I've been in contact with Love Without Boundaries because they sponsored some of H.'s care. In response to my query they have been digging up what they have and this picture arrived in my inbox the other day. It is the earliest picture we now have of her and one of the few we have prior to any surgeries.
To contrast it, I snapped a picture of H. just a few minutes ago. (She is feeling much better this morning having gotten sick at the restaurant when we were having dinner last night.) We're still working on scheduling her next surgery, but she is beyond excited to have the mass on her cheek removed. Still, even without that done, I find the difference remarkable. Bless the organizations and surgeons who orchestrated and performed her first two surgeries to get her to this point.
Now the story writing idea. As have mentioned more than a few times, we are working on writing stories. With varying degrees of ease, this comes pretty naturally to everybody else, but language and other issues make it beyond baffling at times for H. Yet she sees her brothers making up stories and writing them down (or having me write them down) and she is very, very frustrated at not being able to join in. I've been wracking my brain to try to come up with some way to help her feel as though she is writing stories as well.
Enter these story cards.
H. has been working on coloring them in. (Coloring is still her number one favorite activity.) Then we tried them. I had her draw three random cards and set them out. With the help of the concreteness of the cards and some help from me filling in some words and giving her some ideas and direction, she was able to dictate (more or less) her first story. She was darn excited and so was I.
And not surprisingly, being able to tell stories will probably help as she consciously or sub-consciously remembers her own story. It came out even in the very first story she composed about a lost dog. The one sentence she came up with entirely on her own said, "She saw lots of people, but she was too sad because they weren't her people." Hmmmm....
Pray for Brandi today. Imagine what her before and after photos could look like.
This is Brandi. She is 6 years old. She lies in her crib and waits and waits and waits for someone to scoop her up and tell her how loved she is. Just imagine a grin on her face, her hair allowed to grow out. Imagine how transformed she will look when she is loved. Pray that she doesn't have to wait too much longer for her parents to find her.