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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Our First Christmas with Sophia

What a difference a year makes!  Last year, I posted this...and looked forward to 2011 as the year that we would hopefully bring our daughter home to her forever family.  This Christmas, we are looking back at six months home together, and celebrating our first Christmas together with Sophia.  It was a joyous time, having all five of our children together, but it was also a time to reflect on Christmases gone by, wondering how Sophia celebrated, what she remembered.  If her interest in wrapped presents was any indication, she didn't do much gift opening in Taiwan...she could really care less, and all of her presents were opened by others, eager to get the actual gift into her hands, which was much more interesting to her!  Here are some of my favorite photos of our first Christmas with Sophia!

The annual Christmas pajamas in front of the tree photo...Sophia's not too thrilled with this tradition!

Enthralled by something on the tree...

A filled stocking, front and center, this year!

This one's for Miss Carol Anne, her Kindermusik teacher!  She loves her rhythm sticks!

She stared and stared at her new baby doll when she first got her...does she recognize the Asian features?

Her favorite gift by far...a grocery cart from MomMom and PopPop...great therapy, too!

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Birthday, Sophia!

Four years ago today, our daughter, Sophia Elizabeth Chia-Lin Fisher, was born in the city of Taichung, Taiwan.  We will be forever grateful to her birthmother for choosing life in a country known for their declining population due to abortion on demand.  While the circumstances surrounding and following her birth will probably never be fully known or understood, we thank God for taking care of our little girl for us.  Today we celebrate her first birthday with her forever family.  We look forward to seeing her blossom and grow in the years that lie ahead.  We love you, Sophia!

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

First Professional Photos

Thanks to Naomi Atkins, one of the fabulous duo of photographers at Inspired and Enchanted Photography, I now have my first professional photos of Sophia.  It was a quick photo shoot, but the shots are great and really show her blossoming personality.  If you live in the Susquehanna Valley and need a photographer for an event or a family, senior, baby, child(ren), etc. photo shoot, please check out Inspired and Enchanted Photography!  Enjoy!  (Please note...I have copyright permission for personal use of these photos...please do not copy from the blog...if you would like a copy of one of the photos, just ask...thanks!)

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Jammie Time

Sophia enjoys laying on her floor with her flower pillow. Maybe it reminds her of when she slept on the floor at her foster home.  Sometimes I think she gets up from her bed in the middle of the night and lays down on this pillow--it's right next to her nightlight, too!

Drool and all, Sophia is one beautiful little girl.  How I love her so!
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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Five Months Home!

Yesterday was Sophia's five month home mark!  So many times in recent weeks I have commented to people that sometimes it seems as though she has been here forever, so I have to remember that she has only been in the U.S. for five months.  She has accomplished so much in such a short time!!

This past month we continued with Sophia's various therapies, but we also had a myriad of appointments that were scheduled close together.  This month Sophia had an EEG, an MRI, an orthopedic appointment and an opthamologist appointment.  All of this has resulted in orthotics and glasses and a return visit to the neurologist in a week or so.  Never a dull moment!

In other news, Sophia got to meet our dear friend, Aunt Sharon (Metzger) this month, and she got her ears pierced!  Below are some photos from the last month...enjoy our beautiful princess!

Sophia with Aunt Sharon

Showing off her shades!

In her beautiful fall outfit for Kindermusik dress up day

My happy girl!

Finally using her push-along toy the right way!

The bag says it all...

Little pink sparkly studs...what else??

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

4 Months Home!

Yesterday marked four months that we have been home with Sophia.  It really is amazing how far she and we have come in four short months!  She is such a blessing to our family and fits right in so well.  That is such a testament to God's faithfulness and grace in adoption.  You never know how things are going to work out when you bring a child into your home to be part of your forever family, but so often God knits hearts and lives together so tenderly and seamlessly that it was as if that child was part of that family from the beginning of his or her life.  We have seen this with Sophia and are so thankful for her fairly easy transition to life as a Fisher!
This past month we started the rounds of medical appointments for Sophia, as well as her therapies through our Intermediate Unit here in Lebanon.  We visited the neurologist and subsequently had an hour EEG to rule out any continued seizure activity (we don't know the results yet).  In a couple of weeks she will also have an MRI so we can compare her data from Taiwan when she was a few months old with her current brain situation.  I'm so glad that Sophia was home for three months and made so much progress in that time before I visited the neurologist.  I know this little girl has HUGE potential no matter what her charts say!!  God has been faithful in her life and will continue to be so!

Sophia is now walking all over the place independently...she is definitely relishing in her new found freedom!  She is saying "mama" and "dada" and "baba" (bottle) and "numnum" (food) pretty consistently.  We are also teaching her the signs for these words and many others so that she will be able to communicate effectively either way.  She now meets with a special education teacher, speech therapist, physical therapist, and occupational therapist once a week (whew!) and we are looking forward to seeing the progress she will make with all of these wonderful professionals working with her.  We are very blessed here in PA to have these services at our disposal.  It's very interesting to be at the receiving end of services instead of the giving end when I was a teacher!  This past month Sophia also began attending classes at church with her same age peers instead of being in the nursery, and she is doing great with that.  She is very observant of others and is learning a lot by being able to watch her peers.  She is usually with her brother Nathaniel, and that seems to be working out well, thankfully.  He's (usually!) a good role model for her!

We look forward to another month with Sophia and seeing all that she will do as she continues to acclimate and adjust to her new family and surroundings.  She has brought such happiness and joy to our home.  We love her so much and are so proud of her!  Thanks for continuing to follow our journey!

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sophia's Child Dedication

On the Sunday of Labor Day Weekend, Dave and I had Sophia dedicated to the Lord by my dad, Rev. Jim Christian, at our church here in PA.  We believe that all of our children are a gift from the Lord and are on loan to us from Him.  We desire to raise each of our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and so we have them publicly dedicated to God in front of our church family in order to provide us with accountability and encouragement in our efforts.  It was such a blessing to have my parents there, and to be surrounded by our friends at Jonestown Bible Church who have been such a blessing to us on our journey to bring Sophia home.  Many thanks to Maryellen Corrado for taking some photos for us while we were up front.  Surprisingly, Sophia hammed it up and enjoyed her moment in the spotlight...we thought for sure she would pitch a royal fit in front of so many people!!  The pretty dress she is wearing was made for Sophia by a dear lady at my parents' home church in DE.  It's hard to see, but it is absolutely adorable. We are so blessed!

Children are a blessing from the Lord!!
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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Three Months Home

Today marks three months since we landed in New York and began forever with Sophia in the United States.  Some days it seems like she has been with us forever.  She was definitely hand picked by God for our family, as she fits in so well.  We were told before we got her that she didn't like loud noises and we were a bit concerned as we have four very loud sons.  Well, this girl can make noise right along with her brothers, let me tell you!  She's just a Fisher through and through!

This month--in fact, literally this past week!--Sophia has made made some huge steps in her development.  No pun intended...she literally got up spontaneously last Monday night and started walking across the room all by herself!  It caught us all off guard, but we were so excited, and she is SO proud of her accomplishment!  She continues to walk regularly, strengthening her legs and her confidence daily.  This is all without any therapy yet, as her IEP meeting is scheduled for this coming Wednesday, and therapies will begin after that.

Last weekend we also moved Sophia out of the pack 'n play and into her twin bed.  She has done wonderfully with the transition, and we are so proud of her.  Additionally, in the eating and drinking department, we changed her bottle to one that makes her suck harder to get the milk, and is squatty like a sippy cup, in hopes that she will eventually wean to a sippy cup instead of the bottle.  She immediately noticed the change and stuck her nose up at it, but eventually took the bottle since she wasn't going to get her beloved milk any other way!  We have totally run out of the rice milk powder from Taiwan and are just putting baby cereal in her milk for fortification, and she doesn't seem to mind.  Our baby girl is growing up!

At the pediatrician this month, Sophia showed a weight gain of about 4 pounds and a 2 inch height increase.  Her doctor was very pleased by this.  We have several appointments coming up for Sophia in the next couple of months including a neurologist and a feeding clinic.  We have found that Sophia is quite resistant to doctor and therapist "types", not matter if she is the patient or someone else, so please pray for good visits with minimal meltdowns!  :)  We don't expect to find out anything new from these visits, but they will help us understand her better and give us baseline data that we can then build upon as she grows.

I will leave you with some of my favorite photos from this last month.  We are so thankful for our beautiful daughter.  She is a joy and delight, and we feel privileged to be her parents.  Thanks for your continued encouragement on our journey!

Sophia celebrated Labor Day in this beautiful dress embroidered with the flag of her new home country.

This isn't the best picture, but it shows how beautiful Sophia is in the color brown.

This was at Mom Mom and Pop Pop's house...she made the kissing motion for the first time on this bear!

My happy girl!!

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Just Because...

Isn't she beautiful?

She's had a busy week...stay tuned this weekend for a three month home post to see what she's been up to!!

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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Two Months Home!

This week we celebrated the two months home mark for our precious daughter Sophia.  This photo was taken today as we were leaving for church.  I think her smile says it all!  She is a happy, contented, little girl (most of the time!) and we are just amazed at how well she is adjusting and thriving!

Some of the milestones for this month include:

  • improved chewing and swallowing which means improved eating (she ate mac and cheese and mashed potatoes at Friendly's today!)
  • sleeping all through the night (10 p.m. to 9 a.m. most days!)
  • saying "Mama" and "Dada" consistently and with meaning
  • understanding many things we say to her in English based on her actions after we say something
  • staying with a babysitter for the first time for a few hours so Mommy and Daddy could have a date
  • staying in the church nursery all by herself and loving it!

This next month promises to be interesting as we start school here in PA.  The older two boys will be away for the bulk of the day, and I will be homeschooling my first grader and entertaining two three-year-olds!  We plan on taking advantage of Kindermusik and Moms Morning Out Bible studies and library story hours...you get the idea!  I'm excited to see how Sophia changes and grows in this next month home.  She has definitely brought more joy and laughter into our home...we praise God for her!

Sophia Elizabeth Chia-Lin Fisher...we love you!!

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The Many Faces of Sophia

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Friday, July 29, 2011

She Calls Me "Mama"

Sophia's language skills are minimal.  We were told that she had receptive skills in Chinese, but was not producing any words yet.  Now we have switched her primary language.  Over the last six weeks, she has slowly begun to "talk".  While we usually have no idea what she is saying, it often sounds like she is singing, or reprimanding, or just shouting happily.  We have worked with her on words such as "Dada" and "Mama" while pointing to ourselves, but we were never sure if she equated the word with the correct person.  Today, however, while at a friend's house, Sophia crawled towards me saying, "Mama, Mama".  I'm so glad my friend was there as my witness...what a joy it was to here my baby girl calling my name!

Watch out world...Sophia's speech is on its way, and once she starts, I'm not sure that she will stop!

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Monday, July 18, 2011

One Month Home

Today we celebrate one month at home with Sophia!  It's hard to believe that she hasn't been here forever on most days.  God certainly knew what He was doing when He chose her for us!  She has settled in beautifully and continues to surprise and amaze us with her happy, contented personality.  Don't get me wrong--she can certainly let her will be made known if she doesn't like something, and she does that quite often, but we are all figuring each other out and learning how to manage one another.

Today we were down at the Lebanon IU 13 building where Sophia was assessed by a team consisting of an occupational therapist, physical therapist, social worker, speech pathologist, and another educator.  They had brought in a Mandarin translator as well, who was very helpful in translating Sophia's IEP from Taiwan.  We learned quite a bit by having that document translated!  Sophia was hesitant at first, but soon warmed up, especially to the physical therapist.  She got to try out a pediatric walker, which she eventually got used to, so we are hoping to get something similar for her to use in the near future.  I was so proud of my baby girl for putting up with so many strange faces in one place!  I'm excited about the possibilities for her future, too!

Sophia continues to amaze us with things that we didn't know she could do.  This past week it was high fives and low fives.  I had no idea she could do that!  She is also vocalizing a lot more sounds, and even matched my tone when I sang some "la, la, la" notes to her!  Our pediatrician said that watching Sophia would be like watching a flower slowly unfold and bloom, and I think she's right.  And it will be a joy and privilege to have front row seats as Sophia blooms.  How I thank God for our beautiful daughter!

Sophia a month ago on her first ever airplane ride!

The day Sophia met her brothers for the first time (Sabastian was at camp...)

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