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Choosing A Placement Agency

Trying to decide which placement agency to use during your adoption journey? This blog entry will help you in that decision.

Choosing A Placement Agency

International or Domestic Adoption

International vs Domestic Adoption? Why we decided to adopt internationally.

International or Domestic Adoption

Our Trip To Ethiopia

A recap of our trip to Ethiopia. A firsthand account of a trip that would touch so many lives.

Our Trip To Ethiopia

Pathway To Citizenship

Adoption from Ethiopia was only the first step for many families. Re-adopiton and citizenship are a next step. Your pathway to both.

Pathway To Citizenship

MERKATO

:::MERKATO::: A new documentary by Sosena Solomon about the largest and oldest open air market in Ethiopia. Join Coily Embrace as a sponsor of this film.

MERKATO

Packing To Go To Ethiopia

What should you pack to take with you on your trip to Ethiopia? We have a list for you that includes supplies, medicines and other must have items.

Packing To Go To Ethiopia

Choosing Homestudy Agency

Not sure what to consider when choosing a Homestudy Agency? Here are some things to consider when you make your decision.

Choosing Homestudy Agency

1 Year Post Placement



12/8/2009 - Hana is doing very well. She is about 26 pounds, 32 inches, wearing 2T clothing. She has a full set of teeth. She follows instructions well, and therefore understands English very well. She enjoys many of the common foods we eat, such as Cream of Wheat, granola-type bars, chicken, potatos...but her favorite so far is corn.


We've moved to Texas, and she had her first appointment with her new pediatrician in October. Pediatrician was impressed with her health and development considering the circumstances. Overall she's very healthy. She gets URIs/colds, not too frequently (maybe she's had 3), but when she does her nose will run and she'll cough for a month!


I'd like to see her weight a tiny bit more, so we continued the Boost/Ensure up until late November. We decided to stop the supplementation because she'd feel so satisfied, she'd frequently refuse to eat at mealtimes. Since the point is to *add to* the meals (and not replace them), we cut back on the Boost. She started eating more at mealtimes...so we cut back more. It's important for her to develop good eating habits, and now that she's old enough to participate in the family mealtime, I think it's best that we allow her to develop an appetite. Now, she gets no supplementation...and she seems to have lost no weight.


Hana started preschool this fall. She's doing SO well. Her speech (as I pointed out earlier) seemed to be lagging behind. And although the ECI folks didn't think it was significant enough to warrent therapy, I'd like to see her use more words, and string two or three together in simple statements by now. So I was going to have her reevaluated in January...but now that's she's in preschool, she's doing much better. So, we'll see what her speech is like in January and decide then if she needs a reevaluation (or just private therapy via health insurance, etc).


She's done lots of fun things this year. Disneyland, travel, museums, circus, parks, water parks, birthday parties. She got Christianed, started school. She seems to still be bonding well with us. Her and Ian attend the same preschool, so they are 'friends' now (after a somewhat rocky start). Haley and Hana get along great. BUT Hana is now starting to "express herself" with screams/yells, gestures...and a few words. So when she not happy, she now can show/tell you all about it.


We're still working on counting, the ABC song, colors/shapes, body parts, and basic words. She doesn't like to 'perform' so when asked to do something...she gets all pouty-faced and would refuse to do it (that is if she thought that would get her out of performing...but it doesn't...so she does).


Emotionally she seems to be doing well. Initially, and up until as recently as last month, she seemed very uncomfortable in Mommy and Daddy's bed, not too comfortable being held cradled like a baby. She'd prefer to go to bed alone...in the dark...with the door closed. We started leaving a video in the DVD player playing on a TV in her room at bedtime - and she'd fall asleep to that. Then, we started making a big deal of the bottle at bedtime (i.e. making her ask for it, occasionally NOT giving it to her). That takes away a bit of 'distraction' and comfort...which forced her to seek comfort elsewhere.


That's where the TV and the family came into play. We'd leave the door open with the TV on...and instead of going inside of her own mind, in the dark...or sucking on a bottle as comfort...she started singing with Elmo...or standing up in the crib looking out the door. Trying to connect. Doing things, and interacting in the world outside of her own mind.


Eventually she got to the point where she didn't want to go to bed when she was not sleepy. (vs. before, she'd go to bed *anytime* and sleep 16+ hours/day if undisturbed!!). She asks for the TV. She protests the door being closed, and the room being dark. This makes us happy because...this is normal.


So, after a year of being home...and gradual titration down of the bottle/supplementation, medications...and increasing interaction (bringing her into our bedroom, and rubbing/holding/talking to her until she literally just passes out from exhaustion) has yielded a little girl that seems more at ease with affection, being in the midst of family/people, and a preference for being awake and interactive than alone in the dark. She's not quite so "awkward" in these intimate situations with family...and this is good.


I think everyone sees Hana as a true part of this family. Even Hana. However, there are times Hubby and I wonder if she's still 'unsure' or 'uncomfortable' here because of a facial expression she'll make, or a certain "awkwardness" she may display. A 'discomfort'...kinda like someone who realized they wore jeans to a black-tie affair. Nervous smile, wringing hands, darting eyes. And with discipline, being told "no," or the taking away of something she shouldn't have and trying to replace it with another object...causes her to really get upset. Immediate and loud yelling, big instant tears, and big pouty mouth with the whole poked out lip and all. This response can be illicited even with a very low whisper and a disapproving tone. Evenso, she's still very agreeable, correctable, and doesn't hold a grudge.


I realize that our emotional development may be just a bit behind (as a family) because she was so sick when she arrived. Keeping her at arms length, emotionally. The "distraction" of TB and the anti-TB meds. The focus on what she's NOT doing or able to yet do. The focus on her weight (currently she is weighs in at 24 pounds and is 32 inches)...and the attention/energy spent on just making sure she's healthy, and has the things she'll need just to survive...muchless actually thrive. Us learning about her (then learning how to subsequently deal with her)...and her us. Our expectations, our boundaries, etc. Understandably all of this "business" gets in the way of "pleausre" of bonding and fully emotionally investing/integrating in/with her, and her with us. But this is slowly (actually more slowly than I thought with a small infant...since she's actually been with us here longer than any other place in her life) resolving. But, like I said, I attribute the delay to her illnesses, and the distraction an illness serves to development in other ways.


We've received her new social security card. Passport application, and Certificate of Citizenship applications have been submitted. Her post-placement 1 year SW report is upcoming next week. And with these things...her 'legal' transition is totally complete.


Summary:
Health issues resolved - check
Legal issues resolved - check
Developing issues resolved - almost
Emotional issues resolved for the baby - possibly/almost
Emotional issues resolved for the family - almost

***

The Passport has been obtained. Social security card obtained. And today (3/4/10) the Certificate of Citizenship has been obtained.


Hana seems to be doing MUCH better with adjustment, in that she is asking for more kisses...and talking more. Not quite as 'uncomfortable' speaking up for herself, sleeping in the big bed, etc.


ECI came for a f/u visit, and determined that they should keep an eye on her because she didn't have more than 20 words (and by 2, she should have 50+). But, as of last week or so, she actually has begun putting short phrases together...which actually "catches her up" to where she's supposed to be. She knows her shapes, body parts, and follows commands well. So...I bet in a month or two, ECI will decide she's doing well afterall. Actually, they wanted to 'give her more time' (this time), but *I* persisted and 'advocated' that they don't wait another few months, but rather just start working with her now....


Anyhoo...everything is complete now. All paperwork. So...I will not be updating this page much anymore as I will integrate her story into our collective story (so check out the family site). Additionally, I will use our collective story now to compile the kids individual books.

Hope you enjoyed Hana's adoption story!! But now...it's a *family story*.