Thursday, September 29, 2011

Projects: Fall Tree

Warning: This post contains pictures of my child using scissors.  Okay, now you have been warned.
I don't know if it is my innate need to teach or how long the afternoons stretch before J.J. gets home or maybe another factor, but Xavier and I have begun doing projects in the afternoons.  Just one a day.  We've painted with leaves, made a moon out of wax paper/foil, and other things.  I started a longer project this week and decided to take pictures.  Why not?
 We actually started this project yesterday by making the owls.

 Thanks to this tree Xavier now says "owl" and "hoo" multiple times in the day.

 We are just getting started with all our supplies.

Xavier is cutting out the faces for the kitties.

 Getting ready to glue on the eyes. (This is not an ad for Elmer's glue, but if they want to send me some money I won't object.)

 Gluing on the eyes.  Xavier came up with the idea to cut the whiskers in the sides of the faces in the way only little kids can, by just doing it himself.

 My help got distracted mid-project so I cut the legs myself.

 Pressing the faces into the glue

 A fun side project of cutting string.

 We played with play dough while the glue dried.

 A finished orange kitty..

And a finished and still happy helper.  This project is almost complete.  Tomorrow we are going to add bats.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Just Thinking

We got some pictures developed yesterday and they got me thinking. During the waiting period in between trip 1 and our court date we felt pretty stuck not being able to see our little guy. We had some friends that got an earlier court date and as things began looking slower and slower for our own travel time we asked them for a big favor. We asked them to purchase a disposable camera while they were in the country and send it back to the baby home so we would at least have some pictures from that waiting time. We knew full well we would not see the pictures until we brought Xavier home, but it would at least give us an idea of how his days had been spent. The caregiver that traveled with Xavier brought the camera to us along with one of the books we had left on our first trip. It got shuffled into a suitcase and I found it again while cleaning the bedroom. The orphanage workers had only taken a few snapshots, so Xavier and I had the fun of taking pictures of ourselves to use up the film. Yesterday we dropped the film off at the one-hour place during a fun family evening out. I really wanted to rip that envelope open as soon as we picked it up an hour later, but I waited until we got into the truck so J.J. could give his full attention to the unveiling. We pulled some grainy pictures out and held our breath. Sure enough there was our son sitting at a table with some of his little friends. The caretakers had taken about 6 pictures and it appeared that they were not all taken the same day. Most were not good quality (I don't think they realized there was a flash button), which is while you will have to wait for the computer touch-ups for most of the pictures. Don't hold your breath until then! We did get a few pictures though and they made me think about all those babies still waiting in orphanages. I wondered if any of the babies in Xavier's group have already been adopted. Our region seemed very active. We met several families all working with the same baby home. I truly pray they have found homes. There was one little girl we will never forget and she is sitting next to Xavier at the little table in the photograph. She was wearing a little purple dress the day we visited and she waved "Paka" to us long after our son had gone back to playing. I'm almost crying just thinking about her little life. Jesus really does love the little children. Please keep praying that all these precious babies will find a home.

Monday, September 12, 2011

We have a two year old!

Xavier has actually been two for over a week, but we scheduled his party strategically so my sister could come for the celebration. We actually had two parties the same day. We had a lunch for my dad's 60th birthday before the cook-out for Xavier. Here are some fun pictures our neighbor and good friend took. My camera did not even make it to the party, but at least at an event like this you have people to back you up in the photography department. Oh, that's not entirely true. My sister used my video camera so we could get some live action shots of the fun.

I was able to pull off the Dr. Seuss theme. I didn't get everything exactly the way I wanted, but I still think it was a success. Our guests seemed to enjoy themselves. The weather was fabulous! Xavier just ran around playing and enjoying life. Since I did not get the labels made you will get to be the privileged ones to know that the cupcakes are Star-Bellied Sneetches (yellow) and Thing 2's (red). I think that point might have been lost in the process of the party, but they at least tasted good. I told J.J. that we could never celebrate enough for all the joy we have received, but he was quick to point out that in reality we had reached our max for cake baking, decorating, and party planning. I guess I'll have to save up all my planning ideas until next year. Well, there is always Christmas!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Words, Words, and some more Words

Speech. I think that must rank high on the mental list of "things to be concerned about when bringing a child home from another country" that adoptive parents keep in their heads. Well, maybe not you, but it was certainly on my list. You want to communicate with this child. He/she is not a tiny baby without any words based communication skills. What if he/she is already speaking some of his/her native language and you can't understand them? What is he/she is not speaking at all? We got lots of advice on this topic or at least questions about how things might go. I was honestly not sure at all. I know I've taught, but speech was always confusing to me. Why does one child in a home develop a speech difficulty when everyone around him is speaking perfectly fine? I've always just gone with the "talk a bunch and label" method. Obviously I have no research to back this up, although I have had the joy of watching several students transition into a second language over the course of a school year which is always amazing, but Xavier seems to be doing just fine. I keep thinking maybe I'm missing something. We have such a fabulous child! Maybe I'm overlooking some problem in his development, but time and time again he does things or says things that surprise me. J.J. and I had to make a list of words he can say because we can't even keep track. Let's see how many I can remember:
1. up 2. dog 3. on 4. kitty 5. ball 6. blue 7. meow 8. woof-woof 9. quack 10. water 11. snack
12. please 13. thank you 14. bottom 15. eye 16. diaper 17. pull 18. wow 19. oh yeah 20. book
21. walk 22. shoe 23. whoa 24. Dada 25. Mamma 26. sing 27. box
Okay, I know there are more, but they are just not coming to me right now. I feel like I'm bragging on my child and maybe I am. At the same time I don't want to forget how much progress he has made. It is truly amazing to me and a testimony to how wonderful adoption can be. Please don't misunderstand me. Adopting our son was tough and raising him is even more difficult. He is not a perfect child. He hits me in the face. He throws toys that should never be thrown. He pushes the spoon away when he no longer feels like eating something. See, he is a normal two year old! Despite all those normal obstacles I really want to make sure people understand just how wonderful adoption is. I wish I could talk so many people into adopting. So, if you are considering adoption and you are concerned about communicating with your child don't get stuck on that subject. Before you know it your child will be saying and signing "No" to you and if they don't it wasn't a competition to begin with and there are so many resources for speech and development available. Check that one off the mental list.