AubriAnna has grown & changed so much this past year. She has gotten 5 inches taller and gained about 9 lbs. She has cut 16 new teeth giving her a total of 20 teeth. Her hair has grown out so good. It's still thin, but I think that's something several of the children that have been adopted experience. We were told it was due to a vitamin deficiency. When we brought her home she could barely crawl. A month later and she was walking! She seems to have two speeds, fast and asleep!
AubriAnna has gone through two major surgeries. Palate surgery & tubes in her ears were in February and then a lip revision in June. She has had 2 minor procedures as well. Each time she was a little trooper. After each major surgeries she came home from the hospital the very next morning. She recovered very well, with the exception of having to wear the no-no's (braces that covered her entire arms to keep them from bending). She amazes me each time with how resilient she is! She definitely makes me put my needs into perspective. She had her first speech test done in September and the speech pathologist said she was doing very well with over a 50+ word vocabulary and was making some of the sounds that are usually harder for cleft kids to make. She said she didn't need speech therapy at this time. We go back sometime around March to be tested again. If she's still doing well and progressing, we'll be able to go without therapy for a while longer. We work with her a lot at home. Since September, her vocabulary has grown so much. She is putting sentences together & loves to sing, Jesus Loves Me! We also have a little break before her next major surgery. We're looking at next fall having a "nose" surgery to lengthen the little tip of her nose. We're not looking forward to it, but know it's something that needs to be done and we know God has her in His hands.
Here's a before & after pictures after her lip revision.
Since Jimmy's being called as youth minister to our new church home, AubriAnna has really come out of her shell for the most part. She still deals with some levels of separation anxiety, but it's not near as much as it was in the first six months or so after getting home with her. It just took her some time to learn that we were always going to be her for her. She loves her Sunday school class and thinks she's one of the youth. Most of the kids in the youth group spoil her rotten. When she's in the right mood, she'll let some of them wag her around, but usually she's high speed everywhere.
In April, we put her in a little beauty pageant. I'm not big on beauty pageants. I don't think we should allow our self-worth be determined by someone else's opinion. Jessica wanted to put her in it and it was a fundraiser for some of our families' youth group at their church. I only entered her into the beauty part, so I was totally surprised when they called her out as the winner of Prettiest Smile. (This was prior to lip revision) I put her trophy & banner in her room. I hope as she grows, it might be a small encouragement to her. More than that, we want to instill in her that her self-worth should be judged by her love for God and the knowledge that He dwells in her and she is made in His image.
She really was smiling during the pageant! She was smiling, waving, blowing kisses & talking to everyone when she walked out. By the time I took this pic, she was ready for a nap. Lol
We celebrated her 2nd birthday on August 4th due to her baba being gone for drill the weekend after her birthday. She loves Minnie Mouse so she had a Minnie Mouse birthday party. She had tons of family & friends to come and help celebrate! I know she didn't understand a lot of it, but I do think she knew she was the center of attention. Jimmy said I went over board with decorating and all, but I wanted it to be a really BIG deal since we missed her 1st birthday. She was sick on her actual birthday and we spent 4 & 1/2 hours in the ER only to be sent home unsure of what was wrong with her. We picked her up a little cake from Kroger and I made her some egg drop soup and dumplings (store bought because I was too tired to attempt homemade) for her birthday supper.
A few months back we had the privilege of welcoming home friends with their sweet little China doll. We'd been praying for months for Miss Lara Kate! We were able to go to the airport and help welcome them home. AubriAnna even held her own sign up waiting patiently for them to appear in the terminal!
Over the last month AubriAnna has started praying out loud by herself. She loves praying and sometimes she will even pray after EACH bite. This makes for a long meal, but oh so precious to listen to. If everyone doesn't bow their head, she'll stop and wave her hand in a downward motion and say, "Pray". There have been a few occasions when she will say someones name when praying and we will not have mentioned that person all day, then later that day find out that person was sick. You can't tell me God doesn't use even the smallest! The past few months have been busy and exciting! She loves baking! Making cookies if one of her favorite things to do! Our church also hosted the Uganda Thunder and we were fortunate enough to have two of the girls come stay the night with us. Their names were Rachel & Violet. AubriAnna loved them!
For halloween, she was Tinkerbell! The whole family got involved! Jess was Captain Hook, Zac & Jimmy were Lost boys, I was Wendy and one of our youth girls dressed as Peter Pan. AubriAnna won 1st place in the costume competition! She was the cutest TinkerBell ever! Even if I am a little bias! lol
November 21st we celebrated AubriAnna's 1year Gotcha Day! We took her to her favorite Chinese restaurant for lunch. She can always out eat me there. She absolutely loves their egg drop soup and crab meat. Sometimes she'll even opt for more egg drop soup rather than ice cream! She had a great time and everyone there loves seeing her come in. We took her there about 3 weeks after we got home with her so they have gotten to see her grow. They always want hugs from her.
Now Christmas is days away & it truly is turning out to be a magical season. She loves the tree and all the pretty packages. She has learned to sing Jingle Bells (most of it anyways) and will sing at the top of her lungs even when in stores! She has started telling everyone Merry Christmas. Most can't understand her until we tell them what she is saying, but that doesn't stop her from sharing the Christmas spirit with everyone! Even though she doesn't really understand who Jesus is, she definitely knows He's a very important person because we talk about Him all the time. She even goes around the house with a hand raised saying, "thank you, Jesus" when she's thankful for something. Yep! Makes my heart sore!
She LOVED the Christmas parade!!
From our family to your's, we hope you have a very Merry Christmas filled with love, peace, joy & memories to last a lifetime! May God be your reason for living each day!