Thursday, July 20, 2006

2006 Report on JR

Consulate of Kazakhstan

June 6, 2006

2006 Report on JR
Born in Kostanai, Kazakhstan

JR continues to be the light of our life.
He is a bright, healthy, energetic toddler who is deeply loved by his parents and everyone who meets him. Just today one of the teachers from his daycare program told us that "“He is charming his way into my heart."”

His medical health is very good. He is in the 90th percentile for height and weight (at his last check-up, in September, he was 40"” tall and weighed almost 40 lbs.) We continue to treat his mild asthma medically. He has not had any major asthma attacks, or any other medical issues that have required visits to the pediatrician (other than one bout with a flu virus in the winter). His pediatrician continues to be particularly impressed by his obvious intelligence and his clear attachment to his parents. He was potty-trained at 3 years and 2 months of age and now routinely sleeps through the night without accidents.

He attends preschool 5 days a week. The teachers are generally pleased with his behavior and say that he is emotionally and developmentally right where he should be. He is always one of the first in his group to master new academic topics. They also regularly remark on how bright he is. He is always the first one to volunteer the answer to the teacher'’s questions. He knows his alphabet and is beginning to associate the letters with their phonetic equivalents and can count to 100. The newest teacher at his preschool asked me if he had turned 6 yet, because intellectually he was performing at the level of the children entering kindergarten.

Our house is filled with his art projects from pre“school. In April, his preschool studied outer space. He learned about the planets, stars, comets, and moon. He was so interested in the topic that he has asked that his birthday party this year have a "“space"” theme. We made flying saucers, hunted for pretend "“moon rocks"” and played other space-themed games.

His most marked abilities, however, are in athletics. He has excellent motor skills. He can throw balls (baseballs, footballs, tennis balls, etc.) for quite a distance, and with accurate aim. He can hit baseballs with a bat. This spring he joined a tee-ball (baseball for very young children) league for 3 and 4 year olds. His father served as assistant coach for the team. The league is not competitive at this age; the children meet once a week to practice fundamentals such as throwing, catching and hitting the ball. Tee ball is one of the highlights of JR'’s week. He also enjoys playing soccer and bocce ball. He has taken swimming lessons at a local pool and can now put his head under the water, jump in the pool and swim short distances without assistance. We belong to a swim club with outdoor pools and we have already started to spend time there this season. He likes nothing better than to “play baseball” with his father. He would happily spend hours throwing balls back and forth.

He is a good eater (his favorite foods continue to be macaroni, olives, any type of fruit, and of course, ice cream). His favorite vegetable is asparagus. He will eat any type of fish. This spring we were awarded a plot in the local community garden and he has been very involved with the planting and watering. He chose to plant carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, radishes and flowers. He was quite excited last week when we were able to harvest our first two radishes.

We read to him regularly, and he has many favorite books, some of which he has memorized. In addition to playing ball, he enjoys doing puzzles, constructing buildings and vehicles with Legos, and coloring. He is able to color within the lines. Like most of his four-year-old friends, he enjoys pretending to be a superhero. He likes to make up funny stories and jokes and has a wonderful sense of humor.

We regularly take him on short trips to visit local museums, parks, zoos and other sights. The Academy of Natural Science, (or as he calls it, "the Dinosaur Museum") is a particular favorite. Over the Christmas holiday, we took him by train to New York City to visit the Museum of Natural History, where he was able to see many dinosaur fossils. We have also taken him to the local planetarium at the Franklin Institute, which he greatly enjoyed.

He has many friends in the neighborhood and at school. He seems to be quite popular with his schoolmates and is showing some leadership potential. We continue to stay in touch with several families in the area who also adopted children from the Baby House. In addition to his friends from Kazakhstan, he has good friends who were adopted from China, Viet Nam, the Ukraine and Guatemala. Several of the children at his preschool are adopted and two of the children have parents who were adopted into their families, so his school is very sensitive to the issues of adoptive children.

He remains very close with his first cousins on his fatherÂ’s side. He is particularly enamored of his cousin Andrew, who is 8 years old. Joseph likes to do whatever Andrew is doing and especially likes to play baseball with him. We see his cousins several times a month and we will again spend a week vacationing with them in Ocean City, NJ (a beach resort) this coming August.

We feel privileged and blessed to have Joseph in our lives.

No comments: