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When your baby is not totally perfect

We all believe our babies are perfect. And we all want to have the best for our children. So how do you handle it when you get a report that your little diva has “Low muscle tone” and that she will need weekly therapy. Yes I cried. Yes I was devastated. But I never allow myself to dwell on things that can’t be fixed and if something can be fix, we fix it..

I just quickly want to add something here – As an adoptive parent you sometimes worry that you won’t have the same parental instincts as biological parents. But this again proved it wrong. A lot of people told me that I’m overreacting.. All children have their own time and she will crawl / move when she is ready for it. But my gut told me this is more. I knew that there was something else wrong.

Now we work on the solution. She will see the OT (Occupational Therapist) once a week. She will start swimming lessons soon. We are just in the research phase at the moment and I’m sure we will find a swim school that will suit our needs (Goodness I’ve not been in water in years! This should be interesting. Bring on the diet)

For those who don’t have an idea what this means, a quick summary:

My child has been diagnosed with low muscle tone. What does this mean?
Who gets a diagnosis of low muscle tone?
An infant or child will get a diagnosis of low muscle tone when:
• The muscles appear to be less firm than usual • The child appears to be floppy and to have loose joints • The child appears to be less alert and have poor posture and attention
For a more technical discussion please see webmanual.skillsforaction.com/low-muscle-tone
The difficulties experienced by children that lead to diagnosis of low muscle tone
• May be late learning to sit and walk – but not always • Have trouble sitting erect and working at a table – tend to sit with back rounded, may lean on one hand when drawing and writing • Have difficulty sitting still, tend to fidget, not complete school tasks • Have difficulties with handwriting and drawing • May t ire very quickly , not like walking far, have trouble going up stairs • May be good at games that involve short bursts of running, but have difficulty with posture in sitting, drawing and handwriting – these tasks require sustained activity in the postural muscles • Sit between legs on floor (w-sitting) , do not like cross legged sitting • Appear to have poor attention span or concentration, give up easily • Cannot hang on the monkey bars, do not like climbing on the jungle gym, are fearful

 

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Talk about it

I’ve been chatting to a few people the last few weeks. They have lots of questions about adoption and what it meant to us. And all of them can’t thank me enough for talking to them and all of them say the same thing – thank you for talking to us, most people don’t want to talk about it…

 

This puzzles me. Why not? Why won’t you share with people the joy that you have experienced. Yes it’s a hard road and frustrations set in. But if you have somebody that you can go to and talk to about it, it already helps. Do we still consider adoption an ‘taboo’ subject? Something that should not be spoken about? It’s a very strange concept to me. It’s not like we can hide the fact that we adopted Sky. And having people sharing in our joy just makes our joy so much more. Having people coming up to us in public and just wanting to get a laugh out of her or just ask us some questions is normal to us by now. We just accepted it as part of our lives. We don’t mind people asking questions, in fact we encourage it. The more people we can help get  a more positive attitude about adoption and specially transracial adoption, the better. People fear the unknown and if everybody that adopted just refuses to talk about their journey, it just alienates more people. So to all the parents out there that has adopted – share your story. It’s important! It might help somebody decide to also adopt and change a child’s life forever.

And those considering adoption – ask questions. As much as you need. Adopting is not buying a puppy – you can’t give the baby back if things gets to much for you. And yes, sometimes it does gets to much for you. You have to take the joy of everyday little things with the heartache of hearing somebody calling your baby a ‘boesman’ or the ‘k’ word or people just staring at you in public and accept the fact that most people will do a ‘double take’ when you walk past them. These are things that you have to be aware of and know that no amount of staring or hearing negative things against your child can take away the love, support and absolute joy you will experience. Because you have to deal with all of these things on top of normal parent problems like chickenpox, teething, moody baby, sleepless nights and the crawling stage where nothing is safe anymore.  So talk, share, ask…

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The day has finally arrive!

Sky is officially ours 🙂 Words can’t describe our joy. To know that she is by law now ours and nothing can take her away from us again.. Now the only thing we still need is her birth certificate but that will take months. As long as we know that legally she is ours, we are happy

 

We had a little bit of a laugh as we went into the court building. The Xhosa female security guard looks at Sky and asks if she is my baby. I say yes. The security looks at her again and says: But how is it possible that she has your face but black person hair…. I just laughed and explained that she is adopted. But yes, Sky does look like me. Mommy’s nose, Daddy’s toes 🙂

Everybody (including the judge) can’t get over how happy Sky is. She was on her best behaviour. We are proud parents 🙂

She obviously had to dress the part. Little crown and all

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Cuteness and frustrations

We have so much fun with our little diva. But the system is also frustrating us to no end. Sky is still officially not on our name. They lost some or other form and we had to re-do everything. This is driving us positively batty.. But we know it’s only a piece of paper and that we just have to be patient. Urgh, whatever….

 

Sky has discovered that she can walk in her walking ring. What chaos we have! But also a lot of fun. She’s pulling on everything and her eyes misses nothing. I’m pretty sure the neighbours must think I have Tourette’s as I’m screaming – No. Nee. No. Nee randomly every 2 seconds. She knows the meaning of “no” now and that helps – well in theory. As she also discovered if she leaves something and just wait until I look away, she can just go for it again. Causing my cellphone to end up in 3 pieces on the floor. And asking her what she’s doing, results in her batting her eyes and smiling like butter could not melt in that cute little mouth. It makes it very hard to stay upset. I see lots of fights coming, but also lots of laughs. She’s so animated in everything she does. What a little character we have here. No dull moment in our home…

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Daymother

I must admit, first I thought I was a bad mom for sending Sky to a daymother even though I work from home. But I do exactly that – I WORK from home. I’m not a stay at home mom, I’m a work from home mom. And now that I have made peace with the fact, I can embrace the whole thing. Sky is growing up not only with us who love and adore her (and yes, I like my child a LOT more when I’m not around her the whole day – those who wants to judge, you are welcome), but also another loving family where she gets to interact with another family and their little girl. The two of them love each other. Taylor just wants to play with ‘her Sky’… She tucks her in, brings bottles and helps her mommy with Sky. She is just too adorable. And we won’t have another baby (soon in anyway).. So this is the only ‘sister’ Sky will know. And to me, that just broadens her horizons. When I go to fetch her at 2pm, she is happy but oh so tired. She just enjoys Taylor so much and it calms her down. Just gets all her energy out of her.

 

Today she has found another pitch in her voice. The highest one possible (Oh Lordy I hope!) she is LOUD. It sounds like the windows are vibrating every time she starts screaming. The poor daymother thought that something was wrong with her, although I did warn her that she should expect some really high pitch sounds from that little body today.

 

It’s just an amazing experience. She has something new everyday. Yesterday I walked into the room and she looked up and said: Hey girl… (I take responsibility). She greets everybody – hey jy. And WOW, Whoa and NEE has made it into the vocabulary as well. She’s definitely going to be bilingual – although we know that we will need to send her for Xhosa lessons as soon as possible. It’s very important to us that we keep her identity. She’ s African, she needs to speak an African language. We have also decided to keep the name her tummy mummy gave her as her middle name. A Xhosa name will help her to know that we excepts everything about her. Oh and I believe a child should have a middle name, how else will they know they are in trouble?

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My first Mother’s day!

Yes, my first Mother’s Day as a mom! So for the first time in years I’m not fearing the day. I usually HATE the day. So much so that I wouldn’t get up on mother’s day. At all. I won’t go out of the house. I won’t go to church, ESP not to church. All the little ones handing out little gifts would make me sick to my stomach. I would just pretend the day never existed. Pigging out in front of the television watching anything but soppy movies.

 

So for the first time this year, I am a mom. I don’t have to pretend it doesn’t hurt. I don’t have to see the eyes of those who realize the pain and them trying to ‘make it better’. I am actually looking forward to Mother’s DAY!! I know it’s only through Grace and we are really really blessed to be able to say we are parents.

It’s difficult to explain the feeling to anybody that has not been in our situation. Somebody that never had to get the ‘ai shame’ look every time they would have something about moms and all your friends gets to enjoy something and you have to sit, watching their handbags. And people act differently. Some would pretend to not notice (we like those). Some would give you the ‘oh my heart is breaking for you’ look (we appreciate those, but don’t want them in public where you might burst out in tears). And some are just totally oblivious to your feelings and come show off their gifts (some days we like those, some days we hate them – depending on the hormone treatment you are on)…

So although I’m going to have a heart full of joy this year, I ask you to spare a moment for those who aren’t moms yet. Those who long to be one. Those who have babies in heaven that can’t give them a gift. And whatever your situation is,just realize that although they pretend to not care, they really do…

 

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Falling in love is hard on the knees

On Saturday we went to a local charity shop and due to Trixi’s fear of heights, she stayed at the bottom level while I took Sky to look around the books, puzzles and toys on the upper level.

Coming down the metal stairs, my foot gave way under me and I had a nasty fall – with Sky in my arms.

Superdaddy instincts kicked in and I cradled her in my arms making sure I took the full impact of the fall, and although she screamed and cried from the shock of falling, physically she was fine.

I on the other hand (or foot) have a leg which is badly scraped and a foot which is turning different shades of purple.

But at least I know without a doubt, even though she is not my biological child, I would sacrifice my own wellbeing to make sure no harm comes to my beautiful daughter.

Trixi’s supermommy instincts also kicked in – she rushed from the other side of the shop to our aid the second she heard the thump – it could have been any customer, but she instinctively knew it was Sky and myself.

PS my apologies to Aerosmith for “borrowing” their song title for this blog post.