Only God can take a hesitant, unsure (albeit beautiful) smile such as this:
And turn it into this easy, big, and confident smile in one month's time:
Seriously, look at that huge grin! I love it. (What you cannot see in this picture...what caused her to grin from ear to ear...was the seeing my high school and college graduation photos at my parent's house. No, I will not post those. Ha! (Friends, you may never realize how much some children value the opportunity and access to a good education! Big Sister talks about school every day. She is nervous, but oh so excited!) It never ceases to amaze me how quickly healing and bonding can come, once we...the have's...respond to God's call to care for the have not's. If you are feeling the tug, please do. not. be. scared! Of course, it is far from easy...and some transitions are way more difficult than others, but man...we are no where near the place we landed one month ago. Just looking at that big smile reassures me that me are making progress.
I cannot believe how much has been accomplished. God is on the move, no doubt! Here are some highlights from our first month home:
- Learned to ride a bike. Mastered riding a bike.
- Learned to swim. Is confident enough in the water to venture into the deep end of the pool.
- Her English is improving rapidly. She reads and does schoolwork for a few hours each day. Most nights, I have to turn off her bedroom light so that she stops reading and goes to sleep.
- She is assimilating well into our family and culture. She picks up on social cues and responds accordingly. Please and thank you and excuse me are spoken easily and with confidence.
- We have had one tooth pulled, one cavity filled and sealed, and spaces put in to allow for braces to be put on.
- We are caught up on all vaccines and are "paper ready" for school. We are registered to begin classes in the Fall.
- We have completed Grades 1, 2, and 3 summer course work for math (and some English) and hope to complete Grade 4 in August.
- She has bonded with all members of our family and Sporty has taken her under his wing to include her in all neighborhood social activities.
- She has made American friends and Ethiopian-American friends. She loves being social.
- She is engaged in her Sunday School class and has attended VBS willingly and happily.
- She trusts me to comfort and reassure her. She allows me to mother and nurture her.
- She has a good relationship with her father.
- She is an amazing big sister to all of the Littles. She is loving and kind and nurturing.
- She jumps right in with household duties without being asked.
- She has been a special gift to our family each and every day!
Father God, thank you for trusting us. For trusting us in our imperfect selves to parent and love your children. Even when we don't think we are up for the challenge, you are always there to comfort, reassure, and guide our steps. I cannot imagine what life would be like had we not realized that our purpose in this life was never about us. That our purpose was to serve you by loving others the way you loved us. Please continue to provide all that we need to get through each day and help keep our eyes set on you and working toward your purpose on our lives. We love you! We trust you! We thank you!
Keep us keepin' on...we know it is all about you!
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.