My Family

My Family
Summer 2015

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Memorial Day Parade (delayed post)

Lucas and I found a great parade in our area on Memorial day.  I think there were over 100 entrants.  And they even threw candy.  yippeee!!!
We got there just a little late so missed the initial fire trucks but saw them as we were parking.  However, Lucas got to sit on the back of a Police pick up truck with the policeman's kids and family.  So he was pretty happy about that.

This picture cracks me up...what kind of face is that?

There were a lot of tractors in this parade and these Farmall Tractors remind me of my Grandpa Tews.  He had one of these when I was little.  I rode on it a lot.  It just reminded me of him.  I miss that farm and all the fun memories there.

The other day he saw flags on crosses lining a downtown area we were driving through and he asked about it.  I explained to him that those were all soldiers that had died in various wars.  He asked who they were, and I began to read names and the wars they died in.

After a while it got quite quiet in the back seat of the car.
His eyes filled with tears and with a choked up voice he said
"that's sad mom"
"all those people died"

He was very moved by the memory of all these people even though he had never met them. Moved to tears.  How often have I been moved to tears seeing those crosses and flags?  I love this boy and his tender heart.  Thanks Lucas for reminding me to Remember....

Legs/feet everywhere...

After swimming for 3 hours today,
 Lucas made it into the house before I did by a few minutes.  
When I walked into the door, this was the "explosion" I saw right in front of the door.  
Swim suit 
Now that's a pile of stuff to trip over.
(it made me chuckle a bit and smile)
Life at our house!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

GA Aquarium sad news...and Blind Side

Lucas has been to the aquarium several times this spring and was anxiously awaiting the birth of their first baby Beluga whale.
Unfortunately I found out today through some research that the momma had her baby over a week ago and she died just a few days later.  I was so sad.  And I wasn't sure how Lucas was going to deal with it since he would sit for the longest time at that exhibit and just watch her swim and asked lots of questions of the docent.
I told him today and he got very sad.  A few tears filled his eyes.
Then later he said

"Will the momma whale adopt another baby soon?"

some confusion for the boy about biology and adoption still.

A good teachable moment.

Last night we also watched Blind Side.

We've loved that movie for a long time.  With a little editing, Lucas enjoyed it as well.  He really was very curious about the adoption aspect of the movie and asked a lot of questions about the "momma" that the "white mommy" went to see before she adopted Michael.  He was a bit confused by why she could not take care of Michael if she was sitting right there talking to the "white mommy".  He kept asking later in the movie if she "died".  We tried to make a few parallels for him.  But, the story is different in that I never got to meet his "China mommy" and I told him that makes me sad sometimes.

So from whales to football players the topic of adoption and birth have risen to the surface this week.

We try to just answer his questions as they come and let him process as much as he can.

Monday, May 28, 2012

"Does he call you mom?"

Someone asked me that the other day at the swimming pool.

I really have not had that question before.  It is a common question asked of adoptive families.  I knew it would come someday.

It was part of a greater discussion we were having about Lucas and his adoption and his surgery, etc.  I would really rather have people ask about Lucas's story and answer their questions directly than have them wonder about it.  So the discussion was good.  But, that question just caught me off guard a little bit.

I just said "yes, he calls me mom.  He never knew another mom".  And let it rest at that.

I try not to let the fact that people are just uninformed about things get in the way of my emotional response.   But, ocassionally, I do have to say questions like that surprise me.

So, if you have a question.  Even if it is a question like "Does he call you mom?"...please just ask.  And I hope I respond with Grace.  =)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

5 hours at the pool...

After that previous post and all the consternation....
We spent FIVE hours at our pool yesterday and he never ONCE said anything about wishing he had feet...
Just sayin'
That's our boy.
Movin' on.

Our friend Debby found this though.

I think it is stinkin' cool.
Problem being it may be too big for him and I'm wondering if he still needs a foot to support it.
There has to be something for kids too.  Especially since they are still growing.  If we were made of money we might consider a more permanent prosthetic for swimming, but it would change so much over time as he grows.

My husband's "wheels" are now turning and he is in "inventor" mode...
stay tuned.

Friday, May 25, 2012

"The next time you bring me from China..."

Yesterday was the first time I've ever heard Lucas express any form of "regret" about his surgery.
He has never said anything negative about the decision or about regret that he has "new feet", etc.  Even when kids ask on the playground he just says he used to have 2 toes and now he has 5.  Or he just says he had "surgery".  He has always been positive about it.

I know it was bound to happen at some point but it was hard to be on the recieving end of the comments he had.  It all came out of frustration.  He was mad because our neighborhood pool has opened for the summer and he wanted to wear flippers.  He cannot swim with his legs on because they will basically fill with water and he will sink.  I haven't done a ton of research on options at this point becasue it has never been an issue.

So as I write what he actually said, it comes with a slight chuckle under my breath (so sorry if that sounds insensitive) combined with "do you really mean that?--maybe I should be more sensitive"

He said -- in a huffy and mad tone...
"Ya know what?"
"The next time you bring me from China I want to keep my other feet.  I don't want you to cut my feet off"
"These feet are stupid"
it went on for a while with several more comments about how dumb they were, and he did cry a little about it too.
(does anyone else think that is funny in a way? "the next time you bring me from China..")

We did process through it. --I'm not that insensitive.
And I did finally relent and tell him
"Let's try it"
I figured the reality was he needed to see what would happen.  I realized I didn't want to do it because it would make his legs wet and it would take a long time to dry.  I also know what will happen and he will sink.  It would be painfully hard to watch it happen and I also didn't want to be inconvenienced.  Check in my spirit about that one.

So, we headed off to the pool.
Fully intending to attempt swimming with legs on and flippers.

But, alas.
Once we got there he let it all lay to rest and was perfectly fine with just taking them off and swimming.

It does make me want to do some research for him though.  There has to be a "swimming" prosthetic.  I mean they made a tail for a dolphin in the movie Dolphin Tale right?
And/or I need to take him to some swimming lessons so he can gain some confidence in the water even without his legs.  He really does quite great.  But, he knows he doesn't go as fast as other kids and struggles a little to keep up.  Some of that is because it is early in the swimming season.  I'm sure he will adapt and figure it out, but it would be fun to find something to make swimming even more fun.

I love this boy.
And the reality is.
He is pretty stinkin' amazing.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Beach Time May 2012

A little spontaneous plan last week landed Lucas and I at the beach for 4 days.
We have not been able to afford travel or attending so many sweet graduations this year because of our finances.  It's been so hard to miss so many.  Last week Wednesday part of our tax refund came.  Peter and I decided that Lucas and I would go to our sweet Hannah Cz's graduation party in Florida.  Peter felt he needed to stay back to take care of some appointments and Isaac is basically working full time now.  So off we went--Just Lucas and I.  It was hard to leave them behind.

When we got there we thought it would just add to the fun to "surprise" everyone.  We were practically surprised since we decided to go on Thursday and I was on the road Friday morning at 5:30 a.m. for a 9 hour drive.

Here's just a little "beach" video...

We borrowed "Jack" as a stand-in brother for Lucas.
And "grandpa John" and "grandma Maggie" (Hannah and Jack's grandparents) just for fun!
Personally, I have 2 favorite things in this video..
1.  Lucas surfing with no feet
2.  right after that The Monkey's "scream" in the song when our friend David is all decked out with sunglasses and a pink towel!

a short trip to the beach but oh so good!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Praying for My Children

This morning I was sitting and journaling and praying, and looked at the table in front of me and realized how targeted my prayers and worship are right now.  These are the "tools" I'm using and I am LOVING it!

The Power of a Praying Parent
Satan You Can't Have My Children
my "ring binder" of verses, etc. that I love to use.
I also have a journal, not shown.

I'm not sharing this to say "wow what a great person am I"...but instead to show how God has brought so many pieces together for this season of my life.  We have been under "attack" from many angles recently. And my children are getting added focused prayer and attention right now.  

I also just got 2 books delivered from Amazon yesterday to hopefully help us better understand some things going on lately with Lucas.

Beyond Consequences, Logic and Control
Caleb's Story

Speaking of Lucas, he just woke up and is roaring like a lion up in his room...hmmmmmm may prove to be a very interesting day at our house.

On Sunday, our dear Christy Nockels vulnerably shared a sweet tender song with us called Wonderful. I LOVE IT....

She also talked about how Satan will often try to "steal our song"....but, we need to say "no" to that and continue to praise Jesus.  Here it is...enjoy...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

"Happy Mother's Day Momma"

If I heard it once I heard it a thousand times today.
I'm so blessed.

Isaac said it many times.
I got sweet hugs and kisses from him all day.
I treasure those from my almost 17 year old young man and his prickly face...=)

Lucas said it many times as well.
And tonight I laid down with him for a little while and he could not get close enough to me--
to the point of almost squishing me.
He kept saying
"I just can't stop saying Happy Mother's Day momma"
then his little eyes began to well with tears and he said it again and again.
I said
"Thank you Lucas, now go to sleep sweety"
then again and again.
And he practiaclly crawled on top of me and squeezed me so tight.
A few more teary moments.

Eventually he said.
"You are going to be my mommy forever right?"
"Yes Lucas"
"And daddy is going to be my daddy forever right?"
"Yes Lucas"
"That makes me so happy"
"Me too Lucas.  Me too.  Now go to sleep sweety"

What a precious way to end a Mother's Day.  I am blessed.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Another Breakfast brought to You By.....Lucas

On the Menu today?
Pho Noodle Soup
(and milk not shown)
yes this is Breakfast...

oh then he asked if he could put his pickle in with his noodles...
I think I'm gonna puke!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

what kind of mother would let her kids...

Eat ice cream for breakfast?
Isaac started it.  He grabbed a spoon and the box of remaining ice cream and polished it off.

Lucas's version?
An ice cream sandwich smashed up with a whip.
Then, he added milk and stirred for a while.
He was so excited.
Then he said "I need sugar"...
um I said "no" to that one.
He ate 3 bites very enthusiastically and then stopped suddenly.
The whole expression changed on his face.

"It's yucky"....

Isaac and I cracked up.

Then he went and grabbed a new ice cream sandwich from the freezer and ate that instead.

I think I may pay a price later today for allowing this, but right now it is pretty funny.

Monday, May 7, 2012


2 days ago, Peter and Lucas had an exchange while I was gone including some disobedience that ended in "no t.v. for 2 days".  We were heading out that night and leaving the 2 boys alone.  My plan was for them to watch a movie together, but that was before the infraction.  Lucas knew that the original plan had to be changed and he was totally understanding why.  We really are very consistant about following through with consequences.  Once we set them, we do them.  We know we can't be wishy washy, particularly with him.  But, we are in a place now of also offering "Grace" once in a while as long as we do it purposefully and not flipantly.
So we sat down with Lucas and talked through the whole issue.  He knew all the consequences and understood his issue and asked for forgiveness, etc.  Then Peter told him he wanted to offer him "Grace".  We asked Lucas if he understood what that meant.  Seriously, I don't remember sitting down and formerly defining it for him.  We've used the word, but I'm not sure I've defined it.

So, we weren't sure he would understand the difference between Grace and just being "soft" on our disipline.

Peter said,  "Do you know what Grace is?"
And without hesitation, Lucas said "Yes, Grace is getting another chance"

We looked at eachother and were stunned at his unhesitant response.

"Yes, Lucas that is it"

Since he knew the definition of it, we were able to offer it to him with the understanding that this was really a "gift" to him.  He was so happy.  At first he didn't want to accept it.  I thought that was interesting.  But, then he did, and it was a very sweet moment.

We like to offer Grace to our kids sometimes because it has freely been offered to us, through the blood of Jesus and his work done on the cross.  
Sometimes the best way to show that to kids is through real life examples.  
In the Bible the word used for it is "Charis" -- the definition (according to the Blue Letter is as follows:
that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: 
good will, loving-kindness, favour
thanks, (for benefits, services, favours), recompense, reward
There's even more to the definition than that, but what a sweet gift from the Lord.  Why would we not want to offer that to our children even when they make mistakes sometimes?  Why is it easier to just drop the strong arm of the law on them and not offer Grace?  
God's Word is pretty clear...

Romans 3:24 
and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

2 Cor. 12:9 
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Eph. 2:7-9
in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace,(A)expressed in his kindness(B) to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace(C) you have been saved,(D) through faith(E)—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works,(F) so that no one can boast.

I'm thankful for Grace.  
I hope my kids will never take it for granted.
I hope they know it's even more than being given a second chance.  
It's a miracle offered to us by God through Christ.
Thank you Jesus!

Can Prosthetic Legs get wet?

Why not right?
I mean, they are made of plastic and rubber.  What harm could there be in getting a little wet?

Friends were playing in their sprinkler on Sunday.  They were a little hesitant to invite us because they were not sure if Lucas could get his legs wet.  Since I'm "that kind of mom", I said "why not?"  I couldn't see any reason why it would be a problem.

The thing you need to know is there are basically 3 things he puts on when he puts his legs/feet on.
First there is a sock that goes up over the knee.
Then there is a foam-type tube that slides over his leg.  It has a nylon thing that covers it so that it slides easily into the Hard outer casing.
So finally the hard plastic leg part goes over the top of that.

We got everything on and ready to go...

He ran and played and had a great time for quite a while, until he came to me and said it was getting uncomfortable because it was getting sloshy in there.  So, we attempted to pull the outer casing off first.  Ummmm....there was a bit of suction that developed.  It took quite the prying to get it off.  I seriously pulled and pulled and almost couldn't get it to release.  But, finally it gave a little bit and off it came.
Of course everything was wet and we poured water out of his legs.  He spent the rest of the time running around without any feet.  He was still happy and giddy even doing that.

I knew the inner lining would have to dry overnight before we went to church.  Of course the inner socks were soaked and the socks on his feet--but no problem with that-everything's washable.  The liner was wet, but it dried by morning.
The next morning I went to help him put his legs on for church and as I put new socks on his feet the ankles were getting wet.   Then I heard a sloshing noise and his legs felt "heavier".  That was when I realized that there is a seam where the foot attaches to the leg.  Can you see it?

The foot is actually a really hard "rubber" material where as the leg is hard plastic.  Somehow water got into that seam and filled his foot with water.  I had to squeeze it out through the seem because his regular socks that go on his feet were getting soaked.  It was kind of funny.  I didn't realize his feet were actually "hollow"  Ya learn something new everyday...just when you think you have it all figured out.

The next day he went to play in a sprinkler again with some other friends.  This time we got smart....and gave him "ankle braclets" made out of duct tape...

and that is how we adapt...
No water inside his feet...
another problem solved...

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The beginnings of Year 2

I've been thinking that I want to write about the things happening now at the beginning of Year 2 with Lucas and how they are different from the things we dealt with a year ago or over the past year.  I also want to note things this year that I think may change and evovle over time in years to come.

Bits and pieces were coming together but still there was a lot of chinese being spoken.  He used a lot of pointing, or trying to show us with his hands or actions what he wanted.  He would ramble about things as if we knew what he was talking about with scattered words in Chinese, but many times the information was sketchy and we were guessing.

Absolutely No more Chinese.  He turned his back on it and didn't want anything to do with it many months ago.  If someone speaks it he just looks at them and has no idea what they are saying.  Recently we talked about using Rosetta Stone Chinese and letting him re familiarize himself with his native tongue, and he was open to it.  He listed a handful of words he remembers the other day. (spelling?)
Ni Hao=Hello
Wa Ai ni=I love you
I reminded him of a few more:
Moto che= motorcycle
Gong gong Che= Train

He is less resistant to relearning Chinese now.  The truth is, I don't think he had a really great understanding and mastery of Chinese anyway.  Even in China, native speakers had a hard time understanding his words or the way he put them together sometimes.

Regarding his mastery of English, it is pretty good.  But, there are a few "hinks" in it still.  It is understandable to most people most of the time, but now, because he speaks it so fluently, the little things can be a hang-up for people talking to him that don't know him.  He figures it out and clarifies it most of the time by himself.
He has a little thing he has carried through into this year that he actually made up.
"Ya' cou' ya' "----he uses it in place of "can" or "could"--for example
"Ya cou' ya go to the store." instead of "you can/could go to the store"
I've been correcting it recently and yesterday I found him launching with it and stopping himself and correcting it.
His sentence structure still needs some work.
He still confuses "he/him with she/her".  For some reason that is still a sticking point for him--referring to girls as "he" and boys as "she" but sometimes getting it right other times wrong.

I think as he begins reading more and more, it will improve.  The main thing I want to note as we enter this 2nd year is he still has some fine tuning to do.  Although he functions fine for the most part.

He didn't want anything to do with books.  He didn't even want to look at them.  I was so saddened by that.  I get it.  He didn't understand anything, but I'm such a "read books to your kids" kind of gal.  It just broke my heart in the early days/weeks.

He loves them.  We read every night before bed.  We are still in books with pictures.  And of course the obsession is Firetrucks/Police stuff.  He went through many weeks of loving simple books like Clifford, Barenstein Bears, etc.  He loves Franklin the Turtle.  And Peter is trying more and more to read our huge volume of Classic Winnie the Pooh.  But, he doesn't always like it.  The language is not real straight forward in it, so I think it's hard for him to understand some of it.  The cool thing is he is paying attention to the stories and asking questions and following along with good attention.  Whew!

Learning in School
(August was when we started home schooling)
Ugh! Can I just say the beginning months of home schooling were soooooo frustrating both for him and me.  It took until December for him to even master the alphabet.
Discipline wise--he was a terrible student (self proclaimed) in China and he attempted all the tricks of the trade with me too.  We fought. I won't even try to deny that.  He wanted to play, be the boss of the whole thing, and just struggled with "sitting" and learning at all. I couldn't read ANY books on topics like science/history to him because I think the language and ideas were just so foreign to him.  All the things we learned about science or history topics have primarily been "hands on" or "experiential".  We talked about stuff a lot, did shapes, colors, numbers, letters for months.  But, that was all he could handle.
I realized in those first months that he was seeing English letters like Chinese characters.  A=Apple...literally.  But, then I'd show him A=Alligator.  So he would just say "A" then the whole word "Apple"--as if it were a character in Chinese.  Getting the idea of "sounds" per letter was tough.

He is finally reading small books and mastering letters have sounds.  We are not "breezing" through it but he loves the fact that there are a few small books he can read.
I'm talking about books like this:
"Cat" ;  "Cat sat";  etc.
"Tag"; "The rat ran."; "Can Cat tag the rat?"; "No, the rat ran and ran."...etc.
very simple.

He came recognizing and able to write our numbers.  But, of course needing to know the language of our numbers.  I remember him stuck for days on "15".  He would skip right over it for some reason.

He can skip count by 10's, 2's
He struggles with the transition to the next "10" when counting up to 100...  29...30 or 49...50, etc.
He is doing just simple math.  But we switched mid year to the Math U See program.  That has been Awesome for him.  However, I do notice sort of strange gaps.  We went through all the "plus one" facts.  Then, onto "plus 2" then onto "Plus 9" and "plus 8".  When we come back to "plus 2" he just guesses.  He can do "plus 8 and 9" in his head without blocks but "plus 2" zip...right out the head.  Not sure what that is all about. It's always the "plus 2"

But, this is what I've noticed about his learning process over this school year.  Once he has an error or gap in his head about something he cannot shake it or relearn it for days...or weeks.  He holds tightly to whatever he has learned--right or wrong.  And retraining his brain--well, let's just say there are often tears and fights over it.  (not me, but within himself--which then gets taken out on me, but that's another story)

I'm not sure "when" the firetruck and police car obsession started.  It seems like right away.  But, it hasn't changed much.  Still a complete and total obsession...
We have a ton of toys related to the topic.

Could not just "play" at first.  Everything he wanted to do was "real" life stuff like washing the car, or doing dishes, or pounding nails, or taking toys out and lining them up and then putting them away--very neatly, but still not playing with them.  He did this for weeks.  And every time we'd sit down to play he would walk away or change what he was doing.  I think the turn around for him didn't come until around September after his surgery.

He loves playing pretend.  He lines up police car and firetruck scenarios all over the house.  We are learning more about board games, etc. But, he really doesn't have a lot of patience for them.  We are trying to teach him that not everyone that comes to the house or is on the playground, may want to play police officer and be handcuffed.  Again, trying to get him to think "outside" his own box.

He obsessed over "Buddy" movies--the Disney dog that does all kinds of sports--for a long time.  Then he began mostly preschool shows.

He loves "Emergency" but we have started to reduce the more "intense" t.v. and required him to watch more "sweet" shows.  He went through a real phase of loving "Calliou" and "Barney" "Kipper" and other preschool type shows.  He still likes them, because they are very understandable and easy to grasp.  But, he will watch full length movies now and understand them and be able to talk about them later.  Sometimes he has a hard time identifying the difference between "real" and "pretend" on some of the shows.
We've also reduced the "amount" of tv for the most part.  Unfortunately, I do have to admit he has watched a lot more t.v. than my other 2 kids.  But, I really think he has learned a lot from the shows he has watched.

We started out with some very mixed up sleeping arrangements.  Often at the beginning we would lay down with him because he was scared being in a big room all by himself at the end of the hallway when all of us had doors closed and it was quiet.  For 9 months we attempted a wide variety of sleeping arrangements including him coming into our bed or starting off in our room many nights.  I read things about "co-sleeping" that is suppose to be good for attachment.  Well, that's all well and good to an extent.  And maybe it did contribute to his comfort with us.  But, 9 months into that arrangement...Peter was about done with it.  So we began the challenge of him laying down at night alone, etc.

Most nights we still read stories, pray and lay with him for a few minutes but then get up.  Almost every night he wakes up.  We are not sure why.  He doesn't have nightmares.  We've never experienced what some people call "night terrors" or nightmares with him at all.  But, his wandering at night has been a challenge.  He goes in search of someone to climb into bed with.  It sounds so cute...but, really can get tiring.  He will crawl into bed with Isaac or even our guests if they are here.
So, now we have a light in the hallway near his room.  It is on a timer.  It goes on at 5 a.m.  If he wants to climb in bed with us at that time, he can (although most days we are waking up at that time).  I think we finally have him in a place of staying in his bed most of the night until that time.  This could change next week.  He sleeps with his door open.

He's always been a pretty good eater, but the first days/weeks/months he still really wanted me to make his favorite Chinese flavors--like soup, noodles, congee, fried rice, dumplings.  He never liked cookis or much bread.  Not a huge fan of cheese.  He never was a food "hoarder" like many older adopted kids are.  We think he was well cared for.

He still likes those foods.  They are still "comfort" foods to him and his "go to".  Noodles of any type with anything are his favorite.  He LOVES Pho which is actually a vietnamese soup, but he begs for it. For the most part he eats everything and eats a lot of it.  He does not like brocolli or mushrooms.  He loves spagetti and pizza.  Does not like cookies (except oreos).  If food is slightly over cooked or grilled and has a little "dark" mark on it, he questions whether he should eat it or not.

Overall, he really wasn't a huge problem, but when we had meltdowns, they were ugly.  I remember the first all out meltdown and how much it freaked me out and how ill equipped I felt.  I didn't respond the best I'm sure.  But, when a kid's whole demeanor changes and he turns into almost a "creature" before your eyes it's a little freaky.
He had no sense of behavior/consequence or logic.  It was always "our fault".  He had no self control.  Going through the day you might never see this in him.  But, if he wanted something and we said "no" it was ugly.
Strong-willed would definitely describe our boy. still.

He still has the same issues, but with the development of language, consistent discipline, and self-awareness evolving, we get through things in a more civil way most of the time.   There is a lot less of the physical responses of hitting, kicking, biting, etc.  Very rare for that stuff to happen.  But, he still is very stubborn and now he is playing around with sassy words.  "Dumb, stupid, hate" etc.  I'm hoping this phase flies by rapidly because in the middle of a grocery store it is just as offensive as an all out meltdown in the aisle.  Especially when he yells it at the top of his lungs.  It's really toddler behavior and I remember Isaac doing similar things.  Recently, I have found diffusing it with laughter or tickling to be very effective.  Or to take him away from the table at a restaurant where he is being obnoxious and not giving him the audience he is seeking.
I do have to say, his whole demeanor is much more relaxed and reasonable this year.  Communication makes a HUGE difference.  And he is learning what it means to be in a family.

I feel like he came to us not having a clue what "love" meant--understandably so.  Not having a clue really what "mom" and "dad" meant.  "who are these people and what are they trying to do?"
"What does it mean to have a brother?"

He has some pretty clear definitions in his head, but is still learing.  He has always been very affectionate and remains so.  I like to say he has a "Passionate" personality.  He loves to cuddle with us.  He loves to have his back rubbed/tickled.  He does NOT like being alone.

As we enter this year, there are a few rough edges that we are working through, but this boy has come so far.  I think about where we were and where we are and how much he has relaxed and become a part of our family.  We can have conversations and feel understood-both directions.  He knows that when I say there will be a "consequence" it is something he may want to reconsider (I never thought he would "get" that a few months ago).
I looked at him the other day as I was having a conversation with him and realized how far he has come and that he was understanding me and how thankful I am for each day with this boy.  I wonder what he will be like as an adult and what issues he will carry with him.  I wonder if there will be complete and total healing of his little heart from all he has been through.  I know that healing can only come through prayer and the Power of God.  So that is what I pray for.
He still has some rough spots we need to work through.  But, wow!  He has come so far already!

We love you boopski!