Katya has now seen our family Doctor, the Osteopathic Doctor, and the whole International Adoption Clinic team.
Everyone feels that given the life she has led for the last 6 years, she is doing amazingly well, both physically and in her adjustment and bonding.
Katya is gaining weight! When we first brought her out of the orphanage, she fit into size 3/4 underwear with a lot of "bag" . . . she was simply skin over bone--it HURT literally to hold her on our laps because her hip bones dug painfully into our legs. Now she has some nice padding on her body--not a lot, but some and I expect her to continue to put on more weight if she keeps eating as she is. Now that she's learning that there is enough food for her, her "wolfing" is lessening . . .
Katya also already is clearly recognizing some basic words or phrases in English! "Let Mommy help you", "Wait", "Come to Mommy" and "Katya, go wash your hands!" She also recognizes, "What does Katya want?" and she knows that her is her "cue" to sign "more". She also will sometimes now spontaneously sign "more" when she sees something she wants to eat or if she truly wants "more" of anything she's already eaten! We are working hard on teaching her the sign for "toliet" and hope that at some point she will learn to sign that for us. In the meantime, taking her frequently to the toliet is working--she also is starting to take herself at times now.
Recognizing her bedtime routine has happened now as well--Katya will go after her bath, pick out a book and wait in the (very old and worn out) rocking recliner waiting for me to come snuggle her and read to her. I rock her usually for around an hour, and then take her up and tuck her into her bed. She generally pulls the blankets right over her head and goes quickly to sleep! She seems to be happy every time I tuck her into bed--I think the fact that she saw the photo ahead of time of her bed makes her feel connected and safe in her bed.
Lest you think all is peaches and cream, I will be honest and tell you that there are PLENTY of hard moments. The hardest is that Katya views Chad evidently as a threat to her and is really unkind to him again and again. We continue to address that and try to work with it, but so far we havent' succeded in getting the behaviors all stopped. I'm sure they are "survival of the fittest" behaviors and will lessen with time, but in the mean time it's being really hard on Chad and all of us . . . he's prayed and loved Katya so faithfully and persistently all this time that it's hard to see him hurt so much.
Katya is also testing, testing, testing! She obviously is thinking hard and trying to see what the boundaries here at home are. We've done bodily excretions, tantrums, clothing chewing and other assorted things . . . fortunately . . . we are able to keep a pretty good sense of humor most of the time and roll with it all and she's starting to realize that such behaviors don't punch our buttons and instead end up with her being the loser. Her tantrums have lessened in intensity and duration quite a bit, and a lot of other behaviors are seeming to lose some steam as well.
There is still much need for prayers for Katya and our family . . . . please continue to pray. And we will continue to try to update you as we can find a few moments here and there!