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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Forever Family Day...A Year Later

What a difference a year makes!! In the throes of adjustment, sleep deprivation, and PADS after Sophia came home last year, I never thought I would make it through another day, let alone a whole year!  But as so many of my dear friends encouraged me in those hours and days following Sophia's first "Forever Family" day, the outlook did get better and is totally different now.  I thank God for those dear friends who cheered me through those rough days when I wasn't sure what in the world we were thinking...you know who you are!!
Sophia on her first "Forever Family" day, one year ago.  Her foster mother felt as though she was "giving one of her children away as in marriage", thus the white dress.

So, it's time for a one year update.  We've been so busy, I didn't keep up too well with my monthly updates, but I'll try to recap what Sophia has accomplished recently.  She is a totally different little girl then the one we brought home a year ago.  There are still many areas in her life where growth is needed and expected, but she has certainly made a lot of progress in one year!

Mobility:  When Sophia came home, she wasn't walking.  She now runs everywhere, including on uneven surfaces, without blinking an eyelash.  I have to make sure I stand between her and freedom, because she will take off on me in parking lots and stores!  She loves life, and will often hop and skip with joy when she's happy or excited about something.  She does not use her sure step inserts in her shoes currently because she has outgrown them.  We are awaiting our next doctor's visit to see if she really still needs them.  The only physical issue we are really still dealing with is a little bit of spasticity in her right arm and hand.  She received one round of botox a few months ago which has helped loosen those muscles, and she has started occupational therapy at Hershey Medical Center to strengthen the muscles while they are loose.

Vision:  Sophia received glasses a couple of months after coming home.  She did really well with them for awhile, but in the last couple of months, she won't keep them on.  We are planning a follow up visit to see if her vision has changed or perhaps she has grown to the point where the glasses don't fit properly.  But she seems to be seeing fine without them!

Eating:  This was a HUGE issue when we came home, as Sophia was only drinking a thick, gooey substance that we made from rice powder and cereal from a bottle.  She quickly adjusted to milk and some solids, and with the help of a feeding clinic, she is now pretty much eating anything.  Just in the past month we have totally given up the bottle and are drinking from "big girl" cups!  That was a battle, but we survived it!!  We are so proud of Sophia in this area!

Communication:  This is our biggest area with Sophia right now, as she does not really talk.  However, she can communicate her desires with little problem!  From whining to crying to all out temper tantrums, developmentally Sophia is in the "terrible two's and three's".  However, it is encouraging to see her at this point, because it is a natural progression in her development.  She will pull you to what she wants and use a few words like "num-num" to indicate what she wants.  Her receptive language is much more developed; we know she understands a lot of what we say to her.  We are working with her speech teacher at school and in private therapy to develop pre-communication skills to prepare her for talking in the future, however that might look for her!

Overall Growth:  Sophia came home barely able to keep 2T clothes on her little body.  She has grown several inches and gained weight accordingly.  She is now in 4T clothes!  We totally missed using her 3T summer clothes, as she skipped those entirely!  She no longer looks like a toddler, but very much like a preschooler.  Her eye contact and interaction with others outside the family has improved so much as her confidence has increased along with her bonding and attachment.

So, as you can see, our little girl is growing up!  We are so grateful to God for the blessing He gave us in our daughter.  She has made a difference in our family and we love her so much.  We will forever be thankful to her foster parents and the investment they made in her early life...they laid the foundation on which we have been building the last year.  We look forward to seeing how Sophia grows and develops in the future.  God has a special plan for our Taiwanese princess, and we are so humbled and grateful to be able to be a part of it!

Sophia two weeks ago at the Children's Museum in Pittsburgh.  This outfit was handcrafted for us to be used a year ago when we brought Sophia home.  However, it didn't fit (too big!).  Now, it's perfect!!

We love you, Sophia Elizabeth Chia-Lin Fisher!

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Dianne said...

Beautiful to see another Cathwel girl thriving! Congratulations on this milestone of one year and all of your sweet girls accomplishments!

Dianne said...

Beautiful to see another Cathwel girl thriving! Congratulations on this milestone of one year and all of your sweet girls accomplishments!

Tami and Bobby Sisemore Family said...

Loved catching up on how your princess is doing!' thanks for the newsy note!!! Love the pics and hearing how wonderful she is doing with all the love and care y'all have given her!!

The Thomasson's said...

So happy to see you guys at this milestone! Amazing friend to see her changes.

Annie said...

Terri, I am so overjoyed to hear of all the progress Sophia has made since you brought her home a year ago. I know it has been a long road and I'm sure a tough one at times, but you are an amazing mom and I am so proud of you! Blessings and more strength and progress to come!