Just for Jacob

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I have been so focused the last few days on the hardship we’re dealing with.  Short version, there is no news.  So today, instead, I am going to take the opportunity to talk about sweet Jacob and how well he is doing and all the progress he’s made since coming home.  We really have had a great week with him, filled with highlights and milestones.  Here are a few things just for Jacob…

First English Words.  He has always repeated English words with prompting, but typically he doesn’t use them spontaneously in conversation.  I think I posted before about his very first sentence in Ukraine,“Take off booties!” (Directed at his little brother.)  But we hadn’t had any since then.

Well, the day after we arrived home I was cooking dinner and he came in speaking Russian very earnestly.  I told him apologetically “Ya nee ponamayu”, or “I don’t understand”.  He thought for a few seconds and then said “Yum, yum, yum!”, communicating successfully that he wanted to eat.  It was super awesome and adorable.  Other words he says now regularly are bye-bye, shoes, ok and water (referring to our backyard pool which is his favorite thing ever).

He Knows His Name.  Back in Kiev at our embassy medical, the doctor asked his name and he replied “My name is Yura, but when I’m with my mom they call me Jacob.”  That was a little disheartening, honestly.  But twice since we’ve been home he has owned his name.  He spoke with a family friend on the phone in Russian the other day.  Our friend greeted him as Yura and he immediately corrected saying “My name’s not Yura, it’s Jacob.”  He also corrected Babushka a couple times.  This is so exciting!

Trust is beginning to show.  Orphanage nannies are not the most attentive of supervisors.  Usually if someone  is harassing you, you need to handle it on your own.  When we first had Jacob, if one of his siblings would do something he disliked he immediately tried to amend the situation himself, usually by yelling, swatting or grabbing.  Now, if I’m in the room, he waits patiently for me to correct the injustice, or he calls for me if I’m not within eyesight.  Huge progress!  He has also stopped crying when I take a toy away for dinner or bedtime and tell him that he will be able to use it later.  He is starting to trust!

He’s reaching out for affection.  Between night time cuddles, random hugs during the day, giving kisses on the cheek, being held or holding hands… this kid has started truly enjoying and seeking out touch and affection.  Something he did a little at first, but also became adverse to after just a little interaction.  He is seeking these little moments out more and more, and tolerating them longer, and I couldn’t be more pleased.  He is also reaching out with affectionate words, like telling me “good night” at bedtime.  Wonderful emotional progress!

Attachment, maybe? I hope!  It’s so hard to say if we’re making progress here or not, and one day it might feel like we definitely are, while the next I see red flags all over again.  But he is certainly (at least for now) preferring me over Mima (who has been staying with us this week) and others.  He asks for me specifically for getting dressed and other things, even though I am the tough disciplinary figure at this point! This is hugely comforting to me, and I think it will continue to get better.

He is such a joy!  I can’t wait for all six of us to be together again.  Jake said he thinks it will be even better than our wedding day.  I might have to agree.

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