Alicia May

Livi watching Glee and seeing Sue’s sister with DS, pointed at the TV and said “Alicia May!” It made me smile. Alicia May is the little sister with Down Syndrome from a book I read Livi, called My Sister, Alicia May. She has never associated her Auntie Maggy with Alicia May and Sue’s sister looks no more like her than Maggy. I love my kid and I can’t wait to see and hear how she reacts to her beautiful new sister who is just like Alicia May!

My Sister, Alicia May is really a FABULOUS book and I would highly recommend it to any family or friendships that have been touched by DS. It is about how special the big sister is to recognize how special her little sister is apart from having DS. See why I love it so much? There is a lot of really horrid, crappy kids books about DS out there but this book looks at the abilities first and foremost, of the child with DS, not the stereotypes and disabilities.
 

Family

*Warning * 
This is a really rambling post that I wrote just to get all my thoughts out of my head… 
I wouldn’t read it if I were you. . 

With our family dynamics about to change and things starting to progress relationally with my sister who has been estranged for two years, I’ve been thinking about family a lot lately. What are families supposed to look like? What do healthy parent-child relationships and sibling relationships look like? How do you raise your children to have good relationships with each other as children and in to their adult lives?

I have no idea! Jon and I were raised in polar opposite households and as many difficulties as my siblings and I have had over the years, Jon and his siblings have just as many issues between them. One up-bringing was not better than the other. We are both screwed up equally… That’s probably why we put up with each other so well! We basically just need to relax, do our best and accept that we are going to mess up the kids some how, love them each unconditionally and equally, and hope that we have given them the tools to be healthy people in every way possible. 

I probably have too high of expectations of what relationships should look like and have had those expectations brought down a few notches in recent years. Things are getting better with my sister. I don’t talk about it much but a lot of you know that my sister cut her family out of her life about two years ago. We’ve been going to family counselling for about a year now in hopes of rebuilding that relationship and just recently there has been enough healing to start seeing some progress in that relationship.

A few weeks ago my sister met Livi for the first time since she was two months old. That was a really big step for me. Livi is my world and introducing Liz back in to my world after so much hurt and mistrust was hard. I didn’t want to introduce Livi in to the drama that tends to be in my family. It went really well though. Livi was a little confused. She knew she wasn’t her Auntie Sessa but couldn’t figure out why they looked so much alike. It was a little weird at first but Livi makes things relaxed and she tries to get to know everyone. She is a pretty amazing kid. I relaxed and it was almost like old times. There is still a long way to go in my relationship with my sister and for the whole family to heal but we are moving in the right direction.

My family has had a lot to deal with… Less than some but more than others. I always considered us really close… especially us girls. As we all got older though, our lives started to take us down different paths. We didn’t have as much in common as we used to and figuring out those new dynamics was tricky, especially for me who had been in a parental role most of our lives together and has a controlling personality. I’m really close with my mom, some say a little too close. Because of the trials that we have been through together we are slightly co-dependent, but in the best sense of the word 🙂

With all the garbage that my family has been through we have had no choice but to be an open book. We’ve always communicated undisguised, with all the dirt and love that goes with it. I’ve learned to tame my mouth a little in recent years but authenticity and communication are still so important to me in any relationship. I don’t know how else to relate to people but by being honest and I don’t really even see the point. It is just too fake for me then.

I understand that there is a time and a place for true authenticity but I also don’t think we are truly authentic enough. I don’t mean that everyone should go and tell everyone the personal parts of your life that is not there business but I do think that family is where you should be free to be truly authentic and communicate openly. I know that as my kids get older there are things that they are going to keep from me and as a parent there are things that I am not going to tell them but I really do appreciate the openness that I was raised with… even though it was birthed out of dysfunction.

I hope to continue that level of authenticity and communication in my little family while still establishing and maintaining the authority and respect that is deserved as a parent. Hmmm… am I setting my expectations up too high again?

Our Baby Girl

Well, she isn’t technically a baby… but she is MY baby, OUR BABY!!! Well, soon 🙂

After talking with our agency this morning we had a lot of questions and gained a lot of clarity. As you know we received two preliminary proposals for little girls on Friday. One proposal only had one paragraph of information  and the other had one page. With the little information that we had, especially on the first girl, we wanted to make the most informed decision possible and were told we could request further information on both girls. I had mixed feelings about this. I was didn’t want to have to look at two full files and choose one child over the other. How do you do that?

Well, it turned out that we couldn’t request information of both girls at one time. We had to choose one girl that we were interested in adopting, request her information and if we we like what we see we officially commit. If we don’t want to adopt her, then we could move on and request the second child information.

With our reasons and beliefs behind adoption, we will not be picking and choosing, looking for the “perfect child”. Barring any extremely significant medical or behavioral issues that were not mentioned in the preliminary proposal, we are committing to the child that we received the most information on. She was the one I was drawn to from the beginning any way 🙂 I didn’t want to have to choose between the two girls and now I, sort of, don’t have too! It makes the most sense to take the more complete proposal as our official proposal! We should get the full file within a few weeks and a picture!!!! 🙂

Our Daughter:

She is four months older Livi with her birthday at the end of April. We are expecting to have her home by her third birthday!!!! Oh My Gosh, I’m going out of my mind with excitement! She can crawl, sit and stand while holding on to something. She walks while holding someones hands, walks in all directions in a walker and can even stand unassisted for a few seconds. She claps, interacts with toys, make toys interact with each other, carries out simple orders accompanied with gestures (like come to me), and she imitates rhythmic songs and movements.

She was only 18 lbs and 76cm at her second birthday which is tiny! In the third percentile actually…. to put that in perspective Livi is in the 90th. She had a hole in her heart that closed naturally just before her second birthday and has some pulmonary hypertension. She will be under the watch of a cardiologist when she gets home. Other than that, she is perfect! She is going to be ours! I can’t wait!!!!!