Sunday, March 23, 2014

3+ months

over three months now, we have had sweet Jesse in our care.  Jesse seems to be getting more and more into a routine. He is beginning to know what to expect each day and what we expect of him.  He is stringing together sentences of 3-5 words.  Everyday he says 'new' words.  Today's new word was "great"!  It is so fun when we hear him say a new word, expression or sentence.

Jesse began 1/2 day kindergarten 2 weeks ago.  he seems to enjoy going and doesn't argue or complain about school. He enjoys the math, snacks, computer and iPad time he gets at school. The school has been great and we are very blessed to have such great staff and students.  The concerns we had about Jesse's learning are still there, as we haven't seen the improvement we were hoping.  Granted it is only two weeks, but he still cannot not identify any letters of the alphabet, although this is practiced daily.  We are praying that his brain is working overtime learning the spoken language and adjusting to living in the American culture, that he hasn't had time to process the written language yet. We are hoping to reach out to the Chinese community in the area for assistance with this over the summer.

Jesse talks non-stop about soccer.  He can not wait to begin soccer in about 2 weeks. He still enjoys swimming and doesn't have any fear of the water. We got a new trampoline assembled this past weekend and it has been difficult keeping Jesse off of it!  He absolutely loves the trampoline and would probably like to sleep on it, if it weren't quite so cold outside.

Jesse loves structure and knowing what to expect next. He loves to be the boss and be in control. This is a great trait for a boy in his circumstance, as he has had so much change in his life that he wants to be able t control something!  We try to allow him to have limited control over certain things, just for his own security.  He beginning to come out of his shell more and more, mainly because he can verbally communicate so well now.

We appreciate everyone's prayers during this transition. There have been good times and difficult times.  We are all in love with Jesse and his smile. We love the extra spark of energy he brings to our life. We are so fortunate that God has brought Him to our family form a world away.  It is still surreal to us that were praying over his picture 8 months ago, and now can hug him, play with him and tickle him whenever we want.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

2 Months

In some ways it is hard to believe Jesse has been home 2 months, but in other ways it seems like he has been here for much longer.  Just this week Jesse is stringing together 3-4 words sentences, such as "Brianna, Mom needs you" or "Ow that hurts".  He has also caught onto all of the expressions that we use, and has even combined several of them to make his own expressions.  For instance, he says 'Oh man!', when he is frustrated, or has repeated 'Holy Cow' when excited.  He has heard 'Holy Moly' a few times and has now created a Jesse-ism "Holy Moly Cow!".  Yes, he uses it as a term for excitement and frustration, and now the rest of the family does as well.

Jesse's sleep routine has improved and he is not wetting the bed like had before.  He may wet it only once a week now, and that is usually because he had too much to drink before bed on those nights.  Jesse still requires one of us, preferably mom, to lay with him until he falls asleep each evening.  This seems natural, as he slept every night for 5 years with his foster grandfather.  He is now showing the grief that he has in the past and will talk freely about his foster family and home.  He doesn't speak about them with sadness anymore, and at times he can actually be quite candid about his life in China.

Jesse is falling into a routine at home, but we have come to a head with the learning curve.  He is at a unique age where he is too old for a preschool, and yet that is the type of learning he needs.  We have tried to teach him at home, but we do not have the resources necessary to help him improve with his understanding of the English language, alphabet, and reasoning skills.  He will begin Kindergarten, half days, on Monday.  He will have several specialists working with him throughout the morning, and we will reevaluate at the end of this school year if he should continue into next year, or if he has improved enough for him to be taught at home.  We have prayed about this decisions for weeks and truly believe this is the right decision for our family and especially for Jesse.

Jesse's favorite foods are oatmeal, any fruit but blueberries, rice, and meat.  There are few foods that he will not eat, and usually eats more than 2 or 3 of my other children. He looks up to all of his siblings with respect and admiration, and does a great job acting as the proverbial 'little brother'.  He fills his shoes well and likes to do what he can to antagonize his older siblings, but in the same respect he also knows he needs them for help in daily situations.  ;)

We are excited for this next adventure for our family, as Jesse begins school.  We are blessed that the local school is so accommodating and has the many resources necessary to allow him to transition while learning the language and culture.  They are all willing to work hard to enable he gets caught up to his age level.  We are praising God for a great town, a great school district, and amazing friends who continue to support us through this journey.  For every one person that does not encourage us or understand this journey the Lord as sent us on, He provides 3 more that are always encouraging.