The Christmas Spirit is alive and well at our home this year! It is truly is a magical time to experience Ian’s first Christmas with us! He is like a kid in a candy store all the time and everything is new and exciting for him! He can’t wait for Christmas! He likes to listen to the music of the season, but, I have to say, when he sings “Jingle Bells”, for some reason, it sounds like “chicken bells” to me – it cracks me up (hence the odd title)!! Everything is a possiblity to him, and he wants everything, and wants to do everthing (including every sport known). We will start with Upward Basketball in January and see how that goes. Since Ian is athletic, outgoing and competitve, I think it will go well. Most everyone will tell you that there isn’t anything shy or reserved about him. He is doing great in school – he is on level for second grade math, and gets special help with language. We have just been blown away by how well he speaks, and he understands most everything. He has made many friends at schools and at Indian Guides. The sad part is that he has lost his native language. We recently skyped with his former home on his “Ukrainian Birthday” and he had a hard time understanding. But, his friends came and sang Happy Birthday to him, first in English, and then in Ukraine. It was so sweet. It was great to see some of the kids again that we spent so much time with over the summer in Ukraine.
Ian at the Christmas Parade
To back up a bit, we had a family reunion with my husband’s side of the family at THanksgiving. it was awesome for Ian to finally meet most all his aunts and uncles and cousins – there were 31 of us there! Albeit, it was chaotic at times, entrenched with family dynamics, but Ian had a blast getting lots of attention and babying from his cousins!
Ian with some of his cousins in Duck over Thanksgiving
Ian getting a haircut from his cousin Reagan over Thanksgiving
As far as attachment issues go, Ian is more on the clingy side of things which is sometimes hard (but better than having emotional distance issues). He seperates well to go to school, but at home, I cannot leave his sight before he is asking where I am, where I’m going, and sometimes litterally hanging on my body! It feels a bit like having a toddler at home again! When I’m trying to manage a household, get dinner going, help 3 other kids with homework and get them to where they need to go, and work part-time, it’s very frustrating at times. I find myself getting annoyed a lot, which I feel badly about. He is high maintenance and sometimes I can’t figure out how much is part personality, part adjustment, part issues becuase of what he has experienced in life. It’s a toughie. I’ve noticed that he tends to dominate the household environment and has a hard time sharing my attentions. If I’m having an intent conversation with another child, he will inevibly be in the background with a distracting behavior or talking loudly. I think these are all normal issues (and really pretty minor compared to what the possbilites are), but sometimes I feel like I’m muttling through the dark figuring out how to parent all the changing dynamics at home right now! On the upside, Ian and his brother have really started to bond well – engaging in imaginative play activies and looking out for one another. It’s obvious that Ian really looks up to his big brother and it is a real answer to prayer because Ayden was my one child that I worried the most about in terms of bonding and transition. He is a kid that likes his space and he has had to sacrifice that – along with sharing his room, toys, and mommie’s time.
We’ve been reading a book together as a family called Castaway Kid by R.B. Mitchell. IT’s about a kid that grows up in an American orphanage, and his life story (non-fiction). While Ian really hasn’t been able to follow along, it’s been impactful on my other kids and eye opening about what it might be like to grow up longing for a family. It has been helpful for me. I tend to get caught up in the day to day struggles, feeling frequently overwhelmed, and forget to step back and reflect on the big picture – to remember that God had clearly chosen us as Ian’s family, to reflect on the blessings and joy he brings, to remember that, if he were not with us now, he would have likely already been transferred to a horrible institution and lost any hope of ever having a family. So, in the middle of chaos and the daily tattle-telling I am trying to thank God for every minute of it.
Even though I’m not faithful about keeping the blog updated, I know that many of you still faithfully pray and think of us often. It means a lot and many Christmas blessing to you and your families!
Ayden, Ian and Annalise with Santa
The 6fishies discovering history at the Lost Colony museum in NC