Sunday, August 25, 2013

Verbal Progress

Geri's speech therapist has had us working a lot on "what?" questions. What does a dog say? What does a cow give us? What do we do with a toothbrush?

She's getting really good at them. In fact, we had a great conversation tonight. We were cuddling at bed time and i asked her a couple of questions we have practiced.

"Geri, " I said, "What does a bird build?"
"A bird builds a nest," she answered.
"What comes after 3?"
"After 3 comes 4, " she replied. I decided to try a brand new question to see what she would say.
"Geri," I asked, "What comes after 4?"
"5 then 6," she told me.

Wow. Just wow. We've never practiced that question. We had to practice the "what comes after 3?" question several times before she could answer it reliably. But, without coaching, she extrapolated the answer to the first question out, not just one step but two steps forward!

It's been fun watching how her mind works. When we started on the questions about birds, it was a hoot. There was an answer her therapist wanted (a bird builds a nest) but at first we got something pretty cute. The first time I asked her what a bird builds, she immediately said "A house." Well sure, I thought. We build houses, I guess she would assume birds do too. And she's not entirely wrong. A human habitat is a house, a bird habitat is a nest. I just smiled and said "A bird builds a nest." The next time I asked her what a bird builds, she answered "A bird house."  Again, it hurt my heart to correct her. In a way, she was right. And in a way, her answer was far more clever than the stock answer.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

How's THAT Work?

When we started the adoption process, we often wondered how this would look from day to day. What is breakfast gonna be like? (Noisy.) Will we still take vacations? (Yes!!) What happens if someone gets sick?

Man, we are experts in illness. Especially lately.

I'm a believer that there is NOTHING worse than both parents getting sick. When the kids are all feeling just fine and both of the adults are dragging, it's a miserable time to be in our home. Lots of movies are watched, that's for sure.

Recently, I went and got sick. Well, I've been sick for a good long while really. For about 3 years now, I've been having recurring fatigue and muscle weakness episodes that are nothing short of debilitating. Then, in June, I started having awful stomach pains that quickly progressed to the point of me being bedridden. In early June I was hospitalized for 6 days. 6. Whole. Days.

So what did that look like? Well, when I was in the hospital, Hubby became something of a single dad. Another family from church stepped up HUGE and took the girls every day (big brother was on visitation with his bio-dad's family) so Papa could go to work. When someone's in the hospital, you suddenly feel like you need money. When Papa came home from work he would grab up the girls and some dinner prepared for us by some of the other ladies from our church, then come to the hospital and eat with me. Well, when they were letting me eat. They kept putting me on "Nothing By Mouth" orders. It was, truly, feast or famine!

The gulag in which I spent 6 days, days I can't get back.
After dinner together, Papa would take the girls home and put them to bed, then put in a bit of overtime to make up hours and we would talk on the phone for a while. Rinse, repeat.

When I was released from the hospital, I had a brief period of feeling better and then it all tanked again. At that point, my fantastic mother-in-law made an 8-hour drive to stay with us for over 2 weeks. Which was good, because about a week into her visit, my gall bladder had to be removed.

The bottom line is, we made it. Lots of wonderful people rallied around us and carried us through. Lots of adoption experts talk about setting up your support network. They are righter than right. At some point, you'll need help. At some point, you'll be able to be a help to someone else. But if there's one thing I can promise you, you'll hit a point where you need more hands than you have. Let people bless you with their help and just tell yourself "Today you, tomorrow me."

Sunday, August 18, 2013

It's been one week...

...Since Geri started Kindergarten!! Wow, I am still not able to process that information.

I remember a time, about one year ago, that I would have been pleased as punch to have her starting preschool about now. When she first came home, she struggled with so many things. She was so far behind. She couldn't chew or eat solid foods. She couldn't walk or talk. She was so volatile, emotionally unstable. There was this laundry list of difficulties.

We weren't willing to separate her from us for school or daycare or anything of the sort, a decision I'm glad now that we made. She needed that time with us, that attachment building. (I don't say this as a slam on other adoptive parents who made a different decision or took a different approach, btw. This is what she needed, what worked for us, so I'm just glad we trusted our instincts and did it.) When it came time to broach the issue of separation, it was hard for her at first. But the winding road of resources, support, situation, etc that God led us through made it so that each step built a foundation for the next. It all came out ok because of the way it happened. I can't imagine it having worked any other way. Looking back, though, I can understand why I didn't see this way ahead at the time.

It's amazing to look back at where we have been, where we set our expectations at the time, and where we are now. Kindergarten. She's in kindergarten, at a relatively appropriate chronological age. Her developmental age continues to catch up. The miracle continues to unfold, and we are so blessed to be front and center for it.