Monday, December 20, 2010


Things are going well here in the Browning house. A little hectic at times, but that's not new. Max and Ivanna are adjusting, and so is everyone else. The children have been home now for a little over two weeks. We have noticed the most change in Ivanna so far; who by the way is currently sitting in my lap watching as I type. It is just her and I up late - and now I am learning my lesson on allowing her to have late naps. ;)

Ivanna seems to be finding her voice. She often grunts or make other noises. We didn't see her do much of this prior to being home - so we think she is just sort of getting used to making noises. She doesn't seem upset or angry, just making noises.

She also is crawling EVERYWHERE! Her favorite place to be is in my kitchen, perched at just the spot that I make her bottles, as if to tell me to get busy!

Another new accomplishment for Ivanna is that of enjoying baths. She absolutely hated them when she first came out of the orphanage. We suspect they sponge bathed her. She screamed the whole time we bathed her. Not now. She LOVES them. She splashes and crawls around in the tub.

Is it just me, or does her color look better? She is also packing on the pounds. She truly is blossoming already. It is quite astounding to be apart of her becoming more healthy.

Ivanna is not impressed with my obsession of hair pretties for my girls. Watch as she shows me what she thinks of the whole thing...

This is when I put it back in her hair. Ohhhh ... but that little pout is adorable.

Ivanna wasn't about to smile anymore for me.

Max sucks his little fingers all the time. We are now trying band aids on them to prevent him from doing so, but then he just goes to the other hand. Any suggestions?

Max is so very inquisitive. He is trying to touch the camera here. He just wants to figure everything out.

I have a feeling that Justus and Max are going to be best buds.

Super Cuteness!

Max is doing great. He had a swallow test done on Thursday, but I have to tell you - it was a bit frustrating. There was nothing "swallow" about it. They put a feeding tube down his nostril and then strapped him to a board to see the barium on their monitor down his esophagus, in his stomach and intestine. I thought the whole point of the "swallow test" was to see him swallow and to see if he aspirates. You see, when he drinks liquid, he immediately gurgles, coughs and throws up. He also has a bit of reflux when he eats. So, the test came back normal - and now I am just perplexed. He has been given reflux meds - but they are not helping. Anyone out there have any ideas?

Appreciate the prayer and all the sweet comments. I hope your Christmas is a blessed time with family and friends.


MissyB said...

They are BEAUTIFUL!!! I am praying for you all, praying for thier adjustment. I hope I get a chance to stop by again soon! Please continue to pray for Brian. We are on pace with our Dossier to have it there in Feb. Very excited and Lord willing hope to go get him asap =)

Luba said...

Wow, look at Ivanna's chubby cheeks! So wonderful! Praise the Lord for all the progress. I bet she'll be walking very soon! And talking! Very excited for your family. Merry CHristmas!

momto6kids said...

The kids are just breathtaking! Good job, mama!

We are bringing home our boys in 3 days! TODAY is Gotcha Day!

Both of our boys chew/suck/mouth their hand and fingers as well. Matthew especially does this to the point that his fingers are red and swollen. I plan to put mittens on his hands; the kind with a velcro strap at the wrist to help him break this habit. I'll start off slowly doing this only minutes at a time. We'll see how it goes. If I come across any other ideas, I'll let you know.

Our guys also do not eat 2 and 4, so it will be interesting teaching them to chew and swallow! But then again, our 20 month old also refuses to chew or swallow even remotely chunky food so maybe it is an issue common to Ds. I don't know. Again, if I come across any good chewing/swallowing solutions, I'll pass the info your way.

bringing home Matthew and Michael, (4)

Leah said...

My Angela (14 with DS) was a finger chewer for many years. Until we found this stuff. Worked GREAT for her. It's very cheap, so worth a try, I guess.®-Stop-0-3-oz/dp/B000O2SXNA

Gretchen Thibault said...

That didn't sound like a swallow study.

Gretchen Thibault said...

Veggie stix/fries/straws from Costco....was Stas' trick for learning to chew and lateralize food. :-)

Leah said...

Me again. I should have read the WHOLE post before commenting. LOL A "Swallow study" is a deceptive name. It's really called an "Upper GI", and is looking for reflux, but RARELY is reflux caught because the test is to short and the child has to just happen to reflux during those few minutes.

The test needed to look for aspiration is a "Video Swallow", and needs to be done with EITHER and Occupational OR Speech therapist attending. They will be looking at the actual swallow sequence, the movements of the tongue etc.

Katie said...

Ben has sucked on his fingers since he was weaned, and it is virtually impossible to break him of it completely. He uses it for comfort, and since I sucked my thumb for (shh) 11 years, I understand the need. BUT, in saying that, there is a danger of getting infections if he sucks them to the point of the skin breaking down. When he has strep, it goes to his fingers, and it is painful for him. When I needed to, I got a long sleeved shirt that was a size bigger, and hand-sewed the sleeve shut so his fingers would have a chance to dry out and heal. If Max is chewing as well, or just needs that oral input, I would highly recommend getting a chewie for him. Ben really likes the ones that smell like chocolate!

(OOPS, Did I already talk about this, maybe for Ivanna? I am feeling some deja vu coming on. That would be embarrassing...)

Autumn said...

Oi!!! Your post made Josh and I frustrated! Ok here is our story, Caius was having terrible reflux. He ate by mouth until 4 weeks old then they put him on a NG tube (through his nose) and that is how he ate for 3 months until he got a G tube (thru the stomach). Ok the doctor at 5 weeks old ordered a swallow study and a milk study to check for relfux. For both studies they put the junk down his NG tube. They asked about him swallowing but he wasn't able to at the time (and still isn't) so they just did it that way.

Now a year later the Speech therapist at the hospital and the one that comes to the house asked if we have gotten a swallow they study. I say yes and tell them. They roll their eyes and say what a waste of time it is to do a swallow study when the child isn't swallowing!!

It was explained to me that they are checking for aspiration so using to the tube to bypass the larynx is ridiculous!! Which upsets me because that is 'x' amount of radiation that didn't need to be given to my baby. The speech therapist at the hospital and our developmental pediatrician both said that it needs to be scheduled again but only with a certified speech pathologist there to moniter the test.
I'm so sorry he had to endure that. My heart hurt reading your post about it. Baby torture!!!!

Come to find out Caius' 'reflux' was actually a food allergy to milk, soy and gluten.

OT: I have to tell you I think of Ivanna often while I spend time with my boys. Their skin is so dry from dehydration. I just keep thinking how they will florish once they are busted out. Just like Ivanna!!
Hugs to you my friend! Autumn

Tom and April said...

ahhh..those sweet babies! Ivanna's color does look so much better. I absolutely adore the pouting pic. Max the one with a close up of him- his attention caught on the camera and his eyes gorgeous! His gaze seems really focused and progress looks to be coming. I have no advice for you except to say I will be calling you when it is time to ween Jax of sucking those same two fingers :) Love and miss you very much sending you all hugs and prayers!

*Tasha* said...

Thank you for keeping us updated! I often get a bit sad when I follow families who adopt and then they just totally drop off on updating. And you're finding time in the midst of all your children, Christmas, events, and whatnot, to blog! WOW. You are amazing! :)

Also, that's WONDERFUL about Ivanna! You know, you could get her a child microphone? Like something that amplifies her voice.. she might find that fun or interesting... and if she doesn't, one of the others will! :P She probably learned that making noises at the orphanage didn't get her ANY results so she stopped....basic psychology but so sad that she may have learned that basically nothing she does will get results from others. Oh, I am SO glad she's in your family now!

Have they gotten their hearing checked? Sorry if you did post about that.

I would be frustrated with the "swallow" test too! I've had a swallow test AND also the tube-down-nose thing you mention... the tube-down-nose is mainly to measure for acid reflux but you should definitely get a real swallow test, where he has to swallow graham crackers with the chemical spread on it, and some other foods with different textures.

I was wondering if I could send you an email? It's about a RR orphan and I would LOVE for you to help me promote her.... maybe pass it out to your church family? I have a letter I wrote and would love your help or ideas.

-A fellow Washingtonian!

Mcarthur Mile said...

I love the pout face!!! I can't get over how taken back I was by Ivanna when I met her. She is the sweetest little girl, I just love her. Max is so handsome, I can't wait to come over again! Ivanna's cheeks are so chubby! Glad to see you guys are doing well, I think we will be over on the 26th, maybe we could swing by?

Looking Up said...

Both of the kids look great!!! Sorry to hear about Max's reflux. My son has had two barium swallows & 2 of the "upper GI...strap the kid down with a tube down the nose & tortue him" type tests. In my son's case, the swallow tests were to check for aspiration & the other GI x-rays were looking for any esophogeal or duodenal abnormalities. I'm kinda surprised that no actual swallow test was done for Max, if they are suspicious that he is aspirating. It sounds like you are right to question that. You may want to consider getting a second opinion??? I'm also curious to know which anti-reflux meds Max takes. My son was on Zantac for a quite awhile, but his reflux never really seemed to improve until we switched him to Prevacid. I hope that your little one is feeling better soon! Have a Merry Christmas!

Lacey said...

Uh, yeah, that wasnt a swallow study since he didnt swallow. It sounds like he needs one though so I would push for the right test. It does sound like an upper gi that they did. They look so fantastic! I cant believe how much arina changed so fast. She also screamed in the tub for the first couple weeks, so I dont think they bathed them.

Anonymous said...

May I use one of these photos of Max for a video I am working on? My blog is
Also could I use a photo of Ivanna?


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