Therapy is the art of helping someone live life to it’s fullest. Adventure is embracing the undone and unknown. Mash them together and you have my life.

Delisha’s Trip - Before & After Pictures

For those curious, the surgery removed the hypertrophic scars on her face. The left side had only stitches post surgery but the right side had a skin graft that takes longer to heal and will still take some more time to pigment color. Reconstructive surgery is really an art because each patient and injury is so different so there is not a roadmap or set of things to do exactly, but it is up to the doctor to be creative. And the amount that Dr. Sena did in this one surgery is really impressive.

I wish I had taken functional pictures and videos of her mouth skills beforehand. I have a ton of them now for comparison to later skills in a couple months/years. But what this surgery allowed in just the past month is significantly more control of the area around her mouth. This lets her manipulate the muscles so she can articulate sounds better to make words, suck from a (modified) straw, and blow bubbles, kisses, hot food, etc.

Unrelated to the surgery but relevant, nonetheless, are the half dozen other skills that we have been (and will continue to) work on. This kid is the ideal patient because there is no limit to the potential she sees in herself or will work towards.

Delisha’s Trip - No more counting days (Guess who’s staying here forever!)

I can’t tell you the joy and relief I feel in sharing the news that I won’t be taking Delisha back to Grenada next week. To make a long story short, we recently met Delisha’s extended family and they are going to adopt her.  And they even live near me so I will continue to be both her therapist and part of her “family.” 

The adoption process will take some time (and possibly some fundraising); and I’m sure there will be some unexpected road bumps along the way. But the Grenada Child Protective Authority and Dorothy Hopkins Home have been and are incredibly supportive, demonstrating their commitment to the children in their care. Sometimes the world opens up and gives you more than hoped for.
Delisha’s Trip - No more counting days (Guess who’s staying here forever!)

I can’t tell you the joy and relief I feel in sharing the news that I won’t be taking Delisha back to Grenada next week. To make a long story short, we recently met Delisha’s extended family and they are going to adopt her. And they even live near me so I will continue to be both her therapist and part of her “family.”

The adoption process will take some time (and possibly some fundraising); and I’m sure there will be some unexpected road bumps along the way. But the Grenada Child Protective Authority and Dorothy Hopkins Home have been and are incredibly supportive, demonstrating their commitment to the children in their care. Sometimes the world opens up and gives you more than hoped for.

Delisha’s Trip- Day 24 & 25 (Books and beach)

In an effort to start Delisha with her own personal library, we went to the used bookstore. I got a little over zealous. We also introduced her to the Connecticut beaches. Despite her shivering from cold, she was irritated only when I took her out of the water.

Delisha’s Trip- Day 23 (Birthday party with favors that later double as therapy tools)

Delisha’s Trip - Day 18-22 (Going to our first baseball game in style, playing with new toys, and using our hands more effectively)

Delisha’s Trip- Day 15- 17  (Swimming, trampolines, and creative therapy tasks)

There really isn’t much that this child doesn’t like doing. She has the spirit of an adventurer and a curiosity that is always hungry for more. 

Therapy can be challenging with limited supplies and space, but now that we have options all around, life is therapy. Dr. Sena got her a creeper (the things mechanics slide under cars with) which is helping improve her leg strength and coordination. And her vocabulary now includes phrases I never realized I say often and a variety of things all 8 year olds love to say (stinky, toots, nasty, etc).

Delisha’s Trip - Day 10-14 (New experiences this week- Aquarium, pizza, live music, and boat rides)

Beyond saying that Delisha is obviously spoiled in the best way possible and making impressive strides in her speech and physical abilities, I’m going to let the pictures tell the stories of this week. Happiness and love abounds.

Delisha’s Trip - Day 7, 8, & 9 (Weekend)

Ariel and I took Delisha to Target because, well, it’s Target. She now has sunglasses, a hat, clothes & shoes that fit perfect, and headbands. She always has a particular preferences in what she’s going to wear, so it’s fun to see what she picks out and what she considers is a resolute “No!”

We also got an array of fun therapy items to help with mouth strengthening.  Since her scars had pulled her cheek/mouth, now that they’re removed we’re building up mouth muscles so she can eat more efficiently and annunciate. Already, there is major improvement, as seen by blowing kisses and saying “The doctor said, no more monkeys jumping on the bed!” which is her portion of reading when we go through the 10 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed story (which is her favorite).

Sunday we fed baby deer and met other farm animals. Delisha was totally unfazed by a giant life-size stuffed bear (that seemed kind of freaky to me), but got a little overwhelmed with the super friendly donkey (although she did still giggle and say “heehaw” to it).

Week one is over, but we still have three more to heal, learn, grow, and experience. 

Happiness is going down a slide for the first time ever.

Delisha’s Trip – Day 5 & 6 (Mini-adventures in between recovery naps)

In between her many mini-naps (since the pain medication makes her drowsy), we are going on mini-adventures. And it’s a world of newness for her in everything we see. Snacks abound as there are wild raspberries growing all over the place so every walk is a treat-filled trek.

I’s hard to see in the pictures right now but her scars are already significantly better. I’ll do some before and after pictures down the road when the stitches are out and skin grafts have healed.

On a personal level, I am learning the type of parent I’ll likely be (lots of love, but a bit of a hard ass), how to function on minimal sleep (caffeine and giving up on accomplishing much on the To-Do list), and how quickly I feel cruddy when my activity level decreases (extra reason to go on more walks).