sorry i haven't blogged lately. i thought there hadn't been much going on in terms of challenges or new triumphs. we have been busy though.
we have thrown out the cocoon style theory of settling in/bonding and jumped right into life as we now know it. in case you haven't noticed, i use my blog as a journal to get things out of my head and into a place where i can process them. i didn't think there was anything to say, but i was wrong. nothing dramatic but all the small things have added up to once again show God's provision and perfect plan.
everything is going amazingly. we attended a Panda Playgroup on saturday run by the Asian American Cultural Center at UCONN(they have more chapters around the country...http://asacc.uconn.edu/programs/china.php). there were approximately 20 children there. they made name tags, played a Mandarin speaking game, folded origami squares and played a shuffleboard type of game, made some Chinese inspired artwork, and then served a yummy meal of noodles, sesame chicken, and dumplings. it is a free monthly program. the children spoke Mandarin to the college student volunteers, but did not seem excited or distressed to be able to communicate. they did not ask to translate anything to me. guess they are OK with our system of charades and pictionary type of communication.
during the meal, shianna asked me to get myself some food and eat with her. basha didn't like me sitting halfway on E and A's seats and went across the room to get me my own chair. obviously they respect me as their mother and made sure i was taken care of too. AH...LOVE...
there were two families there that also attend our church, so we felt right at home. the next day we took the children to church for their first time. when we walked into Sunday School, basha immediately pointed out a friend from the Panda Playgroup, smiled, and sat down. i heard from one of the teachers that basha was very polite and well behaved. PROGRESS! the children stayed in their groups the whole time. they also sat mostly quiet through the entire church service. WOOHOO!
our first family photo
on monday we had their MD appointments. the doctor is questioning basha's diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy as it is so slight. she noticed very weak upper body muscles which is causing a curvature of her spine and ordered back X-rays to see if there is a different issue going on. we will get a full neuro work-up in 6 months when speech has come in and she can understand commands. this MD said basha would most likely never live independently as an adult after reviewing her file last May. on monday, she said that she hasn't any doubt that basha will live independently, get married, have a family, or become a professional. PRAISE GOD! we accepted this child knowing full well that she may not attain the classic American Dream. we still found value in her life...it didn't matter to us what she could do or not do. now we are being told her future will only be limited by the size and scope of her dreams.
baba and daughters playing legos at the doctor's office
we found out shianna has bad ears and needs glasses(otherwise a healthy kid)...probably the reason for her developmental delays. once we address those issues, she should be able to learn and catch up to her peers in no time. again, we were told she had a diagnosis of mental retardation. we accepted her as is. now we are being told that she is of normal intelligence and will not have to live into her label either. amazing how God has wiped clean their prognosis and created them new.
THANK YOU PRECIOUS FATHER
tuesday brought us a busy day. we attended our home school co-op. there are approximately 12 students and a few siblings that attend. we made this really cool Easter craft and decorated Easter cookies. some weeks they learn writing and science, but this week was just fluffy fun stuff.
cross and tomb craft
later we went to sign language class where we were able to share the signs the children were taught in the orphanage. they were remarkably similar to the sign language our teacher knows. i wonder who in the orphanage taught the children?!
on the way home we stopped by our local library and the children again were well behaved. they got out a movie and some Ranger Rick magazines. basha can read many names of animals. i guess she took English classes at school at some point. they constantly surprise me.
today we went out grocery shopping for the first time. the children were like four little ducklings following behind my cart. they never asked for anything at the store. although when i grabbed a frozen pizza, both Chinese children yelled "PIZZA!" and basha did a happy dance. guess they had pizza at the orphanage. i hadn't served it to them or taught them the word for pizza yet. i was so tickled that i threw an extra pizza into the cart.
tonight my parents came over for dinner. we have decided to make it a weekly thing so the girls will learn who they are and that they are important figures in our lives. when they arrived, basha yelled, "GRANDMA GRANDPA!" she only met them once, but skyped a few times from China. smart girl! they brought the girls some colored bubbles, which they tore into right away.
after stuffing ourselves with a spaghetti dinner, we had Chinese tea and looked through pictures and video from China.
meanwhile, the children worked on a welcome home card for a neighbor couple whom the children were house and cat sitting for. shianna, who has not been using her english name without prompting, came downstairs and asked me how to spell her name to add to the card. she was no longer interested in writing her Chinese name in characters like she has been doing. again PROGRESS!
when it was time to go home, hugs were given out. basha freely gave grandma beany a hug. what???? she doesn't do hugs. i said as much to her and she put her arms out and hugged me!
my first hug from her. my heart did a happy dance.
melted oh-so-gooey heart.
praising God heart.
that is truly what family is for. our emotions we feel for them opens us up to be able to feel for others. this kid opened up and touched me for the first time after dancing with her pengyou, Tim, while in China. now after a hug from grandma, i get my first hug.
then it wouldn't stop. she jumped up on a chair and dropped into my embrace over and over. she asked me to carry her to bed...not an easy task for a 108 lb momma to carry a 64 lb 10 year old up thirteen stairs. i would have carried her even if she was 200 lbs. i would have carried her across the Rocky Mountains. anything for that sweet touch.
blurry first hug photo, but captured none the less
so as i said goodnight to my four precious girls tonight, three accepted kisses and four accepted hugs.
LORD, DOES IT GET ANY BETTER THAN THIS? I THANK YOU FOR ALL THINGS GREAT AND SMALL. THANK YOU FOR THE HARD TIMES AND BLESSED TIMES THIS LENTEN SEASON. THANK YOU FOR YOUR ULTIMATE SACRIFICE. THANK YOU FOR SHOWING ME WHAT SACRIFICE IS AND HOW TO LOVE YOUR CHILDREN. I AM EVER SO GRATEFUL. PLEASE CONTINUE TO SHOW ME HOW TO PLEASE YOU. PLEASE CONTINUE TO HELP ME TEACH MY CHILDREN THESE THINGS. THANK YOU FOR YOUR TRUST AND CALL TO BE EARTHLY PARENT TO ALL FOUR OF THESE AMAZING GIRLS. BLESSED BE YOUR NAME FOR ALL ETERNITY. AMEN.