Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Sunday, August 21, 2011
I confided in a friend who adopted a child a year ago from Ukraine and she and her husband suggested that we just speak to the teacher to let him/her know that this is going on. We are on this teacher's side, but this behavior toward our son (who already struggles to get out the door to school each day) is unacceptable. We were also going to speak with the boys’ parents so they are aware of what is happening. We would want to know as parents if our kids were making fun of other students. We do not tolerate that behavior at all.
So, today on our car ride home after church Brandon says, “George is my friend.” I said, “I thought you weren’t friends anymore because he laughed at you while reading.” He said, “Church, George say he wants sit by me. Me said no. You no my friend and you no sit here. You laugh. Me reading.' George said, ‘I’m sorry. I no laugh no more.’ Me said, ‘You sorry? It’s okay. You friend. Please sit’.”
Okay, then. I guess they “kissed and made up” so to speak. It’s nice to know boys don’t hold grudges forever like girls! I'm also glad I don't need to speak to anyone either because Brandon handled it on his own. :) Brandon isn't playing around, People. You mess with him and he'll let you know what he thinks of you. But he does forgive. Awesome.
Saturday, August 20, 2011
The kids finished their first week in school. Our very driven and enthusiastic learner, Katie, loves 5th grade. Her only complaint is that everything is a review so far. She wishes they would start learning something new. The goals we have for Katie this year are to slow down and write neatly and to make new friends. We’ve been talking with her specifically about being a friend to others. She is the type that if you’re mean to her once, she figures you are not a good friend. She is in no way interested in being mistreated. She also figures if someone doesn’t like the same things as she does, she might as well not be friends with them. She tends to hurt a lot of feelings that way. She has her 2 or 3 good friends and she is fine with that. What can I say? She’s a work in progress. We are encouraged with Katie because she is very grounded. She will not participate even if everyone else is doing wrong. We feel this is a wonderful quality in a child who has leadership qualities. We hope she will use this quality to lead others to do right.
Our social butterfly, Haley, loves 1st grade so far. She is excited that she got Miss Meads as a teacher like her two older sisters and some of her current friends are in her class already and is making new friends. We have two goals for Haley this year and these are for her to read aloud with confidence and to not get in trouble for socializing during class. I got a call from her teacher on Friday where she said, “Haley had a great first week. I haven’t had any problems with her (insert sigh of relief here).” Then she finished her thought with, “Wow, Haley is very outgoing compared to her two older sisters.” It’s funny because at the house we barely hear a peep out of the kid. She doesn’t chatter on unless she is one-on-one with Tim or me. I guess she comes out of her shell at school or when she is not near her older siblings. Haley has always acted so much older than she actually is. She has a maturity about her that really makes us laugh at times. It is rare that she is not sitting poised with her legs crossed like a grown lady. The way she thinks and talks sometimes makes you feel like you are talking to a peer instead of a small child.
My two 3rd graders are the ones that are going to be the challenging ones this year. Kylie is my homebody. It doesn’t matter what school she attends or who her teacher is, she would much rather be at home with her Mommy every day of the year. I don’t recall her ever saying “I’m bored” or “Where are we going today?” in her entire life. Home is where she is loved and accepted and she thrives on this. She struggles with making friends. She would love to have just one friend that always just hangs out with her. She actually had a girl last year say, “I like you as a friend, but you really need to make other friends because I like a lot of people and not just you.” The cold, harsh truth hurts sometimes. Kylie is our super sensitive child that gets her feelings hurt very easily. While all of this crying and drama could be very annoying, we recognize that she is also our most caring child and by far the kindest of the pack. If you ever need a shoulder to cry on, a hug or someone to tell you that you are beautiful, Kylie is your girl! Our goals for Kylie are to make new friends and to have a good attitude each morning when she wakes up for school.
Then there is Brandon. The poor kid hates school. It doesn’t matter that his teacher is awesome. It doesn’t matter if he is in a class with a lot of his friends. He absolutely, 100% HATES to have to sit at a desk and work. He hates having to line up and be quiet. He hates having to read aloud. He hates having to cut his hair short, to tuck in his shirt, to wear long pants and to wear a belt. Besides all that, he is also very much a homebody. So he very much hates that our family is all scattered apart throughout the day. He is happiest when the 6 of us are all together at home or when he can be on a soccer field (or playing any sport) while we watch him and cheer for him. The homebody part is because he’s never had a real family and now that he does, he really wants to be near us. I think his hatred for his desk at school could be because he’s never really had to learn. They didn’t have 7 hour days of schoolwork where he was in Ukraine. They played outside a whole lot more at the orphanage. His school was in the actual orphanage and his small amount of work was simply copying words or math problems out of a text book into a notebook. He was not tested or quizzed on what he was retaining. He just had to copy it. So, as a result of all that copying, his handwriting is exceptional! Unfortunately, however, most of the things he copied he did not retain. He’s really going to have to work harder than most kids this year to even pass 3rd grade. We have many goals for Brandon this year in school. First, we want him to learn English and learn it well. Second, we pray that he will begin to love learning. We want him to advance a few grade levels over the next year or so. It’d be ideal for him to be in Katie’s grade and graduate together one day. He so very badly wants to be in school with kids his own age and size. If he is lazy or does not have a desire to learn, we worry it will get very awkward in a few years when he will be so much taller than the other children. Right now he is 3 years older than the 3rd grade kids and because of the nutrition he is getting in America he is catching up quickly to his own age with his size and height.
For now we just have to take it day by day. I have to remind myself not to stress out over this. We have so much to be thankful for. If this battle with schoolwork is all that we have to deal with Brandon, we consider ourselves very blessed. I have read many blogs and many stories of families who adopted older children that have had far more issues than just schoolwork. We are grateful for our beautiful, loving son and so happy God saw fit to lead him into our family. I am truly honored to be his Mama!
Saturday, August 13, 2011
|Sergey (Brandon), Age 9. Lost.|
The boy on top is a lost boy who had been in and out of various orphanages for a few years. His silent eyes cry out, “Someone please love me.” The boy on the bottom is a boy that was searched for and found. His eyes sparkle with joy! What a difference Jesus Christ can make!!!! Someone recently said that adopting doesn’t change the world, but adoption does change the world to one life. This boy has a hope and a future. We pray that as he begins a new school year this week he will quickly come to know Jesus Christ who can make us new creatures!
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new.
|Brandon, Age 11. Found.|
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Yesterday when we were driving home from our day, Brandon opened up his heart to me for the first time. He expressed in his broken, yet improving, English that he was nervous about school starting on Tuesday. He said that he still does not understand a lot of what people are saying to him and thinks he will do poorly in school. This was groundbreaking to me that he talked this way about a concern on his heart!! Up until that moment he had only shown two emotions—happy and annoyed (such as with his sisters or losing a Nintendo game). To me, this is a great sign that he trusts us more to open up with his feelings. And perhaps this means he is now willing to try hard with his schooling??? All summer he has seemed unmotivated with learning. Only time will tell. Please pray for him.
For those of you who have adopted or those who have had children who struggled in school, I need your help. How do I assure him that everything is going to be alright, but not encouraging his previous unmotivated behavior?
Friday, August 5, 2011
Today we hiked Grandfather Mountain. It was an absolute blast!! I recall last year’s trip to the mountains and looking from the top of the mountain across hundreds of miles of mountains and valleys. I remember how blown away I was by the beauty of God’s creation. I meditated upon the verse in 1 Corinthians 2:9 that says No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him. I thought to myself that I cannot imagine anything more beautiful that this view! And yet He promises Heaven is greater than that!
Today would have been even more fun if it was not foggy all day. Yet, those same breathtaking mountains and valleys were there even though they were masked by the fog. We were in the midst of the beauty, but we could not see it. This idea made me think more about God. While we might not physically see His face or audibly hear His voice, we can always be assured that He is present -- and actively revealing Himself to us. God is active in our lives and manifests Himself to us through other things—through Creation, through unusual circumstances and through His people.
A few weeks ago we watched 6 little bird eggs hatch and the babies quickly grew and left the nest. In 100+ degree temperatures the mother sat on the nest to shelter the babies from the heat. God designed that mother bird in such a way that she could nurture and protect those babies. Likewise, He fashioned every detail of the beauty in the mountains. Even fallen trees serve a purpose in preserving and maintaining the life within the forest. I am assured God is real when I see Him work out the trickiest situations such as the adoption of our son. I saw His provision a few years ago, when I followed His prompting to check on a common “thump” during my 2-year-old’s “nap time.” I was able to rescue her from suffocating when she had pulled a dresser down on herself. I can see Him every time I look into my children’s laughing eyes, when prayers are answered by miracles and when fellow Christians write and say to me, “I’m not sure why, but God laid it on my heart to pray for you today” and it was exactly a time when I needed prayer most.
May I just say that usually when I think about God, I am blown away by Him?
What about you? Have you seen Him lately? I’d love to hear how He’s worked in your life. He promises that if we search for Him, we’ll find Him.
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
In the article it said that the main goal in the 1st year after adoption is to encourage a secure, well-adapted family. The following recommendations to assist in this goal are:
*To minimize change
Monday, August 1, 2011
It is neat to see how he looks up to Tim so much and I can't think of a better role model for my son than Tim.
I will never part with that precious gift.
|The shirt Brandon picked out for me.|