|Then (first day we met)|
|Now (Christmas day)|
When we first met her she tried to scare us away with a "dragon noise" she had perfected somewhere along her journey thru life in an orphanage. It's hard to describe but it was almost like a hissing and was very obviously aggressive. She also had only two sounds that she communicated through, and they really weren't anything anyone could understand. She would say, "Ah papa papapapa" when she was conversing with you and "Ah wuh ah wuh" when she was telling you what to do. When she started with the "ah wuh's" you knew you were in trouble cause you were supposed to get busy doing something, but only she knew what it was! Usually that was when she would grab you by the hand and direct you to whatever it was. Let's hope you figured it out or you were probably gonna get a smack. Hey, orphanage behaviors! This is all she knew. She taught herself to take on the role of being in charge and watched everything that happened around her. She got really good at imitating and because of that we have a pretty good guess what things are like in the place that she came from. I, for one, would love to shake the hand of whoever taught her to go around blinking, pointing, and saying," Ah-hummm!!!" when something's happening she doesn't agree with (that's a little sarcasm there - in case you couldn't tell). Honestly, though all the little behaviors like that are part of who she is, they can be annoying, but they also make us smile.
The other day I started writing down all the signs she's learned since she's been with us and I was amazed! I didn't realize just how many she has learned until they were written down. She learned about 10-12 while we were in U***** from me and from other Moms we met. Since we have been home she has fallen in love with Signing Time and would watch it all day if I would let her. she has learned about FIFTY signs from watching ST. I was just blown away when I started counting them! this girl is smart, and I'm not just saying that cause I'm her Mama.
She also has started to say words. She actually had a few just a couple weeks after leaving the orphanage. I think her first word was Dog, and to that she has added Hi, Oh yeah, off, up, and really. She can also say Mama, Papa, Noah, and sometimes Austin. She just seems to prefer to sign everything right now though. The funniest thing she does is instead of talking to us she has started making what we call the "piggy noise", it comes from the back of her throat and we can't figure out how she does it. Sometimes she will carry on an entire conversation with you just oinking at you. It's really cute, but I hope she starts to try to use actual words someday and not just oinking.
Some other things that have changed are her eating habits and mobility. She used to pack her mouth full of food until she would choke. I stopped letting her feed herself early on because of this. Now she most of the time takes bites of her food and waits before she tries to put more in her mouth. She is back to feeding herself and for the most part does a really great job at it. She learned to walk maybe eight months to a year ago and was still very unsteady when we met her and preferred to ride in a stroller or be held - now she is starting to try to run and wants to walk most of the time. She also learned to jump and it's one of her favorite things to do.
We are hoping she will start school two days a week soon at the local public Special Ed preschool. She amazed the teachers when she went to be evaluated the other day. I had a feeling that might happen. We really want her to have a full year of preschool and then go on to kindergarten at 6 almost 7, but right now that's up in the air since that particular class has never allowed children that old to stay in the program. I guess we'll see what happens.
We have been so amazed at how she has come out of her shell and showed us just what she's always been capable of. There are so many kids who still wait for someone to see the potential in them and just give them a chance to thrive like Liza has done in just the short amount of time that we've known her. We are so blessed to be her family and get to see first hand just what God has in store for her life. We know that this is just the beginning.