My last entry was written when the kids had been home with us just 3 1/2 weeks. We were high over the Atlantic Ocean on our way to Florida for the summer (mostly) without Chris. Fast forward to now and it has been 3 1/2 months since they have been home (adopted).
We had a full summer. A fun summer. A long summer. A short summer. A hard summer. A great summer. All of these things and more. I didn’t write more in depth for several reasons:
-I couldn’t. Truthfully, I was often just surviving as a new mom of seven, separated from Chris by an ocean.
-I didn’t want to. I didn’t feel our adjustment phase was meant to be posted on the internet.
-I didn’t know what to say.
(And still don’t, but I don’t want the blog to completely die even though I have a love/hate relationship with it. I am thankful for those of you who check in on us and who pray for us so I try to keep it alive).
The kids and I were in Florida approximately 6 1/2 weeks before Chris was able to join us. Then we had 2 more weeks together as a family before returning to Kiev (for our final school year). Our main job was to pass the summer playing. We didn’t have a big agenda, but purposefully added some framework. Swimming lessons lasted for three weeks. Church on Sundays, of course. A summer Bible conference. Two different sets of friends came to visit from out of town. Two different sets of family members came to visit from out of town. We saw grandparents, aunties, cousins, local friends. Ellie had a little baking business. Aiden turned 10. More water play than I can count. There was lots of fun and good memories made.
Yes, it was hard traveling with the kids and being without Chris for so many weeks. But yes, it was a good trip. No, I don’t regret it (the trip to FL was voluntary and a hard decision since we knew Chris couldn’t get away from work, but we felt a catch 22 with so many kids and our housing situation in Kiev).
That was mention of what we did, but you are probably more interested in the kids and how the adjustment is going. I think very well. We love them and feel they belong in our family. They seem to love (or at least like) us too. I think they are happy to be with us and feel a welcome part of the family. Of course we’ve had growing pains and a learning curve. It would be silly to say things are wonderful and perfect, but I do feel it is going as well as can be expected. Praise God! We are learning about them. They are learning about us, about how to live in a family/our family, they are picking up English quickly, they have cheerful hearts and smiles.
We read Bible stories in Russian and English and Denya has seemed familiar with several popular stories as well as Biblical teachings. His church experience sounds like it came from the orphanage bringing the kids to an Orthodox Church. I don’t know how regularly this would have happened, whether or not the kids liked it, etc. I have also heard some things from him regarding religious ideas that we don’t endorse. But, they are teachable moments and he has a good memory and is receptive to what we say.
School has begun for the five oldest kids and that was a huge praise! We wanted the new kids to go to the same school as our other kids because we love it as well as the obvious simplifying with one school schedule/calendar/transportation logistics over two. The kids were tested, accepted, put into classes with marvelous teachers, and look forward to it each day. Denya wished for there to be school even on the weekend.
Edik and Niya stay home with me everyday so far. We have slower mornings, walk the dog, go to the park, read books, and they play together quite well for large blocks of time. I drink too much coffee, do better at my personal reading, putter around the house trying to address piles of randomness that have been ignored for far too long, plus all the usual laundry, meal prep, cleaning, grocery shopping, etc. Any member of the family could tell you that this doesn’t mean our house is cleaner than before, but hopefully gradually less cluttered. I am staying home more than usual this school year and at least for the immediate future. Not that I don’t want to be out. One of my favorite places to be is volunteering at the big kids school, but Chris and I are still weighing cost as well as what is best for our youngest new son.
That was a massive simplification of our life since June 11. Perhaps I shan’t wait so long before writing next time?