Medical professional mixed blessings

by Emily on March 7, 2014

We are lucky to live close to an amazing children’s hospital with a department specializing in International Adoption… or maybe not.

I’ve recently developed mixed feelings about said specialized department.

When our daughter, Hanna, had been home four months we had a follow-up visit at this renowned children’s hospital with our International Adoption team, including a pediatrician and several therapists. I carried into the appointment an amazing, talented, on-target toddler, and carried out a delayed, disappointing, troubling one.

Hanna's in gymnastics now too! Dec. 13, 2013I honestly thought they would rave about my daughter and her progress since we’d been home. Hanna seemed like she was doing great to me, and I have two older kids, so I’m not completely clueless about parenting (or so I thought).

Instead, the team was “very disappointed” in every single area of Hanna’s development (fine and gross motor, speech and cognitive development) and I left the appointment with referrals for a daunting list of specialists and therapies– none related to her special need (a congenital heart condition that was repaired in China and for now only requires yearly monitoring. In fact, our meeting with her cardiologist was positive and encouraging, the opposite of this appointment). All for a 22-month old who could run, feed herself, stack blocks, put on her own shoes, babble, follow 2-step instructions (in a language she heard for the first time 4 months ago!) and loved to be held and cuddled. I was dumbstruck.

The general therapy Hanna already received weekly through Early Intervention the Adoption Team told me sternly, “in her case, is not sufficient”. In addition we flunked the “bonding test” (when a “stranger”–a nurse Hanna had never met before– asked Hanna to leave the room with her. After a hesitant glance my way, Hanna happily went) apparently meaning our bond, or lack there of, is “troubling” and even possibly “dangerous” (because, they explained, she would go with a stranger). The Adoption Team continued to pile on mountains of mommy guilt by criticizing some of my disastrous parenting techniques, including offering Hanna milk at night (after I’d brushed her teeth, gasp!) and having her nap primarily in the car (where she falls asleep the easiest).

While I’m sure these professionals just want what’s best for Hanna, and to see her sail into the sunset of her fullest potential, the appointment was so negative and discouraging that I wept all the way home. Worse, the appointment changed my entire perspective of my daughter and our relationship. Now instead of seeing all the things Hanna can do, I’m consumed by what she can’t do. Instead of seeing a bright, loving child, I can’t help dwell on delays and challenges– certainly not helping our budding bond. And the negative feelings are reinforced by each doctor and specialist we visit who tells me she needs more tests and more therapy.(for example, at her last OT session the therapist suggested I have Hanna tested for “sensory issues” and should add another speech session per week.)

Now when Hanna and I have 5 minutes alone, I feel pressure to quiz her on picture books, work on our long vowel sounds, or force her to stack blocks in a triangle shape– usually ending in frustration for both of us. But if I don’t try, I’m not doing everything possible to help her catch up! I’m not a good mom! How can being given a list of all the things my daughter “should be able to do but can’t”, be helpful to our building a loving relationship or her self-esteem? Why can’t they praise some of the amazing things she can do?

We are lucky to be close to these services, but also need to decide how close is too close.




Recipe: Easy Pizza dough

by Emily on March 7, 2014

Almost exactly a year ago I had the brilliant idea of adding a recipe section to this blog. I added a recipe for Chicken Pot Pie. And then… nothing. Oops. Dropped the ball there. So now that I get to sleep through the night occasionally, I’m going to try to post more recipes– all will be easy, and in my opinion, yummy!

Here’s a recipe for pizza dough! I never realized how easy it is, with how few ingredients!

1 3/4 – 2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 package fast-rising dry yeast
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup very war water (125-130 degrees)
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil


Combine 1 cup flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Stir in water and oil. Add enough remaining flour to form soft dough. Turn out onto lightly floured surface; knead 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Cover; let rest 10 minutes.
Shape or roll dough into 12-inch circle. Sprinkle cornmeal on lightly greased 12-inch pizza pan or baking sheet. Place dough on pan, pressing gently to fit.

Add toppings and bake!


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