Ana (Angel) was in the second batch of six babies I got at Starfish. I had never seen such a malnourished child. She really looked like an African famine baby with a huge stomach and very skinny arms and legs. She had no digestive sounds when she got here. Feeding her took some skill because she used to suck on her fingers so hard, that you had to use two hands to get them out of her mouth and the another person had to get the bottle in, which she could suck down so quickly that it was amazing and memorable. It does my heart so much good to know that during that time of incredible struggle for me taking care of 12 kids, such good came out of it and the Ana got to have this amazing life. I cannot imagine the thought of getting abandoned in a hospital, market, field, cemetery with no one to care for you and you have no one to call family, especially in a country like China where family is paramount. To see the result of that early experience and to hear how well she is doing it so gratifying. It is such a testament to the nannies and all the hard work and love they pour into the babies and what a difference that it can make. I am also including one of my all time favorite pictures. This was Ana and her family days after gotcha day, walking hand in hand with her parents. I love the way that they are both looking down at her. I am also including one of the first pictures we took of Ana at Starfish. I have learned to whisper in the new arrivals' ears that at Starfish that I have seen miracles and I am sure that they will have the same kind of blessings come to them. Oh how I wish I could grant this wish to every estimated 143 million orphans in the world: A loving family of their very own.
We just finished watching Ana's Gotcha day video and we all cried during the scenes at Starfish. Ana acts like she remembers some of it---especially the other kids.
Ana is doing just great. She is in 4 year old kindergarten this year (M-F 12:30-3:30) and she has absolutely blossomed! I just had a conference with her teacher and Ana is right where she should be in every way. She is still in speech twice a week and is really improving every day. Her favorite new thing is the gymnastics class she goes to once a week. She can flip and flop all she wants and she loves it! Her health is perfect---height and weight, too. She is really into Barbies and dress up and all girlie things. She and Sophie have a great relationship with a little sister-fighting thrown in---just as it should be. We will be staring up swim lessons again after Christmas---Ana loves to learn and really seems happy. She often still talks about going to China to see the babies and eat noodles. I think her love of food and snacks will be with her forever, but it is more manageable now than even a few months ago.
Hope you check us out on Facebook when you can---I post photos often and I hope you and the nannies like to see Ana as she grows.
All our best and can't wait to hear about the new building!
JenniferHave a great day!