Sunday, January 22, 2012

6 months home!

Hard to believe that the boys have been in our home now for 6 months. In many ways it feels like they've always been here, yet in others I can't believe it has already been six months. Weren't we just in Ukraine yesterday visiting them every day at the orphanage?
I also cannot believe how blessed we have been with medical issues, bonding, learning the language, and things like that. The boys have settled in wonderfully to our home. Yes, we have had some minor issues and some setbacks, those are to be expected, but nothing like what I had imagined as the worst. To be honest, the first few weeks were HARD! But that was mostly due to the fact that we were ALL learning how to be a family. Joel and I were first time parents....just not to newborns. So we are learning about them, dealing with a language barrier, showing them how to be loved, learning what it is to be a parent, showing boundaries, seeing doctors to be sure there were no surprises. But we've gotten through that and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
So just how far have the boys come in those 6 months you ask? We'll start with Jackson. Over the last month especially Jackson is showing that he definitely knows the difference between strangers and us. He no longer reaches for everyone he sees in the store, or tries giving them all hi-fives. While he enjoys being in Sunday school, he is ready to leave with us when it is over and this past Sunday actually clung to me when he thought I was going to leave him again! He is definitely understanding the language. He actually seemed to pick that up pretty quickly. There are still times when he'll look at us like he doesn't understand...but sometimes he's just pretending so he doesn't have to pick up toys. ;) He is learning new words all the time and new signs. Some of the words he says are: movie, Jackson, Josiah, bye-bye, nite-nite, again, up, more, cracker, peaches, down, no, patience, juice, ball, cow, pig, car, Debbie (his Sunday school teacher), couch, woof, meow, moo,please, and more. Some of his signs are: smart, socks, shoes,cold,  bath, water, bed, up, down, eat, more, drink, cracker, pig, cow, horse, couch, table, chair, swing, sleep, ball, bear, please, milk, dog, cat, and more. He has learned that even if we give him a time-out for not listening that we still love him. He has also learned that it can be kind of fun to pester little brother, and when to do it when mom & dad aren't looking ;) He loves his younger brother, loves helping him do things and playing with him. He also loves reprimanding him, like any good big brother does. He loves helping. He is so happy when he can help with anything. He likes to do what mom and dad do, including reprimanding brother. He loves vacuuming and cleaning up spills from the floor, throwing away trash (including dirty diapers!), helping with the laundry, and doing the dishes(more like he likes to play in the water, but he does hand me dishes to wash too). And he LOVES taking a bath!
I know there is so much more that I am missing but it's hard sometimes to put Jackson into words. He's just Jackson, our wonderful, silly, playful, 4 year old son. :)

Now onto Josiah. He is a totally different kid than the one we took out of the orphanage and brought home. He was almost a zombie, no personality, and no real interest in much of anything. He'd lay there on the floor and play, he'd look at his favorite book or let you hold him, but the smiles were still so hard to come by. Getting any reaction out of him was difficult actually. He could roll over and do the worm move to get around but he wasn't really interested in moving about too much, completely content to stay where you left him. But he always had to have momma. If someone else held him he let them for a bit but never took his eyes off me and even looked quite upset until I took him back. And now? Well, now he crawls all over, pulls himself up on everything, is trying to walk (and almost succeeding), talking, signing, has SO much personality, plays with brother, explores EVERYTHING, eats food from a spoon, feeds himself finger foods, and is working on feeding himself with a spoon. When we brought him home he'd only ever had a bottle. He is now learning how to drink from a sippy. :) Some of the words he says are: Jackson, daddy, momma, bear, eat, dog, cow, moo, movie, vroom, and car. Some of his signs are: Daddy, cold, eat, more, drink, bear, pig, cow, dog, swing, ball, and smart. Josiah is Mr. Independent! But still loves to cuddle and wrestle. He loves his big brother and watches everything he does so he can do it as well. He also knows how to annoy big brother like no one else. :) Something all little brothers instinctively know how to do! He definitely knows who momma and daddy are, and lately is a little partial to daddy (unless he's not feeling well, then all he wants is to snuggle with momma). Again I know I am missing stuff. The best way to explain Josiah is that he is FULL of personality! Even when he's just sitting there, he is exuding personality! He learns quickly and it is important to him that he be able to do it himself!

We are so thankful that we were obedient to the Lord when he told us to go rescue these boys! Parenting is hard. Parenting internationally adopted kids with special needs, VERY hard. But the blessings so very much OUTWEIGH all of that!! It's still hard to believe sometimes that God chose us to raise these sweet little boys into godly men. And we thank all of you for your prayers and support in this endeavor! From the moment we announced we were adopting, we have been so grateful for all of you!!

And now some pictures! I know we haven't blogged in awhile and we missed blogging about the boys first Christmas and Jackson's first birthday home so following are some pictures of those as well! Enjoy!!

Brothers playing peek a boo 

 Jackson is showing Josiah how to use the trampoline
 Boys first fort with Daddy :)

 Christmas Eve
 Opening a few gifts on Christmas Eve to make Christmas day a little less overwhelming
 Jackson signing 'book'
 Josiah going in for the steal while brothers attention is elsewhere
 First Christmas morning at home!

 Christmas day!

 Someone sure looks happy about getting some Signing Time Dvd's

 Jackson signing 'pig', he just got a stuffed pig puppet :)

 My sweet boys!

 Josiah snuggling with Daddy

 First time feeding himself with a spoon

 He thoroughly enjoyed himself :)

Jackson's birthday dinner, spaghetti is his favorite :) 

 A few days later we had a party for Jackson's 4th birthday. His very first birthday celebrated with his family!
 Little brother enjoyed the birthday cake as well!

 Awesome gift from his friend Patrick. Mom and Dad just got him some Goldfish crackers :)
 Sitting with his buddy Patrick watching his new video at his birthday party.

 Our little guy is now pulling himself up on everything! Especially if he thinks there might be some leftover cereal on his tray. 

 Why do little boys need Daddy's? To wrestle of course! :)
 Wait dad, I gotta watch this play!
 First time feeding himself a pbj!

 We discovered that Jackson LOVES the vacuum!! 

 First snow of the year. Yep, he looks like the kid from A Christmas Story :)

 Balloons are always fun! Especially when bopping your brother on the head with one :)