Goodness, time has flown...I didn't realize it'd been so long since I posted last. January was a month of roller coaster emotions and events and on February 8th, we celebrated SIX months with NingNing! We finally realized a lot of NingNing's issues this month is control....or the loss of it in particular. There, other than going to school, and checking in with his foster family once in awhile, Ning (and friends) were pretty much allowed free rein. They could do what they wanted, when they wanted for the most part. Here, we have control over every single aspect of his life. Here, teachers email the parents with issues. Here, we tell him when to go to bed, when to get up, when to brush teeth, where he is every minute of every day. I know if I were suddenly thrust into this kind of situation, I would feel somewhat resentful and rebellious too!
NingNing did start piano lessons, something he's asked for since coming home. He seems to be enjoying it thoroughly and picking it up very quickly.
James continues to play varsity basketball; their team has an excellent record for a team with almost all sophomore starters. We so enjoy watching him play and the whole team improve as the season winds down. A couple games this week and we're off to Districts!
Jessica was nominated for Homecoming Queen in this, her senior year! She did not win, but she looked beautiful in her royal blue dress. She was extremely nervous, but carried it off like a champ. This semester she's taking two college credit courses and is all set to head off to college in the fall, except that Mom still has tons of paperwork to fill out!
NingNing continues to be the most bonded with our little ones, Jaz and Judi. He's really begun to enjoy doing things with Jazmin more as time goes on...she's so mature for her age and is a tomboy with a girly edge, so I think their personalities mesh well. It's funny to watch them mess with each other and then to see them cuddled close on the couch together or the girls will drape themselves on NingNing and he never seems to mind very much. Lately, he's also been making small gestures of affection to Jr, which is tremendous....he's not initiated any physical contact up to this point.
On Jan. 27th, we went to the Sanders' church and, with others, spoke on the topic of adoption. We heard many wonderful testimonies about the different ways families can be built. We let Ning spend the night with his friend (a gamble considering his recent difficulties), but afterwards he seemed to have a brighter outlook (at least until we had to get into some homework issues) and was trying more, though that is also when we reached out for attachment advice and support.
Today we had an amazing day for Chinese New Year! We found a Chinese Christian church through some professor friends at UCM in our town and attended today. It is a home church, but you could feel the faith of the people was SO strong and they spend a great deal of time studying the Bible in depth. It was a great environment to teach NingNing more about Christianity in an atmosphere he could understand. We were made very welcome and they had a potluck afterwards with "authentic" Chinese food...it was incredible and I think NingNing appreciated some real "home" food. We also hoped it would allow him some comfort to be around his own language (and we got a taste of how Ning must feel every day - being the "different" ones) and open up a little more. After eating, several college students from UCM showed up and we did a gift exchange and played Jenga. I was happy to see NingNing participate willingly in all this and just have a good time. They have this church once a month, and I think our professor friends will be terrific mentors and role models for NingNing.
Our school has arranged additional tutoring for NingNing after schools starting tomorrow to continue working on English, perhaps homework, cultural issues, and anything else they can think of. It will make for a long day for him, but we're happy the school continues to work so hard in helping NingNing have the support he needs to be successful in school, something he didn't get in China.
|This is my favorite picture so far!|
|James-to the left of #22 (facing you)|
|NingNing waiting for the game to be over so he can go home!|