The Blanchard Bunch

The Blanchard Bunch

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Artist, Middle Child, Spitfire, Marine-in-Training

Amanda was hard to peg when she first came to us; we weren’t sure if she was really shy or just too scared to speak. She wouldn’t leave Sissy’s side, not even when one of them had to go to the bathroom. She wouldn’t sit in a chair by herself but would actually sit IN Sissy’s lap, no matter what we said or how many chairs were available. She didn’t talk much so most of our information about her came from Sissy. She was like a scared little kitten that had been backed into a corner and wasn’t sure whether to let you hold her or claw her way to freedom.

It took a little while, but she did finally come out of her shell and start talking. We quickly discovered that she was a 4 foot-10 inch spitfire. I tell people not to be deceived by her smallness: she might be little, but she’s feisty!! She’s settled down considerably, but she still has her moments. I think she’ll get a good handle on that one day, but in some way, it will always be a part of who she is.

Before she came to us, she was missing a lot of school, experimented with drugs and alcohol and was dating a boy way too old for her. All of that has changed and she is now a staunch advocate against drugs and alcohol and is learning to be, and like, herself without the drama of a boyfriend. The ‘no boyfriend thing’ is not really her choice, but because she just turned 15 on September 10th, it’s one we feel is in her best interest.

Although she has an absolutely beautiful smile, she refuses to show it. Unless you can catch her completely off guard, you’re going to get a smirk instead of a smile in every picture you take of her. I pray that one day she gains the self-confidence to smile without inhibition and let the world see just how truly beautiful she is.

Amanda is a very talented artist and I love seeing the things she’s drawn. She keeps most everything she does private and just for herself, but we do get to see a few things every now and then. She loves to look for instructional books to better her art and keeps them stashed in a box by her bed. She used to steal the little girls’ markers and colored pencils, but she now has her own personal cache of them.

She has a big heart and loves to help others get through their problems. Just when I think she’s not listening to a word I say to her, she’ll come home and tell me about the advice she gave a friend at school that day; a lot of times it’s exactly what I had told her to do or try in a similar situation. She is a sweetheart and is a very caring person. She spent a lot of time taking care of her nieces before they all came to us and it was a hard transition for her to go from being pseudo-mom to them to being ‘just’ their aunt. She really looks out for them and loves them with all her heart.

Amanda signed up for ROTC this year. She really wants to be a Marine lawyer when she grows up. I’ve double checked the current height and weight requirements for the Marines and she does make the cut. She’s right there on the minimum line, but as long as they don’t increase those requirements in the next few years, she will be allowed to join and achieve her dream. I know if she puts her mind to it, she will be the best attorney the Marine Corps has ever seen.

About a month or so before her adoption, she changed her last name on her facebook account to Blanchard. She was so excited about finally becoming a permanent part of our family and our official daughter that she couldn’t wait until it was actually her legal name to announce it to the world. It made my heart happy every time saw it.

She and I have had our differences over the past year, and at times it’s been a rocky ride, but she is my baby girl. I love her with all my heart and am so very blessed to be her mom. 

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