It is hard to believe that three weeks ago we were fresh off the plane from the Ukraine.
THREE WEEKS - WOW!!!!
So much has happened in three weeks, I hardly know where to begin. This is gonna be a long one, so go grab your coffee.
I need to begin by thanking the Lord for His grace and mercy, for his endless provision and blessings. I am always amazed at how perfect the Lord's timing is. (Ok, I really don't know why I am amazed, after all He IS God and can do all and anything. Nevertheless, when I am experiencing His abundance, I am amazed)
Diapers - we have FIVE in diapers. Yes, you read that right, FIVE! We are using about 30 diapers per day. I had a huge stash of awesome cloth diapers that I sold to help pay for our adoption expenses. Obviously, I was not thinking I would have 5 in diapers. I knew I needed to go back to cloth and asked friends, who asked friends and in one day, two friends supplied us with enough diapers to make it through a whole day.
Broken washing machine --- ack, just as we got into the swing of cloth diapers, my washing broke. Not more than a few hours later, a friend was at my door and she had a jumbo pack of diapers for us and a quilt for Seth's bed. The amazing thing about the quilt was, when I had gone into Seth's room that morning, I had noticed that his cover was a bit small for his size, I went and to a twin sheet, folded it and used that to cover him. I noted that we needed to buy him a bigger blanket. Can you believe how God is in the details?
Meals - in the 21 days we have been home, we have had 8 friends deliver us 10 meals.
4 friends came and spent time helping me with the kids and around the house. Remember E, the soap maker? She came and spent the whole day with me. Her grand accomplishment was sorting the toys back into their proper buckets. This was a huge task!
Clothes - we have received lots of little boys clothes and got a message yesterday from a friend at one of our homeschool co-ops that she has tubs of little boy clothes for us. That should round out the boys wardrobe and give us a stash for them to grow into.
Pediasure - a friend picked up, paid for and delivered cases of Pediasure.
Lawn work - a friend hired a lawn care company to do our yard work. The lawn looks amazing and I bet our neighbors and homeowners association are much happier with us. The same friend brought her three children and weeded the flower beds in front of the house.
I know I am missing something ... three weeks is a lot to recap! The blessings have been abundant and we thank you friends for being the hands and feet of Christ!
These last weeks have been hard, very hard, harder than we ever imagined. They have been hard for different reasons than I have read about. The workload is immense. I am washing 4 – 5 loads of laundry per day. We are running the dishwasher twice per day and we are using all paper plates and bowls … Can you imagine if we were using real tableware? My floor is endlessly dirty. Sweeping seems to be hourly and the shark steam mop was done three times last week. So much of my time is spent preparing meals and cleaning up afterwards. We implemented a new meal chore chart and changed the way the kids do table chores. So far, it is working … not fabulous, but it is working. I pray for the Lord to double my efforts, He is ever so faithful. Sometimes my head spins with all that needs to be done. I am very happy to be doing it, don't get me wrong. The Lord has blessed us with these children and we do not see them as a burden. My sweet friend told me a story of Elizabeth Elliot and of her struggles after her husband died. Her motto was; just do the next thing. When I am overwhelmed, I just do the next thing and pray. We are praying about help for the house. I received an offer from a friend's daughter that could help us with housework, but she is not in the budget. We are confident that the Lord will work out our every need. Here is an idea of the fun I am having!!!
The big girls finished their first grade curriculum – whoot!!!!!! The big boy has just a few lessons left and he will be done to. WHEW!!! They are done just in time to start back after labor day!
We have been AMAZED at the children’s emotional ease of integrating into the family. We were prepared for major disruptions and many emotional difficulties. We were prepared for fits, tantrums, non-compliance, rejection, anger, hurt and all of those things you read about. We did a big thing in adding three kids to an already large family and we really thought these initial weeks would be filled with many, many struggles. Praise God, that has not been our experience. I think the biggest emotional struggle is mine. I so desperately want to fix Seth. His behaviors break my heart. If only we could have adopted him sooner.
We are making progress and are seeing growth in the children. It is amazing how they are blossoming. Please know that we are not taking credit and do not want to come off as prideful because this is the work of the Lord, not us. We could never do this without the Lord, never, ever, ever.
Seth – I can hardly believe he is the same kid. He is progressing and growing by leaps and bounds. He is a miracle in progress.
The day we picked him up from the orphanage,
~ He could not hold a cup. Four days later, he was holding the cup and drinking on his own!!!
~When he finished the cup, he would chuck it across the room. Yesterday, he sat his cup on the island – without any prompting!!!
~He could not walk up and down the stairs. Now, he can go up and down the stairs unassisted!!!
~When I would dress him, he was totally unattached and did not participate in the dressing. Now, he helps put his hands through his shirt and his legs through his shorts!!!
~His main vocalization was a loud HHHHUUUUHHHTT. He has many sounds now!!!
~He would not maintain eye contact. He initiates eye contact! And holds it!!!!
~He comes to us and wants to sit on our laps!!!
~He sings!!! It is Seth singing, but none-the-less he is imitating our songs.
~When we came home, he would look at the kids from the corner of his eye. Now, he engages with the kids. He runs up and into them LOL! He WANTS to be part of what they are doing.
~I have been saying mmmmmaaaaaammmmmaaaaaa and putting my lips to his cheek while I say it. Now when I start, he moves his face to mine.
~He is using a spoon with assistance!
~He is learning words and signs. He can say: mama, milk, juuuu (juice), eeehhh (eat), papa, bye-bye, baby, bubba oh what a vocabulary!
~He loves to help around the house and is profficient at pick up things off the floor and putting them in the gargabe can.
~He clears his plate from the table.
~He can put his shirt on almost entirely unassisted.
~He slept in a big boy bed last night for the first time. We tried other times, last night we had success!
~He is coloring using crayons and markers.
~He has mastered the Melissa and Doug Stacking Train.
~He sleeps through the night.
~She is being spoiled by her sisters, they do love the baby girl!
~She is pulling herself to standing and hanging on the sofa!
~She started "walking" with a push toy yesterday!
~She is babbling; mama and dada and blah blah!
~She gets into the somersault position. I think before long she will be tumbling!
The other kids have been really great. They are so helpful and are really loving and embracing the new children.