Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Eighteen months ago TODAY, we received the sweetest little bundle of joy...a giggling 9-year-old who has blossomed into a beautiful, but sassy, American girl. She listens to current hit songs on her iPod, texts her friends, watches typical television fare, rides her bike, has crushes on boys, plays basketball and softball, dances, sings, complains about homework and chores, bickers with her brother, joins forces with her brother to gang up on Mom and Dad, sweetly hugs us (but still no kisses) each night, and is a social butterfly who loves to laugh and make other people laugh. She has expanded her dietary choices, but still prefers soup. She's ornery and gives us a run for our money, but she is so worth it. God truly blessed us when he made us a family.

Some quick updates:
  • Shaling & Preston are now the same height (roughly 56 inches) and weight (73 pounds), despite her having been a full  head shorter than him in January 2011. American dairy does wonders.
  • Shaling just wrapped up her softball season last night. She's becoming a decent pitcher and is quite fun to watch behind the plate as well. She nearly threw out a runner at 3rd base last night.
  • Both kids just spent the weekend with my parents and they all headed up north to stay with Uncle Scott for a couple of nights. He spoiled them rotten by taking them to play miniature golf, play in an arcade, and spend a day at a large water park. They were both still chatting about it when Brock and I got home from a separate trip two days later. Grandma & Grandpa spoiled them rotten with some shopping.
  • Shaling enjoyed 3 different morning camps this month - basketball, softball, and golf.
  • We conducted 2 fundraisers this month -- trivia night/silent auction nights (one for a local family in the process of adopting a 3-year-old girl in need of serious cardiac care and one for a local youth battling a brain tumor) and held a garage sale at our house.
  • We enjoyed attending a hog roast/wedding reception for Aunt Joanna and Uncle Mike. Speaking of Aunt Joanna, please keep her and her family (Mike, her daughter Maggie, etc.) in your prayers. I won't share all of the gory details here, but her cancer has returned. This is her 4th bout with it (during a time period of about 3 1/2 years) and she's just 37-years-old.
  • We recently said goodbye to our minister, Pastor Jack, as he retired and moved to spend more time with his grandkids.
  • We've gotten in some family exercise this summer, via biking, 5Ks, and swimming.
  • We are looking forward to visiting Grandma and Grandpa Reynolds this weekend.
No pictures today, but hope to share some softball pictures soon!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Lots of Amys, One Mom

I am unsure how many women Shaling has referred to as "Mom" (or in Chinese, "Mama"). As I understand what she tells me, she was in and out of foster care, plus she referred to at least one of the caregivers at the welfare center as Mama. In fact, she'd had so many Mamas in her first 9 years of life that we discovered at some point last year that she didn't fully absorb that we were going to be her last Mama and Baba (Mom and Dad). In her experiences, Moms and Dads were temporary, not permanent.

Here in America, she has interacted with several Amys. Obviously, I am Amy. Plus, one of her Girls on the Run coaches was Coach Amy. One of our next door neighbor's is named Amy. Last night, she met a Chinese Amy. Brock took the kids to a Chinese buffet for supper after the kids' drum lessons (while I grocery shopped and avoided the buffet). A young waitress named Amy spoke with Shaling in Chinese and told Shaling just how much she loved America as compared to China.

I believe Shaling really enjoyed the conversation, because at home, she animatedly chatted with me all about it. She then said, "we need Amy to come here; we need lots of Amys". I pointed out that lots of Amys might be really confusing. She giggled, agreed, and excitedly acted out the scene, ending with "which one's the real Mom? Oh, that would be Amy Reynolds."

She was just a girl acting silly. To her, that comment was no more important than anything else she'd said that day. However, to me, who has been overly sensitized to the words "real mom", it was very touching. Anyone close to us sees how she interacts with the entire family (and how we interact with her), therefore, having little doubt that we are her real family. So, this wasn't exactly turning a corner or any new revelation, but it was a meaningful symbol to me. Her Mom. And Real.