From Princess to one of the kids...
We survived Christmas and now our house resembles a Toys R Us store. As I feared our family went nuts. Not only did Dasha score tons on presents, all of the kids did. I'm not complaining, but who invented the ties that attach toys to their boxes. On average it takes about an hour per present. I even broke out the wire snips. Anyway, we had a great Christmas. It turns out Santa finally found Dasha and made up for lost time. To see the look on her face when she came down the stairs. She saw the presents she wanted, but wasn't sure they for her until we explained that they were. She went from trepidation to joy. Jacob, had no problems finding his toys. Though I think his Christmas Eve prayer summed it up. As it turns out Jacob was having a rough go of it, and found a few sessions in time-out and even a spank here and there in December. I think the pressure was too much, he just couldn't be good the whole year. So, for his Christmas Eve prayer, he prayed that Santa would bring presents to all the kids, even the kids on the naughty list. Everyone thought it was very sweet, I knew he was covering his bases., smart kid Fortunately, he made the cut. I'm sure his hard work in Kazakhstan helped, and the fact that he gave up his room for his new sister made an impact.
I was not sure how Dasha would respond. Keep in mind, she has never been given a gift, and didn't understand about gift exchange. She's a quick learner. The week before Christmas, she and her Grandma Barbara made necklaces and bracelets for all of the girls (cousins, Mommy, Granny, aunts etc). She did really well, and as hard as it was for her, she thanked everyone, and really enjoyed all of her gifts. She also won the prize for putting her toys away the best. I think her training in the orphanage helped, but I also think, these gifts are like treasures to her. She really came out of her shell this Christmas. She's not shy around the immediate family, but very shy around the rest of the world. That changed on Christmas. She played with her cousins, uncles, aunts even the neighbor kids.
Now, it's two weeks later. Our Broncos choked, USC dominated in the Rose Bowl and I lost my Fantasy Football Superbowl, to the Houston Hommies. It sounds like the end of days. I may have to check Revelations. How could the Broncos lose to the 49ers? Sorry, back to Dasha...
Dasha will have language testing on Wednesday. She will be tested in Russian to see her comprehension and in English to see how her skills are coming along. I'm very proud of her, her English is so good. She works on it daily. She even likes to listen to the "learn Russian CDs" in the car. She thinks it's funny to hear us speak Russian, and it helps her to learn English. After her language testing on Wednesday, she will join her Kindergarten class. She is very nervous, but one of her new friends Delaney Crowe will be in her class, so that helps. She had Kim ask Delaney's mom (Tricia) what kind of back pack does Delaney have? Apparently, I'm buying a pink Hello Kittie Backpack tomorrow. I think she will do so well in school. She really is a bright kid. She is pretty, great sense of humor and a strong right cross. I know this as she decked Mitchell once while rough housing. Good girl, hit the boys when they get too close.
All is not perfect in our little world. When Dasha came home, we treated Dasha like a princess. She pretty much got whatever she wanted, and could eat when and whatever she wanted. This was fine, while we were bonding and getting her used to this strange land. Over the last few weeks we have changed that approach. Now she is expected to do what the other kids do. That goes for chores, eating and bedtime. In general it has gone very well. She is a strong willed girl and she and I have had a few face-offs. We learned that you can't give Time-Outs to orphans for bad behaviors, as this is what they are used to. Kim found a great book, that talks about Time-Ins. When there is mis-behavior, we hold Dasha, almost in a fetal position in our lap. We hold her to where she can't wiggle, kick or squirm. As her behavior improves, she is given more freedom of movement. We haven't had to do this in over a week. I think she is now confident that this is her home, and she is learning to follow direction from her parents. I'm pretty sure most of her bad behavior is a lack of understanding, but also she is testing limits. This testing of limits is common with most kids. As we had to reverse the princess syndrome, it was difficult at times. We explain what is appropriate and that we expect good behavior from all of our kids. Lord knows Dasha has seen Jacob as an example.
We never know who's reading this blog, so please feel free to leave comments. We've had a few people ask us questions, and we're happy to answer them. I spoke with our friends Kevin and Sandra tonight. They are thinking of adopting, and want to learn more. Sandra is so nice, and said something to the affect, that we had such a perfect family. I'd say perfectly crazy. It's not always easy raising kids. Brining home an orphan is no bed of roses either. For me, I feel so blessed. The Lord has taken a guy who is really a two striker, and given me an angel, in my wife Kim. We are not perfect, and I'm sure we've made a lot of mistakes, but God has still built a happy home for us, for which I don't deserve, but am eternally grateful. Please pray for Kevin and Sandra as they consider this life changing event. Pray for all of the families considering adoption, like Joe and Jesi. There are so many great kids out there that could use a good home. I don't think adoption is for everyone, but I pray that God helps those who are ready, like our other friends the Reeds and helps them add a new family member.
Happy New Year