3AM came rather early on Tuesday morning. Yep, that’s what time my children, after
28+ hours of travel on Monday, got up. I thought for sure we would sleep in. Instead we were finding things to do at 5:30AM to pass the time. We had a few hours to kill.
We picked the kids up at 11AM on Tuesday, May 26th. They were totally ready to go and ran to meet “Mama” and “Dada” on the stairs. We both got four REAL hugs, if you know what I mean. It was fantastic to see them and hug them and kiss them again. We spent a few minutes at the house going over some things with the foster mom. All of our court docs were in order so we loaded up the three duffle bags and two loose bags she had packed for them and headed out. First time together as a family. It was a pretty amazing moment; a little sureal. The rest of the day was a whirlwind of grocery shopping, introductions, setting up our home for the next three weeks, and wading into the deep end of the pool (figuratively – it’s WAY too cold in Northern Poland). A pretty profound set of moments when you think about it. I’m sure there’s a series of blog posts in there somewhere….whenever I can get my heart around it.
So….how are we doing so far??
Shiloh (A-3) is a little fearful at night in a new place. She cries a little both the past two nights but manages OK. She fell down the stairs today – which was scary for all of us as they are tiled – but we think she’s alright. She can’t really tell us if she is, so we are making our best guess. She is so stoic, yet, when she starts to trust you, she is just delightful. Her authentic laugh is contagious and lighthearted. She’s also a ferocious eater, which one would not expect from such a tiny individual. She has really started to trust and warm up to both Amy and I (which has been a process), but she is still pretty distant from the kids. Pray this improves over time. She makes progress every day….she’s just takes a little more time (just thought of another blog post :-))
Chloe (B-11) and Abigail (A-8) have really bonded. Abby very clearly is attached to Chloe and thinks the world of her. To the point Chloe is having some trouble getting enough time with the other kids, and the other kids with Abigail. This drives me nuts as I want them all to bond…but I keep remembering it’s only the second day. Court is 3 weeks from tomorrow. We have time to work stuff like that out. Surely they’ll get a little sick of each other at some point, right? Abigail, though is an amazing girl. I think I have a clone of Chloe in lots of ways – and I’m so very good with this!!! VERY bright, kind, compassionate, practical (which I love), affectionate, strong, determined, hopeful, and totally with us. She fell first (for us, I mean) and we love her so much. She is so beautiful. Her and Chloe are just amazing together.
Judah (A-6) is often a bit of a lost puppy. He was very clearly the odd man out in his sibling group of four. He is relishing having brothers. He thought it was awesome all four of them had Avenger’s hoodies to wear. He is Thor with a cape and pretty much hasn’t taken the thing off! The boys are playing well together. At times he’ll really have fun with Isaac (B-4), and at times with Gabe (B-8). Elijah (B-10) is being an EXCELLENT older brother trying to take care of his little sisters and make sure Judah isn’t left out. Judah tends to be a little mopey if he feels left out or that enough attention isn’t being paid to him. He will get through it, though. We had a nice talk with him yesterday via google translator. He’s a very nice & gentle boy – not very demonstrative (kind of like Gabriel), but he has obviously not been raised around boys. Luckily, the three amigos are here to save the day. Being now surrounded by so much testosterone is somewhat liberating for him! We played football (American, thank you very much) today for quite a while and HE LOVED IT (I was Aaron Rodgers-Carlson and threw a SWWEEEEEETTT pass to Jordy/Eli Nelson-Carlson straight down the seem…the catch was pretty good too!!)! Particularly when Judah scored a TD and we would all cheer for him. He’s NEVER experienced the love of a dad, so this is new for him. Ya know that need boys have to please their father….maybe you’ve heard of it…..it’s alive and well in Judah. I’m working hard to help re-program his “daddy-meter” so he knows he is loved AND accepted.
Naomi (A-5) is a whirlwind of energy and drama. She is so very sweet, but also incredibly energetic and generally joyful until she doesn’t get her way. She is VERY bonded to Amy and they have even had to work through Naomi being a little naughty a couple of times. Amy handles it so beautifully and Naomi always apologizes and kisses here three times – both cheeks and the lips. Getting her to settle down at night or for her nap is a chore (but, not bragging here but this is one of my specialties!). And Shiloh always does whatever Naomi does, so this can be hard. Last night, they were 99% asleep and all the sudden Naomi sits up and declares she needs a drink and to go to the bathroom – just like it was the middle of the day. Shiloh followed suit. Before I knew it they were both out of the bed and in the hallway. I could have swore they were asleep! Nonetheless, Naomi is just full of joy. She is an easy laugh and very artistic. She is independent and opinionated. She talks a mile a minute…in Polish, so we have NO IDEA what she says. Even our Polish friends who have seen her on video can’t quite keep up! She’s the one we really have to keep an eye on or she may end up at the next house seeing if they might be willing to give her their dog. They are lovely girls, all three of them, and their lovely sister from America makes four beautiful girls I am honored to call my daughters.
As I said, Chloe is doing amazing. I’m so proud of her for sharing us and letting these four kids in her life. She loves them and it shows. Not every 11 year old, with insane hormones, could do this. Chloe surpasses them all!
Lewis struggled the first day. We weren’t sure if he was just tired, or felt threatened. Yesterday I made him take a nap (boy did we have a negotiation session! He lobbied for a 10 minute nap. I countered with 45…I won.) AND he went to bed early. He slept the latest this morning and was totally his normal, Lewis-like-self…joyful, funny, and ornery. We were glad he was back, though we’re concerned he and Naomi together, if they ever figure it out, could rule the world – hopefully for the better…. He’s a little too pushy with Shiloh, trying to get her to like him. She takes time. He will learn…or she may punch him.
Gabe had the hardest time with jetlag. He was SO VERY TIRED all day Monday and Tuesday. Then he started to miss Charlie the dog and wept all afternoon yesterday. He, like Lewis, slept well last night and was very much his jovial, care free, self. He also caught a queen beetle of some variety (he really should be an etymologist) and this made his day….he also got to scare his new little sisters with it in a jar! There are snails on the sidewalks early in the morning. He is having a blast looking at them. Sometimes I wonder, with my serious fear of bugs of all varieties, from where his love of all varieties of them came??
Elijah has been, to use miss Candy’s term, a warrior. I told him I felt before this trip, he would really grow up through this and we would see him become a powerful young man. I know it’s only two days in, but I am so amazed at how gentle he is and how much he cares for his little siblings (ALL OF THEM). He loves those little girls. Shiloh still isn’t sure about him, but he’s determined to win her heart, and I think he will. They’ll probably be the best of buds before we head home. I’ve never been more proud of him in my life. Oh, he’s done the normal “Elijah whining” here and there, but mostly he’s been a jewel…er….warrior.
Mom & Dad….well….that will have to be for another day. I know we are totally, head over heels, in love with all eight of our children. I don’t know how or why we are so blessed….but writing about it will have to wait until I sort out more of what’s filling up my heart.