Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ivanna and Max

Well, both children have been home five days now. They are doing really well. Sure, there are adjustments that we all are getting used to. However, considering the big change - it is going great. I think the biggest surprise for me as a mother isn't the work load from having eight children as much as having what feels like three babies/toddlers around. Yes, Max and Ivanna are both five - but much of their behaviors is like having an infant or toddler. So, considering that Justus is only nineteen months - things get a bit hairy at times, especially during meal times. LOL.


There are some things that I am finding out now that the children are home. For instance, Ivanna is super easy to care for. She hardly fusses and usually just wants to cuddle. I am finding it difficult to keep her hands out of her mouth, and so for this reason - we put socks on her hands. When Phillip got her from the orphanage, he said she stunk so bad from her hands constantly being in her mouth - that he so desired to bathe her right away. Also, she has a thing for taking strings or socks or anything that is long and shoving it in her mouth and down her throat until she gags. I knew this prior to leaving the orphanage. I saw it for myself one day as I walked into the main groupa area to pick her up. She was laying in one of those big playpen crib type things and they had a string tied to the rail. No one else was around, and there was tiny Ivanna - swallowing that string and gagging it back up - over and over. I freaked and called out. The babushka entered and didn't seem to care or be bothered by it. The other thing I notice is that she doesn't seem to focus on anything very long. In fact, her eyes sort of flicker or slightly twitch just a bit. Concerning. The last thing that breaks my heart and speaks volumes is the fact that when I place her in her crib, and she isn't ready to fall asleep - she goes right into institutional behavior. She rocks herself violently, bouncing her head back and forth sharply as if to give herself a little bounce. She also hits her head. I can't stand it, and so if I see that she isn't falling asleep - I take her out. She has spent enough time in a crib. Consequently, she hasn't napped for the last three days. If anyone has any suggestions as to the behavior - I welcome them. I would especially like to hear from those who have adopted children with similar tendencies. One more thing - I discovered tonight that she must never had been taught how to chew. I hold a cracker up to her mouth, and she struggles to put her mouth down on it, then very tenderly takes a bite. I know these things will get better with time, and even if they do not- I am not concerned. I just mention them in seeking advice or thoughts. Considering what Ivanna had gone through in her life, she is doing quite well. I love that skinny Minne with all I have. I want to see her get healthy.

Max is doing well. He also likes to suck on fingers, but his are a bit more raw. We have tried the socks with him, but he just rips those right off. Band aids seem to do the trick. He also hasn't really been taught to chew, so we are just doing baby foods with him right now. His reflux was really bad while still in orphanage. It has gotten better here, and I am wondering if it is because we thicken his foods with rice cereal. He also has a bad, deep cough that crops up every here and there. I read that the reflux could cause upper resp. problems. So, we will see about all that. Other than that, Max is a go getter. He loves to get into the dog food, shut all my cabinet doors and throw the ball into the Christmas tree. LOL!! He also is such a sweet little guy. He laughs and smiles so easily. He is just precious.

I am leaving you with a video I took of Ivanna trying to chew. I just think it is interesting and want to continue to chronicle this journey, as I am sure they will be making great strides of accomplishment.


10 comments:

nicole said...

I have hear alot of orphanges force feed the kids to feed them faster maybe thats the reason for shoving stuff down her throat???also have you tried a pacifer??Maybe the sucking will promote a soothiness for her???or asoft dolly she can suck on???

Katie said...

Is she mouthing rather than chewing her fingers? Benjamin has sucked his two fingers since he was weaned, and has gotten them to the point where they are very sore and raw (probably once a winter) and has even gotten a strep infection in that spot. We have had to sew his sleeve shut at night just to give his poor fingers a break to air out when it was at its worst. If she is a chewer, they make scented chewies (chocolate, grape, etc) which Ben really likes and they keep his fingers out of his mouth. We attach one to his belt loop. I have seen a ton of different oral stimulation products -- tubes, fabric ones, scented, "chewelry" which are break away type necklaces with different things on them to mouth...when I get to my other computer I can send you some links if you are interested. I bet Max might benefit as well. Chewing something seems to be a very calming thing for a lot of our kiddos.

deanie said...

Charrissa, she is so bright-eyed now. It brings tears when I read your posts or see pictures. OK, on to the issue. Niky still chews, or as Katie said mouths, his fingers. He has feeding/oral motor therapy and we've tried many many things to no avail. I will say he is better but he's been home for almost 5 years (in 9 days). Feeding has been an issue with all 3 in some form. Niky just in the last 2 months has started eating crushed table food instead of baby food; he had silent aspiration remember. He is just barely sipping from a cup. But hey, considering where he has 5 years ago, Praise Father.
Alexi doesn't chew well and doesn't have very good gradation in tongue movement. Maxim eats well and everything, including any and a;; crayons, bites from rubber thong sandals, pencils both eraser end and lead end, and books. He loves chewing the corners of hardback books. Hmmmmm, what does this mean as far as reading?
Reflux, pretty common in Ds. Andy had a funduplication because his was so bad. Max and Niky take meds for theirs. It can cause many esophageal and other problems.
We have a new package of "Ps and Qs", given to us by feeding therapist. They are a solid kind of rubber material in the shape of a "P" and a "Q". small and you can loop them onto the kids pockets or wrists. Lots of kids will use them, mine, not so much. I can pop them in the mail to you. Call me if you want to talk to our therapist. She really is renowned and she taught my oldest 2 to eat and use all their speech sounds. It's deja vu with the 3 littles now. I'm sure she'd be happy to talk to you and may have a close recommendation for you. This might be a ways for you to travel for therapy :(
When you feel settled and the kids are comfortably feeling secure, we'd love to come over to visit. At this point it's easier for me to take the ferry over to you. Mine all beg to ride on the ferries.
Keeping y'all in prayers. So happy everyone is home.
Blessings, deanie

Marianne said...

Darya rocked hard back and forth, banged her head (front and back), and hit herself. Those behaviors are all gone now, though occasionally I'll see her rocking herself gently in her sleep. We've been home 2 months now. I think with a bit of time and and them receiving stimulation elsewhere it should hopefully get better soon I have no experience with the hand chewing, though. Maybe she needs more oral stimulation? Anyway, congratulations on your two newest additions!!

Jo's Corner said...

Check out Adeye Salem on Facebook. Friend her and chat with her about the eye-movement, head banging, feeding issues. You probably already read her blog. (She adopted Hailee and Harper!) She would be a good source as far as suggestions!
http://www.nogreaterjoymom.com/
I must say, your 2 new babies are looking so full of life!! You're doing a great job!! Hugs ~ JO

Sara Beamish said...

So happy to read that everything is going well. As far as your baby girl eating, it really looks as if she is expecting you to "shovel it in". Likely she has not chewed before, but looks like she is learning well:) A speech therapist can help more with this if you need.

Hand chewing and sucking. This can be a hard one. Our oldest daughter passed away at 8 1/2 yrs old, and NEVER stopped, no matter what we tryied. We did do the sock thing, fequently, but she still sucked and chewed on her hand, the ONLY thing that she would allow in her mouth. I know someone who had luck using a neoprean hand/arm brace on their son. He HATED the taste and texture of it, and slowly stopped putting him hand to his mouth.

Sorry I have no answers for the head banging and rocking, but I will be coming back to see what others have to say.

Good luck! You're doing great. The difference in your little girl is obvious. They are both such treasures, so happy your family found them.

The Tam Family said...

Hi Charrissa,

I've not commented before but I was a PICU nurse and just wanted to add my two cents in about the cough..reflux as you probably know can result in something called aspiration pneumonia. If it worsens or he starts to struggle more I would take him in just to be sure. Your children are precious...keep your chin up, things will get better.

Love wins,
Renee Tam
5cajuns.blogspot.com

Faith for Hope said...

Hi Charrissa, Sorry, not a clue on any of these things ... but I will continue to pray that the One Who knows all about it will give you the wisdom you need for these precious kiddos. Praying for you all. Give everyone hugs for me. ~ Grace

Anonymous said...

Hi Charrissa,
I do have one suggestion about the inability to nap. We saw this, and an inability to get true rest at night (flopping off the bed, tossing and turning from the time they lay down). But then sometimes just falling asleep during the day at odd times. The Dr.s didn't know what it could be, we even saw a pediatric neurologist and did a sleep study. What we finally found out? Allergies. I had begun using the smelly-good fabric softner. It affected them during the day, but more at night when they were laying against the sheet and it's "fumes" were right there. We tried lots of different combinations of detergent and softner. We learned that even "free" products often use chemicals to remove naturally occurring smells. We finally found that we had to use Tide Free detergent but we couldn't use any liquid softners. Only bounce free sheets. After we eliminated the "scents" that were bothering them, we were able to watch foods and find that a few foods were causing the "day-sleep" issues. If you find that you think it might be allergies, the best book to "learn-all-about-them" is called "Is this your child" by Doris Rapp. Wishing you the best. Holly H

Lauren said...

You guys are awesome conduits of love, patient and great examples of walking in faith and obedience. I so admire it and can't wait to walk in adoption as well. I have loved following your blog! Thank you for inviting a "stranger" (but a fellow Christian sister) into your lives!

 




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