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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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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

It is Better!

What a difference a few weeks can make!  While the transition was extremely difficult, I'm happy to say that our little Sophia seems to be well adjusted in her new home and country.  Or should I say, we are all adjusted to her way of doing things?  Maybe it's best to say that we have done a lot of give and take!

Four weeks ago today Sophia was placed in our arms forever.  She said goodbye to a family she has known for the last two years, a city she lived in her entire life, and all the sights, smells, and tastes that went along with all of that.  To see her now, crawling around our house like a pro, eating foods she never had before, sleeping through most nights--all I can say is that God is amazing!

So many of my friends with adopted children kept telling me that "it will get better" and while I believed that in my head, it was so hard to get through to my heart during those first weeks.  I'm not unaware that we have seen a huge change in our daughter in a short amount of time compared to some people who adopt.  The sleep issue alone can take months or even years to resolve for some children, and Sophia was sleeping through the night in two weeks.  (God knew I couldn't handle much more than that!!!)  I'm so grateful for the encouragement and prayers that have sustained all of us, and I know that the prayers, in particular, have also helped Sophia adjust as well and as quickly as she has.  God is good!!

We took Sophia to church for the first time on Sunday, and she did so well.  We sat in the back to minimize any distraction she might cause, and she thoroughly enjoyed the music and singing.  When our pastor began to preach, I took her to the nursery where she was so happy to play and scoot around...no anxiety at all!  I thought maybe it reminded her of her little preschool she was attending...I was just amazed at how she just jumped right in and played.  Developmentally she is at the level of a 1 1/2 to 2 year old when it comes to playing, so she probably felt right at home among the toddlers in there.  It made me so happy to see her play!

Her favorite place to be is definitely home.  She feels comfortable scooting all over the house now, by herself, and keeps herself pretty well entertained.  Her brothers help in that department as well, running around like crazy people, making her laugh hysterically!  She will come and find me and "check in" for some holding time, but then is off and playing again.  So cute!  She also loves to go places in the van and ride in her stroller, so we try to get out of the house at least once a day when we can.  I hope that when we move later this month, she adjust to her new environment quickly, too.  Hopefully it won't set her back too much...it's not ideal, but it is what it is!

When I gaze into Sophia's beautiful, deep brown eyes, I can't help but thank the Lord for bringing this little girl into our lives.  As my husband loves to say, God doesn't call us to do the easy thing...He calls us to do the hard thing.  But following God's call is always worth the effort it takes.  I know there will be more difficult days ahead for our family...that's just the way life is.  But together we will weather the next storm, and be all the stronger because of it.  And, IT WILL GET BETTER!!

One happy little girl!

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Monday, July 4, 2011

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Two Weeks Home

We have been home with Sophia for two weeks today.  To say that this adoption has been life changing for all of us is putting it mildly.  In some ways it feels like an eternity since we came home, and in other ways, it feels like yesterday.  It is very hard for me to put into words all that I have felt and experienced the last two weeks.  Maybe someday I will be able to articulate it better...once I have some time to process it all.

As far as Sophia is concerned, every day there have been little milestones, little improvements.  She and I have definitely bonded this past week, and I can now say that I am starting to enjoy her little personality.  It takes some time to get to know someone, and we haven't had that luxury for very long.  The lack of ability to communicate with language is difficult, but she certainly finds ways--both pleasant and unpleasant--to get her point across!  Sophia really enjoyed her Mom Mom this week (my mother) and when Dave saw her this morning after being away all week, she remembered him without any difficulty.  Her memory is very good, actually.  Her eating has improved this week, although it is still an arduous task to get her to eat sometimes.  Her favorite food is her rice powder/oatmeal cereal bottle that we make for her, but she also really likes the Beechnut turkey and rice baby food.  We have introduced milk into her bottle on the recommendation of our pediatrician, and Sophia has tolerated it just fine.  (Her foster parents said they took her off of milk because it caused her to be constipated.)  She has gone from screaming through bath time to playing in the tub...another thing her foster family said she hated.  Progress, I'd say!

The biggest thing I was struggling with when we got home was Sophia's lack of sleep at night.  I'm still struggling with anxiety at night because of my lack of sleep and several nights of screaming on her part! However, this week she has done much better, and thanks to my mom taking "monitor duty", I got some much needed rest, too!  Last night, in fact, she slept through the night...we'll see how tonight goes before we celebrate too wildly, though!  It's been trial and error, but we now have her sleeping upstairs in our extra bedroom in a pack and play.  We have a fan running and piano music playing all night.  There is also a little nightlight in the room.  Whatever works!

Our four boys have done pretty well with their new sister.  There has been a little jealousy at times from Nathaniel, but for the most part he loves his "baby sister".  He and Benjamin like to run back and forth in the living room and make her laugh.  Sabastian interacts very nicely with her and she really seems to like him.  Maybe he reminds her of her foster brother.  Jonathan is a bit stand-offish with her, but she is working on him.  (The fact that she somehow kicked his already damaged DS and broke it completely tonight probably didn't help matters, but maybe he'll remember not to leave things like that lying around!)  There is never a dull moment in our home, that's for sure!

I know I need to post some photos.  We have to submit 40 photos with our one month post placement report, so I have been snapping photos like crazy, hoping to get some half decent ones to send back to Taiwan.  I don't have the energy tonight, but want to get this posted, so I will try tomorrow or Monday.  I again wish to thank all of you for your prayers and encouragement.  God has worked in our family's life through you, and one day Sophia will understand just how much she was loved by so many!

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