Written By Guest Blogger: Melody Lay COVT
This month in my personal time, I’m reading a book about gratitude. As part of the book, the author issues a thirty-day challenge walking the reader through daily, purposeful gratitude exercises. This challenge reminds me of the importance of gratefulness, even for the smallest things in life. It also rekindles a thankful attitude for the privileges we enjoy in America! Coincidentally, one month ago I met my newest patient, (I’ll call her Georgia), who is the most grateful child I have EVER met.
Georgia, a twelve-year-old girl from Asia who came to America 16 months ago, spent life in an orphanage heavily medicated for a disease she never had. Previous potential parents passed over this expressionless little girl for fear of unknown issues. Her mother describes her as “barely able to walk independently through the airport” as they traveled from Asia to America.
Each week Georgia enters therapy gratefully, thankfully, with expressions that speak volumes. To say that Georgia’s expressions show thankfulness grossly understates her attitude. She constantly expresses thanks for EVERYTHING! Each week Georgia greets me with grins from ear to ear. She joyfully talks about her outfit, her vitamin water (while graciously offering me sips :-)), her shoes that click on our wood floor, horse camp, sea shells, her first time stepping on sand, and dipping her feet into the ocean. I can’t unpack her therapy bag fast enough before she’s asking, “what do I get to do today?” She also tries every single therapy activity with optimistic enthusiasm.
In the sixteen months since arriving to her new home, Georgia has successfully been weaned from all her medications. As one might guess, Georgia demonstrates delay in every area we try, but remains poised to learn and grow in her new world. We have plenty of work ahead, even as we stumble through the language barrier that hinders the accuracy of interpreting her visual experience, but I remain confident Georgia will soar!
One of my family’s favorite sayings is “Attitude Determines Altitude!” With Georgia’s gratitude and attitude, she can’t help but go far! On this July 4th weekend, my gratitude runs deep for Georgia, for adoptive parents who provide wonderful opportunity for orphans around the world, for my great family, and for America the beautiful!