Thursday, February 23, 2012

The McQuilkins-One Year Later

Our sweet baby girl that we brought home from Ethiopia in September of 2010, has turned into a full blown toddler with a horrible case of the terrible twos!!!

I say that proudly, because when we first learned of her and met her, I wasn't sure what God had in store for our sweet daughter. When we brought her home, we were told that she may have suffered a severe brain injury during childbirth by one of our doctors. It was that bad. God heard our cries to restore her health and to show us what he wanted for this sweet daughter of not only ours, but most importantly His!! The first few months were slow going, but as we patiently waited and worried about her future, we began to see her sweet, and stubborn personality emerge. At the end of our last update, we were celebrating her one year birthday. After February of 2011, things seemed to me to be very slow going. She was continuing in physical and occupational therapy and we were really looking forward to watching her pull up and cruise and seem interested in taking those few first wobbly steps. Looking back now, I understand that not only did we have to wait because she was behind, but also because of her very strong willed personality. Why was I surprised by this?? We are talking about a baby born in a third world country, while her mother was dying, who was welcomed into this world in a very sad and traumatic way, without the resources to sustain her life. Against all odds, she survived. I knew it was because God had a plan for her, as he does you and I as well. But, I was not expecting that God got her through this by being stubborn, strong willed, unrelenting and amazingly smart. She is one tough cookie!! It took a while to convince her that it was safe to pull up to a table, after that we had to convince her that cruising was safe as well. Once she mastered these skills which most 9-10 month olds mastered, we had to also let her know that getting down from standing was not to bad either. Things have definitely been different with Khari. She is very cautious and has to really be convinced that she should trust you. Eventually she came around and realized that being on two legs was more beneficial to her. So after 17 months of slow going she decided to take a few steps! We had to force her! She had no interest. But after about one month of "stepping" she decided that it was better to walk. I would say she became a decent walker around 18 months.

So around 18 months old Khari graduated from physical therapy and what a bittersweet picture it was to see that little pitiful muscle free child that we brought home from Ethiopia almost one year later walking herself right out of a rehabilitation center. She was amazing. Not long after that her occupational therapist said she was testing ahead of her age level and she was finished with that as well. It was such hard work watching her try to perfect using her pincher grip to do things as simple as pick up a cheerio, and learning to use her hands for shape sorting and puzzle piece placing. These were all things that I had taken for granted with my other children. Things that I just thought happened naturally. All of the kids in our family learn from each other everyday. Whether it be good or bad, it's true. I think the older children have learned more from Khari this past year than they have from her (although it is close!) They have learned that things don't always come easy, and to keep trying. Although at times she has gotten very frustrated, she never stops trying.

When all of the therapies were finished, and they told me she was doing amazing, I had to catch my breath. She is. She really is.

Now Khari stays busy with her time by trying to put herself in the middle of every activity. She wants to be part of her big sister's sleep overs, play puzzles with her brother and be the center of attention at all school functions, just like all of the other kids. We recently went back to get a reevaluation for therapy services and they said she is doing great in physical and occupational areas. At her two year check-up her not so overwhelmingly emotional pediatrician said that he was blown away by her progress this past year. We are trying to get her to talk and have begun speech therapy. She has around 50 words, but would rather you do what she wants you to do without talking!

Adopting a waiting child is never the easiest path. Lets face it, there is nothing easy about childrearing, and especially not adopting at all. We have been so blessed to be Khari's family. She reminds us all to count everyday as a blessing and to never take anything for granted. She reminds me to slow down, read books, play outside and smile. I cannot imagine our family without her. She may be the youngest of our family, but she is for sure the boss of the other kids, and they wouldn't have it any other way. I am amazed as I look back over this past year. I cannot wait to see what we have in store for this next year!

If you have ever considered adopting a waiting child, think and pray about it. It has been one of the most amazing decisions we have made in our lives.

We are truly blessed!

Much Love,

The McQuilkin family

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