We had a great Thanksgiving. Both girls have enjoyed the wealth of plentiful food that they now enjoy.
Elena has learned that some food taste better than others. At school, she had to make a collage from photos of different types of food. She picked cakes, cookies, bread, mashed potatoes, and macaroni and cheese. She put back all of the pictures of vegetables. Several weeks ago, Elena went from eating *Everything* to suddenly eating very little - just picking at food. We were very worried when after three days she had eaten practically nothing and still had no appetite. We were eating at a Chinese buffet (which she normally loves) and got at last a plate of dessert (for us). Elena perked up immediately and ate all the pudding and jello and other desserts. We were amazed - she had refused all food for DAYS because we weren't offering her any dessert. She has since become "picky" about what she eats, but we can get her to eat vegetables and food that she doesn't like anyway.
Juliana has switched to solid foods completely and she can gum anything less stringent than steak into mush. Juliana especially likes collard greens and spinach. She doesn't like foods that are too spicy, but other than that has eaten pretty much everything we put in front of her. She out-eats Elena most days.
If the girls were to write a letter back, it would read "WE LOVE AMERICA. FOOD IS GREAT!"
A couple days before Thanksgiving, we celebrated (yes, celebrated) Juliana's first fat roll (on her leg). Yes, we know that many people do not celebrate fat rolls, as it means eating less and working out more. However - we have been desperately trying to get her weight up in the months since we got her (she now weighs about 17 lbs / 7.7kg) . When we got her, she was 11 pounds (5 kg). This was off-the-charts in a bad way for an 8-month old. There was not any meat on her scrawny legs. Part of it was her heart condition - part of it was the orphanage just doesn't feed the kids as much as the kids would like. The girls' orphanage was one of the *better* orphanages over there - there were pictures of the president congratulating the orphanage director and the director seemed to genuinely care about the children. Bad as some of the things were (both girls were significantly underweight), from comparing notes from others who have adopted from this area we have heard many more tales of orphanages that were worse but we have not seen evidence of better.
We became aware of this family's adoption a couple weeks ago:
The little girl they adopted from Eastern Europe is nine years old. Her weight when they adopted her was also 11 pounds (5 kg). There is no typo in that sentence. Let those numbers sink in. This little girl at nine years weighed the same as an newborn - due to malnutrition. That she has even survived this long is miraculous. They are home and she is in the hospital gaining weight.
Here is the scary thing - this is not the first skeletal child we have heard of being adopted from this area - there have been other people adopting from Eastern Europe with similar children.
Here is the real scary thing - there are more like her still imprisoned unto death unless they are ransomed - whose only crime is being born different.
Give thanks for what we have been given. Be mindful of those who go without.