So, I've been MIA for quite some time. That is due to the fact that life is just plain busy with 4 children! It's been seven weeks and one day since our kiddos came home after many YEARS of waiting. There are more adjustments than I can possibly imagine listing that we've been working through as a family. I also have wanted to be careful about posting anything until I was given the go-ahead... for the sake of other adoptions still in progress.
So- this will not be an exhaustive update. I don't want to air all our "junk" on-line. Not because I want you to think we're fine and perfect, and oh-so-able to handle it all. We're not. We struggle everyday to be all that we need to be for our children right now. I just want to be really respectful of my Kelvin and Hawa's privacy as they learn and grow in how to be part of our family, and as we learn and grow in helping them.
I do want to update any of you interested in what's going on in life though... at least a little bit. So many of you have prayed faithfully, and I can only hope that you will continue to do so as the Lord brings us to your mind... it remains a firm lifeline ~ knowing that others are interceding for us.
So- The kids are amazing! Beautiful, happy, loving, affectionate, funny, energetic, and full of life.
It is so fun to hear their excitement over things that we are so used to... "OOOH! Mama! See the helicopter!! See the squirrel! See the BEEEEG (big) truck!" They absolutely love the tire swing, riding bikes, jumping rope, eating tuna or sardine rice, seeing the animals at the zoo, playing tag in the backyard, interacting with other children, and so on. They love Curious George stories, have learned their shapes, alphabet letter sounds, and some concrete math concepts.
With a few issues excepted, they are healthy (and brave! -They've had so many appointments, blood draws, shots, dental scrapings, etc!! Luckily, they get to go pick out a doughnut after each Doctor visit... so it's not ALL bad.) They sleep very well at night, and have adjusted to our cooler weather without batting an eye. They are both (overall) very respectful of their new home and others' belongings. We actually were quite surprised at this because after spending the month with them in Liberia, we assumed it would be otherwise.
They eat most of our food VERY well. Not because they are exceedingly grateful for any food they can get (they were pretty spoiled at Goergia's house in that regard), but because we have not given them reign to let have their own way. Kelvin is a champ, and eats with a great attitude. Hawa struggles sometimes, but is doing well. We eat a lot of rice dishes (some Liberian), tons of fruit, and more meat than we've EVER served before. They would live on meat (any kind), eggs, fish, and rice if we let them. We go through oranges (and clementines) like you wouldn't believe. :) They are not fans of baked sweets, which is just fine by me!! They like banana bread, so we make that a lot.. but cookies and cake simply do not impress them. They'd take an oily hand-ful of sardines over that stuff anytime. Yum, yum. Seriously though... they're not that bad... and they're supposed to be super good for you! I had sardine rice yesterday for lunch. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. :)
There are hard things. Things that take hours to work through sometimes... while three of the four children have to fend for themselves b/c there is only one of me. We pray constantly for wisdom and patience and perseverance... and God is always faithful to provide it. I wake up telling Jesus how much I need him... and I go to bed thanking him for getting me through another day. I suppose that's a good place to be... so very aware of how desperate I am for him in my life... so very aware that I am not able on my own. We are already seeing changes in life-long learned behaviors... not that we expect them to be eradicated anytime soon. We're brighter than that. But, we do find encouragement in the fact that strong, clear boundaries and expectations just work with Liberian children. We know from being in Liberia that it's simply what they will respect. Consistent consequences for poor choices, and lots of praise and encouragement seem to be effective. Now, on some days, I see no effect whatsoever... and it's on those days when I wonder how we're going to muddle through. But when I step away from being "in" it constantly, I can honestly say that I am encouraged.
Anika and Asher are so amazing. They have things they're working on too... things that are hard, things that take maturity and are a lot to ask of a 9 and 11 year old. But, they are incredible, and they encourage me so often in the way that they interact with their brother and sister. They certainly have struggles a lot. The hardest part, by far, is missing time with Jason and I. We have been so very divided in our attention because of the constant and immediate needs of Kelvin and Hawa, and it takes its toll on all of us. It is for a short season, and we can all feel it letting up a tiny bit already. For the first time since they've been home, we watched a movie where no one competed to be next to me... two were content on the ground, and two were by my sides. Little things like that have given me hope that the desperateness will slowly subside, and there will be an ability to spend one-on-one time with all my kids again, without World War III breaking out.
What else can I cover in the few precious moments I have between putting them all to bed and going to bed myself? Uh,let's see... hair!
OK, so the hair thing is not a big deal. I thought it would be. I actually really like doing Hawa's hair. It's soft and beautiful, and the artsy side of me enjoys making the fun little braid boxes or triangles, or whatever. Now, Hawa's hair is so short that I have few options. I cannot do the braids that I tried to learn in Liberia. It worked on the older girls' hair.. I was able to do those great braids b/c their hair was longer. Hawa's hair is so short, however, that it's just not possible for me. So, until we get some more length, I'll enjoy the ease of letting her hair be loose sometimes (it's so pretty just natural), or doing styles that work on short hair. Later, I'll have to do more research on styles for longer hair! I am getting through b/c I'm choosing easy stuff to do right now (time is an issue for me now too)... but I have a WORLD o things to learn! Kelvin's hair is a cinch. Whew.
Man, I've enjoyed sitting and writing a few things down. I forget how therapeutic this is for me. It just helps me process and think about things that I don't have any time to think about. I'd love to say that I'd write again soon, but that's just not realistic at this point, so I won't make "piecrust promises"... easily made, easily broken. (~Mary Poppins said that... and by the way, I just typed Mary Poopins. Yes, Poopins. Funny.)
Before I go, can I just say that my husband is incredible? I cannot imagine anyone more amazing, more full of insight and wisdom, more supportive, more patient and kind, more dependent upon the Lord and more perfect for me. Just had to brag for a moment because I'd never be able to do this without him. Seriously... never. We are so in this thing together, and I am so, so grateful.