|Ellie at 3 Months old|
What I still find absolutely amazing is that two years ago today we had our pregnancy with Faith confirmed, and I clearly remember sitting in the car staring at an ultrasound picture, but feeling so sad that there was a baby in Ethiopia who was waiting for our family. Little did I know that our little girl was born that very day and we would be reunited with her 20 months later. God knew though.
My mind also wanders to Ellie's birth mom who took such good care of her until she was about three months old. We will never know the circumstances as to why she became an orphan, but someone had taken good care of her. She came to the orphanage looking very well nourished and smiling. It’s really sad to look at the progression of pictures from the time she entered the orphanage until we brought her home. In those photos, her smile quickly turned into a look of emptiness, sadness, and desperation. It’s now fun to watch it go the other way in photos now that she’s home! We are so thankful that her beautiful smile is coming back to life now that she is in our family!
|Ellie at 1 Year Old|
Elliana has come along so beautifully since she’s been home. (Now don't get me wrong--- the last 3 months haven't been all cupcakes and rainbows, but we are surviving and we can see a difference in this little girl who came to us frightened and timid.) We still haven't seen 100 percent of her personality yet because she's still holding back, but she is allowing us to see glimpses of her emerging personality every day.
I’m ashamed to say that many times I focus on Ellie’s challenging behaviors and situations and sometimes forget the huge strides she has taken since being home. When I think back to those first weeks and months, I am amazed at how God has given us the strength and patience to get through them. She still has a special instructor that comes once a week to help with some of our challenges and her instructor can really see the changes from one week to the next! I sometimes fail to see the progress, so I have to remember to celebrate her victories and not focus on anything else other than that! And, yes, we are still battling Giardia! I’m not joking. She is now on round 4 of 2 different meds; and Faith is on round 2 of meds. I’m sure Pampers and Huggies are loving the Baxter family since we go through so many diapers and wipes!
|Ellie at 2 Years Old|
Here are some of her favorite things and funny things she does (and a little bit of her personality).
- She loves routine and she will not hesitate to tell me when I stray from the normal routine :)
- She is a huge helper. She loves to "help" me with laundry or picking up toys or really anything.
- One of her favorite things to do is “help” us throw things in the trash. Unfortunately, she also likes to throw things in the trash that doesn't necessarily belong there – like cell phones, money, etc.
- She loves shoes!!
- She likes Elmo. Anything she sees that's red is "Elmo"
- She is not a huge TV fan, but loves to watch the Baby Einstein “Baby McDonald”.. or her “Moo Moo” video, as she calls it.
- She calls anything that has wheels a tractor (or track-too).
- She has developed a huge vocabulary. “Chips” is currently my favorite word that she says because she adds the “thps” to the end of the word along with a little peek from the tongue!
- She is very smart and doesn’t forget ANYTHING… which isn’t always a bonus ;)
- She Loves loves loves to play in the kitchen set that cousins Jack and Nate are allowing the girls to borrow.
- I think she's going to make a great mommy and home-maker some day. She loves to sweep, fluff the rugs, fold laundry and play with her babies.
- Her eating and sleeping have improved tremendously. I cannot tell you what a blessing this has been!
- Loves to go for rides in the stroller or wagon (not so much the car!!)
I could go on and on, but those are just a few of her favorite things.
We plan to have cake and ice cream tonight, and then a big Elmo birthday Fiesta is happening this weekend. I'll be sure to post pictures. But for now, here are a few pics of our BIG TWO YEAR OLD!
Happy Birthday sweet girl.... we can't wait to see what God has in store for you!!