Saturday, November 19, 2016

The picture part

In the van, almost there!

Dumbo - the first ride

Gianna was so so so excited to meet Ariel, I think it was a bit of a shock.

The day is wearing on us and we are fixating on smoothies

I love how everyone is so into this picture

Gianna just spotted a dolphin and she's not sure what to think about it!  What do we do with "happy trauma triggers"?  I'm not sure either.

We didn't visit lots of characters, but the ones we did visit were very special encounters.

At Animal Kingdom watching a very funny monkey

That monkey was pretty cool

Meeting Tarzan!  Logan was so shy with all the other characters, but he was intent on visiting Tarzan since he heard we were going to Disney so Zack helped him out.

Gianna loved the beach and swam every single day, even the colder ones.

Kian loved making sand castles.

Grandpa helped make some very impressive castles.

A sandy mermaid

yes, I was there too

Gianna is our little beach bum apparently

Logan swam and made sand castles, but took many breaks sitting in his chair eating chips

Meeting Anna

Friday, November 18, 2016

Catching up... also... PAPERWORK update

We've constantly been doing so many new and interesting things that it's hard to know where to start!  It's also hard to know where to stop once I start which anyone who's ever talked to me knows to be true...  Let's start with the India adoption since it never gets the first entries.

We sent all of our stuff in to immigration and our last medicals in to our agency right before we left on vacation over Halloween.  Then about a week and a half ago, we got word that we received our first India approval!  This was probably one of the larger "approval hurdles" for us to overcome, so that was great news!  They said that now they can begin to look on the waiting child list for children that match our family's profile.  They will be checking twice a week.  We could know very soon who our next family addition will be!!!  ...Or we could wait lots of months.  Either way, what a cool phase to be in!  Once we accept a referral that they send our way, we will have four more approvals and paperwork to complete before we can travel to go get them.  It can be anywhere from 9-18 months after we get the referral to travel.

Gianna has started at-home neurofeedback.  Three to five (we've generally been doing 4) times a week I attach little EEG wires to her head and ears and it reads her brain waves and gives her rewards for focusing on a video or game.  It targets certain areas she needs to work on, and hopefully will get her brain at a more optimal regulation to accept the attachment therapy.  We have already seen the changes at work, she listens and remembers what was said better, and she is calmer with less fits.  There are still fits, but there are less.

I can see her more and more coming out of her anxiety shell as well.  She is much more aware of what's going on around her, in a good way.  Her hypervigilance is decreasing and instead she's thinking about what day it is and how many days are there until Saturday, and paying attention more to what I said and remembering what it was she was supposed to do.  Not every day is perfect, and about every 2 weeks we have a rough one.  But there are vastly more good days than bad!

Gianna also continues to grow, and finally gained some weight to join that inch!  It's been a little while since her last weight check, so I'm wondering if that's increased even more.  Her eating is so normal it's delightful.

Both Gianna and Kian are loving school.  Kian is a wiggly 5 year old boy who cares more about friends than letters, and more about pretending to be a ninja on the playground than math, and he is having a blast.  He's learning a lot in spite of his "alternative interests". :)  Gianna is chugging impressively along.  She's managed to stay along with the 2nd grade class in math with significant one on one help.  They think she's ready to decrease that, though.  Also, she continues to "catch up" with regards to reading.  She started the year as a "beginning first grader" level, now a quarter of the way through 2nd grade she is at a "3/4 of the year first grader".  They switched her group because she had sort of "outgrown" it, and put her with a different set of kids based on her level.  She's now with advanced 1st graders.  It looks like progress and smells like progress!

Big attachment gain alert: Gianna has developed a "favorite toy".  This is huge.  Before, she would coin her "favorite" as anything that was the newest.  Whatever she had gotten most recently.  Then right before we went on vacation she started playing more consistently with a toy she got last February.  Casey the koala bear was also the one she picked to take on vacation.  Now she calls it her "favorite" and plays with it quite a lot.  This is not something we encouraged, but it is so so so encouraging.  If she has a budding attachment with a toy, that means that she is letting her guard down to love something.  And maybe, just maybe, she will feel secure enough to love and attach to a person, too.

I gotta tell ya - our vacation was the bombest.  We planned it very carefully and tread the activities with a watchful eye, and it paid off.  We had a blast and a bag of chips.  We trolled around Disney for 3 days and then went down to my parent's Florida place and spent 4 days there.  What a ball was had by all.  The grandparents joined us which made it really special.  Photographic proof to follow.