Dear Amanda and Starfish staff,
I have sat down to write to you on many occasions but I never get very far before a certain little girl is tugging on my shirt and saying, "Mommy, read book to Liya". She LOVES books and I LOVE her so everything else can wait.
Just last week Liya celebrated her 3rd birthday. Can you believe it? At this time last year she was recovering from her palate surgery. She has made so much progress over this last year. She is doing excellent in her speech therapy. We are able to understand about 80% of what she says....and she has a lot to say. She still has a long road ahead of her in articulation and speech clarity, but we are confident that she will conquer her speech delays.
In the first e-mail that I ever got from you, you described Jasmine as "quite a character". At the time I didn't know what you meant by that statement. Hmmm, that could mean a lot of things, some good, some not so good. But now I know exactly what you mean. She IS quite a character. She is quirky and incredibly independent. Her personality is full and intense. She is also incredibly loving and fiercly protective of the people she loves. On top of all that, she is wickedly mischevious, but so cute when she is doing it that it's hard to be mad.
When we first came home from China I would have guessed that Liya was going to be a tomboy but she has turned into a real girly-girl. When she gets home from pre-school the first thing she does is take off all her clothes and put on a tutu or fancy princess dress. Most of the time she's also wearing a crown and a feather boa. She is definitely all girl!
Liya is in pre-school three days a week and absolutely loves it. She loves being around the other kids and will often come home and tell me about what she has learned. Just the other day we were painting and she said to me, "Mommy, blue and yellow make green." She is such a curious and very bright little girl.
Liya and her big sister Jada have a very special bond and a very typical sibling relationship. They adore each other MOST of the time. The rest of the time they are aggravating each other. Last week Jada had to write an autobiography at school. She wrote that the best day of her life is the day that she got her little sister, Liya. I am so happy that they have each other. Liya looks up to Jada and tries to imitate everything that she does. Their favorite thing to do is put on a Taylor Swift CD and dance to the music.
Tomorrow we are leaving for a vacation at the beach. This will be Liya's first time to see the ocean, walk on the sand, look for pretty seashells and build sandcastles. I'm excited to share this new experience with her. I think she is going to love it.
I have no doubt that Liya's relatively easy transition into our family was a result of the amazing care and special love she received at Starfish. For that, I am forever grateful to you and the nannies. Everytime I hear about you going to the "Big O" and bringing home more babies, it warms my heart. I know each baby you bring to Starfish is on their way to finding their forever family and being well cared for until that family is found.
I am always being told how lucky Liya is to have been adopted by us. The truth is that we are the lucky ones. This spunky little character has added so much to our family. We feel incredibly lucky that we get to be her parents.
It is almost the end of 2011. It has been a good year for Liya and our family. I can't wait to see what she accomplishes in 2012. I'll keep you posted.