The last month was busy, busy. We finally finished up school and we were all glad. Everyone of us. It was year y'all but we did it. Moving on to 11th grade, 8th grade and preschool. Will is done with Spanish and we all sang the hallelujah chorus. I told the big kids one day when I left them at home that I wanted the backpacks cleaned out and all the school stuff put up while I was gone. I came home an hour later and smelled a strange smoky smell. I found them in the backyard standing over the fire pit literally burning their notebooks. A couple of days later I saw what I thought was a novel half burned in there. I picked up preparing my speech about not burning books when I saw it was the Spanish/English dictionary. I put it back. Done I tell you!!
We were concerted and programmed out by the end of May. When school was finally out I breathed a deep sigh a relief and then this happened.
How do you know summer has started? Roo cups of course!
I had my first Mother's day as a mother of three and we celebrated by having Sarah's Dedication at church. I'm pretty sure she thought she was supposed to be singing and she lost a shoe half way through but it was a sweet day.
We went to Birmingham for an MRI. Why all the way to Birmingham? We love going to Children's of Alabama. It is a great hospital. The International Adoption Clinic is there and we love them! They were able to get us in much sooner there than we could have here in town so we took a road trip. More on that later.
She played in the splash pad for the first time and loved it! It is so fun to watch her in completely new situations. She had absolutely no idea what to do at first. But after watching some other kids and the help of Jenny and her friend, Isabelle she finally figured it out!
She got a new rock box and has loved playing on the slip and slide. It has become somewhat of a routine now to spend an hour or more outside after dinner on the porch chatting with the big kids while Sarah slips and slides. And cackles laughing!
A big deal this month was getting her new AFOs. They have helped tremendously with her mobility. She was getting around ok but as she became more and more active her left foot especially was beginning to drop and drag and she was hyper extending her knee. Her flexibility was improving but her toe walking was not. She was more active than she had ever been allowed to be and she was beginning to fall and trip. These have given her so much more stability and she is doing great in them. She even ends of somewhat flatfooted now with them off. They have been a great for her and I happen to think they look cute! They do of course make her different. They invite comments from strangers like, "Whats wrong with the baby's legs?" But I just answer and move on. There are sweet moments too like talking with the janitor at Madison central after she saw Sarah in them about how her granddaughter has pink ones too and the precious gentleman I met the DMV who is a Shriner and told me all about how he used to drive parents and children to St. Louis to Shriner's hospital.
And then of course this happened. "Will watch Sarah for just a minute please." This is what I come back too.
And he watches "Let it Go" with her.
She went to VBS for the first time. She loved it. She has learned the sign for church and knows where she is going when we say "church". This was her reaction. I love that!
It rained a lot so we just played in the bubbles in the sink. That's why God made mops. Kept her busy for 30 whole minutes which in Sarah world is like a whole day!
She had her passport picture made so she can get a US passport. I wish you could have seen the Walgreens guy and me making big ole fools of ourselves trying to get this picture. It would have made good television. Sarah has a Chinese passport but because she is now a US citizen she can not travel on the Chinese passport. I have her Chinese passport though and pulled it out to see if there was a difference in the pictures.
Just a little difference. Gracious. That takes my breath away!
She started going to gymnastics one day a week at The Little Gym. I think it will be good for her. She is in a three year old class and it's pretty relaxed and she LOVES it. The teacher told me she seemed a little distracted this week. That made me laugh. He keeps telling her to sit against the Big Green Wall while loud music is playing. I keep reminding him that if she happens to hear him over the music words like big and green and wall mean absolutely nothing to her. Sit she understands but again only if she can hear you. Its a process. A long process.
It is easy to make life look rosy and perfect in pictures and for the most part things are going so well. We pretty much have all our medical stuff with both Jenny and Sarah worked out and a good routine of therapies scheduled. She was doing so well at PT that we are stretching it out to once a month for awhile. She goes to speech once a week. That is a slow slow process and it is very easy for me to get discouraged. I have to remind myself over and over just how many cards this sweet child had stacked against her. Our ENT put it best when he said that the 2 things that can cause the biggest developmental delays in children are undiagnosed hearing loss and a neglectful environment. Stacked on top of each other for 5 years and we are starting from scratch. She basically had no access to language until just a few months ago. She is understanding a lot of what we say. She associates words and signs quickly now. I can teach her a new sign in just a day or two. She has a few words that only we can understand. We think we will get there but it is going to take years. Years.
Her MRI showed some significant sinus issues so we will be dealing with that soon and I hope it will help with a few lingering issues. And maybe help with sleep.
She is going to go the Covenant Preschool next year a couple of days a week in a three year old class. I've second guessed that a time or two but it is what we feel like is best for her. I have sought out opinions from every professional we see and they all agree that it is a good place to start. She is behind deveoplmentaly but also cognitively. I want to say here that we knew that going in. We knew these would be issues we dealt with. We still don't know what her potential is and I am hesitant to have her labeled too quickly by the school system. When the time comes in another year or so we will go down the SPED and IEP roads and I am prepared to do that but for now I just want to follow developmental steps in order. So what if she is behind, I want her to get the chance to be a preschooler. To nap in the afternoons and be little. She deserves that chance.
We still deal with some behavioral issues but I am pretty sure most parents of 5 year olds do. How we deal with it is different. Trust me when I say Will and Jenny didn't hit me more than once. That was not tolerated. I am still learning how to diffuse those situations with Sarah. In all our training we learned that when these kids feel frightened or threatened they will fight, flight or freeze. Looking at pictures of this little girl I imagined her freezing, just withdrawing and detaching. Um…..no. The girl is a fighter. She comes out swinging. Part of the time it makes me crazy and part of the time it makes so so sad. She's had to be a fighter. We will get there though. Again….time, time, time.
We are so blessed to be her parents. I have been amazed by Will and Jenny's love for her and acceptance of her differences. It is a marathon for sure but we are learning every day how to help her be all God want her to be.