Thursday, May 14, 2009

comedy of errors

As seems to be the theme with this adoption, nothing went smoothly at first!

Our flights were good, except for the strange and irritating fact that our travel agent did not select our seats for our flights from DC to Frankfurt and Frankfurt to Belgrade. So on both we ended up sitting far apart and unable to change seats with other passengers because they were couples or parent/child.

We got to the apartment fine, but about 10 minutes after the manager left we realized the internet was not working. About 10 minutes and a frantic search through all the suitcases later we realized we had left the 2 electric power adapters (which were one of the first things we bought, last summer!!) in a bag we decided not to use, back at home. We sent off an email to the manager about the internet through my cell phone and then it informed us it was out of battery power. We left the laptop on but (so we thought) in sleep mode in case the manager needed to come in and check the internet. We then left to meet our facilitator, J, for dinner.

Although I was able to read the Cyrillic street signs for the most part and find them on the map, we still ended up going the wrong direction and getting utterly lost. After a taxi and a quick visit to an internet cafe to make our brief post, we had a delicious dinner with many leftovers. :)

We got back to the apartment tired and missing being able to talk with the kids on Skype and realized the laptop was now out of power, too. So even when the internet came on, we would be unable to use it.

We were up early, about 6 am, so we had plenty of time to get to our 11 am meeting with the Ministry officials. Right? LOL We were supposed to meet J at the "Hotel Slavija" at 10:50. Well about 8 am we both fell back asleep and woke up at 10:30! We dashed out the door and of course, our luck was long gone. First we couldn't get the door to lock. Then we couldn't find a taxi right away. Finally we got one and he asked us where and we said the name of the hotel. He repeated it, we repeated it, he repeated it again. Of course he was the slowest and most passive driver in Belgrade, I think LOL, and at first I thought he was taking a long way around to get a bigger fare. But then he pulled up to the "Hotel Srbija". I was near tears then and after we said no and repeated the correct hotel name, he headed back into the awful traffic - apparently there was a strike going on so everything was moving so slowly. I was so ready to burst into tears.

Finally we made it to the hotel and we all headed off to the Ministry building in the same taxi, but the traffic was at a standstill and we ended up getting out and walking the rest of the way. We were nearly 30 minutes late for our meeting. :(

But everyone was understanding and the meeting was short and simple. We found out a very little about Em's birth family - her mom is a nurse and she had another baby - a girl - already. I was very sad to hear that, how awful to never know your sister. I remembered how studies done in the U.S. show that siblings of children with Down syndrome are more mature, well-adjusted, caring people than those without... it is a loss on both sides.

We then went to meet Emerson! I thought I would certainly cry - in fact I planned to sob and embarrass myself completely! :) But when they brought her to us it wasn't like meeting her for the first time, it was like we had just been apart for a little while and we were seeing her again, and I had no tears. She is so small, I just wanted to feed her LOL. She was very cautious, almost like she wasn't completely with us, but we could see flashes of potential - after a little while she realized that the toys we gave her came from the black diaper bag we brought and she kept leaning over and looking around us at the bag on the table, like she was wondering what else was there. She soon discovered when she threw a toy we would pick it up, and had fun testing that cause/effect relationship. She is not sitting unassisted, though her trunk strength is good and I think she can be pretty quickly. She was perfectly quiet the whole time, and no smiles to be seen. She took some formula/pediasure, through a Playtex nurser held upright, but definitely has some trouble with lip closure - the hole in her regular bottle is cut very wide so she is not used to having to work hard to get her food and was not happy at first. Most of it leaked out the corner of her mouth. She is so funny with her tongue - she seems to use it like another hand, to test and explore things. She wouldn't stop kissing herself in the mirror - she knows how beautiful she is! ^_^

This morning she seemed to get much more comfortable with us - she looked at us directly in the eyes, babbled (I think she has many more sounds she is keeping from us!) and surprised us with smiles and a few giggles when we tickled her. It was like she was starting to wake up. This time when we fed her she kept her lips tighter and spilled much less - she seems like she has a great appetite and took a full 5 oz by the time we left. When we tried to stop she would whine and lean toward the bottle. I stood up with her and held her over the table and she leaned down and grabbed the bottle LOL! We tried some baby food and she has A LOT of tongue thrust and even gag reflex still. Feeding will be a challenge, new territory for us.

Her upper body tone seems pretty good I think, her lower body is very low tone though. She rotates her hips out in a way that makes me cringe - worse than Dawson ever did - but we are already working on keeping them together, adjusting them constantly. We were amazed when we lay her down on the little daybed in the room and she commando crawled over to the toys! Even when I reached out and pushed her hips into place she kept going - she is very determined and in this area, has Dawson beat! He couldn't care less about crawling LOL. If we can just get her lower body to coordinate with her upper. :) Yesterday she refused to bear any weight through her legs, but today she stood supported for about 10 seconds at a time.

She transfers toys from hand to hand like a pro, is already starting to get the idea of putting a ball into a toy, and pulls rings off a ring toy easier and more purposefully than her little brother. :)

I can't wait to get her home, to have her play with our wonderful therapists and see all that potential start blossoming. We were told after spending about a month in the hospital she lost a lot of her personality - she'll never be alone again so we are very hopeful she will find it again.

Of course, in the end, none of this matters. We adore her and ultimately just want her to be happy, to be surrounded by love like Dawson is, another little sun in our sky.