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.
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…….
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.