Big sister Kitty took these pictures of Mercy for me.
Last month Mercy turned 8!
Her teeth are loose and she is very upset by this. She stops eating if they "hurt".
Mercy's new best friend, our 5 month old kitten Violet. Violet is the one member of the family we know she likes.
Mercy is going through a "remove all clothing" phase. So we put the leotard over to discourage her. It wouldn't be so bad for her to remove her clothes, but if her skin is exposed she bites herself quite hard. So we must be vigilant!
That is just one of her many self injurious behaviors. We have not found a supplement or medication to help yet. And there may not be one.
I wish I could say we've made a lot of progress in her schooling, her independence, her relationships here. But she hasn't. She isn't interested in learning. She refuses to pick up, put her dishes in the sink, carry her laundry. So we do it all hand over hand. If she's angry she throws- her spoon or a brother's plate, whatever she can reach. And then she throws- and throws and throws.
She isn't interested in "talking". She's rejected every adaptive speech device we've tried. She doesn't like electronics, ipads, computers or TV.
She doesn't like getting her hair cut so it takes me about a week of snipping at her here and there to get it cut. She refuses to have it brushed and prefers to wipe her meals in it!
She doesn't help us much in figuring out what she wants. We have to guess what she likes. If we are wrong she tantrums. If we are right we get a smile that makes it all worth it.
If we let her, she either semi- sits on the floor and drops an object to the floor, over and over, watching it for hours. Or she curls up on the floor under a dresser or a desk to sleep. She does not like sleeping in a bed.
We encourage her to be "with" us. Sometimes that means having her sit buckled into her little Rifton floor chair for a story. Just so she'll stay near. Isolating herself isn't good for her.
Sometimes we put a gate up in the door way so she can't run away from us and we set out school supplies for lesson time. :o) She'll pace and complain. After about 15 minutes we end her session, let her out and try later.
We aren't put off by her behaviors. Because we LOVE her. We don't need her to LOVE us back for us to LOVE her. We know kids with Sotos Syndrome have behaviors. We don't take it personally.
So far every difficult behavior she's had we've been able to brain storm and work through it. That gives us hope! Hope that we can be her family. Mercy doesn't understand what family is after living only a year in each home. Next March we will celebrate 3 years of Mercy joining our family! :o)
I feel more bonded and relaxed with her every year. As an adoptive mom you wonder, you second guess yourself with challenging children. A lot of my second guessing was looking at things with a negative perspective. I would think of how I must not be doing a good enough job if she doesn't respond. That's just not true. I changed my perspective, and realized I'm doing a good job. Mercy's challenges are not coming from my falling short in my parenting. Her challenges are just that, challenges. :o)
We thank God that with His help we are her parents, the parents He chose for her. She is fearfully and wonderfully made!