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Coming Home
June 18, 2005
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July 30, 2006  |  October 11, 2006  |  December 26, 2006  |  March 17, 2007  |  May 27, 2007  |  December 24, 2007

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Isabelle continues to make huge strides where attachment is concerned. She has started to genuinely hug and love on me and her dad. She wants to be close to us and for us to squeeze her tightly. At the grocery store the other day, as she sat in the child seat of the cart, she leaned out to grab me and hug me close. She wrapped her little arms around me and we spent a good portion of our time wheeling around the store in a body lock. Yesterday she had to get her last series of Synagis shots (they're to protect her from getting RSV) and she was so upset afterwards. She wanted me to hold her so I put her in my lap and she turned around to face me, she wanted me to hold her as close as possible. It was an amazing moment, to realize that she has truly opened herself up to trust again. I have been conflicted over my feelings of traveling to pick up Isabelle's new sister, Sophie. But in light of all the progress Isabelle has made, I can't fathom leaving her for two weeks to travel to China. As difficult as it is to miss our new daughter's first moments as a member of our family, I know it will mean more to Isabelle and the other kids for me to be here, than it will mean to Sophie for me to be absent.

We had Isabelle evaluated by our state's early intervention program recently, due to her delay in speech. She was seen by a speech therapist, developmental therapist and an occupational therapist. All of them had significant findings, enough to qualify her for the program. Yesterday was our IFSP, a meeting where we all got together and discussed 'the plan' for Isabelle. It was a difficult meeting for me, even though I had already read each of the therapists reports, to listen to the areas in which Isabelle is struggling. It seems that she is delayed in both receptive and expressive language, she needs help developing her 'joint attention' (attending to the same thing someone else is) and imitation skills, and developing an interest in others. The occupational therapist said that Isabelle has sensory integration disorder. She explained about it and at the time I understood what she was saying, but need to learn more before I try to explain it myself. Isabelle has a mild case, but it will be an issue she'll need to learn to cope with over the long term. Sensory integration disorder can be caused by lack of stimulation at a young age and it is likely due to her time in the orphanage. But I am optimistic that we will get our little one the therapy she needs, the play set I'd been wanting to buy for her anyway (the therapist said she needs a place to climb and swing) and we'll all learn what we need to help her be the happiest, most well adjusted Isabelle she can be :)

Now onto what she CAN do lately! She is constantly on the go and loves to be busy. She has become our very own Van Gogh. She 'colored' our couch with a ball point pen, from one side to the other, all over the seat cushions. She even remembered to color the armrests. If she is quiet for more than a few moments, we usually can find her with an absconded pencil writing on the wall. She has started to imitate 'Itsy Bitsy Spider' (she even tries to do the 'sun comes up'), she can sign "book" now as well as "outside". She can walk up the stairs holding onto the railing and has just learned how to step down instead of turning around to come down the steps backward. She is eating really well, she's up to 26 1/2 pounds and 32", and still enjoys her 2 bottles a day. When I discussed this with the therapist she explained that the sucking involved with the bottle is very calming and 'centering' for a child, so we will continue with these until she's ready to give them up. She's been through enough to justify a few calming moments in a day! If it did for me what it does for her, I think I'd take a bottle myself. She can run, fast, and loves to do anything with a ball. She can throw and kick and takes turns rolling the ball with her brothers. She loves blocks and instead of making a single tower, she makes her own creations. Who needs a house if you can build a mansion? After she's done building she also enjoys the demolition. She loves to be outside and has even learned to tolerate the grass on her feet. She has made such incredible strides. Two of the therapists that saw her recently had seen her shortly after she came home from China. They both were surprised and delighted by the physical and emotional changes in her. The OT had been so concerned about her lack of muscle tone and inability to 'cross the midline' and noted that she was now excelling at using both hands independently and that her muscle tone was excellent. She even scored 'beyond' on one of the grasping tests she administered, at 27 months! The DT had been concerned with Isabelle's shyness and 'velcro baby' behavior at their first meeting last August and noted how social, happy and well-adjusted Isabelle was at their meeting several weeks ago.

Mother and daughter

Fun with ice cream sandwiches!

Enjoying the park with Dalton

Her favorite is still the swings

Taking a break from playing

Her first Easter egg
The next few months will hold many changes for our family. We ask that you keep Isabelle, as well as the rest of our family, in your prayers as we prepare to move to Georgia, Chris starts flying a new plane for the Air Force and, most of all, we bring home our new daughter Sophie. We are so excited but know this will all be very stressful for all of us, especially Isabelle and Sophie. We were able to sell our house here in only 4 days and recently returned from Georgia where we found a new house that we feel is perfect for our family. God has provided for us in every way and we are so grateful for the way He continues to provide for and bless our growing family!

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