4 months has passed. Such a short amount of time, but when I think about it, it hardly seems we were ever in China, except that now we have our second son.
So where are we after 4 months? Let's see.......
English........not happening as we'd hoped. Ok, so I had SOME expectations that there'd be at least a measure of rudimentary communication by now. I didn't take into account one's refusal to use English. Now whether that is a reluctance to a)either draw attention to himself or b) a simple lack of desire to communicate with us (meaning attachment issues?), I don't know. Teen adoption is a constant guessing game, because they've learned to hide and hold in their feelings. I wish I could say NingNing trusted us, but the truth is I really don't know for sure. Is he attaching/bonding? I can't say yes and I can't say no. How do you tell in a child who won't share any feelings? Who tries to be so complacent (though that is changing a bit) so to be as unobtrusive as possible?
School.....it WAS going ok, until NingNing found out they wanted him to do the Christmas program with the other 8th graders. The very idea sent him into a tailspin, so the school requested at the very least that he be present, but that he could sit in the audience with us. We brought an interpreter in to try to understand his fear about the program. We didn't find out a lot, just that the idea of having to perform in front of so many strangers has him completely stressed out. He's just not ready for something like that. After "disappearing" into himself all weekend, we saw some smiles tonight when we went to a friend's party. It's great to see when he relaxes and allows himself to have fun and let his guard down. Most likely, we will go long enough for him to watch his classmates from the audience (unless he surprises us and agress to stand with his class), and then scooch out of there.
Siblings.....ok there, except that I think that James still intimidates NingNing somewhat. Sometimes Ning is ready to take him on and wrestle and other nights, not. Like most teens, Ning runs hot and cold. What I mean is, one time he'll be smiling and having a good time, the next it's like "whoa, what happened?" His and James' relationship will have to evolve in it's own way.
Jaz used to be more standoffish with Ning and he with her, but not so much anymore....they are becoming closer with time.
Judi continues to be his favorite......don't know if it's her spunk or size that draws him in, but they act the most like a "true" brother and sister (complete w bickering/squabbling). N does think Judi talks too much, and sometimes, we agree!
Christmas.....he's not too interested at this point. Have no idea what the holidays were like to him in China, if he had any at all. I'm just about positive he had no Christmas there, so we wanted this first one to be special. But as he seems more stressed out, we are keeping things pretty lowkey and relaxed. We have explained the idea of Santa Claus and that we keep the idea alive for our girls, and what Christmas day is about. We also explained presents, but when asked what he might like as a gift, he says "I don't know"....a very refreshing comment from a teen!
Since we are pretty much out of the honeymoon phase for sure, we're learning to roll with the changes and taking things one day at a time. Ning's pushing a few more boundaries to see what we'll do; what he can get away with. More of his emotions are coming to the surface; we hope that means he's feeling safe and secure enough to express even those small amounts. We know he is a pretty sensitive kid and there are deep emotions running through that quiet exterior, but he's very skilled at presenting an unruffled appearance. He doesn't like to be blindsided; likes to know what's coming up...seems to work better if he knows what's coming and has time to process it in his mind.
It's like a ballroom dance, with no one real sure of the steps. Sometimes we step on each other's toes, but the important thing is to keep dancing.