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.
Mother Teresa

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Sunday, March 4, 2012
Every so often, I enjoy updating my blog on how little Erik is doing. Yes, I know I haven't blogged in AGES (though I have a very, very, very long blog post I've worked on about my illness but now I'm thinking I may not post it - I don't know if anyone is interested), but I loooove bragging on my little guy so here it is:

This is what I wrote a year ago about what Erik could and couldn't do when he first came home. I thought I might as well copy it so that memory wouldn't skew the facts:

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.).

This is what he looked like, shortly before we adopted him, at age 4 3/4:
Two and a half years later at 7 1/2, he is THRIVING! He is clearly attached to his home and family and apparently really, really missed me when I was sick and hardly saw him for a couple of weeks. He acted out a LOT and gave my poor family and my mom a really hard time... Then, when I started joining the family at the dinner table again, not even really paying attention to him cause I still felt SO LOUSY, he got so happy and was happy ever since. :o) That did this mom's heart good. Okay--! Here are some bullet points as to how he is doing NOW:
  • He still doesn't talk, but there are times when I think, "He's gonna say it...!! He's gonna say it...!!" He gets this look in his eye, but then it doesn't surface. Still waiting...
  • He is still signing, though he only has a few more words. HOWEVER, just in the last week or two, he has shown a much greater interest in signing and, when motivated to say something, he learns it almost with only one or two prompts! I.e. the "bus". He simply LOVES the bus (he's all boy!) and likes to "talk about" the bus. I think we are on the verge of seeing lots more signing coming from him. Yay!
  • He has this funny little run that he does in his low-tone sort of way - when he's excited (it doesn't take much!) he waggles his arms all crazy and does this "slap foot" sort of run and it is the funniest thing to watch! It makes me chuckle just sitting here writing about it.
  • He follows directions SO much better than he used to, and LOVES to be a "helper"! He loves to put his dirty clothes in the basket, carry his socks to the table in the morning where I can help put them on, and put his spilled food back onto his plate at dinner. After pottying now, he can often do THREE things without ANY cueing - flush, put the lid down, turn out the light! YAY!
  • He has also turned a corner in school - I went up there the other night for a conference and was ASTONISHED at what the teacher told me!! She said he could identify his written name (amongst other names), he could match letters 1 - 10 (even in different size and type!), and was beginning to sight read other words!! Whoo hooooo!!! I was VERY happy to hear this, as these are things we didn't necessarily see at home. He is in a VERY good classroom (albeit without practically ANY technology, which I think he would really respond to...) and has a GREAT teacher and GREAT aides!!
  • He still has lots of "stimming" behaviors - pretty much the same ones: staring at his hands, chewing on things, tapping to hear the noise, etc. Oh, well...
  • He apparently was having some problems with a bacterial infection awhile back (and probably ever since Ukraine...!) but some simple antibiotics have cleared it up! He hardly EVER "chokes" on his food anymore and he eats all kinds of textures of foods (except lettuce type foods - he doesn't like that). He eats almost ANY KIND OF FOOD you could think to give him, except lettuce or other leafies. He is a GOOOOOOD eater!!!! WOW!
  • He's still not too crazy about the dogs, but they love him because he is a good provider of all things delicious.
  • When we got him, he weighed 25 pounds if he weighed an ounce, and now he is almost 40 pounds. He's also gotten TALL!! He is still skinny, but nicely filled out. :o) Of course, sometimes his belly looks like he has swallowed a basketball, and it's perfect for poking. ;op
  • I love you so much, Erik!!
Here is a current photo of him, that I think is particularly cute:

2 comments:

mamaporuski said...

Great post Missy. Would love reading about you too :)

Carmen said...

Oh my goodness! What an awesome progress update! I'm surprised he won't eat lettuce or leafy things since that was the first thing he tried to eat outside the orphanage. Ha!

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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.

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My family

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

Nikolai, 19

Nikolai, 19

Reese, 19

Reese, 19

Erik, 9

Erik, 9

Daisy

Daisy

Mary

Mary

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