I couldn't be more happy with how well Conner has been doing the last couple of months. Older child adoption is tough. (huge understatement) People tend to generally think about how wonderful it is for the child to finally be in a family, but they don't realize that the truth of it is, you are taking them from EVERYTHING familiar-- friends, school, language, culture, food-- and doing so at a most delicate and difficult age. We generally don't share specifics of the hard parts of adoption to respect the privacy of our kids, but just trust me-- it is not easy for them or for the family.
Conner is an absolutely incredible young man. He has been so throughout the year that we've had him in our home despite all of the challenges he has faced. The last couple of months have been very exciting. We are seeing more joy, more belonging, and more acceptance of his new life. He is enjoying school, church and family activities more than he has in the past. We know this is due in large part to his increased understanding of English, but I also believe he is genuinely finding peace and happiness as a member of our family and community.
Conner turned 15 this summer. He's never had a birthday party (last year, he had just arrived here so we opted out of a friend party) and so he was VERY excited to finally have one! He was so worried that he wouldn't have very many people come, so I enlisted the help of my other kids his age and they reached out to their friends as well. We ended up with around 30 wonderful teenagers here to celebrate with him! Conner felt so special and had such a good time. We played lots of fun minute-to-win-it games, hung out outside, roasted s'mores, opened gifts and watched "Princess Bride." I was so happy and grateful for all of the good kids that came and shared that night with us!
Conner also enjoyed several "camps" this summer with other visually impaired/blind friends. I love to see him in this element, as he is so comfortable around other kids like him. We're so grateful for such good programs for him to attend. I also cannot express enough how grateful we are for our local church leaders who have rallied around Conner and looked out for him in many special ways.
Conner is funny, sweet, talented, sensitive and very smart. He's so kind to his siblings and especially sweet with Elli. He loves Molly and greets her every day with "Hi, my dog!" He's always saying clever things that make us smile and is getting more and more willing to participate in activities. I am so proud of how far he has come in the last year, how well he endures his trials and how happy he makes those around him. I love you, sweet Conner!
As I went through our photos, I realized I need to take more of Conner! We tend to do mostly video with him since he can't see photos but can listen to video. Many of these photos are a little dated...
|Color Run Fun!|
|Conner really enjoyed having Graci's China family here!|
|With the missionaries at Temple Square. Sister Jin invited Conner to go to General Conference with them.|
|Accompanying the school orchestra|
Conner performs "Fur Elise" at his middle school concert
Conner's birthday party. This is before another 15 kids came-- so happy for a good turnout!