Saturday, May 28, 2011

Two Months

I can't believe we met this little boy only two months ago.  On March 28th, he was understandably scared and sad and overwhelmed.  Those first few weeks included many tantrums and a few epic meltdowns.

Two months later, he has melded so perfectly into our family.  I can't pinpoint exactly what has taken place; I just know that everything suddenly feels easier.  He seems more at ease, which puts the rest of us at ease.  He can play independently now and doesn't need Mama there every moment of the day.  This has been huge. He and Cholita are now usually good friends, which has brought a feeling of peace back to our home---well, as peaceful as it can be with 5 children.

The language difficulties have largely vanished.  We still would love to communicate with him on a deeper level, and he has a long way to go before I'd call him fluent, but he has functional English.  If I was dropped in China two months ago, I guarantee that I would not have functional Mandarin.  XiXi can get his needs met with his present vocabulary and seems to understand a great deal more than he can say.  Even without anyone around, I hear him playing in the other room, speaking English, not Mandarin.   When a Mandarin speaker asks him questions, he still understands the Mandarin, but often answers back in English, or a mix of English and Mandarin, or sometimes just complete gibberish.  He no longer jabbers away in Mandarin.  I don't know if that's by choice or because the Mandarin is slipping away, or probably a combination of both.

He's very intuitive and understands a great deal through observation.  He helped Lyle with a building project the other day and Lyle said that XiXi just seemed to know what to do to be helpful.  When Lyle needed boards held together, without being asked, XiXi held them together.  XiXi handed him screws when he needed screws.  He's very logical and has a quick mind.  He's also street smart and savvy.  Last week when he saw the goats fighting, he picked up a handful of gravel, threw it against the barn wall, and glared at the stunned animals, who hung their heads in shame.  After just a few weeks in Primary, he indicated that he wanted to give the opening prayer, so I asked if he could have that assignment.  Much to everyone's surprise, he marched right up to the microphone and said a perfectly understandable prayer in English.

After we agreed to adopt XiXi, I'll admit to a moment of panic.  Well, many moments of panic.  What have I done?  I thought to myself. This boy will be nearly four years old!  What if he has severe attachment issues?  What if he's violent?  What if  he's been permanently scarred by orphanage life?  What if I've just ruined our family?  Then I got an e-mail from our agency's in-China representative.  She knew us from Cholita's adoption and she said that when she heard we were interested in adopting Xi Yun Xi, she called a woman who works in XiXi's orphanage.  Over the years she'd built a friendship with her and had a great deal of faith in her honesty.  Unbeknownst to us, she called and asked if there was any reason we should not adopt this boy.  At the mention of XiXi's name, her friend (who I believe was Ayi from Gotcha' Day) said, "Oh, he's such a great boy."  In only two months, I can wholeheartedly agree.  He's such a great boy.


SS said...

What a precious boy....and family! We finally received our LOA after 85 days. It is so awesome to see how XiXi is progressing!


Julie said...

Wow...I knew it!! So happy that everything is going so well, and the goats hanging their head in shame...hilarious!

val said...

He is such a great boy & already you have a special relationship!

Anonymous said...

Sweet boy! Beautiful family! Thank you for sharing your adoption story.

I relate to your story because
we also brought home our DD when she was nearly 4 yrs old and her language acquisition was awesome to watch. BTDT: there was a time after coming home where she understood us yet completely lost her Mandarin and was eerily silent, which is not uncommon. She still gets ELL help in 4th grade and she is super bright. They say it takes upwards of six years for someone to catch up on their second language after completely losing their first language. You may know all about this. We learned all about things like subtractive bilingualism and expressive language vs. academic language from the WiDA Consortium thru her school and as we went along...there wasn't as much online when we first came home like there is today...or I didn't know where to even start searching in 2004. You are probably better prepared. = )

It's truly an awesome adventure!
Enjoy! Enjoy! Enjoy!

SS said...

I saw a picture of XiXi on the blog referred to on the yahoo group this morning. I just wanted to make sure you knew :)


Rachel's Blog said...

Aww, what a cutie! He is such a sweetie! It sounds as if he has adjusted well. I have three adopted brothers (two from China, one from Korea) and the two youngest are 3 and 4 years old. Such a fun age!! I love watching their English progress! :-)