5 months ago we met this shy, quiet little boy and he barely smiled. He wasn't sure about us at all. Once he got used to us a bit, he seemed to think we were okay, but he really thought of us simply as the next nannies to come into his life. He had no concept of family. He also had a really hard time being told "no" and we learned pretty early on that this little guy is a very, very stubborn guy. In China, we talked over and over again about how easy Lily was and how hard Noah was.
Boy were we wrong!
It turns out that once he got settled in, this little boy is funny, sweet, & a pretty happy-go-lucky boy. I mean, don't-get-me-wrong... homeboy can throw. down. Occasionally, we still see that stubborn little boy emerge who wants it his way or else we will allllll pay. Overall, though, we don't see that many fits from him. He doesn't say mean things to us. He hugs us and tells us he loves us and he is just a very happy, chill dude.
When he got home, we decided that the best thing for him was to stay home with Daddy. School could wait, he first needed to learn about family. He needed to learn that his mommy and daddy and siblings are different than his nannies and orphanage classmates. He needed to bond with us, attach to us, and have months of repetitively having his needs met before he would be ready for school. We are so glad we made this choice! We are so glad Matt said goodbye to his Coast Guard career to be a full-time Dad. Noah needed him and Noah has made huge leaps in every area because his daddy put him first and chose to stay home.
When he came home, he was in pretty rough shape on the medical and dental side. He had a very large, very hard tummy; the result of poor thalassemia care and malnutrition. After taking care of his immediate need for transfusions, we scheduled dental surgery. This poor little guy had a mouthful of teeth that truly resembled a coral reef. We're not sure what the cause was, but he had to have a lot of extractions, caps, & fillings. A few days after his surgery he was looking in the mirror and pointed to the silver on his teeth. He told me "Mommy, I like this. It like pirate!" Haha!! Since coming home he has also been eating on demand. And he demands food a whole lot. ;) It's not that he's truly hungry, but as a child who has known hunger, he fears it. We've adjusted the snacks around our house to provide some healthy, low calories options just for him to have throughout the day as his fear sets in. We want him to know that we will always meet his need for food and hopefully in time, that obsession over it will start to loosen its grip. The side effect of all the eating and fresh blood transfusions is that his belly has shrunk and he's already grown over 2 inches since coming home! We are really hoping to see this growth trend continue, as even after adjusting his birthdate to 5 1/2 years old, he will still not be on the growth chart for his age. Grow buddy grow!!
Noah Hongjie has come a very long way in this first 5 months. He will be ready for school this fall. He's attached. He understands what Mommy & Daddy & Family is now! He loves his family and we love him. Yes, he fights with his sisters and is fully immersed in the sibling rivalry around here alongside Laila & Lily, but that's okay! We just can't wait to see what the next few months bring for this little guy. I can't believe he waited so long guys!! I just don't understand why so many boys with thalassemia, just like him, are waiting right now. If you knew this kid like I do, you'd be lined up for those boys I tell ya! ;)
Noah Hongjie, you are the cutest, sweetest little guy. You have a long way to go, but you've already come a really long way from where you were. We are so lucky and blessed to be your forever family. Happy 5 months a Wilks bud! We love you and can't wait to see all that God has in store for your life.