Wednesday, October 10, 2012

You've Come a Long Way, Little Dude

Three months.  Just 90 days and yet a lifetime ago.  As I lay in bed last night my mind floated back to a fun-filled day in July.  We arrived in our Little Dude's region bright and early on Monday morning.  The day was filled with exploring and shopping in the city where he was born... the city where his birth family still resides.  This was our last chance to gather photos and tuck away memories to share with him as he grows and begins to ask questions about his heritage, for tomorrow we would become a family of 5 and begin our journey home.

One of the most exciting things that day was when Katie gave us our Little Dude's passport, complete with his photo and new name.  For me, that was a moment when all of this became so much more real.

After an amazing dinner of take-out from Katie's restaurant, a trip to the roof to see the sun setting over the Volga River, and visiting into the wee hours of the morning with Denis, Katie, and Anya (Denis' sister), we headed to bed in anticipation of all July 10 would bring.

As I sit at the computer 3 months removed from that day, my only question is "What took us so long?".  I'm not referring to the adoption process  as, at times, international adoption moves slower than molasses in January.  I'm questioning what took us so long to pursue adoption... and specifically adoption of a toddler with Down syndrome.  Yeah, yeah, I know it was (is) all God's timing and His fingerprints are all over not only our Little Dude but our entire process.  Perhaps it's more of a rhetorical question in which I'm trying to relay the wonder of it all.  I'm pretty sure I can't adequately describe the blessings wrapped up in the third copy of a 21st chromosome.

Okay.  I've waxed nostalgic for long enough.  On to some of the changes in our Little Dude over the past 3 months...

First of all, he's growing like a weed.  He was 23 lbs when we brought him home and I'm sure he'll be close to 30 lbs at his doctor's appointment next week.  The boy hasn't met a food he doesn't like.  There are foods he might not prefer  but when he realizes that's what's for dinner, he always chooses to eat.  Initially he didn't like anything cold (and probably had never had anything cold at the orphanage), but now he'll even eat a popcicle.  He's definitely getting taller.  He was a wiggleworm when trying to get his height at the doctor, so I'm not sure how accurate any measurements will be.  He's outgrown any 18 month clothes he was wearing when we brought him home, the 24 month onesies are getting too short, and he's starting to fill out 2T. 

He didn't have his upper eye teeth when we got him in July.  One is fully in and the other is on it's way.  We're still waiting for his lower lateral incisors to pop through.

He started walking in May and now has several speeds.  His base of support has greatly narrowed and he can step backward, sideways, and carry objects while walking.  He's independent creeping up/down stairs.  He climbs like a champ.

Little Dude is very vocal  but not overly verbal  at this point.  It doesn't, however, limit his ability of making his needs known.  He continues to use a few Russian words (primarily for "potty"), is occassionally making some English-sounding words, and has about a dozen signs he'll use consistantly.  He's started stringing together signs such as "more-eat" and "sit-eat".

Since he is 4 years old, he no longer qualifies for Birth-to-Three.  Any services provided must be done through the school system.  The Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Speech Therapist, and Early Childhood Special Needs teacher have all been to our home for evaluations.  Last evening we met to work on Little Dude's IEP (Individualize Education Program).  We're fortunate to have an amazing group of ladies in our school system and I anticipate them being a huge asset to Little Dude's progress and development.  We're all in agreement that at this point the main focus needs to be on getting Little Dude strongly attached to Dave and me.  Dave and I will discuss what will work best for our family at this point and then utilize the appropriate services.  It seems the main goal of all involved is to use these next several months to establish a strong foundation upon which we can build next school year.

There have been a string of doctors' visits since Little Dude's homecoming.  In addition to the Pediatrician, he's been to Childrens' Hospital for Cardiology and ENT consults.  He passed his EKG and ECG with flying colors, so he does not need to return.  Little Dude has some fluid behind his eardrums (not uncommon with Ds) and this will be watched.  We still need to get a valid hearing test to determine if his hearing (and possibly speech) is being affected by the fluid.  We have an amazing Pediatric Opthomologist who determined his need for glasses.  We also had a "New Parent Consult" at the Down Syndrome Clinic. 

So that's where we're at right now.  Life is rarely dull (or quiet) with two 4 year olds and a 3 year old, but I wouldn't trade it for the world!


  1. Beautiful, Carla! It's amazing to see him and how he's progressing in his loving home. God is so good, to bring you all together into one sweet family. Quite a journey you're all on!

  2. He's just so precious. Thank you for bringing us all on this journey with you. I know he's technically "yours" but thank you that you have given us all the opportunity to fall in love with him. He certainly feels like he is all of "ours" as well;)

  3. Sooo awesome!! Thanks for the terrific update - it is so amazing to see how he is progressing. He is a blessed little boy! <3