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The Fight to Survive

I often find myself wondering, does Kenzie remember her first year of life??

Does she remember feeling abandoned and alone? Does she recall the voices of the nannies in the orphanage talking to each other but not to her? Does she remember the pain she felt before and after her heart surgery?

When she tosses and turns at night or wakes up crying, is it because she is having nightmares of “back then”? Does she get startled when she doesn’t see us... worried that we’re not coming back?

Babies in orphanages learn to self soothe. They learn at a very young age (few months old)... that there’s no reason to cry, no one will come. They learn how to entertain themselves while laying in a crib for endless hours. And at a very very young age, they have to make a decision ... the decision to fight, to live, to push through the hunger pain, to survive the loneliness... or the decision to give up, become sick, and give in...

When we held Kenzie for the first time, her limp body molded right into our arms. Though she couldn’t hold her head up on her own, she could reach her hand up above her face and slowly turn it, rattling her own hand as if it were a toy. She stared at her hand moving back and forth - this was obviously how she kept herself entertained. We immediately put a baby rattle and teething rings in her grip so that she would experience color and

At 10 months old, Kenzie held onto her blanket with a death grip. Each of her hands holding a corner tightly, with her fingers moving back and forth, then she rubbed the corners across her own face. Feeling the gentle touch of the soft blanket touching her face, as if she was soothing herself! She proceeded to suck on the corners of the blanket. Much like the work of a pacifier, which she had attempted but the muscles in her mouth were not strong enough to hold it in.

We quickly noticed when Kenzie was tired or hungry, she would suck in her bottom lip and suck on it, with pronounced suckle sounds you hear when a baby is drinking a

These very young behaviors were part of Kenzie’s survival mode. She had made the decision to push through the pain. She had made the decision to fight. And she had made the decision to live!!

Kenzie’s determination comes from that desire to live ... and every day she has fought for what she wants. She literally focuses, pays attention, and fights through physical and verbal difficulties to succeed!! No matter the task...  she fights to improve her abilities.  All the way back when it I was the fight to survive.  Then the fight through pain & suffering.  The fight through hunger, lack of love.  The fight to breathe when she turned blue.  Her innate ability to never give up.  She fought to sit, to roll over, to make sounds.  She fought to swallow her fluids even when they would choke her.  She fought so hard to walk… trying to take steps for 6 months before she could walk.  Her desire to progress, determination to accomplish, and her love of life ...Kenzie  is a fighter !!!