Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Anna Receives E-Mail from Teacher from China!

We received an e-mail from Anna's teacher, Miss Heidi, who teaches the children English while in China. Miss Heidi is with an American organization from California who sent her to China, Bao'an Shenzhen orphanage. Anna has talked about Miss Heidi (Miss Haddie) from the first time that we met her. She has sang many English songs and always says, "Miss Haddie say to Anna". It is such a comfort for parents like us to know that someone cared very much for your child. That they were loved and hugged. The last pictures that we received from China before traveling to pick up Anna included Heidi and Anna together. We would like to thank Miss Heidi for everything that she has done and continues to do for the abandoned children in China. These children face such sadness everyday of their lives and you have special people, like Heidi, who come in and do amazing things! Everyone can remember that special teacher they had in their lives that gave them so much encouragement. Well Heidi, you will always be that special someone in Anna's life and in ours. You don't know what all you have done for this child! She shows such concern when someone is sad or hurt. She will help the elderly walk, comfort a hurt child, and ask about an ailment that we may have had. We never new who to thank until now - thank you so much Miss Heidi.
Here is an excerpt of the e-mail that we received:
Hello, my name is Heidi. I am the director of Sunshine Academy where your daughter Anna attended school for several years. I have known Anna since she arrived at the Bao'an Center. In fact, I gave her the name Anna. :)
I was thinking of Anna and thought I would take a look to see how she is doing. I cried when I read your sentence: 
Did we do the right thing, you bet we did. She is the most loving, affectionate, and happy little girl.
I always say that she is one of our miracles - a child who changed so drastically through the consistent love and boundaries given to her by her teachers day after day. I was (and still am) so incredibly proud of her. And of our teachers that invested in this little girl. 
And then came the day when you stepped into her life! A true miracle again. We prayed for you all and for her and now it is a thrill for me to see pictures of our girl Anna with her family in Illinois! Fishing and playing with her sister and hearing about going to school.... I love it!!! 
You both have given Anna a rebirth - an opportunity that is totally and completely a miracle. Rejected so many times and with such a difficult past, I am over the moon with seeing the love that you have for her. I pray that you will continue to have the grace you need to raise this precious girl. 
Please tell her that Miss Heidi says hello and I would like to give her a big big hug! Please tell her that I have seen the pictures of her and her sweet sister Mia and I am so proud of her. She is such a pretty girl who has accomplished so much already!! She is very brave and I know she has a wonderful future ahead. 
And you are also both very brave - to survive those first few days and weeks all in the name of love. Thank you so much! 
With much love from China,
Heidi

Anna did have a hard time adjusting. She was angry, hurt, confused, and tried so hard to control everything around her. It took months for her to quiet down and just enjoy the new things around her. Anna is very outgoing, friendly, and so very sincere. She is the most affectionate and caring child! We can't tell you how much this little girl of yours is loved. Thank you Miss Heidi!
Miss Tyler (who Anna said was Heidi) and Anna 1 Year Ago!


Miss Heidi this is a special message from Anna!!

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The first video what had of Anna talking to Miss Heidi was too long to upload so we had to retake and Anna wasn't as spontaneous as the first one. When Anna had been with us for a few weeks she would sing an English song (Old MacDonald, Happy Birthday, etc.) and always say Miss Haddie (Heidi). When she knew more English she would say, "Miss Heidi say to Anna". We didn't know she had other English teachers until Miss Heidi told us about Miss Tyler who had been with Anna for the last few years.  Thanks to all the special people from Sunshine Academy for your years of service to these special children. Anna is so much more different than Mia in that Anna has been exposed to so much more and was given a head start on living in America. We just want you to know that you do make a difference and it is huge!!! Thank you for caring enough and loving these children who so desperately need love. I pray that one day we won't be in need of orphanages because all children will have a loving, caring, supportive homes! May God bless each and every one of you.


Monday, September 2, 2013

Anna's "Gotcha Day" and The Clothes She Was Wearing.

Anna is from a region similar to our Florida weather, southern China. The weather was rainy and cool when the three of us went to meet Anna. The temperature was around 55 F. Anna and her caregivers (4 total) were already there and waiting in a room off to left of the main area. We had to fill out paperwork before we could meet her but that didn't stop her from running out of the room laughing and giggling. Her smile was so sweet. I clearly remember seeing her in warm black tights and a black skirt. Her legs were so very, very thin. You wanted to protect this child from the moment you saw her. When her caregivers brought her into meet us, we handed Anna a stuffed lamb and she threw it back at Phil. She was scared at this time. She did sit with us and seemed to be relaxing. That is about the time all her caregivers left and then she really got upset. She kept repeating in Chinese that she wanted to go back to the orphanage. I remember her caregiver telling us that what ever happens just make sure we get her home. She needs a family more than anything. This little girl was so scared and mad that she fought, screamed, cried, yelled, all the way back to the hotel. She had on this little coat that was buttoned and without that we would not have been able to drag her out of the civil affairs office and to the car. When we all got back to the hotel room Anna told our guide in Chinese that she couldn't stay because she didn't have any clothes so I went and grabbed her suitcase and emptied everything of hers onto the bed and said, "there ya go." She loves to tell this story over and over again. Did we do the right thing, you bet we did. She is the most loving, affectionate, and happy little girl. Here are pictures of "gotcha day" and what she was wearing that day.

Anna on "gotcha day" with all her caregivers watching

Anna and Mia's first meeting

Us with Anna's caregivers

Anna's clothes on "Gotcha Day" on a warm day

Mia's "Gotcha Day" And The Clothes She Was Wearing.

I wanted to share with you pictures of what the girls were wearing when we picked them up in China. It is important to know that they dress the children very warm and they are dressed in thick layers of clothing. They also serve warm water (almost hot) instead of cold water with ice. Most orphanages are not heated or air conditioned, even in areas with weather similar to central Illinois weather. Mia's orphanage was in a region that was very cold in winter and hot in summer. When we picked her up in December 2012 it was 40 degrees F. She was wearing a coat and three layers of clothing. The clothes were too small for her. Some orphanages ask that you bring a change of clothes so they can take back the clothes they have on but this wasn't the case for our girls. Mia remembers getting back to the hotel and I gave her new clothes to change into. She said she was very happy to wear her new clothes. Some children will continue to wear their old clothes for a week. She accepted her name, clothes, and new family very well and never looked back. Here is a picture of Mia when we first saw her and a picture of the clothes she had on. She also had the bag we sent her including the small gifts (flower bag on table).
Mia's caregiver, me, and Mia

Mia's caregiver and Mia saying goodbye to her


What Mia was wearing (not shown - her orange shoes)          

Friday, August 23, 2013

Fun Summer and Now Back To School!

Things have been pretty quiet over the summer. As Anna would say, "Aahhh faster". She says this when something is over quickly - like summer vacation. The girls have enjoyed bike rides on the trail, swimming, fishing, local fairs, picnics, and collecting eggs from our chickens. The girls have really enjoyed helping in the gardens this year. Anna actually loves pulling weeds. There was a stretch of time when we were pulling weeds everyday for weeks and weeks. We had a few weeks off from pulling weeds. Today she told Phil, "All the time, no pull weeds, can I go pull weeds?"  Uhh, yea go pull weeds. The both pulled weeds for about 45 minutes. Anna had a pile of weeds in no time that was huge. She will have dirt on her from head to toe and Mia won't have any dirt on her. She doesn't pick as fast but she is the neatest one.
We have also enjoyed several camp fires at night in our own back yard including smores and watching a meteor shower. The girls weren't too keen on scary stories but once they got the hang of them and could reason that the stories are not real they started to enjoy them. I started out by telling them nursery rhyme stories (The Three Little Pigs, Goldilocks, Little Red Riding Hood). Then we got into a little more scary stories. We have corn fields on all sides so the sounds of the wind blowing through the fields are scary all on their own, now add coyotes howling a little ways from the house and things get real interesting. We told the girls not to make any sound and just listen, Anna looks over at Phil and asks him if he is sleeping. I told her that he was not asleep because he wasn't snoring. A few seconds later and he is snoring up a storm. She runs over and pinches his nose and whispers to him, "The coyotes will hear you, you have to be quiet." They have really grown tall and Mia has really gained much needed weight. We are still working on putting weight on Anna. She has two things against her, a high metabolism and she doesn't absorb all the protein that she eats. She can eat at one meal as much as Phil and I do combined. I kid you not - the child can eat and eat and a few moments after a meal she will ask when she can have a snack. We are even asking the school to add another snack or additional main course at lunch just to keep her from being so hungry.

Both girls are back to school and adjusting. Anna received 5 green stars this week and Mia is also doing well in class. We didn't get called once for behavior this week. I think that may be a record. We have requested IEP's for each one and are hoping that they can start testing the girls for mental and cognitive developmental delays. We also think they may both have a learning disability. When I went back through all of Mia's early years I read that she did not talk until she was three and that she did have cognitive delays. They had the younger children doing everything for her because "the younger children were aware of her limitations". Nice. No wonder she lets Anna do everything for her and Anna even makes simple decisions for her. Mia's teacher is working on making her more independent at school and we have always worked on this at home. Sounds good on paper but in reality she needs a lot of reminders until she gets it down. Both girls will still need extensive English classes (one on one). They have come a long way since coming home and we are all able to relax more now. We have all got into our routines and things aren't as stressful.

Watching the bobber - what patience!

Too intense to sit in the chair after catching 7 fish! Awesome!


Untangling my line for the second time - Ugh.
I caught 4 fish my first time ever!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

New Kitten!

The neighbor stopped by and asked us if we had lost a kitten. He had a 5 week old, orange and white kitten in his hands but not for long. Anna came right up to him and asked if she could have her! He said he had about 12 kittens that were not weened as of yet and we were welcomed to have this one. She has long hair and is really playful. Are plans were to bring home two kittens at the same time so they could both have one but it didn't work that way. We had a contact who had seven kittens and would be available at the end of June. Now we only needed one more kitten from them instead of two.
The girls are given 5 minutes each to hold the kitten and then the kitten gets 15 - 20 to play by herself! We actually set a timer so everyone is happy, including the kitten!

Sorry to say the kitten is no longer with us. We are not sure just what happened to her but we let her outside to play with the girls like we do everyday and we havn't seen her since. Maybe we will wait another year before trying it again.

On a good day when they like each other!!

First little kitten!

One girl is usually mad when the other one has the kitten!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Anna and Mia's First Fair and Rides!

We all went to the little fair in Princeville. This was the girl's first experience with lemon shake ups, funnel cakes, roller coaster, parachute ride, tilt-a-whirl, and more. I took the girls on some of the tamer rides before braving the bigger ones. They rode the carousel, small roller coaster, and slide before riding the tilt-a-whirl with me. The only thing the ride did was go back and forth and never did spin like the other seats. Anna got off the ride and told the man running the ride that it didn't go round and round. When he said what she said it again and then told me that I needed to tell him that it never went round and round. I told her that sometimes that happens. We then braved the parachute ride that went up and around very fast and high and then stopped and went backwards. Mia had her head down and I am guessing her eyes shut tight. Anna was more vocal and said it was too high and she was scared. Her hands were sweaty and when I told her to dry them on my pants she said that she would wait. I am guessing she didn't want to let go. I talked them through the ride and told them there wasn't anything to be afraid of. After a few times around Anna asked me how come I wasn't afraid. I told her that it was fun going fast and didn't she like going fast? She agreed. We were the last ones off the ride and Anna told the guy that she wanted to go around fast one more time. Really? They both wanted to go again. Maybe I will have some brave ones to ride the bigger rides after all!!

Anna loving the slide!

Mia having fun!

Riding next to each other - good sign.

They have never laughed so hard!!!

Tilt-a-whirl!

Going fast now!!

Lemon shake ups and funnel cakes.
Looked like fun from here!


We Rescued a Baby Robin, No Really, We Did!

Three weeks ago the girls were riding their bikes up and down our driveway and happened to see three birds who fell out of their nest. Two of the little robins didn't make it and the third one had a slit on his neck and an injured eye, he was cold, hungry, and very small. The girls had Phil come and look and then Phil asked me if I wanted to be "Opie Taylor". He was referring to the episode where Opie takes in and cares for three little birds after he killed the mother with a sling-shot. After thinking it over I said yes thinking that the bird would at least be warm and not hungry (if he would eat) when he joined his nest mates. I really didn't expect it to make it through the night. We put flour on his neck wound, warmed up some old towels in the mircrowave, and feed it some watered down chicken food. It was nestled in the warm towels and in the morning he had his mouth wide open and making a racket. We have been feeding him for the last three weeks. He moved from the bowl on the counter to a box with chip bedding we use for the chickens. He is now chirping when he hears our voice and can fly for a short time. He has flown on top of our heads and shoulders when hungry. We call him Robbie for short. We didn't take photos of him when he was little because we didn't think he would survive but here are some photos of him after a week and again a few weeks after that. How do we know it's a boy . . . we don't.

1 Week After His Rescue

3 Weeks After His Rescue
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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Flood Waters!



Road Closed - Flood Waters from "Mud Run Creek"

Road Closed - Road Next to Our House

Panning to the Left

Panning to Left Toward Our House

Our House - It sits in middle of corn fields that were flooded

This is a view of our house that usually sits in the middle of corn and bean fields. The field next to our house is still flooded after the farmer planted corn. We have a small creek behind our house, Mud Run Creek, that overflowed after the last rainfall. More is expected in the next few days. It is so strange to see so much water where there shouldn't be any water.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

New Bikes!

Anna and her new bike

Mia and her new bike

The girls have told us all about the things they got to do while living in China. Anna said that she roller bladed, jumped on the trampoline, rode a bike, danced, and much more. Mia has told us that she hasn't done the many things that Anna has gotten to do. So we bought the girls bikes on Friday and both were afraid to go too fast. It was obvious that neither girl had been on a bike. We were starting from scratch. We told them you can't ride a bike going by going slow. We tried running along side them, but Anna would put on the brakes and Mia would steer sharply to the left and jump off. After about 30 minutes Anna wanted to trade in her bike for roller blades. We did tell her that she can learn to ride her new bike. Anna said that it was too hard. Mia just kept her opinion to herself. On Saturday morning both girls got out the bikes and we explained how it works. Anna was riding by herself the length of the drive (quite far) shortly after lunch and Mia was riding by herself the next day, on Sunday. By Sunday Anna was encouraging Mia and telling her how to ride (now that she was the expert). It was really funny the way she kept telling her to peddle and peddle faster. Anna's legs look like they had been through a meat grinder and Mia has a couple of bruises and scrapes. Anna did take a hard tumble on Monday in the gravel but not ready to give up the bike. We are hoping that we can take them bike riding on the trail. Phil and I would ride up to Wyoming, IL and back (around 14 miles) and pack a lunch. We don't plan on taking them quite that far as of yet. We will have to wait until they can get going and have a lot more control of the bike before that happens.
We did find a couple of kittens that will be ready to come home by the end of June. They are only about a week old now. They will go crazy over them. We won't tell them until it is time to get them.
The chicken coop is almost completed. We just need to put on the porch, yes, I said porch. This coop is looking like a play house. We plan on painting it with bright colors and then painting some colorful chickens and flowers. Phil suggested that I add flower boxes under the windows. I think this would just be a good place to bump our heads. I will have to post pictures when we are all done. The chickens are inside the coop since the inside is all finished.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Girls Are Making Progress!

When Anna first came to America she would say she wanted to go back to the orphanage when she was upset or didn't get her way. The other night Anna was not wanting to come outside and play with everyone so Phil went in to talk to her. She told Phil that she was not happy. He asked her why and she said that there was little to do here. She was bored not unhappy. She went on to say how many things she could do at the orphanage and she wanted to talk to her friends. Phil asked Anna if she wanted to go back to the orphanage and she said, "Baba you not listen, I not say that!" To hear her say it is hilarious! This is the first time she ever told us that she did not want to go back. She said it was not good there and she did not want to go back. She did end up coming out with us to play. One giant step for Anna, two giant steps for Baba!

The chickens are really getting big and in need of being transferred out to the coop. We are still in the process of building it and it won't be ready until the weekend. Anna will go in and "snatch" a chicken to hold and then she cuddles and coos at the chicken until it falls asleep. She will call her Mei Mei (little sister). When Mia comes down to look at the chickens Anna always asks if she can get her one for her. Mia is still a little timid around the chickens but will hold one.



The other day Mia asked for a kitten. We are looking for two kittens, one for each of them when school is out. It will be interesting to say the least. Trying to keep the chickens safe from hawks, raccoons, dogs, coyotes, minks, and opossums isn't easy and now keeping them safe from cats, really?

Monday, April 15, 2013

Chickens in the Basement!

Yes, we have ten little chicks down in our basement. Phil and the girls (mostly Anna) are building a chicken coop. The chicks will be old enough in about three to four weeks to move them outside. These little chicks are so loved by the girls, especially Anna, she has them falling asleep in her hands and they stay asleep when she puts them down. Mia is still a little scared of them. They are so cute. We have three different kinds so it will be fun to see what the adults will look like.

Their First House

Anna and "Mei Mie" (little sister)

New bigger house

Close up of the brown ones

You Dropped it Where and Then You What?

Here is a story of what happens when you have limited language skills with your daughters. One morning I noticed that the toilet roll was almost gone and I usually change it so the girls don't have to worry about it. Well I thought it had enough for the day and left for work. When I came home and went into the bathroom I noticed that one of the girls did change the roll after all, but upon closer scrutiny I noticed that one end of the dispenser was missing and only the spring was there. So I look around the floor and in the little trash can. No silver end in sight. I also noticed that the trash had been emptied and asked Phil if the trash was taken out to the garage. He said it was in the garage. I went out and searched through the garbage looking for the end of the dispenser with no luck. So I decided to ask the girls who had changed the roll of toilet paper today and their response went like this, "Anna, no". "Mia, no". I asked them to come into the bathroom so I could show them. I held the roll with the dispenser inside and the good end showing. The spring was facing down in the palm of my hand. I started to explain how to change the roll when Anna said that she didn't know what happened to it. Hum, she knew about the missing piece without me showing it to her. Okay, good, now I know who changed the roll, I just need to know where it is. I asked them both who change the roll and Anna puts her hand under her chin with one finger tapping her cheek and looking up at the ceiling says, "Let me tink a minu", and then I turned the roll over exposing the missing piece and asked if she knew where it was and she pointed straight down in the toilet bowl. It must have dropped in the toilet and she flushed it. So far no problems with the plumbing, but I did explain what goes in the toilet and what does not. Me bad for not doing this one sooner! We did have a good laugh and a picture embedded in my mind with Anna saying, "Let me think a minute."

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Singing Their Chinese Song!

Anna and Mia singing a Chinese song of their choice. Look out American Idol (or at least duck). They sing with a happy heart and fond memories of China. They do some kind of an intro to this song that makes me smile!!


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Monday, March 18, 2013

Swimming and Basketball! Doesn't Get Any Better!

The girls look forward to swimming and playing basketball at the gym. We try and go a couple of times a week. Can't wait for summer. The girls can play outback on the slab of concrete. Living out in the country does have its advantages. The girls were afraid of the water when we first started to go but now they can go underwater and retrieve a toy. They can even swim a couple of strokes. They look so funny playing basketball. Anna will kick back one leg and Mia usually sends the ball straight up and she has even hit herself in the head a few times. We did try showing them how but they quickly go back to how they were originally doing it so we just let them go. They have fun and exert energy. Enough said.

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MIA and ANNA

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Tell Us Some Funny Stories!!

I am asked often to tell stories about the girls. I am going to admit here that some of the stories told are not so funny to me now (but will be years from now). Some of the more memorable stories have to do with lack of knowledge in the English language. So here are a few stories that I can share here with you.

I call this one - "English"; We had a visit from our foster care rep, Joyce, and we explained to her that the girls have a problem with appropriate hugging (they attach easily to strangers) so we asked that she not have direct contact with the girls. We had the girls sit in the living room and we met in the dining room. We had also spent the week reminding the girls to use their English words instead of Chinese for the words they knew. Joyce told us that she had spent several summers in China and thought she would try it out on the girls upon leaving. She said, Zi Jian (good bye). Anna told her "Wo bu dong", which means I don't understand. And then she said, "English". Maybe we over did it a tad! We then had to explain to Joyce that her Chinese was very good and the girls are suppose to say English words for the ones they know.

I call this one - "Break Time"; Anna is often frustrated and gets upset easily when doing homework, so we thought we would add a few "breaks" to help her regroup. The first time I told Anna that it was time for a break, she jumps up from her chair and yells, "Anna no break! Anna no break". I explained to her that no she didn't break anything that I just wanted her to relax.Sometimes break is a good thing.

The girls often laugh at certain expressions and will repeat them over and over again and laugh. Some of these phrases are; What did I say? Be quiet! Remember?
You can clearly see a pattern here. We give them an instruction and they still think it is funny. Not so funny to a parent. While we were in China, the girls thought the word NO was hilarious. They must have thought that no meant do what you want to.

When we go to church the girls have to have their own book to follow along. The Catholic Mass can be confusing for an English speaking person and difficult to follow the flow of the Mass in the book, but they insist on being on the same page as we are on. They can't even read, why do they need a book? Before Mass starts, the Rosary is said and the girls will say out loud what they think we are saying. They aren't trying to be funny but serious here. They are very reverent at church.

Another thing the girls will do when telling us the letter for the alphabet is to say the word that starts with that letter. For example; A will be alligator and Z will be Zebra. They will still do this on occasion. Funny? They think so.

While shopping at a grocery store the girls will pick up things that they think they will like, such as gravy packets or flour. Then get upset when we tell them no. Really?

Do the Hoky Poky - When singing along with this song it comes out - put you left foot een put you out,  put you left foot een and theen shake it shake it, do da huggy poddy an ya tun yousef awound, dat what it all abut. Love it, love it, love it!

We did take the girls to Monkey Joe's for the exercise and experience. They loved the slides once they came down. It took Mia a few minutes after Anna did to come down the slide. After they did it once they went over and over again. It is like watching a small toddler for the first time. We have a lot of "firsts" with the girls, even though they are 9 and 11.


Loving The SNOW!!!!!

Anna and Mia have been out in the snow several times now for hours at a time. They love the snow; building snowmen, forts, throwing snowballs, making snow angels, drawing in the snow, and best of all "shoveling snow". That's right! They can shovel snow to their little hearts content! Baba was out plowing out our driveway and the girls were clearing the sidewalks. When I returned home from work Phil said that they also built another snowman. Where? Oh, they each tore down their first one and built a new one in its place. They also experience their first fort. Anna said it was a kitty house, meow, meow. (No, we don't have any cats.) I love it when they are tired and ready for bed at bedtime!




The girls will experience their first "school picture" day. We were trying to explain how it works but only managed to confuse them even more. I told them that they would get their pictures taken at school. Mia asks, "On the bus?" No, at school. Later your teacher will give you your pictures. You will get to bring them home and then you can take them to school and give them to your friends. Mia, "Mia pictures in bookbag, take to school for friends, Sophie, Aye. Mia was asking if she was going to get to take her pictures (from China) to school and then went on to list the people in her pictures, Sophie, Aye, etc. No, you don't get to take those pictures to school. One more lesson for me in what not to say.

Here is a sample of just how opposite the girls are from each other. Mia is neat and writes so very carefully. Anna is messy and hurries and just wants to get done. Here is a picture of their handwriting. Can you tell which ones are Mia's and which ones are Anna's? It is just hilarious at how opposite they really are.  We know why God placed these two girls together. Anna can help Mia speed up and Mia can help Anna slow down. Anna can help Mia with English and Mia can help Anna say the English word correctly. I could go on and on but I will stop here.



Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Girls Love to Sing!

We encourage the girls to sing English songs. This is such a fun way for them to learn. They don't like TV so that doesn't help them learn their English like most children do. I have been recording some of their songs and our favorite one is "Five Little Monkeys". I may not ever get tired of hearing it the way they sing it! I am trying to record all of their Chinese songs, but they know so many of them. This should be fun for them when they are older.

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Fun in the snow! Anna's first snow.




Friday, February 15, 2013

Adjustment Period!!

We have been home now for 10 weeks and I can honestly say that things are going great for all of us. The girls are doing so much. They pick up more English every day. They started school full time which helps with their English. They go to the gym to swim and play basketball two times a week. They are active at home with singing and dancing. Anna cracks me up with her singing "Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed". They really have fun and we enjoy the entertainment. Anna has been exposed to a lot more than Mia has been while growing up in China. Anna can sing, dance, do dance routines, and play many games. However, her school work and studying is not so good. She really struggles with authority and having to do certain things during a normal day. She is very frustrated and can get mad easily. Her tantrums have decreased considerably and aren't as intense but she is still struggling. We are doing our best to keep a schedule so she will know what to expect. She is having a hard time in school. She will refuse to do her work. Everything she does she seems to rush through and is very messy. She eats messy, spills her drink, writes messy, her drawers and toys are messy. I often wonder what her mind must be like. It must jump from one thing to another without having time to sort anything out. We may have to call in the experts.
Mia is just the opposite of Anna in many ways. She is very neat, but slow when doing homework. She is cooperative 98% of the time. She is quiet and soft spoken (unlike Anna). She can sing many Chinese songs very well. She seems to know a lot of them. She doesn't seem to have been exposed to sports but she is enjoying swimming and basketball.  They were both very afraid of the water when we started going but now they can go underwater. Anna is doing somersaults under the water and swimming down to the bottom. Mia can swim underwater for a little way. They have only been going for a few weeks and their progress does amaze us. Mia is adjusting very well in school. She really seems to enjoy her time there. The only big issue we have with Mia is bonding to us and not to other people. She will go up to strangers and grab for their hands. This can be very hard to explain to them but she is getting better. We know that this will take time. We have told the teachers at school that she is not allowed to hug, kiss, or hold their hand. We have asked that they discourage this behavior until she learns what is appropriate.
They are settling in very well (and so are we). It has been an adjustment for all of us. We get a lot more smiles now and have some really fun times. We are very blessed to have them in our family!

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