Photgraphy

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Sisters by Heart

These 2 girls together have been one of my greatest joys ever to watch as their relationship grows.  I cannot even fathom what it will be like years from now.  

I hope they are close.  Gosh, I pray they are. 

Their relationship was one of the things that actually kept me awake at night, even before Willow came home.  I felt like with Libby being too young to fully understand how her world was going to change and being the only princess, that "you know what" was about to hit the fan.  I think you understand.  It was thoughts of "how will this work out" prior to Willow coming home that allowed some fear and doubt to seep into my brain.  

Then after Willow came home, we all loved her and she was an angel so to speak.  Literally she was a dream and still is.  But Libby was not feeling it.  At ALL.  It was hard.  And then all my worries and doubts prior became real regarding their acceptance of one another.  Even though I anticipated it all, it was still difficult to navigate a brand new relationship with Willow, keeping a close bond with Libby and basically making sure they were not hurting each other....ALL DAY LONG.  

But FRIENDS, it changed kind of gradually but kind of suddenly too.  It's been just over 5 months since Willow joined our family and I would easily say Libby and Willow are now 2 peas in a pod. They are almost always by each others side.  Libby definitely mothers Willow.  She refers to her as a baby all the time which she means in an endearing way.  I hear her often,  that's my baby sister with a protective tone as she wraps her arm around Willow's shoulder.  She even told someone the other day, "This is my baby sister, we bought her in China."  I couldn't help but laugh.  I mean, she is only 2 about to be 3 but in her world she is never going to remember her life without Willow. Willow will have always been her sister regardless if they were born on other sides of the world.  Regardless of the their skin color.  They are sisters born from the heart and were meant to be sisters this whole time. 

God knew. None of this is a surprise to him.  He deserves the Glory in all of this! He is the master planner in every single detail.  I'm just so thankful to him every single day that we didn't let our fears get in the way of his Will for our lives.

This is just a regular day that I took some candid photos of the girls playing in the backyard.  I'll just let these photos speak for themselves.  You can see the love, their personalities, and their imperfect but yet perfect sisterly friendship they have found in each other. 





































Thank you again for all the sweet comments, support and words of encouragement.  XOXO.



Wednesday, August 9, 2017

4 months home - Post Adoption Update

4 Months!!!

How has it only been 4 months when it's felt like 4 years? She just fits into our family so perfectly.  She was meant to be a Richardson, there is no doubt about that. 

She is really really doing so great.  I don't want to paint the picture that our journey has been perfect but no major challenges up to this point.  She really is a happy little bundle of joy most of the time.  She is a bit winey sometimes, maybe because she is getting more comfortable sharing her emotions, I'm not sure.  Or maybe her wine is more of means to communicate with us. While her needs are easy to meet I do wish she could tell us everything going through her head.   

This girl doesn't lack in the affection department what so ever.  Recently she just doesn't kiss me on each cheek like she normally would.  She kisses all over my face.  She will kiss down my arm, lol.  Its so sweet but goodness it is a lot of kisses. haha. She will grab both sides of my cheeks, caress my face. She is so affectionate and it just puts a huge smile on my face.  Who doesn't love to be loved on?  She cannot say I love you yet but she does the I love you sign all the time.  Even before I say it or do the sign, she will do it on her own.  I mean, if that doesn't melt your heart, I don't know what will. 

She will be starting school this fall in September or October.  She will likely go 3-4 days a week from 11-2. Once school starts I'm basically going to be an Uber service for my kids, lol.  

The boys, Libby and Willow will all be going to 3 different schools with different drop-off and pick-up times. Not to mention the activities they will be doing and I'm sure some private therapies we will be starting as well.  Whew! This is one major reason I'm not ready for Summer to be over. 

Willow and Libby are doing leaps and bounds better. They steal toys and pester each other like sisters but Libby especially is doing a lot better with the adjustment of a new sister.  She calls Willow her baby sister and is protective of her.  I just pray their relationship continues to grow and blossom into something so amazing. Willow has a special relationship with all of her siblings. I'm sharing several of random pictures below.  All from my iPhone which is another huge reminder for me to pull out my real camera more often.  But none the less, these pictures have captured memories and moments I'll cherish.  So cheesy sounding, I know but true. 

Enjoy the picture overload!!!!

Here she is with Cooper before bed. My 2 most snuggly babies right here. 


 With her Aiden too.  She crawls to the top bunk every night to give him some love too. 


Libby doesn't cuddle with Willow every night but when they do, its just priceless.  I will treasure these photos before bedtime. 


 

I'll just let the rest of the photos speak for themselves mainly.  










Willow was scared going through the car wash so Aiden was quick to make her feel safe. 


We are in the pool at least 3 days a week.  She absolutely loves the water!



Willow has made some sweet friends too.  Look how cute her and Madeley are here.  





Car rides are always a bit crazy!!!!



Her face after she got into Mommy's make up.  It was only funny the first time. ;)





She absolutely loves dessert! All Kinds!!!!  



One in a Melon!!! :)


And then my absolute favorite in the last 2 months is this picture!!!


Eating
She is still a great eater…no surprise there.  We are having no issues in this area.  She is becoming a little more particular about what she eats which is just like any other kid and I'm glad she feels comfortable enough to let us know. 

Sleeping
She sleeps great and sleeps hard which is such a huge blessing for everyone in the house.   Not sleeping good can be such a hard season to go through but this is not one we have had to deal with.  Sometimes she doesn't always want to go to sleep and when I ask her if she wants to go Night Night, she will shake her head No almost every time. lol. We are going to be transitioning her into her bedroom soon that has a crib that will be set up toddler style (since she can crawl out anyways) but we have to get some safeguards set up in place first.  So in the next update in a couple months, she will be in her own room. That is the plan anyways. ;)

Challenges
 Willow is still throwing food down but not as much.  I'm trying to respond and not react.  I think sometimes she just wants a reaction from me regardless if I'm making a sad face and telling her no.  She does love to throw stuff in the trash, so I'm hoping she catches on to that versus throwing stuff on the ground.  I've noticed some of her behaviors are more sensory seeking as well as just doing it for attention so I'm trying to figure out the best way to respond and then also give her the sensory she needs too.  This is all new to me so I've been reading books and reaching out to seasoned moms of children with down syndrome.  Some things she does, I just try to give grace.  I've got to pick my battles here.  If she takes her shoes off every single time we get in the car, then oh well.  That's not something worth getting all worked up over so I have let that go.   Obviously though when I find her putting make up all over her face or putting hand soap all of her body in the bathroom, I have to correct that.  I'm trying to not have a big reaction like I want to in the moment and respond the best way for her. 

Development
I don't even know where to start because she seriously does everything she sets her mind to.  She is so smart and is like a little sponge right now learning so much in her new world.  She loves learning the motions to new songs and is getting really good at doing them all pretty well to head, shoulders, knees and toes.  We are also working on counting now, just to 5.  She just loves to learn so I'm really excited for her to start school in the fall. 

Speech/Sign Language
She hasn't said very many new words since my last update but she is understanding even more of what we say to her.  She does say Amen after a prayer, but it comes out Ma-Men. Its so precious. She is showing all the signs to definitely be more verbal one day, it will just take some time.  She moves at her own pace and we will do everything we can to help her reach her full potential. 

Physical Growth
She is still 25ish lbs and has grown about 1/2 inch.  Her hair is still growing, its getting so much thicker and longer.  I feel like her longer hair is making her look a bit older so it appears she has physically grown more than she has.  

Attachment 
This has blossomed the most since my last update.  Willow is so very attached to her family, especially me.  She does prefer me most of the time.  She will briefly go to other people but then generally wants to come right back to me.  She is kind of like velcro, she wants to be with me all the time.  She still goes and plays of course but if I'm sitting down for any reason you can bet she is going be right next to me or on top of me in 2 seconds.  If you have been to my house, you have seen this. LOL.   She attends sunday school now and each time I drop her off, she cries, which is a good thing.  Within a minute or so she is calm and playing.  Then when I pick her up, its so darn cute how excited she gets. She absolutely 100% knows that I am mama.  Its not near the struggle it was before to keep her from going to strangers and just loving on them like she would before.  

Dr. Appts
We have not had any doctor appointments recently but next week she has a followup with the ENT.  She will likely needs tubes in her ears.  Then in a couple weeks from now she will get her eyes checked.  Can you imagine Willow in glasses??  I'm not positive she will need them but the chances are high, so we will find that out soon as well. 

..............

So that pretty much sums up the last couple months with our precious Willow! One thing in case you haven't noticed lately is how passionate I am about down syndrome, adoption and advocating for so many adorable children that need a family to say Yes to them.  I see their little faces posted everywhere every single day and its gut wrenching.  We didn't know very much about Willow when we said Yes to her.  We stepped out in complete faith over fear and goodness can you believe what we would of missed?  When I think about all the Joy we would of missed if we had just stayed comfortable, it just tears me up inside.  She obviously is pretty smitten with us too so its a huge blessing all around.  One that I cannot even explain.  

I'm saying all of this to say, Don't let adoption or Down syndrome or children that have lived most or all of their lives in an orphanage make you un comfortable.  Yes there are unknowns but goodness if God has planted a seed in your heart and you are wanting to learn more, don't ignore that.  Start asking questions and most importantly pray about it.   

If its God's will for your family, God will provide a way.  But you have to step out in Complete Faith.  Our Adoption Journey has been such a faith journey, it still is. Regardless of the struggles you will encounter,  it will be one of the Best Yes's in your Entire LIFE!  

Thanks for all the love, comments and stories that we hear via in person, messaged, emailed, texted to us.  I love reading them and responding.  It is such an encouragement and I just want to give all the Glory to God.  None of this would be possible without him.