We've been a family of nine for just over a month and we are all settling into our new normal. The last month has literally flown by. I have many times intended to sit down and write a quick update, but haven't found the time! As a new placement we were required to schedule appointments at the doctor, dentist, and optometrist, and outside of two needing glasses, it was a clean bill of health all around. We got fresh haircuts before school started and they were all excited for their first day!
We celebrated our first Thanksgiving and our first Birthday as (6) turned (7) in December. Now everyone is counting down the days until Christmas. A chubby little hand with all five fingers held up greeted me yesterday morning, "Only dis many days until Chwistmas now, right mom?!"
Although there are certainly times that it seems like our house is overflowing with little bodies, the majority of the time I look around and think, "Wow, you wouldn't even know there were 7 kids here!" We've ventured out for a few outings and a couple movies at the theater, but have focused on just allowing them to play at home and get used to their new surroundings.
I made a goal of taking each child out individually for a date within a months time and am now on round two. We've gone to Dairy Queen, Caribou, or to Cenex for a roll and hot cocoa, but sometimes its just pulling a kiddo back out of bed, or sneaking away to play Legos while little sister is watching cartoons. Daddy has also taken kiddos on dates, but his are less pre-planned and more like "this kid needs some one-on-one time right now".
The boys are adjusting so well. In many ways if feels like they have been here longer. They are content and often report their high for the day is "being with my new family" and give thanks in prayer for their "new parents". I am always "mom" and never "Sarah" anymore. I get bombarded with kisses, hugs, snuggles, and pleas for "uppy". But despite all this wonderful bonding and attachment in progress, there are little moments that make you realize that they are still processing through everything.
When (5) asked me today,
"why did [foster parents] sell me?",
my heart skipped a beat.
He was not sad or grieving in the moment, purely inquisitive,
and I reassured him this was not the case and explained why they are now in our home.
He was happy with the answer and moved on with his play, but it made me remember that there is so much going on under the surface in his little mind.
Or when we were on the topic of birthday celebrations and wishlists, (4) excitedly said,
"Oh mom, for my birfday, I want," then abruptly paused, "wait, am I going to be here fo-yeva?"
It makes me so sad that they have never had a true sense of permanence and that even though we always try to ensure them that we will always be their family, they still subconsciously second-guess this.
The often overseen party in adoptions are the biological kiddos. We prepped and planned with them before the boys came home. We talked through hypothetical scenarios and explained how trauma can play out or what kind of behaviors they might witness. We reassured them of our unconditional love and that we would always love them, that they would never be replaced. But no matter how well you prepare for the change, growing your family by 3 overnight is a lot to take in. In a sense they have to grieve the family that once was, in order to accept the family that now is.
So overall, the first month has gone amazingly well - well enough that Justin and I have used the words "next time" in reference to adoption - but there are growing pains along the way and we knew these would likely accompany the process. We will keep on keeping on and pray that God will give us the words and give our little the comfort only He can give.