Sunday, December 27, 2009

Happy Holidays!!!!!

This holiday season has been extra special this year as a family of 3. Amara is now 14 months old and changing so quick!! Its amazing to look back at Christmas last year. We didnt even know about little Amara Eskedar! Amara was 2 months old last year at this time, she was less than 6 pounds and staying at the Enat Alem orphanage in Addis Ababa. Its so nice to say she is now a very healthy, happy active toddler. We are blessed to have her in our lives.

Last weekend we enjoyed celebrating Chrimstas in Chicago, and Amara experienced unwrapping presents, she is picking up very quickly!

This is the view from our window at the Swissotel. Amara enjoyed playing on the huge bed!

Then off to Grandma and Grandpa's condo! Amara is opening her very first Christmas present!

Later that evening, a nice dinner and more presents!

Christmas in Kansas City was enjoyed with lots of snow and family!

We look forward to bringing in the new year. I can see many new adventures and experiences in 2010!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Our cutie pie!

Amara is such a little blessing. I am so amazed how much she is changing everyday. She is so funny, and has her little bag of tricks that she pulls out to entertain anyone who is watching.

She is waving, blowing kisses, using a sippy cup and moving away from a bottle. She is getting to be a big girl with eating. She will eat anything, and wants to feed herself!

Its a matter of a few weeks and I think she will be walking. We cant wait for Christmas this year..its so fun to see Amara experience all these new things.

The adoption process was so hard, even more with the delay with abandonment child cases, but when I look into this little girls eyes, I would do it again and again. I am so wanting to start the process to go back for another child... There are so many children in Ethiopia and after spending time there and seeing the orphanages and the children who do not have homes it just breaks my heart. I also like the idea of Amara having a sibling with a shared heritage. So hopefully someday soon I can say that we are starting the process again. Unfortunately, there is that one thing, and that's paying for it! Its a little costly!

For now we will enjoying watching our Baby Tiny experience life and grow. I cant think of anything better.

My best friend Kristi made Amara a tutu and top. I must say its pretty adorable! Amara also enjoyed dressing up as a ladybug for Halloween!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Happy Birthday Amara!! 1 year old!

October 23, Amara turned 1! We enjoyed making it a special day for her!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

11 months old..

Amara is such a joy! We have been with Amara a little over a month now and I am amazed how well she is adjusting. She goes along with anything! She still takes 2 naps a day and sleeps all night. She is crawling and pulling herself up and I know soon she will be walking!

Its been hard to update the blog, time is just flying by. What a huge change from the summer when we didnt know what was happening with the adoption and time was dragging on. Life is good and we are enjoying every minute with Amara.

She is turning one in a few weeks!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

LONG overdue update!!

I am a horrible blogger! I update my facebook almost everyday with photos and feel bad that my little blog has been neglected! We have been home safe and sound and with a baby that is the best thing that has ever happened to us! She is really a little doll, with a sweet personality.

John is back to work, the house guest and visitors have slowed down, and I am enjoying every minute with baby Amara. She is such a blessing!

Our trip to Ethiopia was an amazing journey. All the people who work with our adoption agency work so hard in Ethiopia to take care of all the children and us families when we were in the country.

I am still working on a montage of photos from our trip, but here are a few of Amara in Ethiopa and since we have returned home!

Here are some photos take while we were in Ethiopia-

Photos since we have been home -

More photos to come soon! I promise!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

New photos! 10 months old...

A wonderful family, who was just in Ethiopia took some adorable photos of our baby. I cant believe it.. she is standing up!!!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Very Special Story....

Baby Amara has a very special story. I want to share this story for a few reasons. One, is to commend the adoption agency we chose. They really did a lot for us when we really needed it. Two, I think all prospective adoptive parents should be aware of the many unknowns when it comes to this adoption process. I was asked not to share it until we passed court, because our adoption agency made special arrangements for us during the time period when we received our referral. Which we are so grateful for!

When we received our referral, it was so exciting and eye opening. We received the call from our case manager and she was telling us that there was this little 3 month old baby. She was very very small. She only weighed 5.9 3 months old! Also, that they were not going to send us photos until we agreed that we would consider a "special needs" referral. Which is understandable, they didn't want us to feel guilted, or feel bad if we decided to not accept it.

One thing that we were a little surprised about was that our home study stated we were open to a child with special needs. So with this referral, this baby was considered special needs due to her low weight. The low weight wasn't really what we were concerned about, we were very concerned with the medical report. It was of course..pretty unclear, but then had some things on there like Chromosomal abnormalities, which could be minor or very major. While waiting to receive more info from out CHI, we decided to have our Dr take a look at her report...and photos. CHI agreed to send the photos to our DR.

The next day, we visited our doctor, he looked at her medical report and photos. He felt she would be ok, as long as she would get better nutrition. He didn't seen any signs of Chromosomal abnormalities, but couldn't see why that was on her medical report!!? The report was so vague.

We tried to get in with Children's Mercy Hospital, there is a doctor there who runs the International Adoption Clinic. We were told it would be TWO weeks before he could even look at her medical report. Lucky, my best friend Kristi, knew a nurse that worked at the hospital and was able to take her medical report to the International adoption clinic Dr to let him review it! After all that, he said, there is just not enough information to give us any feedback.

So, one week has passed, and we were still waiting for CHI to obtain some more information. They were able to get more photos for our Dr's and during that time the baby was moved to the House of Hope. At least there, we knew she would be getting better nutrition and medical care.

On Friday evening Jan 30th, 4 days after we received the call, my good friend Joan called me and was very excited about something. She just had dinner with another couple and she had told them about our adoption story. They all then realized that one of their mutual friends, Dr. Andrew Kaufman a neurosurgeon in Kansas City, had just left for Ethiopia. He was on a medical mission trip. He loves teaching doctors in Africa.

His friend Saul was put on the phone with me. He told me he was 90% sure he could get a hold of Dr. Kaufman and see if he could go to the House of Hope to see our referred baby. Immediately, I emailed our agency and explained what opportunity we had to have this Dr. visit the baby and let us know what was going on!

Within a few days, we had permission. I remember waiting until the middle of the night, because of the time difference, to call Dr. Kaufman to let him know we had the OK! I gave him the director of the House of Hope's cell phone, and prayed he would be able to make contact!

Friday morning at 2 am, John and I could not sleep. We were anxiously waiting for Dr. Kaufman to make it to the House of Hope. We just couldnt sleep knowing that just a few hours we would know really what condition the baby we referred was in.

At 5am, I looked at my blackberry and had an email all the way from Ethiopia. The email was titled -

Email Subject : I have a very good report

Amanda & John:

I finally made it to the home and was very impressed; more of that in a moment.

I had the good fortune last evening of meeting a young American woman who is studying child development and currently working in an orphanage in Ethiopia. She was able to prepare me for the visit and was extremely helpful in educating me about malnourished infants.

The home is well out of the center of Addis, perhaps a 15-20 minute drive from the airport. From the entrance gate to the grounds, living areas and children's rooms the place is probably the cleanest and best maintained home I have seen in two visits to Ethiopia. Please do not expect American standards but this place was cleaner than any hospital, home or hotel in which I have stayed or visited.

Tseguy is a sincere and marvelous fellow who was completely open in not just answering all questions, but spontaneously amplifying upon the issues. He is a former school teacher. He himself found the place (an empty deteriorated home), plastered, painted, cleaned, bought all furniture, etc. On the grounds they have two guest apartments and use a nearby guest house if necessary.

Your child is in a room with four other children. Each "nanny" is assigned to three children. Your child is currently taking 60 cc (2 oz) of formula 12 times daily. She is held for all feedings (I have a movie of a feeding). I have a photo of the jar of formula being used as well as several additional photos and movie clips.

The child has a completely normal neurological examination. I see absolutely nothing in her physical exam that would indicate any chromosomal abnormality or other physical defect. She is clearly malnourished. However she is very alert, sucks very well and has seemingly normal sight and hearing. She clearly followed me and my brightly colored hat from side to side. She cried only briefly while I was examining her. Otherwise she had a very calm satisfied demeanor, and yet was completely alert and attentive at all times.

She seemed most happy and content when I was holding her. She often was spontaneously sucking a finger when not being held. When fed she immediately responded with a good strong suck.

She is clearly not yet at 3 months of physical or emotional development, but that would seem to be consistent with her nutritional status. Her exact age is in fact not known.

I had the pleasure of meeting two American mothers who are here to receive their new adoptive children. One is an undoubtedly Jewish woman from Indianapolis adopting a 6 year old child. Hers is not a fertility problem; she has three natural born children and now wanted to adopt a fourth and at age 40 did not want more diapers to deal with, but more important feels that the older children of Ethiopia should not be overlooked. The other woman is adopting a newborn. Both are extremely pleased with the care and attention their children are receiving, their accommodations and their visit here.

I am very impressed with this agency and the fine work that they are doing. I hope this is helpful to you.

Best regards,



I will tell you, that was the best email I have ever received - in my life! Things were clear and we knew she would be OK. We were so fortunate on how all these events turned out.

We are so grateful to the amazing group or people who made this possible. Dr. Kaufman and his wife Lynn, Ron and Joan, and Saul and Sherri.

So here we are now. Just a couple weeks away from meeting our baby Amara. What a story. I cant wait to continue this adventure.

Amara is now 17.5 pounds, and looking wonderful. I have received so many wonderful stories and reports from other families traveling to the House of hope to pick up their babies.

This is Amara when she was 3 months old and 5.9 pounds - so so tiny.

This the video Dr. Kaufman took while he visited her at the House of Hope-

Amara Eskedar is now 9.5 months old. She looks happy and healthy, and we will be seeing her in just a couple WEEKS!!