*buddies, at least for a minute or two!
*wearing her big brother's coat, she loved it!
We are still here! I have not been on my computer as much lately, so blogging has not been happening. I feel like we are just racing through time right now. Suddenly Eli and Micah's 6th birthday is 2 weeks away!
I think everyone is doing well. :) Some days it's a little harder to tell than others, but what a gift it is to have 4 precious kiddos and one amazing husband. Hope continues to amaze me with how she handles everything, and takes it all in. I know it is hard for her, I know she is still grieving and struggling with all she has lost, but she is also making progress. She isn't curled up on the floor in a ball (like I imagine I would do if our places were switched), she is living her little life the best way she can, and I am so proud of her for that. Really, I would be proud of her no matter what, even if her behaviors were a lot harder to handle. It has been so helpful to remember to keep my feelings out of it for now, that my response to her is the same, no matter what. I literally say that out loud sometimes, when we are having a harder day.
These are some things I have seen improvement in lately:
-she holds onto my hand when we go pick up the boys at school and stays close, instead of running straight into the crowd of kids and not looking back
-she is relaxing more quickly when we rock at nap and bedtimes
-she doesn't bunch up her legs when I pick her up
So, those are great! One thing I have noticed that isn't exactly great, is that I don't think she knows me as her mama yet. When you ask her, "Hope, where is mama?" She looks around with big eyes, like "Seriously, where the heck is she?!" She had a special mother in her foster care home that we unfortunately didn't get to meet. I think they were together for several months at least. Today, has been a little harder of a day, and when I was rocking her she was saying "mama, mama", but it was pretty clear she wasn't talking to me. That's hard, totally understandable, but still hard. I feel like we pretty much start over each day, I know there are seeds of love and trust being planted in both of our hearts, but those don't grow up overnight! It takes time, and consistency, and patience. And I know that when I am weak, feeling helpless or discouraged, it makes that much more room for Christ to move and work, and fill me up with His love. That is what I need more than anything. To love out of the overflow that only He can provide.
We have gone to church three times now as a family. It's overwhelming for Hope, and the rest of the day and night are a bit harder,but I think she has done just a bit better each week. We keep her with us for now, and it has been so nice to be able to go as a whole family again! Aaron and I have also had 2 Saturday morning dates which has been amazing! It really has been so great to get out just the two of us, and talk and have fun. His mom has come to our house to watch the kids, and Hope has been fine. Which I'm not sure is good or not (I think ideally you want her to show some concern when you leave), but I am so thankful for Aaron's mom being willing to come, and the relationship she has with all of our kids. They all love her!
We also went to an Ethiopian restaurant as a family last Friday. Aaron and I had gone once before, but this was the first time with all the kiddos. We all chowed down, except for our little Ethiopian! She took one bite, and was done. :) The two ladies that were working there were so sweet and kind to us, and loved all our kids. They were especially excited about Hope, and she is from the same area that both of them are from. We will definitely be making many more trips there! Oh, Hope did stay pretty close to me when we were there. The other ladies wanted to hold her, but she didn't want to go to them. That is a good thing! Although part of me felt bad that she wouldn't let them hold her, another part was glad that she feels more connected to me.
The boys have been doing good, but I have noticed more emotion at night before bedtime, especially about how much I love them. I will say something, and this has happened now twice, they twist it around into how it means I don't love them! Like, one day I mentioned how I missed my alarm that morning so I didn't get to have my quiet time, and they took that as I wanted time without them because I don't love them. Another time I was talking about how I knew Aaron longer than they had been alive, and again, they interpreted it as me not loving them. Clearly they are working through stuff too, and it has been a good reminder to me to give them more assurances and demonstrations of my love than normal. It just caught me off guard, but I think it's them working through adding another member to our family, and my focus being a little different than it was before.
We are having company the next two weeks (my brother Mark, and then my brother Ben and sis in law Angela), and we are so excited for that! So thankful for family, both here and far away!