Early Intervention: Birth to Three

July 30, 2011

Me and the kids at the aquarium - By Michelle R

We met with Reagan's Pediatrician this past week to discuss our concerns with her speech or lack there of. After spending a little time with him and answering all of his questions, he agreed that our concerns were valid. He had hoped that she might have progressed a little since our last vist, but she has not.

He did say that some children just choose not to speak and will only talk when they are ready, but it was best to move forward and contact Early Intervention through their Birth to Three program to get her evaluated.

In addition to the evaluation, we are taking her to the hospital to have a pediatric audiology test done to rule out any hearing issues. Based on what we have seen, we don't think this is something to worry about, but our doctor does want to cover all of his bases and be thorough, so we don't overlook something.

We made the initial call from the office to get her hearing test done and she is scheduled the morning of August 10th.

We also called the local office to open a case with Early Intervention that day and they have already called me back to set up an in home visit.

They will be coming out to our home the first week in September to conduct an evaluation. The therapist spent a little time on the phone explaining to me everything that will take place. Even though we only have a concern about her speech, they will still need to test her in all developmental areas(Speech, Cognitive, Fine Motor Skills, Etc). They will be sending a team of professionals to conduct the testing. Each professional is specific to one developmental area. I believe the testing method that is used is called "Battelle". After the test concludes, they will get us the results almost immediately and if she is more than 25% delayed in any area, that will constitute Early Intervention Care in our home once a week.

Even though we still do not have any concrete answers and are in a wait pattern to have all the tests and evalutions completed, I find comfort in knowing that we have started the process and before long we will know exactly what we have to do to help her speech emerge.

As the doctor mentioned, it could be nothing more than her not wanting to speak yet, and that is fine, but I would rather err on the side of caution, then sit back and wait to see if this is the root of something more.

As we get results and gather more information, I will update here on the blog. I have greatly appreciated all the words of advice and knowledge shared from those who have been down this path before.

Have a Wonderful Weekend.

I need to give a shout out to my very talented friend, Michelle R who took the special photo that appears in this post. I had the pleasure of meeting Michelle and her family, along with two more very special friends and their girls, as they were passing through our area while on summer vacation. It was so much fun to see all the girls(and Nick)running around together and great to finally meet Michelle in person. I cannot thank her enough for this BEAUTIFUL photo. Believe it or not, it is the very first photo that I have of me with all three of my children. Thanks again Michelle, this one will be framed for sure.

Friday Finds - Personalized, Handstamped Jewelry By Wheat and Wildflowers

July 29, 2011

Number 25, Kristi, will receive the $50 gift certificate to Wheat and Wildflowers.

visions of hope necklace BLOG2
A few weeks ago I shared the beautiful dresses that the talented Robin at Red Thread Stitches had made for the girls, today I am going to share another gem that I stumpled upon.

Actually, I did not really stumble upon it, the owner/designer took one of my online photography classes and I had the pleasure of getting to know her personally.

Kim, the owner of Wheat and Wildflowers, is a beautiful person inside and out.
If you know her or take a few minutes to browse her site, you will see that she has big a heart for the children of China.

Not only is Kim an adoptive Mom, but she also has her business set up to give back to those left behind. She has designed necklaces for specific charitable organizations such as; An Orphan's Wish, Grace & Hope for Children, Love Without Boundaries, and Henan Kids International.
You can read more about it by clicking HERE.

She offers a LARGE selection of handstamped jewelry, and will even personalize something for you......as she did for me with my "Visions of Hope" necklace.

I love this necklace so much and wear it as often as I can.
To me it is a constant reminder of Reagan, her beginnings, the children that are still waiting in China, and the project that I have been working on this year.
It is a very special piece that I wear proudly.

The minute the piece arrived, I emailed Kim to thank her for designing such a gorgeous necklace. I told her that I wanted to share it here with you all and she sweetened the deal.
Did I mention that she has a GIANT HEART?

She is offering anyone who reads my blog a coupon code.
The code is VISIONSOFHOPE (All one word, all caps, no spaces)
By using this code at checkout, you will receive 10% off any purchase.
(Coupon code is only valid through August 7, 2011)

And if that was not generous enough......
50 dollar gift card
She is going to giveaway one $50 Gift Certificate to be used for the piece of your choice!!!

I am SO EXCITED to be able to host this giveaway!

If you would like a chance to win the $50 gift certificate, please leave a comment here before Sunday night at 9pm Eastern Time.
We will pick the winner next Monday!

To visit Kim and see all of her beautiful creations, click HERE.

Good Luck and Have a Wonderful Weekend.

Black and White Wednesday - "Playing Catch Up....Longwood Gardens"

July 27, 2011

Flowers Collage
About three weeks ago(I know, I am really that far behind)I took the girls to Longwood Gardens for the afternoon. I thought it would give us something to do and we had not been there for a visit in a long time. We usually go at least once or twice a year, but I think we skipped it last summer. You know, we were just a little busy waiting for "The Call".

Had I been there by myself, without the kids, I think I could have spent hours just looking at the gorgeous flowers and gardens. It is really a spectacular place, but.......

Serioius Sisters Collage
dragging two little ones around the sprawling gardens in 90 Degree weather was not exactly easy. We were all a tad hot and the girls were growing tired of just walking and looking.

Reagan Splash Pool COLLAGE
Lucky for them, they have a fun children's garden complete with a fountain that they can splash around in.

We were parked at that fountain for a good hour plus.

Sarah Profile Waters Edge BLOG
The girls were having lots of fun trying to catch the water as it sprayed up in the air.

Sarah making a friend blog
After they were completely soaked and feeling cooled off, I convinced them to move to the other areas of the garden.

Reagan Making Music
Reagan was completely mesmorized by the life sized xylophone and was very excited to hear that she was actually making "music".

Playing Music Standing Up BLOG
It was definitely worth the hour road trip, but I wish I would have picked a day that was a little cooler. We might have seen more of the exhibits. I could tell the girls had reached their limit and I did not want to push them in that heat.

As always, it has been busy, busy, busy around here. So I thought I would include a few updates that I have not had time to post about over the last week.

I picked the winner for of the August "Get Out of the Auto Zone" photography class and updated it on the original blog post, so click HERE to see who won.

Secondly, I am going with my gut and we are taking Reagan to see the Doctor tomorrow concerning her speech. I called and expressed my concerns and he said to bring her in and we will come up with a game plan.

I will post an update as soon as I have time!

Happy Wednesday.... Try to stay cool.

I also wanted to thank my friend Daleea who made the beautiful and colorful Tra-La-La Skirts and beaded bracelets for Reagan and Sarah. The girls loved them and they looked so cute wearing them. If you are looking for something fun and girly, check out her shop, Lady Peep Boutique. You can click HERE to shop or browse her collections. I am sure you will find something that catches your eye:)

Black and White Wednesday - "Sandy Candy at the Blueberry Festival"

July 20, 2011

Swing Collage
Last weekend we took the kids to the Bethlehem Blueberry Festival and although it was scorching hot, the kids had a lot of fun!

Swing Collage Two BLOG
They rode a horse powered carousel with big bench sized swinging seats.

Helping Reagan Feed the Goats BLOG
After the dizzinesss wore off, we made our way to the mini petting zoo where we attempted to feed the goats.

Feeding the animals COLLAGE
They were a little agressive and Reagan was a timid at first. Then she felt one of them lick her little hand and she giggled with delight! It was a good thing they had hand sanitizing stations. We certainly needed them by the time we were done:)

Face Painting Collage
All week long, Sarah had been talking about the festival.
She remembered our trip from last year and said that she could not wait to have her face painted again and she also wanted to make another piece of sand art for her bedroom. You can click HERE to see last year's post. It is amazing how much Sarah has changed in a year!

Face Painting Collage 2
Even though there were about 20 different options, she picked the same exact thing as last year. A purple unicorn.

Sandy Candy Collage
We made our way to the Sand Art stand and we found out they changed things up for this year! It was now "Sandy Candy" Edible Sand Art! Sarah nearly screamed out loud when she realized that not only could she make something, she could eat it too!

sandy candy collage two
Each color of sand was a different flavor.

sandy candy collage three
You could pick a tube or a necklace that was shaped like an ice cream cone and then you began filling it with the Sandy Candy of your choice. Surprisingly, the girls both chose the tube instead of the necklace. Probably because it held more candy:)

Reagan needed a little help from Nick, because the bottles were almost as big as her. Sarah was EXTREMELY serious about her layering method. She definitely had a system and was not going to pick a color for her tube without doing a taste test first.

If you are at a local fair or festival, you will have to see if they have one of these Sandy Candy stands. It was definitely a hit with the kids!

After the girls were done making their sand art, we made our way to the food area and eventually back home. It was too hot to be out there any longer than we already were. You can see how flushed and sweaty the girls were getting just sitting there in the shade.

We have been super busy around here. We have done some fun day trips and activities with the kids, but I am a little backed up with photos and posts. I am hoping to get everything caught up soon. I still have beach photos to go through. I wish there were more hours in the day, I could certainly use them:)

I also wanted to say thank you for all the encouraging comments and emails in regards to Monday's post. It made me feel so much better to hear how many other families have dealt with this and have had such positive outcomes as a result of early intervention. I will keep everyone posted as we go down this path.

~Have a Wonderful Wednesday~

A Girl of Few Words

July 18, 2011

Under the Arch blog
As I have mentioned multiple times, when it comes to everything you can experience when adopting a child internationally, we have had what I would consider a pretty easy and smooth transition with Reagan.

I look at those first few days in China with her, and although they were difficult at the time, a few days of grieving is nothing compared to what some children can go through when transitioning from life in an orphanage, to life with a loving family.

Those that are in the adoption community know that it is not uncommon for our children to come to us with bonding and attachment, sensory, and/or developmental issues/delays. Some experience it to the extreme, some have very minor cases, and some never experience any of the above.

During the five years we waited to receive "The Call", I tried to prepare myself for anything and everything that could be on the horizon for our little girl.

Bracelets and Little Legs Collage
I don't want to be that Mom that self diagnoses or marks their child with a disability or syndrome before they know for sure that something exists, but on the other hand, I don't want to be the Mom that is in denial and could be doing somthing for their child when they need it and time is of the essence.

I fully understand that every child develops and progresses at different paces and in their own time. Like most adoptive families, we had Reagan assessed by our doctor as soon as we arrived home. All appeared to be within normal range developmentally and emotionally.

We have continued to monitor things over the last few months and there is one area that is beginning to concern us.......


Surprise, Another Bag of Fish BLOG
While congnitively, she is doing extremely well, her language development does not appear to be progressing at all.

We can ask her to do things and tell her to point to people or objects and she will. She can point to her ears, eyes, nose, and mouth when asked where they are located. I know that this is all very good and positive, because this means that she clearly understands what we are saying to her.......but that is where it seems to stop.

Next week she will be 20 months old and the only words that she will say are: Mom, Da Da, Ouch, Hot, and on a very rare occasion, Nick.

Now, there are a few things that I know we need to consider......

A typical 20 month old should have a vocabulary of at least 12-15 words.

I don't know that I would consider Reagan a typical 20 month old because for the first 11 months of her life, she only heard people speak in Mandarin.

Secondly, she is the youngest of three children and we tend to dote on her. The minute she whimpers, points, whines, or cries, she not only has two parents, but two older siblings jumping to get her what she needs. We are now trying to be cognisant of our actions. If she points to something, we don't just get up and get it for her. We say "Do You Want ____?" We repeat the name a few times putting emphasis on whatever it is, stating it and showing her what it is, then we hand it to her.

I have really watched her closely the last two weeks and she when she wants something, no matter what it is, she says "mom"...... I am assuming she is doing this in order to get my attention to bring her what she wants.

Our last visit to the doctor was for a check up in May. At that time I expressed my concerns and he told me not to panic, but to keep an eye on things and if we did not see any big improvement by her next visit at 24 months we would definitely test her. Then he added...... if a few months go by and you don't see any improvement whatsoever, give me a call and we will go from there.

She is a very smart little girl and I know she understands us. She has her own way of expressing what she wants or needs(I wouldn't necessarily call it sign language, but there are a few gestures that she uses for certain things)without words so we can understand her, but if there is more that we can be doing for her, than I want to start now.....instead of a few months from now.

Both Nick and Sarah were what I consider early talkers, so I have struggled trying to measure what is considered normal and what is considered delayed. I am also trying very hard not to compare Reagan with other children, but it is hard not to.

Recently, I have had conversations with other adoptive parents who traveled around the same time we did and adopted children the same age or even younger than Reagan and they tell me that their children are already linking words together.

I don't want to jump the gun, but I can't ignore the nagging feeling in my gut. I think I am ready to make that call to the doctor and see if we can have her tested now, instead of later.

Black and White Wednesday - "Rub-A-Dub-Dub, Two Cuties in the Tub"

July 13, 2011

The weather has been relentless here, as it is in a good part of the country right now. The heat and humidity is unbearable and we really have not been able to enjoy our evenings outside with the kids.

Sunlight between them 2 BLOG
The girls wanted to go in the baby pool the other night, but between the heat and the bugs, I could not tolerate being out there, so I posed an alternative to them and they were ALL OVER IT!

Head above water Sarah BLOG
Sarah was pretty spoiled before Reagan came along and often got to take a dip in "Mommy's big tub with the motor".

Sarah's little smirk BLOG
She was beyond excited as if that big smirk on her face does not say it all.

Rub a Dub Dub two girls in the tub BLOG
Bubbles were a must according to Sarah and we had to give her LOTS OF THEM.

Reagan in the back standing up BLOG
Reagan was a little overwhelmed at first by the rising bubbles and the flow of the jets. This was her first real swim in Mommy's tub:)

Reagan under the faucet BLOG
I was not so sure she was really digging it in the beginning, but she seemed to be content to play under the faucet as long as I left the water running.

Crazy Little Girl BLOG
Eventually, I had to turn the water off and the jets too. Once they were off, she became as crazy as her sis.....

Looking over the edge at the bubbles on the floor BW BLOG
and that is when the bubbles starting flying EVERYWHERE!

I've had enough, get me out BLOG
She looks like she has gone a couple rounds, but in the end, she won the battle of the bubbles and has now jumped on the bubblebath bandwagon with Sarah!

There is no going back to their regular bathtub now.
It looks like I will be sharing my jacuzzi tub with both of the girls.

As a side note, for those that are interested, these photos were taken at 7pm.
The sun was beaming in the big windows above the tub. I pulled the shades all the way up and let the natural light pour in.

Penny Candy Eating Republicans

July 11, 2011

Country Store Collage
While we were up on the Cape last weekend, my sister-in-law, Ann, had a graduation party for my niece. The party was held at their house and there was a lot of hustle and bustle leading up to the event. I wanted to try to take the girls out of the house the morning of the party, so we would not be in the way.

Ann suggested a cute little store in Centerville, MA, which is just the next town over from them. I knew exactly where it was, as we had passed it many times before, but never had the opportunity to stop and go inside.

Here is a piece for you BLOG
The "1856 Country Store" was such a nostalgic and cute place.....but it was very tiny. There was so much stuff in such a small space, that I could barely walk through the aisles with the girls. I was holding Reagan in my arms for fear if I let her down she would break something. I had a couple of close calls with my handbag.

The store was filled with all kinds of unique little gifts that you might expect to see on the Cape, but the girls had one thing on their minds and one thing only......


Legs Crossed Eating Candy BLOG
Well, they did beeline straight for all the barrels of candy, but Sarah also saw a little kitty cat in a "crate". She had to have it and it was on sale, so I caved.

Reagan on the other hand, could have cared less about the toys, she saw the wall of candy and her eyes almost popped out of her head!

Reagan on the bench with candy COLLAGE
I did not even attempt to try to take one picture inside the store. Not only was it very small, there were A LOT of people in there. It seems to be a popular little store in Centerville. In fact, my Mother-In-Law said that John F Kennedy frequented this place with his children when they were young:)

The New Republicans2 BLOG
We barely made it to the front door before the girls were asking for a piece of candy. Once we got outside, I noticed they had two benches, so I told the girls to go ahead and sitdown, but when I looked more closely, I realized that one said "Democrats" and one said "Republicans"

Sarah did her Daddy proud and picked.....lets just say, what he would cosider the more appropriate bench.

Pat's birthday is coming up next week and I thought I would get this picture framed for him. I know this is one that he would like to have for his desk at work.

He has dreams that one day they might sit on another type of bench....as in the Supreme Court Justice so they can advocate for adoption.

I guess you never know what the future holds, but for now,
I think they just enjoy being "Penny Candy Eating Republicans".

Izzy and Ivy Winners!

July 8, 2011

Reagan on the bench BLOG

Last night I used Random.org to pick the three winners of the Izzy and Ivy Designs Giveaway!!

Reagan Kicking Her legs on the bench BLOG

The first number to come up was 103......Laurie at "In Our Hearts" who is the winner of the Ava dress or the Ruthie Romper in the size and color combo of her choice!!

The second and third numbers that were populated, were 15 and 39.
Diane at "Table For Two....and a Booster" and Jaime at "Hope For Elison" have won both the Ava Dress and Ruthie Romper patterns, as well as a container of sprinkles!

Congrats to all three lucky ladies.... I look forward to seeing your little ones dressed in Izzy and Ivy Designs!

Please email me at Visions By Lisa at gmail dot com so I can give you the details and get your mailing addresses.

~Have a wonderful weekend~

Black and White Wednesday - "A Few Cape Cod Favorites"

July 6, 2011

We just got back today from our 4th of July weekend on the Cape and I have not had much time to do anything, but there were two things that were a MUST....

First, tackle the mountain of sandy clothes and towels that were piled up in the laundry room.......

Walking Along The Water's Edge Reflection BLOG
and second, download the photos from my camera cards!

Reagan walking into the water BLOG
We had a fantastic holiday weekend with our family.

Reagn Holding Nick's Hand BLOG
The weather could not have been more perfect.

Looking at Reagan in the water BLOG
The beaches were very crowded.....
We typically go in August and I forgot that this holiday week attracts a larger crowd. It made for tight quarters until the tide went out each day and even late at night when we came back for photos, there were more people then I ever remembered seeing. All I can say, good thing for the clone tool in photoshop, otherwise there would would be a lot of people on boogie boards in the background of my photos:)

Reagan and Nick BW BLOG
We were all very anxious to see how Reagan would react when her feet hit the sand for the very first time.

Chasing Nick BLOG

Girls Running in the water BLOG
As soon as her feet hit the sand......

Girls Running Sand Splashing Up BLOG
She was OFF AND RUNNING and went straight for the water!

Walking Towards Me Three2 BLOG
It is really hard for me to look at this picture of the three kids together and not get a little teary eyed.

To think that last August, we took Nick and Sarah to the very same spot, where they wrote Reagan's name in the sand, and now 11 months later, there she is running down that very same beach hand in hand with her brother and sister having the time of her life.

There are many, many more beach photos to come but I wanted to post a few of my favs tonight while I had a few moments, because sadly, our vaca is offically over and it is back to work for both Pat and me.

Hope everyone had a FABULOUS FOURTH!!

I will catch up with you all very soon.