Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Transformation #1-- Summer

Oh my.  Night and Day.  That is the best I can describe this one.  Oh my.  Where to even begin with this one.  Summer was born in Pleven and spent her first few years at that orphanage.  Even the first video we  have of her in Pleven she was crying.  Just burst into tears.  Not sure why exactly.  They put a marker in her hand and you could easily tell it was the first time she'd seen one of those.  Then, Summer was moved to Kardzhali, a little bit near Turkey.  I thought it strange to send a child that far away however, the same was done to Max in Russia.  Not sure if it's you go to where there is a bed deal or not.  Summer's medical was not all that bad.  It did indeed say she had c-ACC but did not tell of her colpocephaly or severe speech dyspraxia or the severe lagging of development.  I wont' go through every detail of course.  We met her.

Notice her body language.  We could not touch her.  Not hold her, not kiss her, not touch her.  

I zoomed in w/ the camera.  We were on the other side of the room and this was as close as we could get to her.  It was a horrible feeling for us.  We only got to spend 2 days with her and left.  It was probably better that way for her emotional well being anyhow.  She couldn't handle it at all.  

Then, time for the pick up trip which I described just a few posts ago.  Look back a post or two to see the trauma of it all.

Even here, not comfortable.  NOT potty trained at all despite us being told she was totally potty trained.  Umm, no.  She wasn't.  Surprise.  

One night, she finally ran to Warren.

She sobbed for quite some time.  Still would not come to me but it was progress and for that, we were grateful.  

Shoot, had more pics of Summer and I but can't get them to load for whatever reason.  It was the turning point where she finally came to me.  Me!  

We came home and had to slowly peel her apart, emotions and all, like an onion.  One layer on top of another of an onion.  Some of it was just heartbreaking.  Medically, she was better than we actually expected so that was awesome.  Emotionally however, this was a broken child that did not have all that many experiences it seemed.  I'll break it all down and tell you then and now.

When she came home, Raleigh Neurology assessed her at a beginning 2yo level across the board for just about everything.  She was almost 5yo.  Said she qualified for OT, PT, and speech.  We said we'd do nothing until she'd been home 6 months.  We don't rush into anything.  Feel it's first and foremost important for the child to bond w/ the parents. We've done it this way for all our kids b/c most docs want to jump the gun first thing and don't take into account all the changes that have taken place in that child's life.  When Summer first came home, she fell all the time.  And i mean all the time.  She'd fall off  the chair, fall out of the van, fall when walking every few steps.  It's like the child hadn't walked much in her whole life.  And forget running.  So, instead of PE, I opted for Upwards Soccer.  Within a few weeks, she was running.  She had no gross or fine motor skills when she came here.  Did not know how to hold silverware.  Could not cut, could not color, nothing.  Did not know if she was right or left-handed(actually, this is common w/ c-ACC kids).  This list of what Summer could not do could go on forever really. 

Let's talk about what she CAN do now.  Run, walk, eat (oh yeh, just fine), express herself, be sarcastic, cut (speech therapist said she is the best cutter she has!), has all gross and fine motor skills for her age, etc.  Again, this list could go on forever.  So, w/ NO OT and NO PT she got back on track and is on par w/ kids her age for tasks.  Now, speech therapy she did end up needing.  Summer has severe speech dyspraxia and ST told me that doesn't surprise her w/ the c-ACC.  She is progressing though and that's what counts.

Now, some other tidbits.  I will never forget the ride out of the orphanage.  I was told that's the first car she rode in other than the one from Pleven that brought her there.  Don't worry, she has no issues hopping in that van now.  LOL.  Buckles her carseat up and all.  She learned to ride a bike, with training wheels.  So many things to name that she's done. 

Oh, one thing I will never ever ever forget was her sheer terror of water.  I mean I've had kids nervous before but this was different.  This was severe trauma of water.  I even had them call the orphanage to find out how they bathed her.  They said a bath.  I did that, tried a shower, tried getting in w/ her.  You name it, we tried it.  We gave up and decided she could stink till we got home.  Seriously, it sounded like we were skinning an animal alive.  It was horrifying. 

This was after she got the bath.  She was okay once out and loved the novelty of getting her hair dried by daddy.

When we arrived home, (actually, I called from the airport!), I told Alyona I don't care how long you spend in the tub, what toys you put in there but by God make it the best bath ever for Summer!  It worked.  From then on, no fear of water.  Not even in the pool this summer.  She LOVED it.  So going from being terrified to even have it run on you to not wanting to get out of the pool is just awesome.  

That's my girl this summer soak & wet from going on a slip and slide over and over again.  Drenched to the bone and loving it!  Happy as can be.

Now, the water terror was not just limited to the bath.  No.  I will never forget the day she stood almost comatose in the rain at soccer.  Literally didn't move a muscle on the field.  The look on her face is one I'd never seen before.  Scooped her up and tried to break her out of that cycle.  It occurred to me that she had probably never ever felt the rain on her skin.  She was scared.  Now, can't get the turkey out of the stupid rain.  Just today her and Nik were jumping on the trampoline...in the rain.  

Summer's fears are gone.  Gone.  Emotionally, she was unstable when we got her.  Cried at everything.  Terrified of everything.  Those who met her at the Bulgarian Reunion or in person would have never have guessed that this extroverted happy go lucky little girl that always smiling was emotionally shut down when we got her & introverted.  A different child and in a good way.

When we brought her home, she spoke gibberish in Bulgarian.  Now, she speaks English, counts to 8  and knows some sign.  Actually, the sign is helping her learn to speak.  This little girl who wanted nothing to do with me, just kissed me good night, signed I love you, and went to bed.  Yep, Mommy's little Pepper.  That is her name (well, was going to be her name, long story).  So now, it's more a nickname.  Summer can grab anyone w/ her smile.  Knows no stranger but knows who her family is for sure.  Climbs in bed w/ mom and dad some times in the morning.  Is my girlie girl.  LOVES shoes.  That hasn't changed since she left Bulgaria.  She loved shoes there too.  

Summer would not have been able to hold that glass last year nor drink out of that straw too well.  Her eyes would not have had that twinkle in them.  Her head would have been bowed down more.  I know she's drinking here but it says a lot about her.  She loves to try anything now.  There is no fear in her.  She adores her siblings and is right where she is supposed to be.  You can't help but to smile when she smiles.  I can not truly tell you how much love I have for this little girl.  I want to squeeze her every time I see her and never let go.  She was not potty trained when she came here at all.  Now, potty trained during the day but not at night still.  Working on it though.  She has come so, so far.  We truly could not ask for a better transformation in a year's time.  She has just thrived here and continues to amaze us w/ things every single day.  She went from a size 3T to now, a size 6/7!  She has grown like a weed.  Summer is our youngest currently.  She is our full of life, ready for adventure, loves going on the bus (what she calls our rv), loves to swim, loves to play soccer, is not a tomato fan, also not a fan of going to bed, enjoys a story being read to her, and so much more.  It has been so fun watching her blossom this year.  All I can say is Wow.  We LOVE you Summer Grace!  I know folks get scared of some dx's.  What, she's missing part of her brain?!  One relative said well, glad you didn't know that beforehand.  Umm, we did indeed know that beforehand and we still said yes, she's ours.  Think of how much fun we would have missed out on.  How much love she's given us.  I can not believe we got to be her parents.  How lucky can we get?!  I'm sure I've forgotten so many things.  Really, there were too many night and day things to name.  I just tried to highlight some.  If I think of some mroe, I'll let you know.  Just wanted you to see it's night and day after a year.

1 comment:

  1. She is an absolute doll. Her smile is so radiant it just warms my heart. You can tell how much she is loved.