Wanted: Your questions about Katie!

October 20th, 2015

Hi everyone!

We’re coming up on the 4th anniversary of Katie coming home, and I’m planning a big Q & A post.  Here’s where you can help me out!  Is there anything about happy girl that you’ve wondered but not had the opportunity to ask?  Well, now is the time!  Feel free to ask your questions via comment to this post or email to susanna@theblessingofverity.com.  Thanks, friends!

 

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25 Responses to “Wanted: Your questions about Katie!”

  1. Jennifer says:

    I’m so in love with those faces she is making! The last one made me laugh right out loud, it looks so sassy. It’s wonderful to see her thriving so!

    My most burning questions would be about how Little Miss Kate’s language has progressed. Has she started using any more words and/or signs recently? Does anyone at her school work specifically with her on this issue? Is there anything specific or special you also do at home to boost her communication?

  2. Heather says:

    4 years – WOW – what a great thing to celebrate! Katie looks like she’s having so much fun in the ball pit!!!

    I have a lot of questions about Katie’s progress over the last four years! I was wondering what sort of therapies Katie is involved in (eg. OT, PT, speech) and how she is communicating these days (eg. signing, speech, a combination). And of course, so many questions about her sweet personality: what are her favorite activities, what does she like to do at school and at home, what are her favorite foods, etc? How much has she grown in the four years she’s been home? Thank you for updating us on your lovely family and especially Miss Katie!

  3. Colleen Krizak says:

    Thank you for being there for spunky Katie.
    1. In what ways has she learned to express herself when she’s feeling unwell, ticked off, and the like?

    2. Does Katie need to have liquids thickened? Does she frequently aspirate food or liquids when she swallows?

  4. Em says:

    Katie looks very excited to be playing in that ball pit! Looks like lots of fun :) my question would be if/how Katie’s sensory processing has changed/evolved over time. In any case, looks as if she’s just thriving these days!

  5. Esther Paris says:

    Since she didn’t do attention-antics with me when I visited, I want to know if she just plain ol’ doesn’t like me. Laugh! I’m just kidding of course. I think all my questions were answered when I visited.

  6. Susanna says:

    Esther, you did exactly as you should have toward Katie, and as a result, you got to see her at her most socially appropriate. I thought it was an awesome sight to see. :)

  7. MamaV says:

    Is she willing to share any of her extreme cuteness? Haha, just kidding ;-)

  8. Susanna says:

    Thank you to everyone who is asking me great questions through comments and emails! I hope they keep coming! My goal for publishing the Q & A post is the end of November, so there’s plenty of time to field more questions!

  9. Hana says:

    My questions are:
    a) will she have an Instagram to share her daily pics
    b) can she speak yet
    c) she appears a bit plump. Is she overweight now? Will you help her lose weight? I thought she will look much prettier with sharper face cos her features are so beautiful, especially her eyes
    d) what’s her long term care plan

  10. Galit says:

    Last time you mentioned incipient puberty. How’s that coming along? Any particular developmental challenges in that department?

  11. Renee says:

    It’s not common for people to adopt children that have been through such severe physical and emotional neglect, and it’s not something that commonly occurs in the US,

    What has your experience been like with the medical community? Have there been difficulties in finding doctors that have the knowledge and experience? Have you dealt with many doctors and/or nurses that aren’t very understanding?

  12. Carey says:

    She is gorgeous! My questions are:
    Can she self feed with utensils, speak understandable English, and go to the toilet without prompting and no assistance?

  13. Rebekah says:

    She looks so beautiful and healthy! It is a blessing to see her learning to do so many things and enjoying life with a loving family. How are her stimming behaviors? How does she behave toward strangers these days? And having read the comments that you and Esther exchanged, can you tell us how you would want an outsider to interact with Katie?

  14. Hana says:

    Here are some other questions I left out

    e) had there ever been a time you have to discipline her?
    f) how do you get her to obey instructions? What happen if she doesn’t?
    g) do people in school knows how old she is?
    h) will there come a time she gets to learn real subjects such as language, mathematics, science, etc?

  15. Cassandra says:

    Hey,

    Please don’t find my comment as rude.

    I wonder, really wonder, how you so easily accept a lifetime of care taking. Is it because I am older than you that the idea of full time care taking in my 60’s and older sounds intimidating? Is is a lack of faith that God will sustain me? Or is simply that I am selfish?

    As I write this I realize that what I really covet are days of uninterrupted worrying about whether I am doing enough, have I done it well, how will this child cope when I am not here, what happens when I’ve done all I can and it is still not enough, how can I prevent this child from making irrevocable mistakes, where does my responsibility as a parent end (it never really ends) and the list goes on.

  16. Cassandra says:

    Hana – I can see that your questions are asked in all sincerity. The nature of your questions – so on point with typical teen questions, makes me think you are quite young yourself. Good for you for asking.

    So, I don’t know a whole lot about DS but I can add this: DS kids often have “low muscle tone.” The same pounds on her will look different than on you or I. Frankly, that’s the reality but that doesn’t equal unhealthy, per se.

    When Katie’s features were more defined it was because she was underweight and undernourished. Her DS features were less evident because she was more skeletal – not a good thing at all. I don’t know what you look life, of course, but don’t let anybody judge you by how many pounds you weigh. Does judging somebody by their weight seem like something Jesus would do? I agree her eyes are gorgeous!

    Never say never but I believe she has a lot of other skills to master before she can get into the Instagram loop. I love that idea, though. She would have a wonderful platform. Tell us what you think she might say, if she could?

    You asked about her learning real subjects. Imagine that you were instantly plopped into a Russian College Science Class and are expected to keep up. You work hard every second but it just isn’t possible to keep up. It’s not even fair to expect you to! You’re working harder than everybody else, all the time. Still it seems to everybody that you are “dumb” because you’re not doing stuff the Russians were 18 years ago. That’s Katie’s life everyday. She is working harder than you or I. She started at a different place. It’s not reasonable to think she will “catch up” to the real learning, as you called it.

    What she is doing is real learning even if it not the usual thing for her age. Think about it, compared to the Author and Creator of the Universe we all must look really behind. The gap between Katie and us is really minuscule compared to the gap b/w us and the Lord.

    But life isn’t all about competition so it’s o.k. We have an audience of One.

  17. Hana says:

    Hi Cassandra

    I don’t mean I want Katie to weigh like what she was in Bulgaria. I was wondering if her BMI is ok cos she looked a bit plump to me. I am overweight myself and is now starting to feel the effects of bad health and a recent check found my knees to be have some problems. So I thought if she is indeed overweight then maybe something can be done.

    I also mean sending her to junior high (secondary school as we call it here). I was wondering if she could start elementary school.

  18. Susanna says:

    Cassandra, I had to chuckle when I read your question. You know our family story since February 2011. We’re coming up on 5 years of accepting what God has chosen for Joe and me–a lifetime of full-time parenting/caregiving. These almost 5 years have changed and taught us a lot, and even back then, we found that the idea wasn’t anathema to either of us, as we truly enjoy being parents and see it as a privilege to get to do what we’re doing.

    The greatest adjustments we’ve had to make are in our marital dynamics. I was reared in a large, lower-income family by visionary and courageous parents who modeled and taught us to embrace whatever God asks of us, no matter how hard, and Joe was reared in a small and much more typical family of moderate means. I have an enormous capacity for very hard work and self-denial for the sake of what I believe, and have had the tendency, with a few exceptions, of taking loads onto myself to avoid having to go through asking him to take on anything hard or unpleasant. Not healthy, but we most likely would have continued that pattern and other unhealthy ways of relating to one another as long as we were functional and nothing forced the issue. God had other plans, and has continued patiently working on us both.

    Recently Joe prayed something that turned me into a weepy mess, as it NEVER would have happened without the pruning God has done, the excellent, Biblical counseling we have received, and the obvious work of the Holy Spirit. In some ways, we switched places spiritually from where we were before Tommy’s death, with my months of spiritual unsteadiness and emotional vulnerabilities, while he has grown all the way up into a spiritually very strong man.

    I had been giving in to fears and was low in spirits, and one evening, Joe asked me to just tell him everything I was afraid of. Everything I’d been bottling up came pouring out with floods of tears. First, he told me that none of my worries were mine to bear or figure out or fix alone. We were a team, and we would face coming challenges together. He then prayed for me, asking God to calm my heart and help me rest in Him, things I used to pray for him! But what brought the tears was when he acknowledged to God that we know that He may very well have more hard times ahead for us, and asked that He would allow the hardest things to fall on him, and that *I* would allow the hardest things to fall on him.

    There are so many other things I could say in answer to your question, but these are the most important.

    And…thank you for your kind answer to Hana. :)

  19. Cassandra says:

    Susanna,

    Wow – what Joe asked of God is profoundly moving. Reading that stopped me dead in my tracks.

    I don’t know if I could say the same – that I want our family’s heaviest burdens to fall more on me than my husband. I know I want them to be equally shared, I know that I can and I do manage the timing of informing my husband about hard stuff. I do that because his profession – his work – is sacred and except in rare instances, I don’t like to affect that dynamic. I also know that my husband would feel the same as Joe.

    My marriage works well because my husband and I are different. I do feel things more deeply than he generally does. I am undetered by roadblocks and will not be defeated by obstacles. However, I rebound less easily from grief and loss than my husband does. He has resiliancy stamina that amazes me. He has better “boundaries” in life than I do. But I’ve gotten a lot better in that regard.

    As I think about how our dynamics are different, kid wise, I can understand where I have some fear that you likely don’t. And vica versa.

    Your post challenged me to think hard about what I fear the most. It’s scary to dwell upon that because what I fear the most I have the least control of. I do believe God is in control but still…I get scared.

    I’m sure your response benefitted others as much as it benefitted me. Your words are so well received.

  20. Cassandra says:

    Hana – Sorry to hear that your knees are bothering you! I forget the specifics but I once read something about exactly how many additional pounds put exactly how much more stress on the knees. It surprised me. Good for you for taking care of yourself.

    In support of what you are saying, apparently if a kid is overweight at age 12 it’s almost 90 percent likely that they will be overweight as an adult. So you’re right that good health starts early.

    I believe Katie is in what we call a self contained special needs class. So the curriculum is individualized for her. The other kids in her class have special needs too, and they have their own plans , as well. Often this class (that is paid for by people’s taxes) are in the elementary and junior high school. The rest of the school has typical classrooms. But if you live in a small-ish town sometimes the child must go to another, larger school that has the type of classroom they need. The teacher’s are always uniquely qualified to teach student’s with special needs.

    We have “free” education for highschool students wtih special needs, too. Sometimes their classes are in typical highschools so that when it is appropriate, the child can learn alongside typical peers. Other times kids with special needs are in more specialized schools that emphasize learning skills for everyday living. For some that is a trade, for other’s that might be walking across a room.

    How does it work where you live?

  21. Hana says:

    Here where I live, we have special schools for special needs kids but theses schools are few with long waiting lists and expensive. Pre-school education is not a given for special needs kids and they are exempted from compulsory education. I think most parents with SN children will enroll their children in some privately run schools to enhance their children’s skills. Children with SN do not attend regular schools. I think constraints of resources could be a factor and these children may not be able to keep up with school work. Our children have tests and exams on top of projects and they are ranked each year on where they stand in their cohort. Failure may mean one do not move on to the next grade. So most parents hire private tutors to coach their children after schools. Back in 2009, there was a child with mild DS who somehow went through regular school and passed the primary school leaving exams with 90/300 points. I’m not sure of her progress in secondary school but one thing for sure she would have to do extra year in secondary school because to be exempted from extra year, one will have to score 200/300.

  22. Hana says:

    May seem harsh but I guess it is really due to limited resources. We have only 20 special schools co-funded by the state and voluntary institutions for a total population of over 5 million.

  23. Anna says:

    She looks so happy! What a fantastic four years she’s blessed your family with.

    It’s probably trivial, but how is her physical growth doing? Are her growth plates behaving like her actual age or not? Just curious as our 9 year old, who is mildly small, is looking like the stunted growth is going to be permanent but not severe. But our little one wasn’t anywhere as neglected and traumatized as Miss Katie.

  24. Elizabeth says:

    Oh my goodness, I want to know so much! I am adopting a little girl who is five years old, weighs less than ten pounds, and has Down syndrome. I have a lot still to read on your blog to help me prepare for my little darling, but I just want to know everything! One question I have is about education. Maybe you already posted about this and I haven’t seen it? I’d love to know what Miss Katie’s school experience has been as well as plans for the future. :) She is precious!

  25. Hannah says:

    What is a day in the life like with Katie? …like wake up to bed time…what goes on during the day and how do you do it? (meal time, bathing, therapies, etc.)

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