Next week this sweet girlie will be 6 months old.
She is changing and growing so fast!
It has been such a joy to watch her grow from a tiny scrunched up newborn whose body was wracked with the misery of drug withdrawal into a beautiful, happy, playful baby. Loving her has been so rewarding. I hear quite often that it is so good of us to "do this" for her but in all honesty I feel so blessed and privileged to be a part of her life...to be her mommy. It hasn't been all butterflies and rainbows but neither is raising my own children :)
Despite a rocky start she is developing within the range of "normal" and I am continually amazed at how quickly she is now changing and catching up. At 4 months she was still struggling to hold up her head and wasn't yet reaching for objects. Less that two months later she is now able to sit for several seconds, play with her toys, show off in the jolly jumper and roll around the living room. She is very interactive (to the point of being a shameless flirt), is very ticklish, and loves to play "pat-a cake". She loves getting mauled by her doting foster siblings and giggles happily at their antics. She has become a content, happy, delightful little girl ( more so when she's not constipated or teething...which she is struggling with this past couple weeks. )
She has a heart melting smile with two adorable bottom teeth. I love the way she smiles from her eyes all the way down to her toes.
In the time we've had her she has grown 5 inches and 10 lbs!! I kind of hope that her growth curve slows down a little in the second half of her first year or she'll be wearing toddler size 3 on her first birthday! ;)
On a less cheerful note. We found out this past week that her second round of blood testing confirmed a pos. Hep C result. I don't know if I should be making that public or not. I've been scouring the internet for information, prognosis, statistics, and hints for keeping her as healthy as possible but since this virus is pretty rare in infants and children there isn't much out there.
We knew that she had been born to a Hep C pos. mother but the likelihood of her having contracted it were very low 1-4%. We were surprised when the first test came back positive. She was re tested months later because there was still a good chance the newborn test produced a false positive result. No such luck.
I did find one decent website directed at adults living with HCV that had lots of helpful hints for keeping her liver as healthy as possible...nothing for children though. There are so many variables, so many possible complications, so many individual progressions of the disease. She could fight off the virus completely, she could remain asymptomatic for most of her life, she could develop serious chronic liver disease, cirrhosis, and complete liver failure within anywhere from the next 2-30 years. Thats such a wide range of possibility. She could struggle with a whole host of chronic symptoms, complications, and uphill health battles or she could have absolutely none of them. There is really no way of knowing what lies ahead for her. No one knows.
God knows. He brought her to us knowing exactly what she will face...what we will face together.
What I have been told is that the longer someone has it the more chance of serious liver damage...2/3 of the people with in 20-30 years of contracting the virus. Which may not be that big of a deal when you contract the virus when your 50 but what happens when you are born with it? What does 30 years down the road look like for her? A transplant? I have read that lifestyle seems to make a difference statistically speaking.
I'm trying not to worry about the future possibilities. From what I've read the best things we can do for her is to keep the toxic load on her liver to a minimum and keep her nutrition level high. I've been reading up on liver supporting nutrition, juicing (which is recommended on the Hep C web sites I've found), and the things she needs to avoid. Whatever lies ahead we'll give her the best shot we possibly can.
If any one out there in blog world is raising a child that has Hep. C I would love to hear from you. Information and experienced support is hard to come by.
As of now the specialist has given us a few things to watch for that would suggest liver failure..such as her turning yellow. There is no plan for treatment at this point but they will monitor her liver function every 6 months or so. It may make me a little more nervous every time she gets sick....is this just a flu or is it a sign of something more serious happening in her body? Her first six months have been filled with colds, fevers and digestive issues already. I don't know how I'll be able to balance staying alert to problems without being a nut in the process. A lot of prayer I think.
You may be wondering by now how the adoption process for her is going. I don't have much to update other than we are in the waiting game right now. She was made legally adoptable in July, both bio parents willingly signed away their rights (which wasn't a battle at all) and it went to court in record time. That is a huge victory for her. She has had wonderful case workers. She will no longer be a foster child bounced around the system. At the moment she is more of a legal orphan. We are now waiting for our application process to begin. Certain files have to be moved to certain desks before we begin to muck through that process. I am so grateful that during this time of waiting and uncertainty we are not missing out on her life. We are not wondering if she is alone, hungry, neglected or cold. We know that the little girl we consider our daughter is nestled snuggly in her crib, or in our arms. We just need the paperwork that makes legal what is already in our hearts. Thats one advantage of foster adopting. We get her now...and the legal stuff comes later. I guess the uncertainty involved in foster adopting is the down side...although no adoption comes without a whole bag of uncertainty.
My hope is within the next year I will be able to officially introduce her as our 2nd daughter.