It's been a little over a year since we brought Nathan home so I guess I'm a little overdue for an update on his progress. (uh, wow...it seems like way more than just a year.) I can't possibly cover everything so I'll give you a few highlights.
He is now seven, but in school we have him in Kindergarten since he wasn't at all familiar with the alphabet (no English education at the baby house...shocker, right?) or the concept of school, and he's doing well. A year ago he couldn't even hold a pencil/crayon and would constantly switch hands. Now he has decided he's right-handed and is writing much better. He does a lot of backwards letters and actually does a bunch of "mirror writing" (words and letters all backwards like in a mirror), but the teachers don't think this is a concern yet. Hmmm. He's still not able to identify the whole alphabet but he's getting there - and he's showing much more interest. He can tell you almost all the sounds that they make but still doesn't understand that the sounds go together to make a word. Shapes, colors and all other typical kindergarten stuff is no problem for him. His favorites are lunch, library day and recess. How unusual. :)
He can light up a room with his smile and he is genuinely happy most of the time. The kid is a real charmer. He has done really well with all the new experiences he's had and hasn't shown any fear of anything that I can think of. Well, in Almaty he was afraid of the big, scary men dressed up in weird animal costumes. But nothing since then. Even at the beach he flung himself into the water with abandon. (yes, the same ocean that the judge almost denied our adoption for. apparently she thought it would be incredibly foolish to take a child there. heehee)
We are struggling with some attachment issues which is, honestly, something expected because of the first six years of his life. Because of this past Nathan has a difficult time feeling comfortable with attachments - with his immediate family, and even forming friendships with kids at school. For the most part he is over-the-top charming to every single person he meets but there are some down sides and we really want him to learn how to truly trust people. My advice for prospective adoptive parents is to educate yourselves as much as possible about attachment issues so you can start parenting appropriately from the very start. We have faith that God's hand is at work in this situation and that it will get better so Nathan can live a life with normal relationships, free from some of the pain of his early childhood!
Overall, our daily life with Nate at home is really nice and he truly is a joy to be around (most of the time). :) Sounds pretty much like any normal kid to me.
While Nathan has certainly been the one doing most of the "learning", we have picked up a few things as well. I did a kind of "top ten" list soon after we got home and I think I'll revise it and post it soon.