Incredible. 6 months with Tomas and Binyam. It has been a pretty great 6 months.
I don’t even have a whole lot to say.
Tomas’s english has come a long, long way. He’s starting to really understand letters and how they are used to form a word and a sentence. Now when he’s upset, he can tell us why and can even sometimes work it out himself (saying things like, I didn’t like that he said he didn’t like me because I really like him and it hurt my feelings, etc). Just yesterday he said something at the dinner table, a full sentence, with very little hint of an accent and I almost weeped. What am I going to do when Tomas no longer calls Batman “Butt-man”?
Right now we are working with Tomas on the art of choosing friends. It seems Tomas might be befriending kids who are on a one way highway to bully-ville. Tariku will often tell me a story (without Tomas there) about a kid – we’ll call him – “unoriginal” who pushed another kid into a locker. Tariku talks about how scary “unoriginal” is and how he gets in trouble a lot. The next day Tomas will come home telling me “unoriginal” is his best, best friend and he loves him so much.
We think, because of that, Tomas has been a little more aggressive lately. After some consequences and lots of love, he’s stopped the aggression and came home Friday reporting that he told “unoriginal” he could not be his friend as long as he treated people bad. I call that progress!
Either way, Tomas makes friends so easily. And Tomas is a big kid. We understand we need to continue to encourage him to befriend the type of people who won’t take advantage of his big-ness.
But we are excited about his energy, his intelligence, his laugh and his overall charm. We are excited he’s ours!
Binyam struggled a bit over Christmas. I really should’ve seen it coming and scaled back a bit. By Christmas morning he was exhibiting weird behaviors (instead of talking he would kind of suck in a breath, look to the side and mumble) and just craving constant body contact. During our celebration at the Klipsch’s he actually peed and pooped his pants…for the first time ever. Then he sat in it (without telling us) for over an hour.
Things were bad.
The next day he did the same thing so we completely retreated into ourselves for the next week. Things got better.
The last week he’s done the same thing a few times (though at night). He’s struggling with something and I can’t quite put my finger on it. We’ll get through it. I wish he had more of the language to at least hint to me something, but it’s still coming.
Interestingly enough, when we were in Ethiopia, the nannies pointed to Binyam and said, “He’s actually smarter than the other (Tomas).” We didn’t really understand it at the time. I think something was lost in translation, because what we think they were recognizing was simply: Binyam will not say a word unless he’s sure it’s the right word for the situation. Where Tomas just kind of says stuff constantly, Binyam takes his time. When I’m talking to Zach, Binyam will watch and listen. He’ll listen to what we say but he’ll also be taking in the non-verbal things we are doing to describe what we’re saying. Binyam seems to process it all and then a week later he’s able to bring up a similar situation and sound, well, American.
It’s incredibly interesting to watch, but a little discouraging when we try to just get him to say something we know he knows.
Binyam also loves to play up the “baby” roll in the family. I think there are a lot of reasons for this. Zach and I fought it for awhile but we recognize that, of all of our children, Binyam has more needs than the rest. Not only his feet, but he’s dealt with some real crap in his short life emotionally as well. So we’ve gave into the “baby-ing” a bit. It’s hard though, right, when I’m looking at a 4-year-old to treat him like a 2-year-old?
But we do it. Because he’s funny and sassy. He’s cute and precious. He’s, in short, worth it.
And because we seriously love these two. I was talking to a friend the other day and kind of shook my head in wonder, “How did we get so lucky again?”
We did it all wrong…twice. We adopted out of birth order. Twice. We artificially twinned two of them, kind of (Binyam and Dailah).
We did it all wrong.
And yet, it’s all-right. They are perfect for our family.
6 months home with these two and I’m so looking forward to the rest of our lives. The different joy they bring to the table, the different stories, the different personalities, it makes life exciting and interesting.
So, so thankful for them.
This was so nice to read. Your children sound so special and they are all beautiful. I didn't realize Binyam was so young. I think it's perfectly normal for a 4 year old in his situation to need some babying and he probably is more like a 2 year old emotionally. My then 7 year old was pooping his pants when he came home, but it stopped a few months later when he felt more secure. It popped a couple of times when he was 8 when was feeling stressed, but it never happens anymore (he's 10).I enjoy reading your blog and keeping up with your wonderful family.
Peeing and pooping in pants is a sometimes used method for our middle child when stressed. Sigh. I have a feeling we have more of it in our future.Anyway I think you are amazing. I think your kids are amazing..all of them. I cannot wait to see what your future holds : )We also babied Mihiret a lot when she can home. I still try on occasion but it doesn't fly with her anymore LOL. She is WAY to cool for cuddling : )Glad I got it in early on : )
6 months. wow. I'm sure you guys are responding however you need to for Bini, to guide him and comfort him as he needs. Probably sometimes as a 2 yr old and in others as a 4 yr old. The key is in the subtlety needed to tell when which one is the right approach. And I know you guys can do that sort of parenting. Here's to the most wonderful thing that is adoption. Now, on to regular life!
Wow, I can NOT believe it's been SIX months already!!
🙂 Was thinking it's only been 6 months?! 🙂 Seems like forever…. and only a day. Such a great post!
It's been 6 months and I haven't met my 2 newest great nephews? We need to remedy that.We still baby Angela and she's almost 18. At least Dailah likes to mother so she's probably in her element.
Thanks for the update! It's so encouraging to read about your experiences – the tough stuff and the delightful stuff. Sounds like you guys are doing a remarkable job of meeting the kids' needs individually. More parents should do that!
I'm sorry for the setbacks, but I can't imagine a better place for those sweet boys to be right now than with you (if they can't be with their first families…. you know what I mean). You have so much love to give, I know they'll keep soaking it up.
Wonderful….doing out of order looks perfectly perfect. Thank you for sharing@
Thank you so much for your honesty. I find it so helpful to hear how others are doing with the transition. And, it helps to hear that I wasn't the only one who should have known better and scaled down xmas. I had full frontal puddle pee which hadn't happened in months. I felt horrible… awful… bad. But, you are right. Our kids are so many other amazing things and while the tough times are tough I know that our good times are unreal and amazing. Congrats on your 6 months with all the language barriers in the beginning those are a rough few to get through. You are an inspiration.
Thank you so much for sharing my nieces and nephews with me through your blog. I so want to see all of your beautiful children in person. You are right, they are all unique people with unique needs that change daily. You both are doing a great job. We all learn daily!
I don't think a day goes by that we don't say the same thing, "How did we get so lucky… again?!" We did it wrong, too. But it's oh, so right.I love your family.