Caden: 15 Month Update

Caden is probably the most beloved member of our little family. Everyone loves Caden! Recently his personality has been coming out and it’s so much fun to watch. He’s been hitting so many milestones recently that I wanted to capture them so his someday forever family can look back with him and see what a little ham he was as a baby!

Language

Caden’s language has been taking off recently! He babbles all the time and will scream to get our attention if he feels he isn’t getting enough. Right now his only word is mama or amma which he uses to get my attention. At night he sleeps next to my bed in a bassinet and some nights when I put him to sleep at 8 he is not interested in sleeping. I usually rock and sing to him for a couple of minutes and then do work in my bed until he falls asleep. The other night he was not happy that I was ignoring him and repeatedly called mama to get me to come play with him! He cries when he doesn’t get his way- like if he ayah walks out of the room and doesn’t take him with her. He also makes a popping noise with his mouth on demand- which is the cutest thing ever. Caden is blending sounds and it will be only a matter of time before he is saying other words!

Personality

Caden is the biggest ham! He has the smile we call the flirting smile- he catches someone’s eye from across the room and then turns his head down so you can see his beautiful lashes and eyes in all their glory. He is always happy as long as someone is playing with him. He loves to play peek-a-boo and with the shape sorter pieces. He thinks it’s so funny to throw the pieces of the shape sorter and then whine when they are out of reach. Caden is a bit of an Indian prince. He is quite spoiled by his ayah, the cleaning ladies, the cook, me, the other ayahs and the list goes on. Someone is always playing or talking to our sweet boy and he loves the attention. He is quite wary of men though- probably because he is surrounded by females all the time! I think Caden is going to grow up to be quite the ladies man, he is already an expert at wrapping people around his finger! For a while he was in a really bad stranger anxiety phase and would only go to me, his ayah, and if neither of us were there one of my other ayahs. He would scream every time he was set down and would not look strangers in the face. Although it’s a good sign that he shows attachment it was an exhausting phase. Luckily he seems to be growing out of it and will now interact more with people that his is familiar with.

Gross Motor

Gross Motor is one area where Caden really lags behind. He is sitting up unassisted and hardly ever falls over anymore. He screams whenever I put him on his tummy- the longest tummy time I’ve ever got him to do was three minutes. Some of it might be pain, he usually has blisters or wounds on his chest area, but I think some of it is that he doesn’t like the position. He resisted sitting up at first so I think it will take him some time to warm up to the idea of tummy time. I can put Caden into a 4-point crawl and he will hold it for about ten seconds before screaming and refusing. When he is sitting up he will reach for toys outside his immediate surrounds but when he can’t get them he gives up. He doesn’t seem to have much motivation to crawl or explore his surroundings. Most kids with EB can walk so I’m hoping he will become more interested in crawling and walking in time. Right now it’s okay because my apartment is not exactly EB friendly to a little explorer!

Fine Motor and Playing Skills

Caden loves to play and manipulate objects. He loves his shape sorter toy and any toy that makes noise. He still does not have any teeth but I think part of it is because he doesn’t really mouth objects. He will play with them but they rarely go into his mouth. Caden will clap along with music or to imitate. At night time when we do prayer time he will do prayer hands if we ask him. The other night my ayah’s son Darren, Julie, and I were playing hide and seek behind the big curtain in the main room. Caden was sitting nearby and played along too- covering his face with his hands and cracking up when we “found” him. Caden loves to play with Darren, they will sit and play with toys together. Julie also likes to hold Caden although Caden is not as fond of Julie as she is of him! Caden cracks everyone up with his antics and expressions!

Skin Care

One thing we’ve noticed about Caden is that his skin tends to go in cycles. He will have a good week or two and then a bad week. Overall though his skin is looking good! During a typical daily dressing change he typically only has a couple of small blisters that we have to pop and most of his wounds heal at a good rate. Using Vaseline and Tubiafast has made a huge difference with his skin! Right now he gets a bath once a week. Ideally he would get one every other day but right now I’m trying to work it up to twice a week. I’ve found that introducing change slowly is the best way to get long term change for Caden. When the nurses who do his care discover for themselves that what they are doing makes a difference then they keep doing it- even on days when I’m not there to enforce it. Right now we are trying to source some cheaper options for Tubiafast and Mepiplex so if anyone has any ideas please let us know! We have to bring the specialty items over from the States and rely on donations to do that. This is not an ideal long term solution so we are trying to figure out some different options for times we either run out of donations or can’t get any new donations. Even during his dressing changes Caden is a happy baby. He rarely cries as long as he is distracted and is generally cooperative!

Prayer Needs

  • Pray that a forever family will step forward for Caden. He needs to be adopted soon so he can receive quality medical care for the rest of his life. India is not an easy place to have EB and he needs more specialized care than we can provide
  • Pray that we can continue to either receive donations that will keep Caden in his specialty wound supplies or find local alternatives that provide him with the same level of care
  • Pray that he will develop no complications from his EB and that his skin will become ever stringer as he grows older
  • Pray that Caden will become interested in crawling and walking and that we will be able to protect his skin when the time comes

Caden is such a joy to have in our family! Somewhere along the way he became my baby, my babu. He is very attached to me and I’m pretty protective of him. Whenever he is crying the ayahs always come get me and tell me my baby wants me. He is the cutest baby at SCH, in my opinion. I cannot wait to see what else he will accomplish over the years- I think the Lord has big plans for this little boy!

To receive access to the password protected blog post and see photos of Caden please email me at colleenawilliams22 at gmail.com

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A Day in the Life

I’m sure at this point many of you wonder what exactly I do as a foster mom in India. Every day is different and holds its own surprises but we have a general routine that we follow in my home. Today was a good representation of what my life in India looks like!

Various times throughout the night Caden woke a couple of times throughout the night. He sleeps in a bassinet next to my bed so I’ve gotten pretty good at rocking him back to sleep while still lying down.

7:25 One of my ayahs Ramana wakes me up and gives me chai. Usually I’m awake by 7 but Caden was up several times throughout the night and we both somewhat slept in.

7:30-8:00 I drink my chai and spend some time on my computer. I book my ticket to fly back in December after my visa break and use this time to check Facebook and my email

8:00-8:45 I hang out with my kids and get some good snuggles in while their ayahs bath them and get them ready for the day.

8:45-9:10 I eat breakfast down stairs. It’s upma today, one of my least favorite breakfasts but I eat it anyways. I read my daily devotional and my bible down stairs where its quiet and I can do it uninterrupted.

9:10-10:00 I spend some time with Julie and Katherine working on some physical therapy goals. Julie is working on holding her head up and sitting unassisted, both of which she hates. I stretch Katherine out and do some tummy time with her.

10:00 Three of the volunteers helping us with rescue home preschool come and help me get my kids down to the baby floor so we can start preschool

10:20 After several huggie changes and chasing all the kids down we start preschool.

10:20-12:40 Rescue home preschool is in session! Usually the first half of preschool is more teaching based with Cynthia leading the class. It’s always slightly chaotic as we have about 18 kids with various special needs in one room but it works! The second half of preschool is more play based and we take turns working 1:1 with different kids. Today I worked with Penny on balance exercises and communicating more, with Thomas and Valor on stretching, and with Katherine on some sensory integration in addition to a couple of other Rescue kids. We have a team here for the next two months and have three of them helping us with preschool which is a huge help!

Music time during preschool

Music time during preschool

12:45-2:30 One of the foster moms from Jubilee, Michaela, comes over and we walk to a pharmacy to find an ointment that I need. I have a wound from a procedure done while I was sick that is not healing. I spent Monday and Tuesday at the doctor trying to see what is wrong but we’re still not sure why it won’t heal so I’m trying yet another medicine. After the pharmacy we walk to a nearby restaurant and get Chicken 65 and butter naan and catch up on how life is going.

2:30-4:00 When I get back my kids are done eating and its nap time. I walked too far and now my foot hurts so I spend nap time in bed, reading a book, and starting this blog post.

4:00 Afternoon chai and a culture lesson from my ayahs about the Hindu festival, Ganesh Chaturthi, that starts today.

4:30-5:30 It’s a nice day with no rain so all of my kids go outside and I take turns working with them. Penny plays with some shaving cream and thinks it’s the funniest thing ever. Julie isn’t feeling that great but I manage to get a smile out of her when I let her make a fake phone call on my phone. Thomas’ 1:1 comes up and spends some time stretching him out and loving on him. Katherine is asleep and won’t wake up. Valor just loves being outside in the sun and alternates between giggling and napping.

Penny and shaving cream!

Penny and shaving cream!

5:30 I check in on Caden’s daily bandage change. Lately I haven’t been helping as much as I used to. The nurses have gotten really good about implementing what Christine (the Swiss nurse who taught us a lot about wrapping Caden) and I have decided are best practices for his care so I can be less hands off. But I still like to check and play with him for a bit during his change.

6:00 My kids start eating dinner and I go to talk with the nurses about Julie who has been having stomach problems for a week now. We decide that she needs to go to the doctor tomorrow.

6:30-7:45 I eat my dinner and then hang out with my kids. Caden sits with me most of this time and “talks” to me. One of my ayahs is going on leave for four days so we say goodbye to her.

7:45 All my kids and ayahs get together and we sing two worship songs, do our nightly prayer, and read a book. Tonight’s selection, chosen by Julie, is “Won’t You Be My Hugaroo?”

8:00 Bed time kisses and everyone is in bed!

8:15 Caden finally goes to bed and I finish up this blog post and will eventually make it to bed.

Today in a nutshell! Every day in India is different and holds its own unique challenges and triumphs. But I could not imagine being anywhere else at this moment!

August Updates

I had big plans to write individual updates on everything all my kids have accomplished in the month of August but then I got sick. And my recovery is taking much longer than I would like so I have not been able to get back to working with my kids on a consistent basis. But August was a great month for all of my kids! We started a preschool in Rescue home so every morning they all go down stairs and get to do circle time, sensory play, academic work, and free play. I’m so grateful for the structure it provides for them- even though I’ve been confined to the hospital or my bed I know they are getting at least 3 hours of stimulation a day!

Caden

Caden is my spoiled baby. His ayah Ramana spoils him and he is hardly ever without either Ramana or me. He is babbling up a storm and said his first word, mama. Ramana insists he is saying amma, the Telugu word for mom because she wants his first word to be in Telugu, not English. He also pops his lips and makes a cute fish sound on command now. Recently we have seen some great improvement in his skin. He went almost three weeks without any new blisters and all his old wounds healed on one leg. This is huge because it allows the skin on that leg to get stronger and means the toes on that foot are staying healthy and not fused! Overall he his skin has been improving, the two nurses he do his changes have commented that he has less blisters. Using Vaseline and some specialty wound supplies has made a huge difference in his skin. His skin improvement is a good thing because Caden is showing some interest in crawling! He can hold a four-point crawl and is attempting to get objects outside his reach. Although the thought of how we will have to wrap him and baby proof the apartment once he starts crawling stresses me out a bit!

Katherine

Sweet little Katherine is growing up so much! I swear her hair grows longer every day. It’s a mess right now as it grows out but someday soon she is going to have some great hair. Katherine has an interesting sleep cycle. She is awake for about two hours and then sleep for one or two hours. This is all day, even at night time. Melatonin does not seem to make a difference nor does spending time in the sun. We joke that she’s an American because she’s usually up at night time. Katherine is also the best eater in my house. She never turns down food and is one of my only children at a normal weight for their age! I’ve been working with Katherine on experiencing different objects and textures. She hates it but seems to be tolerating it a bit more. She’s also getting better head strength and is able to hold her head up for about 10 seconds during tummy time. Katherine’s ayah really loves her and always tells me she is such a good girl because she never gives her any problems eating or sleeping!

Valor

Valor is still cracking himself up. He loves when we do nighttime worship and prayer. He gets laughing and kicking his legs. Thomas has severe scoliosis but the doctors have decided he is too young for any type of surgery. Instead we’ve been attempting to position him better, which is a challenge because he is one of the more spastic kids I’ve ever worked with! About half the time Valor sleeps during preschool and the other half he is awake and ready to learn. He loves when I read books to him and enjoys kicking himself around the floor in circles. He hates when I put him on his stomach and make him do tummy time. I think Valor understands more of what goes on around him then he lets on. Pray with me that we will discover ways to tap that in the upcoming months!

Penny

Princess Penny is still the joy of the rooftop. She makes me happy every time I see her. Her new thing is rolling all over the apartment. She will go from her bed to the door and then back to her bed. Never on command though and usually when my back is turned to her. The other morning she rolled from her bed to the mat Katherine is sleeping on (usually Katherine sleeps in my room but her ayah has her next to her bed while I get better) and she chilled there until everyone woke up. Penny has joints that hyperextend so at one point the doctors were talking about surgery. They have decided it would not make a difference but we still have little direction about what to do. Her knees hyperextend every time she bears weight. It doesn’t seem to bother her that much but it’s not a good position for her to be in. I think she could learn to walk if we could figure out what to do about her knees! I’m working in teaching her to sign more. We were having some success with some close approximations but we haven’t worked on it since I’ve been sick. Penny is always my gigglebox and a great snuggle buddy!

Thomas

Thomas is still my old soul of the house. Recently we were told he needs another hip surgery. His hips are completely out of socket and cause him a fair amount of pain. We’re still deciding what to do but leaning towards not doing the surgery as it’s a long recovery progress and would give him little relief. Thomas enjoys being read to and getting massages. We have a passport team working at SCH for the next 3 months and Thomas is getting a 1:1 buddy for an hour every day. His buddy Kimberly knows about massage therapy so she has been working with him on relaxing his limbs which has been great. He is very spastic and has several contractures so hopefully she will be able to give him some relief. Thomas loves preschool as well; he takes it all in with his soulful eyes!

Julie

Julie is my sassy diva. She has the cutest little grin that she flashes to anyone who walks by. Julie has been doing great with building her strength back up. She’s able to hold her head up for one minute at a time without support and can sit unassisted for up to fifteen seconds on her own. She loves when we put her in cute dresses and chats up a storm all the time! Cynthia, who runs the preschool, told me that Julie was sitting in the back of the school room the other day. Usually she sits up closer to her and Julie was not happy about being in the back. She made a fuss to get her move her closer so she could be in on more of the action. I love seeing this side of Julie, she cracks me up with her diva demands and smirks! We haven’t made much academic progress recently but hopefully we can pick that back up soon. I know Julie is smart, it’s just getting her to try!

August was a busy month! We are getting into a routine of sorts up on the rooftop and I’m hoping to see even more progress in my kids in the upcoming month. If anyone is interested I have an Amazon India wishlist of items that my kids need. The exchange rate is 1 USD for 60 rupees and the items come straight to my house. Also prayers for my health and all of my children is always appreciated! September is looking to be a busy month. I’m switching my house to cloth diapers and there is never a dull moment here!

To gain access to the password protected blog posts with photos please email me at colleenawilliams22 at gmail.com 

Small Mercies

For those of you who do not know I spent all of week last in the hospital. What started as a small scratch on my ankle turned into cellulitis and a raging infection. I do not think I would have made it through the past week and a half if it weren’t for the small mercies I received.

I’m thankful for the nurses at SCH who recognized that I needed medical attention that they could not provide. They helped me navigate the Indian hospital system, sat with me in the emergency room, and used their connections to help me whenever possible. I had several incompetent nurses during my hospital stay that made me so grateful that SCH had nurses that not only care but also know the medical side.

If it weren’t for Katie my hospital stay would have been miserable. Katie is a volunteer and friend who stayed with me for the first 4 days at the hospital. Katie endured sleeping on an uncomfortable bed in a shared hospital room and helped me do what I could not. She advocated for me to get the pain meds I needed when I was in too much pain to do anything but cry. She made me laugh and helped me to the bathroom way too many times one night when the crazy amount of antibiotics made me sick. And she made quite the impression on the staff. After my stay in ICU to receive morphine they refused to release me until they had called Katie despite the fact there were other people there to help me get settled into my room. I’m so grateful the Lord brought Katie into my life and that she was willing to stay in the hospital with me!

The cooks were another bright spot in my hospital stay. They spoke more English than the nurses and became our friends. They made us only the best food and went out of their way to make sure we were happy with what we got. They even woke us up early one morning to personally deliver fresh dosa to make sure we got it hot. We looked forward to their visits and their food.

Michaela traded out with Katie for my last 2 days in the hospital. If it weren’t for Michaela I don’t think we would have made it out of the hospital. By the end of my stay I was done with the hospital and could not wait to get out. The discharge process was not easy but with Michaela’s help we pushed through and made it out of their Monday night. I’m so thankful for her willingness to stay with me, even if I was grumpy and ready to leave.

Although I was not the biggest fan of all the doctors and nurses I encountered there were several who went out of their way to make sure I was being taken care of. Even though I felt like I was trapped in an outdated American hospital I’m grateful for their care and concern. Even if I was too white for them to find my veins.

Spending a week in the hospital was not a part of my plans. It was the furthest thing from it. But I can still see God’s hand in all of this, teaching and guiding me. Showing me what my children have gone through during their hospital stays and teaching me to be still. I’m slowly getting back to normal. I am walking around my apartment and using crutches for longer distances. Although I feel rather useless at the moment, unable to really work with my kids or get around completely on my own, I know this is all apart of a plan greater than I am. And someday I will be able to laugh at the stories from my hospital stay and not shudder at the thought. I would appreciate prayers during this time for a complete healing and peace of mind for my current season of rest and rehabilitation!