This update is long overdue, sorry! We've been a little busy! Emmett is doing extremely well! We continue to be amazed at the resilience and capacity to learn of a 5 year old! He is really settling in as a member of the family. He is learning how to play with toys, how to color pictures (basic things American kids know by 5), as well as learning english, the routines of school, kids in the neighborhood, letters, patterns (a new concept for him), tally sheets, graphs, etc. It is really amazing!
On the first day of kindergarten he couldn't write or recognize his name in writing (no big surprise, since it was new to him still), couldn't free draw a picture, didn't know how to draw a picture of himself, etc. One week later he was recognizing his name, writing it similar to other kindergartners, drawing photos of people with ease, etc! It is amazing to watch!
I started attending school with him full time. He clung to me, as he was scared of school in general, but was ok if I was there. Already the first week he was volunteering answers in class (and actually knew some of them) and playing with the other kids at recess. He paid much closer attention to what was happening at school than when I tried similar activities with him at home. The second week of school I started leaving a little before the end of the day to pick up Brianna and Elena, as they finish school earlier than the younger two. He was nervous the first day, but quickly became comfortable with this. I also stayed inside during recess to help the teacher with prep work. He had no problem with that.
Then after 7 days of school we went to convention! We felt bad throwing so many new things at him, but he adapted well. Convention was a challenge because he didn't really do any of the things our kids do to keep busy. He didn't look at books much (though more by the end of convention), didn't color much, couldn't do much for imaginative play (no cars on the floor like I had hoped), etc. However, he quickly learned what was expected of him (be reasonably quiet), and moved from lap to lap keeping busy. Stickers helped at times, though nothing for very long. He was in every meeting though, and did well. By Sunday he was ready to go home! We explained to the people sitting around us that we had just adopted him 6 weeks prior, so they would understand why his behavior was a little different than most 5 year olds at convention. All were very understanding! He frequently announced the hymns (repeated what had just been said, correctly) at his only volume, which is loud! That generated some smiles~! He was listening to the speakers too, because he would repeat words he recognized! He loved playing with the kids between meetings, and enjoyed the camper. He ate much better there than I had guessed.
The third week of school I started leaving for the last 45 minutes before lunch, which he wasn't very excited about. He was happy to see me at lunch, though, and by the third day of doing this, he was fine with it. I gradually started leaving earlier in the am, then not coming back until rest time, etc. Today I was only at school 45 minutes total! He is doing so well! He rode the bus this am, and I didn't go to school to make sure he got to his class (like I have the last few days). He rides the same bus as Linnea and the neighbor kids. I didn't see him until coming to help with math, at 1:45! He is very comfortable at school now, and doing well. He catches on to most things quickly, and is even with his peers is most things except language (and coloring pictures), but i find it amazing!
He continues to be a happy child, and loves his bike above all things. Brian has a tag-a-long for his bike, and Emmett loves to go for bike rides with Daddy. He also loves airplanes, and got his second ride last Saturday. This time it was just him and Brian, and he rode in the front seat. He didn't touch anything, and seemed to enjoy it again.
He refers to himself as Emmett now, and won't answer to Haixing. We were looking at the video of our first meeting with him, and I said something about "Haixing" (since he didn't know at the time the video was taken what his new name would be), and he said "no Haixing, Emmett."
He is very loving to the family, and cautious with others until he gets to know them, which is fabulous! It shows he is attaching to us, and identifying us as family. He brings his bible and hymn book to meeting every time, and has to have his hymn book turned to the right hymn. He sings occasionally. It doesn't take him very long to learn a tune, but words are obviously harder.
He is eating lots of different foods now. He is willing to try anything, and sometimes will decide he likes it after several tries. His favorite food is noodles. He is also eating American food like pancakes and spaghetti. He loves milk, though needs the lactose free or has major stomach cramps and other problems. He sleeps well. He has crawled in our bed twice in the middle of the night. The first time was after the first day of school, and the second after the first time he had been alone all morning at school. We figured he needed a little extra cuddling/reassurance both times. Otherwise he sleeps in his room, but likes his sisters to sleep in there with him. They take turns.
Language has been interesting! We skyped with Jeanette (in China) 1-2 times a week for the first month he was home. She was very helpful in helping him understand what would be happening with school starting, etc. However, about 2 weeks ago he started refusing to answer when anyone spoke Mandarin to him. This occurred both in person and over skype, with new people and with people he knew. We're assuming he's choosing to put that behind him. He is learning english very rapidly. He understands so much now, and is speaking more every day. The other day in school he needed help with something, so yelled, "Teacher." We would prefer he raise his hand and wait, but both the teacher and I looked up at each other in surprise! Neither of us had heard that word from him before! (I was helping another student at the time.) We are amazed at his progress, and though saddened by his refusal to speak his language, we have to accept that it is his choice.
All for now; I'll add more as I think of it. I'll add more pictures when I get them uploaded.