Wednesday, July 12, 2006 at 6:06 PM PDT
THE BIG NEWS. Nina, Laura and Amanda's names have all appeared on the special needs list of two adoption agencies in the US. For the last two Fridays I have gotten the news. There are so many people interested in the babies and I think that is as a direct result of this blog site where there are a lot of visitors who follow our adventures.
As I expected the news was rather bittersweet and I cried some. I cannot imagine life with the older six gone. They have become such a part of my life, but this is the reason why I began to take care of the babies. I wanted to prepare them for a family. Since the news arrived, we have just been in waiting mode. Waiting to hear what is next....waiting to hear when the families will be coming...waiting, waiting waiting. I am sure that the adoptive families must be feeling the same.
The babies are all doing well except for Sarah who landed up in the hospital after getting milk in her lungs. The fluid caused pneumonia. She throws up so spectacularly and so often that I was not surprised by this news. I have never seen a baby who can throw so much and with so little effort on her part. She is like a fountain. She was admitted last Friday and so it has taken some extra planning to make sure that there is always someone with her. Having a baby in the hospital is always an added stress. I have such a hard time dividing my time between the babies at home and the baby in the hospital. They have also shaved her hair and she looks like a chimpanzee with her new hairdo and her big eyes.
Gabriel and Michael are growing so fast and seem to be doing so much catching up it is amazing. They are both holding their heads up. They did not even go through the wobbly head phase. One morning they could just do and I am sure they were able to hold there heads up earlier it was that we were treating them like the small babies they look like. They are both picking up dramatic amounts of weight. Sometimes as much as a pound a week. They are also able to bear some weight on their legs which I find to be unique since babies do that at five and six months and they are only three going on four months old.
Angel's head circumference has grown 1.5 cm in just two months and she looks much more proportional now. She is so incredibly strong that when she grips you finger it it can be painful. I would hate to arm wrestle this kid when she is older. She reminds me so much of Nina when she was the same age.
Jade has not done as well. She is still the same length as when she got here but her cheeks have filled out some. I am worried about her physical development because she is visibly behind the others. I am just not sure what the problem is and it is hard to find out what is going on. In the last two months she is using her arms more and can pick things up and she reaches for toys. She uses her legs much more and can lift herself off the the bed. She also has some really bad eczema and I am trying all sorts of remedies to try and help her. She sleeps with socks on at night so she does not scratch herself. If she doesn't wear socks she has scratched herself raw. It looks like she fell off her bike and got dragged along the tarmac.
Benjamin still only has one tooth. He is pretty easy to take care of and only does not cry very often. He has picked up a lot of weight and growing stronger. He can sit up now but does needs some help.
Little Amanda has started crawling since I last wrote and is standing very well. Her feet do not seem to be causing her any problems as she is talking some steps. She is also in the process of adding four teeth at the same time. She loves to put things in her mouth and then crawl around which is too funny. You have to see the collection of things that go in her mouth. Antoinette is still out fanged vampire girl. She shows no sign of adding anymore teeth. I have tried to take pictures of her smile but I have not been able to do that. That smile is priceless!!!
Susan is so smart. She mimics so well and loves to make faces. We continue to battle to put weight on that girl and she eats more and more each day. She will try almost anything. She was the first one to eat the cake cream with out making a face. She will eat what ever you put in her mouth. We did celebrate her first birthday on July 6. She looked so cute.
Nina is still the leader of the babies and they follow almost everything she does. Nina did a sitting up crawl with one leg under her. Jonas and Laura followed her example. All of them can crawl on all fours but they still use the sit crawl method. Jonas in particular because he likes to have things in his hands when he sit crawls. I am sure it must be hard to imagine. We are going to try and take some videos this weekend. Once Kay was here and she tried to teach Nina how to say Nana and at the same time she was feeding her. The Chinese use this form of name calling often. Jonas becomes Jojo and Nina becomes Nana. What happened is all the babies think that Nana is food because Nina got confused between her name and Nana. Laura has even called medicine Nana. Nina is also getting more talkative. She says 'gei' when she gives you things, which is Chinese. She wants to sing Old MacDonald's E-I-E-I-O. When she does that her mouth puckers up at O. She also makes an attempt to say Thank you but it comes out as 'ank ooo'.
Jonas has the best night vision. I have begun to prepare a bottle and just leave it with him in the crib. During the night he finds the bottle by himself and does not cry. Smart on my part because he is crying so much less. This night vision thing makes me crazy. I used to turn on the light but Jonas would wake up so easily. Now I go creeping in there with no lights on and if he is awake he can still see me.
Since Laura came back for Nanjing and her operation she has been eating a lot but her walking just plateaued. When you hold her hand she almost runs but if you let go of her hand she just sits down. I am not sure why she is so scared of walking by herself. Maybe it is a really good thing for me because heaven helps us when she starts walking. We are going to be in trouble deep because we will not keep up with her. She is also getting two new teeth and has been really crabby.
A few weeks ago I wrote about how the babies were dropping their bottles over the crib. That has turned into a game I do not like. They are chucking their bottles across the room!!! Jonas is particular good at it. It is like a treasure hunt looking for their bottles which is not to amusing when it is three in the morning and I am barely awake.
I was approached by a director and he wants to make a documentary about my life and wants to follow me for a whole year. It is such a strange request. I am not very fond of the idea of having a camera in my face so much and I am at a loss to explain the interest in me but I am sure it will be great way to show what happens with the babies too.
Next month we will be having some operations. There is a medical team coming to Xian and I hope that we can get Sarah, Gabriel and Michael's lips repaired. I am not sure what is going to happen with Sarah because she is still so small. Jonas could also have his palette repaired if he is still here.
Robert and Rebecca, the two teenage volunteers I have had for the past month are preparing to go home on Thursday. Alex, another teenager, has been here too and he will go home next week. I am not sure if there has been anything that I have taught them while they have been here. They have helped so much with the night feedings when I have gone to bed early, they have fed the little babies at around 11 or 12. I have appreciated their help so much. They have been really flexible and have sort of gone with the flow.
At the end of each day I go to bed grateful that we have survived the day and hoping that I have the strength to do what ever is needed for what is coming. I have to give a special mention to Kay who has been the most steadfast and reliable person who takes all that taking care of 12 babies can dish out and who does not complain. She often allows me eight hours of sleep on the weekends and that is the best gift anyone can give me. She is the epitome of the perfect volunteer. Thanks so much for all your help Kay. I would not have survived without you.
Love and laughter,
Amanda and the counsel of 12