I get asked the same questions on a regular basis, so I thought I’d cover some of those here for those that don’t have the pleasure of living near us. ;)
How’s James doing?
Great! It may sound as though I’m just giving the easy answer when I say this, but he truly is doing so well. We’re starting to see his personality come out even more, and it’s a lot of fun. I think I mentioned that the orphanage called him “the manager,” and we’re definitely seeing those tendencies now. When Evan and Brenna (mostly Evan) aren’t listening, James starts clapping his hands and motioning for them to come over with a very stern look on his face. It’s quite cute. He is really an easy kid. I’ve told several friends that I could easily adopt 20 more if they were just like James (ya know if I also had $600,000).
He also is crying a little more often but not too much. Some of you may be wondering why crying more would be a good thing, and it’s because kids living in orphanages tend to not cry because they learn that no one will come. James was from a “good” orphanage, but I imagine he just knew that his needs would be met on the regular schedule and crying wasn’t going to change that. It occurred to me that we visited the orphanage and stood in a room full of toddlers starting naptime, and we didn’t hear a peep. How many of you with preschoolers or toddlers encounter silent naptimes? I know we don’t here! I’m glad that James knows that we care enough to answer his cries.
We’re also seeing progress in his physical abilities, and I think he’s gaining confidence in what he can do here. I kind of wonder if maybe he just didn’t have a lot of experiences in China that really tested him physically. He will now walk on grass, gravel, and rocks, but he wouldn’t when he first came home. He has learned to climb up into the car and car seat on his own as well as his booster seat at the dinner table. He can do stairs on his own (he fell down the stairs a few times in his first days here). It’s really amazing how much of a difference 10 weeks has made! He even jumped off an ottoman in our home the other day, and it’s the first time I’ve ever seen him jump. It didn’t go very well, but I’m so proud that he tried. There’s a funny video of that one on facebook.
Does he speak English?
He does not say much, but he does seem to understand a lot of what we’re saying. The words he has learned are: no (with a finger wag), hi (with a wave), mom, uh oh, he learned Da and Dad the week before Father’s Day, and he seems to make the same noise every time he would be saying thank you. That may not seem like much, but keep in mind that he only came to us saying, “Ma” and “Mama.” He has made huge strides in 10 weeks! Joel also says that James says, “Let go,” but I haven’t heard that one yet.
How is the sleeping going?
Well, this is the roughest spot for us. We started separating the boys for naps and at bedtime, so James sleeps in our room until we go to bed. His foster mom said that he was a good sleeper, but we haven’t really seen that yet. Either she lied, or her room was far away from his. ;) He is just a very restless sleeper, and he makes groaning noises as he’s falling asleep and waking up. I left him in our bed for awhile last night because sleeping kids are usually so sweet, but it was like sleeping next to a hurricane with arms and legs. I finally gave up and moved him back to his bed because I didn’t want to wake up with bruises from head to toe (because he kicks as he spins a 360). I’m praying his sleeping will improve some day, but I know that some kids just never sleep very well.
How’s he eating?
Like a linebacker! If we let him, he will eat more than me and Joel combined, and he isn’t picky at all. Okay, he doesn’t seem to like cheeseburgers much, but he’s down with everything else. I had to ask the doctor how to handle meals so that he doesn’t end up weighing 500 pounds, and she said to give him regular preschooler-sized portions of everything and then he can eat fruits and vegetables for as long as he wants.
How are Brenna and Evan doing with their new brother?
They love him. Brenna especially enjoys having another brother. When she sees people, she tells them, “I have a new brother. My mom and dad went and got him.” We saw a photo of a little girl from China, and she asked, “Are you going to go get her too?” I said, “Do you want me to?” She said, “Yes!” Evan loves James too, but also loves to torment him in standard little brother style. He will hold onto James or tackle him and that sort of thing. James is not a fan of that at all. I try not to intervene too much because I want James to learn to just walk away instead of waiting for one of us to fix it.
There is another question that I get on a regular basis that isn’t necessarily specific to James, but I’ll include it here anyway.
Are you done having kids?
My answer to this is that I have no answer. If you’ve read the early parts of this blog, you may remember that we started out not sure if we’d have kids, then we were going to have one but Joel was done, then we had 2 and were both DEFINITELY done, and then we adopted James. With that as our history, I can’t very well say that we won’t add any more to our family. I’m leaving that up to God at this point because it’s never really been up to us anyway. That being said, Joel’s answer to this question is, “Yes!” I’m not so sure. When God brought the thought of adoption into my life, He did it by breaking my heart for these kids. I can’t say that I’d be content for the rest of my life if I stopped here. I know that I can help in other ways, but there are just so many children that need homes. I’m tearing up right now thinking about it. Anyway, I’m praying about it always, and I hope you will too.
So I guess that’s all for now. I usually post some photo updates, but I’m tired after trying to sleep next to Hurricane James last night and it’s hot in here! I’ll do a photo post soon.