Today is just another day. Up early to fix three lunches because who wants school tuna fish? Plus, our school arrival time is pushed up by at least 15 minutes because Arleigh has duties as an aloha greeter. Makes for an interesting day when Bria is still refusing to sleep in her own bed. Just when I think I have this parenting thing down…there’s Bria AKA curve ball. Jack has a doctor’s appointment. I just looked at the calendar for the next week… assessments and trips to Tripler. Oh my… one appointment downtown today when it’s an early release day… this is another cake walk day in our ordinary chaos. But it’s not.

Today is an anniversary. It’s the anniversary of the first day that we met this guy.

He has been such a blessing. I was so naive. I think I had these weird delusions of grandeur. I thought that since we were finally through the process, Jack would settle in and seamlessly fit. A little love is all it takes right? Well… after the last hour with Jack having the first real meltdown that he’s had in months…one that lasted for over a half hour…. I’m here to tell you. The adoption process in hard. Parenting a child that has no idea how to communicate and didn’t arrive in  your home until he was three and half. That’s harder. Love helps. Love is the big thing. You also need patience and time, compassion and empathy, nerves of steel and a big heaping dose of courage. All of those things aren’t always in a plentiful supply around here. I can honestly say I’m thankful that I know that’s when God shows up. (like He isn’t always here.) It’s not anything I do or Ray does. I know that I’m horribly incapable most of the time. Look at the progress we’ve made together this year.

This doesn’t even look like the same boy to me. That boy is tiny and frail. He felt like his bones were hollow. Now he’s sort of built like a brick house, solid and dang hard to carry everywhere. He looks pretty stout but there are 8 layers of girlie winter clothes under that jacket. He was so so tiny.

It didn’t take long for Jack to show that he had some personality but Boy Howdy! You should see it now! When he leaves our house after dinner and hits the playground, everyone there knows Jack. They know he’ll be handing out both plumeria petals and high fives. He’s there to entertain the crowds and most of the time they are there to be entertained. I would like to say something about coming out of his shell, but Bria was the best example of bold that any little brother could have. Also, did I mention the playground? When Jack arrived from China, playgrounds meant crying, wailing and gnashing of teeth. Now, if the front door opens, you hear Jack yell, “Go Play!” and he’s off. He climbs the slides and generally scares the crap out of me with what he tries. Again, he’s a follower. He’s usually watching Hanan in the top of a banyan tree when he’s trying to be a daredevil.

Thankfully we have no more of this. I wasn’t sure it would ever happen but Jack successfully potty trained this year…at Grandma’s! Grandma convinced me that we were ready to ditch the pullups so we did.  We are now at a point that he can even go by himself with no help from Mom or Dad. Can I get a hallelujah? Amen! That face was courtesy of one of the worst smells that I have ever in my life smelt…and my nose has been alot of places that I really wish it hadn’t.


Let me prove that my trip down Jack’s memory lane isn’t all about him… a year ago I was playing with a baby tiger. I can’t let that go and I would love to see how big that baby is now after a year.

So today, we’ll remember. We’ll remember that a year ago we met a boy who could barely walk. Now, he’s running, jumping, sliding and swimming. He was a boy who was afraid of EVERYTHING. I can’t say he doesn’t get nervous now but I’m pretty sure that he has security he never really knew before. Jack can count and name all his letters. He needs a little help with the other stuff. At one of the assessments I was asked if Jack knows his colors. Um… I’m still trying to teach him cat and dog and he thinks all football players are Titans. So clearly, we have a long row to hoe still.

One year ago, a very sweet lady wrote me a note. She told me that her son was just like Jack. They came from the same SWI…I think. She told me to give it a year. Hold your breath, ride it out. He’ll get better. Praise God! He has. It’s nice to stop and remember how much has changed for our sweet boy and us. If you are that sweet lady and you’re reading this… I have more questions that ever and I can’t find your information, please comment or drop me an email.

In Jack’s last year, he’s had too many firsts to count. Planes, trains, automobiles… Disney World and then moving to Hawaii. He goes to the beach, but he doesn’t love it. He swims like a fish. He’s found love for Tucker. It took a while but I think they are actually buddies now. He’s made trips to KY and IL. He tries to do everything he sees his sister do, even though he doesn’t realize that volleyballs are much harder than his ball. I think we’ve set him up for a great second year. He’ll be in one spot and hopefully feel a little more stabile. We’ve seen his vocabulary jump again. I’m hoping this is the year that he talks. This is going to be the year he starts at the same school as his sisters. There is so much work but so much good in front of us.

If you are new here and you’re interested, you can read about our China adventures starting here. Now, it’s time to move into year two with an appointment with Jack’s new eye doctor. Prayers are always appreciated.