I started STARFISH on September 13 , 2008 with 6 babies. I referred to them afterwards as the original six. Amanda was one of those babies. She came to us with some of the worst diaper rash I have ever seen. I remember being horrified at that and at the same time I had my first sight of Mongolian Spots. I thought she had been abused because that is exactly what it looked like, bruises on her back. Thankfully I was set straight soon.
Amanda was such a great baby. She slept an ate well for the fist few months almost round the clock. She was also born with her thumb and last two fingers on each hand and only two toes on each foot, a genetic condition called ectrodactyly. I had never seen it and did not have a clue what she would be able to do. The spit in her hands made it ideal for hold bottles which she did very early. She sort of rested the bottle on her hands. As for her feet, many people wanted to know if she would ever walk. I said: Let's wait and see. When she got older her fingers would allow her to grip a spoon and eat by herself with out any problems and she set a record for walking at 10 months. A records which still stands. In the beginning she had this wide leg football stance and she would bend her knees as she walked. As she got better she became more upright.
In December 2006, a year and a three months after she got here she was adopted by Mike and Amy and became the younger sister to Christen and Michael. If I remember they had the name Kate picked out for her and told me that they had changed their minds and that she was going to keep the name Amanda (Worthy of love). It was one of the best adoptions that I ever had. The last day when we were at the hotel before going to the airport, I hugged Amanda goodbye and as soon as I was done she held out her arms for her dad. The transfer of affection was complete and my job was done. After you have had perfection, mediocre adoptions are unacceptable.
Soon after that Bethany joined their family as a result of an disrupted adoption. Amy and Mike paid me a huge compliment by taking on a Spina bifida baby saying if Amanda could do it so could they. (I hope I have the story right) It would seem the two of them are the best of friends. Amanda recently celebrated her fifth birthday. Here is a letter from Amanda's mom:
Hello from Iowa!!!
Amanda’s 5th birthday was last Friday (August 20th). I’m enclosing a few pictures of her and her friends from her party and a picture of her involved in her new favorite activity (swimming). It is so hard to believe Amanda was only 15 months old when God entrusted her to us. Time has flown and she has grown so much in the last 3 and a half years. Amanda is very feisty (in a good way) and loves playing outside with her sister, Bethany and her friends, Alison and Eve. She loves her black cocker spaniel, CiCi and she tolerates her older sister, Christen and brother, Michael. Dora the Explorer is still tops on her list with Bolt running a close 2nd.
Amanda became very aware of her beautiful brown skin last year and made up another “brown” family she said she belongs to. She would usually talk about her other family when she was being disciplined or if things weren’t going exactly as she planned. When pressed, she would say “I want to go live with my brown family, but everybody has to come with me”. She doesn’t mention her brown family anymore, but it was a gentle reminder that people sometimes look at earthly shells rather than look at the souls of others. It was also a great learning opportunity for all the kids about how we are a family regardless of biology or ethnicity. Amanda has also become aware of the difference in her hands and feet. The vast majority of her classmates are just curious and God has blessed her with very kind friends who marvel at what she can do with 2 fewer fingers on either hand. She’s asked me on several occasions why Jesus made her this way. Her honesty always catches me off guard. I so wish I could tell her exactly what God’s plan was when He breathed life into her. I do tell her that God knew her before she was even born and that He does have an awesome plan for her life and that I can’t wait for Him to show us the fantastic things she is going to do. She seems excited about that too. Amanda was a fighter from day 1. She was abandoned, neglected, tossed aside and forgotten. She persevered because God directed Amanda to her (her Angel on EarthJ) and HE DOES have an awesome plan for her and we are going to have the time of our lives discovering exactly what that plan is.
Life, Love and Laughter,