We left at 5am to head to Seattle. It was a winter wonderland the entire way. The pass may have been the worst we've seen in. The good news is that the speed limit was reduced to 35mph. We finally arrived at Children's, a tad late.
Zihao was seen by speech first. He makes most of his sounds really well. She says he may never need speech therapy. Yes. True story. We are going to get his hearing aids and then re-evaluate after that.
Then Azlan was seen by orthodontia. I loved this lady. She was soft hearted and totally laid it out like it was. Interesting combo but I think I'm similar. I was crying at some of her news but kept saying "don't sugar coat it".
So in her words "his underbite is severe. There's mild. Moderate. Severe. And he's definitely, definitely severe. In fact if you have ever described it that way...you have not exaggerated one bit." She asked about how he eats meat. I told her it's always been a problem but now at his age, he usually says "can I have something else, I can't chew meat". And she said he really has no way of chewing meat so he can't have it. Or biting into an apple.
She said it does appear as though he's missing 3-4 adult teeth and some of the ones he has...are in the wrong spot. His front tooth that's coming in at a 90degree angle...won't be touched until after his big jaw surgery. That made me choke up a bit, there's no doubt. It's really going to be obvious and we can't touch it...braces...nothing...until after his surgery. Because bone development is so vital for his surgery, we can't even risk weakening it.
She said because of the severity of his underbite he may need his jaw broken before his big surgery. His upper jaw is just 'off'. It's smaller, narrower and ... ahhh.
When is his big surgery? We aren't sure yet but we should have a timeline soon. It depends on his eye teeth and when they come in. What is it? He will get bone removed from his hip and grafted into his jaw to fill in the cleft of his dentural arch.
She said he has a long road ahead of him but that we are committed to helping him the best we can.
Then Azlan saw speech therapy. This lady has seen Azlan since he was a tiny newborn...with a gap in between when we switched to Spokane for a period of time. She doesn't come across as super warm...I can't quite read her. However...yesterday...I read her quite well. She started going through the pictures with Azlan and then turned her head to the side. She went to talk and she put her hand up to her mouth. I started to ask what she was thinking when I saw a few big swallows and she said "This...this just made my day. This is incredible". She then marveled that it's only "been 6 months since she's seen him last" and I had to tell her he's only been in speech for a few sessions of December and all of January. She couldn't get over that. She said it's unbelievable progress. Really remarkable. If I didn't quite get how excited she was, the next provider came in and said "wow. speech is so over the top excited about Azlan's progress...what happened?" :)
Then we saw social worker and craniofacial.
Taizi's only appt of the day was craniofacial.
We don't really have answers and may not about Taizi. She wonders if he has his own little "taizi clock" that really ticks when it wants to. He's not growing. He lost .5 of a kilogram. He eats more than ever before and still is on fortified drinks. Therefore the nutrition is not doing anything. He's grown 4cm since we adopted him...yet if you look at the chart it shows him grown 2cm then the next week shrinking 2cm so there is definitely human error in there and I might give him 2cm total growth...which...is nothing in 15 months with extreme nutritional changes.
After all of that we went to the dental clinic for Azlan. He had so many X-rays and photos and then molds made of his teeth. Poor boy was so brave but he was fighting the full blown cry at the end. I was talking him through it...counting how long he had left to have that nastiness in his mouth.
By the end...I was tired. Really tired. Was up at 4am to leave at 5...a long day in the offices and then back on the road for another wintery drive home.
Dean and I were talking on the way home about how often we hear "I can't believe children with clefts are considered 'special needs' for adoption...it's so cosmetic". Yes this one is personal for us...but that really is ... simply not true. Now maybe for many ... it is. Zihao seems to be one of those children. Minor cleft, no speech issues etc. But for Azlan...? It's not 'merely cosmetic'. He's 7 years old. In intense speech therapy...has a long road ahead of him with multiple jaw breaks ahead yet.
This is a boy who needs courage for the road ahead...there is no doubt. I hope and pray he sees the way he was made...as someone created on purpose...for a purpose. He walked out of Children's with a stethoscope around his neck yesterday. "Meet Dr. Azlan Walker" he said. And I wondered...