The only way I know how to start this letter is with a Thank You and that seems too simplistic for the appreciation & love that is within our hearts. I do not know how else to express it!
I cannot believe it will soon be a year that we have had our precious starfish baby, Faith. But Aug 29th celebrates our one year 'gottcha date'. As I look back over the last three years I see how God orchestrated something amazing. When we began this journey, it was with prayer. I knew what the importance of a child knowing a human touch and feeling physical love meant to their wellbeing and development. So my prayer was simple. “Lord, please let her be warm, comfortable, have a full tummy and most of all, know love.” My family and I prayed this prayer many times over the course of two years. Little did I know how He was fulfilling our request.
On Sunday mornings on our way to church we often visited as a family about this journey we were on. We had decided not to announce our pending plans because we were not exactly sure where God was leading us. But as time passed God had reaffirmed to us that His plans did indeed include adoption for our family. I remember one specific conversation on a Sunday morning drive when I reminded Gray of a guest speaker that had visited our church. He told the 'Starfish Story' in relation to his sermon. I said to my family, “This is how I feel. I know people are going to think we have lost our minds as we already have 5 children. But I desire to make a difference in an orphans life.” My husband spoke up and said, “Thats funny because I shared our desire to adopt with Jim, a prayer partner, and he asked me if I had ever heard the starfish story." How ironic is that? We now have a starfish baby and are BLESSED! We chose to keep her name Faith. After all of this, how could we change it? We would love to know which one of you named her.
Faith is growing and thriving. She is now 30 pounds and 3 foot tall. She is surrounded by two brothers and three sisters that dote on her every whim. Thankfully, three of them live away at college so the spoiling is reduced down to the two sisters (14 & 12) and her Daddy! She has him wrapped up!! It is the sweetest thing to witness. He walks in a room and the rest of us just vanish in her eyes. She is definately a Daddy’s girl. I tell others that I have two people to discipline, her AND her daddy! He's such a softy. Not to mention she is exceedingly strong willed!
Faith takes her time opening up to strangers. Her circle of accepted people is still small: her grandparents, cousins and trusted friends from church. She likes to call the shots. If people come on too strong, she shuts down. However, if she is in control of the interaction then bonding comes quite easily.
She loves to sing and always want music on when we are driving. Her language is growing so rapidly, including some spanish taught by big brother. (I wish he knew Mandarin instead.) She knows her colors and when getting dressed for the day, her hair-bow must match. So, to quickly sum up one year, Faith loves picking up the eggs from the chicken yard, going to the barn to feed cows, playing in the dirt at the Christmas tree farm, invading Bailey and Laura’s room, sitting with her daddy in the early morning hours, having her toenails painted, taking silly pictures with Marybeth on the computer, riding on Seth’s shoulders, playing with Nathan and his dog, cooking with Momma in the kitchen, and she HATES bubbles in the kitchen sink or in her bath water. Life at the Anderson house is full of joy.
And a quick update on her port wine stain. We are having it treated every two months. She will return for treatment #4 in the middle of August. They say it will take 6 to 8 treatments and her birthmark will be lightened 80% to 90%. Treatment around her eye will be done under sedation to protect her vision and will begin some time in early 2012.
So I close this update with a deep heartfelt, "Thank you!" to Amanda and Xiao Lui. I would also like to say thank you to the numerous volunteers that came though StarFish and loved on our lil Faith. You were all instruments, used to answer those prayers that Faith would know love. Thank you ALL for making a difference! We look forward to the day that we may return to Starfish and give of ourselves to love and nurture someone else's future Starfish.
Life, love and laughter,
We are currently preparing for a medical team from Australia to do a medical trip starting September 26th and help 20 babies with cleft lip and palate surgeries.
Starfish Children's Services