Growing Pains

I've been working on a post in my head for weeks now, an adoption related post. But unfortunately, it's still in my head, in bits and pieces. Not sure when or if it will ever come out! I'll try to brief you about what is going here.   But first, look at these pictures of the past few years....
The first one is Evan and Daddy at Nifty Fiftys golf.June 2009.

 This next on is June 2010...with Asher. I didn't intend to take a picture in the same spot, but it's interesting to see the change in our family....

This Year, June 2011! Our family is growing :) And along with this growth comes "growing pains"!
This was Arielle's first time golfing. We've had a lot of firsts recently! She really liked mini golf! This week we also went to the beach and she loved that too :) but it wasn't easy to convince her to wear a bathing suit. Well, she didn't actually wear one...but
I'll save that for the next post.
 There is so much that I have found out in the past 3 months about our daughter. So much more than we ever imagined. The effects of not having a mom and dad are so obvious.

She's actually  around 17,  almost 18 years old (Paperwork says she's now 14). Legally she will always be 4 years younger. There is nothing we can do about this. Her birthday, the one she celebrated all her life, is in September. This is the one we will celebrate. But it's not the one on her legal birth certificate. We will never know her actual birthday :(

I believe our circumstance is out of the ordinary. Not many come home from Ch*na at this age, although I do know it happens.

She has learning difficulty and medical issues far beyond what we expected. She never would have made it on her own. She would have been looked down upon. I'm certain they didn't teach her where she was. She does read simplified charaters but struggles. And I'm not sure where to even begin with English. Presently, she's been using Rosetta Stone English, Homeschool version. But we are bypassing the writing parts.

We've had our challenges at home. I'm not sure I will share it all publically, probably not. It is her story to tell one day. About her life with her Forever Family. I pray for a wonderful "forever"...I believe it will be :) One thing I will share about adopting teenage girls...they get emotional at certain times...boy oh boy how could I forget :)
There is one issue I've been praying about daily and could eventually effect our bonding. She never lets me out of her sight...well, that's not true. She is getting better with this as time goes on.  I'm not sure others have experienced this with older newly adopted children. She is literally a few steps behind me most of the time. She follows me from room to room. And she doesn't know how to entertain herself. It drains me but she is learning. I am praying about this as it could be a hinderance for our relationship as well as other future relationships. I understand that this is common in toddlers and younger children who come home, but I never expected it with someone who is 17. She also calls out my name when she's not sure where I am in the house. And says my name multiple times...both my little boys have done this-and basically outgrown it. Any advice or suggestions? Will it end eventually like the little ones? I do realize there are stages and levels of developement that she never had the opportunitely to go through successfully. Is she going through the developemental stages now? This was my first thoughts on it all. But I'd like to know what others have experienced.
Very Serious about their Golf!!!

I've seen a level of maturity in the last few weeks that I had not seen before. I must admit, when she first came home I was convinced she had a mental disability. Her response to all the stress was bizarre.  I see it less but it's still there, but I don't believe she is mentally delayed at all.

But there are so many good things about her!!!

As I said before, I see the effects on her life without a mom or dad to love her, teach her, and look out for her. No one to tell her "I love you honey" or to give her  a hug. No one to go to her when it thunders...she's afraid of thunder. Who consoled her as a little girl when she cried in the middle of the night? I can go on but I wanted to give you the plus side of older child adoption. The blessings we receive everyday by bringing this Gift from God into our family. Let me share 10 of our blessings:)

  •  "Mom, I want hug" She loves to hug!
  • She loves to give us a kiss (this surprized me!)
  • She understands and appreciates what she has in a family
  • She tells me everyday she loves me
  • she makes her bed and cleans her room EVERYDAY! minimal prompting!
  • She helps with the little ones when I need it
  • She's old enough to take care of her own belongings 
  • I don't have to teach her how to potty!
  • She gets along great with her little brothers and...
  • She loves to be with her older sisters
  • She is giving of everything she has
And these are just a few :) Arielle has been home for 3+ months now. She's doing well, but we all have a long way to go. I can't wait to come back to this post a year from now to compare where we are to where we were! That's the real reason I wrote this. God is Good all the time!
  • OH, and I'll give one more blessing...there are now pictures of mom on family outings. Arielle makes sure of it! Well, now that I'm looking at it, we could do without this "blessing!"