Anyway, she is doing great! I don't even know where to begin. We are enjoying having her in our family and we think she feels the same :-) She has really warmed up to her brothers and will give them her "kiss me" face (lips puckered, chin up in the air). They love to help her walk, play, and sing. They all adore and love her so much! Not only is her growth and development fun to watch, but seeing the growth, tenderness, and compassion in the boys has been amazing to see. They are such sweet boys and daily thank the Lord for their new sister. They continue to pray for the orphans, as their concern and love for the orphans didn't stop with their sister. This evening, Ben was sorting through my jewelry box and found an old pendant that was my grandmother's. It was fake, but he thought if the jewels were real, he'd sell it and donate to baby Anna's grant! Even as I'm typing this, Sam is spinning her and I'm listening to her contagious giggle :-)
In the month and a half we've been home, she has put on weight (she's almost 20 pounds), eating much better (thankfully those pesky parasites are gone), and learning so much.
She used to put up a fight eating (her poor tummy hurt), but now she loves oatmeal, soup, mac-n-cheese, fruit puffs, etc. She still won't use her hands to eat, though the other day she did pick up a fruit puff and put it in her mouth. We'll take that progress! Oh, and yesterday I decided to give her her favorite drink with a straw to see how she would do (blueberry Kefir) and she drank it all up!! I was super impressed. I used a take-n-toss cup and straw per my friend Julie's recommendation and it worked great. I want to order this from someone else's suggestion for travel.
She's been a great sleeper from day one. When she first came home, she was taking a couple of nice looong naps each day. Now she just takes one around lunch time and she'll usually sleep for a couple of hours. She goes to bed around 8:00pm and gets up around 8:00am. Not bad!
Darya seems to understand us fairly well. She doesn't say any of the few Russian sounding words like she used to, and can babble a few consonant sounds. Check out Joel's blog for his recording of her saying "Dada". Of course all of my kids' first word was that! haha! She has said "mama" a couple of times, but mostly when we ask her to say it, she pats herself and laughs. Little stinker :-) She says ball (and signs it), she has said "duck" (for her rubber ducky), and can sign a handful of words (more, all done, etc.).
We work on her walking every day, and she just can't seem to get past 5 or 6 steps. It is the cutest thing to watch though!! She mostly gets from point A to point B fine doing her butt-scoot or by crawling. She can pull herself up. She's been caught splashing in the toilet a couple of times so we've got to watch her on that one!
I posted about this a while back when we were in Ukraine. I am happy to say that the only thing left is the teeth grinding (much to Joel's dismay - nails on a chalkboard!). She mostly does that when she's relaxing or tired. Any tips on how to break it would be great! But she is cutting some molars, so maybe it's how she relieves some of the pain?
She's had her cardiologist appointment, which I reported went well. She's in the process of getting her immunizations (we're spreading them out a bit to not overwhelm her little body). She had some of her blood work done and her cell counts are good. She does need to get more drawn since they didn't have enough to test for her thyroid. We still need to get her glasses. I've been all over town and only one place had frames in her size but they were quite expensive for the lenses. I'd order them online, but hesitate since I'm afraid to get the wrong size. So I think for her first pair, we'll just go with the pricier ones then later we can get them elsewhere. She is farsighted, almost plus 5 in each eye (if that means anything to any of you). We are waiting for her ENT referral. And next week she will have her coordinator come and evaluate her to see what therapies she'll need. It will be so nice since it will all take place in our home! Overall, she seems to be doing very well. Her coloring has even gotten better and she has nice rosy cheeks, shiny hair, and moist lips (no more chapped lips).
Last week, some great friends of mine through Darya and official "Welcome Home" party. We had such a lovely time and there were a lot of friends! Thank you Shelli, Amanda, and Mims for putting it together!! Some moms and their daughters from the local Down syndrome groups came, too, and it was nice to meet them! Then on Sunday 14th Joel got to baptize Darya. It was such a special and beautiful event! Darya, our water baby, of course loved the water poured on her head. Amanda recorded it, so hopefully I'll be able to share that video soon.
Words just don't do justice how much we love this little girl. We are so blessed and have had such an amazing adoption journey bringing her into our family. I cannot imagine our lives without her! She belongs in our family, and not in the confines of a government institution. I love her so much!
I feel like there are a million other things to share, but for now this will have to do. My camera still takes poorer quality photos since the pool incident, but at least it takes some. Here are some random ones for your viewing pleasure :-)
Darya and Mims
She loves her fridge DJ (see the same smile)