Thursday, May 5, 2016

Catching Up with Alex

Just like this picture, life's a bit out of kilter.
Adjusting to a new family member takes time and energy.
And it's so worth it all.
Children are never a mistake!

Those that God calls, he enables...

  The language barrier has been harder than we expected.
Thanks to google translator, however, I've been able to say in a CALM Chinese voice
(that sounds just like me, especially the calm part),
"Quit being a pest."

On the other hand, Alex said his first sentence.  The other night Kenton told him to go brush his teeth but Megan was in the bathroom.  When Alex went back to the living room and Kenton again told him to brush his teeth,  He protested, "Megan bathroom, okay?"
Not bad for only hearing English for a little over a month.

One night in the barn he told Kenton, "Baobao, NO!  Alex, YES!"
So we're working on switching just to his English name.

Alex loves his baba.  It's a little hard to take a backseat but I love that he wants to be with his dad and brothers.  Since the girls bonded first with me, I guess it's only fair.  He squeals with delight when dad pulls in the yard.  The other day he walked all the way around the pasture fence while Kenton was checking it.  

Alex is a normal 7-year-old boy.  When he's bored, he is a pest!
Most of the time the kids are pretty tolerant but several times he's crossed the line with them.
This morning Jamison asked to be in our room with the door LOCKED.
He'd had enough.

Alex eats almost everything.   I don't necessarily know that he likes it, 
but he eats it. 
We are also doing lots of Ramen noodles.
His paperwork said he doesn't like sweets.  It lied.

It's always amazing to us how fast our kids our kids get used to the idea of grandparents.  I think some of their first words have been grandma and grandpa.  Alex enjoyed helping my mom in the kitchen and wanted seconds of Martha's vegetable soup.
Birthday presents help too.

The last couple of days things seem to be jelling more.  Yesterday they all played a game of penguins, waddling around with blankets around their feet and making more noise than seems humanly possible. Blind man is another current favorite...something like Blind Man's Bluff.  Hide the thimble...Bender style...Hide the tractor-trailer.  

The kids dug all sorts of dips and notches into my freshly plowed garden.
Grandpa wasn't the most popular fellow when he came through with the culli-mulcher.
Alex is learning to join in with their fun.

Alex turned 8 on Sunday.
We had dinner and birthday cake.

Then he dragged us all out to the living room for presents.
It was nice to see our self-contained son get a little excited about something.

He got a bank, remote control car (thanks for the idea Rebecca Gallo) and pocky.
The grandparents got him a toolbox with a couple of tools and a ball with handles.

One day Emily and Alex spent quite awhile pounding dog food to smithereens on the porch. They had blast but powdered dog food isn't all that appetizing to dogs so I suggested they go pound dirt clods in the garden.
I received a five-gallon pail of powdered dirt.
 Call me if you want some.

Alex refuses to speak Mandarin.  He barely responded to Mandarin speakers in China and totally ignores them now.  He tolerates the translator but will NOT respond in Chinese no matter how much pretty-please-with-pink-sugar-and-a-cherry-on-top I try.

(Alex and Pearl)

Alex has been with us for over 5 weeks now.  We have never seen him shed a tear.
We have discovered that he tends to smile when he is hurt or scared.
This is scary and makes it harder to know what he is thinking 
and how to help him.

We have never seen him be sneaky or underhanded.  I gave him all the Chinese money that was discovered in pockets or the washing machine or elsewhere.  He was thrilled. When he got a dollar from a new friend and Mexican pesos from his cousins for his birthday, he was delighted.
When Kenton left cash sitting on the table, guess who found it and brought it straight to me?

  • There has been no spitting, no biting, no kicking, and only one incidence of hitting...that I know of.
  • He asks for something if he wants it.  He doesn't just take it.
  • He LOVES electronics.  We usually don't let the kids have them until 7:00...and then it's a free-for-all.  One day he kept asking and I kept saying no.  I finally used the translator to tell him that if he asked again, he wouldn't be able to use them until the next day.  He groaned, smiled, and has seldom asked since but does watch the clock like a hawk around 7.
  • He doesn't whine or complain when he doesn't get his way.  Ever.
  • He doesn't like playdough or coloring, etc.
  • He likes math and is very good at it.
  • He likes playing soccer.  He's on Kaitlyn's team and plays just like most other U-8...swarm and kick.

Alex is amazing.
He is doing well.

But it is STILL HARD.

Everyone has had their moments when they'd like to clunk him.  That makes us sound pretty awful, I guess, considering all the changes he's been through and how well he's handling them


Adoption is STILL HARD.
Adjustments are hard on everyone!

It's also worth it!
Soli Deo Gloria!


  1. Hey...there is a familiar face in there! Miss you all!

  2. Hey...there is a familiar face in there! Miss you all!

  3. Yes, I hope that's okay! :)

  4. What a wonderful post. I love reading about your crazy life. And I have to tell you that ivy wouldn't speak Mandarin either. Eventually she forgot it all. I once asked why she wouldn't speak it. She told me she thought she could only speak one language and wanted it to be English. Oh the mind of a 7 year old. Enjoy the craziness!