Wednesday, February 2, 2011

6 months home! Wow!

Feb. 3rd - we have been home for 6 months!

I'm not normally good with dates and remembering anniversaries (or birthdays... but that's another post),
but this one has been marked on the calendar since we got home on August 3rd!

In adoption circles the 6-month-home mark is somewhat of a landmark in that (typically) by this point you have found your "new normal". It's not a hard deadline, just one that many families look forward to and say "well, let's see how this is going once we hit 6 months". It's not a sink-or-swim, fish-or-cut bait, poop-or-get-off-the-potty deadline... just a milestone for checking in and assessing what is going on, what is better, what is worse, and what changes should or could be made.

And with that... here is our 6 month update!

The family: We are doing really well! hubby and I were just talking the other day about how "normal" everyone is together. The kids all fight... they all blame the younger kids... they play together...and they laugh together. There is no division between the kids, no "us vs. them" mentality, and everyone just seems... normal!

The parents: We still miss our old mornings together, but Paul's job takes him out of town quite often and that has at least as much to do with our lack of couple-time than the little three. We can't imagine our lives without the littles, and we are constantly amazed at how cohesive our family seems!

Food: When we first got home, the little three would eat literally anything I put in front of them. Not so much anymore. Their favorite things are fasta (pasta), cheerials (cheerio/cereal), PB&J, and anything chocolate! Tonight #5 refused rice... she used to love rice. Tonight "I don't like rice, Mommy." Uh huh. THAT didn't take long.

Sleep: I don't like to talk about it. But I will for you, bloggy friends... because I know you can handle the truth. Truth is... these children are the lightest sleepers I have EVER met. They are still going to bed at a decent hour (normally in bed by 7-7:30) but the girls wake up (on average) around 5:30am. Uh huh. In the dark, on weekends, if they stay up later or go to bed earlier... like some kind of alarm goes off inside their brains. I have never known a child to wake up in the dark, and assume it is morning. I hear it takes like 21 days for something to become a habit... we are well past that, and this waking-up-in-the-dark thing... no. It's still not a habit. I still don't like it, but I have decided that this is just who they are. I hesitate to even say it... Morning People. *shudder*

Language: It took our littles a while longer to learn English than most other single-child adoptions that I have followed. Probably because they could speak Wolaytinga to one another and had no real need to speak much English... at first anyway. Somewhere around the 4th month I realized that I was hearing more English than anything else. Around 5 months, I realized they were playing games together and speaking only English. This month, I was quizzing them on some Amharic and Wolaytinga words we learned during our transition... and they mostly didn't remember them. I am SO incredibly saddened by this! I thought it would last longer! I thought I would get a few more months of some cute little foreign-sounding words in our house! Our last hold out is that they still sing all the songs they learned in Ethiopia! I love, love, love hearing them sing in Wolaytinga! It makes my heart smile!

Hair/Skin: I gotta tell ya. If you were reading my blog before we traveled, you know I was NERVOUS about doing hair, keeping skin hydrated, and feeling very inadequate in my abilities to even de-tangle the first kids' hair... much less how to handle the mystery of my African babies' hair!! Well, I think I am doing a good job! Yes, we have bad hair days.. mostly when I have waited a day or two too long to re-style. Yes, we still have dry skin days... but in my defense, no one wants to stand still for much oiling down when its so stinking COLD in the house! The skin/hair butter I make keeps them hydrated for 24+ hours at a time, but ... sometimes I don't do it even that often. I'm a mom of 7, what can I say! I forget stuff! Overall though, I think I am doing good!

Medicals: Giardia and ringworm are (hopefully) history. We have to turn in some more "samples" to test and see how we are doing on the parasites... but I am SO hoping we are done with scooping poo into tiny vials.
Everyone has gained weight and grown a little in the 6 months... I don't have the specifics in front of me, but I know #6 has gained the most weight out of all three. She's our "healthy" girl for sure!

Other: Well, we did the bone age scans on all three to verify birth dates. Since there is no documentation to speak of in the area our children were born, their birthdays are estimates. Since we got home, we have had some questions as to whether their dates were accurate. Results were basically that #5 is right on - almost perfect birthday/bone age match. #6 was off by a few months, which puts her right around 9-10 months younger than her bigger sister. The biggest difference was our baby boy. We knew right away when we got to Ethiopia that there was NO way this child was turning 3 in a month. The more time we had together, the more toddlers I am around... the more we became convinced there was NO way this child was three years old. Turns out, we were right. His bone scan puts him at just turning TWO in October -  not three in August. That's a big difference! So, yes... we are going to legally change his birthday. We still have to pick a date in early October/late September.

What's next??
Well... we have to re-adopt in our state... then the adoption part of our journey is done!
I gotta say, a couple of years ago I never would have imagined that we would be sitting here today - finishing up our last post-placement visit, feeling so "normal"!

Of course we have our days... of course we have our bad moments...
but, I love my sweet family and I am so happy that God allows me to be
Mommy/Mom/Momma to all seven of them!

(and along with forgetting to oil up the babies frequently, I still don't have a new family photo to share!! I was hoping to stick it right here... so just use your imaginations and I will try to get one soon!)


  1. Loved reading your 6 month update...congratulations on reaching such a HUGE milestone!

    I'd love to learn more about the bone scan (who does it, does ins cover it, etc.) and steps to change birth dates...I don't know much about this, but may have to do this in the future.

  2. This was GREAT, Chrissy! I have tremendously enjoyed following this journey with you and hope to continue for years to come!

  3. You have probably tried everything on earth, but 2 thoughts: Do you have a 'night' setting for your heat? What time does the warmer/day setting kick on? I had a coworker tell me once that his daughters would start waking up withing 15 minutes of the warmer air coming on. It was like a signal to their body to get up. Another thought, my parents did this thing with my sister and me when we were kids. On Friday night they would leave donuts out for us for Saturday morning breakfast and cartoons. The deal was that if we did not wake them up on Saturday morning and let them sleep in, that we would get the donuts again the next Saturday. Let me tell you, we were not messing around with that deal! I fully plan to use this trick on my kids. I need sleep too! :)

  4. I stumbled on your blog in all my research on Holt & Ethiopia adoptions. My husband and I just turned in our application to Holt to adopt one or two children from Ethiopia. We have two birth children and I wanted to share a tip about the morning waking. I am NOT a morning person and my daughter is. I have it worked out that she sleeps until after 7:00 now. I put a nightlight in her room on a timer. The timer comes on at bedtime, 6:30 pm, and turns off at 7:00 am. She knows when the light turns off she may come out of her room. If the light is on, she stays in her room. It works great! Just thought I'd share that little tid bit. I hope it gets you some more sleep :-)


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