Sunday, August 14, 2011

One Month Home

So, I thought I would have already posted by now, but the chaos has been a little higher than expected. Yes, I knew it would be chaos, yes, I knew it would be difficult and yes, I knew I would be tired. I just didn't get the degree of those things quite right. Has it been wonderful? Yes and no in all honesty. I am thankful every day that we added to our family through adoption and I am thankful that God chose these two children to be a part of our family, but it has been hard, very hard. All adoptions are different and have challenges in their own way given the temperments of the children and the families they are joining. Adopting two older children, yes in adoption circles 4 is considered older, has definitely presented some interesting challenges.

First, lets take their ages. When we were in Ethiopia we and everyone around us agreed there is no way Kaleb is 4. He may be 6 but we have decided to make him 5. We think this will be good for him. He will enter kindergarten this year at our charter school. This will allow him to attend 2 days a week as much or as little as we choose and then I will homeschool the rest of the week. Kaleb has come a long way in the last month. We went from daily heartbreaking tantrums to small break downs which most of the time end in an apology. Which brings me to another difficult part of the older child. Language. I can't tell you how amazed we have been at how quickly both Kaleb and Emnet have picked up language. They understand almost every instruction we give them. At the same time it is much slower in their being able to communicate with us and their siblings which has resulted in a lot of frustration and miscommunication. When they are able to verbalize some emotions, which is difficult for any child their age, and when they are able to tell their side of the story, I think things will look a lot different.

Back to ages. Emnet may be 4. Whatever language she is speaking whether it is Amharic, Sidama or a combination of the 2, she is incredibly articulate. However, given that she is small and emotionally probably 2 years old, we have decided to make her 3. Again, we believe this will be best especially because it will put her and Addie in different grades. So instead of having 6, 4, 4, and 4 we will have 6, 5, 4, and 3. Emnet, oh Emnet. She is crazy. Yes, I said it :) Most of the time it is in a wonderfully hilarious way. Other times, not so much. Here lies another difficulty. Discipline. We are doing many things to work on attachment with both kids and at the same time we have to discipline them. This is complicated and where I pray daily that God grants us grace. Any other older child adoptive parents who may read this, I am open to suggestions. I am thankful for all the books I read prior to their coming home, I just wish some more of the information would pop into my head when I need it - again, praying for God's grace.

One of the most difficult parts is how hard this has been on Toby and Addie. We knew their worlds were going to be rocked and they have been. Their initial excitement quickly faded when reality set in. At the same time, I can see what lifelong changes this will bring to them and for those I am so thankful. It has already expanded their understanding of so many things. Again we have daily moments where they have figured out how to play nicely together and are encouraging of one another but there are also daily, often hourly moments of playing referee. With Toby and Addie, I used to make them work it out, but this is not possible at this point for the 4 of them. This is probably the main reason I have not been able to post on this blog. By the time they are all asleep, my brain is done for the day. I told my mom's group last spring that I struggled with idleness. Guess what? It is no longer a struggle :)

God loves adoption and as I read about the children dying in Eastern Africa, I can tuck two children in at night after eating 3 meals that day, give them kisses, tell them I love them, hear them call me Mama and Jeff Apapa and know that we have been faithful to what he has called our family to do. God never promised easy but He did promise good and this has been good, very good.

Reunited at Last

Ready to Leave in her New Clothes

Last Soccer Game at the Orphanage

New US Citizens in the DC airport

First Family Hike - Together at Last

So Cute

Swimming in the Creek

First Fair Ride

Traditional Ethiopian Clothes for Church


  1. Jill, thanks for your honesty and being open to share. I wonder what your post will look like a year from now?

  2. Jill and Jeff - Praise be to God for all that you doing to share His love! We're praying for each of you in your family. My family adopted my youngest sister out of foster care when she was 5 after being in our home off and on starting when she was 1. It was definitely God's plan (I can still recall very specific moments when I knew that was the case), but it certainly wasn't easy. Even though there were lots of hard times, it's still the best. Nothing worth fighting for comes easy...


  3. Jill, I'd totally lost touch with where you guys were in your process and LOOK! You're home with your 2 kiddos!!!! Your pics look like you've got 2 sets of twins in different colors. :) Happy to see y'all home together. It will get easier! You're doing great. :)

  4. Hi Jill - I saw your comment on my blog this morning and wanted to just encourage you to hang in there. These first few months at home can be so hard and so draining sometimes. There were many times that I wondered what in the world we had done to our family. If you need to chat or want to ask specific questions I am always up for sharing our story. So many others did that for us and it made a huge difference. If you can hang on until 4 months home I promise you will see a turning point begin. There seems to be light switch that goes off in terms of language and it relieves a ton of stress. Praying for your family!!
    gillmanbk@hotmail . com (no spaces)