Unbelievable! The last day that I found a moment to put some of my thoughts down on this blog was December 21, 2015. Multiple times I have thought, “Hmmm…I really should find a spare minute to update my blog…and then I run on to do the next task and it quickly leaves my mind. Seven months later, I am finally finding that spare minute while driving on a family trip to Northern Minnesota with five sleeping children in the back of the vehicle and a goal to stay awake to help my hubby navigate to my childhood summer destination. It is the perfect time to begin to gather my thoughts and provide an update.
Incredibly, Wednesday, July 22, was the official one year mark!! The twins have been official members of our family for one whole year! I know that in my last post, the entire family was doing beautifully with bonding. We were finally finding ourselves wading out of the emotional turmoil of initial adjustment and bonding. This overwhelmed mama was kneeling in the sand…beginning to feel some stability and normalcy in this foreign territory.
Now, one full year after bringing the twins home, we are all fully standing in the sand. The last year has had its challenges, but the journey has been so beautiful. Breathtaking even. Watching the twins explore the world around them, one new thing at a time, and watching our beautiful big kiddos cheer them on along the way has been beyond words. It is as if we are still navigating through life’s challenges and continuing to teach the twins the way that this very foreign land operates…but we are doing it while holding their little hands and helping each other along.
I was reminded to get back onto the computer and update our blog shortly after putting together the adoption update on the twins. Craig and I have to provide written updates on the twins’ progress to the orphanage and our agency in varying intervals. Our most recent one was due at the one year mark, and it was beautiful to look through photos and to reminisce over the last year and all of the firsts and experiences we have been through together. I have edited the letter some to preserve some of the privacy, but hope that it is helpful in updating how the twins are doing.
Please enjoy the update and continue to keep our family in your thoughts and prayers. Also enjoy the multitude of photos from our fantastic Northern Minnesota vacation. It couldn't have been more beautiful or more of a blessing to our spirits!
Happily walking in the sand,
*********Annual Adoption Update*********
When they first arrived home from Haiti, July 23, 2014, we knew that there were some minor surgical procedures that needed to take place. Judah had an umbilical hernia and several adhesions requiring circumcision. Elijah also had adhesions requiring circumcision. They had their surgery on August 22, 2014. Judah then had recurrent sinus infections. He underwent an additional surgery to remove his tonsils and adenoids on December 30, 2014. We have had several doctor’s appointments to get them up to date on their immunizations and to screen for any other issues. Initially we needed to treat for giardia and C-difficile. No additional medical conditions have been found and their immunizations are now current.
Our adoption was processed by Children of All Nations agency. The boys were adopted from an orphanage in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Craig and I traveled to Haiti to complete our adoption on July 15, 2014 and returned with the boys to Miami, FL on July 22, 2014, the day the adoption was finalized. The boys were Naturalized United States Citizens (IR-3) upon our arrival home.
Elijah demonstrates normal development. He has good stamina for physical activity. His fine and gross motor skill development is appropriate for his age. He has had a screen for development through our local school system, and he was found to be within the normal range. He has a structured eating and sleeping pattern. See below for the schedule. He typically sleeps through the night and takes a 1-2 hour nap daily. His current height is 37.5 inches and his weight is 31 pounds which places him at the 25th percentile for his age. He has not required any ongoing medical treatments beyond the surgeries listed above. Elijah is a headstrong and independent boy but is also tender and loving. He desires to please and has a good sense of humor. He is able to attend to a task for a prolonged period of time and has a vivid imagination. He has attached well to the rest of the family and has adjusted well psychologically. He typically responds well to correction and encouragement. He did not know even one word of English when he came home, but now has an extensive vocabulary. He is precise with his language skills and is always trying out new sentences and adding descriptive language to give more detail. He shows good comprehension of the English language as well and appears to understand all of our commands.
Judah also demonstrates normal development. He has good stamina for physical activity. His fine and gross motor skill development is appropriate for his age. He has had a screen for development through our local school system, and he was found to be within the normal range. He has a structured eating and sleeping pattern. See below for the schedule. He typically sleeps through the night and takes a 1-2 hour nap daily. His current height is 39.25 inches and his weight is 35 pounds which places him at the 50th percentile for his age.. He has not required any ongoing medical treatments beyond the surgeries listed above. Judah is more of an observer and often follows the lead of Elijah when it comes to creativity with play. He is more gentle and loving. He desires to please, has a good sense of humor and is very ticklish. He has a shorter ability to attend to task and plays more concretely. He has attached well to the rest of the family and has adjusted well psychologically. He is improving in his ability to respond well to correction. He becomes easily frustrated and requires step by step instruction and encouragement. He did not know even one word of English when he came home, but now has an expansive vocabulary. He is less precise with his language skills than Elijah but is showing improvements every day. He shows good comprehension of the English language and appears to understand all of our commands.
BOYS’ EATING/SLEEPING SCHEDULE
7:00 am wake
8:00 am breakfast
10:00 am snack
12:00 pm lunch
1:00 pm nap
3:00 pm snack
6:00 pm dinner
7:30 pm snack
3:00 pm snack
6:00 pm dinner
7:30 pm snack
8:00 pm bedtime
On our way home from Haiti, the boys appeared to be comfortable and attached to my husband and me. When the boys first arrived home, they were busy observing the world around them and were quite hesitant with others. We limited our activity for quite some time and also limited the direct contact with the boys from extended family and friends. We made sure that we were the only ones assisting them with toileting, eating and when they were hurt. They attached to my husband most quickly. They also attached quickly with our two daughters. They took a little longer attaching to our oldest son and me. I feel that they are now well attached with our entire family. They seem to understand that we are a family unit and are loving and affectionate with all of us. There is some sibling rivalry at times between Elijah, Judah and our oldest son, Aiden. This rivalry appears to be normal rivalry. Our older children have been so mature letting their needs go unmet in order to meet the needs of Elijah and Judah. They are helpful and thoughtful towards them.
Our extended family, close friends and church family have been supportive throughout this entire adoption process. They continue to pray for our family and encourage us daily. They have welcomed the twins with open arms and love them already.
Adding Elijah and Judah to our family has not caused us to have to make significant changes with our work schedule. Craig works a 40 hour work week and I continue to work a 30-35 hour work week. Our daily life at home has changed, however, because we have had to incorporate a nap time and this has affected the number of family outings we have been able to take. We look forward to being able to take all of the kids on more outings in the future but welcome the quieter time at home connecting with them over the past year.
We received their Social Security cards and are currently in the process of applying for South Dakota birth certificates and citizenship. Their re-adoption in the state of South Dakota is also finalized! We will likely also apply for passports in the future.
It is a blessing that we have not had any significant major family or life changes since bringing the boys to our home. We all continue to be healthy and our marriage is healthy as well.
Also worth noting is our family’s love for the country of Haiti and people of Haiti. We look forward to continuing to travel to Haiti on mission trips (Craig just returned a couple weeks ago from his 5th trip to Haiti.) and teaching Elijah and Judah about the country they were born in. We want them to know and be proud of the great country they come from.