Lexi has attached to us and transitioned into our family very well- better than I ever could have imagined. She has a happy disposition and is very loving. She is such a bright girl, and it amazed me to see how independent she was- she became completely potty-trained within a month of getting home , she can dress herself, shower & wash her own hair. However, it is a bit sad because although she does have an independent personality, she probably had to take care of herself quite a bit in the orphanage. Fortunately, she has learned to let us care for her, soothe her when she is hurt, and comfort her at night-time. It makes me so happy to watch her bond with her dad, sister and grandparents as well as the rest of our family and close friends. Her relationship with Mia is also evolving very nicely. They play pretty well together, and Lexi wants to do everything that Mia does. Lexi is finally letting Mia do her hair and help pick out her clothes, which Mia just loves. There definitely have beeen some challenges- Lexi is very clever and stubborn. We had to gradually get firmer on setting boundaries, but I am happy to say that her wicked tantrums that were happening almost daily are very few and far between now. She definitely tries to manipulate and get her way, but she reponds well even when she is told no and is able to regulate her feelings much better instead of completely falling apart.
Her personality has really come out and I have to say that she is such a clown. She is outgoing, fearless, and such a funny girl! She knows how to make us laugh, and she will definitely use that to her advantage. She loves being outside- Mark takes her around the yard & garden almost every day to look at the tress, flowers and butterflies, so they have some special time together. Lexi also loves to be a little Mama's helper- from helping to fold laundry to watering the plants to trying to carry groceries into the house- she always wants to help. She has learned how to play games on the i-pad, so I now have two girls who think the i-pad is theirs.
As far as her hearing, we have a wonderful team at the University of Miami who have helped educate and guide us through the audiology appointments. We had her fitted for hearing aids a few days after we came home. There are many appointments and hearing tests involved in order to accurately determine a child's level of hearing. Because Lexi didn't have the opportunity to receive hearing aids while at the orphanage, she is getting a very late start, so our team helped us fast-track her appointments. Lexi was very cooperative and consistent with the sound booth tests. She also loves having hearing aids. She asks (signs) for them every morning. She immediately pointed out new sounds, and concentrates so hard when we are doing a listening activity. Despite having tubes put in to drain the fluid from her ears in January, her hearing loss is still significant enough that hearing aids alone would not give her all of the sounds she needs to discriminate words and learn to talk. Lexi is doing great with signing, even putting two and 3 words together, but we want her to have the best opportuntiy to develop listening & spoken language. At the end of February, she received a cochlear implant in one ear, and she continues to wear a hearing aid in the other ear. She amazes us every day by continuing to point out new sounds, and trying so hard to talk. We feel very lucky and blessed that Lexi was brought into our life, and we are thrilled to give her the opportunity to reach her potential, no matter what that may be. We can't wait to see what the future holds for her and our family.
If you would like to watch the documentary that the University of Miami made about a child receiving a cochlear implant. click the link below. This is the wonderful team that works with Lexi!
As I was organizing Lexi's file I was curious and counted her appointments. Since we have been home she has had 27 medical appointments, from check-ups to lab work, vaccinations, hearing aid fittings, sound booth tests, speech therapy and more. In addition to those, she had a 3 hour MRI series and 2 surgeries. She has just been amazing! She is never afraid, just inquisitive and seems to love the attention. She walks around the University of Miami like she owns the place, and the nurses always stop to watch her walk in, as she is just so funny. We can't imagine our life without her! During the last few months Lexi has also been able to meet many of her Aunts, Uncles & cousins, and she even met the Princessess on a trip to Disney World. Lexi recently started attending a Kindermusik class. As active as she is, I think she will be ready to start ballet & gymnastics this summer.
We never could have made it through the last few months without our extended family and friends who have helped us out during this time. I have the best friend & in-laws a girl could ask for. I am also thankful for my FCC family- though we don't see each very often, we had a warm welcome at the airport and I know I can always find advice and support from this amazing group. I must say that I am also so grateful for the kindness of strangers. I am so thankful for the Darling family and they are often in my thoughts :)
Most of all, I am especially thankful for my parents for helping us as I returned to work. My mom is staying with us for a few months to take care of Lexi. It was so hard to go back to work, but it is so much easier knowing that my mom is with her. I must say, although our house is small, I am really enjoying having my mom with us- you are the best, Mom!
Here are some pics....