Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Thoughts

Everyone is pretty excited around here. I truly cannot believe that Christmas is just five days away. I remember this time last year... we knew of three siblings in Ethiopia but had not seen their faces nor knew their names. I thought often of what this Christmas would be like, and now it is here.

I debated on sharing this, but feel it is a common adoption issue from everything we have read and studied. The girls had a little bit of difficulty during the week prior to their birthday party. We really think the "hype" of birthdays in America, the excitement and anticipation was a little too much and sent them into somewhat of an emotional over load. The day after the party was over everything seemed to settle back down, emotions calmed and behavior improved.

With the twins' birthday experience, we are trying to approach Christmas as simply as possible. For example, I usually have all the gifts wrapped and under the tree by now but think we'll hold off a few more days. As boring as it sounds, planning and structure have been the best tool Dustin and I have used during these days of adjustment. We were advised by our adoption caseworkers how important structure would be to the lives of our new kids, and they were so right! Trying to anticipate responses to new situations and unexpected changes, although sometimes impossible to do, really does help all of us. I can't say it is easy, though, because this goes totally against the grain of the hustle and bustle of daily life in America, not to mention the revved up pace of the holidays. We want to avoid meltdowns at all cost so that all of our kids can have the best Christmas and have great memories of this special time of year. We look forward to the future when we can all feel more comfortable and can be less structured, but for now it works.

We're all pretty excited to have a few days off and celebrate the birth of our Savior as a new and bigger family. The kids like to tell us of Christmas in Ethiopia and of Mariam (Mary) and Escabior (Jesus.) Their little accents sound so sweet and beautiful. In spite of the challenges and adjustment of life as a bigger family there is a different feel and dynamic to the preparations of Christmas this year. It's good. Some things are more difficult but the big picture is so much brighter, richer and deeper with Corinne, Ellyn and Turner in our lives.

Birthdays and More

As promised from the post last month, here are photos of the kids building their fort. They added cardboard boxes to keep out the wind. I think there might even be a laundry line strung across the top of their window.

Thanksgiving. The kids said they did not have turkeys in Ethiopia. We had major discussions on who was going to eat the turkey legs because all three of our new kids wanted them!

Around our house, birthdays are ushered in with breakfast in bed. Madison turned 13. Wow, we have a teenager in the house!

Madison wanted to go to a Japanese hibachi restaurant for her 13th birthday.

We had a skating party for Madison, Ellyn and Corinne. Dustin's mom made her special doll cakes for the twins.

We were so honored that our new friends, Bahiru and Hiwot, joined us for the birthday party.

It was great to have family celebrate with us for the twins' first birthday in America.

A quick pic after the performance of our church Christmas play. Aren't they adorable?

Ellyn and Corinne's turn for their birthday breakfast in bed. They turned 8!

Sage is going to kill me when he sees this photo on our blog. I just couldn't resist snapping a picture of him as he helped the girls paint their fingernails. When he's not tormenting and pestering, he is a wonderful big brother.