Youngest Volunteer Connects With His Cultural Heritage

March 9th, 2011

bryanBryan, youngest of all our Adopt-a-Village volunteers, is a six-year old Guatemalan-born boy who lives with his American family in South Carolina. Though small in size, he is big in raising funds to help impoverished children in his birth country, recently raising $974 by selling Mayan handicrafts and baked goods at a local fair. It all began with the annual “international peace project,” an educational program at his Montessori school intended to build awareness of poverty and need in developing countries. Bryan decided he wanted to sponsor a boy his age through Adopt-a-Village in Guatemala.  It would be up to him to raise the funds.  And raise the funds he did!  He not only earned the $225 fee, but an additional $749. As with… [more]

Developmental Assessments: Demanding Assistance

March 2nd, 2010

Developmental Assessments: Demanding AssistanceUp until this past November, Beauty had a speech therapist coming to the house each week to help her advance her language skills. It made a world of difference, but our move in late November derailed that progress a bit. Paperwork was lost, and information misguided. Beauty was "on the list" for a reevaluation, but missing all the past reports of her speech therapist seemed to keep pushing us back farther and farther. Last week, we were assigned to a new branch of Child and Family Connections (CFC) and we've already had a partial reevaluation, which I detailed a bit here. For whatever reason, though, they did not book us an evaluation with a physical therapist (scheduling… [more]

No. No? NO!

October 26th, 2009
Categories: Language Delays

No. No? NO!In past entries, I've discussed Beauty's delay in language. When she was last assessed, she was around a year behind where she needed to be. Since starting weekly speech therapy with M., Beauty has improved leaps and bounds. She's really trying to vocalize her opinions and emotions; she's working on making choices between two options. She tries to repeat almost anything. Suffice to say, as I write this, I am beaming with pride. So maybe there's one small fly in the ointment of joy. Beauty's favorite word of all time, ever? No. Don't get me wrong: I know she's two and this is prime time to assert her independence. I respect that. In fact, I encourage it. I could've cried with happiness… [more]

Guatemala in the News: Hot Chocolate, Children’s Day, and the Lingering Food Crisis

October 10th, 2009

Guatemalan girl with tortillaStarting on a lighthearted note, have you heard that hot chocolate has been declared a national treasure in Guatemala? An article found here further explains, "In an effort to recognize the historical importance of hot chocolate and protect the labour-intensive traditional preparation of the beverage, Guatemala has awarded the drink a special designation." I'm especially partial to this article for two reasons: one, we are a family of devout chocolate lovers in basically any form; and two, this article sites chocolate as being symbolic of the Mixco region (Beauty's birthmom grew up and currently lives in Mixco). In any event, the kids and I spent a good portion of yesterday afternoon discussing chocolate and its background/uses in cooking… [more]

The Semi-Permanent “Bruise”: Mongolian Spots

September 16th, 2009

Beauty - Summer 2008The night Beauty arrived home (December 14, 2007), I gave her a bath just before bed. She had endured a long day of traveling and airports, and I thought it would help her to relax a bit. As I undressed her and snuggled her in a towel in my lap, my eyes widened. Even though I was prepared for this as a result of our agency classes, there it was, staring me in the face: a huge bluish “bruise” covering a fair portion of her lower back on the right side, going down to the middle of her rear end.  It wasn’t a bruise. It was a Mongolian spot. Now, I immediately knew it wasn’t a bruise, but it… [more]

Treating our Children’s Skin Problems

January 29th, 2008
Posted By: on Guatemala Adoption
Categories: Health Issues

Parents with Guatemalan born children are often confronted with skin problems that they are unfamiliar with. I’ve blogged about this in the past, but I’m a little more knowledgeable now that Ella and I have paid several visits to the dermatologist. If your child has white patches on their skin, chances are they have pityriasis alba, a form of eczema. It initially presents as a patch of raised bumps, often quite small in diameter that eventually becomes red and rash like. After the rash disappears, the pigment in the skin also disappears and what is left is a white spot. There are different treatment programs for this; Ella was given cortisone cream and we’ve had some success with this. However you don’t want to use this cream for too long… [more]

Language Delay Questions Keep Coming Up

November 27th, 2007
Posted By: on Guatemala Adoption
Categories: Language Delays

First of all, let me preface this blog with the statement that to my knowledge there are no studies that verify or even suggest that Guatemalan born children as a group are more prone to language delays. Secondly, I’ve heard of several Guatemalan children that have no delays at all – on the contrary they spoke early and well. But because this was an issue in Ella’s development and it keeps coming up in emails from readers, I’ve blogged about it several times before. My first blog covers the subject of delays and particularly in internationally born children. My second blog covers diagnosing language delays. I’ve also wondered about the connection between speech delays and learning sign language and discussed it in this blog. So… [more]

Speech Delays and Sign Language: Is There a Connection?

November 1st, 2007
Posted By: on Guatemala Adoption
Categories: Language Delays

Back in June I wrote a blog about language delays in children adopted from Guatemala. Ella was nineteen months at the time and definitely speech delayed. I’ve yet to find any new information about the subject, but have had an interesting development in Ella’s case regarding the connection between sign language and speech. One of the most enjoyable learning processes we’ve had with Ella is watching her acquire sign language. She loved it from the beginning and became highly proficient with a sign vocabulary of well over one hundred and fifty signs. As she got older, the learning time for a new sign was incredibly fast. But ultimately sign language became a road block in Ella’s desire to speak. About four weeks ago… [more]

A Tribute to the “Orphan Doctor”

September 26th, 2007
Posted By: on Guatemala Adoption
Categories: Health Issues

One of the finest people you will come across in the adoption world is Dr. Jane Aronson, often referred to as the “Orphan Doctor.” Founder of the Worldwide Orphans Fund, an adoption specialist and adoptive mother of two, Jane has treated thousands of adopted children and provided support to as many parents. I have yet to meet Jane personally, but she was the doctor who evaluated Ella’s referral information. She also reviewed all the monthly reports during the process, responded immediately to my questions and concerns and blessed me with great peace of mind. To this day I regret not taking the two hour flight to New York to have her do Ella’s first examination after she got home. I was sorely… [more]

Spots on the Skin and Maternity Clothes for Toddlers

September 12th, 2007
Posted By: on Guatemala Adoption
Categories: Health Issues

A week ago Ella developed a round white spot on her upper left arm. It was a little dry to the touch so I treated it with lots of cream several times a day. The spot still hasn’t gone away. A few days ago I noticed that Ella now had a similar white spot on her left cheek as well as several small ones on her back. I posted a query on our adoption agency’s post adoption web group about these spots and got several responses. Some of the diagnoses they had received for their children’s spots were: a type of fungus, eczema, or an allergy to milk and milk products. This morning Ella and I went to the post office to buy stamps… [more]