Tuesday, August 25, 2015

UPDATE Sophie is home!

Wow. This is a long overdue update.  Poor Sophie, she’s not the “first” so the blog update was not a top priority.
Chris, Sophie and I arrived home after two weeks in China on June 4, 2015.  Her “Gotcha” day on May 25, 2015 had went well with just a few tears. The time spent in China went well and she was calling us “Mama” and “Baba” (daddy) early on. Several days into our trip she was telling us “I love you” in Chinese and picking up English words daily. We got to visit her orphanage and what an eye opening experience it was! The conditions were deplorable. Our guide with her Chinese accent told us “thank goodness for Love without Boundaries.” Our Sophie was in a foster family with a foster sister and a foster grandmother. She was well loved and cared for.
When we arrived in Guangzhou, the second part of our trip, our guide was anxious to know how we handled her tantrums. We told him she behaved well and had no issues. Richard, our guide had met Sophie earlier in the year and the grandmother made sure he understood she was very stubborn and had “little tempers.”
We had no idea!
Upon arriving home we settled in to a nice routine. We had a few days of Sophie learning to sleep in her own bed, and a few early mornings due to the time change mix up. Over all, I was able to return to a normal routine fairly quickly. We soon discovered taking three children anywhere was much more challenging than taking two. Not wanting to be trapped in the house, I learned to adapt pretty quickly to transporting three kids various places.
About two weeks at home Sophie decided it was time to show us her “little tempers.”
Whenever she didn’t get her way, or she was corrected for taking a toy, she would flop herself down and scream at the top of her lungs! If I tried to take her gently by the hand to correct her she would go limp, and has earned herself the nickname “Noodle.”
After nearly three months home, she has come to understand, for the most part what is expected of her. She’s gone from many, many tantrums a day to just a few. She mostly has meltdowns later in the day when she is tired. She is very independent, and has learned English so quickly. She completely understands when we talk to her and is helpful when asked to do chores such as putting away her pj’s or bringing her dinner plate to the sink. It’s hard to believe she is only going to turn four in October.  She can already sing her ABC’s and knows colors and shapes. Her vision seems pretty good. She doesn’t even seem impaired unless she is looking at a book and then she holds it pretty close to her face. We were unable to get her an appointment with the eye specialist until September and we are anxious to know how well she can actually use her vision.
Sophie receives occupational therapy to help her (and us!) learn to regulate and handle her emotions better.
By October we sure hope this little smartie pants get to go to preschool!
Ellie is doing great! She started kindergarten and has been getting good reports from school. She loves taking her lunch and riding the bus home from school. She also adores completing her math homework! Ellie continues to work on understanding her emotions and when she is embarrassed or sad/angry. Ellie goes to occupational therapy twice a month.
Isaac started preschool! He is in a specialized class with two teachers and eight children. Our little guy rides a bus to and from school. His bus comes directly to the house to pick him up and drop him off. He receives therapies in school and outside of class we also have him in occupational and speech therapy. His communication is really taking off and so his frustration level is diminishing. It’s such a joy when he is able to communicate with out screaming and us guessing what he needs.

Wyatt got his driver’s license, a car (thanks to his grandparents) and a job! He began his junior year of high school and is interested using his singing talents once again. He learned to play the ukulele over the summer and can perfrom a great version of “somewhere over the rainbow.”

Summer turns 19 next week! She left for Western Illniois University last week to begin her sophomore year of college. Over the summer she also attended Depaul University where she taught classes to special needs children in one of the Chicago school districts. She came home with all kinds of new skills and even taught us a thing or two how to parent more effectively.

We’ve settled into a nice school routine and fall is really my favorite time of year.
I hope to be able to blog weekly about where we are as a family. Raising special needs kids along with a teenager in high school and one half grown kid in college isn’t easy. No one promised us easy. God is faithful to those who obey. I usually fall short daily.
Thank goodness for daily grace!