We have been home 2 months.
Here is our Crazy
Overall, I feel like the kids are settling in well.
We've had multiple doctor's appointments for both of them. Some of them are the normal appointments for checkups, bloodwork, etc. But, we have had a UTI and also double Ear Infection/Swimmer's Ear with a bonus of a reaction to Amoxicillan. We've also been to Shriners twice. It's been a busy 2 months.
But, the kids really are rolling with it pretty well.
Emma: (age 11)
The first week or so was the most teary for her. She packed her bags a few times in the middle of the night. But, after we began diffusing DoTerra Serenity Essential Oils in her room every night, she began to sleep better and seems more settled. She asks for QQ (Chinese Skype/texting/connection) to talk to her friends ocassionally. It used to be a lot more. We don't encourage it a lot because we want them to connect here with new friends.
She is very bright. She asks me English words for things and wants to try to speak it. She also teaches me Chinese which is hysterical. She is speaking some English but not as much as Lucas was by this time home. She has some backround with English because she can write and read just a little bit. She often translates things she understands to Fei Fei. She is an amazing young lady. She has tolerated some changes we've been making with her physical needs. She doesn't always like it, but she just does it because we ask her to and she is ok with it. She seems very well adjusted. She doesn't really engage with the boy's antics when they get loony. =) But, she is also a mediator at times. Her and Fei Fei primarliy speak Chinese to each other all day long. For the most part it has been ok and we have not felt manipulated by any scheming behind our backs, which we were forewarned about ahead of time by several people.
She is a very "neat" and tidy young lady. Everyday she gets up, makes her bed (better than I am capable of), gets dressed, makes sure her room is in order, brushes her teeth, lets the dogs out, etc. all by herself without saying a word. It is REALLY nice.
Fei Fei (age 12)
He is doing well also, but speaks less English than she does and asks her for coaching when he gets stuck. He seems to not be able to write Chinese quite as well as she can into our translator so asks her for help.
He is a very helpful young man. Whenever I come home from shopping he runs out to the car to unload it. Sometimes all in one trip. This is one of the benefits to adopting older kids... =)
He had one day that he "grieved". Otherwise nothing in that area. He is very content for the most part. He and Lucas have had a few "fist fights" that we've had to work through but it's really not his nature to pick a fight. It's usually because he's been pushed too far by Lucas.
He can be a bit whiny. He likes to complain about the food sometimes. "no good". or even going to the store he wants the biggest thing which I can't afford and then gets kind of pouty because I won't buy it. It's all part of the learning process. Overall he is a sweet boy and a bit goofy. He gives a nervous smile and giggle when he knows he is in trouble or wants something. He loves animals and sciency kinds of things. He's been begging for a hamster and he brought a tree frog into the house a few days ago. He has already begged for a puppy. (um no!)
Lucas: (age 11)--Home 4 years--
Lucas is adjusting also. It's been a lot of change for him. And at times when he is frustrated, mostly because Fei Fei doesn't do what he wants, the two of them get into brother fights. Sometimes phyisical. But, they are working it out because within a short period of time they are usually sitting next to each other on the sofa hugging eachother and laughing. Everyone wants to know if Lucas has picked up any Chinese since our trip there and back and living with the kids. The answer is NO. And please don't ask him about it. He gets upset because he thought he would pick it up and so did everyone else. He's had a few "meltdowns" but I'm not sure they are anything unusual for Lucas. He has learned to share toys, his room, his parents, his pets, and more. He helps by spending time with the kids even though they can't always communicate. He figures it out. He is my little hero. He has learned so much and loved so well.
He is looking forward to home schooling this year with me. I think we are all looking forward to getting into some routines. Both of the other kids will go to public school which they requested.
Isaac (age 20)-
Isaac has been great with the 2 new kids when we've been together. I think it's been yet another change for him as well, but they LOVE GeGe (big brother). They both love him and he loves them as well. He's moved into a new apartment in Chicago and is getting ready for yet another chapter of college life as he enters his 2nd year of school. We are grateful for his love and support in all these crazy transitions.
And now for the parents...
How are "We?"
Well, it's been a huge adjustment as one may well expect. Some of the things I've noticed...
* There are a lot more moving parts--just trying to wrap my brain around 3 people (and a 4th in college) on a daily basis is crazy at times.
* Laundry--yikes what just happened? I need to learn how to manage that better.
* Food--these people eat a lot of food. It's not like starting with a baby or toddler that eats just a portion of a regular sized meal. These two can pound food if they like it. Time to rethink some of our eating habits to fit that into the budget. (she eats 3 full pieces of chicken at KFC if we go there).
* a Chore list is on the horizon---they are fully capable beings and will help if asked. yay God! Time to harness that energy before America zaps it out of them...lol
* Going out to eat does not happen much---it can be VERY pricy with this crew...=)
* Their language aquisition seems slower than Lucas's was. I attribute that to trying to maintain Chinese while learning English, having eachother to chat with, being older, and only being here 2 months. -- ok we'll give em a break...lol
And we cannot forget how Good God is and how Gracious He has been in this whole process. Many of the things we worried about in bringing 2 special needs kids into our life have been non issues.
If you look at Emma from the outside you may say "poor thing". And people in public have said as much. (kind of annoying--so don't say that). In our house we see her as fully capable. (I've caught her standing on top of a chair on one leg with her crutch getting dishes down to set the table-not that I would encourage that). Her personality lights up a room--not by overwhelming the room with "all about me", but by her sweet presence. She is very thoughtful and kindhearted and smart as a whip--she's already catching our sense of humor. I can't imagine why we hesitated so much and worried about all the things we would need to do for her physically. The words "Spina Bifida" can be scary, but rest assured God has been so good in blessing us with her. We have a journey ahead of us, but even though she appears from the outside to have the most "special needs", that pales in comparison to her preciousness.
FeiFei (Joshua) was in our minds less of an issue physically. I wasn't really too worried about his "needs". And for the most part that is true. He has exploded a few times but only at Lucas--and dare I say with "good cause?" (brothers). But, generally speaking he is also a blessing. I think we my have some more academic challenges with him--but we will see. His fascination with science and history shows on TV have lit Peter up. That's his BOY! =) His kindness with Emma is palpable and his helpfulness is beyond what I could have asked for.
I think back on all the things we worried about. Life has definitely changed. But, once again God has shown Himself faithful as we follow His calling on our lives. Our hearts are bigger, our life is crazier, the noise level is higher, but we definitely know God has this. He has us dependent on Him once again and relying on Him daily.
Isn't that where we are suppose to be?
That We May...serve God Generously because of what He first did for us.
We can't outgive Jesus and all He did for us.
So here's our life. Gonna be real. But, also gonna serve Him with all we've got.