But I still want to document how far we have come in our family. I really anticipated our anniversary month of coming home to more difficult than it has been. Anniversary triggers are really common and it was also the first time I was away from the boys for an extended period of time (2 big sleeps). I was able to go to the Created For Care retreat in Atlanta and spend some time filling up my cup so I could then go and pour back into my family.
We have seen such GREAT strides in the boys in the past few months. Both boys are really continuing to do really well with their adjustment. Changes in routine are not as difficult as they once were. We are not having as many difficulties with rejection or control. We are seeing both boys use more and more appropriate skills to handle the struggles that they seem to have. All of the hard work of cocooning and limiting their environment has been well worth it.
I believe that having a simple routine and not too stimulating environment gives a GREAT place for a foundation for healing to begin. Kids who come from traumatic situations need the opportunity to "let down" and know that they are safe. If you decide to just graft your kids into a "typical American family" continuing with lots of activities, you MAY postpone some healing. Please understand I share not because I think we have all the right ways to do things (because we have made MANY mistakes along the way) or to judge how you may adjust as a family. I just want to encourage families to really think about their transition plan. I have read and listened to Dr. Purvis and have really gleaned great advice from her. Here is great resource to listen to if you are interested in finding out more about Dr. Purvis.
So...back to my update. We are doing well. It is feeling more and more normal. We still live a simple life and that works for us. TF goes to his Mom's Morning Out program 2 mornings a week. I have cut him back to just 3 hours each time. We are praying about what will be the best situation for school next year. Exploring our options and praying that God would really lead and guide us.
Tyson shares more and more about his life in Ethiopia. We try and record it all down so we can share it with him some day if he forgets. God has given him a great gift in his memory. He still really misses his birth family and bed time (when he is alone sleeping) continues to be a struggle. We are working really hard at making it easy for him, but also trying to not let his struggles dominate our evening routine. It is a balancing act.
Tate continues to shut down when he feels insecure of unsure of others. He doesn't like to interact with many people but lights up for us at home. Interactions with others MUST be on his terms. He seems to hold onto his fears and relives traumatic moments (like a neighbor's dog running up to him). He can still pitch a fit when he wants his way and has done this a few times out in public (yes...it is embarrassing when your toddler will NOT sit in the shopping cart). We are seeing more joy in his personality and he has brought so much cheer to our family.
I am still trying to learn how to juggle 4 kids. I am doing better, but there are days I feel like it is a LOT of work. I am working hard at carving out time for Chuck and I each evening but I have not done a great job of making time for myself.
We are still getting our schooling done each week, though I feel like it's not as much as I'd like. Trying to really seek God for our next school year and desiring to make some changes. Tate still doesn't go to his class at church but Tyson does most weeks. He seems older than most of the kids there and has struggled with finding friends. We are praying for friend connections with all of our kids. The general dynamics of our family (both due to adoption and homeschooling)has made it more challenging here in our current state.
In the next few months my goals are:
- get both boys down to bed in less time (still sitting with them until they sleep)
- make a good decision for school for 3 of the kids
- take Tate to the story time at the library 2 times a month
- enjoy the next soccer season for Tyce
- leave all the kids with a sitter so Chuck and I can go out to dinner
- take some more family photos
- work on our families adoption story via video
- pray more with each child each day
- parent my kids more in the spirit
- improve eye contact with the boys
- laugh more together
- Blog more =)