Overall, we had a great a day. I have learned that like many teenagers, J is not much of a morning person. She is very quiet and I wonder about the strides made the days before, and if I had only imagined them. But as the day progresses, she becomes much more talkative and willing to try things.

Today we had a thrilling adventure to the kids’ elementary school. I volunteer with both of their classes every Friday, and today, J accompanied me. Cole and Caroline were both stoked to be able to show her off to their friends. As Caroline’s class filed into the classroom while we were waiting in the hallway, one of her friends “whispered”, “I didn’t know you had a sister!”. Caroline was so proud. Before we left, Jelena received a huge, squeeze-the-life-out-of-you hug. Both the principal and assistant principal made a point to come and meet her, and shared that they had heard from both Cole and Caroline how awesome she is.

After our school adventure, we headed to the optometrist. We realized that this whole experience would be interesting with the language barrier, and the doctor told us that one of the women that works there speaks Russian. It was definitely one of those “Are you kidding me?” moments. I guess at this point, I shouldn’t be surprised by the amazing ways that God has been working in all of this. At the same time, I DON’T want to stop being surprised, because it’s totally awesome!

We discovered she has a slight astigmatism, and needs glasses for reading. She hates glasses. “No no no no no no”, she kept whining with a pout, and I finally put a hand on her hand, looked her in the eyes, and said, “They’re only for reading, you don’t need them all the time, so stop complaining.” She looked at me, cocked her head, sighed, and said, “Okay”.

We were starving by the time we were done, so we went next door to Noodles and Company. Thanks to the suggestion of a fellow host mother, I went to the front and asked for a picture menu. Success! No more desperate attempts to translate and do sign language. She looked and pointed. Hooray! Have I mentioned that she is completely in love with ice? She loves putting it into her drink, she loves shaking the cup and hearing it clink around, she loves eating it….I feel like if it were summer, she would bathe in it.

After we got home, she helped me put garland on the stairway banister. It wasn’t a very glamorous activity, but she was smiling and seemed to really love helping. After the kids got home, they jumped into playtime with her. As they giggled and shrieked, out of her mouth came English! My favorites were:
* “Come here, small boy!”
* “Where you think you are going?”
* “Please get off my leg! Oooff!”
The kids were right on the ball and yelled, “J, you’re speaking English!”. Indeed she was. There was something about the affirmation of children, that boosted her confidence.

Our love is growing. This girl is amazing.