Wednesday, February 19, 2014

One month home

Last night was our one-month-iversary!  It feels good to know that Kavya has been with us long enough to begin understanding that this isn't just another hotel -- it is her home.

For the most part, our month has been very quiet.  The only times she's left our house are for doctor visits, to pick up the older kids at school, and two brief visits to the library (Aaron has a research project).  Today, I took her for a quick visit to a grocery store, just to get her used to the place before I attempt to do normal grocery shopping with her in a few more weeks.

We've had a few visitors to the house too. On Monday, an early intervention specialist through the Birth to 3 Program came to assess Kavya.  It was early for a visit, but because Kavya turns 3 this summer, she wanted to visit early enough so we could use their services if necessary.

She spent about an hour with us, observing Kavya's speech, non-verbal communication, and cognition.  She ended up having no concerns at this early stage of the game. Kavya used over 20 words during the visit, and showed a lot of receptive language comprehension.  

I continue to be struck by how different our homecoming has been than what we anticipated.  Because of a typographical error in Kavya's medical records, we thought we were bringing home a daughter with a "hearing defect" that was significant enough to be noticeable at 10 months old.  She was also hospitalized at 5-6 weeks old with meningitis, and was born with a cleft palate. We were prepared (as prepared as we could be) for the possibilities of cognitive delays because of the meningitis, and assumed a surgery was in our near future (her repair surgery at 6 months old was not noted in her medical records).

Any of those medical conditions might be the reason she was available for us to become her parents.  The fact that others may have turned her down because of her medical history gives me goosebumps -- it feels like a miracle that she is ours, and doesn't face surgeries, hearing aids or profound hearing loss, or cognitive delays.

I'm almost having a touch of "survivor's guilt," because so many of the surprises with adopted children aren't the good or easy kind. I feel so incredibly blessed by the way our first month has gone, and the way she is settling in. She is bright, funny, curious, affectionate, and so dear to our whole family already.  Every week so far, I've cried tears of gratitude and joy that she's with us, and that God has joined us together forever.

We are still seeing some orphanage behaviors occasionally. She has a few self-soothing behaviors that have changed slightly -- for example, instead of rubbing her own belly to fall asleep, she will sometimes reach over to me and rub my neck.  She still pulls on her eyelids, eyelashes and eyebrows when she's very tired -- but I haven't seen her rub her ears for over a week. Tonight, she was very tired (she only napped for an hour or so), and I saw the return of her hitting herself on the head to fall asleep.  She hasn't done that for about a week.  It's a good, though hard to watch, reminder that appearances can be deceiving . . . She's such a busy, chipper extrovert, but the move to a new country, with new foods, new sounds, new people -- it is a very traumatic thing for any 2-year-old.

We also saw some behaviors this weekend that we will keep an eye on -- we ended up having a surprise visit from Peter's sister Anne, her husband Nick, and their daughter Emma. Kavya went right to Anne and Emma, and wanted them to pick her up and play with her.  We will have to keep an eye on that, and make sure she isn't doing that with random people out in public or the first time we go to church with her.  I used a baby carrier at the library, so there was no chance for her to approach strangers. She didn't do it at the grocery store today, so maybe it was just that she felt secure enough in her own house to interact with them? Time will tell.

My sister Alicia also came to visit, along with my brother Matt.  It was the first time Kavya has seen Alicia since our trip to India, because she injured her knee while skiing and wasn't able to travel.  Her boyfriend was so sweet to drive her to us -- he's the one who rescued us when our flight out of Chicago was cancelled, so he's logged lots points with us! Kavya remembered Alicia, and was excited to see her again. She was a little more reserved with Matt -- she seems to be a little more shy with men -- but after a while, she was happy to be on his lap for a few moments.

Our month at home has also included 2-3 visits from both sets of grandparents.  They are thrilled that Kavya already recognizes them and call them "gwamma" -- ALL of them, even the "gwampas."

This week, she's started to combine words to make 2-word phrases.  She has said "no birdies," "night night, Daddy," "Anya, come on," and more!  It is so adorable to hear her pronunciations. The big kids find her chatter endlessly amusing.

The next month will likely be pretty similar to this one. Lots of play at home, a few trips outside our house, and not too much else. We are following the experts' advice, and keeping her world small.


Lucy said...

I am so happy to read that Kavya is doing so well!

Julie & Patrick said...

It is always so fun to hear about how "our" children are doing. After hoping, praying, and wishing for her for nearly 5 years, she seems like family to us too :)

The health concerns that have nearly all been dashed just seems like further proof of her orchestrated early life to ensure that you found each other. Love that part of story!

Keep up the good work!

Miche said...

I love this update! And I'm so crazy super happy for you guys to be settling in so very wonderfully!!!

Sarah said...

So thrilled for you! She's a darling girl.

TrishaBrown said...

Love the update! So glad things are going well. She looks like such a sweet sweet little girl. :)

Kristian said...

Wow! So amazing that God blessed you with less significant health issues than you expected! You're right that it usually is the other way around! I just love her smile! I know you must melt each time you see it!