A "retired" (Define that word again...) 68 year old Dad- who homeschools two boys
A full-time working, 40 year old (as of Sunday! Yikes!) Mom
A 14 year old, newly adopted US teenager!
An "almost" 7 year old son. (*** How soon do your kids start counting down to their birthdays? Ours has been ready for his October date for a few months now...)
Life at the Rylands' home is certainly in transition. We are working toward our new "normal", but it is a trial and error process to see what works. So, after two weeks home from China with the boys, I am BACK TO WORK. It was bitter sweet as I enjoy my job, but would love to be home a bit longer to help. I am so blessed to have a very capable and committed husband who, like me, is a LIST MAKER. :-)
Each day is full of all these "things" that must get done and while we rarely complete the list on any one day, somehow all the things that are truly important seem to get done. Tommy is working with a brand new curriculum for 3rd grade this year, while Colin is in the 8th. As you can imagine, Colin's studies are primarily ENGLISH right now with a spattering of Math (which, by the way, he ROCKS at!), Music Theory, Saxophone, Keyboarding, Swimming & Basketball. He has the motivation of an average teen. Our saving grace is that he has the respect and obedience that surpasses the "average" teen. So, our days go smoothly for the most part. Tom's biggest challenge during the day is keeping Tommy out of Colin's business and focused on his own. lol Tommy loves to watch his big brother and struggles to take care of his own responsibilties. I'm sure no one else on the planet has that problem with "little" brothers!
Colin completed his writing assignment for the post-placement visit yesterday. I scanned it and sent it over to a friend who is a native mandarin speaker for translation. It was really sweet and I thought I would share it.
"When I first saw mom, dad and Tommy, I can sense they are very passionate people, I can tell that they love me very much. When we were on the plane to Guangzhou, I was a little scared during the take off of the plane, because that was my first time on a plane. After the plane was in the air, I had mixed feelings of surprise and happiness, I was surprised to see the clouds underneath us, and happy because I now have a family. To me, living in U.S. is like living in a modern city in a forest because there are a lot of trees. I like living in this modern city in the forest. I am sorry if there is any misspelling because my Chinese is not very good, even in China."We are so blessed to have this sweet boy in our family and can't wait to see how he blossoms as his English improves. He is such a helper around the house and enjoys being around the family. Of course, there is still time for reading and alone time in his room, but he does not hibernate there like some teens.
As Tom and I reflect back on how all of these changes began for our family, we see that it was a simple nudge from God, a piercing pair of eyes on the computer screen, and a cohort of encouraging, prayerful friends that, together, changed our lives forever. Now my prayer is that He will allow me to be that voice of encouragement and education for other families that feel the calling to grow their families through adoption. Of course, I am especially sensitive to the needs of all the older boys and girls who are watching their time run out, but there are hundreds of thousands of children waiting/needing the love of a family. I would consider it a true privledge to help even one of these children find a family, so please call/email if I can share my experience with you, connect you with a helpful resource, or even simply pray for your family.