Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted
according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or
slow to do the humble work.

- Mother Teresa

About Me

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Sunny Florida, United States
I am the proud mom to 6 kids: Natasha, 24, Nikolai, 20, Reese, 20, Maylee, 14, Erik, 10 and Violet, 7. The kids come from Russia, Ukraine and China; I'm so proud of my family sometimes I think I'll burst and I needed an outlet for it - so I've created this weblog. :o)
If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one.
- Mother Teresa

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One of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody.
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Tuesday, February 22, 2011
18 months ago, Mark and I met our new son. We weren't exactly sure what to expect, we just knew that this boy was ours and we loved him! Here he is, about 5 min. after we met him:

And here he is, shortly before Christmas this past year:

Sometimes I think he hasn't really progressed very fast, but then when I write posts like I'm doing here (and like I did at his one year anniversary) I am amazed by all that he has done!

When we first met him, at age 5:
  • He couldn't walk one step without a death grip on both of our hands.
  • He grunted a deep grunt, like a growl. He verbalized, but not much.
  • He could not feed himself, nor did he want to.
  • He drank out of a bottle.
  • On one of our first visits, he grabbed a leaf off of a bush and ate it - something he wouldn't do today, and a story we still laugh about because it shocked us so much!
  • If you sat him someplace, such as on a blanket on the floor, he would NOT move from that spot. You had to pick him up and place him somewhere else.
  • He would not reach for a toy - he loved to LOOK at toys, but no touching or holding. And certainly no playing! He had no idea what toys were or that they were for fun.
  • He would happily watch the heavy "snow" on the orphanage TV, even though images weren't very easily seen at all. (Why they even had that on, I have no idea.)
  • He was happy to be alone, to sit or lie down and rock, rock, rock.
  • He shook with fear with every new situation. For example, we gave him a little toy that played classical music, and though he loved listening to it, he would shake and quiver the whole time.
  • He could only eat pureed food, or else it would get stuck going down and he'd scream and cough until he either swallowed it down the rest of the way, or he got it up.
  • He had absolutely no clue about anything having to do with ADL's (dressing, bathing, etc.).
Today at age 6 1/2:
  • He walks all over the place, by himself. He still doesn't stand up without pulling up on something (though I know he physically can do it), but he will actually now get off of his chair, walk across the room, get an item, walk back to his chair, climb up on his chair and play with the toy!
  • He can go up and down a 3" step all by himself, without holding on! He hates doing it, but if I push, he will.
  • He feeds himself. No, it's not always pretty, but he always uses a spoon or fork, and whatever he spills off of the plate, he scoops up either with the spoon or his fingers.
  • He can now eat regular textured food!! Yaaay! He eats, pizza, steak, or whatever else we are eating. Yes, it needs to be cut up into pretty small pieces, but hey! It's a big improvement! He also can eat peanuts, cereal, crackers, popcorn, or whatever else anyone will give him. THIS.BOY.LOVES.TO.EAT.
  • He no longer uses a bottle. He uses a sippy cup, and I have started helping him with regular cups, though there's still a ways to go on that one.
  • He lets me brush his teeth, even FLOSS them!
  • He can put his own shirt on about 50% of the way - he needs help getting it over his head, but he can do the arms part by himself and pull it down. :o)
  • He helps with pants, picking up his legs and trying to put them in the pants legs, and he points his toes to put on shoes and socks.
  • He knows a few signs, but not as many as I'd like: please, more, drink, book. He gets so excited when he is understood!
  • He still does not say any words, but he is getting CLOSE: we are currently working pretty hard on "mama" and "bye bye". Pray he starts talking soon!
  • He knows his way around the house, and has shown a lot more initiation lately with taking his little self where ever he wants to go, which is fun! ...though he needs a lot more supervision! LOL
  • He is using the potty!! He never asks to go, but if you put him there, he most definitely knows why he's there and 80% of the time he will go!
  • He LOVES water. To drink, to run his hands through, to splash, to swim in. Swimming lessons start this spring. :o) We found a teacher who will give him private lessons in her pool - she is certified to work with special needs kids, too!
  • He can drink from a straw now - I forgot to say that - and that makes eating at restaurants MUCH easier, as we don't need to bring a sippy cup along.
  • Speaking of restaurants, he knows the whole routine: you are seated, you mess with menus, you get a drink of water, you wait, you get food, you leave. Ladies bring you this food as they walk past, and if they aren't careful, you will grab them as they walk past!!
  • He loves his family, and know who they are, for sure. :o)
  • He goes to school, and loves riding the bus, and loves playing with the toys there, and is finally starting to color with crayons!
  • He is starting to know what he wants - if he sees something he wants, he simply goes for it.
  • While he doesn't use words yet, he jabbers all the time!! And not just one thing - the boy has an infinite number of sounds that he makes! (Sometimes it's quite funny! Some things that he "says" are: "Yeah, papa", "Allah" (cough!), "Yahweh", "onion".) He HAS said, "Mama" a few times, but he seems to get really shy when asked to talk, so he doesn't.
Things we are working on:
  • Talking
  • Potty
  • Simple hygiene and ADL's
  • Decreasing some of the autistic behaviors that still exist: fascination with hands, some rocking (though nothing like it was!), laughing or screaming without reason.
I hope you enjoyed this update! I like to look back and see the progress, too. :o)


Jane Smith said...

Wow! He is becoming a big boy!! What a difference! I can't wait to see that little guy again!

Carmen said...

I'm praying that the handsome boy talks soon!!!

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If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap.
If you want happiness for a day, go fishing.
If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune.
If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.
- Chinese proverb
It is not the will of your Father that any one of these little ones should perish. Matt. 18:14

Whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. Matt. 18:5

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

My family

My family
Nikolai, Mark, Missy, Reese, and Erik

Nikolai, 19

Nikolai, 19

Reese, 19

Reese, 19

Erik, 9

Erik, 9





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