People keep reaching out asking how we’re doing. Honestly, most days, I think we’re doing pretty well for being home just shy of two months. Andrew described our lives the other day as part train wreck/part fairy tale. I would agree. And I think the fairy tale days are increasing while the train wreck days are decreasing. So, here is a stream of consciousness to catch you up on what’s going on.
Names: So you’ll recall that I was stuck on this topic last time. I think my frustration was that I felt like I had to either keep both Ethiopian names or change both to American names. Then one day I suddenly realized that I didn’t have to treat them both the same in this regard. TA-DA! We are calling the 5-year-old by his Ethiopian name and calling the baby by her American name. (As a note, her Ethiopian name did not sound good with our last name, which is why we agonized so long over this anyway.) Also interesting is that many of the Ethiopians we have met here in town encouraged us to change their names and give them American names. I think that helped us decide. This is a very controversial topic in the adoption world, and I guess we found a way to straddle the fence and not land on either side. From now on, you’ll see A and L (instead of H) when referring to the kids.
Birthdays: Both kids have now celebrated birthdays in the US. And I am realizing that two birthdays and Easter within a month’s time is a lot of shopping, organizing, preparing and wrapping for one mom! Anyway, a few pics from the happy occasions:
A was already familiar with Thomas when he came home, so he had a Thomas birthday. Very excited about “Thomas the Baboul.”
Food: We continue to struggle here, but they are at least getting their basic nutritional needs. We eat a lot of fruit and bread/pasta. Hardly any meat. No veggies. But, both kids had gained weight and grown at their last doctor appointment, so I guess it’s good enough. We are also struggling with getting L to drink from a sippy cup. We’ve tried several brands, but she’s just not having it.
School: A started preschool. He loved it so much on day 1 that he was up and ready to go at 6:08 on day 2. We don’t really have the language to explain to him that school doesn’t open until 7:30. “School tenya.” He continues to be excited and we’ve heard only good reports about him. He has participated in collaborative play with others, sits quietly during circle time, thrives on the routine, and has even napped on a few occasions. We were planning on starting him this summer, but it was clear that he wanted to go now, and I think it has been a great decision. We are still debating whether to start him in K next year or give him another year at preschool.
Big Kids: The older kids continue to do great with the little kids and fighting with each other nonstop. E loves to help with bath time, and S is great with high-energy play. We have tried to make individual time with each of them, and I actually think they are adjusting fairly well. E had mono, so was home from school all last week, feeling terrible. But still, it was nice to have lots of time to snuggle and read with her. This week, we’ll be attending a luncheon honoring S for being Youth Volunteer of the Year at his school. He is an amazing kid.
Past: We are beginning to learn more about the kids’ past. A is able to tell us some stories, like how a dog gave him the scar on his leg. It is a lot of acting out and using only a few common words, but it is fascinating to hear more about what their lives were like. I can’t wait till he has even more language and can fill in some gaps. One of the amazing things about adopting an older kids is unveiling the layers little by little. Some of it is heartbreaking and some of it funny, but it is always wonderful to have these little tidbits of information.
And now, just some total cuteness for those of you who have not already seen these on Facebook:
So many of my blog friends are traveling soon (or right now). I’m so excited for all of you to have these same experiences. Safe travels and can’t wait to hear more.