I am growing up so fast!

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Amanda

Amanda's age

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God Doesn't Make Mistakes

For Amanda

Our three T21 princesses

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Please keep Amanda in your prayers tomorrow

She goes in to the cardiologist for her echocardiogram and we will know for certain if she has a heart defect.

Poor little girl is covered in mosquito bites, they love her. We do not believe in using toxic chemicals on our children's skin, so we keep her in long pajamas, with her lack of body fat, she does not complain.

On a positive note, she is interacting more with her sisters, giggling when they play with her, and is hugging back when she is hugged. We think it is great progress!

Monday, July 28, 2008

A wonderful gift from a great friend and supporter


Check out the sweet t-shirt Stacy had made for my girls, now this one is Julia's, Meghan's says "I'm the Biggest sister", Kara's says "I'm the big sister", and Amanda's says "I am the little sister"

I think they are adorable, once Kara and Meghan feel better, both are sick right now, I will take a picture of all of them wearing them.

Thank you Stacy, your thoughtfulness has touched my heart. The girls love their tees!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

For Joy

For moving forward in faith to adopt little R, I love reading your blog and look forward to updates. If you scroll down you can find the "rules" of receiving this award in a post back from this one. Copy the image and save to your computer. :o)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Plagiocephaly and Amanda



Amanda has severe plagiocephaly, I noticed it in Estonia, the left side of her head is flattened from the ear to the middle of her head while she has a bony knob on the right side, giving her head a severe asymmetrical appearance. I tried to take a picture of it, but it is hard to capture. Her hair sticks out straight at the bony portion. Her forehead is also pushed forward abnormally by this, in fact when we first saw her we were both afraid she may have hydrocephaly. We do not think she does any longer after spending time with her.
The PNP thought it was positional, from her lying in the same position for too long. So it seems likely she was left in bed for very long periods of time, it makes me so sad for her. It seems to be related to why she grinds her teeth.
http://www.plagiocephaly.info/faqs/default.htm
What are the most important things for parents to know about positional plagiocephaly?
It is important for parents to know that plagiocephaly can often be prevented and/or corrected byrepositioning. In addition, parents should know that, if treated early (prior to 18 months of age—as young as possible), this condition can be effectively corrected without surgery. Having made those points, it also critical that parents know that if they have concerns about the shape of their child’s head, they should seeks medical advice to rule out other conditions (for example, torticollis or craniosynostosis) that require other forms of intervention, perhaps even surgery.


Kevin M. Kelly, PhD16-Oct-2005
What do you see as the possible consequences of not treating positional plagiocephaly?
Left untreated, children, especially those deformity includes facial asymmetry may experience other medical issues later in life (for example, problems with the TMJ, temporomandibular joint; problems with occlusion). In addition, one should not [cannot] understate the importance of simply “looking normal” to a child’s emotional and social development, particularly as children grow into their teens.
Kevin M. Kelly, PhD

We are terribly concerned about her, her face is even more flattened across her nasal bridge as a result and her nose is always stuffy, she grinds her teeth terribly and also has problems opening her mouth all the way. Sometimes her jaw works it's way loose and she opens her mouth in a huge O, otherwise she can barely open it enough to get a spoon into it.

With her heart being a potential problem, we have to wait on her plagiocephaly, but I have contacted the specialist above for his recommendations for specialists near me.

I certainly do not want her to have surgery on her skull, but if this is causing issues with her jaw and sinuses, it seems cruel to leave it be. I would appreciate prayers being said for Amanda, she has so many more issues than we had thought originally. It surely does not make us love her any less, but I am a little worried about her long term health and functioning.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

One month!

One month ago Tom and I picked up Amanda from her orphanage!

I am in awe of her ability to handle change, she just plays and interacts with everyone here, explores the house, sleeps in her new crib, and lets us into her little world more and more.

Yesterday she pressed her soft little cheek next to mine and gave me a little kiss. She just seems more comfortable here just two weeks after we arrived in Tucson.

Wish I could add pictures, but my camera will not work, I think when I dropped it in Estonia I knocked a wire loose. I simply cannot endure not having a camera, I adore taking pictures. Dh's camera washes out the girls faces, so I need to get mine fixed or save up for a new one, isn't it always something?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What a nice surprise

My Angelsister Dawn gave me this award for Amanda's blog, it is the second one I received today
My Reece's Rainbow friend Rita also gave me the same award, thank you so much Rita, it was the first time for me, I have never received anything for any of my blogs.
Here are the rules when you select your people for the award:
1) Put the logo on your blog;
2) Add a link to the person who awarded you
3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs
4) Add links to those blogs on yours
5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs
I read so many blogs, but 14 is a lot, so it may take me a while to choose.
I adore her blog, so heartfelt. I am always happy to see you have updated it.
Jill SpIGOT
I can't wait to see new pictures and read about your upcoming adoption.
I love her blog, and she is adopting one of my favorite little sweeties, Andres from Estonia.
You win the new blogger award, you are an amazing woman, I hope more people read about you and your family!
Your loving tribute to your newest son warms my heart, your faith is inspirational
Jill -Nicks mom
I admire your faith and strength.
Your writing comes from your heart and your faith in God shines through every post.
I will do another 7 tomorrow. It is hard to choose as there are so many bloggers whom I admire so much.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Did I mention?

Lack of sleep is taking it's toll on me, so fuzzy headed, Amanda is sleeping again, I tried to keep her up as long as I could, but she is out, and when she is asleep, waking her up is terribly difficult. I will be up in the early AM again.

Amanda has a cardiology appointment on August 1 Her heart has to be addressed first because she may need premeds for anything else, including dental check-ups. The CNP said she though she heard aortic regurge, and we know there is a septal defect, which is probably why the paperwork says her cardiac issue is clinically compensated? We will know everything soon. (please pray for her)

She does not have the stamina of the other two girls, that is for certain. She hold her own with them though. Meghan adores her, I think she is relieved that Amanda does not attack her. LOL Amanda is beginning to play with Meghan.

Amanda seems to have fully recovered from the fever virus, she is her giggly self again, eating at least as much as she did in Estonia. Her upper thighs seem fuller, she has a slight pot belly. I think she has regained lost weight.

Bonding


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Amanda is feeling better

Check out that dirty face, she wore her dinner, but the point is, she ate all of it, still all soft foods, but some more vegetables and proteins added.
Last night she was gifting us with her sweet giggle, proof the illness has left her, no fever for over 24 hours, PTL! Now if she would sleep all night, I would be very happy. She did in Estonia, so it is just a matter of time, meanwhile, I sure am tired...she feels great. LOL

Friday, July 18, 2008

Stroller woes

I really like this one, especially if it comes in pink, LOL Reviews were decent.

We are shopping for a duo umbrella type stroller. Now Tom and I both have My Points accounts, I have had mine nearly 10 years. Over the years I have redeemed $200 worth of points to get gift cards, with them I bought clothing from Macy's or Target for me and the kids. I have been saving my points for almost 2 years now, saving for a rainy day, as we can get diapers an such with the gift cards from Target, Walmart, etc. (If you want your own account, I can refer you if you would like, just send me your email address)

Tom redeemed $100 worth of points to get a duo stroller for Amanda and Kara from Target, well they are out of stock. Trouble is I want it so I can take walks with the girls over rough terrain, and most of the customer reviews for the ones I can afford say they do poorly for anything but smooth surfaces. Well that won't work. So I am going to have to redeem my points too because the only strollers I see that will work for what I want them for are jogging strollers and are much more expensive.

My question from blog readers is, what did you buy for side to side, and do you like it? I have to get ours at Target, so choices are limited, and we cannot go over $300, and even that is a lot right now.

Intake visit went well

Of course we probably will have to have her SS# to get services, so we are back to that one again, ah procedure, so much fun.

I am fine


Mindy and a few others asked how I was. I am doing OK, other than fatigue from lack of sleep that is.


Of course I am frustrated with Kara's behavior, but I love the little stinker to distraction.


I wish Amanda would all of a sudden decide that she loved mashed potatoes and soups, spaghetti, anything else.


I wish that Meghan would get out of diapers for good!


I wish we would win a lottery that paid all our bills...other than that, my life, thanks be to God, is good right now.

Progress of sorts

Amanda slept most of the night, she woke me up at 3:00 AM but I held her and rubbed her back and she went back to sleep. I was glad to see that she seemed to want to be held and comforted, so this is also good progress, she often likes to be left alone.

I did not go back to sleep. Instead I got up, did the dishes that were left in the sink, filled out paperwork for a language study we are enrolling Meghan in (University of Arizona Down Syndrome Research Group), and copied Amanda's adoption paperwork for our DDD intake today. I then read blogs, and did some blogging myself. Trying my best to be as quiet as possible. So I have a complaint about those people who use music on their blogs, note to them, when we moms steal away times to ourselves, the music alerts our kids and husbands that we are at the computer. LOL I turned down the volume on my computer so I would not wake anyone up.

It is 6:02 and everyone is sound asleep and will be for a few hours. Ah, peace and quiet, and oh, am I ever sleepy. Yawn.

I love prizes-Old Red Barn Co

If you look to the right, you can see a picture of a quilt, a giveaway from Old Red Barn Co. Click to enter the contest, you have until July 22nd.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Forgot to add

I spoke to DDD yesterday, Amanda's intake is Friday! We get get the ball rolling to get her services; OT, PT, ST. I called and spoke to Sandra, who had come here for Kara's intake, she is such a special mom, she and I had a meaningful conversation. So when I called I was happy she remembered me and agreed to come as soon as she could. PTL, lets get sweet Amanda services ASAP.

Thank you Sandra.

Sleep? I slept all day mom, I am not sleepy

Daddy just woke up here, but Amanda insisted he pick her up. Click on the picture to read his shirt, I made it for him on Vista Print (yes, it was free), for Fathers day!
Amanda chilling with daddy that same day, she loved lying there while Daddy fanned her to keep her cool, no grapes to feed her though. :o)

So right now, it is 3:15 AM, Amanda is awake and playing, she slept the day away and since she has not been feeling well, we let her get her rest, BUT now she is wide-awake and very happy. She sounds like her old self, thank you God.

I fell asleep early but woke up to squeals and a giggle, DH Tom was watching Amanda, but if I wake up from a sound sleep, returning to it is near impossible.

Therefore, Tom, who said he would stay up tonight so I could sleep, is now sleeping in the chair, Amanda, without fever (PTL) is playing at his feet. It is almost a week since we arrived home, and Amanda is still turned around. I find I do not care as long as she feels better; I can nap tomorrow because Tom will be home.

It is summer and Tom lost his summer job right before we left for Estonia. As a teacher with a new master’s degree in educational technology, Tom had hoped to get a job teaching on-line school, so far no luck in that department. Consequently, he had to take a lower paying job to help pay the bills this summer; I usually teach fitness classes to help as well. Since he lost his summer job, he applied for over 50, and got only one call back. That one will not start until the end of August. Apparently, his summer boss, who runs a special needs day camp, did not think adopting a little girl with special needs was a good reason for him to take a few days off. She seemed to search for reasons that he was not doing his job well so she could to dismiss him, and she did, one week before we left.

Adding to his job loss was the news that our grant fell through that week as well. Such abysmally bad timing, but neither of us paused in our aspirations of adopting Amanda, so onward we went. This was when we decided to go to our credit union and take out a loan against my minivan...no we do not usually have this kind of financial struggle, and we have our summers planned out to the penny, but adopting two little ones in less than a year has drained our resources considerably. We typically use our tax returns to pay the mortgage ahead for the summer, but this year we used them in whole to adopt Amanda.

We knew we did not want to ask for help, we were so tired, so very weary, of soliciting donations, so we were relieved to have the option of a secured loan, though we hesitated to f0llow through with it until we knew that the grant would not come to us.

We had a talk about what to do next. The two days a week, Tom works for the city Parks and Rec department teaching piano and musical theater will not cover our bills. I thought about calling my old boss to sub for the rest of the summer, if anything is available. I actually plan to do that tomorrow, Tom is home and I will not have to worry about a sitter. I lost my regular classes I was teaching because I was in Ukraine 6 weeks, got sick right after, and could not return to work. I knew she may not hold the class for me when I left, but again, Kara was worth that sacrifice, but I do miss my job, I sorely miss being fit, thinner, and being able to help with the family finances. No matter what I do now, I will not be paid for a couple of weeks, so we are faced with taking out another loan to pay our bills for July. The only choice we have is loan against my minivan AGAIN, and the bank said sure, come on over and we will get you the check. I cannot even begin to tell you how much it hurts to have a lien on that van again.

I paid it off when I got my money from the US Government, Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, for exposing a two year old me to nuclear fallout and giving me breast cancer, how do we know that caused it. Well my oncologist said at that age the radioactive particles coming from Nevada would have a devastating effect on me, and they did, I was hospitalized and was critically ill following that final nuclear test, and this is the reason I adamantly oppose any new testing anywhere on this earth, the consequences are devastating. The fact that the US government admits the testing gave hundreds of thousands of Americans cancer is proof to me that it caused my breast cancer in 2003.

It was mostly because of that money that made the final decision adopt from Ukraine, and we adopted Kara, but we could only use the money left after we paid off the van, all our credit cards, medical bills, and such. The remainder did not cover the entire cost of her adoption... still I was happy not to have a car payment since bringing Kara home meant limited ability for me to work, so what a relief to be rid of a $300 monthly payment, and here we are with one again. Thank goodness, it will not be $300, but that first payment is due July 31!

I know that we will be fine, God always provides what we need and the means to get it, so being able to get the loan is a blessing, the fact that we have that asset to use to help us get through a gift.

Tom returns to his regular job early August, so we just have to get through these next few weeks. I suppose we will go to the bank tomorrow, I will sign the papers with a heavy heart, I hate being in debt, I do, but at least we can do that to help our family, so it is more than worth it.

This struggle and the difficulty raising funds to adopt will be the reason we cannot do it again, not on a teacher’s salary. I cannot understand how so many people adopt again and again, but we are unbelievably blessed to have Kara and Amanda home and as Tom said yesterday "I do not regret anything we sacrificed to bring our girls home, I love them and can't imagine life without them" Ditto for me!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Drinking

So this is Amanda when she is not feeling well, she really hates the camera, she sees it and gets so angry with me.
Amanda and Meghan; neither one like to look at the camera, Kara though, loves having her picture taken, can you tell?
My unhappy girl after her bath, boy was she mad at me, she is hot and cold with liking her bath. She just is not herself, not the sweet, easygoing little miss in Estonia, if this is a virus, it will pass, meanwhile, i got to rock her to sleep last night, and she hugged me close, that is bonding progress, but I hate the reason why, so hard to see her miserable.

Amanda's issues with drinking, it upset me. I add milk to her yogurt and juice to her fruit to make sure she gets enough fluids. With 5-6 wet diapers a day, I think she is well hydrated, but I still feel like she needs more because we live in a very hot place.

I will definitely be open to your suggestions, as this is new to me, although Kara will only drink juices, we have managed to water them down to 1/2 juice 1/2 water. Kara has gotten chubby, and we don;t want her getting too fat, it is an issue with kids with Ds. I am pretty certain both girls only received fluids with meals, and suppose it may have to do with the staff trying to save on diapers-washing. I just don't know, I do know that Kara was extremely thirsty when I visited her at the orphanage and dug through my bag to get her juice every time I came.

Fever virus??

I took Amanda to the pediatrician, ears were OK, after cleaning out an extraordinary amount of ear wax, icky. No strep throat, no congestion in her lungs, no discharge from her nose...they said a fever virus was going around and likely she caught it.


She weighs 18 pounds 6 ounces, they said she was underweight and her list of medical issues was more than they could handle in one visit. She heard something when she examined her heart, not a gross abnormality, but definitely something there, Amanda kept grinding her teeth making it impossible to hear it.


She has warts...she has swollen tonsils, she said "Her teeth are rotted out of her mouth" (sob) She is really worried about her not drinking anything, but she has enough wet diapers to be OK there, the doctor is worried about her tongue thrusting when eating.


She was really concerned about the term "IV pregnancy" pertaining to Amanda's mother, but no one in Estonia mentioned HIV, I think it would be listed, wouldn't it? At any rate, it seems Amanda's mother is a drug addict or I am not understanding what the term means at all, anyone want to enlighten me? (Can I tell you how dumb I feel, IV pregnancy means the 4Th pregnancy, it dawned on me as I was writing this, duh. I don't feel so bad, the nurse practitioner did not catch that either. LOL)


Amanda is getting a blood test for HIV, Thyroid, CBC, venereal diseases, Hep B and C, Hepatitis panel, I am not sure she has enough blood in her little body for this.


We were referred to a specialized clinic, which neither Meghan nor Kara were "sick" enough to be allowed in to. I am calling them today. Amanda had her TB skin test and is sleeping, poor baby, she had a 101 degree fever when we checked her at the doctors office. Her pulse Ox was 98, so at least THAT was normal.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Well, Amanda does like to share

A lesson in "Be careful what you wish for, it may come true" Meghan, Kara, and I have caught what has been giving Amanda a fever. An intestinal virus that causes belly aches and fatigue. Amanda is steadily improving, Meghan and Kara slept the day away yesterday, when they were not sleeping they were miserable, sleep was better. Late yesterday afternoon all three were sleeping on the sofa while I sat there talking to our oldest son Fred. I was falling asleep by 9 PM and fell into bed at 10 waking up at 3 AM.

I had to wake up Amanda to eat, as I do not want her skipping meals, she ate sleepily and after a few minutes of playing, went back to sleep. She has slept peacefully all night, I know because I have been up a while watching her sleep and trying to read "Memory Keepers Daughter", periodically checking her body temperature and praying. Hopefully today will find her back to her old self and Meghan and Kara much improved.

Jet lag is starting to correct itself, though I am still not 100% adjusted to AZ time. I really dislike these surreal days following a long international flights, so many days lost to a mental fog you can't seem to shake, and perhaps this is also one of Amanda's issues. Thankfully I am pretty resilient with this type of flu and am merely tired, extremely dizzy and well, and yesterday I was grumpy as all get out.

I will not have much time to update, took some photos, but sick children are not good photography subjects and who wants a flash in your eyes when you are ill? Not me, not them. I really want to get out with the girls, I though about going somewhere today, but with three, I will have to relearn how to manage it. LOL

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Fever has stayed down

Amanda has slept most of the day, she no longer has a fever, so that is wonderful, but it is obvious that she does not feel 100% like her old self. I think I will be up with her all night again, but I slept the afternoon away, so I should be OK.

Thanks for your prayers.

Such a sad little miss

No one but Kara got much sleep last night. Amanda woke up feverish again (102) I gave her Tylenol but watched the 102 creep up to nearly 103 so I gave her a tepid bath, she was not happy but her temperature went down steadily afterwards and she finally drifted off to sleep. Her days and night are still confused as well, but I held a sobbing infant for over an hour last night and I hate that helpless feeling. Her insurance has not officially been activated.

No cough, nasal discharge, or any sign of anything wrong other than the fever, I am thinking ear infection. Monday we will be at the doctors office providing we can keep her fever down and keep her comfortable today, if not, it is a trip to Urgent Care. We almost went last night, but DD Julia was spending the night with friends and we did not want to take all three little girls out at 2 AM. Though Meghan woke up and was hovering over Da wringing her hands and wanting her to feel better, bless Meghan's dear little heart, she is such a loving little girl. Kara slept through it all, she is such a good sleeper.

Amanda is eating right now with DH and sounds happier, already had her Tylenol, and I have to say I hate giving our kids medicine, but she needed it, she was not as feverish this morning, but I would rather it not break through again and make her miserable. She did not seem to be in pain, and she is already white a a sheet in her coloring, so it was hard to tell what may be going on.

Last time we adopted I came home sick, I would rather it be me than Amanda, her cries make me cry, poor little sweetie. Please add her to your prayers, we are hoping it is a simple ear infection and nothing more serious, it scares me every time my kids get sick, I know you know what I mean.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Amanda's fever is down for now

We gave her apple juice by syringe, she actually drank it, but still refuses to eat. As long as we can get fluids in her, I will be happy for now.She is lying on a pillow on Daddy's lap "talking" to him, she is comfortable.

Thanks for the prayers, please pray it is not something serious.

Poor Amanda has a fever

I woke up from a nap to find her feverish (101) and very sad. I gave her some Tylenol. Tom said she would not eat anything for him, at her weight not eating is very bad.

Please pray for her.

We funny three

Poor Amanda was falling asleep here, up since 3, it was time for her nap. LOL Check out the mismatched clothes! I think they look sweet. :o)

She is tired and not sure what to think about these two sisters of hers. I thought they looked cute together. Kara does not wear shirts often because she gets heat rashes with them on. So sorry for the bare chest...
Time for mom to join Amanda. (yawn)

It's a group thing

video

Three little sillies, I think Amanda believes both her sisters are a little crazy, but she joined in on the fun regardless of their insanity!

Yesterday including hair pulling, pinching from both little girls, and lots of mothering from Meghan.

Amanda and I slept a lot and I have been up all night because she woke up at 3 and Kara woke up at 5. So when DH wakes up, I think I will take a nap. It will be fun to get back on Tucson time.

Friday, July 11, 2008

An early morning



No one needs more than 3 hours of sleep, right? Amanda was awake at 5, she was singing her special song and rocking. She was really hungry, so she had her yogurt and fruit and then we heard music from Kara's room (they are not sleeping together in the same room yet) and got her out of bed. I had to take pictures of them together, Kara makes Amanda look SO little, yet Kara is small herself.
Just wanted to share pictures of my two sweeties, Meghan was still sleeping, can you believe the difference in their size, and yes, Kara was that small when we adopted her. What a difference 6 1/2 months makes! Can't wait to see Amanda in that time.
Things to do today; Tom is taking the adoption decree to the school to get her on our insurance officially! She really needs to see her doctors.

We are home

I am really beyond tired, everyone is asleep except me, I wanted to say we got home safely.

We had Good Samaritans help us again with our carry-on luggage, thank goodness for kind people. When we arrived in Arlandia Sweden we were pleasantly surprised with our seats, we had been upgraded to first class. An answer to prayers. Amanda was doted on by all and I got to tell her story, tell them about Reece's Rainbow, and eat, drink, and sleep very well.

Amanda did not sleep until we have 4 hours left in our trip, she ate as soon as we got on the plane and did not cry, or fuss, was perfectly content. I slept a little after she, but really did not sleep until we got on an almost empty plane to Arizona. We had three seats and Amanda stretched out and fell fast asleep, I gratefully slept beside her.


The woman sleeping opposite of Amanda talked to me as we landed, she said she had a daughter like Amanda. Yes, a daughter named Deanna who was born 40 years ago. Sadly her daughter was born with an AV Canal defect and at the time, they did not or could not repair the defect. Deanna passed away at age 28, 16 years longer than the doctors said she would. Her mother said Deanna's boyfriend still visits her grave and takes flower weekly. He also has Down syndrome.

This very sweet woman helped Amanda and I all the way to passport check. Amanda was sobbing inconsolably by this point, she had her food, a diaper change, and I tried to hold her, nothing made her happy, she was just overwrought, and who can blame her. She perked up after about an hour of crying.

After we finally made our way to our gate, we saw a mommy and her adorable baby, I looked at her daughter smiling and realized her daughter had Down syndrome! They were headed to the national convention. She said she also has a son, aged 3. She mentioned she had friends who were adopting children with Down syndrome, we are all connected, aren't we?

Amanda is in her new crib (thanks Becky and Cheryl) sleeping. I am following her to bed. The room is beginning to spin, I am so tired.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A quick note

We are heading down for our last breakfast here, Amanda is in her "Bon Voyage" dress and ready to go. I have nervous butterflies in my belly, just not sure how she will like flying. Please pray she is spared any stress from it.
Will post again when I get a chance. Bon Voyage Estonia, America here we come.

Our last day here



I took these of the two of us, gotta love the look on Amanda's face. She was actually laughing and hugging me, and it was a really special time for both of us. The best thing? When we loaded the pictures on the computer she sat in my lap and got excited when she saw us. She said Mama to every new image of us. I want to think she is calling me Mama, but I was told that the kids here say it when they are hungry (maybe someone was pulling my leg?) I chose to believe she knows I am her Mama. :o)


A nice American woman took this picture of us, not the best picture of me, but we are together in it, and in Tallinn. I was talking when she snapped the picture, oh well...I am in a PICTURE, amazing.


Truth be told, I feel sad to be leaving Tallinn, it is so beautiful here and I feel like there is so much to see and learn. Amanda and I took a walk to Toompea Hill and took quite a few pictures of lower town. I took them until my memory card was full and there was still so much more to photograph.

I am not a world traveler, I would love to be, as nothing makes me happier than seeing new places, exploring, and discovering a special place or thing. However, on a teachers salary, that will rarely be a huge part of our lives. So adopting both girls has been such a gift to me (us) in that respect; allowing me to see such wonderful places and living in a completely new place for a while. My only sadness this trip is that I did not get to share my discoveries with my husband or my other children.
Being in Tallinn is a gift from God, I am so grateful for being able to be Amanda's mother. I get to have the privilege of seeing her learn and grow.

I feel so lucky, and I know that I did not get here under my own devices, but with a lot of help from very good people from our agency AHI to my friends at Reece's Rainbow, Angelsisters, 10nbelow, and BCSN. All of you helped us get to Tallinn to adopt sweet Amanda. So on this, our last day here, I wanted to tell all of you thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

One last trip to the mall

I got Amanda dressed and we went down to breakfast, afterwards we talked to daddy on Skype for a little while and then told her we were going bye bye. I went over to the kitchen and found her trying to climb into her stroller. She does not really climb, so I thought it was great progress for her. In addition to that she is beginning to understand some English! Yea!
She was very intent in getting into her stroller and very upset with me for wasting time taking her picture. I could not resist though, she was so cute trying so hard.
I keep saying how skinny Amanda is, I think this picture really shows how thin she truly is. Her pants, which are size 18 months, fall off of her.


Doesn't she look like she is saying "Come on mama lets go". I am happy she enjoys going bye bye, wonder how she will like leaving for good? I feel sad for her, this is her place of birth and she will never get to live here again. I hope to bring her back when she is older and can understand more, though I am not certain she will ever truly comprehend everything involved in her adoption with her cognitive delay, praying she can at least a little.





We finally got everything together and made our way to the mall to get Amanda's food for the trip home. I found the yogurt that does not need refrigeration and some jarred fruit. Hopefully 8 yogurt and 6 fruit will be enough, maybe too much? Better that than not enough!

Leaving the mall, I love the statuary all over town, you can see the modern side of Tallinn here, and the mall is just like all malls, they all seem the same whether in Kiev, Indianapolis, or Tallinn. Too much money for very little. :o)

Almost back to the apartment, I will miss these streets and the wonderful old buildings. I think that it is confusing to our brains to be somewhere so far away and yet it is so inaccessible to us upon our return home. For the longest time I felt like I should be able to walk out my door and be in Vorzel, not being able to so was disconcerting. Going home this time and seeing the Catalina mountains from my window instead of the Soprus theater will take some adjustment. I am so glad to be going home, yet sad to be leaving as well. I have barely explored this city. I would love to go in the tunnels below the city, they have always fascinated me. I would bet a stroller would not work down there. LOL
Back home, I love the winding roads. I was disappointed that the Domina City Hotel to the right took down the American flag a few days ago. I know there must be a good reason, but somehow I feel slighted by it. The British flags hangs proudly at all times.

Back home and time for lunch and a nap. Tomorrow we go back to Upper Old Town (Toompea) to finish getting little gifts (very little, things cost so much) for the kids.
video

Monday, July 7, 2008

Pictures and updates

These were taken before Amanda got ready for bed Monday night, I wanted to add them to the post from yesterday (it is Tuesday here). They came out dark, the light from the window confused my camera, so I made them greyscale to preserve Amanda's image, she was too dark to see. Some day I hope to get a better camera with more settings, I adore photography, especially when taking pictures of my family.

I sat Amanda in the window sill and snapped these. People below could see her and some were alarmed, but the window was CLOSED, open would be another story, it even scares me when it is open, no screen or bars to prevent falling. I think the pictures came out OK, and of course she is always adorable.

I wanted Amanda to be pictured within her native Estonia, but it is hard to do on busy streets; I would love to have stopped someone to ask them to take pictures of both of us, but my shyness comes to being very strongly in new places and I could not get up the nerve, especially when most folks do not speak English and are not all that fond of Americans. (yes, I have always been shy, have said so for years, no one who knows me well ever believes it) Therefore there are no pictures of me here at all, folks will think I was never here, I tried doing the self portrait thing, but was not pleased that it seemed to highlight the new 48 year old me... LOL.
I added the watermarks because I would rather her photos remain the property of our family, and though they meant no harm, some people have taken her pictures from here without our permission. I am not upset, they did it with the kindest of intentions, but I prefer to be asked before her image is used. If anyone would like to use a photo please let me know in the comments section.
One of the only photos in real color that came out OK, I love this one, she is such a funy girl with a thousand expressions.

Tom snapped this picture when we were talking on Skype this morning. Such a character our Amanda, getting to know her has so far been fun and yes we have had challenges, but she has captured our hearts and engaged our curiosity too.

She will not look at the camera, I think the flash hurts her eyes, but I have an intuition that is not the only reason, there is something about her not wanting to engage her eyes with mine that troubles me, but it is too soon for me to fear anything concrete. She does have behaviors that feel familiar, many are orphanage behaviors, others seem more than that. Then again as a mom, I worry too much...
One in a while she will look right at me and there is such a curiosity in her little eyes, and though she seems so much like a baby developmentally, she has been alive three years with three years worth of life experiences. I know nothing of them or of who she was before she was handed over to us June 23.

So little was said that day and I did not ask because I believed I would return to the orphanage to give gifts and perhaps speak with her nanny, doctor, and director.

I did none of this, nor could I take the pictures of the children their soon to be parents craved so much, and for that I am sorry. I was never given the opportunity to do so because there were two other families here while I was and Igor was terribly busy, he only had time to take me to the places we needed to go to complete Amanda's adoption.
So my gifts were loaded in the back of his van last Thursday and were to be given to the orphanage and staff without my presence. I am terribly disappointed about it, I wanted to see if they were appreciated and understood them, I wanted to explain why we chose Kachina's. I spent so much time gathering information and finding items I thought the staff would like to have and I missed seeing them opening them.

I feel like I should have known the procedures, but I feel like I made a huge social error and it bothers me. I guess I feel foolish, and I dislike feeling that way. Why didn't I double check about how to do everything?
So we have our beautiful little girl and she is a complete mystery to us, we know her mothers name and that she has siblings and that is pretty much it other than some medical facts we received. I should have pushed for more information, but again, I assumed I would meet with the orphanage staff again and be able to ask questions of them at that time.

The adoption process here was smooth, the facilitation was handled expertly and quickly, it seemed impossible to get so much done in such a short time, but Igor did it. I wish he had more time for the other things though I do understand.

So enough of that; I need to go buy some food for the next two days and for our trip home. I really need some small containers of yogurt and jarred fruit. It is a long trip and since she will only eat those two things for me, it is important I take as much as I can for her, I was reading that Delta said I can only take 2-3 ounce containers of food for her, are they kidding me? She eats those in 2 minutes.

Anyone have issues with Delta not allowing enough baby food for long trips? I will also need juice to add to her fruit as she will not drink anything. We flew home on a different airline from Ukraine, they let me take all I needed for Kara, no issues at all, but I have no experience with Delta.

Here are some more pictures I took, such a stinker, and her moods have been all over the place today.
Popeye face, that is what we call this, or maybe she is Sweetpea, but we love that cockeyed smile!
She either loves her dolly or tosses her away, she likes talking to her too. She was really babbling away when I took the pictures.
Amanda just loved her bath today, she crawled into the bathroom stood up against the bathtub and began pulling at her clothes. A nice change from the fits a week ago. I thought she looked adorable here.

My three little girls

My three little girls
Finally got all three to smile at once