One family's adventures in open adoption, Asperger's, and parenting one amazing little girl!
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Hannah had her first visit with the orthopedist here in Rhode Island. If you've followed this blog for awhile you may remember that Hannah is extremely flexible and has loose, hypermobile joints. Last year at the orthopedist in Indiana he recommended a watch and see approach and that we have her reevaluated in a year. Well, we couldn't really go back to that same doc so we got referred to a new one here. I really liked the guy. He was patient, took the time to explain to me what he was doing, why, and what it all meant, and he was funny to boot. Hannah liked him because he gave her a sucker. Never discount bribery when it comes to a 3 year old's affections. The results of this appointment were that Hannah's wrists are quite bad. They easily dislocate, but it causes Hannah no pain when they do! I knew they were wiggly, but I didn't realize they were actually dislocating. The rest of her joints are very loose, but on the extreme end of normal for the moment except for her ankles. She overpronates a lot which causes her to fall often and run funny. She also has flat feet which isn't really a problem in and of itself except for the fact that it points to the underlying problem of loose ligaments. Because her feet roll in so badly Hannah has begun to compensate by turning her knees in and getting her hips out of alignment. In an attempt to prevent the foot rolling from causing a domino effect up the rest of her body that will eventually lead to pain and other bones being out of alignment, the orthopedist has recommended we place Hannah in foot and ankle braces for the next year. After a year we will see if her ligaments have tightened up enough to prevent her feet from rolling excessively. If they've tightened then no more braces and Hannah is considered at the extreme end of normal for joint stability and we don't have to worry too much. If they haven't tightened or if they seem worse or if other joints seem to be less stable then the doctor will be evaluating her for something called Ehlers Danlos syndrome. Please wish us luck that Hannah will tolerate the braces since she doesn't much care for shoes or socks! Also, pray that after a year all systems will be a go to remove the braces and be done with the orthopedist.
Hannah has been doing very well at school. In fact, she's done so well that we are doing a trial run to see how she does going full day! So far, so good! The other day when I went to pick her up they were out on the playground and she was pushing another kid in the swing and then later (I stood and watched for awhile before she noticed me) she called out to one of her friends and said, "Antonio, chase me!" and he did! She didn't just play when approached by another, she actually initiated the play! I was so thrilled!!!!! These social skills aren't transferring yet to people she's not comfortable with, but it's a very big start I think.
Lately Hannah and I have been doing a lot of scrapbooking together. I've really been enjoying it. Even before Hannah was born I dreamed about someday being able to scrapbook with her and I prayed it would be something she liked doing. So far I don't have to worry. She loves to cut, paste, and punch out shapes from paper. She's actually quite good at using scissors and is very creative when it comes to designing her pages. Then there are times when she's just content to sit and punch out her shapes. It's good fine motor heavy work so that makes me happy too. It's a win win!
In addition to all the advances Hannah has made in her reading skills recently, she's also acquired some mad counting skills too. So far she can count by 1s to 100, 2s to 20, and 10s to 100. She's working on learning how to count by 5s, but for some reason they are proving trickier for her than by 2s. She's really good at patterns so I'm a bit confused about why she can't quite see this pattern, but it'll come. She's only 3 after all!
This past week was an awesome week for Hannah. It was probably the best week she's had since we moved to Rhode Island 8 months ago. There have been a lot fewer time outs than normal, less sass, and some amazing social interactions with peers. We've revamped her sensory diet significantly and brought in two more swings for the basement (Hannah's trapeze bar/rings from her swing set outside and Kyle also made her a platform swing like the one she uses at OT) and I'm positive that's had something to do with it. Today was a little more rocky than the rest of the week, but then we were more lax about the sensory diet and her days aren't nearly as structured on the weekends as they are during the week. So, we'll see how next week goes to see if we can keep this good momentum going.
The other day Hannah and I were having a conversation about a friend who had a baby last month. That got Hannah thinking about babies and how they are born and parents in general. Hannah knows she was adopted. She knows her birthparents and knows that she grew in Tiffany's belly and not mine. What I didn't realize is that she didn't understand that not everyone has two sets of parents. She was confused to learn that our friend Sarah was both the Mommy and birthmother to Hannah's friend Evelyn and Evelyn's new little sister Vivian. We then went through many of the people we know and Hannah asked who each person's Mommy and birthmother was. By the end of the conversation I think she was still a bit astonished that so many people she knew had only one set of parents! It complicates things a bit since Hannah's brother and sister were not adopted. Tiffany chose to parent her twins, but chose to place Hannah. Knowing that Tiffany is Kayla and Chase's Mommy and birthmother, but only Hannah's birthmother was very head scratching for her. I think this is the beginning of Hannah starting to realize that being adopted means that she came into our family in a different way than most people come into families. We'll just keep on having these types of conversations so that she understands as much as she's developmentally able to get and that she feels comfortable with her status as an adoptee.