"We are going to focus on LIFE for Katya. I believe, one day, she will amaze the world."

Dr. Ben Carson on Katya Dueck

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Recent Events

Paul's parents came to visit, arriving last Saturday evening. This was the first that they had met Katya. We had explained to Katya ahead of time that they were coming, tried to explain the whole family connection to her, and showed her a photo. She thankfully was fine when these new grandparents arrived, and not anxious--at least, not noticeably.
They left on Tuesday morning while we were rushing around trying to get Katya out the door. I managed to snap a quick photo of the two kiddos who were up and around before they left. Wish I had gotten a photo with them and all the kids earlier in the visit--it seemed there just wasn't much time though.

We also are enjoying spending chunks of time with a friend from out of state. She isn't staying with us, but has been staying at another friend's house in the area, and then doing things with us. The first time she showed up at the house, she came bearing gifts--books for the kiddos and this for yours truly!

This definitely was a HIT with this chocolate lover--and my stash was pretty depleted at the moment. I honestly feel quite pampered and elegant each time I peek into the box and even happier when I snitch one!

This week has been so busy with running to appointments and what not, that it feels almost like a blur! The one thing that really stands out to me though was that Thursday I actually took a two hour nap!!! That's a rare thing for me--while it MIGHT happen on Sunday, not usually during the week! It felt like a much-needed necessity, and yet also luxurious. ;-)

We also have been enjoying getting lots of good reports from school for Katya! The Aide is being able to accurately assess what Katya knows in many areas through ASL. This is helping the school start to see how well Katya is doing not only with her ASL, but also in terms of what she has learned. For instance, this week the aide and Special Ed teacher assessed how many animals Katya could identify after the aide would sign the sign for an animal. The aide did NOT speak the animal name--she only showed Katya the sign. Katya correctly identified FOURTEEN different animals BY SIGN ONLY. I don't think that is bad for any kid who has been learning a completely new language just a little over 2 years! Let alone having to learn a new language where she has VERY LITTLE exposure to it! Because remember, even though we are learning new ASL words all the time, NO ONE in our family is fluent, and no one in school last year was fluent. Katya was not around anyone who was fluent until this year with her aide!
The aide is also working hard to teach Katya new signs. Additionally, the Special Ed teacher (someone new this year) has a background with some basic ASL. She hadn't used it for a long time, but it was enough that she understands why ASL is so important for Katya, and is dusting off what she knows and working with Katya, as well as having the aide incorporate signing into what she is teaching Katya in the Special Ed room. I'm so extremely grateful for the place where we are at with Katya finally with school. No, still not quite perfect, but probably about as perfect as we are going to get, and certainly much, much, much better than the previous two years! It has greatly reduced Katya's frustration level to have more communication and support with ASL at school. She comes home much more cheerful each day than she did last year. I can tell she has more personal involvement on activities too because her papers are being corrected if she circles the wrong word when she is supposed to be learning color words for example, and her papers are more often done correctly. It's unfortunate that it took two years of fighting to get Katya the one on one aide she needed, but she has the support now, so I'm going to focus on being thankful, along with praying that she can keep this aide for a few years!

Katya has been enjoying these lovely late summer afternoons after she gets home from school. 

Lately Katya has also found more and more delight in going to find a baby doll and taking care of it!


This scene fills me heart with joy.

She looked so happy when we praised her quietly for being a very good Mama to her baby doll!

I love seeing how as Katya is loved and nurtured, and as she watches other kids be properly cared for, she is figuring out how to be a caring and  loving person. No more staring and poking at a doll, then slamming it to the floor and walking nonchalantly off. No more shoving the doll on to a play potty chair, jamming a bottle into it's mouth and walking off. Now she wants to sit down, feed the baby, wrap it in her favorite afghan and rock it! She's come such a long, long way!
Katya is such a testimony of what love, prayers and good food and medical care can do for a child . . . I love watching her blooming into the kid God created her to be!


csmith said...

I love seeing Katya's progress! I don't know how much information you're aware of concerning child development and the orphange child's brain, but this type of playacting is a huge milestone! It shows great promise in Katya's ability to form meaningful, well-bonded relationships. It is obvious that she is a sweet girl and you are doing a great job modeling loving, healthy relationships.

Carolyn said...

Katya's progress warms my heart - you all are doing a great job of showing her the way.

May God continue to give you strength,