Thursday was our last visit with Katie. It was bittersweet, for sure. We left our apartment at 7:00 that morning because they traffic had been so bad. It still took us almost three hours to get to the orphanage. Here, that trip would have taken us about an hour and fifteen minutes. I know I sound like a broken record, but the traffic there is unreal.
While we were waiting for Katie, I took some pictures of the therapy room.
To say that I was expecting something like this to be in her orphanage would be a total lie. This is like a very well stocked preschool/occupational therapy room.
David would have done well to have one of those mats on the floor in the photo above - it's got different textures on each square, like stones, grass, sticks, smooth, rough, et cetera. That child could not stand to be in the grass when he was little, and really still is not a huge fan of grass on his bare feet. I am seriously considering a DIY mat like this for our house.
The room is set up into "centers", like many preschools. This was what I called the home center, with a kitchen, little sitting area, a baby bed with a doll, and a little vanity with some play makeup, brushes and combs, and a blow dryer. It also had this little corner with mirrors, a ball/tube activity, and a nice sturdy easel for some artwork. I should also note that the room was immaculate, and all of the toys were obviously played with but were in very good, clean condition. Quite honestly, it's nicer than our playroom at home. All of the toys had a purpose, which I really appreciate. And wish we did at home.
This section was more for babies, and Katie really didn't even go near it. She did rock on the little rocking boat a bit, but that was it. It was a great little area for little ones, with soft mats to lay on for tummy time, and a little activity center for strengthening bellies and encouraging hand/eye coordination. They played soft, soothing music the entire time we were in the room.
This was the little kitchen, which Katie really enjoyed and used a lot. It made me so glad we have our kitchen set at home! She also really enjoyed the playhouse that you can just see the corner of. This is something I know Jack would like a lot too, so I think we'll have to start looking for one for our backyard. I would love to find a decent sized one on Craigslist that I could decorate inside! OK, so I *may or may not* enjoy a playhouse as much as my children. . .
When we got to the orphanage, the director told us it was "bath day". I asked if she gets a bath every day, knowing what the answer would be. "No. One time per week. Sometimes two." This is not because they don't provide care for the children - there is one nanny for ten special needs children; some very special needs. If you have tried to bathe two or three children (special needs or not) in one day, at the same time, you understand why they don't bathe them every day.
Katie went right for the ball pit when she came into the room. She was excited to see us and looked to make sure we were following her. And seriously - how cute is she with her pigtails?!
She is so energetic, constantly in motion. I expect some of that was excitement about being in the big playroom, because I'm sure she doesn't get to do that every day.
She really liked the stacking cups that David picked for her, and she was quite good at stacking them. We asked what sort of items the orphanage needs, because we want to bring items for them that they really can use, not what we think they can use. They told us board books (like lift the flap books, or books with different textures), educational toys like the stacking cups, crayons, play doh, and things like lacing beads and cards or other toys to encourage hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. We are going to start to pick those things up as we see them on sale, et cetera so we can bring lots over with us on our next trip.
She really liked this whack-a-mole type toy, and she especially loved it when Chris would make her little doll hit them. She was cracking up.
I just love that sweet smile!!
She had to try using the doll herself. She's a big copycat!
She loved her princess phone - she would "dial" and then hold it up to her ear and have a very animated conversation.
This little muffin is the sweetest girl. We were obviously sad to leave her while we came home, but we are not sad about the orphanage she is in. If she needs to be in an orphanage until we can bring her home we are glad and thankful that she is where she is. The workers there take very good care of the children, and she is a happy girl.
I cannot wait to see how much she will blossom and grow when she's home. I brought a tape measure to measure her while we were there, but she wanted nothing to do with that. They did tell us her weight and height, and I peeked at her shoe size. She's 28 lbs. and 38 inches tall, so about the size of a three year old, although she will be five very shortly. For those unfamiliar, as I was, with the difference, here's a link to the Down syndrome growth chart - Katie is in about the 25th percentile for weight and the 75th percentile for height. By comparison, according to the typical growth chart, on which she would be about the 15th percentile for weight and around the 60th for height. (She's obviously quite tall!)
I was very pleasantly surprised at how big and healthy she seems to be. I was really expecting her to be tiny - like the size of a two year old. I went through her clothes that I've got, and we've got some 3T and 4T already, but definitely need more. Her shoes were European sizing, and were size 24. I converted that, and it looks like size 7 1/2. That seems so tiny to me! Jack wears size 11 shoes! I'm going to exchange some things that I had gotten in smaller sizes and hit some consignment sales this week to see what I can find. I'm so excited to shop for her and actually know what she wears, as opposed to just picking up cute things I saw and thinking that maybe it will fit her.
After our last visit, we met our facilitator at the notary and signed our official petition and intent to adopt Katie. Our facilitator expects to have our court papers filed March 12th, so we could, assuming all goes without incident, have a court date and be back in her country within about 8 weeks after that. Please keep your fingers crossed that this is the case, because we would be able to bring her home so soon! And she could have a blow.out. fifth birthday/welcome home party!