Thursday, April 30, 2015

Ana is a purple turtle!

Ana received her spine brace today! She doesn't seem to mind it, though as Took remarked "She can't do her slumpy trick anymore."

Hopefully we will be able to keep spine surgery at bay for a long time!


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Look at this

Ana last June, when Papa visited her:

Ana now

No more blank stares here, folks!
This Ana has a family and she knows it! Sometimes it makes her laugh and sometimes it makes her cry, just like any kid...
Look at the life in her eyes! She is loved!

Praise God for the love he set on us through Jesus his son. We love because he loved us, we live because he lives!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

3 months home!

Yesterday was Ana's three month home day!
She is doing well. As you can see, she loves to eat sweet potato blender food.

She has gotten louder. Happy noises, sad noises, angry noises, experimenting with noise noises... They have all gotten louder! She is very communicative. I have no idea what her speech potential is, but she definitely values communication and wants us to know her needs. What an amazing blessing! 
She generally sleeps well, sleeping through the night about 80% of the time. With Porgies who sleeps through the night about 50% of the time, this means that some nights are great, and some nights are not for sleeping. As someone who idolizes sleep, I have had a hard time with this, but I suppose it's actually a pretty gentle way of having an idol taken from me. 
Ana always allows us to comfort her. She is very welcoming of love and affection from Mama and Papa, and from her brothers as well. When she can't fall asleep in her own bed, she will sleep in my arms (anyone who has adopted from an orphanage knows how AWESOME this is). I have to remind myself how huge this is when she is snoring on my shoulder and all I want is sleep :-)

She has gained 3 lbs since coming home. We are still working on optimizing her diet, and it's a moving target, but I am very positive about her ability to avoid a g-tube. 
Completely unshockingly her vitamin D levels were basically nonexistent. We are working with her pediatrician to get those levels up. She hates her supplements and lets me know it :-)
She has been fitted for a spine brace. Her spine is curvy, but very flexible, so the brace should be very effective and not too uncomfortable. I am excited to see how her body responds to some good support! 
Her hips are the biggest medical issue that we need to address. Her thigh adductors are very contracted so that her legs are permanently crossed. As she has gained weight this has gotten more uncomfortable for her. As much as I don't like major medical interventions, I want to have hip surgery done sooner rather than later. 

It has been wonderful to see Ana's progress in these 3 short months, and we are thankful to God for his preserving and protecting our family.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Calling all parents who have had kids with g-tubes...

Hi! It's Ana's mama, and I want to hear what folks think about g-tubes!
If you have any experience with a child with a g-tube, could you please chime in on the comments section?
What made you decide that a g-tube was necessary? Inability to eat? Erratic eating? Just not getting enough by mouth?

Does your child still eat by mouth at all?

How did you feel about tubes before you decided your child needed one? How do you feel now?

Do you use blender food? Formula? Combination?

Anything particularly difficult about care/maintenance?

Has your child been weaned off the tube/do you foresee this happening?

Ana is a great eater... When she wants to be. I really don't like the idea of sticking a tube in a child that CAN eat so well, but we live in a hot dry climate and on "I don't wanna drink" days I can spend hours slowly shoveling thickened liquids in... Where we live, dehydration can happen fast and it is imperative to keep the liquids going! Porgies now knows firsthand about the results of dehydration...
Anyway, miss Ana sees the GI on Thursday and I foresee this topic coming up! Therefore, I welcome your input.

If you want to comment privately, please mention such and I will not publish it.


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Bonding and Attachment!?

A lot of people have asked me "How do you know if bonding is going well? When will it be okay for Ana to be with other people?"

I wish it were that simple...

The big concern about children like Ana from an orphanage situation is that they are used to trusting nobody but themselves. Our desire for Ana is that she will know that she is loved, and that we will give her everything she needs. No longer does she need to use her cute wiles to make sure that she will be kept alive...

We have definitely been "cocooning"; nobody but Mama or Papa has ever fed, clothed, bathed, or held her since she has been home. Our family and friends have been great about staying at arm's length, as hard as that is for some of them ;-)

I have seen both good and bad responses from Ana in different situations.

Here's a bad one; at the Dr.s office Ana always goes into major cute mode. We walk in, she crows and giggles whenever she sees a medical professional. It's like she's saying "notice me! I am cute!" She will sometimes arch away from me to get a better look at whatever nice nurse just entered the room. Honestly, I am glad that she does happy attention getting behaviors rather than freaking out, but I would be happiest if she knew she didn't have to be over the top cute to survive.

Here's a good one. My parents still have four kids living at home; teenagers down to age 8. It's a very exciting active place, and the boys really like going there to play. We went there today, and Ana was obviously happy to be there, but didn't try to attract anyone with her cuteness. She sat on my lap for a while and then laid on the floor and watched all the action; very content and just enjoying events like a kid.

I hope this helps you to have an idea  of how bonding is going and what sort of cues we are looking for!