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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!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Adoption approved!

Sorry for the delay but its been a busy week!

I left Saturday to go to Brigita's country. With the travel and time changes, it was Sunday when I arrived. I got to walk around some that afternoon and revisit some of the capital. Its such a beautiful country. I will post pictures of her country after everything is finalized and I can fully disclose where she was from, etc. I would definitely recommend this country to visit and also to adopt.

On Monday, February 25th, we drove 3 1/2 hours to the city where she resided at the institution. During our first visit, orphan court is held based on where the child was born. However, the final order re: the adoption is based on guardianship residency. So, that's why we went here. I was so very nervous. Its definitely intimidating being involved in something as serious as court when you don't understand what they are saying and you are having to pay attention to the person speaking as well as the translator. But everything went well. Everyone was in full support of the adoption. And with that, the judge ruled that the adoption was approved, as well as her name change!

The judge then proceeded to say he wanted to personally thank me for adopting a child like Brigita, with severe special needs, and giving her the opportunity to be in a family and to be a daughter. He wished me good luck, endurance, and good health.

Then it was all over. There is a 20 day appeal period and then Brigita and I travel back to country to get the final orders, her birth certificate, passport, and Visa. After court, we drove the long ride back to the capital. It was early evening when we arrived. So I went out and walked around a bit, got some dinner, and then came back to the hotel to pack and go home. I left Tuesday am around 4:30am and traveled for 22 hours until I was reunited with my ladybug. Aunt Liz brought her to the airport to meet me and I was so glad to see my beautiful baby. She did amazingly well with the changes. She even spent the night with grandma one night and did well. She has been very sweet and loving. The first night, she would snuggle with me, pull back to look at me, then laugh and start snuggling again.

I didn't know it was possible, but I love her more now than I did before I went to her country. She is so amazing. She is beautiful. She is funny. She is smart. She is resilient. She has her own little sense of humor. And she is my daughter!


Darya Amber Etheridge

Friday, February 22, 2013

I'm leaving!!!!! On a big ol' jet airliner....

Tomorrow's the day! I leave to go back to Brigita's country for her adoption hearing! I'm so excited. I cannot wait until she is officially my daughter. Of course, there is a 20 day appeal period that we have to wait before Brigita and I both travel back to finalize everything. But still...Monday is such an important day for us! It will be her official adoption day!

Please visit the link below if you would like to purchase some Pampered Chef products to help us out with some of the travel expenses for the last trip. The consultant has graciously offered her entire commission to our FSP!

Brigita is doing okay. She is still struggling with ear infections and so we are waiting for a surgery date (again) to put tubes in (for real this time). I will be so glad. Every time she gets an infection, her behaviors regress and of course she is in pain. She is now making a gesture of someone lifting her chin up sometimes. I think she is mimicking me lifting her chin to help her with her medication. She doesn't always lift her head up to drink. So, I think she is letting me know she needs medicine. And of course there are behavioral cues when her pain meds have worn off: covering her ears, screaming, grumping and groaning, hitting herself in the face :(

When she starts to feel better, she is such a loving, sweet girl. She starts learning new things and doing things. And then she gets sick again...and regresses. I'm so tired of this cycle.

Please keep us in your prayers this weekend through Wednesday. I leave tomorrow, have court on Monday, and leave Tuesday morning. I will land around 7pm Tuesday night and already can't wait to see Brigita! Please pray for Brigita during this time as well. This is our first time apart and she will also be with people that have kept her short term but never long and definitely not overnight. She is such a strong little girl that I feel like she will be fine. And she's with good people! But, you just can't tell what separation will do when having a family is so new to you.

In addition to the ear infection, baby girl had a tummy bug. She slept nearly all day. We enjoyed lots of snuggling together.


She LOVES her keyboard!

She got 2 cakes: one with me and Aunt Liz and one with my family

She climbed all up on this tall bed by herself after watching her cousins one time

Heart Sunday @ church! Her hair has gotten long enough for pigtails!

Don't let her fool you...every last puzzle piece was promptly thrown

Again, she LOVES the keyboard!

Playing with a doll. Hasn't she gotten so big?

Oh, we had her school assessment with the School for the Deaf (partly b/c it was scheduled prior to us knowing she had basically no hearing loss and partly b/c our school system had no idea how to evaluate a child with no communication). They will send me the results soon. The biggest thing that came out was that 2 different people there have mentioned concerns about her vision. They do not think she is focusing correctly and not seeing things well. They have recommended another doctor (not sure if he's an ophthamologist or optometrist yet). They are writing a letter so I can send to the insurance company so I will hopefully not have to pay for it since she has already had one examination already. Also, they said sign language will likely not be her main way to communicate due to dexterity and vision concerns. They believe she is an auditory communicator. Also, in terms of communicating, we have been working on saying "mama" which is a sound Brigita actually makes sometimes but not trying to say the name. Anyway, Brigita is starting to try to mimick me saying it! Then today I was saying "nana" and she copied me! She also signed "milk" last night while drinking her milk. She even stopped drinking to watch herself sign it. My big girl! She makes mama proud so many times per day!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Happy 8th Birthday, Brigita! (and an adoption date!)

Today is such an important day for me. I've been talking with Brigita about this day for a couple of weeks. We have been singing Happy Birthday already and talking about blowing out candles. My niece and I tried showing her how with dandeelions yesterday. Last year, I was praying and celebrating Brigita's last birthday as an orphan and in an institution. Though she is still technically an orphan, she really isn't. Brigita knows love. She knows a family. She knows that even if this mama has crazy mama moments one minute, she will be snuggling and loving her the next. She is beginning to see that if she gets hurts, I will try to make it better. We were playing on her bed yesterday (she has moved into her own room!) and she ended up hitting her leg on the foot board. She winced and rubbed it, but I immediately swooped in and started making it a big deal. Kissing her leg and rubbing it myself. Brigita laughed! She thought mom's reaction was so funny. But at the same time, she lifted her foot towards me. She sought me out for more. I explained to her that mommies kiss boo boos and make them better. Right now, she is still sleeping as its 1am here. I can't sleep b/c I'm so excited. I have already decorated her chair and hung the Happy Birthday banner. I meant to hang streamers and thought we had some but apparently I don't. I will pick them up tomorrow on my lunch break. We are going to have spaghetti (her favorite) and cake tonight. We will also have a family celebration this weekend for her real party. I will post pics of her when she is actually awake on her birthday later.

Ignore the tinkerbell! We will be getting her a lady bug bed set after we have completely finished with the adoption.
But look at her sleeping in her big girl room!

Tonight has also gotten me thinking of her birth mom and of her actual day of birth. I can't imagine how she must have felt, having had a few miscarriages already and expecting to have a "normal" child. Only, when Brigita was born, her mom would have likely been told of all the "bad" things about Down syndrome. Brigita was born with a rather large hole in her heart (ventricular septal defect). Brigita had jaundice and its likely safe to say that her mother was told Brigita was a sick baby and would likely not live. I can't imagine what her mom was feeling, leaving her baby behind in the hospital. She certainly wasn't old but was nearing her child-bearing years. I'm not sure if she went on to have more children or not. I hope if she truly yearned for Brigita, that she was blessed to have another baby that was healthy. I hate that she was unable to take Brigita home and see what a wonderful little girl she has become. I can only imagine how much more wonderful she would have been with the right love and care from the start. When Brigita was born, there was no school or day care available for children with special needs in her country. The medical care system now is one of the worst in the EU, so I can only imagine what it was like 8 years ago. I hope one day if her mother would like to know what happened to her child, what became of her, that she and I would be able to make that connection. I do not fault her in any way for leaving Brigita in the hospital. Though I do hope it was a hard decision for her. I know that may be wrong of me to wish, but for Brigita, I hope there was pain in leaving her behind. And I pray one day she can see the beauty and life in this wonderful little girl!

 Love my mommy and daughter moments! I think Brigita does too!

And I cannot believe I have not posted yet....but I did receive our adoption court date!! I will have court on February 25th! In God's great glory, this date is also the anniversary of my father's passing (when I was 19) AND the date of my uncle's birthday, who only recently passed away. I am so glad to always remember him on this date as well!

Doesn't she have the cuteest little hands?
They look like her mama's, tiny with short stubby fingers.
Really, mama? Another picture?
Still enjoys swinging! Even on cold days
(though it was only 50-something degrees here today)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Down syndrome clinic

We had our first appointment at the Down syndrome clinic last week. It didn't start off like a good day. The drove from our home takes 1 hour and 20 minutes. At an hour and a half, we were still an hour away. It was raining and therefore there were wrecks. There was one wreck that really put us behind. I called the numbers provided to the people to schedule appointments as that was the only numbers in the packet of information. Now our appointment was with the neuro-developmentalist. But it was with the Ds clinic. I had to leave a message on the first voice mail. A lady answered the other number and wanted to know where I got their number in relation to Dr. _____. Except she said it really snotty like "and you got this number from where?" I told her it was in the packet of information they sent me for this appointment. So someone called me back a little later and said the doctor said to come on but we would have to wait to be fitted in. So we trecked on. For about 45 minutes we were traveling 20-25 mph on the interstate. By this time, we had met commuter morning traffic. We were stop and go and 25 mph. If any of you have ever ridden with me, you would understand how horrible this was to me. We finally arrived an hour after our appointment and had to wait 1 hour and 45 minutes to be squeezed in. But a foster parent and a licensing worker/foster care worker were at the hospital for another clinic. Its always good to see faces you know. I saw several cuties sporting the extra chromosomes come in and out. They all walked in waving like they knew everyone was expecting them. But another thing I noticed was a common phrase from all the parents...."gentle." Apparently hitting is not just an institutionalized thing but a Ds thing. I spoke with one mom about this and she said yes. Also, Brigita was not the only runner. Several of us had to take off after our little ones. After one doctor examined Brigita and talked with me a bunch, she and the doctor we were there to see consulted and then met with me and Brigita. They said that although Brigita has many autistic behaviors, she is definitely not autistic. They said she needs speech therapy (which I knew) and some behavior modification (which we're working on). Follow ups with the specialists we have already been seeing and school assistance and therapies. He said Brigita's GI is one of the bests! And he said that we are doing everything right and that she is doing fantastic. She has good muscle tone and this is getting better as she becomes more active. So, unless there is a problem, we do not come back for a year. Oh, the doctors were also impressed with how much she vocalizes. I guess I hadn't really thought about that too much, but Brigita does make a lot of noises and sounds. This weekend I think she started talking back to me LOL! I wouldn't let her do something so she stormed off down the hall, making a noise while throwing her arm up in the air and stomping one foot. She did it again this morning when she didn't get her way. I suppose I shouldn't think its cute but it was cute. She is also dancing more and more. She likes ballet. Still waiting to get a court date but also planning her BIRTHDAY PARTY!! February 5th, Brigita will be 8 years old!! I'm so excited. I had a celebration for her last year and prayed that would be her last birthday in her institution. Although her adoption is not finalized, God still granted my wish! I am so thankful and love this little girl more than words can express.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

I800 received!

That's right!! I received my provisional I800 approval. Now we wait for the paperwork to be wired to the Embassy and them to issue the Article 5. After that I should have a court date!! I can't wait. Though that means not having Brigita with me for a few days :( She's been with me every day since September (aside from when I'm working). I am not looking forward to being away from her but it will only be for a few days.

Brigita is doing okay. She has had yet another ear infection. Whenever she gets sick, her behaviors regress!! She has been so oppositional and naughty for at least a week now! She hits herself on the side of her head more, bites herself, bites other more than usual, and tests EVERYTHING! She LOVES negative attention! I find myself sometimes caught in a cycle with her and I finally have to just walk off and ignore the behavior to get it to stop. It didn't help that I had to work 12-9pm last week so our schedule was way off. We went back to the ENT and the Dr. said she wishes she had put tubes in while they were doing the surgery. We are going to try an allergy nasal spray for a month. If she gets another ear infection in that month, then we're going to go back to surgery and put tubes in this time.

Brigita is growing so much! She grown a few inches and gained about 7 lbs since Sept. And she's basically grown a whole shoe size. Her cute little feet are getting bigger. Her hair is getting longer and she is actually noticing things! Yesterday, she noticed clouds! It was so cute. She kept trying to lay on the ground and look up but the sun was too bright. She has started wanting to swing in the big girl swings more. Though it gives mama about 50 heart attacks, I let her do it and constantly tell her to hold on and put her hands back on the chain. Mostly she does well. Physically, she is more coordinated and stronger. It is so neat watching her develop. We still have problems with her not knowing how to play or showing interest in playing at times.

Okay, so here's a few pics...

Brigita gets her hat and puts it on when she wants to go outside to the swing set. She actually sat still and let me take a few pictures. She even looked at the camera. Usually, she does everything in her power to avoid it.
This is how she first started playing on the big girl swing

Unfortunately she put the swing too low on her tummy and rolled right over
Enjoying unusually warm temperatures of 73 degrees! See how long her hair is! We did pig tails (My fav!!)

On the big girl swing! I have two swings, one put as low as possible and the other a little higher. She prefers the higher one. My dare-devil.

But the baby swing is still the best :)