Friday, March 22, 2013

Choosing Cleft

I belong to a Cleft Adoption Yahoo group.  While I have not ever jumped in on any of the conversations, it is insightful to read them all.  So many individual and varying experiences and a wealth of knowledge.  I do find myself strategically avoiding the “hard” conversations.  However, there has recently been a conversation that began with a family that is working on their adoption paperwork posing some “simple” questions.  This particular family is at the point of considering cleft as a “minor correctable special need” (quoted from adoption checklists) that they are open to.  This opened up so much candid conversation, conversation that has been both encouraging and terrifying (families broken apart, some cleft kiddos with an unimaginable number of surgeries, years (YEARS) of therapies, etc.).  But, over and over the theme was common – despite the challenges, these children have blessed the families they have become a part of in so many ways.  So often we hear “Nora is so lucky” … at the end of the day, it is clear to see that we are the “lucky” (or, as I prefer to say, blessed) ones. 
So, where are we at?  Or, more importantly, where is Nora at?  Nora is 20 months old now and has been with us five months (how can that be?).  Developmentally, we are seeing a ton of growth in just common everyday things (she is a busy toddler – she has picked up quite quickly on the “explore” every cupboard / drawer and empty them – what a fun game ... for her!).  Nora is a fantastic eater!  If I had to guess I would say that she has probably just surpassed the 20 pound mark (to be confirmed in April at a visit to the doctor).  

Speech continues to be an area we are focusing on ~ at this point, Nora can audibly say “hi”, and she sometimes (if she feels like cooperating) will try to repeat sounds.  Despite these delays, she has no issues communicating as it is typically pretty clear to understand what she wants and needs.  We are doing some simple sign language with her as well (and a speech therapist comes to our house once every two weeks).  

Our biggest challenge continues to be sleep … which does not have one single thing to do with her “minor correctable special need”!  Nora was having some tummy issues which we seem to have resolved which has improved sleep (we are in a much better place than we were months ago).  Now, it seems the sleep struggle has been related to pure adoption issues.  Some would advise that we should start sleep training her, but parenting her is so different than parenting the other kiddos.  Adoption is a complex and amazing thing.

Relating to Nora's cleft, we do not see the cleft team and her surgeon again until this summer.  She will likely need a couple of follow-up surgeries but nothing more within the year.  For now, we continue to love on and further learn how to parent this sweet little thang, and she continues to absorb and learn!  She is even learning how to drive her Mama crazy with her funny faces ... courtesy of her big sister!


Leggio said...

She is so stinking adorable. Love that smile. Don't you just love how people like to tell you how to parent when they have never adopted. We have been getting that too. Blessings and love from texas

Melanie said...

These are the best pics! Nora is doing so well! You'll have to tell me about the cleft yahoo group you are part of. Might like to join!

Heidi said...

This sentence you wrote says it all so well: "Adoption is a complex and amazing thing." Amen.

Dana said...

Such sweet pictures!!