Noah Update – 2 Months Home

Noah trying a hamburger for the first time - he was so excited and apparently it was everything he dreamed it would be!

Noah trying a hamburger for the first time – he was so excited and apparently it was everything he dreamed it would be!

That's Noah in red and that basket went in!  His favorite new thing on the playground.

That’s Noah in red and that basket went in! His favorite new thing on the playground.

Noah and Toby walking in the neighborhood - they both are (almost always) enjoying having a brother.

Noah and Toby walking in the neighborhood – they both are (almost always) enjoying having a brother.

Noah getting an EKG at his pre-cath appointment.

Noah getting an EKG at his pre-cath appointment.

Noah with some friends on his first field trip - he had to dress like a pioneer and he had no idea what that was.

Noah with some friends on his first field trip – he had to dress like a pioneer and he had no idea what that was.

Looking out at his first field day - a little intimidating.

Looking out at his first field day – a little intimidating.

Water guns make everything amazing!

Water guns make everything amazing!

With his teacher Mrs. Saffel who has done an incredible job getting him settled in school!

With his teacher Mrs. Saffel who has done an incredible job getting him settled in school!

Brothers hanging out in their PJ's before church.

Brothers hanging out in their PJ’s before church.

Noah's first Mother's Day with a forever mother.

Noah’s first Mother’s Day with a forever mother.

First s'more with all the kids!

First s’more with all the kids!

Holding his cousin's new puppy.

Holding his cousin’s new puppy.

Sisters helping him on his first zip-line attempt.

Sisters helping him on his first zip-line attempt.

I just have to start by apologizing for the long wait for an update on Noah – many of you have asked me, so I’m sorry to take so long. The truth is that there’s a lot going on right now. Our family is adjusting so well, but it’s still a big adjustment. I’ve had quite a few events lately to prep and give, and have been spending lots of time at Noah’s school and getting him settled. My assistant, Donna, has been very sick again – her cancer has returned and is in her brain now (please keep her in your prayers, I love her so much!) which has been difficult both emotionally and for the ministry. We’ve been trying to get all of Noah’s medical ducks in a row. Even my dog has been sick. None of it is overwhelming, and the Lord has been so good to us! But it is all time-consuming, and I’ve let this slide.

So, here’s the run-down of what’s been happening with Noah over the last 6 weeks or so since I gave my last update:

4/8-4/12 When I wrote last, I told you all that Noahs’s mouth was a complete mess. He had black and rotten teeth that were literally falling out of his mouth. We knew this was a big problem, but we didn’t realize how serious this was for a heart kid. Our cardiologist got him in as an emergency and when we went for the consult, they told us it could be months before they got him in. Then the surgeon took one look in his mouth and said, “You get my first opening.” We were in surgery three days later on April 12. He ended up having eight molars pulled, but thank the Lord, they were all baby molars and his permanent teeth will come in fine over time. He also had 3 major abscesses that they told us could have killed him at any time – the infection could have gone to his blood stream and with his heart, it would have been over. We had to do it in the hospital because he had to have anesthesia and that is scary with his heart too, and I will say, it was very traumatic. He is very frightened in hospitals and has very bad memories there, so it was a difficult day for all of us to say the least. However, he feels so much better now, and we are so relieved to get all that out of his system.

4/11 This same week we found out that Noah tested negative for pretty much every vaccine which means he either didn’t have them or they weren’t good. Poor kid. He has to do the entire vaccination series again, but they didn’t start them this week because of the dental surgery.

4/13 Noah saw an eye doctor because they told us in Guangzhou that he needed glasses. The entire way there, he was telling me, “In China, glasses, no cool. I no glasses. Glasses no cool.” I told him glasses could be cool in the United States if you got cool glasses and he obviously was not buying it. “I, no glasses.” Finally, when we saw the eye doctor, he couldn’t use traditional methods to test Noah because he has so little English, so after Noah couldn’t read the letters anymore as they got smaller, the doctor made an educated guess and held lenses in front of Noah’s eyes. Noah gasped, grabbed them out of his hands, flung them up and down to look with them, then without, then with them, and then yelled, “Oh dang! I glasses!” It was pretty hysterical even as I tried not to laugh. We ended up finding glasses with “lucky red” on the sides and he decided he would live even though it took positive comments from kids at school before he believed me that it might not be the end of him socially.

4/14 While getting Noah breakfast this morning, he looked around, sighed, and said with a smile, “I like you. I like family.” I almost fell over and cried in the kitchen.

4/15 Our dog, Ivy, had to have dental surgery and Noah spent the whole evening with her after she got home. He just petted her gently and told her he knew how she was feeling because he had had dental surgery too, and that she would be better soon. It was so sweet.

4/17 Noah went to his first birthday party! My friend’s son, Micah, invited him to a laser tag party and he thought it was incredible. He had no idea what he was doing, I was afraid he would be unable to do it physically, but it turned out there was more hiding than running and he loved it. He also thinks cake is pretty awesome and was excited to learn that it might be available to him on his birthday. 🙂

4/18 They scheduled Noah for his heart cath on May 31st. I am suddenly so afraid of all that could happen with the open heart surgery. I thought I was all good, but I guess not. God has been so sweet with me, and has given me my peace back, but it’s only in Him.

4/19 Noah had to have 5 shots at once today. There was a small window that worked since they don’t want to do his heart cath too close to them, but they also want him to have some protection before it, so poor kiddo had to do them all in one day. I told him ahead of time and he took it like a champ. He’s so brave.

4/22 I left for the first time for the weekend to do three shows in IL (see previous blog post). So hard to leave him and he was a little stand-offish when I got back. Trust is hard. I was happy that he warmed back up to me after a day or so, and hope that as he adjusts and realizes I always come home, this will be easier for him.

4/27 Noah and I have been going together to school for half days for a couple of weeks now. Last week I went with him in the mornings and then left him for a couple hours in the afternoon and he was doing well. He told me today, “I ready!” meaning he wanted to go to school full-day by himself. Sadly, he got sick and ended up staying home after all that week. But the next week he went and he did great – his class has been so amazing to him, and he loves his teacher, Mrs. Saffel.

5/1 The pianist I worked with for years at my old church was retiring, so we went back to Faith Covenant to celebrate with her and Noah got to meet many, many people who had/have been praying for him.

5/6-5/8 My in-laws came down and Noah got to meet his grandma for the first time and see his grandpa again. He has loved having so much family, and I have been touched to see how openly everyone has just taken him into their hearts.

5/8 Our first Mother’s Day with Noah. Don’t even know how to put that into words.

5/9 Noah went to his pre-check at the cath lab to get ready for his “small heart surgery” in the cath lab on May 31st. This is to prep him for open heart surgery later in the summer. He did okay, but he is still very nervous about hospitals and all medical things. One of the medical people had somewhat pointy teeth and he asked if she was a vampire. Sheesh. This is me, cringing. I’m so sorry! But this woman works in a Children’s hospital, so she just answered without missing a beat, “Maybe, but you’re lucky – you only come here during the day!”

5/14 We got out the firepit on a beautiful evening and taught Noah to make s’mores. He thought this was frightening but interesting. He hasn’t learned that the word “scared” is different than “scary” so he kept saying, “This fire. I very scary.” We kept giggling. He’s so stinking cute! And s’mores were a hit!

5/16 I’m back from Nebraska (see previous post) and just realized that we haven’t used Google translate for anything but the occasional vocabulary word in about 2 weeks. Really. We are absolutely shocked by how fast he is picking up English. We think he now understands 80-90% of what is said to him, and he can totally communicate what he needs to say in English. When our Chinese friends come over now and speak to him in Chinese, he answers in English. He tells us he is American. We will start him in Chinese school this fall because we don’t want him to forget, but right now it is very important to him that he is like his new family.

5/20 Today was field day at school. I thought it would be impossible with his heart, so I came with him, and he ended up staying for the entire day! He only sat out a few stations – I was absolutely shocked. Nathan and I have already seen an amazing improvement in his stamina since he’s come home. I think it’s just because we took the restrictions off him. In China, they don’t let the heart kids move much because they think it will kill them, but our doctors here told us they really wanted him in better shape before his surgery, and we see it happening before our eyes.

5/22 There was a baptism today at church and I got to explain what it was to Noah. He thought it was interesting and wanted to know more. Then he wanted to know if the water was cold and told me, “I probably never do this. Unless I do this with warm water. Can I warm water sometime?” Which was pretty funny to me. I told him if he wanted to be baptized we would definitely try for warm water, and he seemed to think that took care of it.

5/23 Noah has been telling us for quite some time that he loves us. But tonight, when I put him to bed, he whispered it in my ear and it was different. I know he was saying it for real, not just as a phrase we say. Such a beautiful moment and it made me cry.

All of May. Noah has seen about a zillion music recitals, auditions, competitions, and shows because all of his siblings are involved and it’s May. That’s what May is. Poor kiddo asked me if we really did have a concert every other day all year. Nope. That’s just May. Okay, and December. I promise it won’t always be like this!!

5/24 Today we received Noah’s Certificate of Citizenship. From my Facebook: I told him it was a very important document, and he asked why. I couldn’t figure out how to explain it with limited English, so I just said, “It means you live here in the United States” and he looked very serious and said, “I stay here, right, mom?” and I said, “Yes, you stay here forever” and he punched both arms up to the ceiling and yelled, “Yea!!” What I didn’t say there was that I had no idea if he would think it was a good thing or not that he was here forever – he still misses China often. So that response just put me over the moon for him and for us.

5/28-29 We took Noah up to meet some of his Michigan cousins and he ended up having the best time of his life. He touched a chicken. He played with their new puppy. He tried a zipline (yes, these cousins have an incredible yard!). He shot people with Nerf guns. He got in the car to come home and immediately wanted to know when we were coming back! And then he fell asleep for 2.5 hours. 🙂

Tomorrow morning, 5/31, Noah has his heart cath. This is first of all to see if the heart procedure he needs is still possible – he should have had it many years ago and it may be too late. If it is possible, they will also do a “smaller heart surgery” by cath to prep him for open heart surgery this summer. Please pray for this. In the world of heart procedures, this is not a terribly scary one, but there are still serious and major risks. I would be lying if I told you I wasn’t very nervous for him. He asked me tonight if “we could just skip tomorrow, mom” and he cried quite a bit before bed – he’s very scared. We have already seen so many amazing miracles with every part of this and we know that God has Noah in His hands, no matter how this goes. And we would love your prayers for Noah’s safely, healing, and emotions as well as ours.

Thank you so much!

3 Responses to “Noah Update – 2 Months Home”

  1. Susan Rabold says:

    W O W! Lots going on with you ALL. The pictures are GREAT! Had no idea your daughters are as big as you. What a special family picture but Nathan is missing. How does Noah relate to/with Noah? Looks like the “brothers” piece is going good. Sooo glad for that! Love the blueberry funny too! What a hoot – can just pictures that vividly! : ) DO email us all when surgery is near as we WANT to pray before, during, and after. Noah sure is blessed and a blessing also. God brought him here to be a member of your family – HE will bring Noah through this surgery. : ) PTL always! Hi to your mom, Beth, Jennifer. Thanks you. XOXO’S with our Love, Ron and Susie

  2. Jodi Abbinanti says:

    So glad to hear things are underway to bring about Noah’s healing. Praying that Noah is trusting as he goes through this procedure and that he will know that he can believe your word to him. It has surely been a whirlwind a you make many adjustments and meet all the needs. Keep your eye on the prize! The vision of a well boy! This is the joy set before you that will enable you to continue to endure. Thank you for sharing. Grateful to have an update. May the peace of God guide your steps.

  3. jennifer says:

    Jodi, you have been such a encouragement through this whole thing – thank you so much for your faithful prayers for us and for Noah! We appreciate you. Noah is doing really well with the news. He’s a planner and has been asking us pretty much since day one when his “big surgery” will be, so I think it’s actually been a relief to him to have a date. I am frankly scared to death, but God has given me peace in the fear, and that’s a strange and beautiful thing.

Leave a Reply