Friday, October 18, 2013

It's Not a War... All the Time

Lest I give anyone the impression that all we are doing is fighting with our new kids and ignoring the old ones, I would like to focus on all the good that happens in a day.  Did I go round with Diana today?  Yes, twice, in fact.  Once she did really well and was able to process all her grief in a productive way... the other time, not so much.  But that's ok.  She's doing what she can.  Did I go round with Yuli today?  Yup.  Did that too.

But there's so much more to a day with the Yeatmans than fighting.  Our days are filled with amazing and wonderful and fun and growth by leaps and bounds.  The three big boys are fantastic.  They are taking all of this in stride.  The are kind, considerate, and tolerant of the three new kids.  They are all fantastic big brothers.  They've really stepped up to the plate and I am amazed at how well they are doing. 

The day begins with six alert children and two groggy parents that shuffle down to an amazing breakfast.  They get freshly made lulo juice or orange juice or yogurt.  Down here the fruits are plentiful and delicious.  Also, the yogurts are all drinkable.  None of them are spoonable that I've found.  The girls have quickly added salsa de tomate (ketchup) to their list of required supplies at every meal.  Follow that with eggs or french toast.  After breakfast, we all try and get ourselves pulled together.  It takes a while and is a little bit crazy, but it works.  However, when we get to the park, the real fun begins.  It's so amazing to me how the kids always seem to separate off in different combinations.  Typically, Yuli wants me to play with her but at one point yesterday, Cody was distraught at the game he was playing.  She took the ball and walked across the little field and took Cody by the hand and brought him back to play ball with her.  Today Rylan played ball with her.  It's so heartwarming to see the two of them step into that big brother role and be so patient and sweet with her.  That behavior was typically reserved for Connor until this point.  A morning at the park doesn't go without a game of monkey in the middle or shouts of 'empujeme!' (push me) from the swings.  Sometimes it's Connor that takes John and plays with him but sometimes John finds himself in the middle of an exciting game of soccer.  All the big kids are very good about toning down the competitiveness when John's around. 

Today while I took the five big kids to play at the park, Ken took John to the grocery store.  The big boys were playing monkey in the middle and the girls didn't seem to want to play much.  I ended up with both of them on my lap and there was lots of cuddling and kissing and joking around.  They really are fun and sweet kids to be with.  They are just having a hard time.  Even if you can totally ignore what the first part of their lives were like, imagine what it must be like to be taken out of the home that you've been in for 2 1/2 years.  Verbally, they know (at least the girls do) that their home was temporary, substitute as they call it in Colombia.  But I'm sure there's more of a comfort, a stability that comes with being in the same place for so long.  I'm sure that part of them hoped they could stay there forever.  They are doing amazingly well.

A typical day involves cosquilla (tickling) and hugs and 'Yo te quiero's... how much?  mucho, mucho, mucho, mucho.  A typical day (now) includes some of the best biggest smiles and giggles from a very cute two year old little boy, even if most of them aren't for me.  Yuli gives fantastic hugs.  Diana is A.MAZ.ING when it comes to dealing with the language barrier.  She is very patient with us and very good about trying to say things differently using words that we may understand.  She wants us to say things to her in English and when we are having trouble finding the words in Spanish she'll run and get the Spanish/English dictionary.  She has an excellent sense of humor and she laughs easily.

I love these kids.  I'm sorry I've spent so much time posting about our struggles and not enough time focused on our good times.  This is a wonderful journey and I have loved every minute of it... well, not every minute... washing socks and underwear by hand isn't really very much fun.  And when you know what these kids have been though, when you realize what they need, it's really, really hard to pretend that you don't know like before.  Once you know, you can't do anything but give them everything you can, everything you have, everything you are.  These are tiny innocent little souls that have drawn the short straw.  They are totally worth it.  All of the good far outweighs the difficulties that we are having now.

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