Four Months

On February 6th we arrived back home from China with Renee Le Shi and Ragan Ling Xiang. Our two new daughters. Two souls that we were already in love with. Two lives that had been disrupted in unknown ways and cast among the many world orphans. Two children that now have a home, a mom, and a dad.

Renee and Ragan have come a long way from those first days of meeting us (being scared of us, as we were told), grieving the loss of their homeland, and wondering what life had in store for them next. Being abandoned quite late in their childhood and having a developed language and worldview brought an interesting clash and challenge to our girls, and to us.

It is with great joy that we can share how merciful God has been to our family. It is amazing how He has allowed the fears and worries of our girls to be alleviated to a large extent. Renee and Ragan are settling in to life in America — family relationships and interaction, lots of time in the car, church, American food, different weather, bathing suits, sharing, manners …

We are also amazed at how well both of them are doing with their English learning. We knew that language would be a bigger challenge with two children since they can communicate with each other. One of our daily joys is to listen to their ‘Chinglish’ conversations. They mix Mandarin and English in their talks and arguments with one another, even though they don’t have to.  Thank you Rosetta Stone, Disney Magic English, ABC Mouse, Starfall, PBS and a lot of princess movies.

Not to take away at all from the tireless time and attention in school, play, and daily life given to the girls by Tamara Lynn. She is truly amazing from my vantage point.

We do have some varying degrees of bonding and attachment with our girls. Renee seems fully bonded to us and is making great strides in attachment. She is the more relational of the two. She asks questions all day long about family, people, life processes, etc. If she is asked to read something or do something she is mostly compliant. She is a good helper around the house, often doing chores or such without being asked. She likes being near us (more like on top of us), often opting to skip watching a movie with her sister and cozying up to one of us (and asking questions). She does not like school so much (academics) but does very well in language learning. She is saying a lot of complete sentences in English with correct words, order and sentence structure.

Ragan has bonded pretty well with Tammy. Her attachment to us is still guarded, though she has made great strides. Ragan has a very overt, passionate personality. Sometimes her overtness crosses over into the outrageous.  She is prone to big mood swings, often governed by her desire and ability to control her life circumstances from moment to moment. She has incredible energy, though she is quick to veg in front of most any video. She is sharp academically. She is having a harder time with language learning than Renee, but is very determined to score well and improve. We think she knows a lot more English then what we hear her speak. She is slow to help and often challenges our rules and requests. When she does comply she does a good job. Ragan has a razor sharp mind. She is a lot more immature than Renee when it comes to relationships and socialization. Her improvements in all areas have been quite remarkable.

It has only been four months. Our life and journey with Renee and Ragan is still very near the starting gate. Yet it has been truly amazing to watch the Creator of these two girls draw them nearer to us and out of their loss. We see God’s tremendous mercy put on display regularly. All glory to our Abba Father.

jim birthday cakes 2013

Birthday cakes for Baba made by Ragan (left) and Renee (right)

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