When we stop to think that our girls have now been home with us for six months, all we can say is — wow.
That one word can be an expression of so many things. No doubt Tammy and I would both express different aspects of the ‘wow’ of our lives now. Our girls certainly have their own wow perspective after becoming sisters, daughters, and citizens of a new country. We knew our lives would change dramatically the day that Renee and Ragan entered our lives. How wonderfully dramatic it has been!
The girls have come a long way in many aspects of their lives. It is amazing to listen to their English. Six months ago they may have known six English words. Now they are forming complete, cohesive sentences a good bit of the time. They are learning and adapting to the workings and relationship of family. They are demonstrating and utilizing many housekeeping skills. They are getting used to church family life. They are attending worship service, going to Sunday School and now Tuesday night small group.
Renee is our conversationalist. She asks questions. All. Day. Long. Most every question she asks will have a followup question or a confirmation question. Renee likes being close to us. Very close. She likes to be home, and doesn’t like it when either one us has to be gone from the house. Renee loves flowers. She is meticulous in keeping up with her flower gardens, finding seeds for next year’s gardens, and taking multiple pictures of each flower in order to capture its perfect angle. Renee doesn’t like riding in the car. She does not like sleeping in her room (away from us). She can will herself awake at times. Renee doesn’t like school so much, even though she is excelling at conversational English. Renee celebrated her birthday for the first time in her life; she turned 14. She has grown 3″ since coming home.
Renee has declared that she loves Jesus and is thankful He died on the cross for her sins. She seems to understand the concepts of the person as body and soul, eternal life, heaven and hell. She asks a lot of questions about Jesus, then wants to know, “Where does it say that in the Bible?” Major w0w. Thank you, Jesus.
Ragan is our animal lover. She loves cats and dogs, particularly dogs. She is fearless (to a fault) when she sees a dog in public. She looks after our family pets (3 dogs; 1 cat). Ragan is our ‘Chinese turbo’. She has boundless energy that keeps us on our toes! She can talk almost non-stop when she is on a roll. She is passionate, animated and vivacious. She is susceptible to big mood swings. She has done remarkably well in reigning in her anger at her low points. She is a good student academically but is still struggling with clear English pronunciation. She loves to snack and watch videos. Her favorite videos? The Power Rangers.
Ragan has grown closer to us but still resists us in a lot of ways. She has never experienced true family love in her life, and doesn’t quite know how to handle it. We can see and hear the torment as she tries to draw near, then pushes away at the slightest loss of control. She hearkens back to China often in her conversations, comparing everything here to what she had or experienced in her former life. She knows we love her and care for her, but she wants to be the determiner or controller of her daily life. We affirm her as often as we can as we ever-so-slowly draw her closer to us.
A big WOW is the strides the girls have made since being home. Both girls were abandoned at older ages. They remember their past vividly. They have shared a lot of their stories with us. Many of our perceptions about their past lives were wrong. Their strides in English, however remarkable they are, do not compare to their strides in overcoming the abandonment, loss and other life issues they have experienced.
The biggest WOW is the prayer of God’s people. We know that many joined us in prayer while we were going through the adoption process. Many prayed for us during our journey to China to bring our girls home. Many prayed for us as we cocooned at our homecoming. It is evident that many still pray for us. There is no other way to explain the many mercies we have seen in these six months with Renee and Ragan. To all of our friends and family that have been praying — thank you so much and keep praying!
One more WOW that is on our heart — the enormous number of children in the world that need a mom and dad, a family, a hope and a future. We plead with you (if you haven’t already done so) to consider opening your home and heart to a child. It’s not easy. It is quite costly in many different ways. But it is worth it. IT IS WORTH IT.