Archive for May, 2012

Medical Expedite!

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Wednesday.

I admit it.  I was a mess after those emails last Wednesday.  I got the first emails around 4:00, right as I was leaving the house for the evening.  I was shocked, and worried, and sad, and frustrated.  And I just wanted our boy home.  My emotions kept bubbling to the surface during the evening, but I kept pushing them back down.

After I got home, I put all the kids to bed, composed myself the best I could and called our agency.  (I had to wait until after 11pm to call.)  ”I just want him home.”  They understood.  And they would look into expediting us.  I hung up the phone and everything spilled out.  I can’t remember the last time I sobbed myself to sleep.

Thursday.

Morning came, and I wasn’t doing much better.  I was still aching to know if our boy was okay.  There were still too many unknowns.  I needed  answers.  Our Chinese tutor came and I asked her if she could help me compose an email.  After talking for a few minutes she said, “If you have a phone number, why don’t I just call?”  So we called.  Here is what we found out from the ayi.

  • He CAN move his arm enough to eat, dress, write, etc.  Phew!
  • He can NOT lift it high, above the level of his shoulder.
  • He can write, but his handwriting is not like it was before the accident, and he tires quickly.
  • He is not attending school because boys can be…a little rough.  She wants to make sure he’s fully healed before sending him back.
  • He will need another surgery.
And then the ayi put Minyu on the phone.  ”Mama!”
That one word rendered me speechless.  I finally managed, “Minyu…”  Then (in Chinese) I asked him if his arm is still hurting.  It isn’t!  ”We all miss you very much, do you know that?”
“I know that.  I miss you all too.”
Well, that small conversation was enough to heal my heart, and put a smile on my face that lasted for the rest of the day.  (Not to mention, fan the fire in me to get him home ASAP!)
I handed the phone back to our Chinese tutor, and she talked to the ayi a bit more.  She told her we were going to try to expedite the process.  The ayi didn’t know that was even possible.  She gave a sincere offer to help, and said she would do whatever we needed to make that happen.  She seemed genuinely…excited? anxious? at the prospect of Minyu coming home sooner rather than later.  I think he needs to, and she knows it.
Friday.
Our agency agreed to help us expedite the rest of the process!!!  This is GREAT news!  Without an expedite we would travel about 2 1/2 months (10 weeks) AFTER receiving our LOA (which we are still waiting for).  That’s mid-August.  With the expedite, we could travel in as little as 5 weeks–1st week of July.  WOW!!!  Of course, it could also be anywhere in between 5 and 10 weeks.  We won’t know until we complete each step of the process.  We will ask for an expedite with each step, and it will be given–or not.  No way to tell before hand.  Here are the final steps, and the estimated timeline:
  1. LOA: (Letter of Acceptance from China) still waiting, and have been for over 10 weeks.  Fortunately, we were allowed to do the next step without having to wait for this any longer!
  2. I800 approval:  15 days  (normally you can’t even apply for this until after you receive LOA).  Thankfully, we have already been waiting since May 25th!  We’ll hopefully receive approval sometime around June 11th.
  3. Cable: normally 8-10 days  (all these approvals gets sent to the consulate).  If they expedite it for us, it can be as quick as 1 day!
  4. Article 5:  normally 15-20 days.  Expedited can be as quick as a 1-2 days.
  5. Travel Approval: normally 2-3 weeks.  Expedited can be 5-14 days.
  6. Get Minyu!:  10-20 days after Travel Approval.  Let’s hope it’s 10!!
Our prayer for many, many months now has been to get Minyu home quickly–if that’s what he needs.  Well, after little delays all along the way, I was beginning to think getting him home quickly wasn’t part of the plan.  How quickly things have changed!  I feel like Minyu’s accident was a small miracle–injured enough that he needs to come home sooner, but nothing life threatening.  This has helped me remember that I’m not the one in control here.  I know that…but I forget.  It has helped me remember that there is an omniscient and loving Father who knows and loves this little boy in Puyang, who will bring him home exactly when it’s time.

 

6th Care Package sent, 5th got returned, and a scary update

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

We prepared our latest care package and had it sent yesterday by our Chinese tutor.  (Thank you, Lucy!)  And just before she arrived yesterday I got a strange phone call.  I couldn’t understand what the man was trying to tell me so I told him I’d have our Chinese teacher call and talk to him.  Long story short, it was the post office.  My package was being returned.  What package?  The last time I sent anything was 6 weeks ago.  Yep, it was the April care package.  Ugh.

Well, the 6th package went out yesterday with a really awesome coloring book, colored pencils, and colorful handwritten notes from each member of the family.  Oh, and some of our favorite snacks so he could share with friends–Oreos, Ritz crackers, and Pocky sticks.

I was so disappointed to find out he never got a package last month that I decided I should email the orphanage so they could let him know what happened.  They emailed back.  With a very scary picture and an update.

Not the kind of update picture I was expecting! This is his shoulder.

“Some time ago, Pu Min Yu was skateboarding, wasn’t being very careful, broke his right arm, underwent surgery, and is now not going to school.  He is still recovering.  Now his right arm can not move out, everything is normal. I put current photos, lest you worry about him. ”  And a subsequent email read, “He can lift his right hand now, but not as easily as before, and not very high.”  And later at night I got one more update, the one they sent to our agency.

“On April 3, 2012, [Spencer's birthday] he was playing on a skateboard at the orphanage. He fell and fractured the upper end of his right humerus. He already had the surgery to set the bone, and he spent 14 days recovering in the hospital. He needs to wear the arm cast for half a year.”  (Where is the cast he’s supposed to be wearing??)

I am so sad for him.  For several reasons.  First, I would not want to spend one day in a Chinese hospital, much less two weeks.  In a Chinese hospital, nurses do not take care of you–feed you, help you, etc.  That is the family’s job.  I hope there was someone there for him, because I certainly wasn’t.

Second, he is not going to school.  He is a top student in his class.  He loves school and really excels at it.  The only thing that was making this wait bearable was knowing that he was happy, attending school, and keeping busy to make the time pass quickly.  Well, now I know he is languishing day after day in the orphanage, and has been for almost 2 months.

Third, I think he needs OT and PT sooner rather than later.  I know they can’t give it to him there.  Puyang is definitely one of the better orphanages I’ve seen, but they just can’t provide that.  And where is his cast??  It says he’s supposed to wear one for half a year!  I am worried about permanent damage here.  I want him home.  Now.   And we’re still at least 2 1/2 months away from bringing him home.

Fourth, what are his current self-care abilities?  He was very independent.  I don’t think he can write–which explains why he hasn’t written us again.  Can he feed himself, or dress himself?  Can he bathe himself, brush his teeth, use the bathroom by himself??   His left arm is very short, and doesn’t have an elbow…so I just don’t know.  I will be asking for another update today.

Fifth, why am I just finding out??????  We have been waiting over 2 months (since March 19th) for our final approval letter from China. If we had known about this, we could have requested a medical expedite and probably gotten that letter in a couple weeks.  And yet we’re still waiting.

Where is his cast??? And his smile...

The bright side?  It could have been much worse, and in fact, I know of parents that have received worse updates.  Like finding out their child is hanging on to life by a thread, or that their child is too sick to even make it home.   And I know of waiting parents who have gotten the update that their child has passed away.  I can’t imagine.  So a broken arm is not the worst thing in the world.  But when it’s the best arm you’ve got…sigh.

I have talked to our agency about getting a medical expedite for our sweet boy.  They are contacting China, and  I will be writing a letter for the U.S. side of things explaining the situation.  Here’s hoping we can shave some time off the wait!!  Please keep Minyu in your prayers.   It’s time for him to come home.