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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Cold Days -- Kids Playing

I'm tired of cold weather and I know the kids are too. I'm ready for them to go out and play all day long. But, we have a few warm days and then it is cold again. I am so ready for spring. Today it was chilly, but the kids decided to go out and build a fort. They seemed to have a good time, but I could only stay out long enough to get a few pictures  -- too cold for me. 

Sophia saw the neurologist on Tuesday and will be having an MRI in a couple of weeks. The doctor suspects a stroke -- like all the other doctors. After the MRI we will see him again and I guess I will have a little more to go on. I have learned one thing about Sophia. She hates to go places. It took me a little while to realize it, but I am now sure that she just doesn't like going to new places. Every time I take her somewhere she grinds her teeth constantly, growls and makes all kinds of noises and shakes her head -- similar to what she does at home --  but a whole lot more and even adds a few things. Now I see how upset she seems to get if we leave the house. Once we are back home and she can sit in the family room floor she is fine. She calms down. So, I think I will try to go a little less with her -- not that she really goes many places. 


Bethany on our front porch  -- she is always such a joyful child and so full of energy.




Here are a few of the pictures I took while the kids played out back and worked on their fort.  We actually live in the city but still have plenty of land and woods for the kids to run and play.













Bella resting in daddy's arms. She doesn't sit still for long, but it is nice when she will cuddle a little.



Sophia still likes to grab anyone and anything that gets close to her -- well, mostly people.



Yesterday, the little girl next door came over and brought me some flowers. It was so sweet and I took a picture of them just to remember the day she brought them. She is 5 years old and Bethany says she is her very best friend.



Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Happy Birthday Bella

Today Bella turned three years old. She had cake and ice cream and presents -- and hopefully a good time. 
Happy Birthday Bella! We love you.


























Monday, February 18, 2013

Expectations!

I was reading another blog the other day and there was a really cute picture of this mom's  three girls sitting together on the steps -- one of her girls just got here from Bulgaria not that long ago. It was so nice to see her girls looking so happy and natural together and it made me think about how exciting adoption can be to our kids, but how sometimes it is not exactly how our younger kids may picture it --- well, at least for mine it wasn't.

I think in our family Bethany was the one that had the hardest time for the first two or three weeks after the girls arrived. Before the girls came home, all Bethany could talk about was her two new sisters. She told everyone she met about them and talked about them to our friends every chance she got. She was so excited. I tried to explain to her that they would probably not play with her at first and that Sophia could not crawl, or walk or really do much of anything and that she would need to help Sophia learn to play. We talked and talked about the girls and that they might be scared at first, or might not want to play, or would not know how to play very well. Bethany listened and seemed to understand fairly well for a six year old, so I figured she was prepared. The day the girls arrived, Bethany was beside herself all day long -- asking over and over and over when would we leave for the airport, when would they be here, how much longer? She had picked out things for the girls and was so happy she was dancing around the house most of the day. 

Finally, we left for the airport and the entire way there she asked how much longer would it be. All the kids were excited but I think Bethany was over the top with excitement. As we waited at the airport, she picked out another gift for each girl  -- a doll -- and asked again and again how much longer since the plane was a little late. Finally, the girls arrived and everyone was so excited and we talked and held the girls and it was just a rush of activity as everyone tried to get a chance holding the girls and talking to them. 

For the first four or five days Bella would not let anyone touch her unless it was Bill or me and maybe one of the older kids. She cried and fussed and would not touch a toy or play or even let the younger kids get near her. She just wanted me to rock her all day long. I kept telling Bethany that she was just scared, and had to get use to everyone. Bethany tried and tried to play with her and talk to her or share her toys, but Bella just pushed everything Bethany offered her away. She would not let Bethany touch her or any of the other kids either.

Sophia just laid on the floor and made noises and would not even look at us -- or anything we put in front of her. It was like she didn't even see us. Bethany tried and tried to get her attention but no matter what she did, Sophia never even looked at her. She just kept on grinding her teeth and making strange noises in her throat. 
To say that Bethany was disappointed is a real understatement. She was heart broken. She tried so hard, but they would have nothing to do with her. After about a week or so, she came to me and told me that her new sisters didn't like her. She looked like she was going to cry. I tried to explain that she just needed to give them a little time and that she was being a good big sister by trying to help them. I told her that they just needed time to adjust to everyone. It was sad to me because she was the child that had probably been the most excited about them arriving, and then to see her joy turn to sadness so quickly hurt me. We talked about  everything over and over and she kept on trying to play with them  -- and finally, Bella started following her around and trying to play a little. Then we noticed that Sophia didn't seem to pay much attention to toys, but her eyes followed Bethany all around the room. Every time Bethany passed Sophia she would rub her head or grab her arms and swing them or just tickle her. It finally all paid off, and Bethany is a very happy little girl now. She loves to grab Sophia's arms and swing them up and down and play games with her that seem to make Sophia happy. She and Bella run and play now, and Bethany is finally enjoying her sisters so much, and is so very happy they are here. 

I don't know if I could have prepared her better or not. I tried to, but I guess when you are six years old you just don't understand, and you can only think of two new playmates and how much fun it will be. I am just so happy that the girls are finally enjoying one another and seem very happy. 

I don't know if any other families have had any similar experiences or not. We did not have this experience when we adopted from Ukraine or Russia. The kids jumped right in and played. I am wondering if the fact that I didn't go pick up the girls had anything to do with Bella's reluctance to let anyone get close to her. I don't think Sophia really cared much, but with her delays and so many orphanage behaviors she was hard for the kids to get close to. Anyway, maybe the fact that the girls were picked up by someone else and spent that first week or so with her made it hard for them to transition to someone else again so quickly. That is all I can come up with. I am just thankful that Bella is running and playing and is so joyful and that Sophia seems to be coming out a little more each day. And Bethany is one happy little girl!






















































Bethany turned away to play with Bella, and Sophia actually grabbed Bethany to try to get her attention again. She is finally showing that she wants interaction with others -- something that she showed none of at first. This really excited me. 






















































This was new, too  -- Sophia grabbing Bella and not letting go. We really feel like Sophia is finally waking up a little. She is starting to show emotion and also letting us know she does want to be a part of things. 

















































We have had a few nice days and the kids are thrilled to get outside and play. I am thrilled, too. 





























Bella really likes these gumballs that my husband despises  -- I wonder if they have gumball trees in Bulgaria?


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Three Weeks With Bella and Sophia

Well, Bella and Sophia have been here three weeks. I feel that we are finally really getting to know them and learning some of their likes and dislikes. 

Bella is one opinionated little girl. She has quite the attitude! If I feed Sophia first -- Bella screams. If I hold Sophia -- Bella stands next to me and yells. If I put on my coat -- Bella cries and cries to go with me. If I give Bella a drink she usually won't drink it until she sees me offer a bottle to Sophia -- then she is fussing for HER drink. She has actually learned one English word -- MINE! She will grab Sophia's doll and yell "MINE" and run. Anything she wants that someone else has is "MINE" according to her. It is amazing to me how fast she learned to say this. If I want Bella to do something I know I just have act like I am doing it with another child, and Bella immediately wants to do the same thing. She craves attention and is happiest when she has your undivided attention. Yesterday, Abigail was playing with Sophia and it made Bella so mad that she ran over and started pulling Sophia's hair -- she was quite angry that Sophia was getting so much attention. Bella can be quite jealous of other kids getting too much attention  -- in her opinion any attention given to others is too much. 

On the other hand, Bella is a sweet child. She will babble and babble to me and make the cutest little faces. She will rub my face and seems to be bonding some to me. She likes me to rock her a little but won't really sit still for long. She is finally going to bed very well for us and sleeps all night long until about 7:30 or so the next morning. She is always very cheery when she wakes up and is ready to run and play. She is a very easy child most of the time  -- as long as she is getting some attention. 

Sophia is not very demanding at all. She will sit or lie on the floor and be content for quite a long time. She is finally watching some of what the other kids are doing. At first she never looked at any of us. She didn't even seem to see us, and our doctor thought she might be blind in one eye. But, now she is looking at things and us a little more. She especially seems to watch Bethany some. At least it seems that she does. She is not very interested in toys or much of anything. We are trying to get her attention in many different ways, but it is not always easy. She saw an OT today for the first time and she said that we need to treat her as an infant as she is very delayed and needs to go back and get some of what she missed. She said we need to start with "tummy time" and then go from there. So we will start putting her on her tummy more and give her lots of bright toys to look at -- though she doesn't like to be on her stomach. The OT also said that she thinks that Sophia has CP on her right side. I have a good friend that went out and bought Sophia and Bella so many new bright and musical toys that Sophia will have plenty to look at. We are hoping to get her to start reaching for toys and wanting to play a little. She does love me to hold her and just sit  -- rocking seems to be a little to much for her right now so we mainly just sit together. She has many appointments in the next couple of weeks which hopefully will tell us what caused her to have such a problem using her right side. She is a very sweet child and loves to be held and loved. 






































Some good friends of our came by this past week to see the girls and their daughter really liked the idea of brushing Sophia's hair. I'm not sure how much Sophia liked it but she didn't fight her too much.

































Our daughter, Katie, turned 19 this past week. Happy Birthday, Katie  --- holding our friend's daughter. 





























We also had another visit with my granddaughter, Reagan, and as always I took a few pictures.