"What lies behind us, and what lies before us are small matters
compared to what lies within us."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Today I took the girls for a super-duper evaluation, which included speech, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, and cognitive levels. The point of the assessment was for them to qualify for a type of Medicaid called Katie Beckett. The whole situation was kind of weird for me, because normally, I am always boasting about how far the girls have come and the amazing things they can do, but for this assessment, I was prepared to be dramatic when describing their short-comings so they could qualify. "Don't start speaking English today!", I ordered Francesca.

Turns out, I didn't have worry because both of them both scored way, way, way below normal in all areas.(Of course, it's hard to score fine motor skills on a child wearing bandages on her hands.)

I knew I was being totally irrational, but sometime during the testing, I began to feel really bad. It was hard to see the girls through someone else's eyes. All my doubts and fears started creeping. I started to want the girls to pass the test, which made no sense at all. I began to chime in about how Victoria is making the sign for "please" which she learned in just one day. The testers didn't seem too impressed. The psychologist wrote down things like, "Victoria doesn't verbalize any sounds appropriate for her age."
(Here she is doing the "please" sign)

"Does Victoria ever smile?" they asked me.

"She will if you do something funny." I retorted. After all, my poor baby doesn't know these people. Why should she smile at them?

Then they asked me why I thought it was important that Victoria learn to talk. I figured it might be a trick question, but I tried to sound knowledgeable and said, "Uh, so, she can communicate?"

"Right!" they beamed at me.

They put out some wooden blocks for the girls to stack, but I guess the testers thought it was pointless, because they didn't ask either one of the babies to try to stack the blocks, they just marked a big fat zero next to that skill. I felt sad.

The psychologist also pointed out that Francesca seemed to have a short attention span.

"Well, she is only two." I replied, getting rather defensive. I plopped her in my lap and attempted to get her to point to objects in a book. She slid out of my lap and cruised over to the blocks, where she started to stack them, with her entire hand wrapped in bandages!

Meanwhile, Victoria was correctly putting a triangle and a square into the shape sorter.

"Oh yea! You go babies.", I thought, while I grabbed the blocks out of Francesca's hands before anyone saw her.

"Don't worry," smiled the psychologist, "we already graded the test."

On a side note, we are STILL not done doing Francesca's dressings. One toe and one finger are being stubborn and refusing to heal.

I wish I had the foresight to buy stock in Johnson and Johnson. The cost of the gauze is starting to exceed the cost of our weekly grocery bill.

I don't know what I am going to do with all the extra time once the dressings are finished!


  1. Praying for the physical healing of princess baby-girls fingers! Also, praying they are given the help they need to blow them tests out of the water next time! Your girls are so smart and sweet (and stinking cute!), I bet they didn't get bonus points for cuteness did they? See, the tests were flawed from the beginning! I vote for a recount!

    Seriously, though, don't let it get you down. We all know where your girls are at from where they started and their progress is remarkable. In another 6 months you will look back and be amazed at how much farther they've come!

  2. Her little fingers and toes.... ouch! :( And as for their evals, if they are stacking blocks and putting shapes in correctly, they are ahead of seth, who's six. Feel better now?

  3. Oh how I know that feeling! Angela is on a waiver, and has to recertify every year. Axel and Asher are both not talking, so at 11 and 7, they would easily pass for the waiver, but they don't qualify. Ok..quesion..why isn't your insurance covering bandages?

  4. Oh man, I remember those depressing, heart wrenching evals where suddenly you are forced to see your child through another's eyes. I have 2 adopted children, both delayed in many areas. I've found myself both wanting to stay quiet in hopes they qualify for everything under the sun but also wanting everyone to see how much they had learned and how much they could do. Mostly, I think I just wanted people to look at my children. They will be just fine.


    PS-Poor Francesca! Ouchie...I hope she heals quickly.

  5. Your sweet girls completely rock my socks off! You are all beyond amazing, and we are praying and cheering you all on from over here! And Victoria was completely right not to waste one of her precious smiles on "them"!

  6. I've got to laugh, at least a little. Considering the post about Catherine playing hostess to your visitor, (maxipads?) why would you expect your guys to perform on cue? ;-) I think they are inheriting their mother's slightly perverse sense of humor...

    Considering where they've come from and what they've been through, I think they can only be judged correctly on the progress they've made, not on how they stack up to average peers. And even that doesn't say a thing about the value they have as beautiful children and as human beings. Anne is right - your kids rock! Plus they really make me laugh. And smile - a lot.

  7. Oh, who cares about testers and psychologist when we all know that the angels in heaven cheers for Victoria and Francesca!

    Those little girls have transformed so, so much since you brought them home. I think you should be proud of both you and the girls!

  8. I know what you mean. You want them to see all the great things they can do but still recognize they need services. I talked myself/Kharan right out of Early Intervention OT services I think. He has 1 finger and it's 'floppy' and at age 4.5 he didn't qualify for any OT despite not being able to button, zip pants, dress fully, hold pencil/crayons without dropping every 2-3 seconds. When it came time for the OT eval covered by insurance vs school, I bit my tongue and he qualified 'easily'.

  9. Child psychologist here and I always encourage families to focus on the learning curve rather than scores and age related delays- especially considering their early deprivation and lack of stimulation! You can't compare these kids to other children their age- these tests were not created with children like yours in mind! Instead, plot their learning curve, just like you would their height and weight curve, in just SEVEN months. Mind you part of those SEVEN months were part of an adjustment period when children are simply trying to cope with all the changes in their lives, rather than actively learn new skills and concepts. I think you will be amazed by how much they have learned considering they were "born" (in a healthy, responsive, loving, safe world) such a short time ago!

  10. extra time for not having to gauze her up= extra time blogging ;) I love reading how your little ladies are doing :)

  11. My mentor always reminded me that evaluating a child's development is always just a "snapshot" in time. Evaluations never tell you everything a child can do but can tickle out some unexpected skills, usually. A true evaluation includes hours of observation and time interacting with the family.
    Personally, I am believing for your girls to set records in the areas of development. Especially with the gains they've made so far. Your family is amazing! :)

  12. Considering how your girls spent their lives just a short while ago...They are genius' just beginning to blossom. I'm sure I don't have to tell you about talkers! My youngest didn't talk forever and now the older kids are constantly telling her to be quiet!! Just wait!
    Did you see the video with the girl whom they wanted to abort (Drs.) who has arthrogypsis (sp?) She is in a wheelchair and her arms are pretty stiff AND she is a 3rd year LAW student!! It brought tears to my eyes thinking about Victoria and Aaron. Early intervention will just be the 1st step on their path!

  13. It is always hard to see someone else judge and weigh our children's skills, no matter who they are or where they've come from. So so hard. And those poor little appendages; praying for healing!


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