"these were OUR children!" A week later on Tuesday, November 26, 2011... Sol and I said "yes." We made the phone call to our agency to begin the mounds of paperwork and well... the rest is history.
Our children have now been home for nearly 10 weeks and yet it feels like they have been with us forever. Blending our family together has been one of the most difficult things Sol and I have ever experienced together and yet even on a day that is full of meltdowns, defiance and manipulation... it is still beautiful.
If I went down the list of challenges we have faced with each child, I think I could literally scare a family out of adoption. Then again, I'm not the type of person to paint a "perfect" picture of adoption. Adoption is exceptionally hard. Adopting a sibling set of 4... well, I'm sure you can fill in the blank. We get enough public stares and smiles a day for us to know that we aren't the "normal" family. BUT in spite of all the obstacles we have faced... I will ALWAYS believe in adoption. EVERY child DESERVES to be loved and fought for. Through our love for them.... they WILL heal. Even though sometimes it feels like we take one step forward and 10 steps back... I still believe there is at least 1 oz. of love poured into and received in their beautiful broken and wounded hearts...everyday.
After fighting a 2 month battle with our 7 year old daughter who doesn't understand the meaning of love and did everything to reject our love... she finally told me yesterday "how much she loves her mommy..." - She poured love back into my weary and exhausted soul. Words cannot even begin to express how much those words meant to me. We have wondered if she would ever express any emotion of connecting with us... but she is... it gives us hope and we can only continue to live in hope that God will heal her and continue to show her how much we love her.
One of the greatest challenges we face EVERYDAY is homeschooling 4 and entertaining our other 2. Unfortunately, we were told by their previous school in Ghana that all of our kids were academically at their appropriate grade levels and received perfect grades. To our surprise, our 10 year old is barely at 2nd grade level and our 7 year old is between K-1st grade. It has been a rough road for all of us. In the beginning, they displayed a tremendous amount of defiance towards learning and would cheat their way through their schoolwork. It was an ongoing battle. Their street smarts were nearly overtaking us. On top of that, we have a 2 year old who has the street smarts of a 13 year old, with an attitude of a 50 year old. She will do anything within her cute little self to manipulate all 5 of her siblings and her parents to get what she wants. Fortunately, we have learned to outsmart her. One day, she will make a great dictator or politician.
To keep this ship from sinking, we always have to be a few steps ahead of her and the rest of our children.