Next Steps, Learning as We Go

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Chapel has been so brave today. We left our house at about 4:30AM and headed for Shreveport. By we, I mean Yamilet and I.  We were notified last week that they could squeeze her in for the sedated MRI that the ENT wanted done and so we were thrilled to get the ball rolling.

This MRI took 2 hours and amazingly, the radiologist who oversaw and will be reading it is in expert in facial anomalies and ear abnormalities. She will review the study with the ENT and together they will decide about the success of cochlear implants/ and also the removal of the small mass in her left inner ear. I should receive a call tomorrow or Friday with our game plan.

Chapel took the day like a champ. I was able to stay with her until she was sedated this time and was right beside her when she awoke. We even got a few smiles out of her in the midst of the rough parts of being out of our routine, waking up at 4AM and taking a 7 hour round trip to jump the hospital hoops.

I made up a little song that I sing and sign to Chapel and she has just begun to mimic me as I sign it. She will lift one of her hands up, watch it closely and wiggle it around like she is trying to “sing” the song too. She will look at her hand and smile. She’s also gotten pretty good at signing “no.” It’s downright funny. Today I tried to pass her another small piece of chicken in the car on the way home and she looked at the chicken, shook her head, cut her eyes and gave me a very distinct sign of, “no, no, no.” And that was when she was done because she wouldn’t take another piece!

This past weekend we took the kids to six flags for a few days. Everyone had a good time. Chapel did pretty well while there- but definitely reverted to some of her calming mechanisms that we had not seen in a while. She insisted on rocking her head back and forth to go to sleep or needed me to pat her endlessly to be able rest or go to sleep. If I removed the patting she’d cry and cry and grab my hand it put it on her back so that I would pat for her. When she feels insecure or afraid, I think rocking herself was how she probably consoled herself before she had a mommy and daddy. But even as she is continuing to progress in her family- she needs those rythmatic calmers to get herself to sleep.

After being home from our getaway we have dealt with more of those kinds of things. She seems to have some separation anxiety and if I walk out of the room she begins crying and looking for me. If I lay her on my bed for even a minute while I grab some clothes or put things away, she begins rocking her head jack and forth.

I personally don’t like her rocking herself (holding her head and throwing it from side to side). I know many other adoptive parents who deal with this. They even have much older children who’ve progressed in all areas but still on occasion will be found rocking back and forth. But to me,  It is the most soul- wrenching thing to imagine that that’s how my sweet baby had to comfort herself because no one was there to assure her it would be okay and that she was loved. I don’t like her reverting back to anything that we’ve worked diligently to replace with family comfort and love. It’s a reminder that true security and attachment can take years of consistency and mending. We see this in more than just Chapel in our blended family. There’s no speedy fix when the formative years weren’t valued, honored and held as sacred. Don’t ever believe for a minute that you aren’t doing a baby a world of good by picking it up, holding it often and carrying it throughout your day. The affects that come from the opposite of that loving consistency won’t be easily undone.

But all of that aside- the progress we see in our girl thus far is nothing short of a miracle. I can’t imagine where we will be in another six months! I do believe for big things!

I’m praying for the month ahead. Chapel could have a surgery for removing the small mass in her inner ear, she could have the first surgery for a cochlear implant (our prayer) and she will be having surgery on her hand in one month. She will be in a cast for two weeks. I’m asking God to give her peace during all of these things. That she will progress in leaps and bounds and be full of HIS peace during this busy month.