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progress report

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

She believed that dog would kill her. THAT is how strong it was.

Its been awhile since I last gave you a Maddie progress report. Over the last three months she's been growing, changing and learning. So much so, at times its hard to remember the little girl we brought home 13 months ago.
Here's what she's been up to...

'It naaaa wor-ing'

Maddie has been doing a really good job lately of telling me when her hearing aid has stopped working. It may not sound like much, but its huge for us. It means if we forget to do our daily hearing aid battery test, the world won't come to an end.
She'll tell us if she can't hear.
It also means she's paying more attention to the world around her. Not only the sights, but the sounds. According to her speech and language teacher this is huge...
Stephanie has been working really hard with Maddie to teach her how to discriminate sound. Essentially, how to hear.
For most of us this comes naturally, but for a child who hasn't been ABLE to hear her entire life, this is a skill that had to be taught...and it looks like she's catching on.
Anytime there is a new sound she calls our attention to it and asks us what it is.
Her 'sound vocabulary' - the sounds she recognizes - is exploding.
Which is awesome.
It means she has the ability to listen as well as look for cars before she crosses the street...she'll be able to tell when someone is walking up behind her...and most importantly it means she's able to hear the different parts of speech that so far have been alluding her.

Speak Up

Maddie is making huge progress on her speech.

From the time we brought her home, its been incredibly difficult to understand what Maddie is saying. At first I thought it was because of the language difference...and most likely it was.
But I'm learning its more than just that.
The 'hard of hearing' label doesn't just mean Maddie can't hear at the same volume level as the rest of us...it also means she can't hear certain consonants. For each decibel of sound she can't hear, Maddie also loses the ability to discriminate consonants.
S, Ts, Hs, Ls, Zs, etc.
Before she came home, before she became 'aided', she couldn't hear them.
At all.
Now that she's aided...and she's really starting to LISTEN, she's starting to recognize those sounds - which means she's able to copy them - which means she is starting to use them. Which means her speech is getting clearer.

Awesome stuff! :)

Growing up

Inside - I think Maddie is starting to catch up on her maturity.
Experts say you should expect one month of emotional delay for every three to four months a child is in an orphanage.
If that's true (which I believe it is - its held true for all four of our kids) then when we brought Maddie home from the orphanage at four years of age, she would have been the emotional equivalent of a two-and-a-half year old. Now she's five years old...and emotionally I would say around a four-year-old.
She's gained about six months in a year.
A pretty good rate if you ask me!
Don't get me wrong, there are days when I have to ask her how old she is (as a reminder)...but by-and-large she's doing MUCH better.

And Out - Not only has Maddie lost a tooth this month - she's gone through a HUGE growth spurt! I am convinced she skipped a size in clothes while I wasn't looking.
The last I checked she was wearing 4T jeans...now she's in size 5 kids. She skipped right over the size 4s. And its the same brand of jeans, so I'm pretty sure I'm accurate here.
She's also jumped in shirt sizes.

I'm thinking shoes are next. Thank goodness summer is coming. I can have her go barefoot if necessary! :)

The three Rs

Maddie has also made a lot of academic progress over the last few months.
When I last updated (in December), Maddie was starting to learn to spell and sign her name. Today I'm happy to report she can not only spell it and sign it...she can WRITE it.
She's not only learning the alphabet...she's SIGNING the letters.
In fact she recognizes the sign BEFORE she recognizes the written letters.
Awesome stuff! :)
Let me tell you...this sign language stuff is great. Maddie isn't using it exclusively for communication, but she will often use it to clarify her what she's trying to say.
And I've learned enough that I can now tell Maddie to 'stop it, sit down and be quiet' from across the room.
I can tell the three older kids the same thing...and they understand me!
A skill worth its weight in GOLD I tell ya! :)

Animal Attraction

We're still having some issues in the animal loving department.
Maddie has finally grown to not only accept but actually like our pets. Our cat and dog are pretty docile...neither one gets too wound up or spiteful towards the kids. And Maddie has gotten to the point where she'll walk up to them to pet them. She even sits down and lets them sit by her.
So I've gotten a bit complacent. I should have known better.
On Sunday, Maddie and I went to visit my parents and my brother and his family. Len has a dog, Muffin, who is an absolute cutie.

Unfortunately, Maddie doesn't agree.
As soon as Maddie saw her, she let out a blood-curdling scream, climbed up my body into my arms and scampered over my shoulder onto the back of the couch, where she stood holding onto my shoulders, keeping me between the two of them, all the while crying...
Its more than a fear of animals.
Its a panic.
An absolute terror.
Stronger than any fear I have seen.
She believed that dog would kill her. THAT is how strong it was.
And there's not much I can do to help her, other than what we've already done. Try to expose her to animals as much as possible and help her work through it.
Now you watch...she will be the child to follow in Shad's footsteps and be a vet! :)

14 salty messages:

Stephanie March 18, 2009 at 1:27 AM  

Holy cow on that dog thing! But the progress over all is simply amazing!!!

Tina in CT March 18, 2009 at 5:52 AM  

Love seeing posts like this on how far Maddie has come. She's sharp as a tack.

Hopefully the fear of animals will get better before she goes off to vet school.

JP March 18, 2009 at 7:41 AM  

The fear of animals I remember so well. I remember trying to describe Ivan's reaction to dogs and never managed to do it as well as you just have. He literally crawled up and hugged my head as well.

We asked our facilitator about this fear and learned that the orphanage workers would tell the kids that the dogs would bite and eat them in order to keep the kids from getting too close to the stray dogs that were always crossing through the playground outside the orphanage.

Courtney March 18, 2009 at 8:05 AM  

I do find it rather ironic that the child of a vet would be terrified of animals. But it is so sad to think of what has happened in her past to have her this scared of them. Our boys were not comfortable around animals either, but they were not terrified of them (a little scared at first, definitely). Now they are very comfortable, even with dogs they haven't met before. There must have been something in Maddie's past that really shook her up.

So glad to hear all of the GREAT language progress! :)

Elaine March 18, 2009 at 8:40 AM  

Yay for Maddie! It's amazing to watch our kids progress and grow, and she certainly has been doing that, hasn't she?

MamaPoRuski March 18, 2009 at 9:46 AM  

Great post and updates. I am liking the looks of the blog too. I am trying to do the math on O's emotional maturity but really I think it's a bit more dramatic than the formula you gave. I am giving her at least one or two years in America to make up for each year at the orphanage. At this rate I will be ready for grandchildren when she fully heals...sigh!

Tanya March 18, 2009 at 4:24 PM  

You must be so proud of her, what an amazing success!

Carlee March 18, 2009 at 6:10 PM  

Yay! It's truly amazing what a little love, consistency....and hearing aids can do! Way to go Maddie and family!

OldWestMom March 19, 2009 at 3:37 PM  

Hey! This is my first visit (and thanks for the E card drop on mine) but I love your site! I always enjoy reading other people's stories about their adoptions. I'll be checking in for more updates!

Congrats on Maddie's progress!!!!

Tim March 19, 2009 at 7:17 PM  

I bet your right! She will be a Vet or someone who like works at an animal sanctuary or something where they rehab animals. I wouldnt count it out. Taylor was the same way when she was little. Of course the animals she was exposed to were all big so maybe we didnt help her fear much. Her Papaw bred labe when she was little and we had a great pyrenees.

I got you registered for the giveaway, and I have really enjoyed reading your blog.

Our prayers are with Maddie and that she continues to progress as she has.

Love and Prayers,


Sheryl March 19, 2009 at 8:14 PM  

Yay! I'm so glad Maddie is doing so well. She's such a cutie! Thanks for the update.

mrsbroccoliguy March 20, 2009 at 1:29 PM  

Oh my gosh it's just amazing to see how far she has come! Really,it's nothing short of miraculous. It's so hard to see the progress day to day, but when you step back and see the big picture - awesome.

Troy and Rachel March 24, 2009 at 1:23 PM  

I loved reading the update. Maddie has come so far!! I am so glad her progress with hearing, signing, writing, etc. has exploded! You all are a wonderful family!

Lindy April 4, 2009 at 5:51 PM  

Hi Tami!

Wow, it's great to read a Maddie update. My computer is so slow - and getting slower - and I'm so busy, I rarely get the chance to go to your site. But I finally made it today. So glad to hear about Maddie's progress. I'm going to try to keep more in touch.

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