Monday, November 22, 2010

Leaps and Bounds

It's been a while since I've really updated about Darya. Sorry about that!  I've had good intentions on updating, but you know how that goes....

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 :-)

Piggy tails

Kiss me!

Darya and Mims
 Darya's baptism

 She loves her fridge DJ (see the same smile)


  1. I'm so glad she's adjusted so well and she really seems like she just fits so perfectly in with your family! All of the pictures are adorable, but her Kiss Me face is too cute for words!!!


  2. OK, for the teeth grinding, I'll tell you what therapists and other parents told us.

    She needs more oral stimulation. It's tough because the food textures she's getting are limited. Continue to encourage her to try a wider variety of foods.

    An electric (battery operated) toothbrush can be great, both inside the mouth as a toothbrush and putting the smooth side against her cheek.

    Nuk brush - you can use it to massage her mouth and she can use it as a teether. (Got to keep an eye on it and take it away/replace if it starts to get torn)

    Sounds like she is doing great overall!

  3. She is SO precious! My little one used to do the butt-scoot too! We called it the "Butt Scootin' Boogie." The pigtails are adorable. I just love seeing how she is blossoming. Thank you for continuing to share your story.

  4. Thank you so much for this post Marianne. I am blessed to get to see Darya a few times during the week, but still enjoy reading about her and looking at her pictures. She really is amazing and is progressing far better than I ever thought possible. She is precious!!

    Also, witnessing Darya's baptism was truly wonderful. Seeing the sign and seal of God's covenant given to her, by Joel, was so moving. I look forward to the day when she will make her profession of faith! Thank you for sharing Darya with all of us.


  5. Thanks for the wonderful update. Glad everything major looks good and you are only having to deal with the little things. I have a feeling that she will be walking in no time. Hopefully before you guys are here in January so she and Ella can walk around together. Looks like we are starting Ella's last round of chemo the Monday after Thanksgiving so I think we will for sure be out of the hospital when you are here...yay!!

  6. Did you look at Sams for glasses? I used to get mine there for a while. Until 2 years ago I had to wear Kid glasses and the lenses where $50 or so. I had Scooby glasses for the longest time.