Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Her Legs Were Made for Walking (and Q & A #2)

Here are a couple of videos of the walking girl.....(remember she was being motivated by crackers and the dog....so although shes walking GREAT...she still only does it when shes motivated or when SHE wants to). In the one video you will see Mya snatch the cracker right out of my hand and Zoya thinks it's pretty funny :)

Question and Answer Post

Where did you get the flashcards in the video?

TJ Maxx and Marshalls….I couldn’t find the one set that I wanted (First Words) so I ordered them from Walmart.com for $6 and free shipping. I also made my own flashcards in the categories of food, clothing, and body parts….printed them out and laminated them and they work great. She really does like the touch and feel flashcards though…that was a good place to start because they got her attention quickly and she enjoyed feeling the different textures on the cards. They are called “My First Touch and Feel Picture Cards.” They make them in these categories: Animals, Colors and Shapes, Numbers, Things that Go, and First Words. If you google that you will get all kinds of results, but the cheapest ones I could find were on the Walmart site. Prior to starting with these cards we worked on the most important toddler vocabulary though which of course is: more, all done, want, help, no, yes, eat, drink, play, please, and nice (to name a few). We didn’t use cards for these words, but just everyday experiences to teach her these.

How did Zoya learn so many signs so fast?

Other than being a rock star you mean?  I have to brag about her a little you know. We started teaching her the sign “more” in Ukraine and she picked up on it pretty quickly. Once home we started with some other important words like eat and drink and all done. She seemed to pick up on them very quickly so we bought the Signing Times Set of DVDs and flash cards. She watches the Baby Signing Times videos the most. She LOVES them and watches one every night before bed. I took a graduate sign language course and taught special education so I knew a lot of signs from those two things. I also have an ASL dictionary and when I see a teachable moment, if I don’t know the sign, I just look it up. We use signs when we talk to her (for example, I will say let’s go take a bath, and sign “bath”). It usually only takes about a week or two for her to pick up on the sign and start using it herself. We have had to modify some of them to meet her fine motor developmental stage, but we know exactly what she means for each of her signs. It has been awesome and having her sign has really cut down on the whining and has opened up our communication! I highly recommend the Signing Times Series.

What was the most pleasant and unpleasant surprises on your adoption journey?

The most pleasant surprise was definitely how our community of family and friends surrounded with so much love and support. Shawn and I were always the people who liked to help others. We never asked others for help or thought we really needed anyone else. We learned that we are so blessed to have so many family and friends who love us so much. We learned that sometimes we need to ask others for help and we need other people to share in our highs and lows. Being on the receiving end filled us with love and gratitude.

The most unpleasant? Umm other than the orphanage diapers for the first few weeks? Haha. I would have to say the most unpleasant surprise of our adoption journey was hearing that people in Eastern Europe really thought we wanted to adopt Zoya so we could sell her body parts. People seriously believed that. I guess they thought that because they cannot fathom why in the world we would want a child they view as broken and sick and a curse. They were very suspicious of us and our intentions. I never would have imagined they actually believed we wanted Zoya for her organs. Yes that would be the most unpleasant surprise of our adoption experience.


  1. If you had'nt named Zoya.....Zoya, what do you think you would have named her?
    -Alexandra Long

  2. Thaks for the wonderful videos. In true girl fashion, Zoya can move when treats are involved. Wait until she gets motivated by M & M's! :-) She'll be doing ballet.

    Too bad you couldn't tell the Ukraines that Zoya's "whole" is worth a hundred million times more than the "sum of her parts". Very sad that they would think that's all she could be good for, organ donation. Imagine what they think we do here in the US.

    If they could see her now!!!

    Sue M.

  3. Just look at her go. She's doing amazing.

    LOL We use to call that walk the Jungle Book walk/crawl. Ms. Iz did that in between the crawling and walking stage. For the life of us we couldn't see how that would be comfortable to do at all.

    The comment about body parts stunned me. The world never ceases to amaze me at what others think.

  4. When I first read your story, I was so inspired, so moved, I was telling about adoption story of Zoya and your family to my friends, and feeling so good. And you know what surprised me most? Was the answer: Yeah, but do you know that they are doing this for money? For some tax-deductable things? I was shocked.. I tried my best to change their opinion, but I don't believe I convinced them. People, don't you see there are many more profitable businesses then that!? We are also planning an adoption, and I wonder what will they say then, because in my country, you don't get any special financial support. But I am not so excited about telling it and showing how I feel :(

    Good luck to all of you!

  5. Wow! Look at her go. She's walking so well.