Saturday, December 31, 2011

Wading through the Worries

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'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:


  1. I understand your concern. I can say (even if you find it irrelevant) that my youngest started taking his first steps about a week before he turned l7 months. He said very, very little. I know he said mama one time around l7 months, but that was about it. When I look back at the photos of him around l8 months, he always has a glassy look on his face, and I did wonder what was going on inside. I was assuming he had stimulation overload from going from a dark nursery room with other kids to life here in America. The doctor saw him at about 19 months, and he said he could tell that he "was taking everything in" by his look. I wish I had kept track, but I know he didn't say anything much beyond mama when he was at my shower, which was 19 months. Now, at 26 months he is just this month talking quite a bit. However, even today a child said, "Why can't he talk?" He will talk when he is at home, but out around strangers he mainly chooses to remain silent.

    Hoping 2012 brings you answers to some of your concers. -- from a huge worrier, Jennifer

  2. What cute pictures, I bet Karolina will take that step any day! Happy New Year!

  3. Well she certainly is lovely. Look at her standing all by herself! Best wishes that your 2012 is as wonderful as your 2011.

  4. I TOTALLY understand your fears! We picked our son up when he was 19 months old. We had all of the issues you mentioned and some. I was terrified to be quite honest! He was hardly babbling, had just begun crawling, did not know how to chew (jaw was loose), tiny as could be and was in a size 9-12 months clothes. I agree with what Jennifer said, my son had the "glassy eye" look at least for the first year. He just turned 4 and is now FINALLY, after 4 months of pre-school, starting to string 4-5 words together. Even this summer we were lucky to get 2 words. He didn't say mama or anything understandable until he was at least 2 1/2. When we had our son tested at 2 1/2 his results were "well" below average. most ranged in the 12-18 month category. I flipped out and worried like crazy! However, I had to consistently remind myself of his gradual progress! And, one very SMART doctor told me that I simply needed to give him TIME to catch up!!! Children develop at different rates and yes, our children missed out on a whole year of life! Though we don't necessarily want to use this as a "crutch," it is the truth!! Thats huge considering the first 3 years are the most influenial of a child's life! My son continue's to amaze me everyday! I still worry, but know that I'm doing everything I can. I trust my son to God and know that He won't give me more than I can handle. With that being said, you still want to be proactive with your daughter, however, just remember that development cannot be pushed onto any child (regardless of diagnosis), but simply needs to be nurtured. Continue to focus on her accomplishments rather than what she's not doing! After I did this for awhile with my son, it started becoming my natural thought process. It helped me put things into perspective! I'll be praying for your little one and for you! God has an amazing plan for her!

  5. Thank you so much Jennifer and Melanie for sharing your experience and encouragement! Reading your comments was such a comfort to this mom's heart. I know every child, every story, every family is different, but it's a tremendous blessing to be able to connect and share common challenges (and worries!) and progress. We received very encouraging news today, as the doctor who suggested Karolina may have a mental disability examined her again and said he no longer feels she should be tested for any abnormalities and feels she is okay! I guess that just goes to show that worrying about the "what if's" really is futile. I realize there will be challenges, and fully expected that going in, but I wouldn't change our experience for anything. I am so grateful for our daughter! Thank you again (Kara and Kelly too) for your kind comments. I continue to follow your families as well as we are connected through this amazing gift of adoption.

  6. Brooke, I just saw this post today. I just love the pictures of Karolina standing. She is so beautiful. The therapy you have set up for her sounds great. I know we have talked about a lot of this through email but remember how far Molly has come. She started out in very much the same situation as Karolina. We have had people tell us before that she would never use speech as her main form of communication and she would likely struggle to learn to read. While she does say some words incorrectly still she talks ALL the time and she started reading 5th grade level chapter books before 2nd grade started. Never underestimate a child's determination and a parent's determination for their child. You are an amazing mother and are doing all the right things for Karolina. Oh and I read your comment above I am so happy that the doctor no longer feels she needs genetic testing! Such good news.

  7. Hi! We adopted our beautiful daughter from the same orphanage in Czestachowa! She is now 4! We met her when she was 6 months and brought her home at 8 months! She is such a blessing!! If you would ever like to get in contact, please let me know! Our daughters share a special connection! My email address is You have a beautiful family! :)