Tuesday, May 12, 2009

One year ago today.......Rita became a Homan

May 8th marked the 2 year anniversary of committing to adopt Rita, now today May 12th, 2009 we are celebrating one whole year with Rita as a Homan girl.We've had our ups and downs over the last year. I won't lie and say that adopting an older child is a 'piece of cake'......but I can gladly say that the good has far out weighed the bad.In a nutshell, the two greatest things that I can tell you about Rita is her loving spirit and how extremely smart she is. Rita is friends with EVERYBODY!!!!!! She is bubbly and happy 99% of the time. I am still in awe of how well she has mastered the English language and learning at school. You would have to really, really listen closely to detect in her spoken language that she is ESL (English as a 2nd language). Sadly she hasn't retained any Armenian. Some people would criticize us for not being able to help preserve her language but we did our best to help her flourish in the language that she would need in her new life. Rita is such an intelligent girl that if she chooses to learn her native language again she will do so with ease. Rita has thrived in school. She has amazed the staff at her elementary on how well she has done this year. I love this pictures of Rita and Ted. They had just met for the first time (remember me and my aunt had traveled to Armenia a month earlier). Rita was happy her but quickly became very stressed out once she realized she was leaving the orphanage that day. Rita remembers clearly "being shoved in the back" of our facilitator's car.....it was an ugly seen that no one could ever forget. When we talk about that moment Rita always protects Ted and my feelings by saying that she only acted that way because she was scared. I always tell her that I would have been really, really scared if that had happened to me when I was only 7!!!!! One of my favorite photos from Yerevan...."the Cascade"....I can't wait to take Rita back to her beautiful homeland someday. We always want Rita to be proud of her Armenian heritage.Just another night at home hanging out with the family.

So I told you the 2 greatest things about Rita. I'll share the 2 most difficult things, things that we know will continue to get better over time. First...we still really STRUGGLE with her immaturity. When Rita is crawling around on the floor acting like a cat, I try to remember that she was institutionalized for 7 very formative years. When she's throwing a temper tantrum about a $1.00 toy being broke, I try to remember that she didn't have anything to call her own until she was 7. When she's outside "hollering at the sky", I try to remember she wasn't able to express herself normally for 7 years. The second thing is the way she talks ALL of the TIME!!! I don't mean some of the time...I mean ALLLLLLLLLL of the TIME!!!!! Thankfully she obeys the rules of not talking at school when she's not supposed to but that doesn't seem to count at home. Rita can be absolutely exhausting with her non stop chatter. If I had a dollar for everytime I simply said "Rita stop talking" I could finance another adoption (haha!!) We are slowly accepting the fact that Rita is going to just be one of those people who talk too much.

Rita has a super busy summer ahead of her. Next Sunday, she and Paul have their first "Challanger" baseball game. This is a county baseball league for kids with varying disabilities. She is so excited that she gets to play baseball!!! She also will start taking tap dance lessons. She had been in awe watching a movie with a girl that tap danced. We are lucky that we only live a block away from a fitness center that offers tap. Rita also gets to go to summer school. Her IAT team at school felt that since she has done so well this year and that we all really want to push her next year that she would benefit from summer school. It will be just one morning a week for most of the summer. We are very lucky because her summer school teacher will also be doing private tutoring of Rita for 1-2 hours a week. Of course we'll be spending alot of time at the pool so I'll plan to have her take swimming lessons. Then the highlight of her summer will be a visit from Anna. Anna was her very best friend in the orphanage. Anna will be in DC during July to have another surgery. We are staying in Nags Head, NC the last week of July, so hopefully Anna and her family will visit us there. NC will be closer drive than coming all of the way to Ohio. Rita and Anna talked on the phone a few days ago......she was just as happy as could be. It was interesting because Anna's mom said that she had been asking about Rita alot recently and I told her that Rita had been speaking of Anna too. These two girls are kindred spirits no doubt.

As far as Rita's "little arm" goes, it really is still a non-issue. We did get a reminder postcard from the orthopedic specialist to come for her yearly visit. I'm assuming they'll do xrays to see how she continues to grow. His main concern last year was keeping an eye on her scoliosis. She'll also visit her pediatric ophthalmologist this summer. I think her eyes still look great, no noticeable drifting or anything. We do wish we could tie her classes to her head because they are always lost or bent or broke or something!!!!

I'm going to end this post with a special prayer request. Rita had been blessed with the greatest kindergarten teacher this year. Rita adores Mrs. Burke!!! Mrs. B has been diagnosed with a pretty serious form of cancer (yes...all cancer is serious...but it sounds like she has quite a fight ahead of her). Rita insist that we pray for Mrs. Burke every night.....I couldn't forget to pray for Mrs. B if I tried. So, if you could please send a few prayers up for this special lady who has meant so much to Rita during her first year of school.


Lisa said...

She has grown so much! Thanks for sharing and congrats on the first of many wonderful years together.

mom 2 many said...

She HAS grown!!! I am so amazed by her English... since Jack really isn't doing well at all in that area :-)
It is hard to believe it has already been a YEAR!!!
Thanks for sharing!! We'll be praying for Mrs. B!

Stevens Family said...

Awe, happy 1 year home! She looks so comfortable and at home. Sounds like she's come so far in just 1 year. She's just lovely.

I'm very sorry to hear about her teacher. I have a good friend currently battling cancer as well. It's just so unfair. Prayers to Mrs. B.