Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Eating Skills

Many people ask questions about what she can and can't do. I understand that people are curious, especially if they don't know anything about how down syndrome effects development. The easiest way to explain it is, whatever it is, she will do, it will just take longer. You know how babies go through stages, it's so much fun, but it goes by so fast, we get to linger and enjoy longer!
I have no anxiety over what she will do when, but when she does the smallest things, we all rejoice with her.
She's got a pincher grasp, on one hand, but refuses to use it while eating!
First she tries to simply hover over the food and see if it will come to her.
She will pick up the food, and try to put it in her mouth, sometimes she succeeds, sometimes not. Either way, it's always cute.

Giardia Beware Poopy Post

Yes, sometimes you bring home some little unwelcome guests. So makes sure that your pediatrician orders a stool test. Alanna's came back psoitive for Giardia. It's a parasite caused by dirty water, and since it lives in the intestines, it is passed easily in any "daycare" type setting.
She didn't look like she was having any symptoms, no loose stool, the opposite as a matter of fact.
Then she got diagnosed, and it was like all of sudden she was having oily loose stools. But she is such a healthy chubby little thing, it didn't seem like it could be making her very sick.

Well, she's been on the medicine for 3 days now, and guess what.
That acid reflux, gone! Before I couldn't even give her the smallest amount of juice/water, it came back up like a volcano. She was constantly spitting up, and she had 3 episodes of vomiting. All symptoms of Giardia, who knew?

It is Wednesday morning, and the last time I saw her spit up anything was Sunday. She must be feeling so much better!
And yet, things like this make me so sad, there are hundreds, thousands, of babies, not only all alone in a crib, but suffering from the most treatable things, that are causing them so much pain.

Cool Story

Cool Story: I was on the phone the other morning with the lady who does the referals at our pediatricians office. She asked why I needed a referal for PT. I said "she has Down Syndrome" She then asked me "are these girls you have adopted relatives?"
I told her no, and she told me how much she admires me, that always makes me a little uncomfortable Then she exclaimed ý"I was sitting behind the CUTEST baby with DS at church yesterday!
Me:"umm, what church did you go to yesterday?" Her "Lifepoint, in Byron" Me: "That was ME!"
She was not expecting that.(neither was I) She said her and her husband had the hardest time paying attention because the baby was cute and the Mommy looked so in love. Then she said "you are blonde right?" LIke she was still having a hard time believing it was me. Haha, "yes, this week I am blonde"
The funniest thing is, our pastor had opened service talking about how you don't know how you might affect the people sitting behind you.

Oh, my, I have no idea why a child with DS needed to impact that lady on Sunday, but I feel honored it was us!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Her Mama

People have asked if she shows attachment, andy knowledge of who her Mama and Daddy are. Yes!!
A couple days ago she started crying whenever I put her down, uh oh!! Ha, I love it! And she doesn't cry long if I don't go back and get her, which I do about half the time, it's hard not to!
I don't think I've explained exactly how unconnected she was to everything when we met her.
Some things we have been working on:

Encouraging her to crawl to us. She had no clue to do this, if nooone ever picks you up or interacts with you, why would you?

Encouraging her to put her arms up when we go to pick her up. You know, how babies do that.

And of course, as you already know from my last post, smiling for joy!

Last night we were at a friends house for dinner. She was a little cranky. She was playing on the floor, kind of happy kind of not, everyone had played with her trying to cheer her up, but she was not her usual happy self. I was sitting in a chair, I leaned down, and said something to her. She looked up and saw me and got the biggest smile and inch wormed crawled as fast as she could to me, then stuck her arms as high up as they would go for me to pick her up!
It was one of the best things ever!!
Yes, she know who her Mama is! And this morning when I woke up, Gary was holding her and she reached out for me!! Poor Daddy. Hehehe.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Teaching her to laugh

The poor baby did not know how to laugh when we met her. Nothing we did could make her laugh. When we tickled her she would scream, like a "Oh my goodness what in the world was that" at the top of her lungs scream. Then she progressed to like a happy sigh grunt thing. Over the past week I would hear her at times kind of laughing, almost like she was practicing, the kind of laugh that sounds like a machine gun trying to clear it's throat. And when we tickled her she would no longer scream instead we would get half a laugh, then she would tense up and no longer be ticklish.
Same goes for the smile. She never smiled when we met her. Then there were certain things we could do to make her smile, like caress her cheek. But NEVER just a smile that wasn't provoked by something physical.
Now, she smiles! In the morning when I go over to her crib. When I pick her up. When I give her kisses. When she sees the dog coming over to play with her. And today, I can say she was laughing. When I made the tickle sound and she would see my hands coming I would get a big smile and some "laughing" still not totally natural sounding, but laughing.

Makes my day, every single time.

2 for 1, maybe more!

I plan on doing some blog catch up, so today you will at least be getting 2 for 1!!
Yesterday my older daughter had her PT appt. Of course everyone there was eager to meet Alanna and get their hands on her. They did not do a formal eval on her (soon though). But they said she looks great. Great tone and very strong. They think her physical delays will be on the mild end of the spectrum. People keep asking me about this, and I was clueless. We think she is doing great for a child who has been in a crib for 15 months but beyond that, we just didn't know due to lack of experience.
They got her to do some weight bearing. She looked like such a big girl standing there with them only holding her legs for balance.
To me she is comparable to a 7-8 month old physically. She can sit, army crawl, roll over, sit from lying down.
Let me clarify, that we are not waiting on pins and needles to see how "delayed" her development will be. She is perfect to us, and we are just enjoying her no matter what pace her development is.

Here are some pictures of us showing Daddy her big girl standing.
And she turned 16 months old yesterday!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

You Poor Neglected Readers!

I know, I thought I would never be one of those Moms who came home and didn't blog for a week! I have not forgotten about you we've just been so busy!
I will have to break down the last week into several posts!
First off, Ms. Alanna is doing great! She is absolutely one of the sweetest, most content, lovable babies EVER! I get teary eyed every day just thinking about how blessed we are to have her.

Let me try to break it down for you, I may run out of time, I need to pick the kids up from school in a bit, take Cooper to get his allergy shot, then take Alanna's stool sample to the lab. (the life of a Mom)

The Plane Ride Home:

Even though we had to wake at 3 am to drive to the airport she fought sleep until our second flight! She made it through a 2 hour flight and a 4 hour lay over, with no more than a couple 10 minute naps! She was a little cranky, but not bad at all!! She was just too busy watching everything around her! Our second flight was 10 hours and she did great, she slept, maybe half of it, and just played the rest. Her reflux was horrible. I was covered in spit up from head to toe, or at least I felt like I was! She never cries about it, it just comes right back up.


We got home around 9 pm. Our other 3 kiddos were waiting up for us, along with my dear friend who had kept my kids and her 4 kiddos. Alanna slept through the whole thing!! They still said how cute she was, but there was no waking her up, and she slept through the night!

How is She Sleeping?

Many people ask this. She is doing AWESOME! She tried so hard not to sleep during the day because she was taking everything in. So around 1 pm she would be exhausted. She would take a long afternoon nap, sometimes we would have to wake her so she wouldn't sleep into dinner time. Then she goes to bed around 8-8:30. She has never woken in the middle of the night. Now she naps in the car sometimes, and sometimes she falls asleep while playing on the floor. But for the most part she takes 1 good nap in her crib everyday.


She's eating good. She loves her bottle! We are giving her whole milk with rice cereal to thicken it. This has helped tremendously with the reflux. She is eating some baby food, some table food, and 3 bottles every day. Any DS Mommas have feeding advice? What milk is healthiest for her? Vitamins? Supplements? Leave me comment!!
At what age did your child with DS go off the bottle? I'm in no hurry just curious.
The only 2 times I have given her juice/water she has vomited it back up. Today it happened as I was walking out the door. I walked back in, held her over the sink while she finished, then grabbed a towel and kept going, my other daughter had an dr appt! Things are totally different the more kids you have, sometimes you have to just keep going! She was fine after that.

What do our other kids think about her?

They are in LOVE with her! More than we thought possible. And they are not the only ones. It's not unusual for me to walk into the living room to find a neighborhood kid sitting playing with her. They are all super sweet with her. I am afraid what her being the youngest by so many years and so darn cute might mean! It will be a miracle if she is not spoiled rotten. We will try to find a healthy balance between spoiled and rotten!!

Does she seem happy and adjusted?

Yes, I can honestly say he does! She almost never cries. She is just a really easy baby.

Tomorrow she has a doctors appt. I will try to post tomorrow with more about her developement and things like that!
If you have any questions, post them in the comment section (you don't need an account to do it) and I will try to answer them tomorrow)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

An easy ticket out!

Well, we are headed home. It's almost 9 pm here on Tuesday, our driver will be here around 3 am to take us to the airport!
We had our appt at the embassy here on Monday, then went and did her medical. And today we went and got her Visa. They said it would take about 45 mintues to an hour to print. But 10 minutes later we were on our way!
We met a family who was adopting 2 teenagers who were hosted through New Horizons, the same organization we hosted Anastasia through 2.5 years ago. It was nice to talk to them, and to meet their new children!

I was so struck by what I saw yesterday, at the embassy of all places!
A parking lot full of people, people hoping to go somewhere. To live, to visit, both I'm sure. But it is not easy, impossible for many actually.
Especially a single young woman. They have to provide proof that they are not leaving to get married, and not come back here! Proof they own property, proof they have something to come back to!
There were several lines, and another just mass of people. Our driver walked us in front of all them, we didn't have to wait in any of those lines. Alanna has an easy ticket out of here! And not to say here is horrible, the inability to choose for yourself is what is horrible! You think we have to paperchase, and wait, and jump through hoops to adopt? Try being a citizen here and want to go travel. It can take years. We met a family with 2 young children, citizen of this country. They said it will take them 4 years!!
I was so bothered by this. Why is America so privilaged? So we can buy bigger cars and bigger houses and 5.00 cups of coffee every day? Why did God choose us to have the freedom and rights we do?
They only thing that was layed on my heart was "maybe He thought we would do something with it"
Hmm, maybe He trusted us to do something with it. And I'm not just talking about adoption, adoption is not the only something. But there seems to be a lot of nothing happening too.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Even More Pictures!!

One of my absolute favorites

Daddy Love

She loves bathtime, but we have to hold her up, because she bends over to lick/drink the water I need to buy one of those bathtub chairs

Notice what her PJs say?

LOTS of Pictures!

She licks everything. Including the floor. She no longer falls over while sitting up!
People with Down Syndrome, have a larger than typical gap between their toes, you can see it in the picture below. It is so precious, she wiggles her toes all the time.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Gotcha Day

Sorry I didn't get to posting yesterday, busy taking care of my girl!
Gotcha day went smoothly. We went and picked up her birth certificate. Then went to the bank to shut down her government assistance account that all orphans with special needs recieved. The money is donated to the orphanage by us, and this particular orphanage likes to go with the parents to purchase things directly for the orphanage. Which is nice to know the money is going to the proper place. Someone from the orphanage went with us, and basically she shopped and we paid. We bought some shoes, and over 1,000 in towels and sheets.
Then we went and got our girl! We changed her clothes and got her schedule, for sleeping and eating, and her medical run down again, signed some papers, etc.... They leave the orphanage with nothing, not even a clean diaper. We changed her clothes and several people came in to say their goodbyes. We had our translator ask if we could see her group room, and at first they said yes, then they said no. Very frustrating to have never seen where your daughter lived, but OK.
She is a sweet angel baby. She seems to struggle with some reflux, she doesn't cry about it, it just comes back up!
She doesn't seem to like the baby food or rice cereal we brought. But she ate some of my chicken and mashed potatoes at lunch and she drinks milk from a bottle.

We made the racecar drive back to the capitol city today. It was a crazy drive, but we trusted our driver.