Sunday, September 30, 2012

Where has the Time Gone?

We have been home over two months- in some ways it has gone so quickly, but in other ways it feels like Lena has been home with us for much a good way!   I cannot believe how well she is doing- we are blessed! 

Lena has had her appointment with the audiologist and they confirmed what we suspected- Lena is profoundly deaf in the left ear and can hear sounds at 80-90 decibels in the right ear, so in the severe to profoundly deaf range there.   She likely will not be able to hear speech sounds even with hearing aids.  We have an appointment on Oct. 31st at Children's for a sedated CT scan and ABR to see what the internal structures of the ear look like and what's going on inside there.  That should be interesting.  The next day, we have to go back to go over the results.  From there, they will know if she will need an MRI or not.  In the meantime, we continue to work on teaching her as much ASL as we possibly can and to continue learning more ourselves.  This coming week ASL classes start at the deaf school.  Rick and my mom might take the beginner course and I might take the advanced course so we don't have to get anyone to watch the kids...not sure I am really ready for the advanced course, but I could give it a shot.  Even if I pick up something, it is better than nothing! :)   The kids and I will continue to brush up on our vocabulary with the Signing Times dvd series as well.  I am also hoping to contact the school for the deaf and set-up a deaf mentor to come to our house to work on signing with Lena and I...a  little intimidating, I must admit.  I'd like to set that up for a day when most of the boys are in school so it can be productive.  :)   I will also be starting to work with our local school district to create an IEP for Lena so that she can attend pre-school at the school for the deaf.  She can start there on her 3rd birthday...mid December.

All in all, Lena is doing great.  About 90% of the time she is such a happy, joyful little girl!   Our biggest issue remains sibling squabbles and the two little ones and now sometimes one of the twins being stinkers/not so nice to their sister who is not at all bothering them!  And we are continuing to work on that, but mom is certainly growing tired of that...hoping they will too soon!   But if that is our biggest issue, then we can't complain and life is good.  She has a great bond with us and attachment is going quite well.  She lights up our lives and our extended family are already in love too.  Many comment on how happy she always looks and that smile that makes your day!

A few fun facts about Lena- things we have learned in the last 2 plus months.
*Foods she likes: hotdogs, any meat minus hamburger, cheese, grapes, bananas, watermelon, and yogurt.
*Foods she dislikes: hamburger, tortilla shells, and most breads.  She is not a big sweet eater, but does like an occasional treat. 
*Favorite drink: milk
*She is a very SLOW eater...she could take an hour longer to eat a meal than everyone else at the table if you let her.
*Her favorite signs: bird, no, more, eat, airplane
*She sleeps on her back and for the most part sleeps very well, minus an occasional nap where every so often she chooses to play or make sounds that end up waking up her little brother.

Enjoy some pictures that we have taken since our last post.

Cook-out at Nana and Grandpa JP's
 Together with our cousins from Florida, Noah and Katelyn.

How were we getting the kids to look and smile you ask?  Here's our college-aged brother with a sombrero doing goofy dance moves.

Meeting Great-Grandma aka GG for the first of our emotional moments as you can see.

Lena and her cousin, Megan.

First visit to Grandpa and Grandma's house, but not the first meeting since they picked us up at the airport.  There is something magical about Grandpa Henningfeld- all our adopted kids have loved him from the minute they locked eyes.

Lena with Uncle Frank and her cousins, Kristen, Emma, and Gina (triplets).

Lena laughing at her daddy.

Our first trip the the Milwaukee County Zoo as a family of 8!

 Fun times at the park with our friend Raquel, her wonderful mom, and her two kids, Breckin and Ever!

 Hanging out in our pj's with our new stuffed animals from Raquel's sweet mom!

Fun times with our friends, the Markham family!
 Getting ready for Lena's first bonfire in the backyard!
 Lena's first movie night in the living room!
 We took the kids for a surprise getaway for two days...first stop, the Madison Zoo!

 2nd Stop- a cheap, but awesome hotel waterpark in the Wisconsin Dells!

Playing at the park with our friends, Alea, Nicol, Jonas, and their friends while mom was having an ASL session with her friend Anissa who is an interpreter and a family friend of theirs, Carlos who is deaf.  Great lesson!
 Evan's Back to School Night!
 Walworth County Fair
 In a big tractor tire with Elijah and her cousin, Nolan.

 In the butterfly house trying to catch butterflies with her cousins Megan and Travis and Aunt Lisa.
 Riding in the wagon at the fair.
 She LOVED the kid rides!!!
 Lena riding the kid roller coaster with Uncle Jeremiah.

 Elijah, Jonah, and Landyn's Back to School Night- everyone else had fun playing there too!

 Elijah and Jonah's first partial day- family stays.  Lena joined right in! 

 Celebrating Nana's Birthday!

 Another fun park date with friends!

 Pearce's Farm Stand

 Elijah and Jonah's 4K Family Night

 Friday Fun- a walk around the arboretum, playing at the park, and a picnic lunch in the living room while watching Caillou on PBS.