Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Approaching the End

This picture is from a family bike ride down a nature trail that we took with Daniel's parents in June. He's got Snow White slung over his shoulder looking down into the creek we stopped next to. Snow White has seemed to become more attached to us lately. She tells us that she loves us often and asks every day how much longer it will be until we adopt her. It's getting pretty close now.

We were originally set to adopt them on July 15th, but the caseworker postponed that because we couldn't get their Sewell evaluation done until July 14th. The evaluation was a comprehensive series of tests to figure out if Snow White or Brother were suffering from FAE (fetal alcohol effects). Thankfully, neither one of them are. They both fell into the "normal" range for most things. It turns out that a lot of the strange behaviors we've been seeing, like inability to comprehend what we're saying to them, or follow simple instructions, or remember how to do simple things they knew how to do before can all be explained by one problem. Their receptive language skills are extremely low.

That means that they just don't understand a lot of the words and phrases we use. So if today we say "put your socks on" Brother might understand us and do it. Tomorrow if we say, "You need to hunt for some some socks and get them on" he may have no idea what we've told him to do. The sentence was too long, too complex, and used an expression he didn't understand. So we have to be very clear, very simple, and very concrete in what we say until their vocabulary improves over time. We also have to teach them to ask us what we mean if they don't understand us. Another thing we found out is that Snow White has very poor muscle tone. So she's going to be starting physical and occupational therapy soon. That should help her with things like holding a pencil and throwing a ball. It's something that will also improve over time.

It's such a relief to know that the issues Brother and Snow White have are correctable in time and that we are so close to the adoption so that all the waiting will finally be over. They are both getting new middles names, but their first names are going to stay the same. Snow White is already practicing writing her new names. She really enjoyed choosing what her middle names would be. Neither of them know what their middles names are currently, so we didn't think it'd be a big deal to change them. I'll write about the names and the meaning behind them after the adoption is finalized next month.

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