"Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls knows that we know, and holds us responsible to ACT"...Proverbs 24:12

Sunday, October 28, 2012

4 weeks...

(The blog wont let me post pictures right now so Im using FB)

One month home and life is starting to  feels a bit more 'normal' and yet at times I catch myself staring at the girls amazed that they really are here!

It went from week 1- "wow, they are angels...this is so much fun, why didn't we bring more home!"

To week 2- "soooo....it's true- they are humans and are not perfect and they can say 'No' when we ask them to put on a seat belt...what in the world do we do now?!

To week 3:  routines and structure is a very good thing

A typical day:

We all seem to wake up at the same time...PBS kids goes on and I get breakfast on the table.

 During breakfast I read ALOT to the kids...I was so nervous that I would be boring the twins to death and I secretly had nightmares that they would walk off dissing my history books but it's amazing how attentive and good they are during this long reading time.  I set myself up by explaining to them that this is 'school' 'mommy reads'...they looked around at their pajama clad family members and probably had a strange 1st impression of the American school system  ;)

After breakfast the younger 3 start school.  Jacob is pretty self sufficient and I usually only need to help him in 2 subjects.  I then bounce between Caleb and Sova- reheating my coffee and 'spying' on the twins playing together.  The kids will often run out of the room to visit the twins 'for a break.'

The twins are free to play in the morning and Im sure they appreciate that quiet time they have together.  They now feel comfortable enough to wander around and take anything out that they wish.

 Some things they do in the morning:

 playdough, clay, games, drawing, playing out on the trampoline, trying to figure out the bicycle, coloring, they love artsy crafty stuff- scissors, glue, paints ect. , trying to figure out the Leapster. game, puzzles, I leave out various 'educational toys', they LOVE dressing the dolls up, doing their hair, and setting them up- hours a day!

My goal everyday is to have the younger 3 done with school by lunchtime. 

I read again during lunch and try to do something fun together like a game, science or art  project.

Then it's on to the 2nd shift...the kids rotate.

Younger 3 are free to play while I do school with the twins.

They  practice writing their letters, we do simple spelling words like:  dad, rug, fin,

we do phonics- and they are now reading stuff like, "Mat sat on the cat," AND comprehending what they read.  They are doing addition and subtraction- one can multiply a bit but whats confuisng is that they were taught different ways of doing math- and this is where Im drawing the biggest ? with them.  Im trying to tell myself to just focus

on language learning and forget about the math this year but the teacher inside me can't handle that.

They are picking up English words faster than I even expected but they are storing them in their brains for now- you wont hear them using them yet but during school with flashcards I see that they know soooo many words...they are just intimidated to use them. 

Some phrases we hear daily:

"Come on Sova..outside",

 "Mommy...what is this? (1st asked while I was driving past a cemetery- I did the whole charades one handed and all... and they actually understood! Really felt like I should have won an academy award with that one!) 

"Where Jacob?"  "Wow!, sure, stinky!, excuse me, bless you, thank you, sorry, please, yes, no, UNO!, noooooo daddy!, Caleb baby, (they picked up on me calling him 'my baby' and they will call him this and he actually likes it :)


I know it sounds crazy but we have no problems communicating...I cant think of one scenario where we just couldn't explain something. 


It's funny with the kids though.  I have had to remind them that they don't need to talk louder when they aren't getting through.

Jacob:  "Im going to piano lessons now"

non English speaker: 'huh?"

Jacob:  20 decibels higher, "Im going to piano now!!"

 All 5 kids have made up their own language together...they have code names for everyone like Sova is 'foo-foo' and daddy is 'coo-key'  they all think it's hysterical.  It's simply amazing how the kids can play all day together-laughing and having fun- w/ 2 kids who don't speak English.  Just today they all played 'house' on the trampoline.  They all picked their ages, brought out blankets and play food and played for what seemed like hours!

Michael gets pretty much attacked when he gets home from work.  They think he's the greatest thing and cant get enough daddy time.  They've never had a father nor a male figure in their life- what a crucial role he is able step into- and they are embracing every second of it!

Bed time seems like eternity.  Not sure how we 'start the process' at 7:30 and we are still going in and out of bedrooms at 9:30... We of course feel the need to spend time with the twins trying to bond and make special connections, and yet then we see the need to give the younger 3 'extra' time too so that they wont feel left out or jealous with our attention on the twins...so we find ourselves pretty much laying w/ everyone and giving 101 hugs and kisses... thus me typing this near mid night. 


As far as the household stuff:

I have not learned how to purchase enough for 1 week yet!  Every week so far I have had to run out for the things we go through like crazy  And YET...Im very proud of myself...the twins have not yet been in a grocery store...nor any store for that matter!  :)   At times when I have been left alone with them it has taken everything in me not to run to Target to let them pick out their own earrings or new shoes.  I keep telling myself...all in good time.

Because the twins are little army cleaners I stepped it up with my younger 3.  It' s amazing how kids actually like to work and clean...I just always preferred to do it myself....frankly because I do it better :)

 But day one when I saw 7 plates left on the dinner table that all changed.  all the kids make their beds, unload the dishwasher, clear the table, sweep, take out the garbage, and I recently added cleaning the bathroom counters/sinks and vacuuming.  So much of this is just plain fascinating to the twins.  One day they asked me what the dishwasher does- I showed them how to clean the dishes and load the dishwasher- when I saw them fighting over the sponge I then decided to introduce one of them to the vacuum cleaner...when Jacob saw her vacuuming- he wanted to do it.

 Back to the sink girl...water from the faucet is still miraculous and she wont turn the sink off- there are no dishes left so she is literally washing the sink (that I think normal people do but I have yet to see the point up until this time....ahhhh the shine!)

I realized that this cleaning novelty will one day wear off so I am now in the process of engraving the chore charts in steel.  

The girls were able to explain to me that they scrubbed their clothes by hand with water from the rain.  They had to walk very far to the well to get drinking water- but they explained 'a boy' did this for them.  They told me that they had no food in their house.  Whenever we look at their pictures from Ethiopia more and more bits of info come to surface...I cant wait for them to share so much with us!

Everyday is an adventure around here.  I don't think that we have laughed this much in our lives.  Everything seems to be funny and the girls have the best sense of humor.

Even though this transition to a new country and a new family is in essence considered 'trauma'- God has been with them every step of the way.  He allowed their hearts to open up to us and we were blessed to be able to go through the grieving process together.  They allowed us to hold them and cry with them.  It was pure healing and I cant even tell you how much they needed to do that.  There was a new bond between us after that night- an unspoken understanding that we all have... We not only acknowledged and accepted their grief - we took part in it and in return they opened up their hearts even more to us. They are amazing little girls...we are so blessed.

The part the truly amazes me is the kids...they all play like they have lived together their whole lives...I just cant get over it.  Yes- they even all fight which means we've all settled in togehter ;)

 Even my little shy man- my mouth drops as I see him run up to the girls hugging and squeezing  them and saying that he loves them!  He crawls up on their lap during a movie...oh the Lord has heard my prayers!

So I don't consider myself stylish but do have a small sense...and I daily try to get to the girls closet before they do because you never know what will appear on them.  Red plaid skirt- pink tights- striped blue hoody....with all the hair bows accessible strung across the head. 

Today was a beautiful sweater with addidas sport pants...I even over heard Mike say, "are you going out like that?"  They had no clue what he said but I was cracking up.

Because they are not 4 years old...I just feel kind of bad when I mention a possible clothing change...most of the time we just go with it!

I've also had to hide the scissors in the bathroom because I realized that when they saw stray hairs sticking out of their hair-do...they would take the scissors and chop!  I discovered this while pulling one's hair into a pony tail and realizing that it doesnt reach nearly as far as it used to...aye!

Like I mentioned- they love their Ethiopian spice called 'berber'...it has gotten a little crazy.  They have berber PB and J and Berber covered bananas.

Every weekend so far we have had a 'family campout' in the living room...and the kids have had mid-week 'sleepover's' in the girl's room after Jacob pitched a fit that it's not fair Sova gets to 'hang out' w/ them...the girls then started chanting, 'Jacob-Caleb-Jacob-Caleb' until we caved and allowed the boys to bring in their sleeping bags!

Jerusalem is obsessed w/ the leaf-blower...for the last couple weeks she has walked around our yard for hours!  Mike taught her how to use and and I will sometimes see her blowing leaves while Im doing school w/ the kids!

The ophange had a TV with some  donated americanVHS movies that they would put on for the kids.  While Jacob was searching through netflix, Helen started flipping out- she ran up to the TV and pointed at Barney and said 'this this!'  "This in Ethiopia!'  She wanted it on and the younger three litteraly ran out of the room.  Caleb was almost in tears about it!  I put on Barney for her while the younger ones sulked outside. 

While cleaning up listening to the background music of, "I love you, you love me..,"  I was bursting inside at the thought of Mike and I being concerned about bringing home 'older children' and what kind of influence that might have on the kids.  So far Caleb is crying that Barney is on and Sova is upset that they sleep with her favorite dolls...I'd say we are OK in this department  :)


The younger 3 are in a Christmas play and every night the Christmas music has to go on so the kids can learn the songs.  The twins found a mini Christmas tree in our garage and brought it to their bedroom- they then stuck battery operated tea-lights in it.  They laugh and say, Christmas!  With the amount of times they have heard this Christmas music on- I'm thinking that they think it's Christmas...

So one month in and Im truly amazed at how smoothly we all transitioned. 

When we go out somewhere- (church, someone's house, group atmosphere)  the girls go back to stoic, quiet, looking unhappy mode.  That's not the real them and it will just take a little time to figure this all out.  They are the funniest livliest girls who love laughing and playing.

I know many of you were praying for this transition and we cant thank you enough. 

God not only call's us- he equips us and prepares us and never leaves nor forsakes us...that we know to be true.












1 comment:

Leah Good said...

Yay! New post. What an answer to prayer that Helen and Jerusalem are settling in well. I so can't wait to get to know them better.

We will continue praying!