Sunday, June 17, 2012

Lots Going On

So much has been going on and I haven't been able to get on the blog and update. Sorry, my bad.

Geri's glasses are definitely improving her vision, but the adjustment is hard. They seem to give her headaches and eye strain. It sucks because the only way to get her over it is to make her keep wearing them so she adjusts. She has also discovered how fun it is to lean forward and shake her head so they fall on the ground. But she has also figured out how to put them on without help, so that's fun.

We're back to the Wilbarger brushing protocol to try and help her integrate this new sensory info. It does truly seem to help, but man is it hard to keep up with. Stopping life every two hours is tough to remember. We are working hard at it, though, and it's only for two weeks.

She made HUGE progress in her feeding therapy this week. Due to a couple of no-shows, there was some room in a group feeding session that meets at the same time as Geri's one-on-one session, so we decided to try it out. She did so well, even though I wasn't with her. Honestly, the separation was the part I was most worried about but she did fine. She was brave enough to try hummus and take a bite of barbecue straw and put a chicken nugget to her lips. These small things are a big deal for her. We are now moving her to a group session, since it went so well this time.

Separation in general, though, is still hard for her. We are actually working on it now, and it's not a pleasure cruise.

So, the whole big story... Our neighbor was supposed to help us work on this by watching her, but she approached me a few weeks ago to say that she didn't think she could handle Geri. I was a bit bummed, but not hurt or angry. Our neighbor is in her 70's and Geri is a handful... a heavy handful who likes to be picked up a lot. So when she told me that she didn't feel like she could watch Geri, I wasn't totally surprised and I wasn't upset by it at all. I decided to call our agency to ask for respite care information so we could start finding a sitter for Geri.

Yeah, that proved more difficult than I thought it would be. I like our agency, they were pretty good, but in this particular area they have really fallen flat. It took several calls to even find out who is our new caseworker (our caseworker just left a month ago) and it was extremely tough to get anyone on the line at all. I finally got someone, told them I needed respite care information, talked a bit about the situation and then left contact info. I was reassured that our new caseworker would call. That was about two weeks ago and I have yet to hear anything. It's been about a month total that I've been calling and leaving messages and getting no info.

In my opinion, this is a big failure. Adoption is tough... wait, I spelled that wrong... it's TOUGH. Respite is an important part of helping families stay strong and functional through the stresses. If a family calls and requests respite, I think that should be a high priority. Adoption isn't just about placing kids, it's about integrating them and supporting the family to make a healthy environment for the child to adapt to their new life. If a parent is crying out for assistance or relief, the agency really ought to respond.

Thankfully, I was able to find another option. The in-home daycare that watches Mera during Geri's therapy is very good. I asked Renee (daughter of the mother-daughter team who make up this daycare) if the would be willing to watch Geri and she said they would try it. Twice now, I have left Geri with them for about five minutes when we come to pick up Mera. I bring Geri in, hand her off to Renee, then go out to the car and twiddle away five minutes and head back in.

It has not been easy for Geri. She gets VERY upset when I am not there. The good news is that she does not ignore my departures or returns (which would indicate a lack of attachment to me). She cries when I leave, is unable to play while I am gone, and then requires comfort when I return. She accepts my comforting, though, and soothes fairly well when I come back and hold her. This is just one of many stages of development in this area, and I'm glad to see that we have this starting point to build from. I'm most glad we have the opportunity to work on it, because I was getting a bit nervous.

I should point out, though, that we had NONE of these problems when she went with Jeanine into the group feeding session. She toddled off holding Jeanine's hand, participated fine in the session, and was a bit upset but not terribly so when I returned. That's great, because it shows her ability to determine who is a trusted adult. Jeanine, with whom she plays every week and who she likes, is trusted. Mommy is trusted more so. Renee, who is not a big part of Geri's life at this point, is trusted far less. She's showing normal discernment in this area, and I'm stoked to see it.

Hopefully, we can build up her ability to separate over the next couple of months in preparation for preschool in the fall. :) Call me Pip, 'cause I have Great Expectations!

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