Since we last posted, David, Kira and I moved to Willmar and sold our home in North St. Paul. Dave started as the lead pastor at Living Hope church and I started as a full-time mom. We knew that major transitions, like moving, so quickly after an adoptive child joins the family is not advised by professionals, but we also had confidence in what God was calling us to and that he would meet our needs in the process. It has proven to be well-placed confidence.
Tomorrow marks three months home since we landed in MSP as a family of three. Three months is the suggested starting point for cocooning, and longer if necessary. However, Kira was doing really well and over the last few weeks we’ve had family friends visiting our home, and we’ve taken Kira on regular errands, outings and overnights. At an in-home visit our social worker confirmed Kira’s attachment and progress and was encouraging and supported what we’ve been doing, provided we are always ready to dial it back and call off plans if it doesn’t seem to be in Kira’s best interest.
Dave and I continue to be the only ones to feed, change and console Kira, and except for a few moments where Kira coaxed a grandparent or two into her playhouse for a serving of stone soup, she has been in our care non-stop. Kira loves being in daddy’s care because he has a mind for thrill. She loves being thrown in the air like any kid, but also lays down, crosses her hands and feet and asks to be swung back and forth. She stands with both feet in one of Dave’s hands and balances straight up as he lifts her higher and higher until I can’t watch anymore. The swing can never go high enough, and she can scoot her trike to the top of the driveway (she can’t reach the pedals), give herself a few pushes and then pick up her feet and steer straight down the small incline at a rate that you would expect a wipe-out. When meeting one of our friends for the first time our friend said, “Does she always move this much?” Yes. That’s an exceptional amount of energy for a two-year-old? As our first child we don’t know any different. She only stops moving when she’s sleeping, and let’s just say my jeans are fitting just fine keeping up with her.
Dave calls me the mom-magnet. He thinks if he ever loses me that he could set her down and Kira would find me. Kira will find me, and she will want to be held. She wants to be held all the time. It’s a good thing for attachment...I keep repeating to myself. I cook most meals one-handed (unless Dave has distracted her to another activity) or use the baby carrier if there’s no splatter-risk involved. I do dozens of squats every day with my 22-pound weight to pick up dropped or desired objects. If I make a motion to put her down she squeezes tighter, so up and down we go! Not only does she want to be with me, but she wants to do everything I do. When I blow dry my hair, she gets a blast on the cold setting too; when I put on make-up, she has to have a smudge and swipe of everything too. (This works to my advantage when she asks for her own cleaning rag or to push around the Swiffer.) It’s a lot, physically, and I have a serious knot in my shoulder, but I think she knows we have two years of holding to make up for. :) Thankfully, Kira sleeps soundly through the night, and usually has a solid nap where I can do some tasks for which two hands are beneficial. Or I can sit down.
If I recounted every adorable moment and every reached milestone, this post would be a novel, so here are the highlights:
Kira’s language comprehension is amazing, and her spoken words are coming. She loves the “ba” sound, and we frequently rehearse bow, bowl, and bubble. We are working on the “p” sound for please, and if you ask her to say it she thinks this word only comes paired with “more,” so you will hear “Mo… p...p...p.” She says mama and dada and can identify at least a dozen body parts.
Physical/Medical (prayer requested!!)
As with the majority of international adoptions, we knew that Kira may have some medical needs. We had medical records and a diagnosis from India, but based on Kira’s physical and developmental milestones doctors stateside confirmed that the original diagnosis was incorrect. The original diagnosis would have meant inability to walk, cognitive delays, and incontinence, which as mentioned above, are milestones she’s reached. An MRI at the U of M revealed that she has a tethered spinal cord. Rather than the spinal cord blending to proper nerves at its base, it is tethered lower down the spine. This could mean that as she grows, her spinal cord would be too tight and inhibit her ability to walk in the future. The neurosurgeons have suggested surgery to untether the cord, which would mean all the typical parts of surgery, plus five days in-hospital and a few weeks of “laying low” to recover. Because of both the emotional and physical weightiness of spinal surgery we are currently seeking a second opinion from the Mayo Clinic. We want to be absolutely sure that this is the right thing to do and the right time to do it. This is our biggest prayer request right now. Please pray for wisdom in matters that are way above our medical understanding.
- Kira has style, and displays it in her love of shoes and hair bows. A new accessory will join her ensemble next week when her glasses arrive.
- She’s a varied and flexible eater. She eats tomatoes by the bowlful and can be coaxed into taking another bite of anything if her effort is rewarded with a grape. Her favorite meal is spinach kale pesto pasta, of which she can eat a larger portion than I can.
- If you are a guest in our home, you will probably be served a cup of tea or coffee from Kira’s favorite toy tea set. She expects pretend slurps a glugging noise when she fills your cup.
- She loves bubbles, the swing, pretend cooking, going to the library, and the patient puppy Copper. Only this morning he was draped in a blanket as she asked “Hm? Hm?” with her “Where did he go?” hands, whipping off the blanket to reveal where she had “hidden” him.
- For all her style and sweets, Kira can be a stinker. Her favorite way to be a stinker is to chase the dog with anything she can push. The number of objects that have taken a time-out in the closet is growing and we hope she stops finding this fun.
Thank you for all your prayers and support in bringing Kira home. We are abundantly thankful for the way God arranged to make us a family, and for all of you who prayed her home.