“I So Proud of My[self]!”
I decided that I want to start tracking Jian’s progress with her mobility goals in order to encourage her later and so that she can remember how far she has come. Before we met Jian, I was under the impression that she would likely use a walker most of the time and a wheelchair some of the time. We were in the process of building a new house, and her bedroom would be upstairs. I asked lots of questions before we sent in our adoption paperwork to find out if she was able to walk up and down stairs, etc. This was not so that we could decide against the adoption if the answer was No, but rather to plan how to rearrange our houseplans if necessary (turning our downstairs dining room into her bedroom, installing a stair lift that she could ride up and down, etc.)
We accept Jian for whatever her abilities are, but we want to help her achieve her goals and greatest potential as well. As I evaluated a new patient at work today, she was showing me her stair lift, and I had to chuckle to myself thinking that I was about to pay $4,000 to have one of those installed in our home to accommodate Jian. She is walking up and down the entire flight of stairs daily with confidence now. Today she walked further than ever before without using her cane or her leg brace: 50 feet in 5 minutes. She did reach out several times to steady herself by touching the wall or a piece of furniture for just a second. When she was done, the biggest smile came across her face. She said, “I so proud of my. Soon I can running.” (This is pretty good progress with speaking sentences in English as well.)
We tell her every day that we love her, are so proud of her, that she is beautiful, smart and strong. Recently I have added looking her in the eye and telling her that I know that she will be able to walk all by herself. I think it is sinking in. You can see a spark and a switch turning on her determination. And it amazes me that every time she achieves a goal, she immediately raises the bar a little bit higher for herself. I love this girl so much!