I apologize for not updating you all on how Ruthie is doing sooner. She is doing just great. She is adapting so well to everything. She has a great sense of humor, always wants to help and is just so happy.
Making a gingerbread house with her grandma, above.
She had a wonderful first Christmas. Since Christmas is really just a festival in China, we did not expect her to understand how the whole Santa Claus thing worked. Well, either she knew something about it from China, or had watched enough Christmas shows with Kai & Gracie that she had it all figured out on Christmas Eve. She kept coming up to me and telling me that Santa was going to come down our fireplace and burn his bottom on the fire. She kept jumping up and down, she was so excited. Our Christmas morning tradition starts with everyone coming out at the same time from their rooms to see what Santa brought them. That way we are ready with the camera and get to see their excitement. So, usually the younger kids sleep in our rooms with us and we all go out together. Kai & Gracie slept in our room and Ruthie slept in Rachele's room. At 6:00 am, Ruthie woke up Rachele to tell her that she heard Santa Claus - she had her ear to the door and said that he was in our house. She was so excited, she could hardly keep still.
Our daughter, Brittney and her husband came over early so we could all watch the kids open their Santa gifts. It was so wonderful to see how happy Ruthie was. The rest of Christmas day with spent with her grandmother, more aunts, uncles & cousins, including Sofie - her friend from the orphanage and now cousin. It was a very special time for us all.
*The day before, we had spent the day at her grandparent's house with her aunt, uncle & cousins opening gifts. When she received her first gift, she opened it slowly and was so happy to see her new toy. A little while later, she asked me if she was allowed to bring it home - it was so sad and sweet at the same time.
This past Sunday, Ruthie began taking a class at our local Chinese school, which is run by the local Chinese church. She is actually taking 2 different classes there on Sunday afternoons. The first class is a Chinese class with kids her age that have come from China & Taiwan. She is continuing to learn Mandarin & her Chinese characters (writing). We do not want her to lose her language and this way she can continue to increase her Chinese vocabulary and writing along with reading. It is also so great for her to be with other Chinese people, especially kids her age.
After her first class, she couldn't wait to show me her workbook and all of the work she had already done. Everyday, she sits and reads aloud her Chinese lessons. I love seeing her write & speak in Chinese. The other class she is taking at the school is a Chinese drawing class for kids her age. She loves to draw and so we hope she really enjoys this class as well.
Ruthie started school this week at our local elementary school where she is in the third grade. The days before school started, she was looking forward to starting school. The first morning, she was nervous. I felt so bad for her. I can only imagine how scary it is to start a new school, but imagine starting a new school in a new country, where you don't know the language and all the kids look different. One of the many things that I like about our school is that there are kids of many different races; white, Hispanic, black & some Asian kids. I think it is so much easier for Ruthie because she does not stick out just by being Asian.
Todd took her on the first day and she was nervous, but he walked her to the classroom and the teacher was ready for her to start. Her desk was ready and the teacher had assigned another little Chinese girl to be her special helper for the first few days. When we picked her up at the end of the day, she looked tired, but happy. We asked her how it went and she said it went well.
Yesterday, was her second day of school and she was not nervous about going. The teacher started her on her ESL (English as Second Language) curriculum. When Ruthie came home, she couldn't wait to show us the work she had done in school, learning English. She also had a handout regarding a fund raiser where she earns money for the American Heart Association by jumping rope. She was so excited about the fund raiser - she is a great jump roper. She also had to show us the prizes she could win dependent on how much money she raises.
At home, Todd and I speak to Ruthie 50% Chinese (Mandarin) & 50% English. She communicates back to us in both Chinese & English. The amazing thing is that after only 2 days of school, she is already speaking more English at home. I can't wait for her to learn more English, because it will allow us to get to know more about her, and she about us. Our Chinese speaking/comprehension is pretty basic, so there are definite limits on the level of conversations we can have with her.
Ruthie (with Kai), lying inside of her Barbie Dreamhouse box - she really is silly.
Ruthie loves our cats and our dog, Missy. She loves to help me cook, she likes to make you laugh and loves to help Todd and I. The other day, I was doing laundry and for the first time, I had her fold her own clothes. Well, she folds her clothes in a totally different way than I do - she rolls them. She then took her clothes to her room and then proceeded to empty her dresser drawers and roll all of her clothes. I just sat there and watched, I was so thrilled to have a child that was neat and organized, (actually, Kai is pretty organized too). *Rolling clothes actually makes sense, because you can view all of your clothes in the drawer when deciding what to wear, instead of having them stacked on top of each other.
Kai thought it was cool and proceeded to empty all of his drawers and roll his clothes too.
Thank you all for all your prayers and support. I will periodically update you all on how she is doing, when I get a chance. Life is great, but busy and I can honestly say that I am so happy.