Sunday, September 30, 2012

One Year Ago Today: Referral Day

One year ago today I was sitting at home eagerly waiting for the phone to ring. It was a Friday and I had taken the day off work to have privacy for what I knew would be a very emotional experience. It turns how I had no idea just how extremely emotional it was going to be. Six years after we started our adoption journey Gary and I were finally receiving our referral for our daughter. I decided to document our referral day by videoing it, but when the phone rang around 10:30 a.m. I completely forgot that the camera was rolling in the background. In fact, I discovered later that I had over two hours of footage showing me talking to family and friends about our referral. I tried to compile my favorite moments into the movie below.

A friend of mine once told me that I am not a pretty crier and I know that is true. However, remembering how hungry I was during the wait for any insight into the adoption process I decided to go ahead and post this in case any waiting families want a glimpse into our referral day.

 I remember my heart was racing and my tears flowing when I first heard the voice of Jean from CCAI, our adoption agency.  Before she told me anything about Natalie I felt a great sense of relief that the wait was over.  It felt like a weight had been lifted off of me.  Then the reality hit that I was about to learn about my daughter.  One of the things I most wanted to know was how old Natalie was, but I managed to be patient just a bit longer as I waited for Jean to give us the information on Natalie in her own sequence. 

Seeing Natalie's face for the first time was the most intense moment of this incredible experience. On a loop, my brain kept repeating, "That beautiful little stranger is our daughter." It took quite a while to fully sink in and I enjoyed every minute of the process. Our agency had warned us not to get too attached to the photograph. That was my intention, but in the end I could not heed that warning. Gary and I both attached to the child in that photograph, or at least to our idea of her. We fell in love fast and we fell hard.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

It's Not Much of a Dance Tune

...but Natalie seems to like it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Birthdays and Delays

A few weeks ago Natalie attended her first ever birthday party for one of her classmates who turned 3.  It was held at a gym that is especially designed for little kids.  She had a great time and we are looking forward to going to another birthday party in a couple of weeks.

As I watched Natalie navigate around on the gym equipment I was stunned by the difference between her and her classmates who are all within 6 months of each other in age.  The likelihood that Natalie spent most of her waking hours in a walker or in a potty chair for the first 21 months of her life was apparent. Although she has made rapid progress since she came home 10 months ago, we felt like she could benefit from additional assistance to help her catch up the rest of the way.  

Natalie was recently tested and qualified for physical therapy to help her gain strength and gross motor skills, occupational therapy to help her with her fine motor skills, speech therapy to help with her articulation and developmental therapy which is a combination of the other three.  She tested almost at her age level for expressive and receptive speech which is amazing to me after such a short exposure to English.  She is speaking in paragraphs now and it is so much fun to talk to her.  Her innovative little brain comes up with things that sometimes make us laugh and sometimes make us shake our heads in awe of how smart and creative she is.

I'll post updates on her progress in her various therapies in the coming months.  I wish we had started this process last spring, but since neither her peditrician or teachers were concerned we were a bit blind to the problem.  I want to encourage families that are still waiting or are recently home with their children to seek out help sooner rather than later.  Many states offer these therapies for free.







Saturday, September 1, 2012

Wish we could play together every day...

We recently had a visit from our two cousins who live in Seattle.  Natalie was so excited to have a playmate in the house and she instantly looked up to her 6 year old cousin A.

For days after the visit Natalie kept asking "Where's A?"  and then answered her own question by saying "A is working".  At her school they tell the children that their parents are at work and will pick them up when they get done.  I guess Natalie assumed that A works too :)