Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Why she is not lacking

After two months of receiving weekly occupational and physical therapy, my daughter Tigist is aging out.

She turns three on paper on February 4th, although we are in the process of legally changing that to reflect a more accurate birth date (sometime in the spring). 

So while we won't be observing her birthday in early February, for our government's puposes she will be three, thus no longer receiving two in-home visits from therapists every week, courtesy of the taxpayers.

This was actually our first foray into the world of "services."  And it was good, overall.  Both of her therapists were sweet, kind, encouraging.  They regularly included (and actually utilized) Mary Lu, Tigist's other half.  They were patient when Tigist got tired.

And, Tigist has come a crazy long way since coming home.  No doubt about that.  She could not use her limbs for much of anything when we took custody of her, but now?  Now she can climb out of her high chair.  Get up on her knees.  Pull herself up to standing.  Drink and suck and eat crunchy goldfish crackers.  Repeat back words to us. 

But still, I'm kind of secretly relieved that the therapies are done for now.

Please don't get me wrong--it is never a bad thing to get a child some extra help in one area or another.  As moms we need to be our child's advocate and make sure we are meeting their needs.  And sometimes that will include seeking help from professionals.

But for now, our family has made the decision to forgo 4-day-a-week preschool for our daughter (the only way she could really access services at this point), because we believe she is developing just fine, and ultimately because we feel that home is where she needs to be.

Our personal philosophy is that while we want to help our daughter meet her potential, it's okay that it takes her a little bit longer to do certain things.  My goodness, she spent how long in an orphanage where she was kept with the babies, with very little incentive to meet milestones that would already be hard for her to meet?  But she will meet them eventually because she's a strong girl.  With a big fan club of cheerleaders headquartered at my house.

It's interesting because Tigist is far less motivated during therapy sessions.  And the whole reason we even had an occupational therapist assigned had resolved itself by the time her first appointment rolled around.  (Eating and drinking issues.) 
Again, I'm not saying therapy is a bad idea, or that it's not absolutely necessary in certain circumstances. 

Just that Tigist is going to do perfectly fine, and more than anything else, she needs to feel secure in our family and to know that she was created by a good, loving God.  And God created families, after all, to nourish children--both body and soul.  Tigist is not defined by her Down syndrome diagnosis any more than by her eye color.

There's a word Catholics throw around a lot, and that word is dignity.  And my daughter has dignity because she is loved by Jesus and was created by a God who was there when those extra chromosomes were forming.  He was there.  He made her just the way she is.

And she is strong-willed, opinionated, silly, joyful, and ridiculously chatty.  She is brave, strong, loving, and affectionate. 

She was fitted for orthotics today, and she will walk at some point.

She will succeed.

She is not lacking, and our family will see to it that she has every opportunity to become the beautiful girl God intends for her to be.  I'd say she's well on her way.


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