This last week many have sent me e-mails, called, or in-boxed me to find out how things are going now that we have been a party of eight for a few months. I must say that overall things are going well. Many questions have been ask about the twins education, how our biological kids have adjusted and some just simply have been asking how we do it. I will try to very quickly give you a very real glimps into the life of our family as of now.
Some days are long and hard, others full of fun and everyday we laugh as a family. Tia and Garrett both have very funny personalities that seem to fit very well into our family. We do have long periods where life is not so fun and easy. Neither Garrett nor Tia like to be told no or being corrected at any level. They both shut down (almost completely) anytime David or I have to tell them no, ask for a change in their behavior or correct them in any way. These periods of time are very hard for our family yet we had read enough and received help from professionals long before we encountered these situations to know to expect them and how to deal with them when (not if) they came. As hard as these moments are I love holding Tia and Garrett while they cry and whispering to them that I will always love them.
Most of the time you can find both Tia and Garrett playing either outside or upstairs in our playroom. Garrett learned to ride a bike in less than 3 minutes- Literally the first time he got on the bike he took off- and has only had a few minor accidents (only one broken helmet so far). Tia loves to play school, tea party and dress-up with Lindsay. Lindsay and Tia have personalities much the same in that they love to play with each other but they also love to play alone. Many afternoons I will find the two of them in the playroom where Tia will be playing with the doll house and Lindsay will be playing a game.
The twins are doing very well in our local public school. I have been amazed watching their progress. I often think back to three months ago where they knew very little English as I listen to them read out loud to me. Garrett is reading on the level that most first graders come into first grade reading and Tia is just a little behind him. They are both in the same classroom this year and I love their teacher Miss King. She has been amazing with them and we couldn't have ask for a better teacher to help them adjust to American education. Tia and Garrett spend at least an hour a day with the English as a Second Language teacher and they seem to be progressing with her as well. Both do very well in math and they only have six kids in their math class which has been very helpful.
I had a parent teacher conference this past week with Miss King and I had to laugh as she shared with me that Tia is a social butterfly at school. She said that when Tia goes out to the playground that all of the other first graders chant for her and want her to come and play with them. She said that Tia knows more first graders than even she knows. She must get that from her dad!
Megan, Kaylee, Lindsay and Jacob seem to be adjusting well to having two new siblings. There are times of frustation for each of them but the fact that they spent the summer in Ethiopia and saw the great need there has helped to lessen the frustation. They have each stepped up to help Tia and Garrett adjust in their own way and it has been neat to watch each of them use their gifts to love their new siblings.
Jacob has been a great big brother. The biggest battle for Jacob is that Garrett loves to have a light on when he sleeps and Jacob likes his room pitch dark to sleep. This causes issue because they share a room but Jacob and David build a fort each evening over Jacob's bed to block out the light and that seems to work for now. Garrett now knows how to play "American Football", kickball, four square and many other games that Jacob has be patient enough to teach him. As for soccer, they don't play much together because Jacob is smart and knows that he would probably get beat by his little brother.
Megan has been very patient with both Tia and Garrett. She has the hardest time when they get upset and she always wants to make things better for them. Just yesterday it was precious for me to watch Tia read a book to Megan and see how proud Megan was of her. Megan is very motherly with the twins and it is fun to get a small glimpse of what she will be like when God blesses her with children MANY years from now.
Kaylee has always been the organizer of our family and that has continued as we have increased our family size. Yesterday she filled out our monthly calendar and as always packed lunches last nightprior to bed for the entire family. I am so thankful for Kaylee because neither David or I are organized and so as much as we drive her crazy, life wouldn't run as smoothly without her keeping us all in line. Kaylee loves Garrett but he gives her a run for her money. Kaylee loves to pick on people to have fun and Garrett picks right back which Kaylee is not yet use to. Each day at least once the two of them are picking on each other- sometimes both laughing and sometimes both crying!
Lindsay has really stepped up and is very helpful with Tia and Garrett. It is fun for me to watch her help them both with their homework. I can see the pride in her as she teaches them something they didn't know. We taught Lindsay prior to the twins being here with us that when she needs alone time with either david or I to just say, "I need some Mommy (or Daddy) time". This has worked out so well and I think her knowing that she can always ask for alone time with us has made the transition easier for her. She loves Tia and Garrett and is so glad to be a big sister by a few months.
Logistically around our house things have had to change some as well having eight people live here. I won't bore you with our schedule (however a few of you have ask me- I will respond privately to those) We do laundry everyday and sometime a few times a day because of soccer and football. The kids have chores that help keep things in order to some degree (Tia is very good at setting the table and Garrett loves to sweep). It really is amazing how fast eight people can clean off a table after dinner or how fast four kids can clean a playroom. Backpacks, lunch boxes and homework were challenging the first few weeks of school but now we have not only a routine but an organized place for all six backpacks, lunch boxes and papers for me to fill out and so life is running much more smoothly both in the afternoons and mornings.
Lindsay, Garrett, and Tia are all three on the same soccer team. They all three are having a blast playing together. On Saturday Garrett made a pass to Lindsay and Lindsay scored. I got so excited watching Garrett run over to Lindsay and high fived her saying, "Good Job Lindsay!"
Garrett is a very good player and he usually scores several goals each game. Tia is a fast runner when she wants to be and so she has wonderful days playing and sometimes she would rather just cheer for her teammates. It has been so much fun watching them play together with David helping to Coach with a friend of ours.
This past Saturday after the game Coach Brent passed out soccer trophies. He would pick up each trophy, speak about the player and then hand the player their trophy as he shook their little hands. When he got to Lindsay I was so proud of how good she has played this year and it was such a joy to see her huge smile as she received her trophy. Then he spoke about Tia and to watch my daughter walk up and get her trophy brought such joy to my heart knowing that she had never received an award before. When he spoke about Garrett tears started streaming down my face. I was shaking so hard that I couldn't even get a good picture.
Garrett had just shared with our family last week that on the island he had made a ball once out of a piece of plastic and some old fabric scraps.This was the only ball he had ever had. To think that our children had come from using that kind of ball to them receiving a trophy with their name ingraved on it was simply overwhelming- As I watched my three youngest gaze proudly at their trophies I thanked God that when He whispered to us to add to our family by caring for the fatherless that we said YES!
Each day is not easy but each day is more than rewarding. To know that two very lonely kids feel not only our love but the love of their Father helps to make the tough times all worth it! Life is busy, hard and full of joy and I wouldn't trade it for a secure, stable life for anything-
Is your life secure and stable? Maybe today you could take a risk and watch God work in ways that you couldn't begin to imagine- You will be so glad that you did!