It has been one month today that we met our babies - the new recruits to the Johnson Clan. WOW! If every month flies this fast, before we have a chance to get to know them they'll be bringing home their babies.
Spending all day, every day with a person, it's amazing how quickly can get to know each other. Now, having a language barrier makes it a little difficult, but that becomes part of the dynamic. We've been able to get around that barrier because Leah has been our resident interpreter. That has been such a HUGE blessing. A large part of the beginning stages of adopting older children from another country is the communication. There's getting them to understand where they are, why they are here, what are our expectations, what are the new rules they live under etc.
Even with Leah, we don't get a lot of communication from their side of the relationship, but they're kids. They're still trying to get through the shock of it all. Well, a trade off for having someone here to interpret everything for us is that children - and probably adults - tend to slow down their language learning process. The boys still have not learned to put any sentences together on their own. We still get one word responses and requests - "TV, toilet, bicycle, play, water, etc." Zoe, on the other hand, is making three and four word sentences, both in responses and requests. Obviously, that has a lot to do with being a girl, and some to do with her character.
Zoe is extremely extroverted. She tends not to want to be by herself. She thrives on being the center of attention, and leans toward being a drama queen. Her expressions are grandiose, and her voice loud and bubbly. When we have our family time at the dinner table, you can see that Zoe is just busting at the seams waiting for her turn to say something. (Waiting your turn is a constant learning subject with all three). She's quick to shed a tear if she feels offended or is hurt while playing, but she will quickly change gears when she sees it's not getting her anywhere. So that tells me she's adaptable. Zoe loves to laugh and will frequently laugh so hard, tears come streaming down her face - it's a delight to see. With so many new big sisters and brothers around, she's learned that she's not the boss anymore, so that's subsided greatly. Her tiny stature sometimes makes me forget that she's eight and not five.
Davis is very quiet, even among his birth siblings. He loves riding his bicycle more than anything else. He has no problem asking for things. Of course, I have no problem saying, no. We're working diligently on getting him to use full sentences - or phrases. Because of his extremely dark complexion, other children teased him a lot so he's a little more sensitive than most. He tends to be a whiner, something we have to work on - we're not family that puts up with whiners and tattle-tails. Davis loves to laugh, and is ultra-ticklish. You even look like you're going to tickle him and he starts shrieking with laughter. He was the first get his medical physical done and he's in very good condition(still waiting on lab results). With only one good pediatrician on this beach, getting an appointment is hard. The funny thing is, Davis is matchstick thin but his weight is "average" on the growth chart. You can count his ribs and the boy's knees are wider than his legs, people! Ethiopians have denser bones and muscle tissue is all I can say. I don't see this as being a life long problem, because this boy can EAT. He'll eat as much as I do, and eats faster than anyone at the table. That is a habit formed in Ethiopia (a long story that we've not quite gotten the grasp of yet)
Justin's extreme shyness is his major character trait. When he does speak (which is very infrequently) you can barely hear him. When he speaks or when we talk to him he looks down at the floor. He's slow to try new things (other than food, he's a good eater). He has a quick and easy smile, that will keep him out of trouble at school. I think he's going to be our atheletic one, and he loves soccer. He's a bit air headed (we say blond) so we're continually having to remind him of the family rules and expectations. He's also a bit clumsy when playing with the little ones, so we have frequently remind him to be careful.
I've started a reading program we found on-line, "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Lessons" So far, so good. It's supposed to be able to teach them to read at the 2nd grade level by the time you get to the end. That will be great for Zoe and Davis. Justin will have some major issues, obviously. We are going to have some major education issues with all of them because they can't read, even in their own language. But hey, what good is a roller coaster without a few loopy-loops? Right?
We're ready for the ride of our lives. All hands up! WHOOOOHOOOO!!!