- Preschool: The kids will finish preschool work within a couple of weeks. They are doing quite well, and usually put in a good amount of effort. We have taken a deliberately slower pace during the summer, yet the kids have completed as much work in a shorter amount of dedicated school time. The kids all enjoy spending time on the computer, doing learning games and listening to interactive stories. They know the alphabet (or at least most of it on a good day), colors, numbers up to 100+, simple coin counting, simple time telling--- they can use scissors, and paste with the best of them! We will be ready to start kindergarten by August, Lord willing.
- Miss G. needs glasses: We noticed that G. appears a bit cross-eyed in some of her photos, so we took her into see a pediatric eye specialist. Turns out she is far-sighted, and has difficulty focusing without her left eye "wandering." Our doctor thinks she will most likely grow out of it, and the glasses will help with the eye strain she's been experiencing. This might also help G. with her ability to concentrate and complete her school work. Many of the worksheets, particularly the number worksheets, are in a small font size. Her lack of concentration and lack of perseverance in this work may simply be due to vision problems.
- Injera is not the favorite food anymore: I have mixed emotions about this--- it makes my life easier, but I almost hate to see them change so much that they don't want Ethiopian food anymore. I'm sure they'll come back to it, at some point. The food fussiness is definitely increasing.
- More frequent, shorter duration bursts of grief: I see this mainly in the oldest--- especially after being corrected. The blank stares and silent tears are so heartbreaking; I just cry right along with him.
- More sibling squabbling: The kids have been fighting more, but I actually see some of it as a positive. For example, the youngest doesn't just give in to big brother anymore; he feels comfortable enough to voice his opinion. Additionally, the physical fighting is much less. Now we just need to learn more general self control. I do (now) see the wisdom of many agencies when they strongly suggest adopting in birth order, and recommending at least a year between the ages of all the kids. With our bio kids, age 8 was rough. Not entirely sure why... selfishness just seemed to ooze from them at this stage. Anyway, with basically 3 eight year olds each vying for his or her own "rights," life has been loud, to say the least! I have had so many wonderful opportunities to teach Bible lessons about selfishness and envy....
- Interaction with all members of the family have relaxed and improved. It seems like the kids have been here much longer than 6 months--- yes, that is a good report! I have a lot of laughing, playing, and lots of joy in my house.
- Almost no Amharic: Yes, 95% of everything is in English. We hear Amharic only when someone is mad... so, I probably don't want to know what's being said.
- Less lying: Thankfully, the kids are telling the truth more often. They are into tattling, though, in a big way. These kiddos sure are normal!
- "I love you!" is spoken a lot, by all the kids. I am the happy and grateful recipient of many warm hugs and spontaneous kisses throughout the day.
- Kids like to read books more, and wish they could sit in front of the television all day. Yes, they are quite Americanized now, and no, I don't let them sit like zombies all day. The boys are still rather hyper, but nothing compared to a few months ago!
- The kids thrive on structure: they all like to know the night before what the next day holds. I don't tell them everything early, as they get super excited about doing new things. If they could, they would be on the go all day. They really enjoy taking everything in, and are extremely social. Church is a highlight of the week. Going out for an occasional meal is easy.
- Meeting new people is easier: The kids now have slightly better eye contact, and have at least a few times blurted out some sort of appropriate greeting.
- Kids are starting to sleep longer: The boys can sometimes sleep for up to 11 hours; Grace still prefers to wake up earlier, although she does occasionally sleep past 7:00 a.m.
- Big growth: G. has grown at least three inches in 6 months; the boys, slightly less. The boys have gained more weight than she has. G. has only gained a pound, while the boys have gained almost three pounds each. We have had to purchase new shoes about every 6 weeks!
- Golf: Yes, golf! The kids love to go with Dad to the range and hit golf balls. They ask to go, even in 100 degree heat. I even caught the girls watching the Golf Channel yesterday morning.
- Swimming: They kids' skills are good enough now that they do not require swim jackets anymore.
- Ability to delay gratification: This is striking--- each child can now wait or "save up" for some desired item. They can accept "no" without pouting, whining, or arguing.
- Prayers: The kids' prayers have changed significantly. They are each very willing to pray in a multitude of situations. They no longer feel self-conscious or nervous to pray aloud. I hear them thanking God for family, and they never fail to pray for their families in Ethiopia (and for many of the people associated with their adoption). They also think to pray for other people around the world who lack food, clothing, and medical care.
- Bedtime chatter continues for the boys
- Saving everything, and putting favorite items in odd places
- Not a great deal of respect for valuables, although they are breaking almost nothing now
- One child continues to test--- consistency and follow-up is critical in this household!
I hope and pray this encourages someone. These little ones have blessed me in such amazingly sweet ways; I am grateful for every moment I have with them. And what is truly beautiful is seeing this new family--- woven together from different parts of the world--- coming together and really starting to love and to serve each other. May the Lord be glorified through these blessings!