It's been a busy summer, we've been having fun doing a lot of activities (I'll post some pictures one of these days - maybe after school starts :)), trying to stay cool (we've had very little rain and many 100+ degree days), and trying to continue to learn how to live with each other.
We have had Jian for 10 months. WOW! 10 months! A year ago right now we were still very unsure whether we would even have a new son! Some days it feels like he's always been with us, and some days it feels like we're living with a stranger. I'm sure he thinks the same thing :). Maybe this is what all parents of teenagers think, but, wow, God has sure called us to learn to be more dependent on Him! Some days, I feel like we have a 10 month-old son, some days a 5 year-old and other days, a 14 year-old going on 20.
Jian truly is a delight and makes us laugh a lot! He's great with humor and sarcasm, he loves to be active and play sports, but, he's not very good at entertaining himself! He's now able to do something on his own for about 20-30 minutes! He also still has so many things to learn/unlearn! Some days it's so overwhelming to think about all the things to teach/re-teach in the short time we have with him, but I try to remember it's not our responsibility to make sure what he learns for the future, it's our responsibility to parent him today, to teach him what we can for today, to show him love, discipline, and patience, and to point him to his Creator, just for today!
I've heard it said that to teach a child something new they need to see/hear it @8,000 times. I've wondered, when you're re-teaching something, how many more times do you have to show them, 10,000 more?
I'm reminded daily of my limits as a human and as a parent. I sometimes think about how hypocritical I seem trying to teach him how to live when I don't always do the same! God has definitely humbled me and helped me to see how much I need Him because this is not something we could do without His guidance!
So, as if you couldn't tell, we've had some rough days lately, but, those rough days are becoming easier and Jian handles them better than he did 6 and 8 months ago. Some days it helps a lot to talk about China. We talk about the orphanage, his past, his history, and how difficult it is growing up for 14 years without a family, without someone teaching you, without boundaries, and then, having all of that along with a new culture, new home, new language and more.
We're all improving again and feeling better, but, some of us are really ready for school to start again (20 days if we were counting)! Some days a constant shadow gets a little tiring, but, I'm also thankful he wants to be nearby. It's great to have his perspective and see the things he's teaching us.
Last night, after a very poignant conversation with Jian at the dinner table, I said to Jon, I don't know how I can be so irritated and frustrated with him at times like this, when I look back and realize he's only been here 10 months and says things like this! (The conversation was about wanting to go back to China and tell his friends about God - and how God is the REAL and only God, that their idols will not help them, and that God loves them no matter what they do (this is a brief summary of the discussion)).
So, despite the frustrations and irritations, and wanting to get away and have some alone time around 5:30pm every day (well, maybe starting around 4 or so :)), we recognize and remember that we are truly blessed, and also that this is real life. It's not easy and there's no way around it to make it any easier, except digging in and going through the hard times. I often try to find answers in books (there are definitely helpful ones out there), articles, other parents, but forget so easily that there's not 1 answer and there are no easy answers, it would definitely be convenient, but, then it would make me think I'm doing something great instead of relying on The Answer and the One who can get us through! The hard days remind me that we were made for more than this - that this world is not our home! And on the good days, I'm thankful that our future home is one where we'll all be together again praising the One who created our family and created THE family!