Sunday snapshot: Isabelle

This post isn’t so much for you as it is for me.

When I wrote ‘thankful’ the other day, it required that I look back at some of the old stuff.

Stuff I’d already forgotten, it happened so long ago.

Like two whole years ago.

I have got to lay off the aspartame.

So, without further ado, I’ll be posting regular updates on my kids. Sunday Snapshot, I’ll call it. Maybe with a snappy name like that, I’ll remember. I’ll feature one of my kiddos, ideally with a cute picture, and what’s goin’ on in their lives.

I’d say it’s for them, so they have this to look back on, but it’s really for me. So I don’t forget a thing.


I decided to start with Isabelle because, well, she’s been especially on my heart lately.

I wrote this post about a year ago, as I reflected on her and the remarkable changes I had witnessed in her since she came home.

And she continues to make amazing progress. But some days it seems she still has so far to go.

We just completed her ‘intake’ meeting at her school. Isabelle has an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) because she is considered ‘special needs’… that is ‘special needs’ by the the Public Education system here. She is more than 1.5 (this varies state to state, we’ve learned) ‘standard deviations’ below the acceptable level. Whatever that is.

Indeed, Isabelle is delayed. Currently, she is diagnosed as “developmental delay”. Which really isn’t a diagnosis at all, but more of a term used to include many issues, and leave plenty of leeway for variations. For the most part, this is really the only term any of us have for what is going on with Isabelle.

She truly is a conundrum.

A beautiful conundrum.

She’s quite delayed in speech. For the most part, we can understand her, but that’s typically in context with what is happening around her. Sometimes, she’ll come to us in the middle of the night. Woken by a dream, or whatever, she chatters away, arms flying, trying to get us to understand what has her so upset. We usually end up comforting her with hugs and kisses instead of reassuring words, because we have no idea what she’s trying to tell us.

It’s tough.

She also has some social issues as well as self-regulation issues. Her sensory issues, that we had thought were well behind us, have cropped up again since we got Seamus. Seems she cannot tolerate anything that has been chewed up and spat out. Which pretty much includes half our household goods lately.

But what I see daily in this child, beyond the delays and issues, is a happy child. A joyful child in every sense of the word: full of joy. She loves life and truly relishes every moment.

I could learn a few things from her.


I’d love to hear about your little ones.

If you’d like to join in on Sunday snapshot… just grab the button and let me know where to find you and your post!

Ni Hao Y'all



  1. We could all learn a few things from her….

    She is a gorgeous child and that smile……..

    Love, Kristy

  2. Sue Mom of Two says:

    Isabelle is such a gorgeous little girl. We all can't help but fall in love with her.

  3. She is absolutely gorgeous. The pictures show that she has a beautiful spirit too!

  4. Those pictures of Isablee are worth a thousand words. Without you telling us, those pictures tell us she is a very happy little girl.

    Love the idea of "snapshot Sunday." Do you mind letting others share in this idea of yours???

  5. AMEN! I am learning more and more that special needs really can be a blessing in disguise. And I mean that.
    What a blessing that of all the women on the planet, YOU were chosen to be her Mommy! :)

  6. I have been following your blog for awhile now, finding it through a friends blog. When I just read about Isabelle's developmental delays, I was amazed at how much your description sounds like my daughter who was also adopted from China. I feel the need to let you know some information we have just found out. Our daughter is now seeing a neuropsycologist who immediately told us after consultation that she would be able to help our daughter to be able to live a normal life through neurofeedback therapy. She has been doing this every week for about six weeks and we are already seeing great results. If you would like to contact me, my email is

  7. Sophie Neri says:

    She's such a beautiful girl.My daughter from Guatemala has problems expressing herself, even after a year of speech, developmental and occupational therapies.We're still trying to pinpoint the problem.Isabelle looks so happy and secure in her environment.Thank God she's with a loving family.cocial

  8. Such a brilliant smile and the joy in her heart shines brightly through her expression! She is no doubt fearfully and wonderfully made! What a HUGE blessing she is to your family!!

  9. Patricia/NYC says:

    Isabelle is a beautiful child & her joy always shines through her photos & the anecdotes you have written about her! Gosh, how I remember the very first photo you posted of her back in our original DTC group!!And that smile…oh that smile!! Yes, we can all learn a few things from her!!

  10. bytheriver says:

    You know, there is a lot to be said for giving a kid an environment in which they can be happy. :)

  11. What a precious little girl. My daughter, Molly, has some of those same issues but continues to be a sweet little punkin. Our kids are an inspiration, huh? They have weathered so much and I often wonder if I could have their kind of courage.

    BTW…I saw Sharon's comment and I know her personally. She is seeing some great strides in her little girl (who was my daughter, Molly's best friend before we moved).

  12. She is such a beauty! And her happiness shines through her pics.


  13. She is beautiful, Stefanie!!

  14. 3 Peanuts says:

    She is just beautiful. And I am glad she is filled with joy.

  15. Isabelle is really cute.
    We, can only see the pictures of her. But your pictures are great, it´s like if you can hear them laugh.

    Did you hear about MAKATON?
    I was learning this, because of the Fosterkids we always have. We are the first station when they took them out of their families, so sometimes it is really helpful. These little ones are learning it very quick.

    Greetings from Germany

  16. Stef,
    I LOVE her too, and I have never met her. I just want to scoop up that beautiful face and hug her! What a blessing to see things through her gorgeous eyes!

    You are a wondeful Mother Stef, and I LOVE your Sunday idea!!!! I have learned so much from you!

    Blessings for more good news this week!

  17. Loving the Sunday Snapshot idea! She's so beautiful – and she seems like an absolute riot!

  18. Mama Shoe says:

    After a few months of visiting, just wanted to finally say "HI"… esp today because I can relate to your words. She's beautiful and so blessed!

  19. She is a beautiful ray of sunshine!!!

  20. We could all learn things from Isabelle! You guys are so blessed…many times over!… can you just go get Vivi SOON?!?!?

  21. I LOVE seeing these posts. You know I am a little partial to ISABELLE..she makes me smile inside.

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