You can see it fairly well in this photo from "Gotcha Night." It is the hand in the bottom of the photo. She kept that index finger away from all the other fingers at all times.
And here, you see her pointing to the picture in the book with her middle finger, rather than that index finger.
When we had our first appointment at the IAC, the doctor took one look and agreed with our super medical diagnosis in China that it was not "right." She ordered additional x-rays. The results of the x-ray indicated that she had not impacted the bone (as China had told us) and that it was a significant amputation of fatty tissue off the tip of her finger. We were sent to consult with a surgeon.
The surgeon took one look and agreed that our assessment was correct, it wasn't "right." However, his review of her x-ray and the finger itself did not indicate the need for surgery. Sure, it doesn't look "right" and sure, we could make it look better, but it will not make it function any better than it currently does. In fact, surgery might drive her from using it even more. It hurt for so long that she has a bad case of neglect and has almost totally "forgotten" to use it. He told us to just try to encourage her to use it more and eventually she'll realize that it doesn't hurt and get used to its new sensations and feelings with it, we'll get her brain rewired and she'll start using it. Just lots of practice.
We've been hesitant to force the issue of practice until we knew for sure that it actually doesn't "hurt" her. Knowing this now, we feel like we can encourage getting that beautiful pincer grasp back to what it once was with the index and thumb, rather than middle and thumb as she is currently doing (honestly, none of this would be a big deal if it wasn't on her right hand. She appears to be right hand dominant and the finger will impact pencil grip, etc. down the road so she really needs to start using it).
Yesterday we played a game to hone in on some fine motor skills using q-tips and a Parmesan cheese container. I got her to use that "lazy little finger" to do some chomping and squeezing on those q-tips, but she kept trying to be sly and use her left hand instead. Today, I tackled lunch. Behold....
"Chomp, chomp, chomp those fingers! Grab that fishy by the tail!"
"Good chomping! Make that little finger work! He says, "don't forget about me! I want to do some chomping!""
The best sign for "more" we have ever seen to date! Look at all those fingers so neatly tucked in and touching at the tips! No scaredy cat finger sticking straight up in the air making things look messy!
Look at me, Mama! My finger is chomping some cheese! CHEESE!!
When you are an adoptive Mama you realize that no task is a small task for your child to attempt. The hurdles are big and the wounds run deep. You rejoice at even the smallest of things. This looks like a mundane, regular lunch to many. To me--this is two months at home, fear conquering, tough girl bravery. This was no small thing and she will continue to need lots of prompts and reminders to get that finger back into regular use, but she sure did conquer it. From not letting us touch it, to finally allowing to me clip the nail on it, to today--using it to pick things up. Big stuff for a little girl. Would you just look at that pretty little pincer??