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Kay's Family Building Journal

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Entry Forty-One ~ November 5, 2001

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High Points

It is very difficult to sum up the first wonderful years of a child's life in only a brief entry. In fact, I could not think of how to do this, which is one reason this entry has taken so much time! I can, however, sum up the high points of the last three years of my beautiful daughter's life.

I don't really believe that Providence sets out to compensate infertile people who have experienced miscarriage and neonatal loss by blessing them with the most magnificent people on the planet to raise as their children. However, that is exactly how it feels! Elizabeth is an absolute joy, and has been the light of our lives for the last several years.

She is a high-energy, high-intensity, creative, artistic, extremely sensitive, amazingly athletic child. (At eighteen months, she was dribbling a basketball and making baskets as well as doing somersaults backwards and forwards. At not-quite-three, she is hitting most of the softball pitches thrown to her. I could go on for paragraphs, but you get the idea. ) Her energy level is so high that a number of people who do not know her have asked us if she has ADHD. I have no reason to think she does; her energy level is just extremely high! She can be quite shy and introverted and also very outgoing (to the point of being frightening to her cautious parents). She is very stubborn with a strong sense of exactly what she wants (and a sense that if she holds out for eternity possibly by then she may have her way) and also very compliant with an obvious pride in good behavior. She is a wonderful and complex little person!

Here are some of the good, bad, and funny highlights of the last few years. When Elizabeth was only a few months old, she was diagnosed with one of the worst cases of plagiocephaly her doctor (and her specialist) had seen. There may be a familial link, possibly due to in-utero factors, as her genetic sibling had something similar, without being as severe. Plagiocephaly can be as simple as a very flat head due to sleeping on the back to prevent SIDS. In her case, her head was not simply flat, but was very misshapen. She wore an orthotic helmet 23 out of 24 hours a day from month four to month eight. I was so glad to be able to kiss her sweet little head again when she "graduated"! Interestingly, she still just loves to put hats of all sorts on her head.

When Elizabeth was just 13 months, on the very day we were to move into our new home, she suddenly contracted a blood infection, spiked a very high fever and was almost hospitalized. That was very, very frightening. As she lay in my arms almost motionless, she reminded me so much of my baby who died. Thank goodness for quick access to antibiotics and good doctors!

Elizabeth's birthfather's family has had three generations of speech problems in 100% of the immediate family members. We were watching her carefully, doing everything we could to stimulate her, and were very concerned as she missed milestone after milestone in terms of speech. Her doctor wanted to wait a bit to see if she was going to catch up by eighteen months. She was diagnosed with a severe speech delay at eighteen months, and had a year of therapy. It was mostly upstream swimming. However, when things finally clicked, they really clicked! At around 30 months, she zoomed from delayed, to age-appropriate, to advanced in speech. Her other milestones had been advanced from the first assessment, by the way. We felt that she was a bright little girl, but something needed to throw the switch in the speech area of her brain. At the tender age of 2 1/2, she started asking questions like "Who is God? Why are some people nice and some people mean? How do people learn to drive cars? How do people learn to play piano? What are clouds? How will I grow up? No, I mean HOW? Why can't I grow up right now? Why I have to wait?". As we tried to coach her to use her words rather than trashing around on the floor in tantrums, she said "I feel frustrated when you say 'no'". As she paints she has said several times "I feel happy when I make art work". Considering she only spoke two words at twenty months, that was pretty amazing.

One of the recent humorous events entailed recovering from a stomach virus. I was feeding her a very light diet as she recovered, and she asked for cookies. I told her that she could not eat any cookies that day as she had been very sick and we needed to be very careful about what she ate. "Okay" she answered. "Let's eat cookies very very carefully then!"

One of the very sweet, reoccurring events is how she wants to pray for those hurt and sad from the September 11 tragedy, about which we carefully informed her. She prays that those who are sad are made happy, and she prays that people with hearts filled with hate are filled with love instead.

One of the interesting, complicated issues is how the openness of her adoption is playing itself out. I might talk about that in my next journal entry.

Kay Grames

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