A special daughter for a special mother

Published 8:45 am Sunday, May 13, 2012

Brandon, Ady and Sam Yost smile for the camera Wednesday during a stop at the Albert Lea Tribune. Sam Yost’s photo won her a 14-karot two-toned mother-and-child pendant from Fisher’s Fine Jewelers. -- Tim Engstrom/Albert Lea Tribune

Sam Yost enjoys dressing up her 16-month-old daughter, and a photo of the two playing around won her first place in the Tribune’s Mom & Me Photo Contest.

But there is more to the story in this mother-daughter relationship. Little Ady was born with four fingers on her right hand and three fingers on her left hand. Two of the fingers on her left hand had to be surgically separated. But 24-year-old Sam and her husband, 25-year-old Brandon Yost, love the girl just the same and are amazed at how smart she is and how well she adapts.

Sam Yost’s self-taken photo won first place in the Tribune’s Mom & Me Photo Contest.

“She’s a smart little girl,” Sam said.

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Brandon said Ady has a problem with some of her bones. Her ulnae, the outer bones in the lower arms, are underdeveloped, causing half of her hands to be underdeveloped. The condition is considered an anomaly and not genetically inherited.

“I don’t know how often it occurs, but it’s not very often,” he said.

She has all of her toes but possesses club feet.

Ady has had to spend a considerable time in casts. She has had 17 of them so far. All of her medical work has been at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, and her parents have made the trip many times.

They said there was no hint of the condition prior to Ady’s birth. The girl was born, and Daddy noticed it right away but didn’t mention it to the medical staff. Like with most babies, they carried the child away for a brief examination and returned with the news.

Ady appears above and beyond the norm for development of motor skills, Brandon said, but suffers setbacks because everything is harder to learn. Still, she picks up objects big and little, he said.

During the interview and photo shoot at the Tribune office, Ady enjoyed playing with keys and a lens cap, happily wanting to hand them with the adults in the room and then to receive them again.

Mom enjoys teaching Ady new things, whether it is reading books to her or playing hide and seek or playing dress up.

“She’s a girlie girl,” Sam said.

The child’s first word was “Mama,” and now she likes to say “Dada” and “dog.” She loves dogs and especially the family’s two dogs, Buddy and Roxy. Buddy is a Pomeranian, and Roxy is a puggle.

The photo of mother and daughter was taken during a dress-up session last summer, when Sam was into taking photos.

“I was taking them like crazy,” she said.

Brandon added: “We’ve probably got thousands of pictures on CDs.”

Sam is the daughter of Kelly Blake and Kevin Blake, both of Albert Lea. Brandon is the son of Larry Yost of Walters and Valerie Holt of Conger.

The two have been married for two years and knew each other for five years before the wedding. They reside in Conger. He works as a maintenance mechanic at Mrs. Gerry’s Kitchen, and she is an administrative assistant at Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea.

They say they don’t have a romantic tale about how they met. They were introduced by a friend and just clicked. They were married at his father’s house by a justice of the peace.

They don’t get out much because they are at home raising their baby.

“We’ve been to, like, one or two movies since she was born,” Brandon said.

Ady’s disorder puts life into a proper perspective, the parents said, and definitely doesn’t change how they love her.

“It really could be so much worse,” Brandon said.

He said he began to lose pigment when he was 19 and took it hard. It’s not the same as Ady but is something he uses to relate to challenges she might face down the road.

But right now, she’s doesn’t know any better and is happy as can be.

Mostly, the parents spend time enjoying life with their girl. Sam offered this mothering tip for Mother’s Day: “Enjoy the time now because it goes way fast.”

About Tim Engstrom

Tim Engstrom is the editor of the Albert Lea Tribune. He resides in Albert Lea with his wife, two sons and dog.

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