Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Looks Like We Made It

Well, believe it or not my children have been in my care and custody for three weeks. It's unbelievable how much we've done in this short period of time and how well the children seem to be adjusting. Truthfully I believe that my children have lived in America before or at least they've spent most of their time studying American television.

I absolutely adore them and yesterday I had to turn them over to a bunch of strangers at day camp. After all the process and paperwork that we all go through to adopt it was a very strange experience handing unchecked, unnotorized, non-certified documents to a woman behind a desk who just took my money and show me where to drop off the kids. Don't we need something more formal? Should I have collected documents about them, asked for fingerprints of their staff or something?

The kids were excited and eager to go to the teh-mahr-ta-bet (school). Sleeping beauty who is always first to go to bed and last to wake up was up at 6am yesterday morning laying on her floor "studying" one of her books. She was quite concerned about wearing a bathing suit, carrying a bag with a towel and no books. "No books?" She asked me, like what kind of school is this. And, to top that off she was offended by having to wear purple flip flops with her pink swimwear and cover up.

The night before my children had asked many questions about school, "what grades would they be in? Would they have to spend the night? Would I drive them in the car or would they walk? Would I be at the bureau (my office) and would I pick them up?" The conversation about who would be in what grades was pretty funny as are most things with my tightly bonded siblings. My daughter had told me earlier in the week that my son was in grade zero in Ethiopia. So when they asked what grade he would be in here, I said kindergarten. He laughed and tried to say it but she looked at him with a big sister look at said, "ZERO!" I don't know how excited he was about going to SCHOOL/CAMP yesterday but he was excited about wearing his very funny looking water shoes because their first day at camp was water day.

Imagine that. My kids first day at school, since I've still not been able to explain the difference between camp and school was going to a splash pad (water park) and playing in water all day. I've decided that it's not necessary for me to give a lot of details about my children so on the form all I said in terms of special needs was that they are new English speakers and may need additional assistance with some instructions. I am confident in my daughters ability to understand more English than she speaks and her incredible ability to translate to and for her brother. She had also learned my phone number and practiced dialing it on the phone all weekend so that if there were any problems she could call me right away. I walked around the office with my cell phone all day and there was not one call. I looked up and it was 2:00 and I light out a sigh that all was well.

I left my office at 4:30 to pick them hoping that they'd had a good day and that they would want to go back this morning. I got to the front desk and the director introduced her self when I told her my name she said oh you are, (struggling to pronounce their names)... Yes, I told her and held my breath for what she was about to say. She told me that they had all fallen in love with them and she was just interested to know what country they were from. I told her Ethiopia and she asked if they would be staying here forever. I told her that they would and she said they are pretty amazing kids. Ok, so far so good!

I went down the flight of stairs to pick them up and there they were all in one piece pretty much they way that I'd left them except they were covered in stickers, face, arms, and clothes. They were sitting at a table drawing and my son saw me and exclaimed mommy and grab me for a hug. He hasn't learned to be embarrased by me in the sight of his friends but that may happen before the summer ends. He yelled to his sister to make sure she knew I was there. I collected their bags, lunch boxes, huge balls that they were given, and we got in the makena (car) to head home.

My son, asked if he would go back neggeh (tomorrow). I told him yes and all was well. He then asked the question that he always asking, "house mom?" That is usually followed by his request, "No house mom, no house, one store, pleeeeease!" We drove off listening to Marvin Sapp that they've heard enough now that they ask for specific songs by track numbers. Their favorite? Praise Him in Advance and Maginify Him!


kristine said...

The camp directors comments got me crying. How truly lovely.

They are spectacular children. I'm so happy that camp started out so well. I have no doubt it will continue to be wonderful.

Quinn still lets me hug and kiss him in front of his friends. They day he starts to get embarassed I'm ready to bribe him.

Gracie's Mom said...

Valerie I woke up this morning feeling blue but after reading your post it brought such a smile to my face and heart. Thank you

Kat said...

How wonderful! Too fun! Your children sound just wonderful!!!!

Brenda said...

I am so happy to see your son and daughter are doing well. You will be a pro at Amharic pretty soon.

haze said...

What a fantastic update! I am so happy to hear how well you are all settling into your family life. It must have been an amazing moment to have your son call out "mommy" to you when you came to pick them up.

Jocelyn said...

I had to laugh out loud about the asking the camp person for fingerprints:-) Seriously though...I understand that feeling!! Sounds like they are doing so well!!

Robbin Hopkins said...

Love this post!!! MR even likes my favorite songs (you like how I abbreviated her name LOL)... I love that you will have to reprogram them for "real" school.

pictures with the post please!

Tami said...

Love this post as well. I need another phone call to hear all the new words. All is moving along. I agree with Robbin...pictures! You know I don't have Facebook! LOL

Kerri said...

Lots and lots of warm fuzzies! Sounds great!!!

Anonymous said...

Yes! So wonderful how well they are adjusting. Wondered how older children would. My 2 year old hit the ground running and never turned back. (so much different from our daughter from Taiwan) Sounds like your two have done the same thing. Glad all is well.


Anonymous said...

That's a beautiful post..


NoSurfGirl said...

Wow, it is so refreshing to read another blog of a mom who adopted older kids and is talking honestly about their challenges and strategies!!! Thank you so much.


Original Court Date: April 18, 2009
Final Court Date: May 18, 2009
[607 total days & 165 days w/IAN]