Our normal day includes many hugs, several kisses, a couple of time outs, a lot of laughter, some bouts of tears (at the top of their lungs), some frustration, but lots and lots of love. People have asked us what the transition has been like...and well, when in preparation I was thinking that we might have little boys ransacking the house, breaking everything in sight, doing unspeakable things with the contents of their diapers and writing on the walls...well, life has been quite simple in comparison.
I have to admit that this new direction of our lives is requiring a bit more patience, several deep breaths and 100% commitment of Craig, myself and each of our big kiddos. It has been challenging, but I think that it is going quite well. It would be nice if the boys could understand a few more English phrases so we could communicate better, but even that is progressing nicely. They are able to scream "COW" and "CAR" at the top of their lungs as we drive down the road and tell us, "All done," when pushing their plate away from themselves. They can follow many of our commands even though they aren't able to vocalize them themselves...for example..."take my shoes to the door," resulted in my shoes being ready for church right by the door courtesy of Judah! ;)
We are beginning to understand the different cries of the boys, I can almost always tell if they are hurt, hungry, tired or just plain crying with no real purpose (which happens more than I would like.) Elijah cries consistently for 2-5 minutes each time when heading to nap or bed. It is just how he operates. I have to admit that I think that Elijah is just blooming here. We have been told that he was almost always in tears at the orphanage, and it was often the case when we were there with him as well. It seems like he is thriving in this quieter environment and that he is having very few bouts of uncontrollable crying. He is sharing well with his brother and we see more and more smiles from him every day.
Judah is very happy go lucky by nature. He made a very simple transition here and has been the newest little socialite in the family. His incredible happiness has been given a little setback, however, because our dentist has informed us that he really needs to stop sucking his thumb. We have been working on this and it is getting better, but difficult to take such a simple comfort item from a little boy that has had so many changes in such a short time. Please pray that this transition would continue to go well.
Both boys did well recovering from their minor surgeries. They are all healed up now and will have their followup visits to the doctor tomorrow. We pray for continued healing and for no further issues to come. We did get some results from some lab work and blood tests and praise God that nothing was found besides Eli being a bit anemic. That is to be expected from his Haitian diet and should turn around quickly.
We had the boys' baptism on August 23rd and it was a fantastic time. My sister in law, Heather, and a close friend at church, Leah, did a phenomenal job making it quite the event! There were decorated balloon animals, little homemade arks and animals two by two. I have never felt so blessed. I just had to get the boys ready, gather the photo albums and the slide show and make it to the party. They literally took care of EVERYTHING. This girl is so blessed to have such an amazing family and church family that loves me and my family in such a beautiful way! (There are links to the videos that Craig and a couple of friends prepared for the baptism at the bottom of the blog.)
Labor day weekend we had a fabulous time with our family and a few of our friends at Lifelight Music Festival. It has been a huge event for our family since it began 17 years ago. We have gone rain or shine every year. We have had fresh ACL surgeries and brand new babies at Lifelight and hoped that this year we would be able to make it even with all of the new changes to our family. For the last two years it has been difficult to worship at Lifelight knowing that the boys were still in their orphanage. Lots of tears were shed those years. This year, we didn't know how the boys would handle the event. We prepared ourselves for a possible early departure. We were pleased that they did quite well. They did not mind the noise. (I guess they are used to everything being FULL VOLUME...especially Judah!) We snuggled them up in our Tula carriers and we enjoyed the weekend. Friday night was very muddy, and Sunday I wasn't able to head back out with the boys after naps due to the rain, but we made many fantastic memories at Lifelight this year!
We began a new chapter in our story last week on Tuesday because Craig began back at work again.With the big kiddos at school, that makes the house quite a bit quieter during the day. I love the weekends with the faster pace and more activity, but I have to admit that these quieter days are a real blessing to my soul.
One thing has been a bit difficult for me after bringing the boys home...and that is that they are Daddy's boys. BOTH of them! That is not typical for a DeWit child, and please don't get me wrong...I am happy that they love their Daddy and don't mind that he is number one with them. In fact, it warms my heart. It is about time he get a Daddy's boy...however, it is made more complicated because after Daddy, they then choose Haley and then Aftyn....and then come Aiden and me. We are at the bottom of the pecking order. Hmph. I guess that it is hard when one of them is hurt and Daddy is not home...and they don't want me...they want their sister. This has been an adjustment for me.
We have done a lot of thinking and think that part of this is because our girls are so awesome and part of it is because at times when the boys are upset and I have given them a consequence...they might get a bit too much sympathy from their sisters. We are currently working on that and it is getting better slowly.
I think that being home with the twins on my own the last week and today has helped me to become more of an equal with the girls. I also see them working hard at trying to be sure that they are not comforting the twins when they are in trouble any more. We are learning from this process, and I think that it is getting better every day.
Work has been going well for Craig, and he easily switches back into Daddy mode as soon as he enters the door. While the kids are at school and Craig is at work, the twins and I have been snuggling, introducing new toys, taking trips to the zoo, visiting with good friends, visiting some stores and running errands and doing chores at home. Pretty simple but so good for the soul. They are so adorable.
I would like to inform all of you that we have turned a new corner with the dog situation. The twins are now no longer screaming every time they see Griffin or other dogs. We can drive in the car without every strange dog on the sidewalk causing a meltdown. In fact, we are now trying to keep Eli from running full speed to greet (semi-cautiously) every dog that we might pass or that might pass by our home. On Sunday, he was in our driveway with Griffin and was literally sitting on Griffin like a horse while he was laying in the driveway. Amazing. Judah is a bit more hesitant yet, but he will also let Griffin close to him and even lets him lick him!
I have chosen a day for my return to work. I will be going back Thursday, September 18th. We are so pleased that we have been able to spend all of this time with the boys and really feel that the time at home with them has been priceless for the transition and attachment. Craig and I have each brought the boys to the in-home daycare that they will be attending to introduce them to the six other children and to the daycare provider. We are thankful that Jenna, the daycare provider, has a history with Haiti and even has family that have worked with an orphanage in Haiti. She has been there before, and I really think that this is going to help her to be even more understanding as they make this transition. These boys have been through so much in the last two months...not to mention the first two years and nine months of their lives.
Later this week, we plan on having a play date, where I will bring the twins to Jenna's for a couple of hours so they can play...and I will leave. This will be the first time that we will have left them anywhere (other than in the operating room during surgery after they fell asleep). Please pray for all of us. Just thinking about this makes me teary-eyed. I can only imagine how they will do. I pray that they will love every minute of it and really won't even know that I have gone.
I know that many of you have been hanging back in the last several weeks. I want to encourage you to reach out if you would like the boys seem to be attaching well, and we have been venturing out without consequence. The twins have adjusted well and are ready to meet more of our fabulous prayer warriors and friends.
We are so grateful for all of the prayers and support that we have received. We know that this has gone so well because of God answering your prayers on our behalf. We have even come across prayer warriors that we have never met that follow our blog, recognized us and have stopped us in many places in our community over the last six weeks to encourage us! Please continue to pray for my transition to work, the twins' transition to daycare and for the continued attachment to our family. We love you all more than any words can express!!!
Blessings to you all!
I edited three video/picture slideshows (for the twins' baptism) to songs that have been very meaningful to Rebecca and me during this Haitian adoption process. I've included links to the three songs below in adoption chronological order, along with two other songs that others have put together for us. - Craig
1) "Follow You" by Leeland edited by Craig
2) "City On Our Knees" by TobyMac edited by Craig
3) "Gotcha Day" at the Orphanage edited by Jonathan
4) "Kings and Queens" by Audio Adrenaline edited by Craig (my favorite!)
5) "Homecoming" edited by Chad