Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Now we (really) are 6

Where to begin?

Well, we are home! Most of you know that..and have made contact with our new family. We are so humbled by the out pouring of gifts. We have been showered with awesome girl stuff, books, clothes, meals and so much more. Thank you very much.

We are going into our 2nd month in full swing. Both the girls are in school. Genet is actually taking a pre-school class 2 mornings a week. We are hoping that this will help her get up to speed. She also has kindergarten in the afternoons. She loves her teachers and is beginning to get the “hang” of doing school. She is learning to sit and move in a group. She is learning to count, sing songs, and recognize letters. Bizayehu is in 2nd grade and doing well also. She is learning simple math and her letters, colors, shapes and how to be a friend. Things are so different for these girls. While they may know much of this already. They know it in a different language and sometimes in a different context.

The days are full and overwhelming. It is more than just having 4 children. B and G need so much right now. While they have great receptive language, at times I feel like I am not understanding their needs. At times, I just smile and nod. Having B and G splits the time between Ben and Abel more than in half. Ben is pretty self reliant and autonomous with school and outside activities, but Abel still needs us hands on more…It is a huge challenge to not let his needs get lost in the shuffle. We all fall into bed at night exhausted and spent.

I have to say that I think that B and G are incredible. They are strong and brave. I don’t know how they do it everyday. I don’t know how they get up out of bed and trust us. I don’t know if they even get that this is forever, and not just another stop. They are generally good natured. They are busy, love to play with dolls, and to color, jump rope, play on the trampoline, they love the boys and want to jump on them all the time. Both the girls are adapting to our food well. They eat everything we do without a complaint. They do have preferences, like G-she loves Ethiopian spice that she put on everything! Our family has started to eat mangos after a visit to the store and them getting exicted about them. Again, I don’t know how they do it! I know they miss their own food, but they also love some of our American food too.

These first months have been challenging for us. I think that I romanticized adoption a little. It is not exactly what I expected, and I am learning to change my expectations. I have to say that I think that my challenges have more to do with me and my emotions than the girls. One thing we struggle with is G’s fits, or “storms”. We are not sure what exactly sets them off. They last from 20-30 minutes and are full of screaming and flailing. They usually occur at bedtime and she is back to normal in the morning. But, they are exhausting. We are on pins and needles waiting for the next one to happen. In my head I completely understand her need to vent. In my heart though, it kills me. I know it is hard for Tom, and Ben and Abel. It is draining and very emotional. I can go through them without emotion on the outside with G, but inside, it is hard. Afterwards, we are all spent. I think it is hard because this hasn’t been part of our lives before. We are not used to it at all. I joke that I am such a good mom when things are going good….but when things don’t, I sort of second guess my abilities and feel bad. ( update--these have gotten better... not sure why--not trusting that they are gone either, but grateful for the reprieve!)

I try to give myself a little break though..we haven’t been home even 2 months yet. I think our family will look vastly different in another 5 months. When the girls get a little language and can ask for help, or explain their needs better.

We went to the dentist the other day. The girls were awesome. They let the hygienist poke and clean their teeth. There has been some questions about G and her age. She is tiny-tiny. She doesn’t look 6 or act 6. So, we thought maybe she was really younger. Well, her 6 year molars are all the way in. So, she really is between 5 and 6. It is comforting to know this.

Anyway, for what we have undertaken I think we are doing well. Pray for us. Pray for wisdom, for patience, and for grace.

Things that are different in our home

1. We use a lot more toilet paper.
2. We go through boiled eggs like butter.
3. We have pink and sparkly shoes that clomp through our house.
4. We have more laundry and it is stacking up in various places around the house
5. I am slowly learning to do hair.I am resisting it though....
6. I find beads all over the floor.
7. Viggo chases G's light up shoes around the house.
8. I am behind at everything
9. B spoke her first complete sentence 2 weeks ago.
10. My house is a mess—all the time.
11. We go through a lot of food.
12. We are emotionally exhausted.
13. The girls are VERY VERY smart.
14. We think they really like being in a family.

I will be posting pictures and the story of my trip soon...when I can!


Holly said...

Oh Deb, my heart is with you. Your girls are just simply gorgeous, and so brave and strong as you said. I'm so glad you are writing again, though how you find the time, I'm not sure! All our best to you and your entire family. What an overwhelming adjustment for everyone, and YOUR strength is equally incredible. You are one amazing lady.

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Angela said...

Oh, sweet one. I don't have my adopted kids home yet, but I can relate to 'storms' as you call them. Our bio 5 yo is very stong willed and has had said 'storms' all 5 years I've known her! :) She's getting better, (3 years old was REALLY hard) but I know... it makes me want to pull out all of my hair! My dh and I joke that she is preparing us for what may come with our 2 ethiopian kiddos!
Hang in there! I'm praying for you!!

Jenn said...

How are things going now?

Anonymous said...

What an adventure! I have several adopted children, many w/ disabilities. I agree that language is often a key in reducing tantrums and it might do the trick. It may also be helpful though, if they don't resolve themselves in a couple of months, to contact an occupational therapist and ask for a sensory eval. She may be overwhelmed with sensory overload. Might be helpful to tone things down as far as toys, noise, music, and activity. She's not used to it and may have sensitivity. Just a thought, been there.

kparker said...

your blog post is amazing and I am so impressed by your strength, honesty and openness to what this all means and what it will all bring. It is always rough in the beginning but you will get there. You will! Peace, Katie