Sinja as a baby
Sinja at age 10
Ann Gibson tells the story of her sweet daughter:
Sinja´s been fostered by us since she was 4 months old. Although she was born only 2 weeks early her birth weight was only 1600 grms, due to FAS, she also had a cleft palate and an infection throughout her whole body. She was put on a respirator for the first few days and it was touch and go as to if she would survive at all.
On the Thur. 12th Jan .89 we had a call from our social worker saying and I quote "Mrs Gibson we´ve got an alcohol damaged baby in the hospital and if you don´t take her she has to go into a childrens home on Monday!!" We said yes straight away and off we went to see our new addition. The doctor at the hospital tried to persuade us for 1 hour not to take her but we were determined that this ( to us) beautiful baby wasn´t going to be put into an institution. We had to learn how to insert her feeding tube through her nose into her stomach (She didn´t like that one bit) and after a few days we brought her home. Don´t need to say what the first few months was like it´s in the poem Alcohol, apart from to say "Hell" she never stopped screaming!
Despite the dire prognosis of the doctors ( which we ignored!) Sinja did learn to walk at 20 months and did learn to speak at 3. She´s had 3 operations on her cleft palate and has been having speech therapy for years. She gets very frustrated when people can´t understand what she´s saying.
Sinja´s now 10 and really turned into a very loving, very active child. She attends a " special needs class" in a Danish school ( we are an English family living in Germany) near the Danish border. Which means she´s had to learn Danish ( no problem ) and she understands most English. The older she gets the more she has begun to notice her own disabilities, she gets annoyed that her sister Ebi who´s 8 and started at the same school ( but in a mainstream class )1 year after her can read and write and do maths much better than she can. She´s much less Hyper than she used to be ( or maybe we´ve just got used to it ! ) but she spends most of her time outdoors with her pony and runs most of her energy off.
We´re having great success for the last year with growth hormone therapy which thank God has caused no side effects ( except to make Sinja happy that she´s grown 10 cm in 1 year!! ) and her self esteem has gone up with every centimeter. She´s now 10 and 127 cm. We all love Sinja to bits, and hope that one day she´ll be able to hold down her dream job of looking after animals. Here´s Hoping, Praying and Fighting for her rights!!!
Sinja as a teenager, about age 17
Update: Sinja won two gold medals in the National Special Olympics competition in Germany in 2006 and qualified to compete in the 2007 international games!
More photos at the Gibson family web site