We are so incredibly appreciative of all the MANY comments on the blog and emails and facebook messages you all have sent. Somehow each word has been exactly what we needed just at the moment I read it. I love it when God orchestrates that kind of timing! I'm so sorry I don't have time to respond to each of you, but please know that we do read them (usually late at night when we are too exhausted to type back anything coherent!) and are grateful for them. So please don't stop! We thrive on the love and encouragement!
Today I feel like we made the most progress so far. We are starting to see the children altering their behavior based on wanting to please us- or at least not be in trouble! I'd prefer for them to choose to alter their behavior because they don't want to disobey God, but right now, we'll take what we can get! LOL!
Luisa and I had a lovely (said sarcastically) morning in the room together for about an hour. But she finally obeyed, cleaned up her mess and then we practiced doing what I had told her to do in the first place. I think it was important for her and I to have the confrontation so she understands mami is not a pushover. I was actually very peaceful during the whole time, singing Hide 'em in Your Heart songs to myself, putting clothes away and quoting scripture out loud. I think it was, honestly, my favorite part of the day! Even in the midst of screaming! LOL! When I held her at the end of it, she just melted into my arms. I'd do it again all over to have that tenderness!
Brent is usually the one that deals with Jonathan and even though there were multiple confrontations, for the most part they were much shorter than before. Sometimes he even chose to obey before he got to the bedroom! Progress!!!
I only had one little issue with Cindy this evening. I had told her she could put on her "curita" (bandaid) which she mangled into a ball. Then I told her that it was mami's turn to do it with a new one. At first she agreed but when I went to put it on she decided she wanted to do it. I said no and off she went into hysterics. I put her on my bed and told her she couldn't have a curita until she obeyed me and was happy. It only took about 2 minutes of crying before she said "Si mami" and another minute until she had a happy face. Let me just say that Princess and Cars bandaids were one of the best things I brought with us! Now I am wishing I brought another box of each. They don't like to keep them on very long (or they fall off in the pool) so we are going through a lot. I can't think of a single injury that has actually been baidaid-worthy, but it is a good bonding time where mami is the one to make things all better instead of them always being tough or a big sister being the one one to help. So for any adoptive parents out there- BRING LOTS OF FUN CURITAS!
I fixed pancakes for breakfast, which, from what I can figure out with limited Spanish, they had never eaten before. I KNOW they've never had syrup. That was funny to see their faces. They expected it to taste bad, but I pushed them to try a little on their finger and they were so surprised how sweet it is! And, here it is even thicker and sweeter than at home. I wonder if it is made from pure sugar cane?
We finished the movie from last night- their first time seeing Narnia! They loved it and Luisa talked through a lot of it saying how the mean queen was very bad and the magic in the closet was very good! So cute! Cindy has no attention span to movies at all- even kiddie cartoon types. Fine with me. We don't do any tv at home and only occasional movies. Jonathan is going to have a harder time adjusting to the lack of constant tv in his face.
They colored and cut and glued most of the morning. Around 11 we went out to the playground. It was cool, because in the process of getting everyone dress and out the door (a hour long process that we NEED to shorten) there were a few mini meltdowns that got resolved very quickly. PROGRESS! I think they are starting to understand that me mean what we say.
Yolima, a lady from the church we found down here stopped by for a visit. She is so wonderful with the kids and never oversteps her bounds even when she understands everything they say and we don't. We all walked to the public playground up the hill from our apartment complex, but after only 10 minutes it started to downpour. The kids handled it very well when we said we had to go home. Yay! More Progress!
I had brought little capsule type things with a sponge squished inside. You stick it in water and let the capsule dissolve and it grows into a bigger sponge. All the kids loved doing that and then playing with the sponges as toys. The other day at the grocery store I had picked up two packages of cheap plastic play dishes for at the pool, but Luisa and Cindy played for the better part of an hour with some water and the dishes.
We asked Yolima to explain to Jonathan that we had heard he liked Karate. He shook his head emphatically and we explained that our whole family is involved in karate and would he like to learn? Oh, my goodness! You should have seen how happy he was! You'd have thought we'd told him he won the lottery or something! The boys demonstrated their katas and then he tried one. Then they practiced push ups and crunches. Then Brent got out the computer which showed the kids presentation at homeschool night of all the karate. He was glued to the screen and so were the little girls! Later in the evening I found them all in my room with Luisa leading a kata- (her own made up one! So adorable!).
Yolima was also able to help us understand that Luisa understands that we have rules that she must follow and she does want to follow them. She says that life at her foster home was very different, but that only some of the rules are the same. When pressed for some examples she said that she couldn't lie at either house.
We were able to explain to her that we understand that it is hard to try to learn so many new family rules and that we still love her even when she disobeys. Brent explained that the rules are not our rules. Does she know whose rules we follow? She said Dios! He went on to explain that God gives us the rules to protect us and that when she obeys she will be safe and happy. She grinned and I think she understands how UNhappy she is when she disobeys.
Later in the afternoon, we took the kids to the pool even though it was still sprinkling. Everyone was restless and we had told the kids we would go to the piscina after lunch but weren't able to because of the thunderstorm. It had really cooled off but they didn't care at all. After a good hour, Cindy said she was tired and Jake was cold so I took both of them back to the apartment. They were so cute during this one on one time. Jake is so good with little kids because he doesn't have any expectations on trying to get them to play anything his way. So they got along great. I was surprised because Cindy at first, was a bit cranky. But she brightened up just fine with Jake.
The rest of the afternoon they all colored and crafted. They love crafty stuff, which is great. I just hope I can find more of it here somewhere in Colombia because they are going through stuff quickly! Last night after they were asleep I packed up half the craft supplies so we would have something left in two weeks! Luisa got out an activity book with math in it and was having fun doing it! She can add 3 digit numbers and I kind of think she can carry/borrow but she didn't like to practice those because they were "Muy dificile!" (very difficult!)
I ended up making a little flip book (thank you Dinah Zike!) with English letters (only single sound consonants right now) on the outside and on the inside I either drew a picture or used a sticker for a word with that sound, then wrote the word next to it. When I told her it was hers, she was so happy! I figured I'd have to make her do it, but she was excited to do it! She was able to pronounce almost every word correctly except "frog". It came out more like frgralk! HA! I know she has to learn English and she'll probably even lose her accent, but I love this stage of adorable pronunciations of English words! The word "run" was cute too. She can't do it unless she rolls her "r's". Cindy pronounces almost everything perfectly, but I think she thinks they are pretend words because then she'll trail off into nonsense words. LOL! I haven't worked with Jonathan as much, but I'm going to try to over the next few days.
I actually fixed a decent dinner tonight. Marinated chicken breasts with baked potatos and sauted green beans. Luisa loved it, Jonathan tolerated a little bit and Cindy barely ate anything. She'll probably wake up starving. The food issues continue to plague us. Jonathan is addicted to sugar in a bad way. And both of the younger two ask for food fixed a certain way (usually with multiple condiments) and then change their minds and say they want it different. So far we aren't doing a whole lot about it, but at some point they will be expected to eat what they are given or go without. Otherwise we will waste a lot of food since no one else wants to eat their creative food concoctions such as strawberry jelly and ketchup.
I just thought of two other things I'm super glad we brought...a dishwashing wand (you know, where you fill the handle with dish detergent and there is a sponge with a scrubbie on the end?) because there are no stoppers for any of the sinks so I can't fill a whole sink with sudsy water to clean. And electricity two to three prong converters. We didn't think we'd need them, but at the last minute Brent tossed two into the bags. All the outlets in this apartment (the b&b had three prongs) are two prong. So I'm glad we have those too.
Our plans for tomorrow have changed multiple times today. But the latest is that Gloria #2 will babysit everyone (God help her!) while Brent and I go to the court to give Nora, our lawyer, power of attorney so she can request documents for us. We are also signing some papers ahead of time so Friday, after our ICBF Integration meeting, they can submit our papers to the court immediately. Then we are supposed to go somewhere to get passport photos taken. They all need to be in black shirts, no jewelry, and no colored hair bows in their hair, but their hair must be pulled back out of their face. Then we are going to get a family photo done to give to the foster family along with some drawings and letters.