***Full disclosure here: We have already sent one Post Adoption Report to Russia. In September, our region refused to consider any other special needs adoptions until they received an update on our family and James. There is another family adopting a precious little girl with Down syndrome from the same region, and their adoption was put on hold. Without blinking, we did a full report which Russia received in October and subsequently re-opened our region for these "special" adoptions. The White family just went to court last week to adopt precious Elisha and will bring her home next month!!!! Praise God for giving another orphan to a loving family!***
For the six month report, our social worker came to our home and observed James and our family for a couple hours. She took notes on all James' medical activity, his therapies, and any other important highlights from the past several months. Her report will be accompanied by pictures with descriptions. I thought it would be great to include those in this blog post so you can see what Russia will see!
We made trips to Gatlinburg, to Nashville, and to Dollywood in December.
Christmas had a whole new significance this year. Our family traditions now include James, and seeing things through his eyes and sharing moments that only happen in FAMILIES made us appreciate each other so much more. We are blessed beyond measure. I mean it when I say this: I wish EVERY family could experience the blessings adoption brings.
So we baked Christmas cookies...and made a huge mess...and had a blast. James loves to copy his sister and brother and he joined right into the fun.
All too soon Christmas arrived and of course several pictures from Christmas Day went into our report. James joined right in as we opened presents that morning.
James loved his new rain boots!
We thought this simple light-up toy might be his favorite...and we were right!
He loves cars, so we HAD to get him his own motorized vehicle. It took him all of two seconds to figure out how to drive it. Such a boy!
I was *very* emotional during the Christmas morning service at our church. This year has been such an emotional journey for all of us. The humble birth of our Lord and Savior became so much more precious to me, and my heart was overflowing with gratitude that morning.
A blessed family!
The first week of January, James had eye surgery to correct his strabismus. The jury is still out on whether or not this one surgery will be sufficient, but we are seeing a big difference already!
Just look at our boy only two weeks post surgery!
So all the above pictures are en route to Russia right now! It is exciting to imagine hearts changing as people flip through these pictures and see this "child with no promise" FLOURISHING in a family. God is good.
Last weekend, my husband's parents and his brother Doug visited for several days. James has seen them several times, but this time was different. We have seen some huge changes in James in these past few weeks...he is becoming more and more comfortable with showing affection and I honestly think it has taken him this long to "recover" from all the changes in his life and start trusting all this as permanent. In any case, he is opening up emotionally more than ever before and it has blessed this mama's heart!
The change was visible most of all when he was around Uncle Doug. James just LOVES him! Here are some snap shots from a shopping trip:
James asking Uncle Doug for a "fist bump" (he learned that from his older siblings, of course!) and Doug obliged him!
He asked over and over again for Doug to pick him up and Doug would hold him and hug on him. I was in tears every time!
A hug for grandma, too!
What a precious gift James is to our whole family. We see such tremendous progress in so many areas, but along with that it becomes apparent where we have more work to do. With the help of three therapists (physical, occupational, and speech), we are trying to help James "catch up" in many areas. He gets therapy four mornings a week. James doesn't like a lot of this, by the way! None of us truly like hard work though, so it is understandable. We love his spunk!
At home, we are still struggling with communication and language barriers. I can tell James is possibly very confused right now as he is losing his first language and still hasn't fully grasped English. I've read this is common around the six month mark for many adopted children. We still say a few words to him in Russian along with the English to help him understand. Speech therapy is going to be crucial as we help James learn to talk and express his needs. He is using some sign language which is a big help.
Health wise, he is doing great! He still seems to have a lot of tummy troubles so we will have him tested for allergies soon. He is getting more adventurous with food so we wonder if the new variety is causing the issues or if there are things we need to avoid. It is a bit of a guessing game right now!
Since his eye surgery, I have noticed he is walking with more confidence! He used to fall down many times a day, but I've noticed it is rare for him to fall now. I think his depth perception has greatly improved, and I am so happy for him!
I think I've hit on all the highlights for now. I could seriously write a book about all that God is doing in our family. Our hearts are forever changed by this little boy! He is perfect in every way!
"Every good and perfect gift is from above..."