I am growing up so fast!

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Amanda's age

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For Amanda

Our three T21 princesses

Friday, June 25, 2010

2 years ago today

A court in Tallinn Estonia made Tom and I Amanda's parents. In Estonia, they actually remove the old birth certificate from their records and replace it with one in our names, or so I am told. That made me feel rather sad, as if they were erasing her birth family from her existence. We do have her original BC though. I never forget to say a prayer for Amanda's birth mother and to thank her for allowing Amanda a chance of a forever family. Yes, we are her parents now, but her history and heritage will always lie in her home country, she got her genes from there, her blond hair and sky blue eyes were from someone in her family, I hope they think of her sometimes too...

Amanda on a 104 degree day

Our little waif has changed a lot, but it happened so gradually, we did not notice, now all of a sudden we are seeing her as a different little girl. One major change is a little pot belly, oh my, who would have ever thought skinny Amanda would get a belly? She is very strong though, little stinker does a Pilates-like abdominal move hundreds of times a day, I could never do it like she does. It amazes everyone. LOL She actually moves constantly, either waving objects around, or sliding them on the floor, rocking on the dog,  or trying to walk across the floor, she rarely sits still. I think I would cease to have a weight problem if I did everything she did all day.

She adores this little rocking toy, originally it was purchased for Kara, but Kara is too big for it now, she tried to rock the other day and the dog refused to move for her, Kara was an unhappy gal.. Amanda has decided that it is a ride on toy and scoots it all over the yard. The bottom has been worn away so much it barely rocks any longer, and there is a hole forming along the side! We are considering getting a new one for her,  but I wonder if she would still choose this one?

Amanda  and Kara adore the pool, but the pool looses their bowels and mommy and daddy are so weary of fishing out little surprises and emptying that pool, scrubbing down the little stinkers, ugh.  I am hoping for potty awareness soon, hoping and praying, I think Kara may be ready, I am thinking of building a privacy screen and letting her go beside the pool in the potty chair, weird I know, but we have to start somewhere. Thankfully Meghan is past this stage.

Amanda has learned to play, now that probably sounds funny, because shouldn't playing come naturally for children? Well before we had Meghan, I used to think so, but sometimes they need a little help.

When she came home, Amanda would grab objects and shake them, her favorites were envelopes and pieces of paper. She would get lost in the shaking, doing it over and over; repetitive behaviors, obsessive behaviors. Common when your child has autism too.

So it really warms my heart when I peek outside when she is playing and see her hugging a dolly baby, planting kisses on their little faces, running her hands over their hair. She is also putting objects into things now, she used to take them out and toss them over her shoulder, so that is progress as well. She enjoys rolling a ball to us, but she also throws it over her head and behind her, and she laughs her head off. Meghan retrieves it and we start over.

She is exploring different toys in the yard, and venturing into places she should not go. Like the dogs water!

No matter how well we block this off, she still finds her way to it, Amanda loves water, splashing in it, swimming, playing with the hose, a far cry from her first bath in Tallinn, when she was terrified and trembling. Now she hears water running, and she is there in a flash.

Amanda can walk, she is still getting steady on her feet, but her leg muscles were pretty atrophied, still she exercises daily and is gaining better upper leg strength. Her calves are skinny little sticks, though not as thin as they were. You can see muscles in her upper thighs that were not there before, she will continue to improve.

She still prefers to scoot to get where she is going, but she also crawls on her hands and knees now, which to me is a delight to see, gotta love motor planning progress.

After a long afternoon in the pool, what does a little girl do? She falls asleep on her favorite toy. 

Adoption is such a wonderful gift; Amanda is our beloved sweetheart, sometimes frustrating, often stubborn and LOUD when she does not get her way, she is also sweet and silly and loving. Her therapists say she is the easiest to work with, that she is compliant (not sure that is a good thing either LOL)  We are grateful we were allowed to be her family.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Amanda update

I know I have not updated in a while. Amanda is doing well, growing slowly, but definitely growing. She is trying hard to walk, when she thinks I am not looking, she will walk 8-10 steps, but when she spies me watching, she sits down. I am not certain why she does that, little stinker.

She loves to sit in that spot above, she scoots right over there and sits and laughs and plays. The cats go over to her and sit with her. It is partly the sunlight that streams in there, but I also think she likes the dirt!

She is gradually eating more table food, but still has too much carotene in her diet and is still a little yellow from it. LOL Her speech therapist asked me if her doctors were concerned about her jaundice, I have to repeat over and over again, it is NOT jaundice, Amanda has carotenemia. Explained below, it is a benign condition, and since she is very light complected, it is very obvious in her skin, even more obvious when the flash from the camera bounces off it.
I usually try to correct her pictures a little because sometimes she looks quite yellow, this is the same picture without correction:

Carotenemia is a benign condition most commonly occurring in vegetarians and young children. Carotenemia is more easily appreciated in light-complexioned people, and it may present chiefly as an orange discolouration of the palms and the soles in more darkly pigmented persons.[4] Carotenemia does not cause selective orange discoloration of the conjunctiva of the eyes (orange coloration over the sclera), and thus is usually easy to distinguish from the yellowing of the skin caused by bile pigments, in states of jaundice.

She has learned to climb on everything, before she was a little scared to, and now, I have to rescue her off things all day. She is sitting in the sink of their play house in the picture above.
I love living in Arizona in the winter, it has been in the 70's here and we can wear shorts and short sleeves. Amanda usually wears tights under her clothes, she is skinny with very little body fat, and needs more clothing than us. It was 75 the day I took that picture.

Amanda is changing a little every day, people notice she is friendlier, laughs more, and self stims less. She surprises us daily, and it is very heartening to see her opening up more. I know adoption is hard on our kids, so many stressful changes, but I think they show remarkable resilience considering.

My three little girls

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