Thursday, July 22, 2010

3 Months Home Today! (And Orthotics)

I can't believe we have been home three months already! Seriously though, it is hard to remember what I did with my days before Zoya! It seems like she has always been a part of our lives. Watching videos from our first days and weeks with Zoya, I am amazed to see how she has changed. It is easy to forget the little helpless girl we brought home three months ago. One look at the videos reminds me of just how much she has changed and oh how much she has learned in this short amount of time! We are so proud of our angel. Comparing "then" and "now" is understandably exciting, however, it is also sad as it can be a time to remember "what if." I don't know why I am always reminded of what would have been had Zoya not joined our family. I hate to think of what she would be doing today in that orphanage, yet those thoughts find their way to the surface of my thoughts each time I think about how far she has come.  I hate to think of what we would be doing without her, because, there is no way we would feel this fulfilled and to think of missing out on the love we have experienced these last three months makes my heart ache. So today, I want to remember how Zoya has changed from the girl we brought home three months ago.

She wore shoes with a number 10 to show which groupa the shoes belonged to. Zoya owned nothing of her own....all the way from shoes, to a family.

She has both (shoes and a family) and I think she loves them! (Yes she is kissing her shoe!)

When we met Zoya we called her spaghetti legs because her legs were literally like wet floppy noodles and she could hardly bear any weight on them. I remember how tiny and weak her muscle-less little legs were. I remember looking at her legs and thinking she might never walk, and that would have been okay with us.  Now, she has the strongest little muscular (and chubby) legs. In three months time she has learned to bear weight on her legs, to pull up on furniture, to cruise along holding on, to walk holding hands, to take her first two steps, to walk from one piece of furniture to another, and now to almost walking independently and very steadily and controlled. When I see her doing all this, I almost forget her atrophied spaghetti legs from her orphanage days. What if Zoya was still in the orphanage? She would be sitting in her crib.  She would have no opportunities to strengthen her little legs.  Without a doubt she would not be walking. All she needed was opportunity and love.

When we met Zoya, she had no idea what to do with toys, or how to complete a task even for a few minutes. She had no clue what to do with a baby doll, she was rough and didn't really know how to be gentle.  Now look at our gentle girl:
What if Zoya was still in that orphanage? Surely she would have never seen an example of how to love on a baby! Surely she would still have that empty look in her eyes. Surely we might have that same look as well.

So today, we've been home three months. At this exact time three months ago we were just beginning our last leg of our long journey home. We were exhausted, dirty, tired beyond belief, and we surely had NO idea of all the joy that was in store for us and how much we would come to love this daughter of ours.

Today I had big plans to celebrate three months home by taking Zoya to get her ears pierced but that wasn't possible because she is scheduled for surgery for her blocked tear ducts in August and we'd have to take the earrings out which would close up the holes, so that will have to wait until four months home! Grandpa and Grandma P. sent a package with some cool sneakers for Zoya and the cutest little outfit that says, "Little American Lady." Today was the perfect day for her to wear it and we did a little photo shoot!
(Okay Mom, seriously this is the LAST picture you're taking!)

Snuggling with her best bud, Mya.

And....Orthotics. Zoya got her SMOs today (Supra-Malleolar Orthosis).  Apparently another name for "ankle bones" is malleoli and that's where the name comes from. They are also known as "sure steps" and are often used for kids with low muscle tone and pronation (which is rolling inward of the ankles when bearing weight on them).  Long term side effects can include back, hip and knee problems if not corrected.  Many kids with Down Syndrome have pronation of the ankles due to their hypotonia (low muscle tone). The Sure Steps are used on many children with Down Syndrome.  Here is a picture to show you what her little ankles look like when she bears weight on them. Her left is slightly worse than her right.
Zoya had her first appointment to get measured for her SMOs the day before she took her first steps. The specialist she saw told us that her ankles are so unstable walking for her would be like us trying to walk from one playground ball to another...nearly impossible. I will remind you, Zoya took her first steps the next day...that is why she is a rock star! Anyways, even though she has started walking a little, it is still very easy to see that she needs some extra support and the SMOs will give her just that. Hopefully this will help her feel safer and be able to walk a little sturdier with a more balanced and coordinated gait.  Zoya will likely need to wear these for a couple of years and when her ankles are stronger and more aligned, she will likely only need a shoe insert. She did take a few steps tonight and looked pretty strong. She lifts her feet up higher to clear the carpet and it is just so cute to watch.

Here are the SMOs...yes they have butterflies and flowers!

We found out that shoes with velcro do not work with these...darn it because almost all her shoes are velcro! They make her foot wider right where the velcro would go and so the velcro doesn't reach to hook onto itself. If anyone who is reading is getting SMOs for their child, plan on about one half to one size bigger than they normally wear and take the inserts out of the bottom to make the shoe deeper.

The past three months have changed all of our lives and we are so blessed to have each other!


  1. I have been reading your blog for a while and Miss Zoya is beautiful! I had no idea she was from orphanage 10. I am adopting two boys from 10 and am waiting on a travel date right now. I would appreciate any travel suggestions, or any information you can think of regarding the orphanage there. My email is

    Thanks and again, she is beautiful!!!

    Stephanie Carmichael

  2. She's definitely rocking those inserts.

    Love the photo with Zoya looking up at the flag...

  3. Amazing how far Zoya has come in only 3 months! Love all the darling pictures. You are one blessed, little family.


  4. CELEBRATING with you the MIRACLE of your ZOYA-ANGEL!!!
    Oh, how sweet she "mothers" her baby...!!!
    Be ALL blessed, Basile-FAMILY!!
    Love, Christina

  5. Sarah,
    How wonderful it is to see how far she has come! And you did a great job on the explanation of her pronation issues! Sure steps are great! I think you will see a difference. Also, they make a shoe called a "hatchback" (that is the name of the company) and these shoes have a velcro back (heel), which allows easier access when dealing with the orthotic and also, able to fit to a truer size because of the back opening. It may be worth it to check them out. Just google hatchback shoes! Just an FYI! We just love to read about Zoya!

  6. We have a 2 year-old little girl that is missing her fibulas and has orthotics. I wanted to mention that New Balance makes extra wide shoes and we were able to buy true size with her SMOs. She wears AFOs now and we have to go a little larger. Shoes for Hannah's orthotics has become an obsession for me. LOL
    Hope you don't mind the stalking.