Thursday, July 10, 2014

Ava Update

Adopting an older child is one of the biggest blessings!  Sure, there are challenges...but watching this sweet little girl experience LIFE outweighs the language barriers and the habits that have been established over the last 9 years. Over the past month, Ava has changed so much.  With four kids, it's been a little busy and I've had no time to blog.  So, here is my attempt to answer some of the questions about the newest Bamberg:

Ava is doing well learning English!  She is following simple commands and answering basic "wh" questions.  She is combining 2 words to make phrases (my shoe, Ava eat, my clothes) and several 3 and 4 word sentences (Ava no sleepy,  turn light off/on, charge my iPod) She brought one of her baby dolls into the den for me to  babysit while she rough housed with the boys and asked, "Mama, you keepa my baby?"  As I picked up her baby, she reminded me, "be easy my baby, Mama".  We still get LOTS of Chinese, but somehow we are communicating pretty easily.  She realized after a few days that we tell each other I love you often, so she tells us "I lub you" a bunch. 

Ava and Lily are the best of friends.  They spend hours playing in their dough, barbies, babies, library, arts and crafts.  We tried to put Ava to bed early one night because she had an early morning appointment.  She couldn't/wouldn't go to sleep without Lily.  Trent and I both tried to get her to sleep...NOPE.  She kept asking for Lily.  As soon as Lily was in bed, Ava was snoring in less than 5 minutes.  They eat with their chairs touching at the kitchen table and watch Barbie movies on the iPad sharing a set of headphones.  It is so sweet to watch!!

Sweet Sisters

Bonding and attachment are going OK.  Ava LOVES her Daddy, she kinda idolizes him.  She adores her JieJie and GuGu.  Mary Ashtyn and Reece have been so good with her.  Ava likes me, but mainly sees me as her caregiver at this point.  She calls for me when it's time to eat or go to the bathroom.  She gives me hugs and kisses, but will choose her Daddy any day of the week if we're both in the same room.  I'm praying a lot and trying not to get my feelings hurt.  Some days, it's hard!  Some days, it's funny and we laugh at how she is smothering Trent.  I know this is all part of adoption and that it will get better.  I'm also happy to say that the other three liked me most from the very beginning :)  I couldn't have handled this more than once!!

Ava gets very quiet and withdrawn when we are out in public.  The few times we've gotten out of the house, she smiles and greets people, but gets clingy to us.  She is so much more comfortable at home with just us, so we aren't getting out much.  If you're local and see us out, please understand that you are not truly seeing the real Ava.  She is in NO way quiet and withdrawn when she is safe and secure at home.  Also understand when we don't stop to talk much, it's easier on Ava. 

From the two doctors we've seen so far, Ava seems to have nerve damage that affects both of her legs.   Neither doctor thinks she has Muscular Dystrophy!!!!  She'll be having an MRI in the next few weeks to determine more.  Both doctors have mentioned hip dislocation and possible surgery...which would mean a body cast.  Since we've been there, done that with Lily, I think Trent and I dreading this even more than last time.  The nerve damage can not be reversed, but she'll start physical therapy to make the most of the function that she does have.  She is a speed demon in her walker and her upper body is so strong, she is not missing out on anything.  Just like Lily, Ava is a determined and sassy little girl that won't be defined by how she ambulates.

Life with two littles who don't walk has not been much different so far.  It takes us longer to get dressed and out of the house, of course.  Getting loaded in and out of the van takes longer, but we're establishing our new routine.  No one warned me that 2 littles so close in age would turn me into the Potty Queen!!!  LOL  If one goes to the restroom, the other is sure to follow.  Most days, I'm running back and forth between both bathrooms checking on them.  It's hilarious, but very tiring!

Overall, I think we're doing great.  Many want to know if Ava smiles all the time...yep, pretty much!  She has not grieved much since we've been home.  She's cried a few times at night, but who wouldn't when you leave everything you know?

As I typed, Ava got off the couch and made her way over to me and climbed in my lap for a quick hug and kiss. I'm reminded again that she's right where she's supposed to be.  God always knew she belonged in my arms, in our family.

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