The easiest relationship for me has been with Michael. He enjoys spending time with me and we have many conversations every day. He is affectionate, kind, hard-working, and polite. We had a conversation this week where I casually mentioned that he was Romani. This seemed a huge surprise to him, and he said that he wasn't Romani. I assured that I read in his paperwork that his first mom is Romani. This allowed us to have a conversation about what it means to be Romani and to discuss if he fits in with the negative characteristics that are (typically said about the) Romani. He was concerned that people in America would "find out" that he is Romani and would treat him differently because of this. I assured him that American's don't really know anything about the Romani people, unless they have some experience with them. We talked about how all people are children of God and that He loves all of us with a perfect love. I felt the Holy Spirit guiding me in what to say. I am so thankful for inspiration in motherhood. We tried very hard to prepare each of the new children for the kids that we already had in our home. What I didn't expect was that some of the new kids wouldn't get along - namely Michael and Sarah. We have had more than one conversation about using kinds words and not flipping the other person off. Sarah seems to be the instigator most of the time, but Michael usually replies by calling her a "goat," (must be a Bulgarian thing?) which also isn't kind. We originally had Sarah sitting next to Michael at the dinner table, but we switched Sarah and Anna places, which seemed to please Michael very much, as he and Anna get along swell. Michael has met a cute girl at church and he tells me of her beauty on a daily basis. Unfortunately, this girl's family has left for a vacation, so he doesn't see her at church. He has written poems about her and drawn pictures of her. He's quite the romantic! I think that Michael is lonely for friends here in America. I am thankful for the boys at church who reach out to him in friendship.
Chinese shirt that Daddy bought him in China.
Writing a card for the girl he likes...
Motorcycle ride with the wonderful Contreras Family!
He asks for me to take photos of him with MY phone.
English language assessment.
Playing slip n slide kickball. He was apparently really good at it!
Silas LOVES his big brother. He is often snuggling up with Michael - and Michael enjoys it.
My three oldest sons! Can you believe there is one year between Michael/John and Keith?
Sarah is letting her guard down. She is more happy than in the past weeks. She smiles more easily and is more affectionate with her siblings. I have seen her quietly serving her family and this makes me smile. One day she filled up my water cup and brought it to me - just because. Another day, she saw me cutting up vegetables and said she wanted to do it for me. Like Iryna, she thrives on being able to do various things. She is a bit slower - it took her an hour to cut up vegetables for a shopska salad - but she is slow and steady and willing to help and I greatly appreciate that. She likes to tell me when she needs to use the restroom. When the children came home, we had a long talk about Facebook. We decided that each of the triplets would get 30 minutes on Facebook every Tuesday and Thursday. I sit with them and monitor to make sure everything is going smoothly. This past week, Sarah was on Facebook and she was Facebook video calling with someone - which she does and I don't mind it, as usually the people are staff workers from her orphanage. This time was different, however, because Michael started covering his ears when he heard them talking back and forth. He kept telling me, "not good, Mama, not good." I asked him what he meant, and he told me that she was talking with her biological mother and that she - the mother - was saying incredibly rude things to Sarah. I instantly ended her Facebook video call. Sarah didn't seem to be upset that I ended the call. At that point, I didn't know what to do. I wasn't sure why she would be talking with her biological mom, as she has told me that she is very happy that I am her mama. Tyler sat her down and they had a good talk. [I should also mention that Sarah talks with her biological sister, Mariana. A few years ago, the bio mother took Mariana back from the orphanage but intentionally left Sarah. At 16, Mariana is now married to a much older man and has a baby. Sarah and Mariana talked most everyday when Sarah lived in the orphanage. They seem to have a good relationship.] Sarah had been asked to call her bio mother, and she didn't know what to do. Rather than talking to us, she made the call. She was very upset by the conversation. Tyler told her that her bio mother is a bad woman. She had caused a lot of pain in Sarah's life and is now jealous of her improved situation. Consequently, she is trying to pull Sarah down and disrupt her new life. Tyler reassured her that she is a good girl and that her family loves her very much. Sarah was happy to hear this and asked for help in blocking her bio mother and sister from her Facebook account. Navigating the challenges of helping older children transition from the life they knew and into their new life is not easy. You can't ask them (at least we have decided not to) to completely abandon their former life. However, you have to help them see the wisdom in being selective in what they hold onto.
Sarah in her Chinese dress.
First motorcycle ride.
Taking an English language assessment.
Facetiming with Daddy.
Sarah loves babies!
Dress for church!
John really needs glasses. He put his leg on the exhaust pipe of a motorcycle and it burned off a layer of skin. Then he was riding his bike and flipped off of it and skinned both of his knees. I have an appointment for him to have his eyes checked. I have never been so eager to order glasses for one of my children! John doesn't want to slow down! Even with his various wounds, he still wants to swim and go to karate. Because of this, the sores aren't healing as quickly as they should. It was hard when I told him no more bicycle, swimming, or karate until they are healing better. John is awesome at charades. He loves to physically act out what he sees. He is comical and fun. He seems happy with his family and whenever I ask him if he is happy, he responds with "Very happy." Like most teenagers, he is moody. He will get upset if something doesn't go his way. He responds well to reason, though, and seems to accept my explanations of why we do things one way versus another way. He and Michael are close. They help each other out. Michael depends on John to help him with navigating the English keyboard on the computer. John is technologically savvy. We have a container of electronic cords and outdated electronic items. He loves to explore them.
Shirt from China.
Language assessment for English.
Making homemade pizza!
John loves Barkley.
He tells me that he is secretly Peter Parker.
My fabulous cousin, Karin, and her wonderful husband, Trevor, came over last night to visit for the evening. It was a first time for our new kids to meet some of their cousins and everyone was in heaven! So much laughter and fun - it was so nice and no one wanted for the evening to end!