Thoughts On Delays…

In November, little M was tested by our county’s infants and toddlers program to see if she qualified for services. She did. Very much so.

To be fair when testing her language development, they brought in a translator, so that he could try to converse with her, see if she could talk to him in Chinese, and see what age level she tested at.
She was unable to understand, or communicate with the translator. She had more English words than Chinese words at the time, and at that point in time, she maybe knew ten to fifteen English words.
We had meetings, talked with therapists, and developed an IFSP (Individualized Family Service Plan) for little M. She was to receive speech therapy one to two times a week, see a special educator once a week, and we put her in a preschool class once a week, led by speech and occupational therapists. All of this helped, to a degree.
Most infants and toddlers programs in our area are available until a child turns three and ages out of the program and into a school/preschool setting.
So we had more meetings, and more evaluations, and conferences with our local school board. And it was decided: little M was still in need of therapies, and would continue them throughout the summer, when she would be re-evaluated.
This is the struggle: little M is SO far behind, and is not catching up at a pace that will bring her up to her age level in the foreseeable future. Most likely because she is not hearing correctly, and it is crazy to hope that she would be able to learn what language is, learn a new language, and catch up to a three year old level quickly.
Because she can’t hear us correctly.
Little M has about 150 words under her belt, but you would likely only understand maybe a third of what she is saying, because she can’t hear the sounds properly, she can’t repeat them properly.
When I see other three year olds, or even two years olds talking away, sharing thoughts, processing things, trying to understand, and asking questions, my heart just breaks for little M. I know she must have those same thoughts, and probably has a hundred questions, but she can’t ask them. She must be processing so much right now, but she can’t tell me any of it.
Right now, language-wise, she is at an eighteen month level, but cognitively she is at a twenty-six month level, which means she understands things the same, on average, as someone who is almost two and a half years old. But she can only communicate as well as someone who is eighteen months old. How frustrating for her! And for us! I am dying to be able to communicate with my child.
When little M first came home, I babied her a lot. A LOT people. I felt that she didn’t have a mommy and daddy for two years, and she deserved to feel like a cherished, pampered baby for a bit. We rocked her, gave her a bottle at night, we spoon fed her, and I carried her all. the. time. I did things for her that she was able to do herself, and maybe she should have been doing herself. Other times, we pushed her to try harder, to learn so many new things. We expected so much from such a little person. So much mommy guilt!
It has taken me months to accept little M’s delays, and to stop expecting her to do three year old things, and be a “typical” three year old. I am learning to accept that developmentally, our little M is 18-30 months old, and work from there. I am learning not to worry that she is not “normal,” and some days I am still working on it.
We are getting her hearing situation worked out, which may include tubes, and possible hearing aides. Hopefully, being able to hear will help little M to begin understanding and speaking more clearly, and get her out of this limbo she has been in.
Please don’t misunderstand my rantings. If little M is never able to talk, that will not change my love and acceptance of her. It is the unknown and not knowing what to expect, that has me messed up. I wonder what I am supposed to be doing, and how to help her. I wonder what God has planned for her and for us.
Fortunately for me, God knew what he was doing when he placed little M into our family. Because no matter how unknown her future is, or how many delays she might have, I can no longer imagine our lives without this little girl in it. And I know that I will do anything in my power to help her get ahead. I know that I have to have faith that God knows her future and the plans he has for her, and I continue to do everything I can to help her succeed.


  1. Bev on April 14, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Beautiful photos of a beautiful girl. And, beautiful words from her wonderful Mommy. It is hard to know what to do for your little girl, all the while, wanting the very best for her. I think every Mommy struggles with this, but especially when there are some additional challenges presented to our little ones. She's doing great and will continue to thrive with your love. One day at a time…

  2. Musings from Kim K. on April 14, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    Giving her all that baby time was so critical. Never doubt yourself on that. You are doing a splendid job helping her get all her necessary emotional, physical and medical needs addressed. HUGS!!!

  3. Jen on April 15, 2011 at 1:14 am

    Interesting timing — the Infants & Toddlers folks were here today too to evaluate Joshua. We're signing him up for therapy every other week. Obviously M has more hurdles to jump than J does, and so as we pray for J in this process, it will remind me to intercede for M as well. God has been so faithful to your little girl, and that won't stop. Ever. Love you, friend!

  4. Lisa on April 15, 2011 at 1:26 am

    I think you will be surprised at the amount of progress she will make through all her therapies. Give it time. She is still aclamating to here.. I bet next year at this time she will be communicating like crazy. Dont feel guilty about having babied her either in the beginning.It is wonderful to get her attached to you guys first, and then work out everything else..I hope that you don't beat yourself up tooo much over this.. Give it time..Good luck.Lisa

  5. Katie on April 15, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Our little guys speech is delayed also and it is hard to picture him getting back to his age level. The hardest part if him wanting to communicate something and not being able too! Hang in there you are doing all the right things!

  6. michelle on April 16, 2011 at 8:11 am

    As a teacher, I know it's hard to accept the fact that your child may be behind because every parent wants to believe their child is just like others their age. I always tell my parents that they need to celebrate each success, no matter how little because each child develops at their own pace.Our daughter receives speech therapy. She has a huge vocabulary, but has difficulty putting words together so can't really communicate her needs. I have a tendency to compare her to other children I know and I always have to remember that even though she can't talk as much, she's still my baby and I'll love her no matter what. And don't feel guilty for doing whatever you could to bond with your daughter. Just from reading your posts, I can tell you are a wonderful mother!

  7. ourchinagirls on April 16, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    I just left a comment on one of your other posts, but also wanted to chime in here.The holding is wonderful for bonding! No one is a perfect parent! We were very worried about adopting an older child who did not know English. What grade would we put her in? Or would we even put her in school the first year home? How would she bond? Would she bond?Each child is different. After being home for a couple of weeks with our daughter, it was obvious to us that she needed contact with other kids during the day. After visiting with our school district we decided to put her in first grade which is appropriate for her age. We were worried in January that she may have to repeat the class because she was still not reading as well as her peers. She has been with us since August 23rd and will be going to 2nd grade in the fall!! These kids are amazing in what they learn and absorb in such a small time! Especially when they have a curve to overcome in the first place. I bet M will start visiting up a storm with you soon and then you will forget what it was like when she couldn't communicate with you!It sounds to me like you are doing all the right things and she is blossoming!!Christie

  8. Kathy's Yorkies on April 18, 2011 at 3:14 pm

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  9. Brandi on April 18, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    This sounds exactly like my daughter. I actually wrote almost this exact post a month or so ago.I worry a lot, too. But have come to realize that she is progressing and she'll get there. Or she won't. It's not my call…and I'm going to love her no matter what. How I long to have a conversation with her, and I hope she gets to that point. But only God knows what's in store for her. And we just have to keep the faith!

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