Sunday, January 20, 2013

3 Weeks Home! Sofia Update :)

Since being home I have really not had a clue what day of the week it is, and I feel like I can't get a grasp on how long we've been home. I'm lucky if I can tell you what month and year it is these days ;)

So far, Sofia has adjusted easier than our other two girls, however, that's not to say it's been without challenges! It seems that she's dealing with similar issues but overcoming them a bit quicker. Maybe this can be attributed to her resilient spirit and maybe to our experience having gone through some of the same issues as our other two and having a bigger bag of tricks to try this time around. Maybe it's just God being graceful with us knowing we have 3 special little girls 4 and under ;) Whatever it is, we're thankful. And I tend to think she's enough of a ball of energy that we'll have many days ahead dealing with things with her that maybe we didn't deal with with Zoya and Mila ;) So maybe she's saving it all for later HA! 

She is no longer banging her head on the wall or the floor at all! She only rocks occasionally now and usually it's more of "dancing" when music is on! She is sleeping fairly well, cries when she is hurt and reaches to us to be held. She loves seeing her sisters and is starting to initiate interactions with all of us a little bit more. She lets her needs be known! If she isn't happy about something, we know right away. She is LOUD. Did I say, she's loud? She loves checking out all the toys, but right now her play mostly consists of banging them together (a good place to start) or throwing them! She likes toys that make noise, imagine that ;) She is imitating a lot of what she sees Mila doing which has been fantastic! Sofia learned to sign "more" just by observing Mila's communication of "more" with me. It's been comical too because if Mila cries, Sofia watches like a hawk. She watches me pick her up and hug her and rock her and tell her it's okay. And then as soon as I put Mila down Sofia does the most pathetic fake cry with hands up and looks at me like "my turn!" She doesn't quite understand why we do what we do, but she knows that the behavior of whining gets her some attention and it's funny:) She copies a lot of what she sees and I can tell that her learning style will be much like Zoya's, through observation of her surroundings and modeling!  She is signing "eat" on her own and often throughout the day. 

Food behaviors are still our biggest struggle. And they've been a bear! Some days I think she's overcoming them quickly, and then other days I'm reminded just how far we have to go in the building trust department. And to be clear, by food behaviors, I don't mean that she won't eat. I mean that she thinks she is going to starve. She screams and cries at the sight of food when it isn't right in front of her (when I'm preparing meals, or if she sees someone else eating). She would literally (if I let her) eat until she throws up. Clearly she isn't underweight and hasn't been starved, but from what we observed during feeding time in the orphanage, I'm not surprised she demonstrates these behaviors. She did seem to have quite a large meal for dinner, but I think she probably had snacky-type meals during the rest of the day (similar to Zoya). Once a child learns what it is like to be hungry, it takes a lot of time to rebuild that trust and rewire that brain! Right now I think her brain is telling her to eat as much as she can when it's available because she may not be sure when she will eat next. 

We've done many things to try and help build trust in this area and help her feel more secure. She eats frequently throughout the day. She has a sit-down meal or snack every two hours. I have stuck to a pretty exact feeding schedule for 3 meals a day and 2 snacks at the same time each day so that she can start to predict when she will be able to eat. But we're not there yet, she still hasn't figured out that food will always be available. Throughout the day we offer her cheerios, puffs, bananas, rice crispies, etc. in very small amounts any time she asks (signs "eat") or if she sees me preparing food or sees anyone else eating. It usually only takes a very small amount (5-10 puffs) to satisfy her. This tells me she isn't really hungry, but just checking to see if food will be available. We are trying to be careful not to create more food-related behaviors in this process (overeating or learning to scream and she gets food every time), and I think we're doing a good job balancing it all. The rice crispies have been a great idea with her for non meal/snack times because they are so tiny and it takes her a while to pick one up, so it slows her down, she's hardly eating any calories with those, yet she can feel satisfied that she is eating. There have been some days where I can see the light with the food behaviors and I'm thankful for that. A couple of days she has been very calm around food and I think she is starting to trust a tiny bit more each day. I don't know what causes a few good days followed by a few bad ones with the food issues, but we'll just keep trucking along. I try not to get stressed during meal times, so she doesn't pick up on it, but honestly it's the most stressful and difficult time of my day. 

My predictions for Sofia's near future include lots of joy and laughter, lots of learning new things, making others smile, some tough times we will get through, and at least 2 trips to the ER before her 2nd birthday (God please help me!).  ;)

Sisters in animal print ;) I know some old ladies who would love this! HA!



I just love watching how she looks at Mila! She LOVES when others are happy and she can't help but smile too! 

This was a post-head-banging episode, clearly she wasn't distressed, but still sad to see. Thankful those seem to be gone! She threw herself back to hit her head off the floor purposely and then laughed, which she used to do a lot. Zoya did this too when she was first home. 

Sofia can be a bit of a bully (said kindly) even though she is the youngest....it's just her personality ;) 

It's tough to get her to look away from her food during meal times. When I feed her via spoon she is really good about giving me eye contact to request the next bite :)  We'll get there....slow and steady wins the race, right? 



"Hi Mom!"


Miss Molly!!!!! 


This is my favorite face she makes! Seen better in the picture below! 


I know it looks like she is crying, but she's laughing!!! 
A fan of meatballs! She ate two huge meatballs and I think she may have actually been starting to feel full for once :) 
And she still loves her baths!!! 

Diaper Follow Up

I've been meaning to write a post and let you all know about how the diaper fundraiser ended up! When my brother and I went back for the second trip we were able to get another $250 worth of diapers for the orphanage! Since our trip was so fast we were not able to spend the entire $1,000 raised, so we will be sending that money with another family who is travelling to this orphanage to buy the remainder of the diapers. Total, we were able to purchase $500 worth of diapers for the orphanage! I will ask this family to take pictures so we can update with more photos! We had to work a lot harder there than here to get that many diapers!!! Each store only stocks so many and so we did lots of walking (or jogging LOL) to different stores to get the diapers they had, take them back to the apartment, and go out for more! We also took a ton of 3-12 month sleepers and pacifiers to donate as well. I loved seeing the nannies oooh and aah over the clothes as they pulled them out of the bag to check them out!

You'll be happy to know that when we went back we only saw one wet baby! I'm hoping maybe the baby just had a leaky diaper on, instead of no diaper at all, but I'm not sure. I can tell you that every other baby in Sofia's old groupa was dry!!! It was so exciting to see dry babies instead of babies soaked in urine. Please know that your donation has made a difference and hopefully the babies will continue to have dry bums!

Here is Uncle Bub helping with a trip of diaper! We did get quite a few stares on our diaper trips! 


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Sofia's Personality

If I could only use 3 words to describe Sofia's personality, they would be:

1.) FEARLESS!
2.) Resilient
3.) Clever

This fearless thing has already taken about 10 years off my life!!!! She is such a risk taker gross-motor wise and I can't take my eyes off of her for a second! She climbs on everything and likes her belly to be the point of contact on a raised surface and have her arms and legs hanging off. Zoya and Mila were/are so cautious gross-motor wise so this is going to take some getting used to! She is pulling to stand on everything, and she is loving her new found freedom! Some of the nicknames she has earned (in addition to Curlie Girlie) are: The Boss, Daredevil, The Destroyer, Peacock (she is LOUD!!), Fearless Leader, Firecracker, Wild Woman...you get the picture. Seriously, this child is SO FULL OF LIFE!!!!!!!! She doesn't let anything get in her way! I keep wondering how this BIG personality will be channeled as she gets older....hehehe, don't tell me, I'd rather just wait and see ;)

I tell ya, this child terrifies me! See....

Oh wait, that's the wrong picture....still terrifying though, right? Screaming baby with a (play) knife? LOL!!

This child gives me heart palpitations! 

Look at her foot pushing off the chair! I had to catch her!
Always moving! 

Most of the time I think this girl has barely missed a beat spending her first 15 months in the orphanage! She is SO resilient!  
This picture makes me laugh so hard! So telling of their personalities! Can you tell who the "good" student is? LOL!
 P.S. the cute desks were a gift from Uncle Bub and Aunt Corrine! 
I wish I had more pictures of this dare devil, but I can hardly ever grab the camera since I'm busy trying to save her from accidents!!!!

There is just something so different about this girlie! She has a wild, and very resilient spirit about her! And she is just so clever! She recently taught herself to drink from a straw cup (so thankful because I know what a lengthy and difficult process teaching kiddos to drink from a straw CAN be!)! She also figured out how to get the batteries out of one of the toys...the back was attached with screws....yikes and still trying to figure out how she did that! So yes, very clever indeed!

We are head over heels in love with our bundle of energy!!! I look at her spirit and am so thankful she gets to share it with her family and with the world instead of sharing it with the four walls of her orphanage room!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Sofia's Adoption Story...Putting the Pieces Together

We decided to share a little less publicly until after Sofia's adoption was final. Now that our sweet girl is home with us, I'd like to share a little more about how we were led to her. This is a little long but explains how we came to adopt Sofia and answers many questions many of you have been asking...and it's worth the read :)

In July, we learned of a little boy with Down Syndrome who lived in an orphanage in Ukraine and was in need of a family. Shawn let me know that he was feeling called to this little one, which took me quite by surprise. I was mostly surprised because Mila had only been home about 8 months at that point and our lives were just starting to settle into a new normal. We prayed and talked a bit about this prospect and were given many signs to move forward. We made a pact, a stupid "we're in control of this earthly life and we're steering our own ship" pact in that moment....we promised one another that if something didn't work out with this little boy, we'd abandon ship and pretend none of this ever happened. Before we could go public with our intent to adopt, we learned of another family who said they also hoped to adopt this little boy. They said their dossier was just about completed and translated in country and they'd be travelling soon. Since it was never our intent to choose only ONE specific orphan when there are clearly millions in need, we decided to step back and allow the other family to proceed.

We heard God asking us "are you ready to proceed with adopting ANY child of mine, or just this one?" It was tough to face that conflict within ourselves. Afterall, we had already lost another little one our hearts felt so led to....but we reminded ourselves that in that case we were blessed with Mila and we can't imagine life without her. We were very confused because we had clearly felt called to this little boy. We were saddened as we looked at the little celebratory outfit we had purchased for him. But, we also clearly felt the Lord telling us to proceed with our paperwork without having ANY CLUE if/how/when/who we could/would adopt. We later learned that the family was not really even close to being ready (paper-wise) to adopt the child, and again had some choices to make. Since the family stated they were still working toward adopting him, we did not feel it was appropriate to engage in a battle over one orphan. That is NOT why we got into adoption in the first place. I pray that his family will be there soon. That is all I'll say about that situation publicly.

Before we had committed to this little boy, I came across this picture on an advocacy site:
I was so drawn to this picture. I knew, whoever she was, she was in Mila's old orphanage. I knew this because I bought that outfit she is wearing in the photo. I didn't just pick it off the rack in a hurry....no....during the 10 day wait for Mila's adoption, I went shopping to buy clothes for the orphanage. To many people, clothes are just clothes....just a material possession. My heart was hurting so badly from seeing Mila's holey clothes and from seeing the babies with nobody to care for them. Part of caring for our children is dressing them. I take great joy in dressing my girls and prettying them up....it's one little way to show how loved and cherished and wanted they are. Sooo when I went shopping for clothes for the orphanage, I took my time picking out clothes that I would choose for my own girls. I picked this one specifically because of the cupcake and because Zoya, at the time, just loved anything with cupcakes on it. I thought to myself, "Zoya would pick something out like this for a little sister." It was also pink and green, just like Mila's bedroom. So when I saw this picture, it never even crossed my mind that I could be her mama because we had only bee home with Mila for several months at that point and according to us we were DONE adopting....I clicked out of the window with her picture, not knowing that was not the last time I'd see that picture.

Later, when we lost the little boy we hoped to adopt, I went back to the website I had seen her on to look at her picture. I sent the information to our facilitator in country and was told that she was not listed for adoption. Shawn and I continued to pray and seek out the Lord's will. At several points we thought about just stopping all of the paperwork because we literally could not see out own hands in front of our faces in such darkness. We prayed over several other children but kept hearing silence and did not feel peace about moving forward.

Fast forward to September. Another family was adopting from Mila's old orphanage. The mama had let me know about an adorable little girl with DS in her son's groupa. Immediately, I asked if she thought it could be the child in the picture above. Initially she said no because she looked much older and different...afterall there was probably only 8 months time between when that picture was taken (guessing) and when this family saw the little girl with DS at the orphanage. After this sweet mama looked at the above photo a little more she thought maybe it could be the same child. So I told her that we already knew (if it was in fact the same child) that she wasn't available for adoption because I had already asked our facilitation team some months back. She encouraged me to ask anyways, saying that this little one was so precious and would find a family soon if we could list her on Reece's Rainbow. So, I asked again, and imagine my surprise when the facilitator told me she was in fact, now available! And, that sweet picture above, you know the one where she is wearing the outfit I chose as if I were choosing an outfit for my own daughter, yep that is indeed a picture of my own daughter!

When we left Mila's orphanage, we missed it a lot, strangely. We felt like we left part of our hearts there. It was different than when we left Zoya's orphanage. We could not wait to leave Zoya's orphanage and hoped to never ever return to that place again. As for Mila's orphanage, we had such a fondness for that city and talked about going back some day. We just never imagined it'd be to adopt again, and never imagined it'd be so soon! We committed to adopt this sweet little girl, cautiously, knowing that anything could happen (as evidenced by Mila's adoption and by losing the little boy we hoped to adopt). I did feel a sense of peace in my heart about moving forward for this sweet girl, known as "Zofia" on Reece's Rainbow. I felt excitement that had been missing from our process so far. I had butterflies and sleepless nights. I knew my daughter was waiting for me across the world and suddenly I felt an urgent desire to get to her! We were paper ready when we announced our intent to adopt her. Many people didn't realize the entire background of our adoption story and that we had been committed to another child, so it seemed to happen quickly to those on the outside looking in, but for us, the process up until that point had been stressful and without much joy. We were obeying the Lord's call to "just continue." We prayed continuously and specifically for wisdom on what steps to take next.

Since another family had met her, we knew her birth name, Sofia. When I looked up the meaning of "Sofia" the word "wisdom" came up. It was a clear sign and as if God's voice couldn't be any louder in my ears! Shawn and I talked a lot about a middle name. I came across this bible verse and thought "joy" would be a beautiful middle name:

“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands." Isaiah 55:12

That bible verse was another clear sign to me that we were on the right path. Several hours after I read that verse, the sweet mama who had met Sofia messaged me and said, "Sofia is SO full of JOY!" She could have said full of happiness, or excitement, or life, or a million other things! Those happenings were a validation that my heart had so badly been seeking that we were going to be this child's parents. 

As we worked toward getting our invitation to Ukraine to adopt her, we were SO very excited to return to that orphanage and that city where we had adopted Mila from. One image that immediately popped into my mind (and one I had replayed quite frequently before that since adopting Mila) was of a nurse walking through the orphanage doors holding two tiny bundles wrapped in white. We were sitting in the foyer waiting to go visit Mila when this woman walked in. The two teeny tiny babies were wrapped tightly like burritos and we could barely see their faces. The large nurse was holding one baby in each arm and I thought they looked like the most beautiful gifts. It was clear they were coming from the hospital and being placed in the orphanage. My heart broke into a million pieces. I just kept staring. Anna (the other mama that was adopting at the same time as us) and I talked about grabbing those babies and running! How their lives were about to change so drastically.....suddenly they were orphans, being moved to a house where babies without parents resided. I remember the date we witnessed that.

I did let my thoughts wander and wonder if maybe, just maybe one of those babies we saw coming in could have been Sofia. As we sat at the meeting with the director, waiting to meet Sofia for the first time, getting information about Sofia's history, we heard her say, "She came to the orphanage at one month and 12 days old." Quickly, with my mind racing, I added that many days onto her birthday. I realized at that moment, sitting at that table, that we had in fact seen our baby girl being brought into the orphanage while we were there for Mila. Now, if anyone had told me I'd be back a year later for one of those little bundles I probably would have laughed really really hard. At that moment in time, our hearts were not ready to hear that we had another daughter waiting for us but we couldn't get to her yet (and there she was right before our eyes). Can you even imagine? BUT, the Lord is SO AMAZING AND GOOD that he allowed us to have that glimpse of our daughter....a picture we'll never forget, and a piece of her history we can tell her (one day) that we witnessed.  If only I could go back to that moment and know she was our daughter.....but only God knew in that moment that the little bundle would become our daughter. I imagine the JOY the Lord must have had looking down on that moment....moving our hearts for good reason.....knowing that the little baby girl bundle was in the same room with her future earthly parents! How amazing....only a story God could orchestrate, that's for sure!

You never know what inconsequential happenings might be writing your future story, so don't let a single moment pass you by without taking in all the possibilities around you!

Monday, January 7, 2013

All Things Sofia (and a Video)

Sofia has been home just over a week. Here's what I can tell you about her personality: she is LOUD, she is STRONG, she is a tiny tornado and she has SO MUCH LIFE packed into her tiny body! She is finishing up a round of antibiotics and seems to be feeling much better (except for her belly which is being upset by the antibiotics). The awful smelling urine/UTI is gone and her upper respiratory stuff is clearing up as well. This is what I posted on Facebook the other day regarding her..ahem...stomach issues....
"All I'm sayin' is I better get a "Well done, thy good and faithful servant" when I get to heaven after that diaper! Orphanage plus antibiotics is not pretty. And yes, I'm that mom posting about poop....the one I swore I'd never be!"

Although Sofia is mostly on the mend, she has passed her upper respiratory infection onto Mila (who is currently on a nap strike as I type this). The first few days home Sofia was pretty quiet, but it didn't take long for her to be comfortable enough to start making demands! She is really really active....this is new for us since both of our other girls are much more reserved and cautious physically. I always read about other people's kids scaling the cabinets and getting onto the countertops and such, and I always thought "my girls would never do that...." and that was true....until there was SOFIA! She hasn't yet climbed the cabinets, but I fear we're not too far away from that day! She is crawling all over the place, pulling to stand on everything (which has resulted in a few minor falls), and even taking a couple steps holding onto the push toy. Another word for her is CAA-RAY-ZEEE! :) I was getting a bottle ready for her and the girls were playing in the living room (right next to the kitchen) and Zoya came running out to me and yelled, "MAMA SOFIA FALL!" So I went running in to find her with the push toy on top of her as she was laying underneath the Christmas Tree.....she was smiling and not hurt and all I could do was laugh! I wish I would have gotten a picture! Not sure where she was trying to go, but surely it was not under the tree!

I keep getting questions about the age difference between the girls. Sofia is the youngest at 15 months (born in September 2011), Mila is 21 months (6 months older than Sofia, born Marchn 2011), and Zoya is 4 (born June 2008). So far the dynamics of the age ranges are working out well. Zoya is seriously the best big sister ever! She tries so hard to be helpful and really is helping me by anticipating what I might need (running to get diapers, putting the empty bottles in the sink, picking up cups, food that the babies drop/throw, giving them toys and hugs and kisses if they start fussing, sharing her favorite toys when she thinks it might make them happier, etc.). Sofia and Mila are interested in one another but so far have mostly stolen each others binkies and toys. I love how they watch one another and I can already see both of them learning from each other!

Sofia weighed 18 pounds when we met her and had a check up the other day and weighed in at 19 pounds, 11 ounces. She is a pretty good size for her age and around 60th-70th percentile on the Down Syndrome growth charts. She was even around 4th percentile on the typical growth charts! She is wearing 9-12 month clothing (9 months in 2-piece outfits, and 12 months in 1 piece outfits). It's easy to see why she is such a good size because she has a great appetite (too great perhaps?). She is eating finger foods (and suddenly started refusing baby food-she's just too cool for that apparently), feeding herself puffs and fruit and other small pieces of food, and I haven't found anything she doesn't like yet! She was not on a bottle or a cup in the orphanage (I think her liquids were mostly mixed in with her food). So we decided to go back to the bottle to work on bonding. Feeding is such a huge part of bonding with newborns and she's missed that....so she's getting bone broth/goat's milk bottles (similar to the formula I used with Mila). Just like Zoya, even though she was a good size when she came home, she was still clearly lacking many essential vitamins, proteins, and good fats, so we're working on that! A lot of times orphans are fed a diet high in carbohydrates and starches because those things are cheap. This causes lots of gut problems and we've used whole foods, whole food supplements, and a gluten free diet (along with minimal cow's milk/milk products) with all of our girls to help heal their guts.

She is sleeping pretty well for the most part. She typically sleeps 11-12 hours overnight and takes one 2-3 hour nap. She was taking two 2-hour naps in the orphanage but hasn't really seemed to need or want a morning nap. She goes to bed around 7:30/8 and wakes up around 7:00-8:00. Last night she woke up crying several times, but I think she was having belly/gas pains. Other than last night she has slept through the nights pretty well. We have her in a crib in our room to keep her close for a while so we can respond immediately to her cries. She needs to be rocked to sleep (just like we did with the other girls) and has learned she prefers this over falling asleep alone (can't say I blame her!) She used to wake up crying after naps and in the morning, but that is slowly fading away. She woke up this morning and I saw her on the video monitor peering out the crib bars waiting for us happily :)

Her strengths so far include her physical (gross motor) abilities, her contagious smile/happy yell, she cries to have her needs met (many orphans lose this "skill"  but she relearned it VERY fast haha), she reaches up to be held, claps her hands and waves with a smile, she is VERY social, loves music and dancing, eats and sleeps well, WANTS to be held a lot, and plays with toys appropriately.

As we all know, transitioning from the orphanage to a home isn't always easy for kiddos. All of our girls have gone through a grieving and adjustment period. That may sound crazy to some, but even though the lives they left behind weren't the greatest, it's all they'd ever known, so the transition is always a bumpy one. I've never met a family who said the child just eased into their lives without any issues at all. Many families don't talk about the issues (or all of the issues) because that's their right and they may not feel comfortable sharing their child's needs with others. I've always cautiously shared our struggles because some of those things are just nobody else's business. We've worked a lot with Zoya on anxiety and PTSD type behaviors and she has come so far! Mila's journey was more a journey of physical sickness and fighting to survive each day, and getting her nursed back to health.

Sofia has some needs we're working on as well. Just like Zoya (Zoya was 22 months when she came home, Sofia-15 months), she bangs her head on the wall, will throw herself back just to hit her head off the floor for some sensory input, rocks a bit, and has major food-related behaviors (these very clearly seem to be orphanage related behaviors but of course we're ruling out any physical causes of hunger as well i.e. thyroid). We went through all of this with Zoya, although it seems so far in the past that I almost forgot! Sofia is a "food-hawk" and constantly on the look-out for food, even though she is fed more than enough to keep her belly full. Any time anyone has food out she screams and cries for food. When she was first home she would scream and cry when her food was gone, but even after only a week, this behavior is decreasing greatly as she learns there will ALWAYS be food available. We allow her to have a few puffs or pieces of banana any time she seems to be crying for food (and has already eaten), or any time anyone else has something to eat. We try to have the girls eat all meals at the same time, but sometimes it's just not feasible. We're working on the sign for "eat" so she can ask more appropriately (instead of screaming) when she wants food. Obviously we're aware of portion control and overfeeding and don't wish to go in that direction either, but right now it's most important to give her tiny snacks frequently throughout the day so she learns there is always food available. I am looking forward to the day she refuses her vegetables like Zoya finally did....I love when they realize they have choices! (Although not eating vegetables in this house is not really a choice hehehe).

She has some appointments lined up this month with the international adoption clinic and Down Syndrome Clinic, and next month with some specialists (eye doctor, cardiologist, ENT). We're not anticipating any huge health concerns, but it will be good to have those appointments out of the way and know for sure that she doesn't have any underlying health issues that we're not aware of.

Here is a video of our beautiful girl, you can see just how active and joyful she is! I had put her in Mila's crib while I was putting clothes away in Mila's room (Shawn was downstairs with the two other girls). Good thing Sofia's crib mattress just happens to be all the way down...yikes!
video

Sofia!!!!

Sofia found out quickly that Mya likes to play ball! 

Here doggy, doggy......I'm not really going to give you the ball! 
This is funny, Mama! 
Yummy plastic lettuce! 

I can share, it's not that great, really! 
One of my favorite pictures of her so far! 




cabbage patch babies

Sofia gets the first hit in....

Mila tries to play nice....

Sofia goes for another grab.....

And then the stare down....who will make the next move? 

Mila it is.....with a smile of course!!!! 

Can't get Sofia down....Mila looks like she's plotting.....
Aaaannnnd.....we missed the winning shot....but you can guess what happened here :)
P.S. No babies were harmed in the battle of flying arms! 

She is so physically strong it is crazy! 

Boom! Down goes the baby! 

Look what I can do Mom! 



My favorite Sofia picture of all time earned a spot of it's own in the post below....check it out if you haven't seen it! I'm working on an update of our past week together....has it only been a week? WOW! 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Life in America Rocks!

Sofia is saying, "Nobody told me having a family would be THIS awesome!!!!" 


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Sofia Meets her Sisters!

Here is a little video of Sofia meeting her sisters for the first time! I love how Zoya says "Sofia" in such awe when we are coming down the stairs! I wonder if she is thinking "Oh my gosh! She is really real!"  And I love how Mila starts making funny faces at her...this is her favorite way to get attention from people and say hello! They are a terrific trio!


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Last Days in Ukraine-A Sick Babe

We did get to do some sight seeing in Kiev as we had an amazingly sunny and warm-ish day! 



When we took Sofia out of the orphanage she was a little congested. It didn't phase me much because she has been congested since we met her. She did develop a nasty cough though that we noticed the first day we saw her and took her out of the orphanage. She had green gunky eyes and nose too that only seemed to be getting worse. I figured it was viral and she'd be feeling better once we were home and she was able to rest and eat some nutritious food. I got a little concerned when the first bottle I fed her literally went straight through her and she peed it all out as she was still drinking it. I remember this with Zoya and chalked it up to her being dehydrated (she didn't receive many fluids in the orphanage).  Because of this, I upped her fluid intake and she sucked down the bottles like she had been in a desert for months. It was too much too fast for her body to handle and she started throwing up. So we scaled back and gave her a 3-4 ounce bottle every few hours. I felt bad because she was so thirsty but that's all her body could handle without getting sick. Her urine smelled very badly, which can be a sign of dehydration, but I was keeping an eye on it because the smell reminded me exactly of when Mila had her really bad UTI. Sure enough on our 2nd day in Kiev she spiked a fever and was seeming pretty miserable. I started to get more and more concerned as she hadn't urinated in over 12 hours despite all the fluids I was giving her. I kept checking her diaper and it was bone dry. I had just checked it and it was dry, then she let out a huge wailing cry and I checked again and her diaper was wet, so I'm confident it was a UTI...poor bug! 

I had an antibiotic with me (for me if needed) and after talking with a Doctor at home decided to start her on that until we could get home and get a better one prescribed that would cover all the bases. She's been on the new antibiotic for 5 days and her fever is completely gone, the horrid strong odor of her urine is gone and she just has the cough lagging behind now, which is probably viral. She has an appointment tomorrow with her pediatrician to make sure we're on the right path to healing! She is eating much better which makes me feel good to know she is getting good nutritious food. Her skin and hair were so rough and dry and I can already see a difference as they are becoming softer and shinier! 
I created this little "crib" for her...but she only lasted about an hour there before snuggling with me in bed! 

Taking a nap, trying to feel better! 

Tuckered out (but aren't her socks cute?) 


The face of an angel!