Thursday, November 23, 2006

Some New Photos...

Hi everyone--and happy Thanksgiving Day! Here are a couple new photos of my beautiful, blue-eyed angel... These were taken today at Gran's house. I swear she's looking less and less like a baby every day. Here she was climbing up her uncle Chris to get at his necklace. She loves any kind of jewelry!

She had a blast racing up and down the hallway--usually in pursuit of the dogs! She also enjoyed meeting her uncles and cousins--who all fell in love with her, of course!

~ Jeana

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

I've been waiting for my friend Justin to send me some of the new photos we took of Alivia recently, but he's taking too long, so... I'll get some more this weekend over the holidays and post them as soon as I can. In the meantime, I have a couple new Alivia stories to share...

She's truly become the sunshine in my day everyday. This morning I was holding her in my arms right after I woke her up and while she was still half asleep she reached up to my face to turn it so that she could kiss me. It was so precious!

She's also a stubborn little cuss... the other day she started spitting (raspberry style) while I was feeding her. I told her no, but she did it again. I said no again and she did it again, so I smacked her tray (doesn't hurt her at all, but makes a loud noise that gets her attention.) Well, she started wailing like you'd think I was beating her, but between every wail she'd spit again just to show me she could do it no matter what I said. It was all I could do to keep from laughing.

And she's developing her sense of the absurd... a couple nights ago I was running her bath while she stood naked beside me watching the water fill the tub. She loves to play in the water and every time I'd reach in to test the temperature, she'd reach in, too, even though her little arms were just too short to reach. After a few moments I heard her giggling and glanced over to see what was up... Alivia was staring down at her feet and wiggling her toes. She'd just peed on her feet and thought it was the funniest thing that she could make little splashes with her toes before she even got into the tub.

This year I know that I truly have cause to be thankful. God has given me the most precious gift in the world.

~ Jeana

Monday, November 06, 2006

Early Intervention Evaluation

Alivia and I met with the Early Intervention specialists this morning to determine if she needs and is eligible for their services. It was interesting to watch them perform the evaluation--they would give her different things to play with and watch what she did with them. They also tried to get her to walk, talk, crawl, eat, and other basic activities. They took her premature birth date into account and evaluated her at the 14 months level (her gestational age) rather than her calendar age of 16 months. Their findings were pretty much what I expected. Basically, Alivia is doing fairly well verbally, but needs developmental assistance in most other areas.

She seems to be having lots of problems with her ankles turning in and her toes turning out, so they have recommended that we get high-top shoes for her with thick, hard soles--exactly the opposite of what is recommended for most babies learning to walk. They also want her to be evaluated for shoe inserts. They seem to think she may have a small amount of hip displasia, too, which contributes to the problem. They are going to set up a once-per-week physical therapy appointment for her, as well, to try to work on getting her walking correctly.

Alivia is also missing most of the fine motor skills that she should have by now She still rakes with her fingers to pick things up and doesn't like to help much at meal times. All of these things can be attributed to her spending that first year in a crib in the orphanage. The children there just don't get the stimulus and the opportunity to develop anything beyond the most rudimentary motor skills--and she was barely at that level when I got her. At 12 months she was unable to sit without support. She's come such a long way--but we still have a long way to go! They will be providing us with an in-home visit twice a month to work on this kind of thing.

The scariest part of their determinations today was that Alivia is having some cognitive difficulties. Again, this may be entirely due to the environment she lived in for her first 12 months, but there's also the possibility that it's a symptom of fetal alcohol effect or fetal alcohol syndrome. They are advising Alivia's doctor to request a geneticist see her for further evaluation along that line. If it is FAE/FAS, there is nothing that can cure or repair the damage--all we can do is try to work around it. Since she doesn't display any signs of an uncontrollable temper, hopefully the damage will be limited to some mild learning disabilities.

In general, I'm very optimistic about her situation at this time. She's a very strong, focused and determined child and I know that we can do whatever we need to do to help her to succeed.

This coming weekend we are supposed to be going with Justin and Gil to watch a medieval battle reenactment. That should be quite the experience for Alivia... I'll try to get some pictures and post them here!