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Happy Birthday Avery (and me)

This is Avery's referral picture.  We found her in Dec. 2006.  Her birthday was listed as the same day as mine, so we knew she was ours.  I called Hawaii International Child, we were homestudy ready. 
Our hearts sank when they said she was "on hold".  But I still felt she was ours.
Turns out, the lady who had her on hold was a yahoo group friend of ours.....who got her 1st daughter when we got Emmi.
But it was a big year of changes for the CCAA.  They had announced that, among other changes, singles would no longer be allowed to adopt.  The lady who had Avery on hold, was a single mom.
Her heart broke, I 'm sure, as she and the agency decided that it was not possible to have her paperwork in before the new rules kicked in, a few months later.  So she released the "hold", and Avery was back on the list for us!
When we got her, 5 weeks after her second birthday, she weighed only 17 pounds, and was malnourished.  She had never been given solid food, due to her cleft palate.  Her orphanage was a bad place, not one of the good ones.  There were 24 babies in her baby room, with 1 nanny working a 12 hour shift.  Think about it, by the time she went around propping bottles, a round of changing diapers, etc., then bottles again, there was no time to show any real attention to the babies.
She did not even respond to her own name.
She could walk, but did not have the physical endurance to get across the hotel room.
She appeared to have cerebral palsey, no muscle tone anywhere.
The orphanage staff readily admitted that she laid in a bed 23 hours a day.
Avery did not know what to do with food.  We literally had to teach her how to grasp a cheerio, and move her hand to her mouth, to put it in.  Then, of course she had no idea how to chew it, and had to learn that.
Avery did not talk until she was 4, then it was very little.  When her early intervention therapy rolled over to the local school system, they wanted her to go to a special ed class (non-integrated) for 3 hours a day, even though we homeschooled.  No thankyou, we said, we'll pay for our own therapies at home.
       This is her today.  She greets me with this precious smile and a giant hug every morning.
 She just turned 7 today, but is 1/2 way through second grade, and is a wonderful reader.
Avery still has speech therapy, but no other therapies.
                                               She is still very tiny, only 36 pounds.
 She was so excited to get a "real" Bible for her birthday.  The little Gideon Bible she has been taking to church is worn out from her reading it=)
 Avery asked for green icing, and Kristen was here, and able to make a "hello kitty" on it.
She is precious, and so cheerful most of the time, just enjoying life.  It doesn't take anything special to make her happy; such a joy to be around! 
(DH and Avery's hands)

(And no, you don't get to know how old I am today--it's all about Avery)
Janet

8 comments:

  1. Happy Birthday Avery and Janet!!!!!
    Praise God for how He has brought Avery into your family and for how she has THRIVED!!!!!!

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  2. Happy Birthday Janet and Avery!!!!

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  3. Happy, Happy Birthday Avery and Janet! May the Lord our down blessings on your lives this year!!!

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  4. Happy Happy Birthday to both of you!!!!!!

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  5. Yes, happy birthday to you both. So heart-breaking what these children live in! I talked to agency today and we are only waiting on a letter, then court will be official and we can start the embassy wait.
    Jenny

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  6. Janet and Avery... Happy Birthday! What a wonderful post. Avery is a beautiful girl.

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  7. Well, happy birthday to both of you! Hope y'all had a great day!

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  8. Okay, so VERY late Happy Birthday, and WHEN did you change the name of your blog??? Could we please catch up sometime? Good grief. I promise you I have NEVER lived day to day as much as I am doing now...AND I have never forgotten as much day to day as I am now.

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