Josie has been home for 6 weeks and is doing beautifully! She was sad and scared on that first day when she met our family at the Civil Affairs Office, but she was very brave and her tears soon turned to smiles. By day two she was dancing and singing with her sister, Hannah, who really has been a huge source of support for Josie as she went through this transition. In between the fun and play, the giggles and smiles, it was obvious during the first few weeks that Josie was grieving all she had lost. When she got sad, we would watch Starfish videos together and talk about all the people there. It always cheered her up and brought a big smile to her face.
Josie is an amazing little girl. She has adjusted so well to all of the changes and to joining a big family with 5 siblings. She has a very easy-going, fun-loving personality. She loves all of her sisters and brothers and they all adore her as well; she gets lots of attention. Josie has a very special bond with Hannah and Christopher who both traveled to China to bring her home and she lights up when they come home. Josie kind of hit the ground running (literally and figuratively) and has had no problem keeping up with our two youngest daughters, both adopted from China, who are 7 and 4 years old. They love to play together, especially "house", "dress-up" and making forts with furniture and blankets. Josie spends much of the day singing and has learned many new songs. She still loves shoes and pocketbooks; one of the Starfish volunteers said that she'd have to stand up in her shoes to keep Josie from taking off with them...it is the same here! She enjoys being outdoors riding on her new tricycle and playing with the neighborhood children (there now six little Chinese girls on our street). After a few days of being terrified by our three dogs, she is now the first one in the morning to pull out their leases to take them out for a walk and she often shares her food with them (so they love her, too).
Josie is healthy and strong. She loves to eat! Often you will hear her singing "nummy, nummy, nummy, num" (to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star) when she is eating a good snack. I think "cookie" was the first English word I heard from her :). Without a doubt, of all our six children, she is by far the best sleeper we have ever had! Josie is sharp as a tack and learning so many new things everyday. She watches very closesly and picks up on things right away. She copies everything we say, can follow directions in English (it is astonishing what she understands) and speaks quite a bit in English already. Emma, age 4, thinks it is very cool to have a baby sister who copies everything you say and do even if "it gets kind of annoying sometimes." Our Chinese neighbors speak only Chinese to Josie; they say that she is able to carry on conversations with them, speaking 3-4 word sentences as well. We are hoping they can help her maintain some of her native language.
She seems to be bonding well with all of us. It's been interesting to watch the relationships grow (especially since some traveled and some didn't). Attachment is such a complex process but I'm very impressed with her understanding of relationships and her ability to give and take; she's great with listening, cooperating, sharing, has lots of empathy for others, etc. It is obvious that she received very good care in many regards and for that we are most grateful to you and the everyone at Starfish who helped her grow up so healthy, happy and strong.
The best news is that Josie saw the cardiologist at Children's Hospital in Boston last week for her ASD and VSD. He thinks that Josie doing beautifully and that her heart, at this point, is doing just fine and needs no treatment. They will just keep on eye on her but she doesn't even need to go back for follow-up until her third birthday (next fall). We were thrilled with the news!
Please share our happy news and deep appreciation to all those who knew and helped Josie at Starfish. We feel very blessed and honored to have her home with us.
We will keep in touch.
Peter and Wendy