Tuesday, June 15, 2010
One Year Later: IRINA!
The same day we met Luke, we also met Irina. She actually came into the room first, and I immediately fell in love with her. When I first saw her referral picture, I did not think “oh how cute”. Instead, I was immediately drawn to look at her eyes, and my heart broke. The sadness and hopelessness just drew me in, and as we prayed for her and our decision to bring her home, she seemed to call out “rescue me, please rescue me”.
After our initial visit with Luke and Irina, the orphanage doctor came in to read their medical charts to us, with our facilitator translating. The doctor misunderstood our intention to adopt both children, and thought we were choosing between them. She told the facilitator to tell us that there was no choice, we should take Luke and that we did not want Irina. I will never forget the expression on her face when the facilitator explained that we wanted BOTH children. I might have been missing some cultural cues, but it was a most unpleasant expression, a look of complete disgust. Perhaps she thought we were foolish, or misunderstood our intentions. She couldn’t have been more wrong though, we DID want Irina! This little girl is loved so very dearly and cherished more than that doctor could ever imagine.
This child is not the same one we brought home from the Ukraine. That little girl had a hard time with prolonged physical affection, and she would become completely over stimulated by our attention. She could not feed herself, and had only been fed (and would only eat) pureed foods. She aspirated liquids anytime she would drink, and she did many self-stimulating behaviors like thwacking her tongue, banging her head, facial ticks, and rocking. Her only means of communicating were raging and grunting, and she didn’t make eye contact. It was impossible to get a good picture of her because she would never smile. If we played outside, she would rub her hands in dirt and sand, and then put them in her mouth and eat it. Only a shadow of that little girl remains…
Irina’s transformation this year is nothing but AMAZING! She is a ray of sunshine in our family. Her belly laughs are the best, and we hear them often! She smiles ALL the time, and is now even doing modeling poses for the camera. Irina has learned many signs, her rages have decreased significantly, and she is even starting to make speech sounds (my favorite is when she signs and says “mom” at the same time!). She has learned to eat with a spoon and fork, eats almost anything and everything, and drinks from a sippy cup and a straw. She loves the sandbox and pool and outdoor play (and doesn’t eat the sand and dirt-usually!). She loves LOVE! She not only tolerates affection but seeks it and gives it! Irina reminds me daily of what redemption means, and how love can utterly transform a person. This little girl bubbles with love, joy, and fun and we thank God daily that we followed His prompting and added her to our family!