Verse of the Day

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Five Month Update, and a Little Advice to Those Just Starting the Process

Unbelievable! I honestly can not fathom that the three musketeers have already been home for 5 months!  B., A., and Miss G. have made quantum leaps in all areas of life--- across the board!

New and Encouraging Changes within the Past Month:

  • The kids successfully and enthusiastically completed a soccer season and 2 sessions of swimming class.  Each of them displayed improved physical coordination, drastically improved endurance, and good interpersonal skills with team mates.  The kids were cooperative with coaches and with kids; each demonstrated an ability to persevere under stress and fatigue.  They do seem to enjoy a competitive atmosphere.
  • School!  The kids continue to make slow, steady progress in preschool level work.  The kids now consistently know colors; they can even recognize the color names written in English.  The Kumon workbooks have been a continued source of joy and inspiration for the kids.  They feel a sense of accomplishment when they can work an entire book and actually understand a key concept.  I am so impressed with the workbooks that I even purchases a couple of them for Miss. B.  We continue to do a lot of oral work:  calendar, weather, numbers, alphabet, basic math facts.  The kids respond favorably to the structure of the day:  devotions, oral work, workbooks, snack--- workbooks, math music, Califone vocabulary cards, and puzzles or additional coloring.  School is now up to 3 hours, with fairly good attention span!  The kids all ask for more school, even on the weekends.  Sorry kids, but teach needs time off, too!
  • No more bed wetting.  A 2 week use of pull-ups is all it took to get our youngest to use the bathroom.  Who knew this would be so easy?
  • Manners are noticeably improved.  Although we still have issues with everyone talking at the same time, the kids are doing so well that we can now take them out to eat.  We have taken them to eat out twice now, each time with no negative issues whatsoever.  We just make sure we split up all the big talkers... and make sure we get cup with lids on them!  Everything now is just "normal kid stuff."
  • No major grieving issues over the past month.  The kids are sleeping well, eating well, and display no sign of sadness, depression, or any unusual behavior.
  • No more food hoarding.  
  • Less and less testing.  I do not even recall an incident of any of the kids trying to test me this month.  Maybe I'm just tired....
  • Ability to memorize Scripture.  This one amazed me!  Here we have kids who don't even speak English 100% of the time, but they can memorize simple verses.  My heart burst with joy when they come up to me throughout the week, rehearsing their verse.  They seem to enjoy the challenge, and definitely enjoy hearing our positive encouragement.  Truth and Grace Memory Book
  • Some decrease in the hyperness of the boys.  The the boys are finding more and more activities that keep them physically or mentally busy.  "Focus!" is the mantra of our household, particularly for our oldest boy.
  • The kids are far more willing and able to share.  They even helped identify items (clothes, toys, etc.) that they could donate to a local charity.  This clearly demonstrates that they are feeling infinitely more secure and safe.
  • Sticker Reward System for Appropriate Behavior = Success!  See old post on chart; works beautifully!
Unchanged Behavior over the Past Month:
  • No discernible increase in use of English.
  • Bed time chatter continues for the boys.  
  • No increase in the "acceptable foods" department.
  • Lying continues, but is more of an issue in only one child--- not all three.
  • Sibling squabbles continue, but hitting and physical fighting has stopped.
Areas Requiring Attention
  • Stranger danger:  During a large family get-together, one of the kids retreated.  He was clearly tired and overstimulated; he hid from everyone in the front yard, not responding to people calling for him.  He was only "missing" for a few minutes, but it was an unnerving few minutes!  As a result, I did purchase a stranger safety video and had all of the kids watch.  I wasn't sure how much they really understood, but the next day they demonstrated a new awareness of potentially threatening situations.  We continue to work on some of the key ideas in the video.  I'm sure this will take some time to really penetrate.  Stranger Safety Video
  • Bad language:  Initially, I thought I was not hearing correctly... but there is was again--- in clear English.  Some words (and gestures) are just universal, apparently.  I honestly thought a few months ago that some Ethiopian word must sound an awful lot like an American cuss word... little did I know that they picked up the English word(s) very early in their education.  Guess they all go through it; I'm not too concerned.
That's about it for now.  How much more encouraging or positive could this be?  Don't be frightened off by older child adoption.

If you are considering older child adoption, please do your homework and sign with a reputable organization.  Read blogs and join Yahoo groups that can offer agency feedback.  Furthermore, choose an agency that truly knows the child's temperament and as much social history as possible.  This is critical in older child adoption, especially if you have children already at home.  In my experience, YWAM's Adoption Ministry simply shines in this regard!  For us, everything stated in our children's histories rang true, and we were prepared for certain behavioral issues the kids demonstrated while under YWAM's care.

Just as important, choose a reputable agency to do your home study.  It is critical that you have a positive relationship with your social worker.  Don't try to save money here, or look for a fast process.  Get a recommendation; don't blindly choose a social worker.  Problems can and do occur in adoption; your social worker ought to be your first call for advice.  This person should be available for you, and you must feel that you can completely open up and be honest with this person.  Without a doubt, we were blessed to work with Lisa Peterson of Building Arizona Families.  I emailed her frequently, especially when the kids first came home.  I actually look forward to Lisa's visits; she is a true friend and advisor, and helped us tremendously in our transition with the kids.  That is the type of relationship you need to look for before you start an adoption.

Unfortunately, some families do experience exceptionally difficult adjustments.  Disruptions can and do happen.  I can not imagine the pain these families endure, and my heart hurts for both parents and children involved.  But please... don't allow that possibility deter you from making a decision to choose an older child.  Just plunge in, with your eyes wide open!  Don't let fear stop you, but be smart about your decision.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on all the wonderful progress!