Month Two: Settled

January 16th, 2012

Katie’s second month home could so far be described as settled.

She feels completely comfortable in her home now, except for a few rooms she doesn’t go into very often.  She still reacts against unfamiliar places such as our closet, if I enter them while carrying her.

She is more tolerant of Verity, and of seeing me hold and care for Verity.  She was pretty jealous there for a while.

[Nearly all the matching clothing you see our little girls wear came from one person.  Thank you again, L!  So fun!]

 

“Girls, look outside!  Outside!”

 

“Pat, pat, pat Katie.”

 

What did Katie snag?

 

 

 

“Eeeeek!  Verity, watch where you are sitting!”

 

“I guess I will laugh about it with everyone else!”

She tolerates more and more touch, and just this past week began actually seeking out affection.  She has a certain look when she wants hugs and kisses, almost as if she has to psyche herself for it, but wants it in spite of the intensity.

She will now reach her arms out toward me to be picked up when I come to her and sign, “Come,” and say, “Katie, come to Mama!”

And she’s eating!

Do you remember that back in the beginning, Katie refused to take anything by mouth?  She would let it all drip back out.  If I persisted, she would turn her head away and cry.  She gave the same reaction whether I attempted to touch her lips with a spoon, cup, bottle nipple, or pacifier.

We gave her a complete break from eating by mouth from the time she received her gas-mask NG tube…

 

 

…until she’d been home for four days, when I began giving her all sorts of tasty tastes.

 

Over the next two weeks, she progressed from simply tasting the food to actually eating small amounts of it.

During this time, she also began reaching out for my hand as I gave her each bite with my finger.

From the very first time I detected that she had begun to pull my hand to her mouth, I required her to reach out and pull it in every time.  I got the bite of food ready on my finger, held it out in front of her, and waited.

My “feeding finger” was getting bruised and sore from her little sharp teeth, although she does not have an overactive bite reflex.  Then one evening several weeks ago, Joe noticed the grimace of pain that crossed my face with each bite I gave her.  He encouraged me to try the spoon again.

So we pulled our maroon spoon out, and in the midst of her feeding, without missing a beat, I smoothly switched to giving the bite of food with the spoon instead of my finger.  She thought about it for a short time, then decided not to make a fuss.  I continued the feeding using the spoon, and before the end of that meal, she was grabbing the handle of the spoon and pulling it to her mouth as she had previously grabbed onto my hand.

Before too long, she was so secure with her response to being fed, that I decided to try the feeding chair.

 

 

 

 

She eats up to a cup of food at each meal now.

Breakfast is generally egg yolk, cooked in oil, half a slice of toast or half a cup of oatmeal, and a mashed banana or about half of a Clementine, cut into small pieces.  She loves it when I mash a banana in with the oatmeal!

For her lunch and supper, she’s had quite a variety!  She’s enjoyed all the foods I’ve given her so far except roast beef.  Oh yes, and Subway veggie beef soup which admittedly tasted like over-salted canned potatoes.  Blech.  That doesn’t count as real food, anyway.

Now that she is eating significant amounts of food, and gives the same pleased reaction to green peas as she does to french toast with real maple syrup, I’m giving her considerably more nutritious table foods.  *health nuts may now heave a sigh of relief* 

In addition to the supplements prescribed for her by the doctor, I give her about a teaspoon of organic cold-pressed coconut oil every day.  She thinks this is the greatest treat!  I also add the contents of a ginkgo capsule to her breakfast milk, and several drops of grapefruit seed extract to each of her bottles.

She does not drink by mouth.  All thin liquids run right back out.  When we are ready to wean her from the NG tube, we will need to thicken her liquids with guar gum, to make it possible for her to eat them with a spoon.  When she is able to take all her solids and liquids by spoon, we will be able to remove her NG tube.  I am guessing that this day is not far in her future.

Dr. Strauss has made himself available to answer questions and concerns by email, including “how to make sure Katie doesn’t grow stout.”  So he is able to update her care plan, using information I send him, without the need for many office visits.  This has been a tremendous blessing to us!

During her next actual doctor visit at the end of the month, we should get some answers to our questions about her hormone levels.

We have Katie wearing Hip Helpers twenty-four hours a day now, except for public occasions such as visits from guests or photo shoots.  Hip Helpers are designed to help prevent excessive hip abduction, or “froggy legs,” in children with low muscle tone.  This causes more obstacles as they learn to move their bodies properly.

 

This hip abduction issue, like many others, is still being debated by some, but we have been impressed with the results of a similar treatment for Verity.  When Verity was an infant, and slept without something holding her legs in line with her hips, her legs would “frog” outward.  Now, when she sleeps without a Hip Helper, they never “frog.”  She is always either curled on her side or on her belly with her legs going nearly straight downward.  We still use Hip Helpers for Verity, because they give her the input she needs to help her crawl in a more organized fashion.

And we have already noticed good results in Katie.  Without her Hip Helpers, she scoots with both legs together and both hands together, pushing off with the inner sides of her knees.

With her Hip Helpers, she must work much harder, and she does!  We are so proud of how determined she is and how hard she works!  And with her Hip Helpers on, she is now scooting in a more correct fashion, pushing off with her feet, and pulling forward with one side or the other rather than with both sides equally.

We stopped using cloth diapers for Verity halfway through her first year when we realized that having all that bulk between her legs was working against the best interests of her hips.  We decided to wait until she was much bigger to switch back to using cloth, and in fact, we have just started using them for both girls this past week.

Katie after her bath, with her huge overnight cloth diaper and no Hip Helpers~

Katie with her huge overnight cloth diaper and her Hip Helpers~

 

Katie received an unsedated DEXA scan over a week ago, and we have not yet heard the results.  Once we get the okay for her to be in her Squiggles stander, Verity’s physical therapist has offered to fit it to her at no charge to us!  We’re so thankful for her kind offer!

Katie did well for her actual scan, but was traumatized by the very large waiting room full of strangers.  By “traumatized,” I mean looking about with fear and crying inconsolably with loud and terrified sobs.

The same day she got her DEXA scan, she also had an unsedated dental cleaning.  I plan to write more about that extremely emotional experience in a future post.

For now, suffice it to say, her teeth are clean!

They were healthy under all that junk!  The dentist said the thick mineral layer that coated her teeth actually acted as a protection against cavities!

The gray color of her teeth was a layer of foul-smelling bacteria.  It is now gone!  There is no more aura of garbage pail wafting about my child!

Amazingly, during the past month, her lower right lateral incisor sprouted!  It’s now halfway grown up in what used to be an empty spot!

She no longer drools!

She smells like one of my little children now.  She smells like my milk, our food, our baby bath, our laundry soap, our toothpaste, our environment, mixed with her own sweet Katie-scent.

Her cheeks are chubby for kissing big squishy kisses, and she loves big, squishy kisses!  She giggles and giggles when I give her slurberts.

 

She screamed bloody murder the first time I tried to bathe her in the bathtub, about mid-December.  Last night, I set her on Laura’s lap to watch Verity having fun in the bathtub.

 

 

What happens if I do this?”  Hmmmm.  So I have to teach her not to throw her toys out of the bathtub just like I did with all my other children!

 

I supported Katie in a sitting position in the tub while Verity was still in there, and she tolerated it with little complaining noises for a minute or so before she commenced to cry.  I consider this progress!

Then I went ahead and gave her a sponge bath as usual.  This put her back into a very contented mood.  She loves a good sponge bath and coconut oil massage!  I take this opportunity to give her firm pressure input, as well as proprioceptive input.  Our proprioceptors are located in our joints, and I give proprioceptive input via a series of very gentle compressions to Katie’s joints.  This will help wake up her proprioceptors so that they can help her be aware of where her body is in space.  You are using your proprioceptors when you can close your eyes and know the position of all your appendages!  This skill is one of the components to coordination, as you may know if you are accident-prone!

Katie blowing raspberries~

 

Katie being goofy~

 

Happy girl~

 

Someone asked what our child training looks like with a child like Katie.  So far, it means gently guiding her in the direction she needs to go, rather than leaving her to her own devices, even if it is initially uncomfortable for her.  And even if it happens slowly over a very long period of time.

For example, I am teaching her to be aware of her, uh, her bodily functions.

***If you prefer not to read about this sort of thing, feel free to skip the next paragraph.***  

Before I change her wet diaper, I take one of her hands and have her pat the appropriate spot, saying, “Mama, I’m wet!”  Before I change a messy diaper, et cetera.  She is so regular, and sends such clear signals ahead of time, that I realized I could probably catch some of the stinks before they hit the diaper, and that has turned out to be true.  For the first couple of weeks, she fussed in a very whiny tone every time I held her over the appropriate location to do her business.  But I praised her to high heaven every time, and told her what she was doing, and that she was SO big to do that!  And just today, for the first time, she laughed and looked pleased when I praised her, instead of complaining.

Katie is a very expressive and interactive person.  She is showing us more and more that she wants to communicate with us.  She tries with all her might to speak, with the result that she is expanding her repertoire of vocalizations.

Just this past week, she added two skills.

She discovered that she likes to blow raspberries!  Sometimes she just blows without the raspberries~

 

I’m not going to tell you about the other skill yet!  It is exciting enough to deserve a post of its own, complete with a video demonstration!

We have learned to understand her body language and facial expressions.

When she’s especially happy about something, she has a sweet look~

 

This face makes me laugh!  It means, “I’m feeling mellow.  Everything’s cool.”  [The food in her teeth means, “I don’t chew my food at all.”  haha!]

 

Katie is generally cheerful, and isn’t easily disgruntled until after suppertime.  But she can be persuaded out of an ill humor with minimal difficulty.  She rarely chews on her wrist or clicks her hip joints in distress, as she used to do regularly.  She has learned to look at us and complain instead.

“I have an opinion about this, and it is not good!”

 

She gets bored easily now, and doesn’t tolerate boredom well.

“Tra la la.  This is so boring.”

 

And that is a healthy sign for Katie!  It is impossible to picture the new Katie lying alone in bed all day.  She would never stand for that now!  She is curious and loves to be right in the middle of the activity!

Katie exploring buttons.  Is this a choking hazard?

 

We want Katie to put things into her mouth, but that’s pretty far in her future.  The development of fine motor skills is very dependent on core strength and arm strength.  We won’t expect to see strength and coordination with Katie’s fine motor skills until she’s a good bit further advanced with her gross motor skills.

In the beginning, she couldn’t stand to have any pressure put on her hands, light or firm.  Objects within her reach tended to be seen as a challenge, and therefore just irritated her.  She still rarely grasps anything (except her spoon!), and when she does, it is nearly always to push the object out of her way.  She tends to drop items from her grasp quickly, and her grasp is weak.  Even her purposeful release is not normal–she shakes her hand back and forth to help the item work loose from her grasp.

 

When Katie began showing curiosity about objects (while we were still in CHOP and during the early days at home), she would explore them by patting them with the back of her hand.  You may remember the video of Katie activating her singing turtle by batting at it uncontrollably with the back of her hand.  We were nonetheless proud of her for actually interacting with a toy and figuring out the cause-and-effect!

She has progressed from there to being willing to pat or weakly push items in order to feel them.  Her other motivation for touching things is to make noise with them, as she did with the tube she was rolling around on the floor, or the dryer ball on her seat tray, or one of her battery-operated noise-making toys.

She increasingly tolerates me giving firm touch input to her hands, but still pushes away a light touch.  This makes sense when you know that deep pressure or firm touch is soothing, while light touch triggers a fight-or-flight reaction.

The button photos show that she has made HUGE progress just to be curious enough to scoot over and pat at the buttons!  It tells me she felt secure and happy.  Then she kept it up because it rewarded her with a noise she liked.

Katie enjoys toys that make noise, and will shake a very lightweight, stuffed rattle for a short period of time, after we model it for her.  She also mimics us when we pat something.  The fact that she so often tries to mimic us is a very hopeful sign of her learning potential.

She loves a good challenge, but only when she feels safe and comfortable in her environment.   Increasingly, as long as she hears the sound of our praise, and sees our joyous faces, she pushes herself to do that thing again, whatever it was.

Well, unless we ask her to support her own weight in an upright seated position!  No amount of praise reconciles her to this task yet!

“Oh pleeeeeeze!  Do I have to do this?  Haven’t I made it perfectly clear I do not approve?”  *sigh*

 

As is common for people with Down syndrome,  her receptive language skills are far ahead of her expressive language skills.  She demonstrates her understanding of many words I commonly use with her.

For instance, the word “outside,” stated several times, results in her turning her head to look out the window.  If we repeat the word “light,” she turns to look at a light.  When she hears “bed,” she turns to look at her crib.  The phrase “Hi, (person’s name)!” results in her turning toward the person in front of us.  She looks down when something drops and I say, “Uh-oh!”

[Thank you again, R, for this wonderful seat!]

 

Miss Julie tells me that I talk to Katie exactly as she would want me to.  Miss Julie has been Verity’s speech therapist for several months now.  She is sweet and easy to love.  When I asked her what she charged for private therapy sessions, she told me that in her soul she couldn’t bring herself to charge us for Katie, so she is offering us her services for free!  We praise God for this marvelous provision and for our new friend Miss Julie!!

So how do I talk to Katie?

I talk to her like she’s a nine-year-old child when she is keeping me company while I work.  “Katie, did you know we’re going to have some visitors this afternoon?  They’re going to bring you a corner chair and you’re going to love it!”

I talk to her like she’s a toddler when I’m teaching her, using simple words and clear enunciation.  “Katie, that’s a vacuum cleaner.  Vacuum cleaner.  Vrooooooom!  Vacuum cleaner!”  Being a natural-born teacher, this is my usual way of speaking to her, and it’s why she recognizes so many words now.

I talk to her like she’s a baby when I’m loving her up.

“Precious little Katie-bird.  Mama lovey-lovey-loves you.”  *Mmmmmm, smooch, smooch, smooch*

 

 

 

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47 Responses to “Month Two: Settled”

  1. Becky K. says:

    So many changes…and all for the better.
    Looking forward to seeing you soon, Lord willing!

  2. Debbie says:

    oh, thank you susanna for this delightful post!  i cannot even pick my favorite thing to comment on – i loved it all! 
    and i think it’s so funny that where you have “slurburts”, we have “zurberts” – and all of our kids love them!
    actually, i think i DID think of my favorite thing – how in all of the areas you wrote about, katie’s spunky independent streak is so apparent; how your kind and loving arms give her the freedom and confidence to try new things (even when they are scary!) and to be able to enjoy so many of the simple pleasures that were denied to her for so long.  the change in such a short time is miraculous.
    thank you – now i’m off to check out your pictures one more time before bed!
    and i’m so happy for you and for katie that her teeth are clean (and healthy!!); i hope the process wasn’t too much of a trauma.

  3. Bekah(beksand) says:

    I so badly wish I had words to express my JOY at this post.  There just simply are none that will do it justice!!!  To look at that picture from the Japanese hospital to those gorgeous chubby cheeks next to her precious sister.  Oh my goodness!  Praising the Lord!!!!!!

  4. Shari~hotfudgecustard says:

    Yes, I think JOY is the right word!! 

    We have zurberts, too, but I guess I say it more like zurbit.  Sometimes my “kisser” gets “stuck” in zurbit mode and the kids have to adjust it back to “kiss”.  It usually happens at bedtime when I’m putting off the final goodnight.  ;)

    I love the look on Verity’s face in the picture of them sitting up on the bed!  :D  You have twins again, in a lot of ways. 

    In the picture of Katie playing with the buttons, I wondered if she puts things in her mouth like a baby would.  IOW, is choking a concern like it would be with small objects around a baby or is she more nine-ish about this type of thing?

    She has made miraculous progress, hasn’t she, since she was rescued?  Praise the Lord!!!

    And clean teeth!!!  What provision the Lord gave her, that the horrible covering actually PROTECTED her!!  Oh, wow!!  God really knows what to do!  (ahem…sometimes I forget this and doubt tries to creep in…)

  5. Ginger says:

    Oh man, I love newsy posts like this! You’re the best. Thanks! ha
    What a thrill that she is making such progress so quickly. I’m truly amazed. 

  6. Missy says:

    Verity looks like she could do without the photo op. :) She is such a cutie. 

  7. Heather (iceangel) says:

    A)  I cried over Katie’s new stats!  God is so amazing.
    B)Can I just tell you how absolutely ADORABLE Verity is sucking her little thumb!
    My 10 year old comes into my room every night so we can “check” on Katie.  Thank you for helping teach her humanity and God’s love!

  8. Katie says:

    Oh, I love, love, love, all these beautiful pictures of your children!  How precious they are!  I love the pictures of Katie and Verity in the little tutus…. treated like princesses, just like little girls should be.  I rejoice at the love I see between the two of you.  I’m THRILLED that she’s eating so well for you.  And it’s so fascinating to learn about all the therapy tools you use with the girls (that I hope to use with the multitudes of children I plan to parent in the future).  Your blog posts light up my day.  

    I also noticed that we are similar in some ways.  I often have so much to say in my blog that I write “but that is a post for another day”, or “this topic deserves a post all its own” – and then I read your blog and I notice you saying the same things.  So much to tell, so much to write.  

    Just, thank you, for sharing your family with us.  Thank you for letting us in on your journey.  I will never be able to express my gratitude toward you, never – it cannot be put into words, it’s something only God can quantify – for bringing me into this world of special needs adoption.  As much as adoptive parents save these children, the children save us.  I wrote in my blog about the year I had in 2011, all the turmoil in my life, how I felt truly without purpose by Christmastime – and then I found The Blessing of Verity.  I can’t even tell you the transformation I’ve felt in myself.  Where there was purposelessness, there is now meaning, a path laid before me.  Where there was despair, there is now hope.  Where there was heartbreak, there is now understanding.  God’s plan is so much bigger than anything we can imagine.  

    I have a favorite movie.  It’s “A Walk To Remember”.  I lived out parts of that movie with my best friend Angie, may she rest in peace.  One of my favorite quotes from the movie, is where Jamie says, “Maybe God… had a bigger plan for me… than I had for myself”.  I think those words to myself every day.  And finding your blog at that low point in my life proves them.  God had a bigger plan for me.  And a bigger plan for the many children I will one day bring home.

    Thank you.  Thank you so much, Susanna.  Bless you and all your family.  You are truly living through God. 

  9. Jessica says:

    Every single time I read a post, tears well up with joy.  I’m SO happy to watch Kaitie grow!  How wonderful that her teeth were healthy underneath all the gunk.  That is such a relief! 

  10. Hollie says:

    Clean teeth ROCK! so glad she smells like her true reality Katie-self now. Love all the supports you all are using and trying.

    It has struck me for a few weeks now that Katie’s social deficits, which were undoubtedly and unequivocally caused by profound criminal neglect, nicely mirror the neurological social deficeits caused organically in a child with autism. The social deficits look the same, although the causes are very different. Of course, the treatment for them are somewhat different given the different nature of the cause (a neglected baby has the neurological capacity to achieve it with the right amount of love and patience and instruction whereas a child with autism lacks that neurological capacity but can mimic or achieve social prowess with the right behavioral supports in place). But, I’ve been where you are on some level, and I know how hard it can hurt a momma’s heart to see that. Knowing that Katie’s could and should have been prevented likely hurts even more. Hugs, Momma.

    Wonderfully fantastic and encouraging news on all fronts. Your family looks good on you, sweet Katie!

  11. melissa says:

    I’m probably going to write this for everything you post from here on out – she is sooo beautiful!!  
    Love her sitting up skills! 

  12. Susanna says:

    Shari, thanks for your question!  I knew I’d forget something important!  I wanted to write about the buttons and her fine motor skills!  

    We WANT her to put things into her mouth, but that’s pretty far in her future.  The development of fine motor skills is very dependent on core strength and arm strength.  We won’t expect to see strength and coordination with Katie’s fine motor skills until she’s a good bit further advanced with her gross motor skills.  

    In the beginning, she couldn’t stand to have any pressure put on her hands, light or firm.  Objects within her reach tended to be seen as a challenge, and therefore just irritated her.  She still rarely grasps anything (except her spoon!), and when she does, it is nearly always to push the object out of her way.  She tends to drop items from her grasp quickly, and her grasp is weak.  Even her purposeful release is not normal–she shakes her hand back and forth to help the item work loose from her grasp.  

    When she began showing curiosity about objects (while we were still in CHOP and during the early days at home), she would explore them by patting them with the back of her hand.  You may remember the video of Katie activating her singing turtle by batting at it uncontrollably with the back of her hand.  We were nonetheless proud of her for actually interacting with a toy and figuring out the cause-and-effect.  

    So she has progressed to being willing to pat or weakly push items in order to feel them.  Her other motivation for touching things is to make noise with them, as she did with the tube she was rolling around on the floor, or the dryer ball on her seat tray, or one of her battery-operated noise-making toys.

    She also increasingly tolerates me giving firm touch input to her hands, but still pushes away a light touch.  This makes sense when you know that deep pressure or firm touch is soothing, while light touch triggers a fight-or-flight reaction.  

    The button photos show that she has made HUGE progress just to be curious enough to scoot over and pat at the buttons!  It tells me she felt secure and happy.  Then she kept it up because it rewarded her with a noise she liked.

    I think I’ll go put this comment in the post.  

    Also thought of something else I should have added in to this one… 

  13. Tarsha says:

    I love reading your posts!!  Katie is so very blessed to have parents like you! I want to hug and kiss that beautiful little girl

  14. Deanna says:

    So, so awesome!  I love her little chubbiness!  She is one smart little girl – thanking God today for keeping her and allowing her to go into your family!  She is teaching us all so many things!

  15. Katherine Lauer says:

    Thank you for sharing so many details! And to see those bath photos–she has fat rolls! I can see the fat! It’s so beautiful!

  16. This is all such great news.  I love watching her blossom in your family!  Those little girls are so cute.  It is truly amazing to watch you and your family love and care for Katie.  I believe your story will be a great encouragement for those who are in the process of adopting a child from an orphanage like Katie came from.  I know it has encouraged me.  After we complete the adoption we are in I am hoping God will allow us to rescue a child in need like Katie.  I have a heart for orphans with Down syndrome.  Thank you again for sharing your story so honestly!  I know I say that a lot but you must know what a blessing your story is and how much we appreciate the effort you put into sharing the details with us.  You are a BUSY mom, an AMAZING mom, yet you still pour so much of yourself into this blog.  You are a gift to us in blog land!

  17. Valerie says:

    Thanks so much!  Smiling like a kid in a candy store right now.  Opening a a new blog from you is like opening the best gift I ever received!!

  18. patti says:

    OOOOH, I loved this post, I could read all day! I’m sick in bed and this was the perfect diversion, so thank you:) I posted a pic of us together from last May on Lily’s birthday post…I have a dream of coming back and visiting again, but only when you’re ready for company. I love the girls’ matching outfits- so sweet!! give those children a big hug from us, especially Miss Verity and Miss Katie. oxox

  19. Susanna says:

    Patti, I’m sorry you guys have sickness in your house! Yuck! Is sweet Lily sick, too? Please give her an extra birthday squeeze from me today! She looks SO pretty in her party outfit!

  20. Julia says:

    She smells like one of my little children now. She smells like my milk, our food, our baby bath, our laundry soap, our toothpaste, our environment, mixed with her own sweet Katie-scent.
    ——-
    I love that! Just wonderful! 
    She looks great.  What progress in such a short time! 

  21. Holly F. says:

    Wonderful!!!  I loved every bit of this entry!  The pictures, the words, the behaviors, the way you are so instinctive in guiding Katie to the appropriate behaviors and learning!  

    The pictures, oh my, the pictures!  Her smile is just so amazing!  I’m overjoyed her teeth are healthy and that she smells so wonderful now  I wish the internet had a scratch and sniff function….lol.  I love the smell of my children after bath when I can smell their own natural scent slightly enhanced with soap.     Trent’s head begins to sweat right before he falls asleep.  That smell always triggers the most primal maternal instinct in me….it takes me back to when he would fall asleep nursing.  It isn’t a stinky smell…just him. 

    Katie’s “sweet look” picture is my very favorite.  Sweet look indeed!!!  So sweet!  I think the last picture is my second favorite.  The joy for both of you is so obvious!!  

    I could just eat Verity up.  Trent sucks his thumb too.  See Katie and Verity together makes it hard for me to remember that they are not the same age.   I have to keep reminding myself of that, but I think the age difference will not keep them from being the Best of Friends in addition to being sisters.  I think their development is so close in so many ways, they will learn from each other.  They are both just so beautiful!!  Thank you Susanna for sharing them with us!!  

      

  22. Barb says:

    I am utterly amazed at the transformation of Katie in only 2 months of love. Thanks for keeping up with your blog.

  23. Anne Ross says:

    Oh my heart! Those pictures are amazing!!!!!!!

  24. Lara Font says:

    such a wonderful post Susanna – try to rest Mom you are so busy takign care of everyone – take care of you!!!  I am simply amazed at what 2 months brings – God is so faithful!

  25. Fiona says:

    This blog post moved me to tears. It is such an incredible story and I can’t believe how much she’s changed. Her smile says everything. What a wonderful job you’re doing.

  26. Katrina says:

    Thank you so much for including us in Katie’s story. I love seeing her grow and learning from your teaching techniques. What a blessing to have such a wonderful speech therapist. 

  27. Tami Swaim says:

    I can identify with the dental cleaning trauma.  I had to hold Joel on my lap for an unsedated tooth pulling and when he had his tongue tie corrected.  I wish I could say that general cleaning went more smoothly but I can’t.  We are considering  dental work under sedation next time he has to go.  It’s so traumatic. 
    This post is so encouraging.  The photos are fabulous.  Praise the Lord. 

  28. marilyn says:

    Still reading regularly…so THRILLED to see such amazing progress!!!!!!  Praising the Lord with you! (and for you!)

  29. Tara says:

    Are you sure you’re not an OT? :)  You sure sound like one. I am SO impressed with her! She is just doing so amazingly well. Every time I read a post, I just want to shout with joy! I think my family is a tad sick of me talking about her. 
    Still praying for you and your family, including Katie, of course. I’m so blessed to “know” you!
    Love,
    Tara 

  30. Ruth says:

    once again you inspire me…. so much of what Katie is doing now, learning and sensorywise, is stuff my daughter has worked on but it has taken my daughter over a year to accomplish. The not touching took a long time and just this week I noticed her playing with a bell and passing it from one hand to the other for the first time. She would hold NOTHING when she first came home. She is also just starting to show interest/curiosity in her surroundings. She was not in an orphanage but was so horribly abused by her biomom and just plopped in front of the tv for two yrs in a foster home that she is only now learning to trust and love. MY daughter attends the SJUNE SMITH center and it is the most amazing school.

    Like I said you inspire me. I love seeing Katies progress… she is a very blessed little lady!

  31. Susan says:

    Oh, my, so much news, and it’s all good! Thank you so much for sharing all these wonderful milestones and ground-breakers.
     Your two little ones are just so, so cute. Precious pair…

          

  32. JessicaD says:

    I nearly wept when I read about Katie’s teeth. O JOY! God is good. So very good. I have prayed about her teeth since you and I emailed. It just weighed on me.    

  33. Nancy says:

    Wow! The difference two months has made is just astounding.  I loved every single bit of this post.  I feel like we all have a window into your home and your family, and what a blessing it is!  

    So glad that Katie was able to have her teeth cleaned.  I know that must be a relief for you to not face that smell each day.   Great news about Katie’s eating as well.  I am just amazed and in awe of the miracle God is working in her life.

    And not to leave her out, the bathtub pictures of Verity are just adorable!!  Of course, they both are the cutest sisters anyone could ever have.  :)

  34. Heidi Ehle says:

    I absolutely love those last three pictures! :)
    Thank you so much for sharing Katie’s story with us. I am blessed to watch it unfold!

  35. Jane says:

    What a beautiful post! I am so excited for Katie and for all of you as you work so hard to watch this beautiful flower blossom!  Sending you lots of love and prayers as always…

  36. Becky K! says:

    I just love reading her updates!  She is doing so well! I can’t wait to hear about her other big accomplishment! Praying for continued growth, learning, and improvement for her!  

  37. Rachel M says:

    How incredible! The love and joy! And a tooth coming in! Miraculous! Miraculous news!! I learned so much this post! Praise the Lord our God!

  38. Lynn says:

    Thank you. This is such an inspiring and uplifting post. It brings joy to many of our hearts to see the love of Christ and the power of God demonstrated. May God continue to grant you grace and joy as you do His will. Praise the Name of our Father!

  39. Sonya Vande Velde says:

    These pictures are just so precious!  Seeing Katie in her family with lots of attentive brothers and sisters along with mommy & daddy just speaks volumes for what love and family can do!  I love seeing Katie’s personality showing and equally thankful that she is safe to have a personality and express herself! Her progress is stunning.
    Verity is such a little sweetie! Love how she’s sucking her thumb.  I’m kind of partial to little thumb suckers. Was one. Have one. ;)
    I pray for y’all daily, throughout my day.  God bless you and may He continue to give y’all wisdom needed in raising this beautiful little treasure (& all your other treasures, too).

  40. Sheri says:

    I love the little “fat” arm when she’s in her bath towel.  :’)

  41. Adriana says:

    Thank you for this long up-date,
    oh how i rejoice while reading about all the progress…
    thanking God for you, because you resemble his love.  

  42. Linda says:

    She looks amazing!  It’s truly a miracle how far she’s come in such a short time.  You are doing a great job with her.  You’re an inspiration!  Thank you for sharing her with us!

  43. April (justonemorebaby) says:

    What a fantastic post to read :D She is just gorgeous and I love hearing about how she is changing. Thank you so much for continuing to share her with us <3

  44. Brianna D. says:

    That is so wonderful to see the cute pictures of a healthy Katie!  It is actually hard to believe that she is the same child that you were holding at first in the orphanage.  And it’s only been 2 months! Wow!  What a privilege it must be to see the real Katie “waking up” and “opening up”.  
    May God continue to bless your family! 

  45. Ilisa says:

    Wonderful post!  You worked very long and hard.  Thank you for sharing all of this. You are blessed to have Katie in your lives!  I wish I could give her snuggles!  

  46. Viv says:

    Thanks for this update. What a joy your two littlest daughters are! Delightful.
    I am thrilled about her teeth, fantastic.  

  47. Sandie says:

    How pretty she is becoming! 

    Topher wore the hip helpers for a short time.  We referred to them as his “man girdle”:)  Then, when he got a new PT, she said he didn’t need them, his issues were his feet.   

    I have hopes of seeing Katie walk some day!   

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