Saturday, December 6, 2014

Settling In: Four Months

I promised myself I would finish all my thank-you notes before I wrote on the blog again. I am happy to say I only have a few to go so I felt like I could give an update.

Yes, it's been four months. Four months as a family. After the last update you may be wondering how things are going...IC is in school. I am at work. Life is, well, getting into quite the routine. I can say with full gusto we love being a family of three. In the three months since I last wrote, so much has happened. I'm not going to be able to get to it all. So I'll just hit the highlights. Forgive me. As expected, life is busier now than ever before and I spend my free time cleaning up messes and, well, sleeping.

IC loves school. He was very nervous to start but he immediately settled in. He goes to a public school and attends English Language Learner class throughout the week in addition to his general instruction. He has the best teacher in the whole wide world and all of us are thrilled with his experience so far. His teacher has been super responsive to our discussions regarding sensitivity to IC's specific circumstances. We aren't always on time to school (um, that's an understatement) and she's been very kind to understand that with so much change, some things are going to just be hard. Like getting to school on time.

2nd Grade body project. Is he not the cutest!?!?

We recently went to parent teacher conferences and were happy with the results on many fronts. Not only is IC's English coming right along and we are able to see progress in his reading and writing but we're also seeing lots of social progress. We took him with us to conference (we don't do babysitters yet unless the uncles are free...which has been a life-saver!!). When we got there, IC walked out to the playground and as he walked out, he was met with a crowd of kids yelling his name. Turns out our little guy is quite the kickball player and it's made him a friend to many on the playground. It was really fun to see his entrance met with such enthusiasm. Our goal for this year is for IC to feel more comfortable in school, make friends, and learn English. I'm happy to say he's making progress in all these areas and then some. It's been so fun to see him come into his own academically and socially.

IC had is first American birthday. We had a very fun tailgate part with the family (more on football in a moment). He got PLENTY of birthday loot including science experiments, tools, Legos, and superhero clothes and costumes. Basically, he got more of all of his favorite things. We were also informed he got his very first birthday cake. Well, TWO birthday cakes. On his actual birthday, we took IC to a pizza place with his friend from school and celebrated with pizza and another cake. We didn't want to overdo the birthday and make it overwhelming but we also wanted it to be memorable. I would say birthday number 8 was a huge success!

If you even know our family just a little, you know this deserves its own category. We took IC to his first football game after he'd been home only a month. I have to say we were all a little nervous. After all, a stadium filled with 70,000 people can be overwhelming for anyone. But as it turns out, our guy LOVES Mizzou football. He tailgates with us for hours, and even gets his own root beer to enjoy. He quickly learned the traditions and songs and won't leave until the very last second has run off the clock, no matter what the weather is like.

Last week we celebrated as Mizzou won the SEC East. It was a fun moment for the whole family. We stayed all the way through the students rushing the field and danced in our seats to "Georgia on My Mind." We're looking forward to a little home tailgate and football watching today, although IC is not a fan of watching football on TV. As it turns out, the screen for 3-4 hours is not nearly as fun as the stadium. He's promised us he'll entertain himself while we watch the game. I'm hoping it will be a fun enough game we'll all want to watch. High hopes. Low expectations.

We're all a little bummed football home game season is over and we can't wait til next year. IC is often heard running around our house yelling "Welcome, welcome, WELCOME to SEC Football!! Welcome to the ZOU!" For those who don't know, that's how the opening video goes on the field.  Next year is sure to be a success. IC has also already told us he will be playing soccer and football at Mizzou (he doesn't understand there's no men's soccer at MU and we aren't about to break that news).

Home Life and Attachment
We've come so far in such a short time home. Sometimes it's easy to forget how short a time we've been a family of three. Four months isn't long at all. While we are still learning to be a family in some ways, we've made huge strides. We're seeing routine more and more and all learning to trust each other more each day. We're seeing less of a struggle to try to figure out our family structure and rules and more ability to talk through the "real stuff" that all goes with growing a family through adoption.

We've gotten to see some of the many talents IC already has. As it turns out, he is a gifted tailor:

He loves building things (which he calls "working") and has already completed several projects with dad:

Yep, that's a chair the boys built out of scrap wood.
Most days after school we visit dad, head home, and IC gets to work in the garage on some project. It's amazing to see his brain work through the details of what he wants to make, how to make it, and seeing it through to completion. It's also been a great bonding experience for IC and daddy. They've been quite the pair, making gifts for others, a working street luge, a chair, a giant box, and more. They're always thinking.

The love for his dog just continues and expands. One area we've had some trouble is bedtime but we're thankful for Dash. He helps IC feel safe at night:

If you are praying for us, thank you! Bedtime is where we could use the most prayers right now. We're seeing lots of progress but it's still a time met with fear, delays, and a need for mama to be present a good portion of the night. We're so thankful for the trust being built and hoping each month makes IC more comfortable with falling asleep and feeling safe.

Halloween was a blast. Captain America quickly learned the tradition. He went with 20 other kids and started at the back of the group, slowly making it from house to house. By about five houses in, though, he was sprinting from house to house and was at the front of our group. We still have two full tupperware containers of Halloween candy. He's too observant for me to pitch it! The joys of having a smarty kid:).

Don't try to tell me there's ever been a cuter Captain America. It's not possible.

We've seen IC start to understand the weather here. And let me tell you, the results are mixed. The cold isn't his favorite:

But he does LOVE snow. We've had a few flurries and he's in love. The very first time it snowed, we had less than an inch of accumulation but he was still rolling on the ground, giggling, and sticking his tongue out to catch snowflakes. I can't wait til we really get some snow this winter. I have a feeling it will be quite the party.

We've really been amazed at how God has worked to orchestrate our family. We've seen lots of little reminders that, while our family started with loss, God has blessed it with lots of good things. We'll be working through healing and attachment for months and years to come but we are seeing so many great strides. 

Our holiday season started off with a wonderful Thanksgiving and we can't wait to experience Christmas as a family of three. I hope to keep up to date better but life is full and we wouldn't have it any other way.