Thursday, September 2, 2010

Baby steps...

The girls have been home 8 weeks now! Wow, what happened to the end of summer? Or the middle for that matter?

I unashamedly admit that for a short while there I didn't think I could do this, didn't think I was going to make it. I like my routine however crazy it is. I like my peace, at least the peace of what I know. I like the security of worrying about the same things day after day. So throwing 2 little girls into the mix, however adorable they are, shook my world... but thankfully not my foundation {thank you Jesus!}

8 weeks into this new life I am so happy to report things are going very, VERY well!!! The girls continue to grow and change and so do we. How in the world could I have made it through life w/o them being a part of mine? Praise God that HE knows the plans He has for us!

So what exactly has changed? Here is a list of just a few things, befores and afters, that kind of thing.


*** Let me start by saying that when we recieved Yanas referral there was all kinds of medical language about her brain ventricles being widened, and many questions about just how this would affect her. Also it was said "There is NO change between this session, and the previous session done one year before." I admit, both of these things were a bit intimidating. How does a child not change at all in a years time?

Well, I am so proud to admit SHE IS CHANGING NOW, AND IN JUST 8 WEEKS!

Before: Yana ate/drank only from a bottle.
After: Yana now drinks from a sippy cup [as of yesterday I might add!!]

Before: Yana wold stay wherever you put her, touching nothing, noticing nothing.
After: Yana crawls ALL OVER THE HOUSE, and gets into a bunch of stuff!

Before: Yana had no working lanugage that I could tell, Bulgarian or otherwise.
After: Yana obviously knows "mama kiss", "eat", "bye-bye", "up", and probably even more.

Before: Yana never cried, unless she was starving.
After: Yana cries, mostly when shes hungry, but I am starting to see her crying in other cases such as wanting attention or being unsure of whats happening too!

Before: Yana weighed under 25 lbs.
After: Yana weighs almost 29 lbs.!

Before: You had to work very hard to get Yana to interact purposefully with you.
After: Yana interacts with those she knows purposefully and joyfully!

Before: Did not clap.
After: Holds your hands and makes you clap. She LOVES Pat-a-Cake!!!

Before: Would not go to sleep being held.
After: She will rock to sleep. :)

Before: Would not make eye contact.
After: Still working on this, but yes she is making eye contact.

Before: Anyone would comfort/hold her.
After: Most anyone can hold her briefly, but it is obvious she like her mama! :)

These may not all seem like a big deal, but trust me when I say my little girl went from being a virtual zombie to an interactive, smiley, fun, loving, cuddly little girl in such a short time. I am so excited to see what the future holds for her! Someone said it best when they said "She doesn't look like an orphan now! It's not the clothes, it's the twinkle in her eyes!"


*** Tavi's "prognosis" was alot more promising than Yanas. Though her referral did go on to say she was very delayed. She really wasn't and isn't all that delayed, maybe a year in some areas, less in others.

Before: Tavi weighed 25 lbs.
After: Tavie weighs just over 28 lbs.

Before: Tavi would not walk holding my hand in an unfamiliar area, and I think she felt like she needed all her senses to process where we were. Or she cried to be carried.
After: Tavi will walk in most environments peacefully holding my hand.

Before: Hated shopping carts, strollers that weren't moving, cars that were not moving.
After: Does great in a shopping cart, stroller, or car usually moving or not. :)

Before: Tavi always had to stop and feel the floor at every flooring/surface change.
After: Tavi doesn't need to do this to be happy and feel safe. Sometimes we let her, others we keep walking.

Before: Tavi did not like being in unfamiliar environments.
After: Tavi does well in most environments, lets us hold her to comfort her, isn't overwhelmed, doesn't need to touch everything, and noises don't bother her.

Before: Did not like random kids or people touching her.
After: No longer whines or cries when someone {Like Yana :)} touches her out of the blue, or puts there feet in her space.

Before: Had a lot of self soothing behaviors.
After: Some of these self soothing behaviors no longer happen.

Before: Hated the wind and rain!
After: Doesn't mind sprinkles and likes to say "WHOOSH!" as her hair is blown in the wind.

Before: All food had to be finely mushed as she wouldn't chew, just mush and swallow. She would make a painful face whenever she swallowed.
After: She is chewing more, feeding herself a variety of finger foods including McDonalds cheeseburgers adn french fries :). The painful face happens much less often, and she is chewing more. She can even eat Doritos w/o making the face if she isn't starving.

She loves to run, spin, jump, sommersault, get thrown in the air, splash, flip, and generally just be 4 years old. Tavi loves to sing, play the piano, keep beat with any song she hears by tappign her hands or snapping her fingers, and she is just so happy almost all the time. She loves to be swaddled and rocked, goes to sleep held in my arms easily, and loves to give bunny kisses.

We are still working on bonding and attachment with both the girls. It has surprised me that Yana is attaching faster than Tavi. Yana doesn't reach for peopel like Tavi does. And I see Yana "shut down" when she doesn't know someone quickly.

Tavi still willingly goes to anyone and everyone. I have a rule that no one can "take" her out of my arms, but if she is down and wants picked up that family can pick her up. She is only 4, and I just am not sure if I should stop that too or not. I admit it has been very hard for me to see her go to absolutely anyone! Harder than I thought it would be. She actually reaches for anyone, even if I am holding her. I have to say "NO, mama is holding you." Then briefly explain to this person why my daughter is crying about not being able to go to them.

I have also discovered that both girls need to go through a period of "learning to learn". They are so used to just sucking on a toy, or walking aimlessly, or in Tavis case exploring with her hands that they have not learned that some toys can be manipulated to do fun things. They don't dump things out, or put things in, or stack things... Yana just sucks on them, and Tavi either sucks on them or bangs them together. So I am constantly on a search for easy toys and ideas to help them learn how to explore their environment more fully. :)


  1. This is amazing. Baby steps?! I don't think so this is HUGE!! Great job mom!!

  2. This is so wonderful. It shows what a loving patient family can do for a child.

  3. Awesome news, what precious little girls

  4. wow you have helped those little girls so much! I love hearing about them.

  5. This is such a great post. Thanks for sharing;)
    I LOVED the yana video;)

  6. Okay, okay..I know I'm wayyyyy behind, but tonight I'm up late & I'm plying catch-up. I miss you! (I know that sounds wierd, & no, I'm not a stocker, lol..but I feel like so much life has taken place & I've missed it, dang it!) I love this post! I love the changes that God is bringing about in your daughters as they learn they can they've never trusted before. Love is an amazing band-aid, miricle worker, and cure all :)