Tonawanda News

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February 4, 2013

Wheatfield family stresses importance of special needs adoptions

Tonawanda News — Four-year-old Andres Andrews love chocolate milk, chasing his family’s small dog, Millie, around and playing with the new piano he got for Christmas. He loves playing with his three older sisters, clapping as they play their trumpets and saxophones, and listening as they teach him the English equivalents of the relatively small Spanish vocabulary he has for his age.

Andres has lived most of his life in an orphanage in Bogota, Colombia, and was only just adopted by the Andrews family, of Wheatfield, in early December. 

He’s slowly learning to communicate with his new family, mother, Brandy said, but for now she’s happy she has a Google translator app on her smart phone.

“Chocolate,” he requests in Spanish as Brandy asks him if he wants milk or juice for an afternoon snack.

“He has a big sweet tooth,” Brandy said with a laugh, so she asks big sister, Gabriella, 6, to give him a chocolate graham cracker to go with his juice.

Andres’ older sisters, Madelyn, 10; Amelia, 9; and Gabriella, have been teaching him English, and he’s picking up on some words quickly, Brandy said.

She said they’re lucky he had a pretty small vocabulary for his age .... or else they’d have an even harder time understanding him. Andres’ cerebral palsy had limited his vocabulary and it was only this past summer that his speech started the flourish.

It shouldn’t be long before he starts speaking more English than he does Spanish.

“Hello, how are you?” he asked at the beginning of the family’s interview with the News, which earned some “oohs” and “aahs,” and general encouragement from the group assembled.

Brandy and David Andrews first started considering adoption last spring. Before they began heavy research, though, they consulted with their daughters, which also include three older siblings from David’s first marriage — Kaitlin, 24; Molly, 23; and Bridget, 19. The older girls live away from home.

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