On this day of celebration, we also want to remember the miracles of the last two years.
April 13, 2013 and the birth of a little boy at 25 weeks gestation.
One week later the email that would change our lives, the life of a young woman from Texas, and the life of a micro premie...
"I'm sending a unique situation over. T had a hispanic baby boy on April 13th. She has named him Noah. He weighed 1lb 13oz and is in the NICU. T has already relinquished but is still in our birth mother housing until she chooses a family. I texted her case worker today for an update on Noah. Last I heard, he was surprising all the nurses & nicknamed the little fighter in the NICU. He is a little famous cutie in there with with an adorable head of dark hair...
I didn't send this out to you earlier knowing out of state families might hesitate... but I thought I would at least try as T is feeling hopeless about a family to be in place for this precious boy...
Just got an update from her caseworker. Spoke with the nurse attending to Noah for this morning shift. Noah is doing well. He is on a pic line and is tolerating food well. He hasn't had many bowel movements. He has been stable in his breathing and blood pressure. Continuing to watch him and let him grow and get bigger."
We said yes and when he was two weeks old we found ourselves in the hospital lobby signing the paperwork that finalized our decision; we would parent this little one, no matter what.
And then we walked into the NICU to meet him for the first time.
Three months later, with cheeks on both ends of that tiny body, we were finally on our way home!
But just a few months later we learned that our Little Fighter, our miracle of miracles, had Optic Nerve Hypoplasia and the pediatric ophthalmologist declared him completely blind.
We mourned what was lost but we also trusted a God who had already done so much in this little life and who so beautifully orchestrated his journey into our family.
At one year old we praised God for the miracle of good health, developmental progress, and rolls of fat!
And now he's 2!
And a dollar bill tradition continues.
This winter was a bit more trying than his first with sickness after sickness. At the end of this month we have an appointment with a pediatric endocrinologist in Philadelphia to get a second opinion on whether or not Victor has any of the endocrine issues that so many of the children with ONH have to deal with.
We are praising God that in this last year he was discharged from PT after not only learning to walk but to run, hop, climb, and jump as well. He is always moving and prefers to be outside. He loves swings, slides, and trampolines. He is fearless when trying new gross motor activities. He loves water and the pool.
He has a pre-cane to practice orientation and mobility but around the house he is so familiar with his surroundings that he sees no point in using it. He is, however, quite fond of the "Bump and Turn" exercises we do with the pre-cane.
And after he passed those gross motor milestones, the speech just took off and waterbottle was one of his first words. Now he copies everything. Like most of his peers, his favorite word is no although it is usually followed by a very sweet, "No sank oo." He can be most demanding but knows how to turn on the charm. He sings the words to his favorite kiddie songs and knows the Frozen soundtrack as well as his sisters do. He gives himself directives such as No banging, Be careful, and Not in your mouth but he doesn't listen to his own advice. And then he gets mad when we tell him these things.
He loves his family and we love him. He's not as friendly with strangers. In response to their friendly, "Hello," they can usually expect a quick swat by Mr. Victor or at the least, an emphatic, "No," followed by the friendlier "No sank oo" he knows will be requested by someone in his family. He struggles when around his peers, most likely because they aren't narrating the environment and thereby warning him when they are close. All of a sudden there's a little body in his space and he does the thing he does best - hit. The only thing I can say is, we're working on it. Think of what it's like from his perspective and give him time.
Like many visually impaired children and adults, Victor has trouble staying asleep at night. He used to at least be pleasant during these middle-of-the-night fun fests but more and more frequently they are filled with screamed requests for things that he can't possibly have or do in the middle of the night. We might all (except Victor) be forced to sleep with eye plugs soon.
And as for his vision? We know he can see light. He points out every lamp wherever we go and wants to touch them. He loves toys that light up and puts them right to his face. We are also pretty sure he has some kind of usable vision. Put a bunch of snacks on his tray, and he will likely choose just one. He will reach for something on the floor. Give him another year or two and he should be able to tell us what he can and cannot see.
Yes, Victor Noah King is our miracle baby! This song is for you, Mr. Victor (Glorious Unfolding by Steven Curtis Chapman)