Emily – Adopted 2012

Emily was 23 months old when she was adopted from Russia in 2012. She is now 3 1/2 years old. She has been home for almost 2 years.

Emily was diagnosed with Down syndrome. Her family knew she had Down syndrome prior to meeting her in 2012.

Emily was slightly shy when her family first met her, but not too long into their first day of visits they started receiving huge smiles from her. She was just 18 months old when they met her and still very much a baby. She warmed up to them and enjoyed their visits with her and the toys they brought for her to play with. She grew quite comfortable with her mom and allowed her to rock her to sleep one day. When her family arrived back for court, she seemed excited to see them again, and immediately greeted them with the same huge smiles she gave them on their first trip. She also gave them big hugs and came right over to them, without appearing to be quite as shy as on their first trip. She was excited to see some of the toys again – and when they showed her a photo album with pictures of them with her from their first trip, she gave the album hugs and kisses. Emily has bonded very well with her family. She is a daddy’s girl, but prefers her mommy at bedtime. She loves her big sister, Dasha, and wants to be just like her. She has bonded well with members of her extended family as well.

Emily had no medical procedures done in Russia that her family was informed of. She was listed as having an “open oval window” heart defect – which they had examined when she arrived home in the US and found that it had closed on its own and she has no heart conditions or defects now. Emily had recurring ear infections and sinus infections – when they picked her up from the orphanage she had both. After arriving in the US her family had ear tubes placed in Emily‚Äôs ears that immediately helped stop the ear infections. She has continued to struggle with sinus problems, and is scheduled to have her tonsils and adenoids removed next week, which her doctors believe will help with some of the sinus congestion she experiences and will help her breathe better while sleeping. She has been tested for allergies as well and has no known allergies.

Emily was very small for an almost 2 year old when she came home. She was about the size of an average 6-9 month old baby. She was not walking independently and did not know how to drink from a cup, suck from a straw, or chew. She had horribly dry skin and eczema, especially on her face. She has grown about 5 inches and gained about 15 pounds – she’s still small compared to typical 3 year olds, but is right on target for a 3 year old with Down syndrome. She now feeds herself independently, uses a fork or spoon, drinks from an open cup or straw and not only walks, but runs, climbs and jumps.

Emily was not receiving any type of education as she was very young, and really still a baby in Russia. Her family had her evaluated by the Early Intervention program not long after arriving home in the US and for the first few months she received in-home therapy services. This past year she has attended a parent-toddler class one day a week provided by the Early Intervention program. It was a small class of children with various special needs and their parents, giving the children the chance to interact with one another, and prepare them for preschool. She also received speech, physical and occupational therapy in that classroom setting. Emily loved her toddler classroom and would ask to go to school on non-school days!

Emily will be starting preschool at a private preschool in a couple of weeks. She will be in a classroom with other 3 year olds, and will be the only child with special needs in her class. All the other children will be typically developing. She will receive speech and occupational therapy in her classroom, an interventionist will come to her preschool to provide those services. Her family is excited for her to start school.

Emily is just now old enough to start participating in most classes and programs, and her family is still trying to decide what will be the best fit for her. She is a very active little girl, so they are thinking of finding a gymnastics or dance class for her. She loves music and loves to dance! She loves baby dolls and playing pretend. She especially likes to pretend to cook at her play kitchen and serve her mom food. She loves to play outside, especially in the wading pool. She enjoys her toddler Sunday school class at church and looks forward to playing with her friends there. She has fun playing with her younger cousins as well.

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