As I sit here listening to Jack play with Ray, I’m reminded just how far he’s come in the last eleven days. He’s come so far. Some of the changes are so small, living this out in China, it’s barely noticeable. When we watch him try to run down the hall of the hotel, we’re reminded. When he lets me wrap him up in a towel out of the bathtub, we’re reminded. When we see his face light up in pure joy, we’re reminded. In the last eleven days, he’s come so far.
When we accepted Jack’s referral, I immediately started doing research about his Social Welfare Institute. The awful stories are often the first ones you find. A family disrupted their adoption because they felt misled about their daughter’s health. It was one of those chills you to the bone stories that had me praying fervently that Jack was at least getting what he needed.
Slowly we started to talking to others. Their experiences were much better. There is a common bond in a lack of information though. We found out that Love Without Borders started working with Jack’s orphanage. They began by training nannies in facilities in Beijing. While we were here, we found out their Spanish Arm has started a Montessori school inside the orphanage. Jack wasn’t allowed to start at the school, probably because they knew he had a family. Still, big changes are happening there. My Spanish is horrible, but I’m trying to read and find out about the children there and what we might be able to do to help.
As for Jack… he has gone from a very dirty, very stinky, very quiet little guy…
to a sometimes clean, sometimes stinky, always loud joyful boy.
The first few days Jack was with us he thrashed himself back to sleep while he moaned. Now he sleeps through the night. When Jack is nervous, he places the back of his hand, palm out over his mouth. His hand covered his mouth alot those first few days. Now I could probably count the times he does that. He would smile and laugh if we really coaxed it out. Now he smiles and laughs all the time. When Jack is really anxious, his eyes go half closed and he looks as far away from you as he can. It’s like he sends himself to some other place. It happens alot less now. It generally happens if we are in a small government like office. Jack’s muscle tone was so low when we got him, we refused to walk very far. Last night, he hopped on the escalator with us and walked a couple of blocks. He still has a hard time running but I’m sure once he has sisters chasing him, he’ll figure it out.
The communication… we knew it would be bad. In those first few days we would say, “At least he walks.” He didn’t say anything, even in Chinese. Now he tries. That says alot. If I sing Itsy Bitsy Spider, he tries to sing it. He’ll say, “Ready!” Although, not that clearly, when he wants Ray to throw him around. He says “thank you” in Chinese but he’s repeating us, I don’t think he knows what it means. I’m hopeful once he has sisters constantly talking around him, he’ll start to pick it up.
Jack is all boy. He likes his cars and he loves to rough house with his Daddy. Ray thinks I might possibly be ruining him by sitting him on a potty to pee. He’s really not tall enough for anything else.
When we got Jack, he rarely reacted to anything. Now, because he’s frustrated with us he will throw a fit. Those first few days we wondered if he would be capable of expressing emotion. Yesterday we tried to give him ice cream. He laid down on the sidewalk wailing and sobbing at the sky. While it wasn’t fun, it was progress because we now know he’s capable of showing emotion. That wasn’t the first time and I’m sure it won’t be the last.
There’s also the arms. One of his first tantrums was because I swaddled him in a towel. He is always freezing when we get him out of the bath. He did not want his arms wrapped. Now, he lets me wrap him and cuddle as long as I want. He absolutely will not let you cover his arms in his crib though.
That’s it. Changes documented, maybe more for me than for you. Maybe one day Jack will want to hear exactly how many changes he made in the first few days with us. We’re counting our many blessings with this little guy and thanking God for all of them.