Friends of Orphans and Vulnerable Children

Friends of Orphans and Vulnerable Children
What could be better than an Ethiopian welcome, FOVC style?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

She broke a dozen

We took Amelia to the doctor to be weighed yesterday. She finally exceeds twelve pounds! To be exact, she weighs twelve pounds, five ounces. I thought this was great. Our doctor was so-so: she has gained ten ounces in the past seventeen days. I know he would have liked to see more ounces. But we're not losing anymore! She only spits up once or twice per bottle or meal, but she's still only able to have small bottles. She does love to eat!

Amelia is becoming a real, live baby. For instance: it's absolutely more fun to be held than to not be held. She has realized if she hollers, I'll pick her up....especially when we're at work. She gets down-right indignant if a family member walks by without stopping to talk. And she has realized riding in the car seat with a big sister back there with her is way more fun than riding in the car seat with just Mom up in the front seat.

She's awfully smart, our girl!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Mountain Lion!

So there was a MOUNTAIN LION within a block of our house last night. Yikes! "They" (I don't know who "they" are, exactly--the animal controllers or the police or the department of wildlife?) had a hard time catching it. Eeek!

I didn't personally try to catch him, but I was able to snap this shot:

Ha ha, just kidding! (I actually googled the shot.)

For those of you who don't know, we live in the suburbs near Boulder. Who knew the suburbs could be so exciting?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


So we know Amelia is super-smart, and we're pretty sure she's multi-lingual. As far as we can tell, she speaks English, Amharic and....CAT.

The girl yowls and meows and carries on like you wouldn't believe. She's such a little vocalizer. People who hear her when I'm on the phone, or who are in other parts of the building when I'm at work, have truly been known to ask if it's a cat! (Her big sisters are so proud.)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Girl with Glasses

In addition to her new braces, Abby has new glasses. Turns out, she was correct when she told us she couldn't see the board in school. Here's the new look:
I think I have never seen such a perfect combination of smart and beautiful. What a girl!

Here's a funny picture of Amelia. We took a short hike in Rocky Mountain National Park, and I was concerned her mostly bald little head might be a bit chilly. So she donned a little-pink-polka-dot-hiking-hood look. As you can see, she thought it was funny!

Finally, this girl loves to play! Here she is being busy before bed. (She has still never slept less than ten hours at night...and usually, it's more like eleven hours! What a blessing for old parents...)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

International Adoption Clinic

Amelia (plus Mom and Dad) spent a few hours Thursday at the International Adoption Clinic at Children's Hospital. What a great and extremely useful experience! If you have, or will, adopt internationally, we heartily recommend taking your kiddo for an evaluation by an international adoption specialist. (FYI, at least at Children's Hospital in Denver, the children should be home for at least two or three months before being seen.)

The doctor at the clinic is named Matt Daley--he helped me by phone a few times before we even traveled, as we tried to figure out how to help Amelia gain weight "there" while we were "here."

We met--all together--with Dr. Daley, a nurse practitioner, a psychologist, a physical therapist and an occupational therapist. The breadth of their knowledge and helpfulness was incredible! Here is a very simplistic view of what happened during the evaluation: First, they asked us a bunch of questions. Then, the physical therapist took Amelia out in the hall and "played" with her. Next, the psychologist offered Amelia various toys and objects and observed what she did with them, while taking notes and scoring some kind of an inventory. (We told Amelia, since she's in our family, this was likely the first of many therapy sessions she would need--ha!)Finally, Dr. Daley did a medical exam. The occupational therapist mostly watched the entire process and asked questions several times.

The team left the room to talk about their evaluations and to determine their recommendations for our family. When they returned, they gave us some incredibly comprehensive feedback. (We'll expect to receive their written report in a couple of weeks.)

Amelia was a bit of a tricky case, because we suspect she was premature, but no one knows how much. We know she had a hard time growing, and she's still so small. The cultural swaddling in Ethiopia affected her development as well. And here's the most interesting one to me: they think her severe reflux has played a major role in her development. Poor baby!

Anyway, they decided to evaluate her as an eight month old (even though, because of the prematurity, she might be more like, say, a seven month old). We learned she is one happy baby, extremely alert and highly vocal (we already knew these things, of course!). Her fine motor skills are nearly on track. But gross motor skills are lagging...because of all those factors I mentioned above. The team expects she will absolutely catch up and do just great. But to help her catch up sooner rather than later, she's going to have a few months of physical therapy. (Here's some more good news: The physical therapist will come to our house! Yea!)

We talked a great deal about attachment, too. (Things are going very well in this department, by the way.) Because of their expertise, the team was able to observe--and share with us--all kinds of insights about Amelia's temperament and how her own attachment with us is somewhat driven by her temperament. So interesting and helpful! Truly, the things we learned have a direct impact on how we'll be doing life as parents and as a family.

If you're on the fence about visiting an international adoption specialist, here's one more reason to consider doing so: The team told us they have been seeing more and more children adopted from Ethiopia. As these specialists have the opportunity to work with more and more Ethiopian children, it gives them more and more insight into how to best help adopting families.

Finally, here's something that should make families adopting from Ethiopia really glad: Everyone on the team told us they "like what they see" in terms of these delightful children. They said the children are healthy, adjusting well and were obviously cared for extremely well while they were in Ethiopia.

I know this is a wordy post, but I just had to share. (More pictures and less words to come soon!)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Miss Piggy

Woo-hoo! It's official, Amelia is growing-growing-growing. At her weight check today, we learned she has gained--drum roll, please--one pound, six and a half ounces in just two weeks. Her official weight is eleven pounds, eleven and a half ounces. It's amazing what keeping food in her tummy does for her!

To celebrate, we got a high chair.

She still looks pretty small sitting in it, though, huh?

At this rate, she'll be out of 3-6 month clothes by the time her first birthday rolls around!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

This little piggy

Yesterday's menu:
bananas (courtesy of Gerbers)
squash (courtesy of Gerbers)
three or four troughs of rice cereal
more bottles than we can remember

Yesterday's upchucking: just twice!

Feeding this little piggy could become a full time job!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Good Times (really!)

So Amelia had a barium swallow x-ray test on Thursday. It was inconclusive.

However, she has drastically reduced her throwing up since Thursday afternoon. Yea! Rather than throwing/spitting up around 40 or 50 times a day, it's only happening two or three times a day. Yippee! There had been talk of more invasive tests or even a feeding tube, so we're so thrilled and grateful that things seem to be looking up (or staying down, I guess). We'll do a weight check later this week, but we're expecting some weight GAIN this time. Hurray!

We're confident she'll gain weight if she can get the cheerios into her mouth...instead of onto her chin or forehead!

Finally, I promised pictures of Abby once her new packback arrived. Here's the pack, fully loaded with buttons and keychains and a kitty emblem.

And here's the pack actually mounted on Abby, the only fourth grader who has braces!