Tuesday, November 18, 2014

More About Natalie

 This is our last day here.  We are taking it easy, laying low, and preparing for our journey home.  Finally... finally my little Sweet Pea is asleep.
While she has done remarkably well with all the adjustments she has been going through, I know that there is so much loss she is experiencing. 
She is one tough little girl.
All these years of being abandoned and then neglected in the orphanage she came up with many ways to cope, comfort, and stimulate herself.
Bless her heart.  Just when I think I have seen it all, she pulls a new stim out of her bag.
She will shove her whole hand into her mouth and bite it.
She sucks her fingers till they are raw and calloused.
Her fingers have these little scabs on them.  I rub almond oil on them every time I remember and that seems to be helping.
She rocks-- two or three different ways.
She will lay on her tummy and arch her back and head way back and gently bounce.
She tilts her head as far as it will go to one side.  When she sits in the high chair or stroller she nearly hangs off to one side.  I just have her sit up until she does it again.
She likes to put things into her mouth as far in as they will go and make herself gag on them.
She puts her hand up to her face and fixates her eyes a certain way.
And she swallows air.  Lots of it.  On purpose.  Gulps it actually. 
Till her tummy is huge.
Even when she has a tummy full of food.
It breaks my heart. 
And makes me angry that this is what she learned to do in order to survive to not just completely shut down and waste away in her bed in the orphanage.
She should've been held.  Rocked.  Kissed.  Smiled at.  Sang to.  Played with.  Hugged. Tickled.  Adored.
I look at her sleeping in her crib that I have right next to my bed and see an angel.
Every time she stims, I replace what she is doing by trying to meet that need for her.
When she puts her hands in her mouth, I give her a pacifier or offer her food and drink.
When she rocks, I pat her bottom or rock her or rub her back.
It is working a lot of time, but not always.
It is going to take time.
Lots of time.
Lots of love.
What is really wonderful, is that she has my heart and I think she knows it.
And tomorrow she is going home to her family that will surround her with even more love and nurturing than she can imagine.
Oh my.
My heart is full.
So what is the plan once we get home?
Well I'm sure we'll be dealing with jet lag and overstimulation for the first few days, but I hope to get her into a routine so that she can feel safe.
I hope I can get her to start enjoying her bath instead of crying the whole time.
I can't wait to see her exploring her new world.
The following Monday she will see our pediatrician.
I think she will be referred to a cardiologist right off the bat.
And probably an ophthalmologist.
I am not sure what she has going on with her eyes.
One moment her left eye is turning inward.
 Then a minute later her right eye is turning inward.
 And then the next minute she looks fine.
 I would also like to get her x-rayed for AAI (atlantoaxial instability), and possibly see a gastroenterologist if our pediatrician thinks we should.  Oh, and then there is the ENT.
And after the holidays once Natalie has been home a few months, I will get her started with speech and occupational therapy.


  1. God has truly blessed you all with this beautiful little girl. Prayers for a smooth flight home and smooth transition once you arrive.

  2. Looking forward to see the love of a family in action !
    God blees this journey and all the adaptation to this new "normal" with 18 children !

  3. I have been following all of your updates. Natalie is a beautiful little girl and I can't wait to see how she blossoms with her new family:-)

  4. Love following your journey! Can't wait to see how Natalie changes over the next several months. She is an amazing little girl! Safe travels home!

  5. I am glad to see her doing. Head tilting is a sign of certain easily treated vision problems. Just trying to put her new world into focus. Praying you have a safe journey home- KD

  6. What a beautiful girl! How blessed you are to have found her. <3

  7. Our Danielle had a similar issue with her eyes. She was diagnosed with strabismus in both eyes and had surgery here in the US. She had an additional surgery because the first one didn't completely correct the problem, but I think that was because her brain had been dealing with the strabismus for so long (she was 5.5). Sometimes even patching the eyes is enough to correct strabismus without surgery!

  8. Praying for a great flight and for an easy transition at home.

    God bless


  9. Christine, may God bless you and your amazing family. Safe travels home...I look forward to watching Natalie blossom :) I hope you don't mind me asking, but I too am a mom of an adopted child. I actuaally started following your blog 7 years ago when I started my adoption process. I am a single mom by choice and I struggle with telling my son he is adopted. I am so scared that he will be hurt and resentful...I know I must tell him soon because he is starting to ask questions about his dad, whom I know nothing about or his birth mom for that matter. I adopted my son from Russia when he was 18mths, he is now 9 years old..I am making an appointment to speak with my pastor, but was wondering what you told you kids who didn't know? God bless you!!!!!

  10. Praying for a safe journey home. Hope Natalie will feel safe in the arms of her family.

  11. Praying for an easy transition for all of you as you arrive home.

    As for her eyes, it's likely just muscle weakness/cross-eyed. Our three-year-old son does the same thing (started suddenly about four months ago). He'll be having eye surgery on both eyes in about three weeks. It's a simple surgery and very common in young children--I had the same surgery when I was five.

  12. She's so beautiful. It kills me to read that she was ignored in the orphanage :( How does she respond to all the love and attention that you show her?

    As far as the the issue with her eyes, a friend of mines baby had the same issue, apparently it has to do with weak ocular muscles, she ended up getting surgery and its fixed, but most of the time it can be fixed just using an eyepatch.

    I can't wait till u get her into speech and occupational therapy. It will be so beautiful for this little gift from god to have her own voice.

    God Bless you and your new munchkin, Christine. :) She's so precious.

  13. You are likely home now exhausted from the flight. I bet that baby girl has been smothered with love already. You are all so blessed to have found each other. I look at the other children and see how well they have done with you and John and your loving extended family too, and I just can't wait to see this precious girl do the same thing. She is so beautiful 😍

    Marilyn from Canada

  14. Hi! You daughter has a very happy look about her and is growing so fast. It is amazing what a little bit of love can do. Thanks, Pat

  15. One of my eyes used to turn in just like Natalie's (I had surgery to correct it at age 8). It is possible what is happening in the second picture (where her right eye appeared to be turned in) is that she is looking to her far right intentionally but her left eye is turning "in" relative her right, making it appear that her right eye is actually turning in. Our family has several pictures of me "looking" straight at the camera with my bad eye when actually I am looking to the side. (We can tell by my face that I wasn't looking at/didn't see the camera--I was the camera ham of the family). So it is quite possible that only one of her eyes is misaligned.
    Natalie is so precious and I know she will get lots of love and attention in your family!


I find your comments so inspiring! Thanks for visiting our family blog, and sharing your thoughts.