Blogging about life in Minnesota, raising our six kids with Down syndrome while battling Breast Cancer.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor in the morning the devil says, "Oh shit! She's up!"

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Two Years Ago

With the tragedy that happened in Newtown CT I missed posting about Axel's 2 year anniversary with us.

Adopting a 10 year old child into your home, particularly a child who has spent the majority of his life living behind the walls of a Serbian mental institution, and throwing in Down syndrome for some added excitement, is not an easy task. Dean and I felt we were up to the challenge.

Axel was, for lack of a better description, a feral child when I took custody of him on December 9th 2010. It was a very rough day. Oh yes it was! Because this was my first adoption, I only only had half a clue what was going on. But, because of the most amazing training Dean and I have received from the behavioral staff from Courage Center, I had enough tools in my behavioral arsenal to effectively deal with what was happening. I was also very quick to discover Axel's love language: touch. I paid very close attention to the kinds of sensory input he was seeking, as well as what he chose that caused  him to become overstimulated. (this is behavioral code for "wound like a top!") Always in my mind was the fact I had only a few days to get his behavior manageable enough to be dragging him through airports and sitting on planes for 20 hours.

We did finally get home on December 15th, 2010. We said goodbye to that feral little boy soon after getting him home and he has continued to grow and mature into the happy, content 12 year old he is today.

So what's he doing now? Well, he's reading many sight words, he's become even more fluent in ASL and he's doing fantastic in school behaviorally. (many will remember that his 2nd day of school one year ago his teacher went home with a black eye!) So far this year he has only had one day in which I needed to get involved. Mostly he just needed a reminder that the rules still apply!

Axel has learned to participate in Special Olympics and he's working on learning to swim. Although he absolutely LOVES the water, just entering the pool causes extreme sensory overload for him - his response is manic laughter and splashing. It's not cute, it's at a manic level. But it's getting better and I'm hopeful by spring he's able to swim on his own.

Axel is a wonderful brother to both Angela and Asher. He can often be found helping one of them with a task they're not able to do but he has mastered, like zipping jackets or tying shoes. His play is becoming more and more appropriate and he enjoyed taking over teaching Asher how to play with toys.

We can't imagine not having Axel in our family. It's clear he was part of our destiny. Every day with him is a blessing and we're so thankful God chose us to be  his parents. 

1 comment:

Cindy said...

What a handsome guy! He's come a long way! I bet you have too.