Thursday, November 11, 2010

An Update on Miss Em

I thought I would post an update on how everything has been going with Miss Emerson these last few weeks, and because I'm feeling lazy and I can hear two little girls NOT NAPPING on the monitor, it will be in "report card" form.

EATING A+. Emerson eats just about everything, still. She eats very slow, and is always the last one done. She will basically eat until you take the food away, or there is no more on her plate. She is weighing in at 32 pounds, up a pound or two since coming home. She is still not crazy about some fruits, and drinks very little milk, but will eat other dairy products well.

LANGUAGE B+ - Emerson is learning more and more English everyday, but this still remains our most frustrating issue. She seems to be saying more words everyday, and understands most of what we tell her. She is very good at following directions, especially when we make eye contact and point a lot :) She still babbles a lot, in what I assume is Mandarin. We had an ENT appointment today (more about that later) and a Mandarin interpreter was there to assist us. It was interesting, because Emerson would not talk to her, and the interpreter said she couldn't understand some of the babbling (which we thought was Mandarin).

Emerson responded better to the English, overall. When asked in English to identify her nose, eyes, ears, etc, she can point to them with no problems. But when the interpreter asked her the same things in Mandarin, she was not able to. The interpreter suggested that Emerson was already forgetting a lot of her native language. She still has a lot of trouble with certain sounds, such as "V" and "F", which are not common sounds in Mandarin. Many three year olds have trouble with certain consonant sounds even if they do speak English (I have a certain 5-year old who cannot say "R"), so this is not a concern at this time.

Life is tough sometimes at our house, when I'm dealing with a 3-year old, and I'm not completely sure what she does, or does not understand. Just because she obeys when I tell her to go get her shoes off the couch and put them on, does not mean she has understood everything I said. She may have just understood "shoes". It makes it difficult to discipline, because I don't know if she understand just what she is being disciplined for.

BONDING A - Bonding is going well, Emerson seems appropriately attached to us, more so than she was just a few weeks ago. She is more selective these days, and no longer cries when anyone leaves the house. A couple of weeks ago, anytime ANYONE was at the house (the social worker, Dane's friend, a friend from church) she would cry for several minutes when they left the house. Emerson goes to class at church without crying, and is excited to see us when we pick her up. We had a sitter to the house earlier this week to watch the girls while Brandon and I were at work, and this is the first time we have left her for more than an hour since we brought her home.

HEALTH B+- After two trips to the audiologist, we have still been unable to get an accurate test of Emerson's hearing. Because of her history of cleft palate, it is very likely that Emerson had multiple untreated ear infections early in life, and we have simply been wanting to make sure her hearing is not affected. Because of the language barrier, it's hard to know if she's ignoring us sometimes because she can't hear us, or because she can't understand us. Or because she's three years old and willful. We went to the ENT today, and Miss Em will be getting ear tubes at some point in the next couple of weeks. The ENT saw some fluid behind one eardrum, and she agrees with me that Emerson has likely had lots of ear infections in her short little life. Hopefully we will be able to get more accurate hearing testing once the tubes are in place!

We will go to the Cleft Palate Clinic next month to discuss what lies ahead for Emerson as far as oral surgery and plastic surgery go. She is missing one baby tooth, and has a gap in her gum next to her left top tooth. And by "gap in her gum", I mean, she has no gums where there should be gums. I think the surgeons in China did a wonderful job repairing Miss Em's lip and palate, but there is some expected asymmetry in her top lip and nostrils, that I imagine will bother her a great deal when she is 16.

Misc: Overall, Emerson is doing great. I have to remind myself at times that she is different than my other kids. That other people raised her, in a country far from here, in an environment so different than our home now. I forget sometimes that she has only been here for a couple of months, because it seems like Emerson has been our daughter forever.

But as much as it seems like that to me, her little three year old self is still adjusting to life with a family, to a mommy and daddy and siblings. New foods, sounds, people, language, toilets, car seats, routines. I forget that change like that, no matter how good the outcome, is traumatic to a three year old. In short, this mommy needs an extra measure of grace some days! Emerson is my daughter and I love her so, so much! And just like it is with biological children, some days are definitely longer than others. And just like with our biological children, we thank God each and every day for making her a part of our family!


Ang Stoltzfus said...

again...LOVE the post. we are in the "same" world!

love you & think of you often.

The Driskells said...

Thanks for the update! You ARE a great mother and you and Brandon are doing a WONDERFUL job! Hang in there on those frustrating days! (Or just call me and I'll give you an ego boost when you need it!)
: ) Kara