I really can't believe I'm posting this. SIX MONTHS HOME!!!
It has absolutely flown by. I say that, and then I think of the days that seemed like they would never end. Those days are fewer and farther between...we still have some tough times, but they occur less and usually last a few hours at the most. I can't really complain about it because I know it's nothing compared to the level of difficulty that some families experience. We are blessed in that these girls came from a relatively stable home (I'm thinking that poverty and illness were the major instability factors) and their two years in the orphanage had lots of positives to balance out those negatives. They made lots of friends, they had lots of experiences they would not have had otherwise, and they knew their time there was limited. They adored and identified with the orphanage director, and always felt she had their best interests at heart. For all but 30 days, they knew I was their 'Mama Blan' and that someday they would come 'abroad' to live with me. (We are still working on the whole 'concept of adoption' thing. They accept I am their mother II, that Lucas and Nick are their brothers...they have difficulty understanding that they are my daughters...I guess because they know they were born to mother I)
They are bright kids. Elle is very athletic. Given her personality, in that she needs alot of attention and recognition, this is good and I plan on developing her in this direction. Ava is more cerebral as well as girly. She likes to make money. She's been telling me she wants to be a Taxi Driver because they make lots of money LOL She will ask for extra jobs to earn money, and she will scrounge change from every place she can think of and exchange it. She is very interested in school, and her reading is moving right along. She is on a first grade level at this point, but progressing. Her teacher's plan is to teach her both first and second grade this year. We work at it, and she's making progress. Her teacher found out what I already suspected: if we started her in the first grade, it would be almost impossible to bump her up. She figured if she put Ava back there for a period of time, to get her that solid foundation, she would move up fast. She found out that she would probably not move up at all, except one grade at the end of the year. Given Ava's age, this would not be a good scenario. Thanks to all you adoptive parents out there in the blogosphere, I figured this would be the case, and that is why I was adamant that she start in the second grade, even though she is older than most of her classmates. She is not the only 9 year old in her class however, nor is she the only adoptee or even the only one who's first language is not English. Which is pretty amazing when you consider our little country school.
Elle likes school especially for the social aspect, but she lacks concentration in all things academic. I wondered if she was disordered in anyway, because she is VERY ACTIVE, but then one day I watched her (at home) sit for hours and make seed-bead bracelets, and I realized that could not be the case. Her teacher confirmed that at our conference last week. She is NOT hyper-active. She is very active, however!
They both need extra help with language, of course. There is just so much to learn! But they are on track, doing well. Elle does slip back into using Creole for certain words sometimes, and she is babyish sometimes, but they rarely speak Creole amongst themselves anymore. I've tried to keep Ava interested in it, but she just is not, so I suspect she has already lost much of it. Their language teacher recommended listening to (children's) books on tape, which can be checked out at the public library. I will let you know how that goes.
They are highly competitive with each other over my attention. When they start talking over each other (and fighting about it) I make them raise their hands (like they are in class) and then call on them. They fight and argue and bicker, but if I separate them for any length of time they get anxious over the one missing. Suffice it to say their relationship is very complicated. I believe it has been incredibly helpful for them to be adopted together, even tho at times I have questioned my own sanity. Because sometimes it's just TOO MUCH! and I wonder if they are getting all the individualized attention they need. A new child in the family is a huge transition for everyone. Somehow, I have been given strength when I felt like I had no more. And I believe in the long run, it is what is best for them.
It's true what they say: the first year is very hard, and we are only 1/2 way thru it. But things are so much easier that they were 3 or 4 months ago. I have hope I might even get a semblance of my life back! Someday! Because I see glimpses of it now... I know we will never be the same, and I don't expect us to be. But I welcome the balance, and it feels healthy.