Eyes Wide Open: Part Five

July 3rd, 2011

To Sum It All Up

Question:  Will Katie ever catch up to other children with Down syndrome of her own age?

During a child’s first three years of life, when the brain is still developing, the kind of nutrition, care and stimulation the child receives is crucial.  If a child is deprived for as long as Katerina has been, it would take a miracle for her to ever “catch up” developmentally.  Humanly speaking, it is impossible.  We are only half-joking when we say that we will give her nine more years to learn to walk and talk.  We know that the human brain continues to learn and make connections as long as it is being stimulated properly, so we do not believe it is hopeless, but we also are vividly aware that it may never happen at all.

Just as we did for Verity before she was born, as we look forward to receiving Katie-bird, we prepare as much as possible for the worst, and hope and pray for the best.

 

Question:  So what are you expecting of her?

In the short term, we are prepared for rejection and lots of fussing on her part, difficulties in traveling home with her, curtailed family activity during the initial adjustment period, multiple medical and dental appointments, medical and dental treatments, feeding and sleeping problems that could last indefinitely, and a long, slow, patient process of bonding (both us with her, and her with us), learning to eat, and learning to move.

[I am going to go out on a limb here and guess that I am not going to have trouble bonding with her.  Right now I can’t really find the words to tell you why.  Maybe someday.

If I am wrong, and have trouble bonding with her, I promise to tell you.

But.

I don’t think that’s going to happen.]

In the long term?  At this point, nobody could possibly predict what the outlook is for Katie in the long term.  If they did, we would strongly doubt their trustworthiness!

 

Question: What will your plan of care be for her after you bring her home?

The rough draft of our plan puts her medical care and bonding at top priority, with her developmental needs being addressed after those two are well on their way to being established.  We plan to focus initially on her bonding with me (doing all her direct care and “wearing her” in the baby sling carrier), then move outward from there to the rest of the family.  We plan to surround her with all the affection we have to give, and that is a lot at our house!

In all this, as we continue to learn the truth, we are determined to openly share it, no matter how hard a truth it turns out to be.  The truth will not deter those whom God has called to the work of adopting, giving, praying, and advocating for these little ones.  The truth is one of the most powerful weapons we have on our side, the truth about the both the difficulty and the beauty in special-needs adoption.

Last week, when Verity and I visited Doctor Strauss for her one-year well-child exam, he and I were able to talk extensively about Katerina while Verity finished off her bottle and munched on some puffs.

He concluded our conversation by saying, “I think you will be surprised at how quickly she progresses once you get her home and give her the love and nutrition she needs.  It will be an adventure!”

We agree!  And we can hardly wait to get started!

Speaking of…but that deserves its own post…

 

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6 Responses to “Eyes Wide Open: Part Five”

  1. Stephanie says:

    Just wanted to let you know that Brandon and I have changed our prayers for her according to your most recent post series.  I can’t wait to see what God has in store for Katerina!

  2. Kendra says:

    My heart leaped a bit when I read, “We plan to surround her with all the affection we have to give, and that is a lot at our house!” It brought tears to my eyes. Katerina has no idea at this time what her heavenly Father has in store for her but soon she will have love that she has never known. That in itself will help her to thrive! Those that thought at the beginning how your family could care for one more….bigger family=more love to give! It is for this reason among many other why it is a plan only our loving Father could orchestrate…..you are a beautiful family.

  3. Ginger says:

    I applaud your openness. What happens in adoptions is a well kept secret I learned. People don’t like to talk about the hard stuff, because we’re afraid it will deter people from adopting and we don’t want that. When I was truthful about the difficulty we’ve had bonding w/ our youngest, I was praised by adoptive parents and harshly criticized by parents who haven’t adopted. 
    And I ditto Stephanie. These posts are so helpful in directing our prayers for sweet Katerina.

  4. sabrina says:

    I am in tears reading this too.
    You already know and love Katie so much, but she doesn’t know about her family or what is in store for her. God has known and loved her all along, just as He knew and loved us all before we knew Him. Adoption is such a beautiful picture and I’m just in tears reading along as you experience the reality of it.
    What a day it will be when you finally meet her and what another day it will be when you bring her home. So exciting.

  5. Christine says:

    I’m so excited for you guys, and for Katie.  I know her new life will bless her, even though in the short term it will be an overwhelming cacophony of riches. 

    I see you are planning on wearing Katie in a sling.  I didn’t know if you would also want to use something more like a Mei Tai or an Ergo.  I have an Ergo that I purchased and never even opened.  Let me know if you have need of it. 

    I’m so excited for you all.

  6. Susanna says:

    Christine, I don’t know what to say to such a generous offer, other than WOW, and thank you! This touches my heart. I am sure we WILL need it after we bring her home if it’s still available then. Wow. Bless you.

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