First things first...Merry Christmas and Happy 2012! This was our first Christmas and New Year's celebration with Karolina! A dream come true and an answer to prayer. The entire holiday season has been surreal as I basked in the blessing of the gifts we had to celebrate this year. This was Augustine's first holiday season too of course. Here we all are wishing you a Merry Christmas:
Now, on to the update. I've come to realize that despite my best efforts, motherhood and worry just seem to go together, to some degree, for every child. Worries about your kids fitting in, worries they may hurt themselves after learning how to ride a bike, worries about bad influences affecting them, etc., etc. Try as I might to relinquish the worry, it still seems to creep in.
As we continue to settle in to life with our daughter (going on 6 months now) we have begun to see patterns that are promising, and others that, well...make my heart worry. I have to preface my concerns by saying that I know things will take time, I understand it may be years before Karolina adjusts to all of the monumental life changes, and it may take years for US to be able to bring out the fullest in her and develop ways that will help her blossom and thrive in her own time. That being said, part of my own worry stems from the different feedback we are getting, both from medical, and the child development standpoint.
Karolina is 18 months old (as of Friday)!:) She was evaluated by early intervention and was found to be between a 6-9 month developmental level, 10-12 in others (like gross motor skills) and a below 3 months of age in reception/communication. Daily, I work with her by repeating the basic words "ma ma" "da da" bye bye" etc. She has never attempted to repeat any words or phrases. At first I was very defensive when it was brought up (she heard only Polish for the first year of her life, what do people expect)?! As time has gone on though, I do understand what the "experts" were saying, even basic sounds she still does not repeat.
I did hear a great tip about imitating HER though, so we have begun to do that. Instead of asking her to repeat after me, I follow her lead, and imitate the sounds she babbles. She is very attentive so I know it's sinking in, it's just a matter of it coming out. :)
Earlier this week it was recommended that down the road, she should be tested for a genetic abnormality. The medical person suggested Karolina may have signs of mild mental disability. Yet, other medical specialists have not mentioned this, and have even been encouraging. What to make of this? What I see before my eyes every day, is a happy, beautiful daughter whom I love with all my heart and who is taking her time on some things, but I KNOW she is aware and engaged. Yes, I realize she's not catching up at the level that would be preferred, and this weighs heavy on a moms heart, because I take it personally now that she's home. I have so many questions. Is it just that she will take longer, but still be totally fine? Will she continue to have significant delays but nothing more? Or are we looking at a lifelong diagnosis with substantial life-changing challenges? It's impossible to know that information TODAY. So, I'm trying to rest in that realization and not worry. The best we can do is love her, give her all we've got, and trust that God will carry the rest. And I maintain...it's still very early. We still have a lot of things left to try, and I am excited that she will begin therapy in January. She qualified to receive in-home occupational and speech therapy from a place the comes highly recommended and I am looking forward to getting started. She's also continuing to get one step closer to walking! Just this week she has been standing, sturdy as a tree trunk, independently by herself. Look at our big girl!
All that's left is for her to put one foot in front of the other!:) I am so, incredibly proud of our beautiful daughter. I see her and realize how far she's come already, and it's a reminder of how much we have to celebrate. I need to stick Matthew 6: 25 on my refrigerator for that constant reminder about the futility of worry: