Monday, August 23, 2010

Looking for Lil?

I think the time has come to put all the follow-up posts about Lil on our family blog.  After all, she's been with us over a month & is a full-fledged part of our family now! 

Visit The Zoromski Chronicles 
to follow Lil with her family!

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Lily's been a very busy girl since we brought her home!  After we've cleared up her infected throat & ears, she's been doing great.  She's still not much for drinking, but she's definitely getting better about it.
  • Dentist - 1 cavity, needs thorough cleaning; will do under sedation this fall.  She wasn't thrilled about this visit, but she let him look in her mouth.  She HATES when I brush her teeth - she prefers to do it, but then she's really only brushing her tongue.

  • ENT - some concerns about tonsils, they are HUGE ... just watching them for now.

  • Audiologist - hearing is GOOD!  Yay!

  • Cardiologist - we knew Lil had an ASD (hole) that was repaired.  She apparently also had a VSD (hole in a different place) that healed on its own, probably when she was a baby.  We didn't know she had a valve repaired (stitched) during her surgery, and this mitral valve has a bit of back flow.

    What does that mean?  For now, she looks good.  She had an EKG & an Echo (she's such a trooper & good listener!)  The cardiologist started her on a low dose blood thinner, to help the blood flow easier, with the goal of preserving the life of that valve.  Otherwise, in the future (5, 10, 20 years) she may need another operation to repair or replace that valve.

    We really lucked out that there are pediatric cardiologist locally, and they're very highly regarded by parents we know.  Way back when we first committed to Lil, a friend of mine connected me to Dr. S via email, and she was wonderful about answering my questions as best as she could.  This heart stuff is all new to us, so any extra information was very valuable.

  • Physical Therapy - Lil is very, very flexible, there's a lot of laxity in her.  She's got flat feet, and gets around just fine, but she's not super steady.  The PT recommended we get supports for her feet that she can wear in her shoes - so far, so good.  We've got them, and we're working on getting her used to them, but that takes getting her to keep her shoes on!

    It cracks me up to think that the first time I took her shoes off in our apartment she kept putting them back on ... now I can't keep shoes on her!  When I buckle her into the van, before I close the door, she's got her sandals kicked off.

  • Eye dr - when we first met Lil & started visiting her, Brian told her, "You're going to look so cute in glasses!"  She's noticeably farsighted - turning one eye in when she tries to focus.  Yesterday, my mom & I brought Ruby & Lil to the eye doctor.  Ruby was fine & doesn't have to go back for 2 years, but Lil got a prescription for glasses & will go back in 6 months.  Hopefully we'll get to order new glasses for her early next week - an eye doctor office in a nearby town carries the Specs 4 Us which is a line of glasses specially made for people with DS, so we're going to check those out.
One of the best parts is we were able to do all this locally so far! 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Another Adoption!

(It's not our adoption, but I bet I got your attention, didn't I!?! ...
Mom?  Are you okay?  I hope my mom didn't faint!)

When we were in the midst of our travels this summer to bring home Lil, I received an email from my friend, Jill. She & her husband had decided to adopt a little boy from Reece's Rainbow! I couldn't be happier for them - or for the little guy who will be joining their family.

They have 5 children at home already, but felt moved to adopt - and this will be their first child with Down syndrome.  If you'd like to read more about how they came to the decision to adopt, please hop on over & visit her blog.  She shares not only how they made the decision to adopt - but also how reading about little Miss Ruby really opened the way. I've always thought part of being Ruby's mom was to just get her out in the world, so people can SEE that DS isn't scary, that kids don't "suffer" from it. I'm so touched that our family is a small part of their story - and I'm super excited to get to meet Elijah when he comes home!

Now, you might remember when I had a blog auction for Lily last winter, my friend's daughter made some items (swaddling blanket, crocheted kitchen set) for the auction. That is this same friend - and her daughter, Sarah, is making items to sell & raise money for Elijah's adoption. Sarah is amazing - she recently turned 12, and she has such a heart for orphans and helping others.

Please visit Sarah's new blog, Handiwork for Elijah, and know that any purchase you make will help offset the costs of bringing this sweet little boy to a family.

Elijah, coming soon to a family near me!  :)
Please click here if you'd like to make a tax-deductible donation for his 'ransom'!

My annoying passport

If someone were to ask me what I had to share from our experience ... well, Reece's Rainbows volunteers had all sorts of advice for us, and I'd highly suggest you pay attention & read all the material they send you. They send it for a reason!

But, personally, my number one tip would be make sure your passport is updated! My passport had my maiden name on it - and when we got married, I sent it in for a name change (which is free) instead of getting a new passport. This was fine, but it was such a hassle & slowed us down, REPEATEDLY.

My tickets were always booked in my married name (of course!) and so a look at my passport - they don't match! I was constantly having to flip it open to the end & show the addendum. Even in the US airports, they were caught off guard by this. Then, as the adoption progressed, my passport wasn't matching up with Lilya's new name on her birth certificate, and it was harder to explain with the language barrier. Luckily, it was never a serious issue, but just a constant little annoyance.

It was worse at the end, because I didn't have Brian with me - so if I hand over my passport at the airport, they'd look for my ticket under my maiden name ... and then I was trying to bring a child with a different last name out of the country ... like I said, it went fine in the end, but it was just unnecessary stress on my part. I should've gotten a new passport when we started the adoption!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

1 Month Home

I can't believe Lil's been home for a month! It seems like we just got off the plane ... and yet, it feels like Lil's been a part of our family for ages.

While we did paperwork and planning for Lily, it sometimes seemed so outrageous & unreal - like, how would we really ever manage to bring this person to live with us?    And now, here she is, the little girl who started out as a photograph and is a blooming, growing, amazing little girl - and we are so lucky to be her parents.  

It's really hard to wrap my mind around sometime, that we crossed the world to get a child - and this gem of a girl was unwanted?  

This little girl, who was actually in a very nice orphanage and well cared for - is literally blooming in front of us.  Her language - oh my gosh!  She's got many signs now, thanks to Signing Time DVDs, and a handful of English words she says regularly.

Also, funnily enough - she's started answering our questions with a very solemn, "Da," which is "yes" in Russian.  While we were in Ukraine, she never once said "Da" ... but now, she not only understands our simple questions (Do you want more cereal?  Are you ready to sleep?) with appropriate verbal answers!  Even if sometimes those answers are in Russian!

Lil got some great gifts from friends & family for her birthday and for coming home. 

She had to put this new shirt on right away - and she's warming up to baby dolls.

Sisters at breakfast
Lil's still not a big drinker, but she likes milk in her cereal.  She's also finally accepted a sippy cup like Ruby's, and she's willing to drink more now.  She still prefers milk - and that's fine with me!

Lil loves balls - and now has 2 new ones of her very own! 

and I did make her a cake on her actual birthday, even though we'd had cupcakes on the weekend.  I couldn't NOT make her a cake - it was her first birthday she ever celebrated!

I really like this picture of Lilya & her Papa...

and here, too - with big sister & big brother!
(Ruby was across the table, I couldn't get them all into one shot).
Really, Lily is just doing awesome.  There have been rough spots -- like giving Ruby a push or following the cat around while holding its tail like a leash -- but nothing extraordinary.  We didn't really know what to expect once we got her home, but we can safely say she's exceeded all of our expectations.  Ruby and Lily are also becoming more and more aware of each other -- the last time they had a bath together, they even gave each other kisses (which is a big improvement on the bath before that, when Lily accidentally threw a toy at Ruby's head).  Lily's so happy to be here, and to be with her brother and sisters.  Ruby's always been a shining star of happiness in our house... and now we have two.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Updates coming soon ...

But for now, just know that we're happy & all adjusting well!

Lil's not quite so hesitant around men anymore - she's figured out that she loves being tossed up in the air, and grandpas are super for that!  (She's met all 3 sets of her grandparents now!)

Lil with my dad, Boppa Bob

We went to a family party in Michigan this weekend with my dad's family, and she did so well - we are continually amazed at how well she's adapting, and how quickly she seems to be learning & changing.  She's still our little miss sunshine, but she's coming out of her shell even more, and we couldn't be happier with her!

Friday, August 13, 2010


It's pretty wild, but we now have two 6-year-olds in our home!  Lil turned 6 yesterday, and it's one month until Braden's 7th birthday.

I'm so, so, so very happy Lily was home with us for her birthday!  

Months ago, Braden said we'd need to have 6 cakes for Lily, since she'd never celebrated a birthday before.

We compromised with 6 cupcakes!

This was this past Sunday - so Daddy didn't have to worry about just getting home from work & Nana & Nice Wolf were here for dinner. 

Lil had no problem blowing out the candles!

Chocolate cupcakes?  Lily approves!

I have more I want to say - about opening presents, about making her a cake yesterday, too, because it was her ACTUAL birthday, and when I asked Brian if I should make her a cake even though we had cupcakes, he said, "Starr would say she needs one," and he was right, so I had to go get a cake mix (Starr is my cousin, who knows all the birthday rules).

BUT, life is busy, so this is it for now.   And even though we're busy?  We're HAPPY!  It's a good life, this life with 4 kids.

Friday, August 6, 2010

At the Beach

Braden had swimming lessons the past few weeks at a local beach, and Lily & Ru & I bring him, and watch him swim. Lil at first wanted nothing to do with the sand, but when she figured out it was the way to get to the water ... well, she tolerated it just fine, then.

We went as a family to the beach this past Sunday - Lil's first official trip to do more than wading & watching - and she loved it. She absolutely LOVES being in the water (and only fell in face first once, but I plucked her right up & she went on playing).

We also had a picnic dinner, and it's like Lil's been with us forever.

This look is called:  What? I'm eating. Stop taking pictures!