On April 1st Jenna arrived at the Forever Home. We've all been looking forward to getting her, including Hannah. Before she arrived, there were good Jenna days and not so good Jenna days for Hannah. Some mornings she'd wake up and say "No, I don't want Jenna to come!" Other days she was excited. After she arrived things were a bit "interesting", yeah, that's what word I'll use, interesting for awhile! Hannah was very jealous. It is something we'd expected to happen. Naturally when you bring a younger child into the home, and the child who was previously youngest is no longer, well.. there are usually issues. Then magnify that with kids that have behavioral issues already, so that certainly proved to be the case. I have to say, although trying at times, it has been good for Hannah. She now has to share her toys:) In this picture, notice the distance between them while playing "together!" Oh, and the happy faces too! This picture was taken on the first or second day after Jenna's arrival. They are now doing better at getting along. We are also beginning to see Hannah mature a little and she's starting to change over to the big sister role. Did you know it is her DUTY to tattle on Jenna?!! Jenna is quite smart. She caught on fast to that. The other day when I came into the room to see what they were up to, Hannah pointed to Jenna and told me her now famous phrase "Mom, Jenna!" Jenna, who doesn't yet speak, pointed to Hannah. They were both pointing at one another! Wish I had a picture of that! It was too cute! Now, when I check on them, I often find them pointing the finger at one another as if to say "It was her! No, it was her!" Yep, life is never dull at our house! It just gets all the more interesting as each new child arrives, but we love it anyway!! Hope we don't get another one till we get Jenna transitioned and in better behavior. Randy has nick named her "Queen Jenna!" She thinks SHE is the boss and doesn't have to mind adults, can you imagine?! She has selective hearing too! Believe me, there is nothing wrong with her hearing!! I'm sure it's worked for her so much in the past. She's learning it doesn't work at our house. She is quite mischievous, but has learned to wait until mom leaves the house to get groceries before doing some of those things now. Darn, mom makes her have time outs, which she doesn't like at all! The teacher has a lot of trouble out of her as Jenna is quite sure she doesn't have to mind her. One day little Jenna bit her, scratched her in the face, spit (yep, she's a feisty one), threw the time-out timer across the room, kicked her and such then when she tried to put her in her bed. It truly was a bad day for the teacher! She says "She hates me!" I just hoped she came back the next day! Not to worry, she did. I was teasing her, the teacher, that she is only 5 years old, what if we got a 10 year old like that?!! It is quite possible! We might all get beat up, I said!! I tell you, you just got to have a sense of humor doing what we do!! I'm not sure how funny she thought it was:) She used to say the same thing about Hannah hating her too and not listening to her. That all changed after Jenna arrived. Then Hannah became her friend and seems to mind her now. She now competes with Jenna for attention, surprise, surprise. The teacher suggested perhaps we needed to get another one so maybe the same thing will happen with Jenna and abra cadabra, she'll be a good girl now like Hannah?! I said I didn't think another one was wise until we got Jenna's behavior under control and she adjusted better. She then suggested perhaps we should just "borrow" one for awhile! Anyway, things are getting better and we are seeing real improvements in her behavior. I think someone may be teaching us some patience too, what'ya think?! She is learning that what mom says is exactly what mom means!! We are having some real bad food battles and she refuses quite often to eat and ALWAYS refuses to take her vitamins! Do you know she can hold them in her mouth literally for hours under her tongue?!! She comes to this house and man, people insist that she mind and eat yecky vitamin thingys. One day I gave her them at breakfast, 7-7:30am, and at 10am I noticed slobbered stuff all down her nice pretty sweater and looked like she had something in her mouth. Knowing I didn't give her anything, I wondered what she'd found on the floor to eat. Guess what, it was her vitamins I'd given her at breakfast!! She not only still had them under her tongue, but also refused to swallow the slobbers they produced cause they tasted yecky too! After 14 days of fighting her about it, I just decided to crush them up and put them in her milk or juice! She even missed going to church one Sunday and preschool one day because she refused to eat. That particular Sunday was a cold and rainy one and I REALLY hated to have to drive me and her alone later after she'd finished. Three miles one way, raining, and only in the upper 30's verses riding in the back of the family's other COVERED cart!! Why Jenna on that day did we have to make that point?!! But... I had to make a point!! I had to stand my ground, make my word true and I knew it. I'd said if you don't eat, you can't go. She was clearly testing me and finding out if what I said was what I meant. Darn it!! Painful as it was, I knew I had to do what I said. I hated it but had to bite the bullet and make a point!! An hour and half at the breakfast table and she couldn't manage to eat, yet just ten minutes after the rest of the family left, she ate it all! The next day she tried it again!! I tell you she's a tough cookie--the most strong willed of any one we have so far! She didn't get to go to preschool at all that day as I just refused to make a special trip. The class got to go to the market and buy chicks and bunnies and we played it up BIG with Hannah on how much fun it was. After that, however, she realized mom means what she says! If she doesn't eat, she doesn't get to go. That day she realized that mom can be more stubborn than her! Since those 2 days last week, we haven't had to deal with her not eating. When mom says you can't go if you don't eat, she eats. Hooray, THAT battle's won!! I'm glad He doesn't give us more than we can handle, don't you! He's training us little by little. Boy, if we think of it that way, that means there'll probably be tougher cookies that are yet to arrive! We just lean on Him for help and guidance and take whatever He chooses to give us. It's funny as we look back on Elizabeth and what she was like when she first arrived, then Hannah too. Right now we can truly say they are such wonderful girls! They mind pretty well and have adjusted nicely, they're good little girls! Don't get me wrong--Jenna can be a good girl too when she wants to:) She just hasn't chosen to make those times the majority yet, but she will!! I'm convinced of that. Besides, it isn't an option for her anyway:) It is always nice to hear others here comment on the wonderful changes they've seen in them upon coming to our home. We give Him all the glory!!
We are the Rippee family! We manage and are house parents in a home for older orphaned girls in China. It's called the Forever Home, and it is a project of New Day Foster Home. Like all foreign workers at NDFH, we receive no salary for our work, so if you would like to support our family's living expenses, please click the button below to donate through PayPal. Donations are tax-deductible. To learn more about the Forever Home and ways you can directly support this work, please visit New Day Foster Home's website.
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Elise was adopted at the age of 3 years old as a special needs child by Randy and Rita Rippee, managers and house parents of this Forever Home. Elise is home- schooled and really loves music, cooking, arts and crafts, and enjoys being the big, older sister to the Forever Home girls.
Shawna was adopted at the age of 1 year old as a special needs child by Randy and Rita Rippee, managers and house parents of this Forever Home. Shawna is home-schooled and is good at piano, arts and crafts, and thoroughly enjoys playing with the Forever Home girls.
Elizabeth was adopted at the age of 10 years old as a special needs child by Randy and Rita Rippee, managers and house parents of this Forever Home. Elizabeth is home-schooled and loves the outdoors, computers, bike riding, and crafts.
THE FOREVER HOME GIRLS
Click on the pictures below to find out more about our Forever Home girls.
We provide this information to give our sponsors and supporters a general idea of the challenges our children face. For prospective adoptive parents, the information on the blog is not intended to be a substitute for a complete and up-to-date referral packet from your adoption agency. Please keep in mind that in our blog posts, we always try to focus on a child's strengths, accomplishments and positive developments, not in an attempt to gloss-over their often serious medical conditions, but in an effort to share a glimpse of their precious personalities.