Tuesday, June 7

How It is Going. . .How He is Reacting. ..It's Been 3 Days

We've been home 3 days now. A family of 7 for 3 days.

All things considered, we are doing really well.

Galeta is a sweet boy. The first thing he did when we entered our home was unzip our suitcase and give each of his siblings a wrapped gift. These gifts of traditional Ethiopian clothes were from our adoption agency. Galeta also got his Ethiopian clothes out of the suitcase and put them on.

Galeta instructed Brooke on how to wear the scarf with her dress.

And then Galeta went outside to investigate the skateboards, bikes, and go carts he eyed when he walked up the porch stairs into the house. Yes, within an hour of being home, Galeta was whizzing down the hill. So much for not overstimulating him.

He will fit in just pefectly with the crazy Soutter kids (and Dad!)

Every morning after breakfast. . and Galeta is getting up sooo early (this morning it was 4am, guess he is still on Ethiopian time). . .he is outside riding fearlessly down the hill.

Our goal really was for a slow pace life. . a non stimulating environment. We had purged or boxed up so many items. But even without all the toys and decor. . .life with 4 siblings is very, very stimulating.

The kids adore Galeta and are constantly wanting to show him something or asking him a question or just simply trying to get his attention by repeating his name over and over again.

Last night we talked to the kids about not calling his name, but simply watching what he was doing and then joining him in that activity. If he is coloring, they are to color with him. . .not ask him if he wants to go outside or if he wants to play trains. If he is sitting on the couch, they are to sit with him.

I dropped David off at the pool last night. . just so he could have some time away from the chaos. And David told me, "I think we got the best kid, Mom. I really do. Galeta is so much fun to be around. And just think, in 6 months or so, when he knows English, he will be that much more fun!!" That made me smile.

Wrestling seems to be a universal boy thing. Yes, there are my 3 sons. Again, so much for not overstimulating Galeta.

And then Dad had to get in on the fun.

What else?

Galeta cries before naptime and bedtime. . from pure exhaustion? from being jetlagged? from being told to go to bed and he does not want to? from missing all that is familiar to him?? I am not quite sure. Probably a mix of it all.

And although my heart breaks to see tears run down his face, I am thankful. Thankful that he is showing emotion. Thankful that he is not numb. I know from all our adoption reading that this is a good sign.

And he also laughs easily.

He cannot be left alone. . .it is like having a 6 month old (who knows nothing), but a 6 month old with the physical capabilities of a 6 year old. I am thankful that David has stayed home from school the past 2 days. Gives me a little break.

But yesterday, David was mowing the neighbor's lawn. And Galeta watched him blow the grass off the driveway and the next thing I know, Galeta has the blower in his hand and is blowing the grass off our driveway. He is observant and smart. But cannot be left alone. He has already pushed the buttons of the dishwasher, stove, and stereo. He has already picked up the phone when it rings and said "hello".

Galeta is already learning English and can say all our names as well as:
come. toilet. shoes. I am thirsty. I am hungry.What it is? water. thank you. wash hands. Just today, he asked David, "Where is dog?". . cause David had left to walk the neighbor's dog. And when I served lunch, Galeta said, "Thank you Mom."

Rob has gotten pretty good at cooking Ethiopian food. We are thankful that we discovered that the Jerusalem Bakery next door to the Ethiopian restaurant here in Raleigh sells injera. And we discovered that injera freezes. Although, we discovered yesterday that Galeta likes fresh salsa with tortilla chips and hummus with crackers. He devours mangoes, bananas, and oranges. . .he has us all eating a little bit healthier.

He eats a lot. Because he does not know when his next meal is coming? Because food is so accessible? Because he really is hungry? He always clears his plate and often asks for more. He comes to me about every hour and half and says he is hungry. I right now am feeding him each time to communicate that I will take care of him. I am there to meet his needs.

This is definitely the hardest thing we have ever done and we are quite overwhelmed. There was no catching up from jetlag. There was hardly time to unpack and wash clothes with 5 kids longing for our attention. I have yet to get a shower. . only because I crave sleep more than clean hair and body. We are physically exhausted. And emotionally all over the place (me, not Rob, of course). I cry out hourly for strength and energy and wisdom and the control to not yell when J frustrates me or when Galeta makes a huge mess. And I keep reminding myself, to think big picture. .I envision what this boy is going to be like at 16. . .and I get tears of thankfulness and happiness in my eyes.

Our J is having the hardest time. All our kids are having to sacrifice for which we prepared them for. But J, being just 4 does not understand. He is used to being doted on by his 3 older siblings and now G is getting that attention. J screams and throws tantrums and cries often. He and G have already gotten into a fight while playing playdough and cars. But they also are the ones that play together the most often.

But you know, yesterday morning, Galeta grabbed my neck and kissed me. He initiated it, not me. Last night he crawled up in Rob's lap and put his head on his shoulder and stayed there for about 10 min while Rob rubbed his back. And it has only been 3 days. I think it is all going to work out just fine.


  1. So wonderful! I love "I think we got the best kid, Mom. I really do." Made me smile. What a beautiful family.

  2. Wow, you and Rob are blessed! And what a fine job you all are doing with your new son. Congratulations and keep asking God for strength,
    hugs from the Vartanesian's

  3. Su, I have tears in my eyes as I read this. I know the reward of seeing the man he grows into will make all these hard days worth it. You are so inspiring to me! I am going to be calling you for advice in a few months, I'm sure!!

  4. My heart is so happy for you all. I wish I could come wash some clothes and let you rest. How wonderful is your mission in life with these children. Just remember your crown will be full of praises from our Lord for your giving hearts. I cried all the way through reading your post and wish you all rest and happy times while you bond. Love the Larsen's Jim and Sharon

  5. So proud of God, Galeta and the Soutters. You kids are gonna make it..all seven of you! :>)

  6. I love you guys...God shines from this one act! -Heidi P

  7. Made me laugh. Made me cry. Made me smile and thank God. I am so happy for you guys! :-) -SE

  8. I just read your blog and cried and cried... I am praying for you all... glad it is going as well as it is going... Please let me know if I can do anything from here - finding stuff online or researching or whatever you need. -Tricia

  9. congratulations! I am so happy that your long awaited sweet son is now home with his family. Each of you are very blessed. Glad to see he is beginning to adjust, praying strength for you during difficult days!

  10. AMAZING Su!! Keep the updates coming!!! So thankful he is in his home now!! -Ashley

  11. Glad things are going well....lots of prayers coming your way. Thanks for posting and being vulnerable...we are here when you need us...Exciting times! Love you guys! Dan, Jessica, and the kids.

  12. We are SO happy for you guys and that things are going as well as they seem! Thank you for the updates...Bryan and I have been praying for you. I think I need to pray that you get more sleep, Su! ;) Have fun building your new family! Kris

  13. How kind of you to share your family and new addition with us. You and your entire, wonderful family are in our hearts and prayers. We're sure things will smooth out shortly and these hardest days will be but a memory. Galeta is one lucky little boy, as are all of your children! Hopefully you'll be able to catch up on your rest and you'll be back "in tune" very quickly.
    Warm and happy hugs, Pat 'n Gene Lang

  14. So beautiful - love this glimpse into your lives! Thank you for sharing these first wondrous days with us!

  15. thanks for sharing, Su! It's been great having you and Rob back and with Galeta, it's been super! We have a noisy neighborhood, but that's alright! Children are gifts from God! If you ever want Galeta to have fun with Pongo, just let me know...every child needs a pet growing up, especially dogs! They love unconditionally!

  16. Congratulations to all the Soutter family! I am so happy you are all home safe. Thanks for the honest post. Will be praying for continued smooth transition!

  17. Su-

    I have been thinking and praying for you all over the past few weeks. The kids have kept me up to date (from David), and I didn't want to bombard you with messages, btu did want to thank you for sharing your journey. I can't wait until Galeta can read English and understand how much his family loved him, even before he lived in your home! The Soutters are a remarkable family, indeed.

  18. What a perfect fit Galeta is to your family! God is so good. You're such a wonderful mother and father, longing to do what is eternally best for each child, and I know that when you simply can't give anymore it's okay because God can. Praise Him!!