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.
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.
Where I Went!!
2 years ago