I won't lie, this has been a very rough few months for all of us, the honeymoon is certainly over, but like I said in my last update God is still so good. Some days it is down right uuuugly, but we didn't expect it to be easy to undo years of neglect and trauma. We didn't expect it to be easy on any of us. It was a huge leap of faith to adopt all of our children and it's that faith and His promises that get us through the ugly of it all. It was starting to get really bad and my mom suggested I read "1000 Gifts" and I am so grateful I did. Counting the things I am grateful for has really helped change my attitude...and sadly, it needed some changin'. I only mention all this because some days I felt like I was the only mom in the world that was struggling, going to bed crying because I felt so defeated, like such a failure, and so very exhausted. Or that we were the only family having some serious adoption related issues and feeling lost all the time. I just wonder if there is a mom reading this blog that feels alone too and needs to know that she is not alone and needs to hear that even though she feel lost in failure, she is a good mom. We needed to get back to and remember why we adopted in the first place and it made a huge difference for us, so I write all this in case maybe you need to hear it too.
It has not all been a struggle, there has been a lot of good too. Really even the struggles are good because they teach us the hard lessons and bring us closer together. I wish I could go into detail about all the things we have done and all the growth we have seen in the boys, but I will have to keep it to short sentences. But I hope you enjoy the pictures :-)
Before Daniel had surgery (which I mention below) he was really getting so much stronger. I am so proud of Daniel that after months of working on it every day he was able to balance on his hands and knees without my support!
We had a very fun filled day at the pumpkin patch!
We took Daniel and Bohdan on their first camping trip. They absolutely loved it! It was such a nice little get away for all of us.
I think Daniel liked the roasted marshmallows most of all.
And you have never seen a kid more excited then Bohdan collecting pine cones.
Kai and Ethan caught their first fish. It was only bites for Emma, Bohdan, and Daniel but they had a great time.
The Balloon Fiesta is always fun. Waking up early, bundling up and heading to the balloon park, eating breakfast burritos as the sun comes up, and watching hundreds of balloons go up. The nice thing is that we can get right next to the balloons as they inflate. Daniel thought the loud burners were hilarious. He would wait for them to go off and then crack up. Bohdan was fascinated by the balloons. He still talks about how fun it was.
We celebrated Ethan's birthday at Peter Piper Pizza.
Daniel had his surgery to lengthen the tendons in his inner thighs. They cut the tendons and the hope is that as the tendons heal and grow back they will grow back longer as we keep his legs apart in a brace. He has been in the brace since his surgery. We have not had an x-ray yet so we are not sure it has helped keep his hips from dislocating. But we have noticed a big difference. Anytime Daniel gets excited or tries to do something with his legs his muscle instantly tighten, causing his legs to 'scissor' or cross. This makes everything very difficult for him and as you can imagine makes changing his diapers very hard. Now after surgery, his legs scissor only rarely. For the most part they are parallel and when he is relaxed he can keep them apart.
The procedure itself was quick and he had very little pain. We are praying the procedure will have been enough to re-align his hips so they do not have to go back in and break the bone and reshape it. We are also praying that when he is able to bear weight on his legs he will be able to take steps easier without his legs crossing. We are very grateful for the surgery, the only down side has been that all the strength he built before is pretty much gone. Because he has been in the brace and healing, he has not been able to do much more than lay or sit. We have a follow up early next month so hopefully he will be released to bear weight on his legs again.
Bohdan continues to amaze us with his English. We are seeing slow but steady growth in development. We are seeing more of the effects of the neglect, trauma, and institutionalization his past has caused. It's heartbreaking...terribly heartbreaking. He even told us he never wants to go back to Ukraine. He is amazingly resilient though. New concepts are hard for him to learn and it takes a lot of one on one time to homeschool him but he tries very hard. Because learning does not come easily or naturally for him it is always so exciting when he masters a new concept! The beautiful thing is that he loves hearing about and singing about God. He struggles with a lot of things but every week he nails his scripture memory verse. Coincidence????
We missed Bohdan losing his first tooth, but he lost his first tooth since being with us.
There have been more trips to the zoo...
And the Aquarium...
And Bohdan and Daniel saw their first movie in the theater.
I wonder if Daniel likes homeschool????
We are using My Father's World Kindergarten Curriculum. I was worried that it would be too advanced for Ethan and Kai since they are only 4 but it's a good fit for them. Because it is unit based, learning one letter a week really helps Bohdan learn English. Some of the concepts are too advanced for Emma and Daniel but I have them sit in and participate in what they can. For Daniel we have made some "toys" for him to help teach things like colors, sorting, shape, size, staking, etc...
Last week we learned I for Insect and we watched ants build tunnels everyday in our live ant hill. Some days I wonder who has more fun, me or the kids?
Daniel got some AFOs.
And finally, we went down to the lake to see family for Thanksgiving. As we reflected on and gave thanks for God's great blessings in our lives it was extra sweet to watch Daniel and Bohdan celebrate their first Thanksgiving.
We are especially thankful that we get to watch their lives change and grow. To most of you who supported their adoption in any way, I wish you could see the changes in them 'in real life', it's truly amazing. I am sorry you have to settle for watching it in pictures and blogs, but I hope you enjoy knowing that you played a big part in their lives! And I apologize for taking so long to post. I pray all of you are enjoying this Christmas season!