In many ways, it feels like Cali has been in our family forever. In others, it feels like just yesterday we were seeing her cute face for the first time. We are so proud of how well Cali is doing. She has the most darling group of friends that love her and look out for her. Kaytlin, Kara, Anna, Lily, Karolina, Abby, Candice (and many others)-- we LOVE you! We are so glad Cali has you in her life!
Cali's giggle lights up her whole face. It is so much fun to see her comfortable in our home and with our family. She loves to tease and be funny and has a special relationship with her dad. (: She has the softest voice and sweetest disposition (most of the time (; anyway) but has plenty of spice in her too. She likes drawing, keeping in touch with her friends in China, books about princesses, being with her friends, shopping, listening to music, spicy food, singing and boys. (Though she might not admit the latter to just anyone.) She's a pretty typical teenager in most ways, which is incredible considering the trials life has offered her thus far.
One of Cali's hardest trials is school. Because Cali didn't receive a great deal of formal education in China, she is struggling not only with language issues and all that entails, but also a lack of understanding of the basics in many subjects. She is smart and works to keep on top of her grades, but is at a major disadvantage compared to that of her peers. We've learned that schools don't always know the best and most effective way to help kids like her and we are constantly trying to be her advocate so that she can receive the best education possible. Not gonna lie, that's kind of exhausting. We've found that some teachers "get it" and some just don't. We've found in talking to other adoptive parents that it is pretty universally one of the hardest aspects of older child adoption.
Cali recently had an appointment at Shriner's that showed her scoliosis is getting worse. This is both painful and problematic. We're weighing the pros/cons of surgery soon vs. waiting and will likely be able to make a better decision at her next appointment. Jeremy said that actually seeing her spine on x-ray kind of took his breath away. It's amazing that she lives with what she does without complaining a lot. She's a tough girl and such an example of triumphing through hard things. We love you, angel Cali!
|Kaytlin and Cali at youth conference.|
|A sure way to Cali's heart-- pick her up some noodles and milk from the Chinese market.|
|Jeremy took Cali and Graci to a special Chinese performance in SLC-- they loved it!|
|Daddy date to Lagoon|