So what's new? Gosh, where to even begin!
YunYun is doing very well, thriving, actually. It is not always sunshine and roses as we continue to adjust and bond, but overall I am pleased. We have been in one another's lives for four months now and looking back, our time in China seems like a distant memory. Now that she is in school her language skills are exploding which makes communication so much easier. She has been able to communicate her feelings, her memories, and her needs verbally which not only makes it easier for us, but boosts her confidence in herself as well. The more that she shares with us about her past the better we understand her and can address her emotional needs. We have learned so many details about her birth family and all I will say is this: my heart breaks for her and her birth family. Her circumstances were so sad and her birth father or her "China Daddy" as she affectionately calls him, must love her so very much. I cannot even imagine the pain and anguish that man must feel every day. I pray that he knows deep down she is safe and loved so very much.
As for school, YunYun is thriving and the life of the 5th grade class. She has made friends, attended a birthday party, and enjoys learning. Despite the language barrier she is doing well and surprising everyone. Eric and I are so proud of her.
Dima is also doing well and entertaining us as always. His latest obsession is Elsa from Frozen (and I thought we were going to escape that madness!) and he sings "Let It Go" non-stop. I confess that I totally prefer his version. He is learning so much at school and behaviorally doing so much better. He is learning what is acceptable and unacceptable and can now verbalize his thoughts and feelings. Dima loves the school that he attends and he is very popular with everyone he meets. Then again, what's not to like? He is a happy, silly, loving child who loves life. Considering his past and the trauma that he experienced it is amazing that he is as well adjusted as he is. Is it all smiles 100% of the time? Far from it. He is still a normal child that gets into trouble, a normal child with a traumatic past, and he has Don Syndrome. So yeah, add that all together and there are going to be days where it is just plain hard. But at the end of the day we love him and are so very proud of Dima, too.
Jeremiah, Elijah, and Sammy are also doing well and growing up way too fast. Jeremiah, my big boy, is now a middle schooler and into youth group, laser tag, and "hanging out"with his friends. I am homeschooling him this year and I am so pleased to share that he is a very self-motivated learner. He does his work without complaint and presents his information at co-op like he owns it. Once a week he volunteers in his former 5th grade class to help students with math. His personality is really starting to show as he comes out of his shell and I am continually amazed at what a neat young man he I have for a son. Jeremiah has always been quiet and reserved and now I get to see a new side of him. Boy do I love him!
Elijah is in the 5th grade and his final year in elementary school. Academically he is doing extremely well and has had straight A's the first quarter! He has lots of friends, is well behaved, and very helpful. Elijah loves the outdoors and has been spending lots of time in the woods with his friends from the neighborhood. They have quite a fort out back and spend hours perfecting it and gathering material to make improvements. I love to have the windows open and listen to the children hard at work!
Sammy is now home schooled after an attempt at him skipping form 2nd to 4th grade. He was doing well in all areas but one so we decided to pull him and give him a year at home to regain his confidence. Hopefully next year he (as well as his brothers and sister) can attend a local Christian school and thrive in that environment. Sammy has been expressing a keen interest in animals and wants to be a vet when he gets older. In the afternoons after the kids get home from school one of his buddies from down the street usually appears on our doorstep and those two ride bikes and scooters for hours. It is fun to watch them and cheer them on as they try "stunts" on their scooters.
My children are happy which in turn makes me very happy. I have been asked several times in the past week or so if we will adopt again and I honestly do not know. It is certain, however, that at this exact point in time I think we are thankful for the children that we have. YunYun has been a little more challenging in ways that Dima was not and I think it will take awhile to adjust. Eric and I firmly believe that it is important for a newly adopted child to find their place in their new family and to get the attention and care that they so desperately need. In YunYun's case we have lots of doctor appointments just to get up to speed with where we should be in terms of help her with her CP. Not to mention the other four children who also need me.
Our family has made a decision, however, and Lord willing I will be starting back to school in January to get my Bachelor of Social Work. It should take anywhere form 18-24 months and then I can get my Master of Social Work. It is truly my desire to help families who wish to adopt. More than anything I see such a need for families to be adequately prepared before they even officially begin the process. And now that we have five children who are eating me out of house and home this mama probably needs to help bring in some income. It is both exciting and nerve wracking at the thought of going back to school at my age, but because my kiddos and Eric are super supportive and excited for me, I know I can do it!
On that happy note, here are some pictures from the past few months. As you can see our lives are anything but boring!
|Halloween 2014. YunYun, Elijah, Dima & Sammy|
|YunYun at her BFF's bowling birthday party.|
|Elijah on the lake preparing to kneeboard.|
|Elijah loves the water.|
|YunYun's first day of school!|
|Sammy and a cat named Gatsby.|
|Jeremiah at homeschool co-op and sporting his new glasses.|
|Art study at co-op.|
|Sammy loves co-op days.|
|Meet the teacher night at Dima's school. Only this year daddy is a teacher at Dima's school!|
|Dima and his buddy at a special football day during school. I love his "game face".|