Monday, September 20, 2010

before the judge

We stood before a judge today and promised to raise our boys just as if we had birthed them ourselves. This is the last final hoop for our adoption and it was sweet moment for our family. Special to have all of us dress up in "nice" clothes and it was too cute to have the boys wear ties for the first time (there is just something too cute about a little guy in a tie). It was special to have the girls be there for this part of the adoption process.

The judge shared what a special thing it is to have adoption hearings, but he also shared that this is a legal and binding agreement. Our boys are joint heirs with the girls. They will not be our "adopted sons" but they are our SONS. He asked if we believed if it was in the best interest of the boys to be part of our family. He asked if we were financially and emotionally able to care for them. And then he asked the girls if our world has changed since the boys came home (um...yeah...our world has changed and it has been a blessing).

We are blessed. We are grateful. We are a family of 6.
Our family with our attorney George. What a blessing for him to "help us out" (read...HERE).

Even Papa was able to be there to be part of our celebration.

Like I said...something too cute about little boys in a tie.



We love our sweet peas...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

positive reinforcement AKA...rewards for good behavior

I once thought that you could parent your newly adoptive children exactly the same as your bio children who, in our case, have lived with us for 10+ years. I have come to realize, due to the unknown circumstances and traumatic background, it is important to dip into the creative parenting idea bucket and come up with some new ideas to encourage positive behavior.

I share these kinds of posts to encourage and inspire others out there who are trying to come up with some creative ideas on how to encourage children to "do the right thing". So...I came up with the ice cream chart.

Each time I "catch" our 4 year old doing the RIGHT THING, we put a scoop on the ice cream cone. If he can make it to the top of the chart in ONE DAY (pretty challenging) then we celebrate with some kind of a treat. A goody from the dollar store, a movie with the family (at home), out for ice cream cones...that kind of reward.

I will be honest, we haven't done this reward chart for a few weeks, but at the time we started it, we really needed it. And lately, we have seen such great progress with good behavior and good choices, it isn't needed as much.

Our ice cream scoops say: good listening, right choice, obey and happy heart. All areas we needed some improvement on. There were some days that he had lots and lots of scoops on the chart, and other days...well...not so much. And to be realistic, that is normal. Some days are better than others. But now that we are 6 (almost 7) months into being home, those bad days are farther apart than they used to be.

So...that was how we did the let me share about our first time out for ice cream. TOO CUTE.

It was the first time Tyce earned his reward and the whole family plied (Tally was at karate) into the car to celebrate a job well done. We sat down at the table with our ice cream and Tyson grabbed the pepper shaker and dumped it on his ice cream. We all said NO, yuck. He had no idea you don't put pepper on ice cream, this was all so new to him (we don't keep the salt and pepper on the table at home).

There are so many moments like this where the boys are learning American culture and how things are done. It is a precious time in our family as we continue to gel together. So many moments of JOY.

And...just for the record...we don't normally go out looking all fuzzed out. But, when you have earned a reward, you throw caution to the wind. =)