Hannah rode her bike home from school, came inside and got her backpack out, and was going through her Tuesday folder so I could look over her graded papers and sign off for any handouts that came home. She eagerly asked me if I would read her November writing assignment and I was too busy at the time, and my head was killing me so I told her I would read it later.
The two younger kids and I went for a walk in the perfectly cool evening outdoors, with me hoping that it might help my headache. Isaac was bundled up in the stroller and Hannah decided to ride along on her bike. As we were passing by some older people on the street, I overheard them talking and recognized that they were speaking Chinese. I tend to worry that Hannah will forget speaking and listening in Chinese, so in addition to her weekly Chinese lessons that Kelly takes her to each Saturday, when we encounter anyone who speaks it, I encourage her to converse with them. She is usually rather timid about it, but is getting better when she sees that I make a big deal out if it, that she can speak another language. She rode a bit ahead of me and I shouted at her to please turn around. We made a u-turn to go back so I could talk to the Chinese speaking neighbors. In my broken Chinese, I told them that she speaks Chinese, and they smiled and began talking to her in their native tongue, and I would insert a few horribly pronounced words myself here and there. It turns out that they are also from Taiwan, and Hannah told them where she had been born, and they talked a bit. It was a lot of fun and I told her that if she sees them on her way home from school, that it's fine to stop and talk to them for a few minutes in Chinese the next time she sees them.
Speaking both Chinese and English fluently doesn't necessarily mean that one can translate easily. I explained to her what a tough task it is to be an interpreter, but that she is very smart and some day, if she works really hard, she can translate for people since she will be able to converse well in both languages. I gave her some examples of some of our good friends in Taiwan, Demi and Abish, both who were invaluable to us while we lived there. Each friend translated for us at church regularly and at critical times during the legal proceedings with the courts and social workers, as we went through a rather unique international adoption while living abroad. Hannah got pretty excited about the possibility when I told her that some day she may be able to translate for some key figures, including some of our general authorities of our church. She thought that sounded really cool and asked me to say a couple of sentences in English, then she translated them for me. What a sweetheart she is.
But that's not the main part of my story here. The day was winding down, Isaac was hungry and sleepy, and when we got home, we proceeded with dinner. After taking her shower, she asked if we could watch half of a Hallmark Christmas movie together, something the two of us have been enjoying the past few days. I got Isaac fed and settled down and put to bed, and by then Kelly had arrived home and the three of us started watching a movie. Like clockwork, she didn't want to extend her bedtime and punctually wanted to head to bed like every other night. We had family prayer, then gave each other a hug and a kiss goodnight, and off she went.
I finished watching the movie, and was about to head to bed, then realized I still needed to read her writing assignment, and go over her Tuesday folder. I picked up her notebook that she had left open for me to easily see, and suddenly I felt terrible once I saw her topic and realized I had blown her off when she first had asked me to read it when I had more time. Here's what she wrote.
I am thankful for my mom because she adopted me, and when she adopted me that day was really special to me. It was special to me because it was the day that all the maracos (miracles) happend (happened). I finally got a new mom that loves me and could take care of me. She cooks food for me and she always try (sic) to make me feel better when I am sad or angry. My mom helps me when I needed (need it). Sometimes I feel lonly (lonely) cause my mom is alway (sic) taking care of my baby brothe (brother), but I always know that my mom loves me even when I am bad. I am so thankful for my mom and that I could be with her.
What joy she has brought to our family. I love Hannah and am grateful for the miracle of her being placed with us. She emigrated to the United States the beginning of September, 2011, and could barely speak English. I am so proud of her hard work and how well she has adapted and become part of our family.