This is for Tara! - So remember, Ken was gone for three months getting Lica. No email and phone calls were very limited! There was once when we went 2 weeks without talking and me not knowing what was going on. Lets just say I was going CRAZY! We just about lost our house because my paychecks were not enough to cover the mortgage. I ended up driving with my dad to New York to pick Ken and Lica up because the gas money was cheaper than the airline ticket. I swore I would never adopt again. But I suppose like childbirth, the pain of it all fades.
So when I first met Lica in New York she didn't trust or like anyone but Ken. Of course she didn't, thats all she knew. She didn't speak any language and only understood simple "commands" that she heard from the caregivers. She walked like a baby just learning to walk even though she was almost 5. She liked to bite and have her way. We stopped for breakfast on our drive home and we ordered her scrambled eggs and toast. She picked up bits and pieces and threw them on the floor. Thats what she knew. The only thing she liked was opa (water) and brea (bread)! No butter, peanut butter nothing. She was very much into her "own" world. But she was home! When she woke up in the morning she would just lay in bed not knowing she could get up. She was so used to laying and doing nothing she just didn't get it. In the orphanage they would sit all the kids on pots to go potty at around 10am and so for many many years she would not go to the bathroom when she woke up. We even put a little potty chair in her room and let her know she could use it any time she needed. Since she was afraid of the toilet at first this seemed to work for other times in the day. Once her fear of the toilet was gone she became fascinated with it. How it worked, why it worked, everything about it and would spend hours trying to figure it out. She had to smell everything before she ate it and she didn't like human touch. She NEVER cried, even when in pain. Again, its all she knew. Once when she was about 10 or 11 she had strep throat and never told us she didn't feel well. We didn't realize it until she was throwing up all over the place with a fever of 104. She still did not complain and wanted to go to school! Emotions of any kind were unheard of in her world. She slowly warmed up to the ideal of someone tickling her back and arms softly and LOVED it! For the first couple of months we treated her as if she were a baby. We would rock her and sing to her at night with a bottle hoping this would give her some things she had missed. The bottle only worked for a few nights as she would look at us like we were NUTS! She didn't want anything to do with that. She loved the rocking and singing though.
When she was not with us, like at school or grandmas, she would act out. We would get calls from kindercare telling us that she had locked herself in the bathroom and was playing in the water. She would try biting the teacher all the time. She hated that place because I think it reminded her of the orphanage. A group of kids all in one place. She lasted there about 2 weeks.
We fought with the school district all 12 years she was there trying to get her what she needed. She didn't fit into any "group". She was tested for autism but the conclusion was she did not have that. The University of Minnesota saw her for at least the first 4 years of her life and when she went in one of her last visits they were amazed because of her head growth. I guess when your that age you head does not grow. Hers did. She was crammed with so much in her first year and learned so much it is unbelievable. She was a baby in a 5yr old body. She graduated with her class and I think, I know, that Ken, grandpa and myself were beyond happy. We had worked with this girl day and night. We would easily stay up until wee hours of the night with her trying to explain her homework to her. I mean think of it, when doing lets say history with her we would have to explain what the word history meant before we could even start the lesson. We had to explain words to her every word. She was good at spelling and math. Spelling and math is black and white. Her world is black and white. You can SEE math. She has always been good with numbers and memory. She knows everybody's birthday. And when I say everybody I mean the cashier at the grocery store. She always would ask people when their birthday was. She puts names on my calender of birthdays to help me remember. There was some names on their of people I didn't know. I asked her who is this? She then proceeded to tell me it was someone I had worked with years ago. To Funny! She knows what day your birthday will fall on and what day it was on last year and what day it will be next year. Without even thinking! I don't know how she does it. The only explanation of how her mind works was giving to us by the U of M. Most people think from A to B to C to D. Part of Licas brain was not used the first 5 yrs of her life so it shut off. She thinks from B to A to D to C so it takes longer for her to get the answer. But she usually does get the answer.
One of the many things I love about Lica is her pureness. She looks and treats everyone the same. No one is different. And everyone remembers her and loves her. We cannot go anyplace without someone saying hi to her. From teachers, to teachers aids, to cheerleaders, football players, the "nerds" from school, SN kids, valedictorian to the people she works with now. Everyone just loves this kid! I picked my 7yr old up from school this past week and Lica came with. She saw the principle standing in front of the building. She got out of the car to say hi to him and he gave her a big hug and asked her what she was up to. How many people can say that their grade school principle would do that? Not me. And the thing is that this is how all the people she meets treat her.
Lica has turned out to be one Great, Smart, Loving, Careing, Hard Working, People Loving, Animal Loving, Jesus Loving, Hug Giver and Hug Taker young lady. She has worked enormously hard to get to where she is today and the world is hers for the taking.