Monday, December 6, 2010

Cleft Palate Clinic

Sometimes I forget I live in a big city. I drive to work at a pretty, community hospital, I drive to church 7 minutes away, I go to the grocery store 6 minutes from my house. I forget that Houston is just a quick jaunt down the highway.

Days like today I am very glad that I live just a hop, skip, and a jump away from one of the best pediatric hospitals in the country. I am glad that I have access to a doctor that specializes in internationally adopted children, with more degrees behind her name than anyone else I have ever met. I am glad that we have access to the Cleft Palate Clinic and fabulous pediatric plastic surgeons who have the expertise and experience to help kids like Emerson, and many others who have it far worse than Emerson.

Emmy had her first appointment with the Cleft Palate Clinic today, and it could not have gone better. We started off by arriving at the hospital 30 minutes early (yay!), and when we stepped off the elevator, we saw two young ladies in full ballerina/nutcracker attire. Groups frequently visit this children's hospital, and today was a banner day. Emerson chased down the "princess ladies" and oohed and aahed over their pretty dresses before we made our way down the hallway to the big table of Christmas crafts, which was apparently there to promote flu shots. Two sweet nurses made reindeer puppets with Emerson, while she charmed them out of some stickers.

It was chilly enough today to wear the beautiful red sweater that my Aunt Betsy made for Emerson earlier this year, and she got no fewer than 37 compliments on it. It was great practice for learning how to say "thank you". Only instead of "thank you", Emerson would rub her sweater and say "Emerson prilly" (pretty). Needless to say she's developing quite the self-esteem lately. Seriously, everyone from strangers waiting on the elevator to the security guard complimented Emerson on her pretty sweater.

Emerson has days when she could not be more sweet and outgoing and charming, and today was definitely her day. We met with the very experienced plastic surgeon Dr. S, as well as Dr. Handsome, the plastic surgery Fellow, and Madame Med Student. I love all of the attention we get at the teaching hospital :) Everyone was very impressed with the quality of repairs that Emerson received in China, and recommended no further intervention until she is 7-9 years old. After her top permanent teeth grow in, we will have to revisit Dr. S. and his team for Emmy to have a bone graft in her mouth. They will take a piece of bone from her hip, and graft it into the front of her mouth, around the area of her top left front teeth, where there currently is no bone. After that, she will have another revision when she is 12 or 13, then she should be done for good! (Not including the orthodontia, of course).

We also met with a speech pathologist today as part of the cleft palate team, and she was very pleased with Emerson's progress to date. In her own words, "I have never seen an internationally adopted child in country for 3 months speaking as well as she is." She was pleased with how well Emerson is saying most of her consonant sounds, and she is confident she will only improve as she learns the language better.

Emerson is speaking something in-between Mandarin and English these days, with many more English words all the time. The speech pathologist explained that it was very common as young children transition from one language to a new one to speak some sort of "hybrid" for a bit. (The Mandarin interpreter that was with us at an ENT appointment a few weeks ago did not understand what Emerson was saying for the most part). She did not recommend any type of speech therapy at this point, and does not expect to in the future. Hooray!

See you in 4-6 years, Cleft Palate Clinic!


Adrienne said...

Wonderful news! Praise God for that! :)

The Driskells said...

Great news on Emerson! Adorable pictures too!

She's obviously doing so well because she has an awesome family!
Way to go guys!

Brand al Thor said...

Great pictures of my little girl!

Anonymous said...

"Prilly"???? When adopting a new language it is probably best not learn it from an 18 month old.

Prilly girl in the red sweater.

Dana Dill said...

What great news!!! So happy for her and you. And her sweater is adorable :)

Amber Smith said...

Fantastic news beautiful girl! God is at work in a big way. Do you ever feel as if you're drowning in blessings? We see one every time we read your blog.