MS had her first eye doctor appointment just to make sure her eyes looked good. Interesting thing I learned there was that asian eyes are harder to dilate because they are so dark.... who knew? So they did the drops, waited 10 minutes and did another set of the same drops, waited again. Nice and dilated. The other thing I learned is that when you do that, they stay dilated way longer than normal. Poor thing could not handle the sunshine for 2 full days. We also learned that MS is slightly near-sighted, so we will head back to the eye doc when she is 4 and the little monkey may need glasses! I have to say that I have always found kids with glasses totally adorable... of course, she may not need them so we will wait and see.
Last week, we also had our follow-up appointment at the international adoption clinic which again, I cannot say enough great things about. It is just so great to see an doctor, OT, nurse & therapist whose patients are all adoptive kids, are familiar with orphanage behavior, have a heart for these kiddos and understand all that they have been though. Love these people! Our time with the therapist was great... she felt like MS was making great strides... she is very attached to us... makes great eye contact... and so on. It was encouraging to see that she saw the changes in MS's demeanor that we have been observing as well. We talked about bottling as MS has been refusing a lot of bottles lately so we are down to one at bedtime.... trying our best to hang on to that one for as long as we can for attachment... although now that we have started her on pediasure, that last bottle is fading quickly.... who wants to go back to formula when you have tasted the joys of a strawberry drink? I was also thankful that when she asked how I was doing, as far as my attachment to MS, I didn't break down sobbing this time. I'm at a much better place.... love this little one dearly.... every day she finds new ways to capture my heart... I am in awe that God has allowed me to be her mama.
Our main issue right now has been MS's relationship with little Henry.... there has been jealousy there, hitting and screaming (by MS) and shoving and sitting on (by Henry) so she gave us creative ways to foster that relationship. For example, they LOVE taking a bath together so she suggested we make bath time even longer to allow more time for fun. I was planning on implementing some ideas but ever since that appointment it has just gotten better. I knew time would do that... once they both realized the other one is not going away. Just this week, I have seen them kiss each other, Henry gently rub her head, MS scream "Da" and giggle when Henry screams "Da" in response. I have no doubt these two will be best buds in due time. Since that appointment, I have also come to realize that she really slaps anyone her size (not just Henry).... I seem to remember something about being aggressive in her file.... so maybe this is just how she fends for herself and isn't really just about Henry. Whatever the case may be, there have been HUGE improvements and I'm so thankful for that.... thankful that I'm not having to discipline Henry every 5 minutes anymore... thankful that she is attaching to each of her siblings in her own way. (BTW, she really loves Rollins. We even left her for 30 minutes in nursery with Rollins as her chaperone.... she did GREAT until Rollins got bored and decided to visit henry next door. As soon as he left her, she went into fist clinched, screaming rage. I sprinted from the sanctuary to get her and then we had to put Henry back in his room... which they had to peel him off of me screaming.... because remember I am still holding a screaming MS.... lovely sight to behold.... BUT, the happy 30 minutes again made me very thankful.)
After the therapist, we met with the doctor. One of her concerns is that MS isn't gaining much weight. Only 6 oz. more since we got her. We are attributing this to the fact that she NEVER SITS STILL so she is most likely burning more calories that she ever has before (since we think most of her time was spent in a crib.) You would not even believe the amount of food she consumes in a day so I was very surprised that she was still so little... but they reassured me that it is is common for orphans to even lose weight due to that increase in activity. There is still slight concern regarding her skull. The best way I can explain it is that your skull has plates that fuse together at various stages of development (i.e the soft spot on the tops of babies heads). If they fuse together too early, there is no room for the brain to grow.... brain not growing obviously causes problems. The x-ray she had revealed that 2 places are still open but one they couldn't tell. So they need a CT scan to verify if it has fused or if it open. The area they cannot see is on the side of her head that is shaped somewhat odd.... I still contend that she has a misshaped head from her plywood "mattress" but am thankful that the doctor is being so thorough. MS's hip surgery is scheduled for June 12th so they are trying to piggy back on that procedure and get a scan while she is under anesthesia. IF it is fused, she would have to have another surgery at some point to open the skull there and allow her brain to grow.... I know, sounds a little more major than anything we had planned on her undergoing.... that is the thing about international adoptions... You really never know the full picture until they are here... but God knows her body intimately, knows what she needs and will equip our family to take care of her. In the waiting though, you can join me in prayer that her skull would be open and remain open.
Finally we met with the OT who provided a world of insight into MS. I have noticed that her hands are so so weak and her upper body strength is very poor. After seeing her crawl, the OT knew the issues exactly.... basically just a weak core that she said she sees in the majority of kids who have been in a crib most of their life.... so we have a few exercises we can do to increase that core strength which will also take care of the hand issues. I keep trying to figure out why MS seems so far behind even the other little girls her age at her orphanage.... Again, I have my own theories on all things MS... so my theory here is that with her dislocated hip, perhaps they were nervous to somehow hurt her and perhaps she was left in her bed more than other kids. I realized this is pure speculation and I'll never really know the "why" but having lived in China, I know that they can have some interesting ideas on health issues (i.e. I had a friend who kissed a boy and feared she may be pregnant.... I was often scolded for not having on 5 layers of clothing to protect me from illness..... when I was pregnant, I had a chinese friend express concern for me because I was eating ice....) So while I know that she can function normally and with no pain with a dislocated hip.... it wouldn't be that far of a stretch to think that they might have other ideas, right? Her past will remain a mystery in many aspects but I'm thankful now to have a game plan to get her on the right track. So while MS is almost 18 months old, developmentally she was solidly a 12 month old with some behavior which falls into the 12-18 month category. The OT said most kids are 6 months behind and take those 6 months to catch up. Excited to see what strides she makes these next 6 months... the body cast may throw us a curve ball... but I've got good hand-eye coordination.... we will figure it all out.
I'm not anxious about any of her health issues or potential issues but it has made me do some soul searching.... when the dr. was describing the skull, I just kept thinking "tell me it is fixable".... I so badly want all things physical with her to be fixable.... I would be lying if I didn't say that I breathed a sigh of relief when she told me that they can open fused skulls to allow the brain to grow... but it also struck a chord in me.... was I at peace because I know that God is in control or because the doc just told me they can fix it?? I know it was the latter at that moment .... I so desire to always have my peace come from knowing my King is seated on the throne.... that all things pass through his loving hand so that in every circumstance in my life, the only constant that can be a source of peace is Him and Him alone. So, even if what the doctors are telling me about her physical issues is true, I hope that I will hope and trust in the Lord and that he knows the plan for my child. Even with all of the knowledge of the doctor, it only deals with her physical being... there is still her soul where she carries hurt that is even worse.... wounds that I don't fully understand because I was never abandoned... wounds that we won't know when and how they will manifest themselves... wounds that cannot be fully healed this side of heaven. She will always carry a hurt in her soul that try as I may, I will not be able to fix.... It is then that I am most thankful that we know the great physician and can entrust her to Him....We pray that He will begin to heal or dull the pain of the unseen wounds.... where modern medicine cannot reach...We know she will be fully healed in heaven.... and long for that day.
So to sum up the medical realm of her life, all I can say is that I am thankful... thankful.... thankful.... thankful for the resources we have in Birmingham, thankful for each individual involved in her care plan and most of all thankful for the Great Physician who knew what all of her "booboos" would be when he knit her together over a year ago in a belly around the world....thankful He knew my baby even then & loved her.... thankful that even then He was equipping the doctors who He knew would one day be taking care of His child. Flooded with thankfulness to night.
I'll leave more for the next post but let me just tell you that things have gotten really really fun over at the walchack house....