What have we learned these past couple of months?
Eye contact still does not come naturally. Attachment comes hard for an older child. Why would he want to look into our eyes? He has no reason to trust us. It's our job to prove that we are worthy of attaching too. I am constantly making an emphasis to tell both Brenda and Joseph to look in my eyes when we are talking.
Too many choices are a recipe for disaster. Even though Joseph is technically 13, choices are difficult. We keep it simple. The less clothes he has to choose from, the less chance we will end up with a meltdown.
We no longer ask the kids what they would like to eat. We serve what we serve at mealtime. They are not at a restaurant. The only choice they have is whether they want to eat or not, but they must all sit at the table.
Kids need to feel like they are part of a team. We are constantly stressing that we are teammates. We must all help one another do chores. Everyday we spend at least 45 minutes cleaning and doing chores. On some days the older kids do more than the younger kids and no, it's not always fair.
They whine and we have tears, but life isn't always fair. I no longer worry about things being fair in our house. The older kids stay up later than the younger ones and on most days they have more chores than the younger ones and someone is always crying, "It's Not Fair!!"
Language acquisition has been harder for Joseph than for Brenda. He also has not lost his native tongue, but Brenda lost her ability to speak Rutooro within 2 months of being home.
We opt to public school and we will have him repeat the 5th grade again. Brenda is on grade level and will be moving to 3rd grade. We have taken the approach to immerse our children into English with ESL support. Both are thriving at their own paces.
I stand in awe of how far we have come. Brenda has been home for 15 months now and Joseph only 5. It's nothing that we have done personally. I'm holding on by a prayer most days. I can read all of the adoption and parenting books out there, but only Jesus can heal the hole that fills their hearts.
My prayer is constantly... please continue to heal their broken hearts Jesus, and give me the strength and wisdom to parent them.