Thursday, January 30, 2014

HAPPY 2ND BIRTHDAY!! *a busy few days*

january 28 marked solomon's sixth month home!

after solomon's readoption heari

january 29 included a court hearing to complete solomon's readoption!

january 30 celebrates solomon's 2nd birthday and his first real birthday party!

our sweet boy has no idea what all the fuss is about today.  obviously, we still need to indoctrinate the idea of "birthday = excitement."  poor solomon is mostly just confused about all the singing and candles, but he sure doesn't mind the cake.  HA!

God is so good.
life is finally calming down a bit and feeling "normal."  at least we're realizing what "normal" with three little boys looks like in real life!
we have much for which to be thankful.  THANK YOU FOR SHARING IN OUR JOYS!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

6 months HOME!

solomon has now officially been home  for SIX MONTHS!
and we can barely begin to tell you about the we'll mostly show you:

october 2013

november 2013

all dressed up for auntie's wedding
january 2014

when we brought solomon home in july, nine month baby clothes were hanging off of his skinny little frame.  he ate every 2 hours (mostly formula from a bottle) for the first 2ish  months.  if we fed him more than 6 ounces of anything, his poor little stomach revolted and everything came back up.  smiles came, but we had to work hard for them.

six months later, a chubby solomon fits snuggly in eighteen month toddler clothes.  he no longer takes a bottle, but drink whole milk from a cup by himself and eats table food...LOTS OF IT.  he is a "typical toddler" who jumps and runs and laughs and sings and hugs and cuddles and.....*sniff*  it is a miraculous thing to see how a child thrives in a nurturing environment.

people always ask, "isn't international adoption hard and expensive and risky?"

Thursday, September 12, 2013

the other two....

Remember how we now have THREE boys?
In case you thought we forgot the two big boys in all the Solomon-celebrating, here are Ethan (7) and Josiah's (3) birthday portraits for this September:

Thursday, September 5, 2013

*one month HOME*

This post has everything you want:
loads of pictures
bullet point updates
a little boy home with his forever family

This format may be because i finally heard your requests for "short and sweet"....or it may be because we now have three boys that may light themselves on fire if our attention is diverted for more than 30 seconds.
(Dear social worker potentially reading this: we really do have all the flammable items locked up.  our boys super powers just include spontaneous combustion.)

Within the first week home, we had ben's sister (check her out!) take some family portraits for us:

And now a month later, here how we've changed from a timid, skinny baby to a laughing, smiling, chubby toddler:

Gotta love that RED hair!

*Solomon as packed on about a pound and grown almost half an inch taller!  can you say CATCH-UP GROWTH?!  We actually got a high-five from the nutritionist because Solomon's rate of growth is currently 38 g/day (normal catch-up rate is 15-30 g/day!).
*Cardiologist is very happy with how Solomon's heart is looking.  Yes, the hole is still there and is still rather large, but his pulmonary system is strong and the heart is no longer enlarged.  We are still taking heart medication and going in for check-ups every 2 months, but she does not anticipate the need for surgery!
*Bonding and attachment is amazing.  Seriously.  We were prepared for so much worse and while not "easy," everything has been on the "manageably normal" side!  Originally, Solomon would only wander a foot or two away from Ashley at any given time.  Now that he's feeling more secure, Solomon's "tether" is significantly longer at home and in public.
*No more intestinal parasites!!!!!!!!!!!!  Thank you, modern medicine, for making diaper changing survivable.
*Vomiting has lessened considerably.  Rather than a "my tummy is too small to eat more than 6 ounces at a time" issue, its a food control issue.  "I don't want to eat peaches and just to show you how much I don't want to eat peaches, I shall now empty my entire stomach contents."  Fun times.  But we're making progress and the weight gain proves it.
*Sleeping through the night is a far away dream....yes, one day he'll be 16 and we won't be able to wake him up.  But right now?  A full, uninterrupted 6 or 7 hours sounds like heaven.  One thing that is really super fantastic about night feedings is the bonding time.  We're making up for all the night feedings we never had with teeny, tiny, newborn Solomon.  Sleep-training will the meantime, be patient with us as we wander around in a stupor for awhile longer.  *grin*

It is still surreal to have Solomon home.  We are exhausted and thrilled and thankful and overwhelmed and SO SO SO JOYFUL.  As Josiah said this morning: Count your blessings...and your chocolate chips.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

one week...and a few a days.

It has officially been one week and two days since we landed on US soil with Solomon.  One week and two days as a family of FIVE...and, oh my goodness, the craziness!  The joy!  THE LAUNDRY!!
We are overjoyed to be in the "three boys club."  Solomon is learning to be just as loud and dirty and loving as his two big brothers...

A quick review of life with Solomon:
*Bonding: AWESOME.  Such an answer to prayer!  Solomon totally identifies us as Mom and Dad and seeks us out when he needs comfort or food, etc.  At home, he cries if Ashley leaves the room and will quickly run after her...there's about a four foot tether.  We've ventured out to a few places (grocery store, church, the library) and the tether shrinks to about two feet.  All over normal and wonderful.
*Eating: Food continues to be a challenge.  Solomon is still regularly taking a bottle and began eating more solid food about four days ago.  Unfortunately, we are still having issues keeping the food down...things come back up regularly.  We're not sure if he just has an amazing gag reflex, trouble swallowing, or a teeny tiny tummy that just can't handle big people food yet.  He likes yogurt and tolerates bananas and sweet potatoes.  Little bits at time...
*NOISE: Solomon is l.o.u.d.  Seriously.  We know that most of you have not experienced this side of him so just trust us.  When he wakes up at 5:00am, it is impossible to keep him quiet.  He's jabbering and delivering beautiful soliloquies about this or that....all very elaborate and unintelligible.  But he sure does like to hear the sound of his own voice when no one else is talking!  HA!

What's coming up?
Thursday morning is the big pediatrician appointment to get a grasp on Solomon's overall health.  Then, we have an appointment with the pediatric cardiologist on the afternoon of the 16th.  Please pray that God would guide our doctors in the best ways we can get Solomon back on track with weight and heart health.  His cough seems to have improved with the antibiotics.  He is also still taking the heart medication from last week...hopefully, we'll see how things have improved!

Adoption is not easy.
But it is SO worth it.
It is still surreal to see Solomon playing with Ethan and Josiah or sitting at the dinner table or sleeping in our arms.  There are still reminders of the life he has had for the first year and a half his life ("rocking" himself to sleep in the crib breaks our heart).  But there is great joy in looking back at the impossible and seeing God's Hand move.  ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE WITH OUR AWESOME GOD.

And now for your viewing pleasure:
Adventuring outside with his big brothers.

First time in the swimming pool!

All the boys in the pool.

Learning to love Mimi (which isn't hard to do!)
Tiny bits of strawberry lemonade popsicle.

First grocery shopping trip!  We survived!  :)

Wednesday, July 31, 2013


 We made it.
Our family of FIVE is HOME all together.

The Cain Family of FIVE

We'll give you a quick update on the past few days!

Before we left for the airport in Ghana on Saturday, the Bethany team in Accra came over to our hotel room for a visit.  It was a joy to spend some time praising God together and marveling at the incredible miracle of adoption.  The team really cares about the children they place in US families so this was a special time for them to say goodbye to Solomon.
The Bethany team in Ghana: Naa (Country Director), Solomon (Program Director), Ebe (Case worker)

Our flight from Accra to JFK did not leave until 10pm, but we arrived around 5:30 to check in, etc.  It is quite to process to get through the Accra airport so we only had a few hours to kill while we waited to board the flight home. 
Passing time in the Accra airport.

While we had every scrap of paper we might possibly need to prove that Solomon was legally our son, it was still nerve-wrecking to go through immigrations.  We did not doubt that God had gone before us, but we still felt twinge of concern to prepare for the worse.
So anti-climatic.  
The Ghanaian immigration officer was happy to see Solomon in a family and encouraged us to return with him when he was old enough to remember.  Even the customs/security officers moved us to the very front of the line when they saw that we had a baby.  Solomon was a champ and jumped through the hoops with us quietly and without protest.  When we got through all the security checks in the airport, Ashley couldn't help but cry..when we took off from Accra on time, Ashley cried again.  We were really bringing our long-awaited-third-son HOME!
The flight to JFK was about 10 hours long.  Teeeeeen.  Hoooooooours.  Looooooooong.  But again, Solomon was amazing and slept most of the way.
Solomon snoozing on Mama during the first leg of the trip home.
Once we landed in NY, we had to clear immigration and customs.  God went before us and we had no trouble walking through the last few steps to make Solomon a US citizen.  WOOHOO!  Our plane arrived about 20 minutes early too, so there were no lines through immigration/customs...we cleared through JFK border controls in record time!

A few thousand miles and several nap sessions later,....

...and we landed in Sacramento with family and friends waiting to greet us!

We have now been home for three days with Solomon in our care for about a week.  It has been joyful and exhausting at the same time!  Ethan and Josiah are loving on their new brother in ways that amaze us.  Every prayer from them begins with "And thank you, God, that Solomon is finally home."  *melt*  

Playing with our food.
Ethan & Solomon
Ethan & Solomon
While the adoption process is DONE (AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!), the next phase of this journey is just beginning.  We are just beginning to understand who Solomon is, what his first year and a half of life has been like and how it has affected him, etc.  Our family needs to change and grow to meet his needs.  Our two big boys need to learn how to demonstrate love to their third amigo.  There is much work still to come as we now RAISE three little boys to be Godly men.

Please be patient with us as we slowly acclimate to our new dynamics.  We will be keeping Solomon close to us as we facilitate bonding...don't be offended if we don't offer for you to hold him, etc.  We need to establish ourselves as mom and, Solomon is super shy and easily overwhelmed right now.  In big groups, he goes blank and will give you nothing.  :)  In smaller settings where he feels comfortable, however, he is goofy and chatty and active.  You'll get to see that side of him eventually.  Just give it some time.

Please pray for us as we also seek to meet Solomon's physical needs.  We have a check up scheduled for next week and then a meeting with the pediatric cardiologist the following week.  There are some "food issues" already apparent so pray that Solomon's nutritional needs are meet too.  At 18 months, he only weighs 17 lbs...we have a lot of catch up growth to pack on!
Smiles before bedtime.

Trying new foods...sort of.
We will continue to post updates as we can (i.e. when we are able to keep our eyes open past 8pm)!  Our hearts are SO FULL and we are happy to share our joys with you.  Thank you for walking along with us...let's celebrate God's faithfulness in making one less orphan!!!

Friday, July 26, 2013

fun in the challenge!

Day 2 in Ghana started with waking up at 12:00am to a sick baby. Poor thing. Fever, throw up (all over the bed), was a long night. After begging Solomon to drink some pedialyte, his fever finally broke and we all slept for about 4-5 hours. Whew!
It was a challenging night...but it was totally awesome. Why?  Because when you are sick, what's the one thing that you always want:
Your mama.
Solomon had his mama AND dada devoted solely to his wellbeing last night. 

Praise God. 
Praise God that we could be with him and care for him. 

When he woke up, he took awhile to reacclimate: "Who are you again?"
His tummy was still out of sorts so he wasn't too interested in any breakfast besides a bottle.

But after we returned to the room, he warmed up and perked up. We played soccer and catch and peekaboo and a thousand other games with no name but "love."

Little boy crashed hard for naptime after playing so much. 

After naps, we ran to the pharmacy for some medicines to help make the trip home more pleasant for a sick baby. In Ghana, you can buy "prescription" medications with just a pharmacy doctor's signature required. And medications are SO much cheaper...which is nice since we were cash customers. :)

Next, off to visit the orphanage one last time.  We had purchased some food (eggs and chicken) to donate as a very small "thank you." And we wanted to speak a bit more with Solomon's main care givers to ask some questions, etc. It was a joy to see how many of the caretakers and staff came out to say good bye to "Ephraim." He is well-known in the nursery for his little personality.

We had a final meeting with the Head Mistress, who was very kind and encouraging to us. The Regional Director of Social Welfare (Benjamin Otoo) also happened to be there (we had met him back in March) so it was nice to visit with him. 
Solomon made his last few moments at Osu Children's Home memorable, however, as he exploded his diaper and dribbled poop all over the head mistresses office carpet.
Thankfully, we had come prepared with a clean change of clothes....HA!
And so, Solomon left the orphanage a lighter man...

Our final stop was the store to buy a few more cans of formula to help the transition back at home. And on the way home, Solomon again exploded his diaper and the promptly fell asleep.
Ahhh, the joys of being a child. :)

At the hotel, we woke him up and took a bath...which he LOVES. 

Then bedtime...
No more fever or throw up.  Pray for no more diaper explosions tomorrow....since we'll be on a plane for 27ish hours and all. 

So much joy. 
We are eager to board the plane at 10pm Saturday night, but also very thankful for this focused one on one time with our youngest son. 
Please pray that we can sleep well tonight, that Solomon feels better, that we board the plane home with no immigration issues, and that the long journey home is full of love and further bonding.