I know lots of people have been waiting for updates: How are those crazy people doing? While we were waiting for this adoption to go through I was hungry to read about others' experiences after bringing their toddlers home, but - shocker! - apparently a lot of people didn't have time to post anything right after they added to their families.
Overall, things are going very well. We knew going into this that Tegegn and Tiruye spent 17 months in three different orphanages and that we might face a lot of challenges because of that. So far, we have been pleasantly surprised by how smoothly the transition is going. Some challenges: Tegegn is terrified by animals. I've never seen a child as scared as he was when Stella walked into the room. We promptly packed her back off to my parents' house for a while because we want him to feel safe in his house before we reintroduce her. He is also scared of ducks and baby dolls. Tiruye wants to be held by me about 90% of her waking moments. She is getting a lot better about going to Paul, but for several days I was the only one who would do. Because she weighs almost thirty pounds and doesn't really like the Ergo carrier, this means that it's virtually impossible for me to get anything done around the house. She gets upset when any of the other children are in my lap. Several times this week I have been nearly paralyzed by 150 pounds of children all trying to climb on me at the same time. The newness of their new siblings has largely worn off for Atticus and Norah and, though they're still being very loving toward the babies, they have definitely exhibited some choice behavior this week that has indicated that their routine is off. That's always hard for them and the tantrums and other not so great behaviors have been hard to deal with. Paul's mom offered to allow Atticus and Norah to continue attending her daycare this week, per their usual routine, and I could have cried with gratitude. On one hand, I feel like a loser for not being able to manage all of my children at once. On the other, it's been a relief the last two days for the two older children to follow their normal routine and to be able to devote that extra time to Tegegn and Tiruye. This afternoon, Atticus, Norah, and I created glitter calm down jars and cotton ball jars for good behavior. It's too early to tell if either will be effective, but we did have fun making them. It's a testament to how busy life has been that when I tried to take pictures of the process I found that the camera's battery was dead and I had to snap a photo with my cellphone instead. I've taken almost no pictures this week and the ones of Tegegn and Tiruye above were taken in the hotel in Ethiopia.
So...things have been hectic but very good. Both newbies are showing really good signs of attachment. They keep a constant eye on us, they follow us everywhere, they love to snuggle and make eye contact. Their appetites are healthy (bananas, hummus, meat babyfood, and sweet potatoes are favorites). Their English is obviously not up to speed, but they make their needs and desires known loud and clear. Tegegn loves playing in the yard, being pushed on a swing, and riding in the car and stroller. Tiruye hates being strapped into the carseat and distrusts grass. Both newbies are a little unsure about how to handle all the physical affection being delivered to them by their older siblings, but it's already apparent that they think Atticus and Norah are awesome. All told, I think we're off to a really good start.