Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Amy's 10th

Mrs. Beaver:

On Saturday, Amy hit double digits. Of the nine children we've adopted from Russia, she was the youngest as she became a family member. When we met her on the required "first trip," Amy was only 2-1/2. Here she is in December 2004:

That day we were allowed to spend 45 minutes with her and then asked whether we were ready to sign a document committing to her adoption. As we'd sat on the sofa in the orphanage director's office, Amy had been as passive as we'd ever seen a toddler. She barely moved, didn't smile and never made a sound. Despite her listlessness, when our short stint with Amy came to a close we were already in love with her button-nose (and the rest of her!) and didn't hesitate to sign the document declaring we were willing to be her parents. 

Four months later we were allowed to return. Amy had turned three just days before we picked her up at the baby  and toddler orphanage. This time Amy was anything but silent. As she was taken from the familiarity of her care-taker's arms and placed in the arms of two people who were strangers, she began a truly pathetic whimpering, moaning sob that would continue for about two hours through the experience of traveling with us to the orphanage in which her sisters, Tatiana (7) and Natasha (5) resided to pick them up.

Before we'd even left Russia, we discovered that Amy was not at all what we'd expected after our first visit with her. Instead, she was a happy, spunky, exuberant child who quickly captured the hearts of all in her new family.

Amy's love of life made her happy to try out new experiences, like running the small pebbles on Lake Superior's shore through her fingers.

Amy was sickly when she first joined the family, and her weight dropped from 21 pounds to 19. At 3-1/2 years old she was wearing 12 month clothing! A couple of minor surgeries early on following her adoption made Amy more resilient to infection.

In one of the operations, Amy had to have all but eight teeth removed. Our pediatric dentist pieced together that her teeth had rotted as a result of being left with a bottle in her crib during long hours of neglect by her birth mother. We felt grateful to the Lord to be able to provide the health care and nutrition she desperately needed!

As she grew stronger and healthier, Amy's zest for life made her creative...

...and many times her creativity has left her family laughing!

We're certain Amy will always remember her 10th birthday. That very morning Mr. Beaver and I gathered our children in our great room and shared our decision to add a sibling group of four to our gang. True to character, Amy burst into ecstatic tears of joy and flew across the room into the arms of her daddy, tightly hugging his neck. In her special way, she enthusiastically signaled her approval of our decision.

We were in such a celebratory mood, having both an a birthday and an adoption for which to rejoice, that we did something we've never done before for one of our children's birthdays. We went to Chuck E. Cheese for pizza and games.

Many of Amy's siblings gave her the tickets they'd earned. Mark was the first to demonstrate selflessness to his sister.

Amy asked Natasha to help her decide how to "spend" her new-found wealth.

Amy's choose as her largest prize a bag of very pink cotton candy. Lissie read us the list of ingredients. It went something like this: air, sugar, red food coloring, sugar, sugar sugar...

Amy's antics continue. She brought our Chuck E. Cheese experience to an end by giving her family a reason to laugh--yet again--as she exited in giant purple-slat eyeglasses. Amy remains wonderfully unaware of self, willing to just enjoy life as it comes to her. Amy loves others with an open-hearted abandon that has blessed many, starting with her family.

We thank God for packing so much joy into such a small package. We thank God for giving us the grace to say, "Yes!" to a toddler who seemed so lifeless. We thank God for the gift of Amy!


George and Krista said...

We wish you the happiest of birthdays, Amy! It looks like you had a very special day.

The Ochenjeles

Natalie said...

Another post that brought me to tears! Happiest of birthdays to Amy!

MacMeister said...

Happy happy birthday Amy! May God bless your 10th year as He has your previous nine. It's been great getting to know you; you're a lot of fun :-)

SamUEL Finch said...

Happy birthday Amy! I hope that God will bless you in the years to come. Whenever I read or hear something that you've done or said, it never ceases to make me laugh and smile! :-)

Jamie and Marcos said...

Oh how wonderfully made by God you are! We just love you and enjoy the times we have been able to be near you! God Bless your Birthday! The big 10! Your heart for God and people surely swells over your age! We Love you!!

Rog said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Amy! Oh this was a great post! :D

ROFL Alison. Sorry, but that's hilarious. :D

Susan said...

You are such an amazing family! I adore the pictures, and looking at the sidebar of all your beautiful children it seems to me like all the children look like they belong together, like it's a perfect match...not that I think you don't ever have troubles...there must be times that things don't run smoothly or someone does something that turns the applecart upside-down...but you all look content, and loved, and you truly all look like you've always belonged together....but then, Jesus must have already had it in mind from eternity past, so maybe you always were meant to be together, in such a beautiful group! <3

Our Family said...

Thank you for your kind comment. We deeply apprecite your encouragement!

We defintely do believe that God planned our family from eternit past. We marvel at how He has brought us together from two continents, two countries and four orphanages. We're so thankful to God for His mighty hand reaching down and making us one family untied in Him!

God bless, Denise

Lissie said...

"Raw-ful" away, Robbie, I don't mind: I was having a good time goofing off with my parents and I'm glad it brought someone else a laugh :)