Wednesday, June 19, 2013

3 Years!

Today we celebrate 3 years with Charlie and Grace!

Charlie's Family Day was on Monday the 17th, and Grace's is on Friday the 21st.  We've chosen to celebrate each year on June 19th, which is half way between the two dates.

 We discovered a new (to us) Chinese restaurant not far from our home that has become a family favorite, and we go there often to celebrate various occasions.  So tonight, once again, we headed for The Great Wall for our celebration.  Grace tells us that the food there is closest to how food tasted in China.

The owner, himself from China, is always very gracious to our family and makes a point each time we are in to come to our table and visit for a little bit.  He enjoys talking with Grace in Mandarin.  She's so-so on talking with him, but she goes along with it anyway.

Bringing home older children is not an easy thing.  And with Grace and Charlie, we've not been the exception.  We ARE exceptionally fortunate though, that they both REALLY wanted to be a part of a family.  They came to us easily, and with Charlie, he's never looked back.  Grace knew well what life within a family looked like, as she had lived for 9 1/2 of her 10 1/2 years in China with the same foster family, so that really helped with her transition. She jumped into life with her new family with both feet, eager to experience all that her new life had to offer. 
But still, there have been challenges.  Language has come slowly.  The "kids learn languages so quickly" thing has not held true in our experience.  And when language comes slowly, so does reading, writing and spelling....

Immaturity, poor impulse control, diagnosed speech delays, deceptiveness, unhealthy competitiveness w/ siblings, and learning challenges are some of the issues we are still navigating 3 years later.


We also see children who are thriving within our family.  They are loving, trusting, secure, outgoing and happy. They are learning and growing.  They are GLAD to be HERE with their family, and we couldn't be happier to call them OURS.  We had never set out to adopt a little boy or to adopt an older child.  But God spoke CLEARLY and we stepped out in faith.  

And the blessing has been ours.

 Charlie is a happy little guy with a good disposition. He wakes up early and is excited to start his day! He loves to play with his sisters, and his brother, Will, is extra special to him.  He's gentle and tries hard to please. He came to us at 4 1/2 speaking only one word phrases, and now he chatters all day long!  His favorite activities are reading/ being read to, building puzzles, playing board games, swimming and art.  Almost daily he tells us that "today is my best day ever!"

Grace also has a great disposition and is full of silliness and joy.   For a 13 year old girl, I am always amazed at how even keeled she is and that she never complains. She is very helpful and has great life skills.  She is thankful for everything.  Grace LOVES her family and loves doing things as a family. She prefers to do things with her siblings as opposed to her peers. She prefers "experiences" to "things."  She loves to travel, and is always the one most excited when we go on a road trip! She enjoys learning about her new country. She loves history.  She told me she's so glad to have come here so she can learn history.  She never learned history in China, "because they don't have a history." She sees the differences between the Chinese government and ours and comments often about the freedoms we enjoy here. She's also very interested in learning our family history.  LOVE that about her.  Grace can talk well with adults and is not shy to make conversation as she meets extended family or other adult friends. 

Grace asked Jesus into her heart and was baptized last spring.  She talks of wanting to go back to China to tell her China Grandma (Grace was particularly close to her and has a deep bond to her) about God and Jesus.  And I pray that she'll be able to do that one day. 

Gracie and Charlie, we are so thankful to be your mommy and daddy.  You are loved.  3 years home and a lifetime to go.  I cannot wait to see what God has planned for you both.



likeschocolate said...

Congratulations! If it makes you feel any better we have some of those issues in our own home and they are bio children. You have a lovely family.

Amy Jo said...

What a sweet and genuine post. Thanks for sharing your heart, Pam! I always love seeing pics of your beautiful family. May God continue to help Grace and Charlie settle into your family. Rejoicing with you for the blessings God has brought you, and trusting that the challenges will continue to improve. Sending you love!!!

Rita and John said...

Three years! Wow, I remember following your blog as you were waiting to travel to them. I can't believe you've had them so long. What a beautiful, honest post. You have such a beautiful family.

JEN said...

I read your blog and often wondered how Grace was doing since her background was a bit different than your other children.

God Bless you all, goodness and prayers for you all!

Joy said...

I remember following along on the blog when they joined the family! Just a little encouragement in the language dept. My daughter was 51/2 when adopted and English came slow! She worked & got it though @ this fall she will be PAID to tutor writing/english at college.Keep prayong it will happen.

Wolfes Home said...

Happy Gotcha Day! It is neat to look back and see what God has done. He is faithful to his promises when we follow in obedience to Him. Your kids are thriving under the care of your loving family!

Emily said...

Joy, Thank you for that encouragement! I need to hear things like that!


Liesl said...

Beautiful children, both of them! God is very faithful when we step out in answer to His calling.....He will continue to be faithful to your family and these beautiful children. Gotta love His promises!!!!

Catherine said...

What precious, beautiful children! God has blessed all of you beyond measure and given you the wisdom and strength to get through the rough days as well as the amazing ones!

Congratulations on your family day!

Amy said...

Well said. Thanks for your openness and honestly.

Happy Gotcha Day!