Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Referralversary and home 5 weeks!

Bike shorts on head made for an hour of fun!

This is a way overdue post! When we got cleared to travel by embassy we really weren't in a place to get excited and celebrate. There had been so many delays along the road that we weren't sure there wouldn't be more last minute ones. We packed the last few things, kept our fingers crossed and still wondered when we drove to the airport if everything was going to go ok! Except for close friends and family we sort of crept out of town quietly because we were just burned out. So many of my emotions over the previous five months had been pushed down hard into 'a bucket.' It was on overflow and the tears started at the airport. First checking in at ticketing I started sobbing, then one of the Emirates agents heard us and came over and thanked us for adopting from her country and was so lovely I started again, then talking on the phone to my sister telling her we were actually checked in it all started again. You get the picture. There had certainly been meltdowns and some ugly cries over the months, but this was just a release of so much that hadn't come out.

Five weeks ago last Saturday we arrived back with our daughters. My sister, brother in law, Bean and her Dad met us at the airport which we were so grateful for. We had reached the point along this journey that "wheels up out of Addis" wasn't the point we were going to sigh and feel relief, rather "wheels down in the US," so family was a welcome sight!

One year ago today, right about this time of day, we saw the photos for the first time of our daughters. I remember it so clearly! The last year with all it's unexpected delays sure has seemed like at least two years though! They were 3 months old then. Yesterday they turned 15 months! They are settling in really well and are really sweet, lovely, adorable toddlers. They are walking and jogging, have about 8-10 words including a couple in Amharic that we continue to use, they each have dimple and the loveliest eyelashes that curl. They both suck their left thumbs which is so sweet. They do that twin talk which cracks me up when I hear them babbling away to each other in a big conversation. They have transitioned easily to solids and will eat everything: fish, meats, love all fruits, mexican, japanese etc.etc. They get super excited over finger foods and their bottles. They are super ticklish everywhere and love to laugh. Love their belly laughs! Rachel was really scared of taking a bath when we got home, but is now good with it which is helps! When we got home they were also scared of stuffed animals and dolls that have faces, so we've worked on it and now they are happily playing with their dollies. They think hanging upside down, lying on our legs when we're sitting down with their heads towards the floor and flipping over is fabulous fun! The dog has gone from being horrible in their minds to the dog working at staying clear of them sometimes because she's very popular. They are big mimickers and it constantly amazes us how quickly they pick up on things that are either physical or verbal. It's a credit to Gladney and the attention and love that they received that they are way ahead on where they should be developmentally. There are a few differences between them. Often if one is worried about a new experience the other won't be and this isn't consistently one, they switch in confidence in different situations. Rachel is a little more independent whereas Isabel likes to hold hands walking from room to room. Isabel tends to be the one having a party when she's supposed to be napping! It takes a lot longer to grocery shop now because of the attention they attract being twins. They are majorly ogled and cooed over in every aisle which is sweet but admittedly getting a little tiring. Just trying to remember when I'm running late or in a rush that it all comes from a good place! The months big question which is unlikely to change I think since they are identical is "Are they twins?" They love their big sis, the Bean, and think their Dad is the most wonderful, fabulous person EVER! Which of course they are right about! He is their bundle of fun! He also is awesome to me, helping with so many things around the house and is so good with them.

The first month home was really tough. Something I'll probably blog about later, but we are now settling in and the girls are feeling more secure. It's been a BIG transition for everyone. Part is having twins, but mostly I think it's this way for a lot of people, but perhaps not talked about too much. I'm especially sensitive about that with the Bean, who just turned 13. It's a lot of work to manage the needs of such a wide age range and make sure she's not short changed. The noise has been an adjustment to her, and poopy diapers have been known to have her evacuate a room!

Today I am so grateful to be home and glad that while we are adjusting to what our new normal is going to be that we are not in the weird, yukky place that so many of you adopting understand, of counting each day away waiting to clear the next hurdle, or on bad days watching the clock waiting for our agency to call with an update, or an e-mail from embassy. So many of our friends that went to court in the couple of months after we did are still in that position and we think of them daily actually a lot more.

There is no time these days to edit or correct so take this as it is: just a stream of writing as it comes to mind!

Yay to be home and start life as a family of 6 one year after we first laid eyes on them!