Saturday, August 8, 2009

Love will help her grow...


I can't believe we have been home with our baby girl 2 weeks now. It is still a surreal feeling to have her home and a part of our lives everyday after dreaming of bringing home "Little Sister" for over 5 years. She is such a joy and delight and we cannot imagine bringing home any other child but our Elliana Sa-Rang!

Time for another update on our baby:

After the first week home, we had a lot of concerns and questions regarding Elliana's growth and development as well as eating habits and also her eye issues. We were quite frustrated at the way things did not seem to be lining up when you read her reports from Korea and then watched her in "real life." For example, all the reports said she was eating baby food, cereal, juice and even cookies- but every time we would try to feed her it was like she had never eaten anything before in her life. She would thrust her tongue out and act like a 5 or 6 month old does when you first introduce solid foods. She was definitely not eating or drinking anything other than formula. Also the reports and her foster mom both said she was sitting up and crawling, which when you watch her it seems absurd. Now I know that she could have regressed, but THAT much? Anyway, it was just hard to be expecting her to be at a 9 month old developmental level, when she was clearly much more delayed than that. Obviously, we knew that by adopting through the waiting child program we were going to be faced with some unknowns, but it was a little scary when we first saw her and wondered what sort of unknowns those were going to be.

Anyhow, I am so glad we were able to get into the pediatrition last Friday and discuss a lot of these things with him. He was impressed with how complete the medical records from Korea were, but right away realized that some of the monthly reports seemed a little inaccurate. Elliana has been sick with a cold/congestion so she didn't end up getting any shots then, so we have to go back next week. The Dr wanted to look the records over more thoroughly anyway and so he called back this week to discuss a lot of it with me. Basically just by looking at her, he asessed her to be between a 6-7 month old. Now since she was 9 weeks premature, technically she should be at a 9-10 month old level- so she is still a few months behind the "typical preemie." This is exactly what I had thought ever since that first day we had her, so it was good to have that confirmation from the "expert." I just wanted to know where we were starting from so that we would know what kind of therapy and intervention we will need. We had already made the mistake once of not intervening early enough for one of our boys who needed help and I still regret that so much, so I am determined to not let that happen with this child.

So what did the Dr say?

Well, that brings me to the title of this post:
LOVE will help her grow and thrive.
He basically told us to LOVE LOVE LOVE her as much as possible for the next 6 weeks and let's see what happens. He said to just spend lots and lots of time holding her, kissing her, touching her, playing on the floor with her, and helping her know who mommy and daddy are. That is her "therapy" for the next 6 weeks.
Um, yeah- I think we can manage that!!! :-)

He basically said that what happens in the next 6 weeks will determine what we will need to do next as far as testing, therapy, etc. If she is making big strides, then we will wait on the MRI and a few other tests, but we will still be doing some sort of early-intervention. Already we have been amazed at her progress since we first layed her down on that hotel bed over 2 weeks ago. She is getting stronger and more confident every day. She is still a peanut weighing in at 16.8 lbs and measuring 27 inches, but of course she seems perfect to us!
She does have an appointment with the pediatric opthamologist in one month, which our Dr reccomended we do right away so I am glad for that too. He told us she is one of the leading in the country- awesome!

So here are a few little tidbits about little miss Elliana from the past week...

*She is sleeping awesome in her crib- anywhere from 9-12 hours each night! We prayed for this to go smoothly when we heard about her sleeping schedule in Korea. It has not been an issue at all. Thank you LORD!

*We are still working on the naps. Most days it is 2 naps/day, but a few days she has not wanted to sleep when we put her in there and been a bit fussier. Can't complain though.

*She now has 2 teeth! The second one is just popping up and I know it has been painful for her. They are the cutest little teeth too!

*She can sit up for a few minutes now without falling over! Progress!

*She is still having bad tummy/constipation problems. We have been giving her pro-biotics in her bottle every morning as the dr reccomended. So far it has not helped much.

*She is playing with toys much more now and not her hand! When we first got her, she would only look at her hand and drop toys when we tried to put them in her hand. She now reaches for toys and studies them intently and shakes them.

*She LOVES music and anything that makes noise! In Korea we bought her some cd's of children singing worship songs in Korean and also one with children's songs. She loves them and sways her body side to side when she hears the music come on. She has watched Baby Einstein twice and is mesmorized by it too!

*After 2 weeks she is still pretty congested and stuffed up. Welcome to the Central Valley baby girl. Ha.

*She is wearing 6-9 month and some 12 month clothes and pretty much looks adorable in everything. But you already knew that right?! :-)

*When I ask her to "give momma a kiss" she leans in toward me, tries to grab my face and opens up her mouth real big. (when she wants to!) I love it!

*She loves it when people clap. We have been trying to teach her how to put her hands together to clap, but she hasn't quite got it yet. She really wants to do it and I bet it will be soon.

*She LOVES her big brothers. Any time they are in the room she stops and watches them to see what they are doing. And they totally adore her. They are constantly fighting over who gets to pick her up, who buckles her in the car-seat, who sits closest to her, etc!

***The most exciting 2 things that have happened in the past 2 days...

We heard Elliana really laugh for the first time!!! I mean a big belly laugh. It was the best sound ever and I cried because it meant so much after all that we have gone through! We got some of it on video so I will try to upload that soon so you can hear it too.

And last night Randy and I got her to drink some juice AND eat some baby food!!! Seriously this is a huge deal! She has not taken anything except formula for over 2 weeks and with all of her tummy problems this is going to make a huge difference!
We were so thrilled and I will be trying again in a little while to feed her some more. (I must say that when she first ate it, it was like she had never eaten food before. But she was in a good mood and was really hungry so she kept going and finally she got the hang of it!)

We knew all along that LOVE and PRAYER is what is going to help our baby girl grow. And we praise God for His goodness and faithfulness. She is doing so well already!

WOW- this was a long post! I am going to try to update a little more often so they are not so long now! Anyway, here are a few pictures from last week. Enjoy!

He cannot get enough of her...
Jensen is so in love with his baby sister

And so is Austin

Oh and Nathan is too! He is the best at reading her stories before bed. She loves it!

Attempting to get a picture together. Nope- not working out that day. The boys were so funny and really wanted her to try on her Chinese dresses that our friends got for her in China. She wasn't too thrilled.

Going for her first walk in the stroller. I think we made it to the end of the street and back!

And more of that face!


That's all for now.
If you are looking for us, we'll be here LOVING on our sweet girl!!!


Rachel said...

So glad you were able to get some answers from the Dr.! It is good to hear she is adjusting well - she is such a little sweetie! Love all the pictures :)

Kelly said...

She is just the sweetest little thing EVER!!! Yes, lots of love goes a long way in helping our little ones develop, I really believe that! It sounds like you have an amazing pediatrician!

I think she will grow by leaps and bounds in the next month or so!

I see some of those briar.claire bows in her hair, too, and they look perfect!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Meg said...

Thanks for the awesome update! I'm glad to hear that the Dr prescribed love!

From plenty of tummy problems experience... I can tell you with confidence -- give the probiotics a little more time. Whenever I switch probiotics or go back to them after an extended break, it can take up to two weeks before they stop causing problems and start helping. That's just how it is -- they contribute to the tummy issues before they start to settle everything.
Also, if the probiotics aren't the right match, they cause more pain and trouble than without them. I had to try several different probiotics before I found the right one.

Leah said...

Little peanut is super cute! The flower shirt is perfect.

Praying for you all during this time. It sounds like she has already made great gains.

Dave and Beth said...

I agree Awesome update!! So happy to hear you got some answers!!! Now go LOVE LOVE LOVE that beautiful lil Elliana!! Many many continued blessings!!!

Tina said...

I just loved reading this post, and happy believing with alot of love and time, she will be just fine. Our friends adopted a child from China and was also dealing with the same issues. It was true for them also ...time and love, and their little girl really started to blossom fast. It seemed she changed each week with new strides. She is adorable as is your whole family!!! Your in our prayers and Im glad all is going well.

JoJo said...

I can't wait to watch her grow! It sounds like you have a level head and a good gut on this, mom. Can't wait to for more pics and updates on her.

Tracie said...

I'm so glad your pediatrician is so supportive! That makes all the difference.

You can see that your LOVE has already made her grow!!!

Ally said...

What a little sweetie! So glad she is doing well and everything is moving back to normal.

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