It is hard to believe but it was one year ago today that Jacob/Nick joined our family. I can still see his frightened little face at the Adoption Center. It gives me shivers to think of what was going thru his mind at that time. Our family was so excited to have a son but yet our little man did not want to leave his wonderful Starfish family. The first couple of months was rough for both Jacob and us. However, one year later his transformation is amazing and he is a happy and well adjusted little boy!
As I am sure you remember, while at Starfish Jacob took life on in full force. That has not changed!! We call him the Chinese Tornado! He is like a little line backer. Everyone who meets him comments that we have a future football player on our hands! Jacob loves to be out doors. He could play all day in the yard. We have a swing set and trampoline which he loves to play on with his sister Emily. Jacob enjoys activities like his gymnastic lessons, story time at the library and bookstore, and going to the park. Jacob loves reading books with us. He enjoys playing with his cars, trucks, and trains. He knows his ABC's, he can count to 15 and he can identify many colors and shapes. He also gets a kick out of singing the songs, The Wheels on the Bus, and The Itsy Bitsy Spider.
Jacob was Baptized at our church St. Columba a couple of months ago. He attends Mass with us every Sunday and he enjoys giving our priests a 'high five' after Mass! I teach religious education on Wednesday afternoons and Jacob stays with some of our nuns and a babysitter. He enjoys this time because they all love to spoil my little guy!
In January Jacob had tubes placed in his ears to help drain the fluid in his middle ear. He did very well and his hearing now is perfect. Or should I say like all toddlers he has selective hearing! Jacob sees a Speech Therapist, Special Ed Teacher, and Occupational Therapist once a week. It is wonderful to see Jacob's progression. We have seen a Plastic Surgeon at NYU who feels that he will need additional surgery for his primary pallet and his upper gum line in the future. Otherwise, Jacob is in great health. Many of our doctors have commented on how beautifully the Smile Train doctor repaired his cleft lip. Many thanks for arranging this. It is very difficult to tell that he had surgery at all. We are blessed to have such wonderful local professionals to help with Jacob's well being.
Jacob is now 35 pounds and 35 inches tall. Jacob is willing to try all different types of food. He will go into the draw and get his fork, napkin and container for juice or milk. He is very proud of himself and will tell you, 'Jacob helps momma!' His little smile is infectious and my little chatterbox makes friends wherever he goes. He is very inquisitive and eager to learn new things.
This September he will attend a preschool that will focus on his speech therapy. He will attend three days a week. This also will be a great opportunity for Jacob to socialize with kids his own age.
We are so blessed to call Jacob our son. Many thanks to you Amanda and all of the nannies and volunteers who took such wonderful care of Jacob. You truly saved our sons life. Not only are we blessed to have a son but we are also blessed to now be a part of the Starfish family. Thru the Internet I have meet other Starfish parents and volunteers. It is a beautiful community and I am very grateful to you all. One day we hope to return to Starfish and help you with future Starfish babies. Amanda, I can not image what your day is like and where you pull your strength from. When you have a rough day I want you to remember your Starfish alumni and their faces. They all are growing and living happy and healthy lives thanks to you and your team. God bless you all and we send our love and prayers to you in Xi'an.
Betty, Scott, Emily, and Jacob Erb
Life, love and laughter,
AmandaWe 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