be excited about going.

We ended up, after two less than satisfying visits at UK, going to Cincinnati Children's Hospital for Kerwin's audiological evaluation and hearing services. They completed a full audiological assessment and confirmed that he had severe to profound hearing loss. They made his ear molds and we go back on the 28th of this month to get his new hearing aids. I was so impressed with "Children's." They are so pediatric focused that they know just what to do with kids. And Kerwin is so bright that he responded really well to them and did a super job with is evaluation. Plus , they have a Northern Kentucky outpatient facility so we didn't even have to go to the main campus in town. We are praying that these aids will allow to hear speech and learn to speak. He will likely not be able to hear some higher frequency speech sounds like f, s, ch, and sh. But we will wait and see how he does with them.

We are still working on Kerwin's home stretching program for his legs. I can see improvements in his range of motion in the two weeks that we have been doing them. He doesn't hate them as much as he did when we first started. We go back in on the 27th to see the doctor and find out what the next course of treatment will be.

We went to the dentist and it was a really good experience. They had a really fun waiting room and Kerwin loved it. He did great in the chair and his teeth and x-rays looked good. We don't have to go back for six months. It was the first appointment without a follow-up. Yee-haw!

My grandma is coming in to visit this Friday. She will be meeting Kerwin for the first time and staying with us. I am very excited. I love my grandma so much. We have been fixing up the upstairs spare rooms so that she will have a place to stay. Now that Kerwin is home, our old spare bedroom is in use. It is so exciting to be going into the holiday season this year with him home. He has been such a great joy to us since the moment we met him. We are having such a great time being a family. We are growing closer every day. Kerwin is becoming even more secure in his place in our family and our hearts. He is very generous with both giving and receiving affection. He is a very sweet and (for the most part) obedient child. I can't imagine being blessed with a nicer kid.

Open House

My mom and sister are hosting an open house to allow people to officially meet Kerwin. Feel free to drop in Sunday, November 18th any time between 3 and 6 pm. The party will be at our house. If you need the address or directions, please send me an email at We hope to see many of you there.

Family Pictures

This weekend, we went to Waveland Museum and Tyler (my brother-in-law) took dozens of fabulous pictures. I was so impressed. Here are a few.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

A fall day

Fall is my favorite season. Here are a few pictures of my guys playing in the back yard. (Did I mention that Kerwin LOOOOOOOVES his daddy?)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Bike riding

This is my first crack at uploading a video to the blog. If it works I will try some more. This is just a short video of Kerwin riding his bike.


Kerwin and Grandpa

Kerwin's picture of Mom and Dad

Kerwin's cowboy costume

Carving a pumpkin with Grandma and Aunt Rachel

Fun Pics

Kerwin at the park (in Bengals game day attire)

Kerwin's first trip to the Olive Garden

Kerwin at the Harvest Party at church

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Adoption Prayer Request

I talked today with friends of ours who are also adopting from Haiti. When they began their adoption, they were told that there was a birth mother who had given the child up for adoption and that there was no father in the picture. Now they are hearing rumors that the birth father is back in the picture and he is not willing that the little girl should be adopted. To their knowledge the father has had no contact with the girl in years. They are obviously very upset with this news because it could certainly slow or stop their adoption process for a period of time. Their orphanage will continue to work with the lawyer to process their adoption till such a time as these rumors are confirmed or denied and then they will proceed appropriately from there. They are continuing to believe that God will bring to completion the work that He has called their family to. They are asking that many would join with them in praying that God will unite their family soon and that the enemy would not be allowed to interfere with their adoption process. Please join me in praying for Chris and Lisa (mom and dad) and Gigi (their daughter).

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Shriner's Hospital evaluation

We went to Shriner's Hospital today to get Kerwin's initial orthopedic evaluation. He was seen by the nurse, the doctor, had x-rays taken and saw the physical therapist all in one visit. It was so nice because they have everything in-house so they just moved us from one exam to the next really quickly. The x-rays showed that his pelvis and spine were fine. The doctor said that he does not want to jump into any treatment at this point. Instead, he wants us to participate in a month-long home physical therapy program to see what shape we can get the legs into with routine stretching. Then he will see Kerwin again and re-evaluate him to see what progress has been made and what the best course of intervention would be at that point. He did not seem to be leaning toward surgery but instead would consider bracing or casting the legs for a period of time to lengthen his tendons. But the big hit of the day was with the PT. She gave us a loaner walker until we can come back for a full PT assessment and order another one. But the loaner is beautiful. It is brand new and shiny green. Kerwin loves it! He was immediately flying up and down the halls in it. He is a bit reckless. We will be working on control here in the near future. But it will give him so much independence to always have something for balance. Especially since he will be starting school in the near future.

We have an appointment on Friday to get his referral process started to send him to the Kentucky School for the Deaf. I am so anxious for him to have someone else to learn sign language from: someone who is actually fluent in American Sign Language! He will learn so quickly in that environment. After a few days, he will be teaching me. I'm going to have to work hard to keep up.

Tomorrow is the pediatrician and Occupational Therapy evaluation. He did such a great job today and we were there nearly four hours. I hope he is not too burnt out when we get there tomorrow. Hopefully there will be lots of fun new toys like they had at Shriner's.

Kerwin at the pumpkin patch

Grandma and Aunt Rachel took Kerwin to the pumpkin patch Saturday while we went to the UK game. He was upset at first because his daddy was not going with him. (He did not care that I was not going with him). But by the time he got to picking out the little pumpkins he was feeling a bit better. He enjoyed the horses and told me about them later. There were two horses and black and a brown one and he wanted to ride the brown one.