Tuesday, June 19, 2012

7 Months Home for Mila!

Mila has been home 7 months! Here is a little update on our superstar! 



Physical: Mila is 21.5 pounds! She has tripled her weight in 7 months! She doesn't even look anything like she did 7 months ago. She is able to sit on her own and starting to stand. She is figuring out how to get from her belly to sitting. She often stays awake in her crib practicing this skill! She often gets up on all fours and rocks and will also lift her body off the floor and push herself up on her hands and toes. Mila has her top two molars and her third tooth is coming in,which is a bottom molar. Very strange to get her molars first with no other teeth yet! Mila is typically not a fan of physical therapy because it's oh so hard for her! 



Social: Mila smiles a lot! She grunts to get our attention all the time! If she is in her jumper or high chair and one of us walks by she will get a big smile and either sign "more" or put her hands up for us to pick her up. She gets confused and thinks signing "more" works for anything she wants to communicate! She will let other people hold her but often reaches back for us. Mila LOVES Zoya and Zoya can almost always cheer Mila up when she is upset. She likes to play pat-a-cake and giggles when she is tickled. Mila also has a HUGE temper!! I suppose maybe that's how she survived so long. But do NOT walk away during meal time until her belly is FULL or you'll hear it! Even with her temper she has such a sweet demeanor. She likes being snuggled, held, and sung to. Her favorite song is still "Jesus Loves Me" which is the first song I sang to her at the orphanage. If I could hold her all day long, she'd be just fine with that!  She likes to try and make people laugh by making funny faces! She will watch a short Sesame Street video on the iPad and gets excited when she sees the iPad! She likes to play with any toys that make sound and have lights. She is starting to understand cause and effect with toys that have buttons. 


Medical: Mila has been very healthy! She has a cardiology checkup in a couple of months. Next month we go for hopefully her last airway appointment and swallow study. My hope is that the doctor will transfer her care to our local ENT since she hopefully won't need the help of an airway specialist after this last appointment (as long as all looks good). Mila will likely need glasses at her next eye appointment and possibly an eye surgery in the future :( Although, after open heart surgery and airway surgery, this doesn't sound so bad.




practicing her wave
Eating:  Mila is eating lots of table foods! She is a little piggy. We are having trouble finding a variety of foods for her, not for her lack of willingness to try, but because she is gluten free...which is not a big deal...the problem is that she also does not do well with rice. We recently tried to reintroduce rice, which is in MANY gluten free foods and it didn't go over well. I think the orphanage overdid it with rice too early on and her body just will not tolerate it! She was on rice milk in the orphanage and it was her only source of food. Hopefully she'll outgrow the rice thing so we have more options. For now she enjoys fruits and veggies, ground turkey, goat's milk with homemade bone broth as a base, pear juice, veggie sticks, coconut yogurt, sweet potato fries, mashed potatoes, grilled cheese (GF bread...now I need to find GF and rice free bread), corn pasta with red sauce, and many other foods. She is down to two 8-ounce bottles a day, one before each nap. She drinks pear juice from a straw cup. She will finger feed herself pieces of food like a champ! We are working on having her bring the fork to her mouth and figure that out! 




We call this her crazy face!



Here is one of the faces she does to try and make us laugh!

One of my favorite pictures!



Sleeping: Mila has come a long way in the sleep department, but try as we might, she will NOT sleep past 5:30/5:45 most days :( It doesn't matter what time we put her to bed, she is always up at the same time. I am SO NOT a morning person, so thankfully Daddy gets up with her most mornings until I can peel my eyes open and roll out of bed! She is taking two naps a day of about one hour each. This is far improved from the 20 minute naps we dealt with for so long!

And here is a video of Mila from sometime during our first month home I think...I had to keep watching it because I couldn't believe it was her! She was just a shadow of the child she is now!! Praise God!
video

And just the other day....

video

Looking at all her pictures, can you imagine this beautiful soul still living in an orphanage? She likely wouldn't still be alive, no, she definitely still wouldn't be alive....not because she was beyond help, but because she wouldn't have received the medical care that she needed to save her life and because nobody paid enough attention to her to figure out that she had underlying health issues that almost killed her.  Although she was being fed rice milk, there was no love behind the bottle, no love from the caregivers feeding her day after day. Her inability to gain weight was due, in part, to her health condition and poor nutrition, but also due to a lack of love and nurture. As you sit here and read this today, remember all the babies still living in such conditions, never knowing what love feels like, never being given a chance, never being snuggled and kissed and never being taken to specialists who can help them, never receiving therapy, never moving from their cribs and never ever experiencing a loving touch or sweet gaze from a mama or daddy. Never feeling valued or wanted.  WHAT.A.TRAGEDY. Looking at Mila (and Zoya) I can't help but remember what they came from and know how many other children are still in that same situation....children who haven't had a mama and daddy come for them yet....and who may NEVER have a mama and daddy.

On this 7 month anniversary, I praise God for Mila's life, her health, and for thinking us worthy enough to embark on such a journey with such a special little girl. But I'm also reminded of all the other orphans hanging on each day never knowing if life will get any better for them. For this little starfish we have made a difference, but what about all the other starfish waiting for their turn? They're DYING waiting for YOU to help!









19 comments:

  1. she sure lives up to her name--what a miracle!

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  2. Precious baby girl!!! Love is definitely agreeing with her! :)

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  3. She is SO beautiful, SO adorable!!! Precious girl :) Love her belly in the mirror!

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  4. Oh my goodness! Mila on her feet!!! I was in awe of the beauty in all of the other pics but the last one just caused my heart to sing!! I think my favorite is of Mila showing off her belly!! Sooo cute!! Thank you for sharing this wonderful update and all the pics/videos of your girls! And also for the reminder that there are many others waiting and waiting! (((BIG HUGS)))!!!

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    1. That's one of my favorites too!!! That big ol belly!

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  5. Have you tried Quinoa? it's a good cereal and a good pasta.

    she is so beautiful! i love looking at pictures of her!

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    1. Yes! Funny you ask because I love it and just tried it with Mila yesterday. I let Mila play in babyfood pears mixed with quinoa today and she loved scooping it up with her hands and putting it in her mouth....messy but fun :) I mixed it with some babyfood last night but am looking for other ways to prepare it for her! Any ideas? I usually put it in my salad or just eat it plain but I'd like some ideas to mix it up for Mila!

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  6. They are both so gorgeous. Mila has just always had a captivating look about her. So, SO glad that she is flourishing!!! Not that there was any doubt ;-)

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    1. She DOES have the most soul piercing eyes! Thanks!

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  7. I made mac and cheese with a quinoa pasta a while back - and it was really good. the quinoa pasta turns out pretty firm so it might be good cooked for her to grab onto. if you don't have a store that carries quinoa pasta, you can order it on amazon (what CAN'T you get on amazon?). Since i mostly eat GF myself, and i can't afford GF bread, i have started making what I call "pizza patties" - which are only little patties made out of the GF pizza dough. I make a half bag at a time,bake and then freeze. Then when I need "toast" and hot chocolate, I just pop one in the toaster to defrost/toast. Is it delicious? not really. Does it fill the bill for GF toast? yes, absolutely. maybe Mila would like a little pizza pattie - certainly cheaper than buying a whole loaf of GF bread! And i usually get the Bob's Red Mill or Pamela's pizza crust mix and then make the bread recipe.

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  8. It is amazing to see both your girls happy and healthy. Makes me smile. Does Mila still sleep in the "keep the airway open" position. That picture has stuck with me as the greatest self help survival skill I have ever seen in such a young child. Just one of many miracles you have witnessed huh?

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    1. No she does not! It took a couple weeks after surgery for her body and brain to get out of the habit of contorting her body like that because she was just so familiar with that position! Every once in a great while we'll see her in that position, probably just out of habit, but most of the time she sleeps on her back with arms above her head or on her side with arms down. Thank goodness! Yes that position WAS pretty crazy! Yikes! Had it not been for that position though she wouldn't have survived nor would we have known anything was wrong!!

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  9. I cant take the cuteness! It's too much! My fave picture is the one with the pacifier and crazy hair! LOL....Thank you for sharing your precious girls, they are truly angels and even though we've never met, I feel like I do because I've been praying for them for so long and I just love seeing those precious smiles! You are such a lucky mom to have such beautiful girls! God bless!

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  10. I cant take the cuteness! It's too much! My fave picture is the one with the pacifier and crazy hair! LOL....Thank you for sharing your precious girls, they are truly angels and even though we've never met, I feel like I do because I've been praying for them for so long and I just love seeing those precious smiles! You are such a lucky mom to have such beautiful girls! God bless!

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    1. That's her bed head look LOL! Thanks for your prayers!!!! And I agree..I'm TOTALLY lucky!

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  11. At one point I had a friend that had grown up in Ukraine. She had mentioned how worried her parents were about her finding a husband and having a normal life when they lived there... because she had a cleft palate (it had been fixed, but you could still tell she had a scar.) Besides that one, common birth defect, she was a very healthy, intelligent, radiant young woman. She lives in the U.S. now and is happily married. I don't think it was until I came across your blog that I realized how lucky my friend was overall given some of the cultural tendencies in certain areas of the world.

    It looks like both Mila and Zoya were incredibly lucky to end up with such great parents and that they were given each other. Mila looks like a completely different baby and so much healthier. I still think about the pictures of Mila when you first met her and she was so stiff and unfamiliar with human touch and life outside of a crib. I think a lot of people have more love in their hearts than they are giving now. Love is one of those gifts that helps both the receivers and givers. Hopefully as long as we all can keep feeding and sharing that love, the world can become a better place.

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  12. Where to start: I came across you blog through Naptime Reviews (I think) and am in love, with your blog and your girls.
    What an awesome journey ya'll are on and I admire it so much! My little guy thought signing "more" would get him whatever he wanted as well. For months he was so confused.
    Oh and we are huge fans of the amber necklaces.
    I am so excited to be following along on your journey!
    -Alexis

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  13. She has changed so much since she's been home! Love all the pictures!

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