things are getting much better with her lately. more on her transformation later. shout out...Praise God!
S positively loves school. she is in vocational training school at the local high school. she still cannot grasp money concepts well, but has mastered first grade reading. we had wondered if she would ever read. mastery of ANYTHING is encouraging to us.
she will plateau at about third grade equivalency, the experts say. reading is helping her to learn English, too. verbally, things are challenging. she only understands incoming language equivalent to that of a 2 year 9 month old. yet, she has outgoing, or speaking, capacity of a 4 year 1 month old. at least that is where she scored a year ago. i would not be surprised if it has changed a little.
so much is lost in translation in our household. sometimes it is hilarious. sometimes it is frustrating. i am sure my forehead is flattening out due to all the head smacking and rubbing i do. want to know how i know i do it so often? now B has absorbed that mannerism and whacks herself several times a day.
but school, S thrives in. she was promoted to ninth grade and earned high honors grades. woo woo. she was tickled to see her name in the local paper announcing the honor. so far she has shredded paper at Town Hall, worked in her class's student bake/snack shop, and she has worked at B's school book fair. fun!
one of her favorite things is the unified school programming. the basketball is affiliated with Special Olympics. seven local school's special education classes participate. the teams consist of a handful of students with special needs.
additionally, there are typical student athletes that pass and dribble the ball, but are not supposed to shoot the ball. they try to leave scoring to the players with special needs. S has come home with several medals from Special Olympics. the games are fun to watch and imagine our surprise to find our friend refereeing the tournament. that was neat.
there is also unified art, taught by a friend of ours. how blessed are we-to have S connected in several areas of her community. we know her art teacher through her involvement at our local CSA, Grange, and library. her teaching is reaching our daughter. i love seeing what S creates. our house is decorated by it. and recently, she has added a dog and bunny to her drawing repertoire. all of us gave her high praise for drawing new subjects. it used to be just flowers and bees.this past week, i was asked to speak at the board of education meeting on behalf of the unified basketball program.
during my time to speak, i explained that S came to us as a severely delayed, fearful, tearful, and shy child. this program helped her really break out of her shell. she used to be a "ghost" in our house, keeping to herself except for meals and tv. now she interacts and plays with us. she comes out of her room often. she used to use just one or two word phrases. last week she came home from school and told me how she fell at school and her teacher saved her-using three sentences! amazing!! talk about being social...when i pick her up from school, mainstream kids wave good bye calling her by name and sometimes offering a high-five. it makes me feel good knowing she has a safe and nurturing place to grow.
i was told later, that many were misty eyed after i spoke. aw shucks.
next, several students were invited to share their experiences in winter school sports.
when the captain of the varsity basketball team spoke, he said, "i'd like to share with you about our basketball season, but first, i want to say S really impressed me. i had never participated in unified PE before, but this year i tried it. S was my partner the first day and was shy, but then after that, ran up to me every week excited and laughing." he went on to explain how much she changed him and how much she means to him. i was almost in tears.
next, the girls' varsity basketball captain took the microphone. she also started by acknowledging S. i was floored. those students were invited to speak about their teams. to take the time in front of dozens of busy people to first honor sweet S before reporting on their own teams was classy. i melted.
after we were all excused from that part of the meeting, several others came up to tell me their stories of S.
later, i sat in my car stunned. i had been so concerned with how her community affected her that i missed how she would be impacting them. what a blessing to be shown a glimpse of her life. i marvel at how God placed her here. how different her life in China would have turned out.
here she is valuable. she is loved. she is worthy. she is growing. she is witnessing His great Love and Grace. she is redeemed.
THANK YOU LORD GOD. YOU ARE SO PERFECT. ALL YOUR PLANS ARE MASTERFUL. I MARVEL AT YOUR WISDOM. YOU GAVE THIS WORLD A POWERFUL GIFT WHEN YOU ADOPTED MY DAUGHTER. THANK YOU FOR LOVING HER AND ALLOWING HER A NEW LIFE WHERE SHE CAN BE LOVED AND REFLECT YOUR MIGHTY SOVEREIGNTY. PLEASE CONTINUE TO BLESS HER WITH YOUR SPIRIT SO THAT SHE MAY BLESS THE REST OF US IN HER VERY SPECIAL AND PRECIOUS WAY. I EXALT YOU JESUS FOR REDEEMING US ALL. AMEN.