Emma was evaluated for special education services this week. She did a great job. It was lots of hard work, and she really was a trooper.
The most remarkable thing in answering all the questions and observing all of her interactions was seeing the incredible change in Emma over the past three months.
When we first met Emma, she was in a little cave. Emotionally, she was all bottled up and had no skills for expressing or dealing with her emotions. Her primary mechanism for stress management was to rock and moan. Physically, she was delayed in motor skills by nearly a year and a half I would guess. Her walk was awkward and she tripped all the time, she couldn’t walk up steps, or run. Verbally- she had no actual speech, I estimate that she was 2 years behind in this area. She made sounds- moaning, grunting, crying, or laughing.
The International Adoption specialist at Children’s Mercy told us that children raised in orphanages lose 1 month developmentally for every 3 months in an orphanage (this regarding healthy children). He also reported that for children who are adopted in their toddler years, that of those studies, only 8% had not fully caught up developmentally in 6 months after being adopted.
This is where Emma is today at the 3 month mark!
1. Physically the most noticeable changes in Emma are that she is walking up stairs (often without holding the rail), RUNNING without falling, jumping with one foot leaving the ground, and climbing the monkey bars at the playground as fearlessly as any 3 year old would!
2. Emotionally Emma is experiencing more and more healing every day. She no longer resorts to moaning and rocking to placate herself. We have worked very hard to teach her appropriate coping for various situations. She has learned that if she is hurt she can come to us for comfort. If she is hungry she can ask for food. If she wants to be held or comforted, we are there to hold her. Her biggest issue still is separating from me when I have to leave the house. (I actually don’t see this as a problem that she is anxious to be apart from me. I see it as a GOOD sign that she is bonding well and is identifying with me as her MOTHER). For those of you who have been tracking with us through the long haul, you will understand how GOOD this is that she is preferring me to her other care givers. I hold her face every time I leave, and remind her, “I will always come back. Mommy always comes back. I love you and this is home.”
Emma laughs. It is the best sound ever. She laughs when she is having fun, when we are teasing/playing, when Daddy tosses her in the air, when Elia chases her. She laughs, and it is a joyful sound. She is affectionate and cuddly. Most morning she spends about 15 minutes in bed with me before breakfast.
3. Verbally, Emma is now trying to imitate sounds and is saying: Momma, Bye Bye, Eat, Please, Kitty. The list is growing daily. She signs many more words. Her word expressions are very whispery or low, I think because of lack of confidence and just the previous lack of any speech whatsoever.
We will not have the full report on her evaluation until August some time, but we are excited that we are moving forward in getting Emma some educational services. She did test with some hearing defecits, and she will be seeing the ENT on Monday for further evalutate the issue of hearing. She sees a Dermatologist on Tuesday to have her skin condition looked at. Whewwww, then it’s off for a VACATION from doctors and testing! We’re still on the waiting list for an evaluation with the Genetics Clinic at Children’s Mercy.