Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Update on our Biggest Princess

The written updates came for Macie and Maeleigh!   We learned some very helpful information about them.   I will wait until we have some new pictures before sharing. While waiting for those, I want to share a story about Lena to update everyone on her progress.  This blog was her blog from the beginning after all. :)

Lena is now in full day kindergarten at the school for the deaf just up the street, where she is a leader in her classroom.  She continues to amaze us and has blossomed into this 'big girl' full of confidence and almost always full of joy.  Her sign language has come so far that sometimes I feel bad because I have to ask her to repeat herself or slow down.  I didn't want to ever have to admit that, but it is inevitable now that she is at school all day and because of her age.  These kids are sponges- that's for sure!   Rick and I are going to start volunteering in her classroom for about an hour a week each so that we can keep learning and improving with our sign language.  The best way for me to really tell you about how Lena is doing though is to share a story that happened last week.  I need to write it here because I never want to forget it and because it is one of the most special memories I've shared with Lena these last 3 plus years.

Lena has been very interested in books lately.  She's often looking at them, possibly trying to read them.  She brought me a book to read to her at bedtime last week:  'A Mother for Choco.'   This book is a great adoption book for little kids.  We have taken it to Ethiopia and to China.  It was how I got Elijah to crack his first smile and Reid loved being read to every night in the hotel when it was time for bed.

So I take the book from her and think to myself- oh how I hope I know enough sign to get the message of this book across to her.  You see- reading a book and signing a story are very different. When you read a book to a deaf child, you don't read word for word.  You tell the story in a different way. I do sometimes sign simple stories word for word though because I want Lena to be able to read and write well.  Throughout the book, the bird is looking for his mother.   None of the animals he runs into look like his mother.  They all point out their differences.  I was telling Lena how our faces are different and how our hair color is different.  She then signed that our skin is different.  I was impressed- she was getting this.   Then at the end of the story, the mama bear takes the bird to her home to have pie and meet her other children who are all different animals that she 'adopted.'  None look at all like her.   I explained to Lena about how she needed a family- a mom and a dad and how we came to China and adopted her.  I told her how we would always be her family and how much her mom and dad love her and always will.  It may have went beyond that.  She just lit up and was having a conversation with me with her sign and her facial expressions and it was a moment I cannot really describe in words. It melted me and hopefully imprinted into my memory- a moment I never want to forget.   With children who are adopted who already have a language, they tend to pick up the new language fairly quickly.  With deaf children, it is a different process.  Lena never had a language for 2.5 years...very crucial years in a child's development.   She had to learn individual signs for each object and then learn how to put those signs together to form phrases, questions, etc.  Learning how to answer questions and choose between things took a lot of time.  So to get to this moment- it meant the world!  It may have taken a long time, but it was worth the wait.  We could not be more proud of this little girl.  God has big plans for her!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing this! I bet it was such a bonding moment too! I also thinking this situation makes for a very special connection between the two of you! Sometimes we don't even have to say words and we know what the other is thinking!