Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!

It was Faith's second Christmas in America and as a Gingras and what a difference a year makes!  She knows so many signs and is so comfortable around our family and friends that it doesn't cease to amaze us!  She is now an integral part of our Christmas traditions! We did so much with her this year!

  • A trip to Edaville Railroad.  She loved the train ride and signs train now every time she see's a picture of one.  
  • Visited Jordan's Furniture to see the Enchanted Village and LITE show.  She loved the fake snow!
  • Went bowling again, Faith seems to really like bowling!
  • Went to see Festival of Lights and walk around there and say hello to Santa Clause.
  • Saw the Heritage Plantation lights and rode the merry go round.
  • Went to the Christmas Store on RT 18.
  • She loves signing tree now too!  Trying to get her to add the Christmas sign in front of it.
  • Sadly the snow is just a bit too much for her still but soon!  She seems to really want to go play in it.
I loved watching my dad play chase around the kitchen table with her on Christmas day!

Another very cool thing was going to the signed Mass in Hopkinton with Fr. Shaun Carey (a deaf priest) the Sunday after Christmas and signing with people we met afterwards.  It really taught me that I need to have a New Years Resolution of getting much better at practicing and learning sign language for her if I want to communicate with her as she progresses.  I can't always have Allison around to translate!

This year I need to reflect on how blessed we are that God chose us to do this and how blessed we are with family and friends who have been so supportive to date.  Blessed that Faith FengHua Gingras is so well adjusted and how easy a transition it was for us and for her.

Peace - Kevin G.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Faith the Copy Cat

So as I sit here in my big chair with Faith next to me I ponder what a whirlwind year it has indeed been!  She's accomplished so much!  Right now I type this on my computer and she works on her computer right next to me, Faith is a copy cat!

Her brothers use her copying to teach her things like how to be a punk rapper as you can see below!
But what a totally fantastic year it has been!  Oh, sure Faith tests us here and there but so do Ian and Adam and most every normal child!  There are many times that I test Allison's patience as well :) but overall it's been great.  Faith is doing Little Gym and Physical Therapy.  Allison is teaching her and a bunch of other folks sign language once a week!  I have a lot of catching up to do to learn ASL!!

I was reading older blog entries and thinking back how much I leaned on God a year ago.  This was our last day in Wuhan (Faith's province) a year ago.  I was praying so hard then.  I still pray, I still lean on God but I need to get back to where I was a year ago - no - not Wuhan - I mean my prayer life.  I need to get back to that trust, that faith and reliance I had.

Well, life is good!  It's been great hearing from all the other families we were with in China about how their kids are and have been through the year.

Well, I think I've ping ponged from one subject to another enough for now.


Friday, October 29, 2010

A year already?

It was one year ago today that we got on a plane to start our journey to China!  It seems like we have had Faith as part of the family forever but it's been just under a year (we got Faith on November 2nd 2009).  So much has happened within that year!  I remember the first group of photo's we received, I think back in March or April of 2009 when we made the decision that Wu FengHua was the one!
She has grown so much bigger now physically and mentally. I'm glad she wasn't this heavy when I had to carry her around Wuhan and Guangzhou!  She can also communicate so much better.  She knows so many signs.  Stop, Potty, Rabbit, Horse, Oops, Stop, Eat, Kiss, Squirrel, AJ, Mom, Dad, Bless, God, Jesus...the list goes on and on!  We have even been able to tell her to go get Ian for dinner and she did!  Allison knows how many total words and communicates with her so much more.
Our journey to China was so flooded with prayers thanks to everyone!  We still pray but now the prayers are of thanks to God!  Thanks for all the wonderful people who watched our kids while we were gone, thanks to all who prayed and continue to pray for us, thanks to everyone who assisted in any way, shape or form, thanks for bringing Faith into our family, thanks for getting us home safe from China, thanks for the wonderful year we have had with Faith and thanks for many more to come!

It's been an interesting adventure from the start and I'm loving every minute of it!  To close please check out the video of Faith and Pete Bouchard (I call Pete her boyfriend)


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

NH Vacation and communication

Communicating is going very well with Faith now.  On October 5th I was able to tell her to got get Ian from his room for dinner.  Ian knew what she meant!  That was a big moment for us!

We went to New Hampshire on October 1 thru October 4th  and had a great time. We tagged along with the Toste famly.  Ian, Adam and Faith loved all the rides.  Faith even took the front seat in the Bamboo Shoots ride!  She loved the splashdown!

We stopped at Story Land on Saturday, then Santa's Village on Sunday.  I think the bumper cars were her favorite ride at Santa's Village, we did that ride a LOT!

Then on our way home on Monday we were going by Clark's Trading Post and decided to stop in there for the Train Ride and Bear Show.  That was pretty cool!  Wolfman didn't scare Faith at all!

We also stopped at the Basin for a bit of a stroll.  My recommendation is to NOT stop there to use the toilets, they are NASTY!  Whenever we stopped the car Faith would sign play.  No matter where we went she thought it was time to go on rides!  The kids were great with her.

One issue we had was sleeping.  We only had two beds and I don't even think they were queen sized.  If Faith was in bed with us she would get too excited and just want to jump around and play.  Allison put her on a bunch of blankets on the floor and felt terribly guilty.  Faith, she fell asleep within moments of hitting the floor thus the floor became her bed for the trip.

We stayed at the Lantern Resort Motel and Campground.  That place is cool, I highly recommend it.  We even got to go on our own private hay ride on Sunday night.

I think it's easy to say that Faith is indeed one of us.  Last night we were playing soccer in the kitchen (shh, don't tell Allison) with her ball and when I said we were finished so I could go fold laundry Faith tapped me on the leg and signed 'cry'.  I couldn't stop after that so we played for a while more.  She can tell us a lot of things now and is learning to express herself more and more daily....


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Communicating with Faith

I'm slowly learning to communicate with Faith.  We can tell each other a few things like:

  • She can let me know it's time to go potty
  • I can tell her to stay here 
  • I can ask her if she wants a drink or food and she can tell me when she wants those things.
  • I can tell her I love her.
  • Can tell her when it's time for bed.
  • Am able to say be careful.
  • Tell her to throw away some trash and clean up when she's done.
  • She loves to tell me it's bath time.
  • She tells me she want's to play and can even add things like ball to that sentence if she wants to play soccer.
  • I can easily communicate when I'm angry, sad, happy etc... facial expressions are so important.
There are many more things we can communicate.  There are also some frustrating times communicating for both of us.  The other day she was trying to tell me something and I had no clue and it was clear she was getting angry when I just kept signing "what?".

There are also times, like when we were in Plymouth the other night, where I was communicating verbally with Ian and Adam and realized I was leaving her out.  Those are the times when I get frustrated, I want to have these long conversations with her and I realize my lack of sign language prevents that, I need to keep it simple for now if Allison isn't around.

We still have a lot of fun, it's amazing what you can communicate without anything verbal or even signed.  The language of fun is indeed universal!
For some reason running around cracks her up.  She was running around in Plymouth on September 23 and laughing hysterically!
That's a two part sign for smile, I wanted to take her picture so I signed smile to her.  She was quick to copy me!

All the pictures of that night are here: http://picasaweb.google.com/kpgingras/2010Fall#.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Allison has gotten involved as a guest blogger on Sensational Homeschooling in honor of Deaf Awareness Week!

Check it out at the link below!


And what would a post be without a picture?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Just Faith and I in Plymouth

Last night just Faith and I went to Plymouth.  First she sat in the stroller but then she ran free after getting some ice cream!
She still is a little awkward running around but she did great, didn't fall once!  She loved waving to everyone we passed and holding my hand and jogging around.  She did seem to always want to run into the road.  I didn't like that one very much but she did well listening to me when I told her no.  Probably because she saw so many people crossing those nifty looking green crosswalks and we did cross a couple of times with the carriage.  Faith was good staying by the waterfront.  She would run, while holding my hand and crack up.  For some reason running cracks her up.

It is very interesting just sitting with her.  She can communicate fairly well now.  She would sit on a bench and then tell me to sit down next to her so I would.  Then every bench we came across we had to sit down.  She'd sit down first then tell me to sit down.  At one point there were two benches next to each other.  Faith sat on one then told me to sit down so I sat on the other bench.  She promptly hit the bench next to her and signed "sit".  She definitely wanted me to sit with her.  I got the hint.
All in all it was a great night.  We got home and she washed up brushed and went to bed.  Alas, I was out by 9:30, I think she was still up playing with her doll in bed so she outlasted me!  KG.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Today's Gospel

Today's Gospel was Matthew 19:23-30 (click on link to read the whole thing).

The part that struck me was verse 29:  And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life.

I instantly thought of Faith's mother and father.  I've often felt a bit odd about her birth parents, how could they give her up, what a horrible thing to do.  This reading, for an obviously Godly reason, made me realize that they gave her up out of love, out of sacrifice for a better life for her.  Could I give up one of my children if I knew it would be for a better life for them?  Probably not.

I know her parents probably didn't give her up for the sake of Jesus' name but they did it to offer her a better life, they knew they couldn't provide for her properly, they did it out of Love, and isn't God Love after all?  Today Faith's birth parents will be in my prayers...


Saturday, August 14, 2010

More stuff about Faith

We have been taking Faith to a lot of appointments lately!  Her ultrasound on her kidneys are normal so her genetic issues regarding deafness won't be worst.  Apparently if her kidneys turned up anything then things would be bad and eventually she could lose her eyesight as well!

The Dr. thinks that Faith may have slight Autism, Allison has noticed it too.  I guess my ignorance is bliss!  She will also need a lot of physical therapy to help her to start walking better.  She still walks around like a little drunk Chinese kid!

I went out and got a pool for her and AJ earlier this summer, not sure if I blogged that yet.  They absolutely love it and with the heat we have had it's been great.  I've even been known to sit in it and relax from time to time!

We are off to my company picnic today.  They have carnival rides, free food, games and all sorts of things.  Should be interesting trying to chase her around there, we will be bringing the stroller for when we need a break!  I can't wait to take her on the big slide, you know the one with the potato sacks. AJ is very much looking forward to it!  Ian is at a Catholic Middle School leadership retreat this weekend at St. Thecla's in Billrica.  He's having fun so far, at least that's what his phone msg said last night.

Oh well, signing off for now....KG.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Saturday morning ponderings

It's only been almost ten months since adding Faith to our lives.  It's been a long strange trip where she has learned as much about us as we have learned about her.  God continues to guide this long strange trip but I find myself putting my trust in Him less and less each day and that isn't good.  I need to lean on His strength like I did in the beginning, like I did as I took my seat on that plane to China!

We have found out that she is deaf due to a genetic anomaly so she has indeed been deaf from birth.  She had a checkup recently and her Dr. said that she is indeed progressing as far as walking but not there yet.  There is also a possibility of autism.  If she were autistic she would be considered highly functional but it's something we will deal with when we know for sure.  It's tough to just watch her and analyze all this since she was unable to communicate without just yelling and hitting until she was four and Allison began to teach her sign language.

Faith is learning a LOT of words.  She still won't look at us long enough for sentences but that's slowly progressing as well.  Allison is done choir so she sits with us at Mass know and signs things to Faith when she can get her attention.  We aren't sure the exact number of words but she knows but it's over 100!  When we go on walks with her she will sign rabbit when she sees one.  She tells us to sit down all the time.  Potty was one she learned in China, she can tell us when she's taking a dump now as well so we don't have to smell for it (TMI???).  She can sign play, bath, stop, now and many others.  She understands a lot more of what we sign to her than she can sign back.  I still need to teach her "get daddy a beer".

The town has installed our signs as well around the house.  They actually put three of them up!  One at the front of the house lot and two as you approach the house from each street.  Not sure it's helping as cars still fly past here.  I should tell the Raynham P.D. that they can park in my driveway and have a ticketing field day, they could nab speeders as well as folks who don't stop at the two way stop sign at the end of the roads.

Faith still loves our trips we take to either the beach or the canal for a bike ride on Monday nights.  The beach is a bit much for me however, she's a tough one to chase around and you can't yell at her to stop when she is running off on you so I prefer canal bike rides where I can lock her in the seat behind me and know where she is.  We had to take a break from them a couple of Monday's due to the crazy hot weather we had in July, the hottest on record, hope August is at least reasonable!

Today we are off to see some relatives from Allison's dad's side of the family.  Adrionna is going to be rededicated for her relatives in Tiverton RI so we have to head down there at 9am.  Faith will get to meet some more new relatives!

Well that's enough ramblings for early morning, last day of July 2010.....KG

Monday, July 19, 2010

CAWLI Cousin's Reunion

We traveled down to Mystic CT on Saturday July 18th for our first CAWLI Cousin's reunion!

We met up with four other families who were with us in China.  It was great to see some of the other families that we traveled with and spend a day with them at Harkness Memorial Park in Waterford CT.  It was a hot one but everyone had a blast and the kids got along great!  Faith seemed to really enjoy seeing Olivia again.

The fun event of the day was wagon trains!  John Anderew (in the blue wagon) loved pulling everyone and anyone in the wagons!  Faith got a lot of free rides!

The park was awesome!  Lot's of quiet roads going through it, right on the Long Island sound (no swimming) so we could wade into the waters.  It was an awesome day!

We stayed in Mystic that night and had an interesting stay at the Ramada Mystic.  The sign we were welcomed with should have been a tip that not all was in order there.

We got there and before we went over to Mary and Jay and Olivia's house we had to check in and clean up and stuff.  Allison was trying to catch the weather and as I walked by the TV it made an interesting noise and went off.  Ian, Adam and myself were just going to go to the pool when Ian yelled "The TV is SMOKING".  It was indeed!  I unplugged it and Allison called room service.  Long story short, Ian, Adam and I went to the pool anyway and when we got back we had to switch rooms.  Then off to Mary, Jay's and Olivia's and for dinner we had:

That's Mystic Pizza from the movie.  Much like Cheers in Boston looks nothing like Cheers from TV, Mystic Pizza is very different from the movie.  Julia Roberts doesn't even work there.  

We stayed the night at hotel "almost burned down" and went to Mass at St. Patrick's church in Mystic.  A nice little church that had Central Air so that was a bonus!  After that we spent the day at a playground and then an afternoon stroll around Mystic.  We got to see the drawbridge in action so that was cool as well!

Special thanks to Jay and Mary for organizing this, we hope to make it a yearly thing now!  

Friday, July 9, 2010

Summer 2010

Well the summer of 2010 has been going GREAT!  Faith is one of us indeed, she can cause trouble when she wants to be we love her as much as we love Ian and Adam.  God has brought this joy into our lives and we couldn't have asked for it to be better!

Here is a rare shot of all three kids together...

Faith loves our beach trips as you can see above.  She loves pretty much everything that has to do with water!  Also, one of her favorite activities after our trips to Scusset is  a stop at DQ for some ice cream, Faith LOVES ice cream.  Did I stress that enough - LOVES ice cream! 

She also really enjoys all of our friends pools!

We even went out and got ourselves a little redneck pool that we can hang out in.  Faith loves it (so does AJ, Ian - not so much).  It's small, 8' diameter and only about 3' deep but it's good enough.  Faith loves to dive under water and jump around in it, she's the only one small enough to do that stuff!  I just love relaxing in it with the kids!

Been a good summer so far, lots of neat trips to Lexington and Concord and Plymouth and the Zoo.  In a couple of weeks we will head to Mary and Jay's and Olivia's in Mystic CT to have a kind of reunion.  Very much looking forward to seeing all the China folks again!


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Fathers Day 2010

Well it's my first Father's Day with Faith, what a great addition to a Father's Day to Ian and Adam. 

I love the way Ian and Adam are with her, they make great big brothers.  Faith is already learning sign language faster than me, I knew that wouldn't be long!  She is so comfortable around us, loves mom more than me now but that's cool, she's with Allison more than me so that makes sense!

She is learning ASL now and doing it well but it's still frustrating sometimes when you just don't know the signs to communicate with her.  A lot of times she knows what we are signing but doesn't know how to sign back.  There are also times I have no clue what she wants.  We do manage but clearly patience, perseverance and prayers are going to help, I just need to remember to use them!!!

She's learning just to get things on her own as well.  She knows where the snack drawer is and likes to help herself to it a LOT!  We have to monitor that!  Same with the juice bags!


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Monday nights at Scusset Beach


We started our weekly treks to Scusset Beach on Monday May 17th with the Toste family.  May have been a bit early as it was indeed chilly there.  The water was painfully cold to stand in.  Faith understood not to go into the water.  Instead she played in the sand, ran in the sand and just had a generally great time.

Faith loves the beach and had a great time playing with her brothers Ian and Adam.  They dug a huge hole and jumped in it, played in it and just chilled in it. 

She has grown so much since we met her in early November and has developed a lot as well!  She knows a LOT of signs and her stability has improved also.  It's fun watching her run in the sand, she runs and cracks up while running.

There will be many more Scusset trips this summer, I promise!!


Monday, March 29, 2010

Faith from summer?


We sent off a care package prior to heading to China with some clothes, toys and a camera.  We sent it around June.  All we got back was a camera and we just stumbled across the photos so I uploaded them.

It's amazing to see how much she has grown and how much she has gained with respect to weight and height....

Monday, March 22, 2010

A bit of Americana for Faith

Photos of Herring Run and Plymouth

Well, we took Faith to see the Herring Run then off to Plymouth so she could see the Mayflower and the Big Old Rock.  Not sure she fully understood what it all meant but that's ok, we had fun! 

She isn't a sturdy walker on our grass.  You should have seen her on the beach in the soft sand!  A couple of face fulls of sand and even a bit in the mouth but all was well, she had a great time.  AJ had fun too dune jumping!

We definitely tired her out, she fell asleep on the way home.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Faith's Mommies

Last night, little Faith wasn't feeling so good.  She has a icky cough, and this awful inability to puke when she coughs. Yeah fun, but we're grateful we hadn't seen this since Wuhan.  I can handle throw up when there is no possible of me puking 24 hour later germs attached to them, but it is still unnerving especially when it happens in their sleep.  So I choice to sleep on the couch, easier and quicker access to her room if she needed me.  Around 2:30, she needed me.  I brought her out to the couch, laid her head on my chest, tucked her feet between my legs to stay warm (she has a tendency to cuddle up to me with little frog legs anyway - I wonder if this has anything to do with how the seem to bundle and carry the babies that I heard about from my friends who adopted infants?).   This is just one of the many questions about her life before us that I spend so much time pondering about.

Last night, as we lay there, her coughing, and me trying to help her relax so she can rest and get well, I started to again ponder her early life.  I thought about her birth mother, the woman who would have held her just as I was as little baby.  How long did it take them to realize she couldn't hear?  Who's decision was it to abandon her?  Was it the mother's, ashamed she'd brought not only a female to her husband, but one with a handicap?  Did she cry, as she placed her baby down in the parking lot of the hospital probably under the cover of night and run away?  What was Faith's birth name?  Did Faith cry in the dark, without the safety of an adult nearby?  How long did she lay there before she was found?  Abandoned - left without a trace of who you are, a history you will never recover.  Can any of us fathom what this feels like to the million of Chinese girls who will experience this reality every day?

Then came her second mommy, her foster mother.  I am sad I wasn't able to meet her, that I have no pictures of her to share with Faith.  That there is more history I will not be able to complete for Faith.  I know so very little of her 3 years with this family.  Were they loving or distant?  She is so loveable but I am never sure if that is because she never had it, or had so much of it that she continues to crave that closeness?  I did read that children who never make attachments are the ones that struggle to bond with their new families, so I can only assume from her quick bonding to us, that she was indeed loved and nurtured.   Her behavior, and the little information we do have, would suggest she was actually spoiled - given whatever she wanted maybe out of pity, or perhaps that little sly smile won over the men in her life (as it continues to do here!)  What were her days like, she doesn't easily engage with toys and books, she'd sit on my lap all day long and do nothing but cuddle if I allowed her too.  Yet, oddly the minute we get out in public she's a wild woman -- running around, wiggling out of my arms, and generally the complete opposite of how she is at home.  I know all parents say that, but this is more than the usual, there is definitely something to her behavior - I am starting to suspect it is a reaction to the overstimulation that being out of the house creates.  I am sure she was not out very much, and hasn't learned coping strategies with stimulus that comes from being out of the safety and familarity of your home. 

Which brings me to the final ponder of the day - as her third mommy, how safe do I make her feel?  How secure is she that there isn't a fourth mommy in her future.  I do pray, that isn't God's plan for her!!  Not just because I don't want to be dead or divorced lol, but I would be heartbroken to see her have to suffer any more traumatic transitions in her life.  She is truly remarkable that after all this, she continues to trust human beings to care for her, that she allows them to love her and returns it with such complete resolve that it is overwhelming.  I am always having to remind myself its only been 4 months, it does still feel like she's been here forever, the fact that we waited 6 MONTHS from the moment we got her picture to the day we met her, seems a blink of an eye now!!  I know now that there was no way they could have prepared her for our coming, I never received back my photoalbum I sent, so I doubt that she ever saw it.  That day , November 2, 2009, was the first time she'd ever laid eyes on us!!  She let us pick her up, hold her hand, and leave with her, without a tear.   God had to be whispering in her heart, these are the ones I had been telling you about ... these are parents I promised you, thank you my little dear for being so patient with My perfect plan, even when it must have seemed I'd forsaken you.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Faith is Baptised!

Here are the photos!

Like the covenant of Marriage that made Allison and I one family on October 10, 1989 and the covenant of adoption that we took on to make Faith a part of our family in November of 09, another covenant was professed and celebrated on February 21, 2010 - that of Faith's Baptism and becoming part of the family of Christ.
It was a truly God inspired day.  Faith even gave the thumbs up after her baptismal bath!  It was an awesome day and we would like to thank all those involved that made it so special, I can't name you all by name - there are too many of you but you know who you are!
Thank you all so much!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Educational Visitors

Some of the things God has brought to fruition in this journey have been beyond comprehension, today was another one of those moments.  Before, we brought Faith home, I received an email from a Professor of Deaf Studies at Holy Cross.  She was very interested in meeting Faith, and would like to make herself available to me for whatever help I needed in making sure she had whatever necessary to acquire language.  In addition, she has someone in her department that teaches ASL, that just happens to not only be deaf but also Chinese!  She even knows Chinese sign language -- which was cool to learn that Faith's thumbs up sign is actually Chinese Sign for good!!!  Neat!!  The connection had come from my cousin's sister in law -- you just NEVER know who God is going to use in His plans!! 
Well, after we got home, I emailed Professor Fask to update her on our return and progress thus far.  She invited Faith and I to Worcester, but being winter and so much going on trying to teach the boys, make all Faith's doctor's appointments and work my own part time jobs I was having a hard time finding time.  She emailed and asked if they could come to us!!  Wow!!  Some people's generosity of time and kindness of heart blows me away!  I obviously agreed, and today was our much anticipated visit.

It was so wonderful-  they were both amazing woman, a wealth of information for me.  The biggest question I have been struggling with is what language to teach Faith - ASL?  Signed English? Oral Language?  There are remarkably many options.  They were so good in explaining the benefits of a visual language (ASL) for deaf, especially someone with profound deafness like Faith.  She suggested eating dinner with voice off, and seeing how much Faith misses - as she tries to figure out who is speaking, what is being said, and if there are 2 people speaking at once,or if the conversation volleys quickly, as it can -- she is only getting bits and pieces.  The oneness on deciphering the conversation is all on her, which is pretty stinky for any one, but esp. a little kid.  I am even more determined to master ASL - and they have provided me a resource for Family Sign classes, where the person comes here and even better at no cost to us!!  God rocks!! and continues to be faithful to his promise to help us if we just agreed to trust Him and bring this beautiful child into our lives!!

They had so many amazing suggestions - finding a deaf babysitter, playgroups and socials for the deaf - that we as a family can attend, and I am grateful of the respect given to our home school lifestyle.  The bible says, God calls you to it, he will guide or lead you through it.  Although I have always read that in regards to troubles, I can see now that it can also relate to the missions He puts before us.  We are called to educate our children, for various reason, the homeschool model works well for us.  I can see that God will provide me the resources, and education I need to be the best provider of education for them -- and you can't beat all the time and attention this allows me to give her (and the boys).  It also makes for a closer bond between Ian and her, as 14 and 4 is a big age gap - if he was in school I find it hard to imagine that they'd share the love they do.  It is so sweet to see, and since he truly wants to be a sign language interpreter, I can't think of better education than 'hands' on :)))

So we march on, filled with names and numbers to follow up on, some times its overwhelming, and I feel guilty that maybe I'm not moving fast enough to put things into place, but then I think she's only been here 3 months.  To us, and to this new life she's still a baby, I certainly wouldn't stick a baby in school. We have time, we continue to implement what we can, love her to pieces, and stay diligent, and we know the rest will come ... God will make sure of that!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

3 Months later

So many times I'll be in the shower or driving in the car, and my mind will draft a post, but then I dry off, or get home, and life gets in my way of actually typing it out!  Most of my free time for writing in the last 6 weeks was devoted to finally finishing my Womens' Catholic bible study that I have been planning and drafting for 3 years!    Thanks to my awesome Bible babe buddies (ha ha), who graciously agreed to test it out for me, its almost done!  Just some edits, and a leader's guide, and God willing someone will be interested in publishing it!!  

The other little matter taking my time would be our precious new daughter!!  Faith continues to challenge us daily, amaze us hourly, and fill our hearts with love every minute!!  I can not believe its only been 3 months, I know that is a cheesy line, but its so true.  More and more I feel like she's been with us since the day of her birth, I often can not even remember life without her - -except I think my back ached a little less (more reason to thank God for not asking me to carry and deliver our 3 child!).

Days in the Gingras house are crazier than before, but we'll take it!!  I am so grateful I am able to be here with her (and the boys), it is an incredible blessing!  One thing I hadn't expected, but happily love is all the cuddle, holding time she'd require.  I often wonder if she looks for this holding/cuddling time because it was something she was used to in her Foster family (they were both retired - including the spoiling Foster Dad, or if she never had it and is just eating it up.  I honestly can't speculate either way but am so grateful for it.  It is what I dreamed of, a little girl that loves me, and wants to be with me - a far cry from those first 2 weeks.  That is the good part, the hard part is the time  -- I am already organizational challenged!!  So my to do list is growing longer, but to see her thrive is worth every undone project!!

So what is the little squid up to ... LOTS!  As Kevin blogged she now has glasses, which explained to much to me -- why she wasn't sitting for books, or staying focused when I was doing vocabulary type ASL lessons with her.  Why she liked to write (aka scribble) but never seemed to LOOK at what she was doodling on the paper!!   I have seen small improvements since the glasses, and I am sure as she gets used to them, and we do these activities more and more will have more cooperation from her -- again this is the issue of forgetting she's only been here for 3 months!!  My expectations are definitely skewed!!    I have bought her more 'baby' type toys realizing that the skills children gleam from playing with those, are essential to learning.  I also realized she missed out having those things, so she now has interlocking beads and a busy box, and I can tell from the amount of time she spends with it, it was money well spent.  She is also very into her cash register (anything with buttons to push!!), her Doodle Pro (thanks the generosity of Isabel!) and playdoh.  I LOVE watching her discover and learn -- she is so easy to occupy so that the boys and I can do our lessons together.  However, when not occupied she is velcroed to one of us!!

The challenges so far have been trying to communicate emotions and non-concrete ideas -- such as its gross to pick your nose, runny away from us as soon as we let go of your hand in a public place is dangerous, and Mommy is a germaphobe so don't lick counters at the Build a Bear, don't expect to play with toys at the doctor's office, and expect to have your hands covered in hand sanitizer before and after (and sometimes during) every outing outside the house!!  I did teach her the signs for "dirty", "dangerous", "careful", "share", "wait your turn", I am not completely sure the meanings have taken hold.   But that's part of the process, we have to consider her language that of a infant or toddler, they take years to get the meanings, make connection and spontaneously return conversation, she will follow that same pattern.  I do give her credit for what she's accomplished in 3 months!! She can tell us her basic needs - hunger, tissue, potty, bed, etc.   As far as teaching emotions, I accidently stumbled across something -- Kevin taught her this game of going for a kiss and then pulling away as a joke.  Which I Hated!!  I know strong word, but oh I would just want this quick kiss, and have to play the game!!  So, I started signing that it made me sad, when she would deny my kiss, and when she did finally kiss me I'd sign that it made me happy.  In a few days, SHE HERSELF would add those signs to the game (saving Dad lol), and helping us start to develop emotion understanding!!  It is cool, so now she can relate to sad and happy !!  

My next writing project is this adoption story, including as I mentioned a few months ago the back story of how God brought us to this point.  Just need to tackle the taxes this week, and then will be writing - hope that you will continue to check back as amazing as having her is, what God did in the 2 years leading up to this moment was amazing ... I still awe at the fact that He allowed us to be part of that (this) story!! 

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Anybody still read this thing?

Well, if you are Faith needed glasses.  On Feb 5th Allison took her to the eye doctor and they did some dilation thing and based on how light reflected in her eyes were able to determine she can't see very well close up!

That night and a trip to Lensecrafters later she has glasses now, rather thick lensed ones!


I honestly didn't think she could get any cuter but alas, they actually make her cuter!
She does well keeping them on since she can now see while wearing them.  They do need to be cleaned several times per but that's ok, at least she's pushing them back on her tiny nose!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Birthday Girl

Just a quick post about Faith's first birthday with us.  It was actually rather uneventful.  We put her to bed at 8:30 , she was wiped out from a busy weekend, and I looked at Kevin and realized we never GAVE her our birthday gifts!!  We got home from an sleepover in time for her nap, then we woke her in time to head to Mass, then Ihop for a very late dinner, and home in time for bed again LOL.  So basically her 4th birthday was spent eating and sleeping, and a little God tossed in -- all of Mom's favorites!!

I am still having trouble coming to grips with this made up birthday, it really bugs me that the parents couldn't have at least stuck a note with her telling her birthday!  She just doesn't seem 4, or maybe it is hard to add another year to her age, when we've only known her for 2 months as a 3 year old!  Kevin jokes that it is not like we can just saw her in half and count the rings, someone else has suggested a dentist might better tell us her age from her teeth?  It is not like I need to know for any real reason except my own selfishness of not wanting her to grow up too fast, psychologically having a child go from 3 to 4 in just 2 months is difficult.  I have already had to catch myself numerous times expecting too much from her, now that she's 4 I hope I can control my feeble brain to not expect even more!!

So funny that the transition has been so seamless, your brain is tricked into forgetting she has NOT been with you her whole life.  That she has experienced a complete upheavel of her little life, that she will have many psychological struggles as she grows and develops.  That our love will get her through a great deal of the pain and loss, but we'll never be able to completely take it away.  These are the little things that you have to fight to keep from overtaking your thoughts -- the worries of what will be as the days, months and years progress.  Always trying to stay vigilant, and not complacent as to not miss signs that she needs help in something.  Alas, isn't this the struggle of all parents, biological and adoptive  -- balancing your own life's needs and responsiblity, with those of your children.  Thank goodness for prayers, "Cast all your worries on Him because HE cares about you," (1 peter 5:7) ... good to know Kevin and I have such an amazing parenting partner in this life!!

Quick update on Faith's progress -- we started back watching Sarah and Grace this week, they don't come very much but we had put off restarting to be sure Faith was ready to share Mommy and brothers. It was a perfect start back, she LOVES her 2 new friends!!  She played very well with them both, I love how they both are learning sign language ( I never feel over with the 13 month old signed PLEASE! when she wanted the toy Faith had - it was awesome!!)   Being so overly sentimental like I am, I find it so very cool, that one of my daughter's first friends, is the daughter of one of my very first friends!! 

Faith has been doing great sleeping in her own bed.  I am going to guess her bed in China was a mat on the floor, because quite a few times, she has grabbed a pillow from a couch (not just at our house) , and placed it on a small carpet or mat on the floor, and covered herself with a blanket, and signed 'Sleep'.   There are so many questions I wish I had asked the caretakers when I had them - but it wasn't her foster parents, so I really don't know how much of the information would have been actually about FengHua, and how much would have been what kids do in general.  I am sure, God is protecting my heart from not letting me know too much, it would probably just break my heart to know.  I already have to fit feeling guilty and sad that it took us 6 months to get her out of the country once we had been matched.  In more luicd moments I DO know that it was God's plan for our family to prepare all of us, for whatever reason, in making us wait all that time.  Most children are matched and home within 6 to 8 weeks of referral, we had to wait 24 weeks!!   I spent so much time before the Lord in Adoration during that time, and I know He was preparing us - I have pages and pages of journal entries that assure me of that!

So what else can I report about our princess - she has become a finicky eater, mostly because she can!  No longer worried about her next meal, she knows she gets fed about every 2 hours, and if she isnt' crazy about what is before her, there will be another offering varily soon.  She has a sign vocabulary of about 20 words now.  She is a total monkey, copying all we do -- which in some cases IS not very good! I knew  I should have secluded her from all the men in our house until I had her completely molded into all the proper girl ways of life!!  Especially for someone who thinks everything is a game lol, some days can be rather challenging!   I guess that is what makes us family - its not just my influence on her, but hers on me, and a great exchange of personalities life, working and loving together!!

Happy Birthday FengHua, thank you for continuing to enlighten us in the most amazing ways!