Since DJ and MJ were born, we have noted that they have some relatively minor anatomical quirks. These issues can significantly affect their functioning growing up if not dealt with early.
Possibly due to crowding in utero, DJ’s ankles were turned inward. Soon after they came home from India we took DJ to a pediatric orthopedist who put her left leg in a cast for several weeks and then followed up with a brace that she wears several hours daily. Without these interventions DJ would have had issues walking normally. I believe the weight of the brace has actually increased her lower body strength and helped her walk earlier and even better than her twin brother!
MJ’s issue was less noticeable early on, but as he got closer to his first birthday we noticed his left eye was turned inward. We took him to a pediatric ophthalmologist and he recommended putting an eyepatch on the better eye for a couple hours each day until the eye position could be surgically corrected. MJ had his surgery on Monday and we are overjoyed with the results. MJ is finally seeing the world in 3D and the look of wonderment on his face, seeing him make direct eye contact with us is so beautiful.
During this season of giving thanks, I have been sensitive to the fact that there are no guarantees in life. No matter how you go about becoming a parent, nobody will ever promise you perfect babies. But once you have them, you love them unconditionally. I feel so blessed that these relatively minor issues can be corrected through modern medicine and that all my children continue to thrive.
Last week, we had the opportunity to share some of our experiences for an article about long term gay couples that have children after many years together. Part of the reason we put ourselves out here on the internet is because we hope that our story serves to inspire other LGBT couples and show them that having kids is a real possibility. I just updated the links section with several other sites that provide other family resources for our community.
Coming soon, we are working with a published author to contribute our story to a collection about same sex couples and the journeys they take to parenthood. Stay tuned…
The babies have continued to develop and are both walking and running all over the house. Whereas previously with the older boys it was easier to baby proof our home, it is significantly more challenging this time to keep the boys’ small toys out of the mouths of these babies. However, similar to our experience when the boys became mobile, we are now feeling a bit cramped in this house we have been living in for five years. We spent the remainder of the summer shopping for homes and found a beautiful somewhat larger house sitting on more than an acre of land in a nearby neighborhood so the boys can continue attending the same school. We closed quickly and have spent the last several weeks painting and cleaning in preparation for a move in about a week.
As we approach Halloween and attend various community events, I have worked out a deal with the older boys that if they cooperate with a costume theme along with the babies at family oriented events, they are free to wear scarier costumes at other times and on Halloween night to go trick or treating.
Somewhere, over the rainbow…
AJ and JJ in their scary costumes
A very upsetting story has brought worldwide attention to international surrogacy in Thailand. A straight Australian couple that had twins through surrogacy in Thailand allegedly abandoned the boy twin with Down’s Syndrome while taking home the healthy girl twin.
Baby Gammy, a boy with separated from his twin sister
There is conflicting information about who knew what when. Regardless of what actually happened, it is clear that this surrogacy process was horribly mismanaged, and now the military controlled government in Thailand is looking into shutting down surrogacy as a whole because of this case. I am very worried for the intended parents with surrogacy in process over there. Given the amount of worldwide attention this is getting, I would not be surprised if there are is an international backlash against surrogacy. I would not recommend starting any international surrogacy process anywhere right now.
The babies turned 1 year old July 1st, and the boys turned 7 on July 2nd. We celebrated by piling into the minivan with our awesome nanny Pat and her son to spend a few days celebrating in Orlando. We went to Epcot July 3rd and spent July 4th at Magic Kingdom. It was very hot and crowded but I am very proud of what we managed to accomplish despite our cumbersome crew of 8. The boys were just tall enough to have their first ride on Space Mountain!
July 4th at the Magic Kingdom!
DJ and MJ are definitely developing faster as full term babies than AJ and JJ did as preemies. They are eschewing the bottle in favor of solids and sippy cups. They are now both crawling, pulling to stand, and are awfully close to taking their first steps!
AJ and JJ finished a great year as 1st graders in the gifted program of their elementary school. They are spending the summer reading the Harry Potter books together with Josh and just finished the first volume. Watching them read together brings me full circle to July 2007 when Josh waited on a line at midnight for a copy of volume 7 and then went straight to the hospital to read out loud to AJ and JJ in the NICU. Some of the nurses teased Josh saying that he was spoiling the books for AJ and JJ by reading them the end of the series. But I have to believe some of their current fascination with the books has its roots in rudimentary memories of their Daddy telling them about Harry, Hermione and Ron’s adventures from outside their plastic isolette incubators.
Maybe we will take them back up to Orlando at the end of the summer to visit Harry Potter at Universal Studios!