Let me just caveat this by saying for those of you who don't know me, I am a HUGE reader. There are two things that I love doing (outside spending time with my family) that very few things trump. That is reading and scrapbooking. Last year, I averaged a book every 10-15 days. I was a reading machine. The one thing I wanted for Jenna was for her to love to read as much as I did. Not only because I love to read and that's something we can share, but because I believe the primary building block to a good student and school career is to be a good reader. I think so many people who hate reading never really learned to read well. When you struggle with something, it's hard to like it. For me, I struggled with math. So I hated math (still do, but don't tell Jenna). Anyway, I really wanted JG to like to read and to read well. I have read to Jenna since she was a newborn. I remember rocking her, when she was just a few weeks old, at night and reading CS Lewis' The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe. I know it's not really a newborn book, but it was an excuse for me to read too! Anyway, I digress.
Wednesday, her folder with her work from school came home. In it was a report on how she was leveled for reading...Here's how it starts..."Grade Equivalent (GE): 5.3 Grade equivalent scores range from 0.0 to12.9+. A GE score shows how your child's test performance compares with that of other students nationally. Based on the national norms, Jenna reads at a level equal to that of a typical fifth grader after the third month of the school year." DID YOU GET THAT!? My 3rd grade girl reads like a 5th grader!!!!! Be still my heart. When I read that, I thought my heart would explode. I am so proud! Her %ile rank is 91. That means Jenna reads at a level greater than 91% of students nationally in the same grade. OK, thank you for indulging me in bragging on my sweet baby girl for a minute.
In other school goings on...One of the stories Jenna's class was reading this week was about a therapy dog. Jenna's teacher thought it might be fun to have Steve come and bring Katie and talk about his service dog. On Wednesday, the entire 3rd grade gathered in the gym and listened to Steve talk about Katie. I wish I had gone and taken pictures because from the stories, it was great fun. Steve demonstrated many of Katie's tricks such as "tap" and "hide and seek". Hide and seek is our favorite because you run hide and Steve tells Katie to "find Jenna" and she will come find you. This is helpful if Steve happens to get sick in the house somewhere and Katie can then take Jenna or I to him (not that we have such a big house we couldn't just find him ourselves!) As a thank you, the class all wrote letters to Steve and I just had to post a couple of them here. This one is my favorite:
Here's one from Jenna's bestie, Annabelle:
"Dear Mr. Taylor, Thank you so much for coming to us and telling us what Katie's Job is. My favorite part was when you told her find Jenna and I'm so glad that you came. From, Annabelle." That is the sweetest thing I have ever read. But I would have expected nothing less from Annabelle.
Now for an adoption update...I had quite the enjoyable lunch earlier this week with a new friend I made who is also adopting from China's Special Needs program in a sister agency. It was so refreshing to have someone to talk to who is going through this crazy process too! Thank Rachel! Let's do that again soon!
Earlier this week, I had my one on one home study with our social worker. It felt a little like being in the psychiatrist's office. But you know me...I'm an open book, so that was right up my alley. I finally got my newly issued birth and marriage certificates (because they have to be reissued in the 12 month period in which you submit your dossier to China) so that is a huge load off. We have several more visits before we are ready to call the home study done. Then the dossier happens. Holy cow.
One of the things we are required to do as part of our home study is read (GLORY!) 3 required books and 2 books each (2 for me, 2 for Steve) of our choice, from a list. So, I have ordered several from Amazon and one from the library. Here are a couple of them that have already come.
One more thing and then I'm going to try and get in bed before too late. This is a big prayer request that I hope those of you who know us can understand. We have confirmed what we thought all along. It is not going to be possible for Katie to travel to China when we go to pick up our daughter. First of all, the flight is a super-long one for an animal to take. It would require us to deprive her of both food and drink for at least one entire day before we leave. And once you leave the US, you are no longer covered by the ADA. To take her to China would require a total of 30 day quarantine upon entering the country. So we'd have to be in China for 6 weeks. NOT GONNA HAPPEN. Not even if we had the money. So now, we are left with two choices; find someone to keep Katie or Steve doesn't travel.
Each of these are big deals. I don't worry about Katie losing her training while Steve's gone. What I worry about is the fact this dog has NEVER been away from Steve longer than 15 minutes since they were partnered. I am concerned that Katie might worry herself to death if we all left and left her with a stranger. We'd have to basically have someone who could come stay with her at our house and take her everywhere with them. Obviously not something that would be easy to find. Or Steve can stay here while I travel. While this is not ideal, it happens all the time. I wouldn't travel alone though. Someone in the family would go with me. I've had several volunteers already. :) But obviously, that's not idea either as Steve would be missing out on one of the biggest events of our lives. Can I ask you to pray about that? I feel like we are in a "lesser of two evils" situation. What I know is that this has been ordained by God and whatever is meant to be will work out. But the stress of thinking about it in the meantime is hard.
Well, I'm off. Got some bloggy reading to do and then off to bed because TGIF! I promise that FAQ is coming soon...just need some time to get it all down for you.