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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Boy am I behind!

This post was written back in Sept. but I couldn't get it to post then. So, I decided instead of deleting it and/or adding onto it, I would just post this one as is. I'll try to do some updating soon. Darya has definitely had her ups and downs and we ended up with about 3 really bad weeks after school got started. But she has leveled off some for the time being. I had wanted to post when we were having some of the really bad days, so I could hopefully more accurately indicate what the really bad times look like. But, alas, there has been no time. I will say, no matter the bad times, I have never regretted adopting Darya, have never even considered this a mistake, etc. Darya is my daughter and I am her mother and I am so very blessed!

I'm really bad at this blogging thing...and don't have time. I don't have internet at home any more so I also have to look for time and places to access. But enough excuses, let's get on with the update.

Darya is doing well but still struggles with some behaviors, engaging, and not zoning out so much. She is trying to communicate more and more (signs, gestures, noises) and seems to understand more and more. I can tell her to get her milk out of the refridgerator and she will go straight there and get it. The biggest issues we have are pinching, biting, pushing, and hitting. These are still daily, consistent issues. I'm so tired of redirecting, telling her no, and trying to curb the behavior. Most of the time its not hard. Its more of the point that she is doing this. Darya will also pinch herself when she is stressed and sometimes when there doesn't seem to be an issue. She especially pinches her stomach and thighs. She also mimics or plays out being grabbed, slapped, popped in the mouth, bitten, and spanks herself all the time. She will hit herself on the bottom of her feet, calves, inner thighs, and even genital area sometimes. This is how Darya plays with dolls and stuffed animals too (on the rare occassions she acknowledges their existence).

Darya is now a kindergartner!

First day of school! She liked the book bag

She rides the bus to and from school! Big girl!

Darya is in a self-contained classroom for k-2. Darya would not be able to learn in an inclusive setting right now as she requires too much engagement and is easily distracted and overwhelmed. Even in the self-contained setting, we are trying to get her a one on one. She seems to like school and even lets them make her do crafts or color sometimes (Darya is so resistant to anything like this). She does good about peeing in the potty but is still no where close to being bladder or potty trained. But we're working on it. Initially I'm not sure she even realized when she was peeing or not.

August 31, 2013: Happy Metcha Day!

Monday, June 10, 2013


I wanted to give a brief update on Darya b/c I have seen so many wonderful changes lately. She has been with me for 9 months now and in the US for nearly 9 months (by the end of the month). Although Darya is not as advanced as some children and does not always do as well as other children that are just coming home, I can say she is doing wonderfully and I am very proud of where she is now. She is still no where close to potty training but she is showing signs that she understands she can "make" the pee pee come on out when needed. We were having issues with her peeing on the floor after having already going in the potty some. One issue is most likely the constipation (still a work in progress). But the other issue seems to be not emptying her bladder. She is now trying to empty her bladder or will try again when told to. She signs and SAYS (yes, actually speaks) "aw gun" when she is "all done."

Darya is getting ready to start school in the fall and I have been very pleased with the help and direction things are going. I am excited about her class. It is k-2 only and there are 3-4 kids from preschool coming in so Darya won't be the only one starting new (though Darya is much lower functioning and has never had school or any kind). Also, Darya will be one of 4 kids with Down syndrome in her class. We met Friday for her IEP meeting. The goals are great and very much focused on the assessments from the school for the deaf. The EC dept. has already requested a one on one for her to help her with the behaviors, speech, feeding/potty time, etc. I'm very pleased with the direction. We are going to visit the school to help her get accustomed to the school without many people around and so the teacher and other staff can meet Darya. After we attend open house, we will meet again to decide on staggered start, half-days, or full days for Darya.

This weekend, Darya showed me some EMOTIONS! That may not seem like such a big deal but Darya generally reacts the same to things: getting loud, making more noises, and misbehaving. This weekend she seems to not feel good. I think it may be her ear but am not sure right now. Waiting for a doctor's appointment now. But, one thing I noticed was Darya was whining! Not grumping and making noises but actually whining. Almost crying. Though it is an annoying sound it is one I'm glad to hear. Her behavior has not really been any different. Just the typical toddlerish behaviors. But we have whining. The reason I think its her ear is b/c she's had lots of drainage and won't let me touch one ear at all. I can touch the other ear and clean it out, but not the left ear.

The 2nd emotion I got to observe was fear and timidness! My brave girl who loves water got into her pool with me yesterday. We've been in briefly before but it wasn't filled yet. Darya is able to stand in this pool and the water is only at her waist. Even at that low a level, she's just not too sure. She likes it but is scared. Instead of hitting herself and/or me, making noises, and overall freaking out, Darya just looked scared and hung on to me for dear life! And boy did she have a death hold on my neck. I had to be too careful not to move too fast or anything or she would grab tighter and her face would look so scared. But holding on to me, she would start to relax and play in the water a little bit (just with one hand, of course). She loves water but was a little apprehensive when I first got her in regards to bath time. Now baths are great so I know in no time the pool will be a hit. It was a good thing we got in the pool since I didn't know she had thrown my shoes over the deck. I was able to spy them on the ground while in the pool.

Also, Darya has gotten so big! I haven't measured her since Mother's day, but she seems so tall to me. When I got her, Darya was wearing a size 8 shoe. This weekend, we bought her size 10! 2 sizes in only 9 months! On a sad note, I realized my 2yo nephew's foot is the same size as my 8yo daughter's. But, whatever. And physically, Darya is doing great! Well, aside from that tummy. We are still working with tummy issues. We are trying apricots now and they do seem to be helping her go more. Now I need to figure out what is the right dose for her, etc.

Sorry no new pictures for now. I don't have the camera with me and am just typing a quick summary on my lunch break.

Thursday, May 2, 2013


I was looking through the already home list on RR from 2012 trying to locate a specific family. As I was looking, I was almost surprised by the children that came home all the way in 2012. It seemed like they just came home yesterday.
Then, suddenly, our profile came up!
It kinda shocked me at first and I was thinking there was a mistake. Then I remembered, Darya came home September 25, 2012! She has been home 7 months!
 Tomorrow I attend a meeting to discuss Darya's testing for school and the need for services. I think back to what she was like when we had the testing done. Though she is still very much the same, she is also so much better than she was even then. She is a remarkable child!
Darya has been making a noise when she signs "all done" almost ever since she started signing it. It sounds like the sound I make when I say it. Well, she is now trying to say "all done." Even my sister-in-law heard her say "done" while doing it. She didn't even know what the sign was. She can also sign: milk, eat, drink, more (rarely does), momma (even less than more), a sign she does for outside (its actually "yay" or clapping). There are probably more signs she does that I can't remember. There are definitely signs she mimics initially but then we don't do again. I have got to get better about signing more. Its hard to remember when she understands so much and we are pretty in-tuned with one another.
Darya has learned to unlock the sliding glass door (we call it the patio door). I'm excited she's learned this but it also means additional safety concern. The swing is on the outside of that door and Darya loves to swing. I do have baby gates that can lock her out of the kitchen area (where the door is located) but sometimes Darya is in the kitchen with me cooking or doing laundry and tries to make her escape. We are also using time out when she opens the door so she understands she has to listen and obey.
Well, time for bed. Got to be on time for our meeting tomorrow! 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

It is Done!

Sorry for the delay and not blogging while in country. We didn't even bring the computer since I had so much to carry and take care of Darya as well. In addition, we didn't have internet at the apartment and the connection at the cafĂ© wasn't that good.  
As most of you know, Darya is from Latvia, a very old country on the Baltic Sea that used to be a part of the USSR. I'll do a post about Darya's life in Latvia, where she has lived, and our times in country later.
But for now...this was the best trip yet! Darya and I went alone. She does NOT sleep on planes. She loves take off and landing. She laughs and laughs. Its so cute. The lack of sleep really sucked on the way there as it was throughout our regular nighttime. Plus her tummy was having issues (again). But she did great. After every plane ride on the way there, people commented on how well she did. She was so exhausted. She only slept for 30 minutes and that was while I was holding her. But I couldn't do it for long b/c I started having major back pains. We left our home around 8:30am and arrived in Latvia at what would have been 4am our time. We were both pooped! Darya passed out around 6pm and I followed about an hour later. We slept til 3am, at which time she wanted to eat. We hung out til 5am, then went back to sleep until 10:30am. It was great. While Darya was eating her 3am breakfast, she started signing "home." Broke my heart. I told her no but that we would go home soon.
Our apartment was great and in a great location in Riga. We had a full size gas stove! No hot plates! Our own washer. Close enough to Old Town Riga that we could walk (and did once) to it but the tram stop was a couple of blocks away and we were there in 2-3 stops, depending on where we wanted to go. Riga is beautiful!
After a wonderful day of rest, a play at the park, and picking up some groceries which was also just a few blocks away, we woke on Monday to get Darya's new passport and her medical for her Visa. The in-country agency contact was on their game. Darya's passport was already ordered by the attorney using one of Darya's old pictures (one I don't have by the way) and so all I had to do was sign some papers and we were done. At the medical, the doctor was very impressed with how much Darya had progressed and the discovery that her diagnosis was hearing impairment and celiac disease was incorrect. She asked permission to use Darya's information to develop a presentation for the doctors that oversee the orphanages about the importance of proper diagnosis on development (since they thought Darya was basically deaf, they didn't speak to her, for instance) and the potential of children with special needs, even the more severe needs. I, of course, said yes.
After the medical, we contacted the Embassy to see if we could do our exit interview on Monday since we had everything. Our appointment was scheduled for Tuesday. They said come one! So we did. Everything went well, despite the fact that our I94 had expired. We were granted the Visa and picked it up on Tuesday. So, I could have gone home on Wed. but it cost too much to change our tickets. So, instead we just hung out in Riga. We had a great, laid back time.
Eating Ramen noodles...not our fave.

Big girl eating at McDonald's. She even fed herself. Generally in public (esp. a loud place like McD's), Darya refuses to feed herself. But she ate 3 nuggets all by herself.

This balloon was the biggest hit. I took it from her to get her on the tram, and she fell into an immediate tantrum. It was kinda funny and kinda not since we needed to hurry. 


We ended up getting round trip tickets under Darya's Latvian name and I was nervous about how this would work since her passport and Visa were different names. But we had no problems with this and saved $900. By the time we got home, we had been traveling for 25 hours. It was nearly 10pm our time and 5am in Latvia. Darya had finally fallen asleep in the car (she only slept 1 hour on the plane and that was with Melatonin) but woke up when we got home. I put her to bed but she quickly got out and was so excited to be home. She kept walking from room to room and laughing and giggling. She tried out some of her toys, bounced on our couch, and then wanted to eat. I had brought instant grits to Latvia that was butter flavored but they were salty. Darya eats her's with butter and sugar (like she had at Kalkuni). When I pulled out the grits container, she had a look like "finally, mama, you got the right ones." She gobbled it up and then proceeded to laugh and giggle some more.
Too tired initially to even let mama change her into her PJ's, though she did let me change her diaper.
But quickly popped back up and was eager to explore her home again (and eat some grits)
She was so tired her eyes actually looked like this all the time. She couldn't hold them up for nothing but kept trying to stay awake.
I have some more pictures that I can't get to right now and I'm also sleepy.
More later...

Monday, April 8, 2013

Final Trip!!!!

Darya and I are leaving Friday for our final trip!
We will be gone about 9 days (God willing!).

Her adoption was February 25, 2013
The appeal period has ended and the court decree has been issued! 

I can't wait to leave and then return to truly start our lives together as mother and child! Some of me is nervous about taking her on the plane and back to her country b/c of not knowing how she will react or what she is going to think. The other part of me is glad to take her back to visit and hope she will associate her country with good feelings and appreciate its beauty. It is a beautiful country. However, I just checked the live cams and was disappointed to still see so much snow. In fact, its snowing there now. Guess I need to bring my snow boots and try to find her some before we lave.

We have been very busy lately. Darya had tubes put in her ears last week. We had Easter the weekend before. She got her glasses this past weekend. She has been doing really well for the most part. Recently she has started helping me to dress herself more. However, this immediately brought on a new self-play siutation. Darya routinely plays out being hit/kicked/bit/smacked/choked/etc and then will play like she's crying. Its been going on for about 3 weeks now. She does this all the time. Not for attention but when she's playing by herself. On the one hand, I'm glad to see she has progressed into more self-play. She generally will just lie around dangling her little dolls or walks around throwing stuff. She loves to lay in bed listening to music. Its just something we have to work through, I guess.

Darya is signing more and more and shows so much understanding in what is being said to her and in how she responds. She is able to let me know what songs she wants me to sing, she dances along with one of them. Its so cute. Its the 3 Little Ducks and when I say "widdle waddle" and do the little shimmy, she does it too! She lets me know she wants this song by quacking. Yes, she can quack! She has also started saying "da da." No "mama" yet but she is interested in what I'm saying when I do it and she moves her mouth like she's trying to copy me. But no sound yet. The worst part is she actually makes the sound all the time when she is dangling her lovies. She initiates signs to tell me things and shows some understanding of steps (like first we do this and then we do this-type stuff). She took my hand the other day and then pulled back and signed "cold" b/c my hand was really cold. Another time she heard the microwave and started signing "cook." She is understanding now that if she wants to "eat" we have to "cook" first. She's a smart cookie!

I have pictures from easter, World Down Syndrome Day, her surgery, and glasses. Unfortunately, I'm too busy to get them to post right now. I will soon. Darya was beautiful at Easter!!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Daily Smiles: URGENT: Home Sweet Home Giveaway For"'Brigita"

Daily Smiles: URGENT: Home Sweet Home Giveaway For"'Brigita"

This is a fundraiser to help me and Darya finish up her adoption journey! I can't believe I haven't posted yet but things are been very very busy lately! Please stop by, take a look, and help us out on what is most likely our final fundraiser as we are traveling in about a week (YIKES!).

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Amazing Darya

I love my baby girl so much. Poor baby has double ear infections again! This makes for the 8th set of ear infections since November. Surgery is scheduled but may end up being pushed back due to us having to travel back to country to finalize everything. I'm keeping my fingers crossed things will work out for her to get tubes, though. We have an extra prescription of antibiotics to take with us just in case.

But, despite her ears hurting so much yesterday (she moaned, groaned, and grumped all day she felt so bad) and yet still showed me how amazing she is!

She has recently started showing me the "yay" sign for when we go outside. I wasn't sure if she was really doing this and I'm still not sure if it means "outside" "swing" or "yay" b/c she's happy we're going out. But yesterday I told her we needed to go get dressed. She apparently took this to me we were going out b/c she ran to the patio door signing "yay" and making her "yay" sound. I had to burst her bubble that we were going to the doctor. After hitting the door with her hand a couple of times and giving it a quick kick, she finally left the patio door and came to get dressed with me.

She has also started signing "happy" when we sing "If your happy and you know it" and when we sing the Barney song and say the word happy. She also claps on the "happy/know it" song. Of course, its still random when she does both but she definitely knows the sign. She will take my arms and place them on my chest when she wants me to sing the Barney song, place them in the air facing her when she wants "Twinkle Twinkle" and place them up to clap when she wants "happy/know it." She is getting her wants known and has someone that cares about what she wants!

I have also been showing her the signs for "milk" and "thank you" but have not been working really hard on teaching her the sign yet. Just simply showing it to her and occassionally showing her how to sign it with her hands. One day a week or so ago (I may have wrote about this) she was drinking milk and started signing "milk" after I had. Well, last night she wanted something to drink but not what was in the cup (when its not what she wants she dramatically backs up). So I asked her if she wanted milk and started rinsing her cup out. When I turned around, Darya was signing milk. I hadn't even signed it at all that time! And with thank you, I gave her some drink (yesterday or the day before or so, can't really remember) and had her look at me while I said and signed "thank you." She did thank you while making her noise that mimics the syllables (kinda like a ga ga sound).

And then my most favorite! We had been working on mama for a long time. She would occassionally copy me signing it but mostly just look at me. She has never signed it on her own. Well, recently we have been working more on the sounds of mama. She can actually make the sound but she is not saying mama. Its just one of her noises. But she has been trying to copy me saying mama. Nothing's really coming out yet but she is trying to figure my mouth out and do it. Its funny b/c what she does is nothing like the mama sound she already makes. But we were on our way to the doctor and I was handing her a teddy graham. I was saying "cookie" and then "thank you, mama" after I would give her one. Then started with the mama sound again trying to get her copy. When I looked in the rear view, she was signing "mama!" All on her own! I wasn't signing it at all!

I'm so proud of my baby girl. She is truly amazing!