Friday, February 7, 2014

Almost a year....

It's been awhile since my last post....And so much has changed. :)
We have had almost a year with our Little Miss Liberty! A year of firsts, a year of exploring, a year of growing, a year of change.... for all of us.
It has been such a crazy year for us! There have been so many awesome and cool experiences for Liberty and for our family! 
First, Liberty's health is excellent! She has had a few check-ups with the cardiologist and all is going perfectly with her heart! Praise God! She does have a slight arrhythmia but it is very slight and needs no treatment at this time. A special shout-out to Grandma Clark (my mom) for helping us with Liberty right after her surgery. She watched Liberty when I had to return to work but wasn't quite ready to send her to daycare. Love you for it, Mom!
This summer we decided NOT to send her to school in the fall. We were really stressing about what was best for her but then we both realized that she had been through so much already this year that we chose to wait a year before sending her. She does go to pre-school and has been learning so much thanks to all of the wonderful teachers at Stepping Stones in Manteno. :) She LOVES going to school and playing with all of her friends. and she adores Ms. Kristen and Ms. Kirsten. :)
Our next challenge is POTTY TRAINING!!  She has done so great but is still in a diaper at night and nap time. But realistically, we are trying to break habits that she has had for 4.5 years! Like Dr. Batish says, "Give her a bit of a break, Kathi. She's been through quite a bit this year." This is very true and in the grand scheme of things... WHO CARES! :) She will get it!
Liberty's language has come a long way! She speaks 98% English. She has a bit of trouble with "S", "ST" and "CH". but we have had her evaluated and were told she will catch on and not to worry about it. We are sure she will catch up quick. She is doing much better lately.
We were super excited to get into a Mandarin/ Chinese Culture class which met at Olivet. We were with about 7 other families with children adopted from China. I really loved that Liberty was learning that being an Asian child with Caucasian parents was no big deal. :) She loved getting together with the kids. She even would answer questions in class when the teacher asked in Chinese. We were thrilled! We really want to do all we can to keep a lot of her culture and language in her life. We were sad to learn that after 8 weeks, the teacher has to take a hiatus for a bit. We are hoping to pick back up in the Spring.
Liberty took a dance class and was a bit confused and really didn't seem to understand why she had to kick her leg up.. haha
So we started Music class at King Music with Ms. LeighAnn and she LOVES it! She really enjoys music of all kinds. Loves playing the instruments and dancing to her own beat. :) 
We also have her in gymnastics which our doctor said would be good for her heart and for stretching her torso out. I guess a lot of babies who grew up in orphanages have stiff torsos. Not to mention her core has been opened 4 times. So we are at Golden's with Ms. Donna and we love it!
Halloween we laid low and just handed out candy. She was Minnie Mouse and loved seeing all of the kids come to her house to visit. Thanksgiving was so fun. Her eyes were popping out of her head at all of the goodies she was going to get to try! And being able to play with all of her cousins, ALL DAY was a special treat too!
Christmas was so fun even though she doesn't really get the whole Santa thing. We have a Santa statue in our foyer. I would say, "Santa is watching you... You need to behave." then she would go over to the Santa and say, "Are you watching me??" I think it kinda creeped her out. haha!
We talked more about Jesus' birthday and she seems to maybe understand that a bit better than a fat, white-bearded man sneaking into the house at night. 
Not having Damon home for Christmas was sad but Sammy and Liberty are keeping up traditions. :)
My Brother-in-Law did an awesome sermon this Christmas season about adoption and how we all are adopted by God. He used Liberty's story to introduce the adoption concept in a way people understand it. The love we felt from the sermon and from the people of the church was so overwhelming! Liberty has been her just under a year and so many people were talking about following this blog during the process and how touched they were. She has touched so many with her story. We just hope it will help to bring many other families together.
Liberty has been Sam's little cheerleader this year during wrestling season. She's like a little parrot yelling everything her dad and I yell out.. "C'mon, Sammy! You can do it!"  It is so cute and a bit entertaining for the crowd. :) She sure loves her brothers...even tho they butt heads a bit. I think it is because Sam and Liberty are both a bit bossy. haha
We just celebrated Chinese New Year by reading about the Year of the Horse, making Chinese lanterns, swept the "evil spirits" out of the house , received red envelopes, and shared Chinese gold coins and Chinese sweets with her friends at school. We also dressed up in our best Chinese Dress we bought while in Shanghai! She loved it! 
One more thing to share! She can verbalize things much better now and is realizing that she didn't have parents in China and now...she does! She said one day "Mama, in China I didn't have a Mama and Baba but now I do.  I love my family so much! They keep me safe!" Talk about needing a tissue!!  
Thank you God for the blessing of this little light!!  We couldn't be more blessed!!
Now onward to another year of adventure with Little Miss Liberty!!!  Let's see what she can do this year!! :)