Dasha – Adopted 2012

Dasha was 6 1/2 years old when she was adopted in 2012. She is now 8 years old. She has been home for almost 21 months.

Dasha’s family met her in July 2012 and knew she had Down syndrome before they met her. They visited with her 5 times on that trip. They began to bond with Dasha quite quickly. One day while they were there the staff told them she would see them after her nap. She was too excited to sleep during nap time that day. At the end of their week in Russia, Dasha cried when they left for the last time. The orphanage staff brought her to the gate of the orphanage, so she could wave goodbye and she tried to run after them. She was very sad that they were leaving. When they returned for their court trip in October 2012, they waited for her in the room they typically visited in. She entered the room and immediately got a huge grin on her face. She picked out her favorite toys that they had played with her previously with and also showed them she remembered the sign language signs that they taught her in July. Her parents were also told that the orphanage social worker printed off a picture of Dasha with her parents from their first trip. (She had taken some pictures on the orphanage camera) She hung the picture in the room where Dasha slept, and every day Dasha would walk over to the picture and point to her parents and name everyone “Dasha, Mama, Papa”. All the other children were fascinated by this picture (Her parents were the only family to adopt from this orphanage for over 10 years) and would point to the picture and ask about Dasha’s mama and papa and Dasha would respond by saying “Mine” (in Russian) Dasha is very attached to her family now. She loves to look at pictures of her family and point out everyone in the pictures. She has also bonded well with members of her extended family and looks forward to spending time with them.

Dasha had an umbilical hernia repaired at some point when she was young in Russia. When she came home to the US she had years of fluid built up behind her ear drums that caused her to fail all her hearing tests. She also had very large tonsils and adenoids which were causing her sleep apnea. She had ear tubes put in and her tonsils and adenoids removed and her hearing immediately improved. The sleep apnea has improved, but she is still a restless sleeper. Her family continues to seek information about what causes her to be a poor sleeper. Dasha was very small for her age, even for a child with Down syndrome when she arrived home. At 6 1/2 years old she was about the size of an average 3 year old. Since coming home she has grown almost 9 inches and gained close to 20 pounds. She is now close in size to most 6 and 7 year olds.

Dasha received a preschool type education in her orphanage. Her family didn’t receive many details about what the children were learning, but it was obvious they had some model of education set up in her orphanage. When arriving home in the US, her family wanted to be sure Dasha received the best education she could based on the level she was currently at, and so they found a preschool program that she attended a few days a week and was in a class with all typically developing (non- special needs) children. Dasha will be starting school at her local elementary school in about a week. She will be doing course work to help her continue to catch up to other children her age, and will be in the 3rd grade. She will be in classes with a mixture of children with special needs and typically developing children.

Dasha loves school, she enjoys the interactions with other children ad is very enthusiastic about learning new things. She is a very determined young lady and works hard.

Dasha has played on a baseball team and enjoys attending Sunday school classes at our church. She loves to help her mom cook so they enjoy lots of fun bonding time in the kitchen! Dasha loves anything art or craft related, and will spend hours drawing pictures or painting. Her family loves to display her artwork around the house. Now that Dasha is 8 years old, her family will be signing her up to be a part of their local Special Olympics program. Dasha loves to ride her bike, play at the park and loves to be outside.

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