Ok, so my lofty goal of doing a weekly update on this blog has turned out to be pretty laughable! I have hardly any time to sit down, much less think through what to type on a blog post!
Everything on the home-front is going amazingly well. After all the drama and tantrums in Colombia I fully expected coming home to be even worse but it has been just the opposite. Yes, we have still had a few tantrums but they are short lived and FAR apart! We are so thankful for that! The kids are doing a great job catching on to our lifestyle and habits. I have been trying to be vigilant about starting off with the manners and rules that I have fallen lax with our bio kids through the years. It's been good for them, too!
In an attempt to not paint an unrealistic picture, we have struggled trying to make our family not feel like two separate sets of kids. Our bio kids have not had the greatest patience with their new siblings and the first week or two we had LOTS of discussions about being inclusive and not exclusive. Although we haven't fully arrived at the goal, I am beginning to see glimpses of compassion and acts of graciousness. It is a good growing process for them all. The bio kids are learning how to love people when the other person is not easy to love. They are learning what it looks like to "die to the flesh". They are becoming more aware of the idolatry of self that is bound up in each of our hearts. So, although, it is emotionally draining continually dealing with correction and discussion discipline, the Lord is giving me an eternal perspective in the midst of all the drama. He is using this time to smooth off the rough edges of their character and mold them into His children who look and behave like Him. For that I am thankful.
We've had a full 3 weeks so far. Lots of visitors that have welcomed us home with loving arms. Lots of meals- so many we can't fit more in our freezer! I have been so blessed by seeing how in each step of this adoption process, the body of Christ has stepped in and collectively helped bring these children to their forever family. We love each of you!
In addition to lots of visitors, we celebrated Luisa's 8th birthday. We chose to keep it very low key. The kids had received lots of gifts from family and friends in the week or so previous so we tried to keep the celebration muted (just our immediate family) to decrease the sensory overload. She chose hamburgers and hot dogs for dinner and then she helped me bake a PINK cake with PINK icing and lots of pastel decorations for the top. She got an art supplies kit and several blank journal books from us- which is right up her alley. If you could see the massive amounts of paper and markers, crayons and play doh this child has stashed in bags and boxes all around her bed you would be amazed! She is going to be so fun to buy school supplies with! LOL!
The kids have been doing well attending children's church each Sunday. Caitlin has gone back with them the past two weeks so Brent and I could hear the sermon, which is so nice of her. Jonathan is even starting to participate by answering questions (not sure how he's understanding the story, though! LOL). Cindy has been going to the toddlers class alone and is doing great, although everyone says she doesn't talk! Not the Cindy we have at home! This kid is hysterical. She already has quite the sense of humor. And she is still her Daddy's girl. They have a unique bond, which is so awesome! I love to see Daddy's girls!
We've visited the park, took walks by the river, gone to our Sunday School picnic, had a campfire with marshmallows (they'd never seen them before) and gone to my mom's house to see their miniature horses.
Yesterday we took our first long road trip to a little amusement park in Pennsylvania called Knoebles. You pay by ride so it is cheaper for us to do as a big family! We prepped the kids ahead of time that they were not allowed to ask for any food or games or they would have to sit on a bench and not ride on the rides. (We had a picnic lunch and plenty of snacks so they didn't starve!) They didn't ask a single time!! So we surprised them with a treat of popcorn at the end of the day. They loved the rides and especially the one where you get totally soaked. That was quite the hit!
English is coming slowly, but it is coming. They are very interested in learning and often ask us to quiz them on the English that they know. The doctor suggested that Cindy (and possibly Jonathan) see a speech therapist so we will check into that soon.
Overall, everything is busy, but good. I am just trying to keep up with everyone and all the cooking, laundry and cleaning. Brent is back to work full time now, so we are starting to fall into a routine- albeit a loose one! At least everyone is doing their morning chores before breakfast with no problems! That makes life much easier on me! I'm still a little panicky about how in the world we are going to fit homeschooling into our day, but hopefully once that time comes life will be a little less chaotic and I will have a firmer grasp on how to best manage things.