Friday, October 22, 2010

6 Months Home

Six months home seems so crazy to me! I can't remember life without her but it was only six short months ago that she wasn't here?!  Zoya has obviously changed physically in great ways!  Many of you have commented on how BIG she looks and asked how much she has grown. Zoya has gained 4 pounds and 4 INCHES! Woah, that's almost half a foot! Our girl has lengthened out big time and is looking much more like a toddler and not a baby anymore. She was wearing 12 month clothing when we brought her home and is now wearing mostly 24 month clothing. She is in the 70th to 80th percentile on the Down Syndrome Growth Charts!! (15-30th percentile on regular charts). The skin on her face was so dry and chapped when we brought her home, I used to have to put Vaseline all over her face at night. She had eczema on her belly which is also gone now. The circles under her eyes were so purplish-black and that made her look very sick. Now those circles are only noticeable when she is really tired or sick and they are not nearly as dark as they used to be. Her feet are still teeny tiny, but did grow from a size 3 to a size 4 (12 month old size still). When we first brought Zoya home her diapers would fill up with urine so quickly because her body was simply not used to getting the needed amount of fluids. It went in and right back out until her body figured out how to use the fluids to hydrate her.

Zoya has also changed greatly in the area of behaviors. When I read about other families bringing their children home, I remember how many orphanage behaviors Zoya had when she came home. She no longer demonstrates any of those behaviors! She used to grind her teeth a lot. She did it when she was anxious or when she was eating (likely because eating was such an awful experience as it seemed to be a race to see how fast they could shove HUGE spoonfuls of mush into her mouth). This behavior was particularly difficult more me because hearing her teeth grind made my skin crawl. She also used to throw herself back and hit her head off the floor for stimulation (any floor....carpeted or tiled). This was heartbreaking to see but it was mostly gone after a month home. It resurfaced briefly a month later, but has since been gone forever.  Zoya also used to just cry for no reason for what seemed like long periods of time. She doesn't cry now unless she's in time out or VERY tired. She used to pull her own hair and hit herself on the head repeatedly, neither of which she does now. She used to make strange clicking sounds with her tongue and constantly move her tongue from one side of her mouth to the other. She used to flap her arms for stimulation.  My baby no longer does these things because she has replaced these behaviors with love and appropriate stimulation from her environment.

Zoya could hardly sit up on her own and could only army crawl when we brought her home. Six short months later, she is WALKING! Six months ago, she could only drink from a bottle with a huge hole cut in the nipple. Now she is drinking from a straw cup and learning to drink from an open cup! Six months ago, she could only be fed mushed up and softened foods on a spoon, Now she eats everything you can imagine from pretzels to snap peas to burgers and on and on. She can feed herself with a fork and is working on scooping with a spoon. She has a pincer grasp to pick small items up instead of palming everything like she used to. Six months ago she had NO IDEA what to do with toys other than throw them across the room. Six months ago she was small enough (even if it was only for a week) to fit into an infant carrier car seat! Six months ago she didn't understand any English, now she follows most directions and understands a whole lot! She had no way to communicate with us six months ago, now she is using 40 different signs and starting to talk a little at a time. The best part is that she is trying to communicate with us and effectively doing so most of the time!

In six months time, I'm still trying to figure out....who has changed more....her or me? One day soon I will write about the many ways I have completely changed since experiencing Zoya's love. My changes are not physical (although I might have gained a few pounds eating her left overs?)....they are not measurable like many of her changes, they are not easily observed by others.....instead, all my changes involve my heart, my soul, and everything I ever thought I knew about life. I am so blessed to have the opportunity to be Zoya's momma. She has changed my world and clearly showed me what true, unconditional love means.

Take a look at these pictures from Ukraine. Who can deny the fact that we all NEED love to thrive?

The changes from then to now are amazing, yet haunting to see that empty look she had before knowing love.


  1. And all of this because of love. WOW GOD IS GOOD!!! when I get down because of our wait we are having right now to go get Josiah I come and read your blog. I go all the way back 6 months and start reading what I have already read 12 x it gives me the encouragement to go on. just looking at her bright smile she has now makes my day.

  2. You are both an inspiration to me. May God continue to bless you and your family. Zoya is a doll!!!

  3. I love the first picture of the two of you. No caption required for that one at all....

  4. Happy 1/2 year Gotchaversary!!!
    Has it really only been 6 months? Really? Our social worker called all giddy and said are you ready for your 5th month post placement visit?! I can't believe he has been here 5 months. Congrats on your beautiful daughter!!! She is such a beautiful child.

    BE blessed


  5. wow, that is so wonderful. It IS amazing to see how far she has come in such little time. I love reading all that you have to say, since our little one is in the same orphanage. I hope she will progress as fast as Zoya has.

  6. Ahhhh. the heart of a mommy :) I saw her pic on RR's new site. So adorable!!!

  7. Yay for Zoya! Sounds like she is doing great. This is the kind of post that I love to read:) She is so adorable!

  8. This was wonderful and heartwarming to see, beautiful pictures and gorgeous family.

    God Bless Zoya and her family :)