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Archive for August, 2007

A new lisp

I don’t know how, but Dawit has lost his front tooth already. It was his first naturally lost tooth. Maybe he bumped it? Maybe he is really older than 4?

Can he stand any more excitement? Lost tooth, kindergarten, impending birthday party to celebrate his 5th year, a box coming from Grandma…

He’s been so happy tonight that he twirls as a method of movement.

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We got a list of school supplies, and at the bottom of the list is an optional letter describing your child’s learning style and/or anything else you think the teacher should know. Where to start with my Kindergartner? Here’s what I came up with:

(tissue alert, grandma)

Dear Teacher,

As you know, Dawit was born in Ethiopia. He spent 3.5 years there, living in conditions and circumstances unimaginable to most Americans. He has suffered huge loss in his short five years. His native language is Amharic (read right to left), and his English language skills are excellent considering he didn’t know a word of it just 1.5 years ago.

He joined our family through adoption in March 2006. We are forthcoming about the process and details with him, and of course he remembers it. We speak often of his family in Ethiopia, and we communicate with family members through letters and photos. Dawit is proud of his heritage, and we try to make it a part of our daily lives. Feel free to ask him about it.

He has made huge progress with shyness. I suspect that it won’t take him long to be completely comfortable at school.

I share this information with you not because Dawit needs special attention or treatment. He doesn’t. He is enthusiastic, bright, happy, and remarkably well adjusted. I share this with you so that you can fully appreciate his progress, attitude, and bright spirit in your classroom.

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Farm Camp

Lily attended mini-farm camp in northern Connecticut at Fiddlehead Farm last week. There was Starbuck the Wonder pony, Chicken Pilates, puppies, herbs, flowers, fish, and tears when it was over.

They even got a somewhat reluctant Dawit on the pony.

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Who are you playing tonight?

I finally took the kids to one of John’s hockey games tonight. I have to say, watching an entire team trying to slam pucks in your husband’s direction is not easy. Add to that the number of f-bombs used by the players (in every grammatical sense: verb, adjective, adverb, etc), and it made for a bizarre family outing. One player on John’s team yelled ****ers so much that it inspired this conversation with Lily:

Mommy, what’s the other team called?

I’m not sure.

I keep hearing someone cheering for the Faukers. They must be The Faukers.

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Dawit found a new computer game in a box that Granny sent.  Upon examining the label, he wanted to know

How many ups do you gotta be to play?

And later, when trying to remember that dramatic expression used to describe the most urgent thirst (I’m dying of…) 

I’m watered to death!

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Connecticut fun

We spent yesterday at Dinosaur State Park.

Real dinosaur tracks, butterfly garden, hiking trails, and “mining” for gems:

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Picnic

Several families in New England who have adopted from Ethiopia got together on Saturday. It’s such fun to see the kids together, some of them were at the orphanages at the same time. We met another Dawit! The kids had great time, and we got to chat with the adults about ongoing adjustments.

There we met another boy exactly the same age as Dawit, and they were at the orphanage at the same time. They don’t remember each other, but they do have several similar memories of the place. This little guy and his family are having a very difficult time. As the dad put it: “we are the poster family for reactive attachment disorder They have been home for almost 2 years, and this little guy is in therapy once a week, but they are all struggling. I knew that older children available for adoption could be at risk for this disorder, but I never worried about it with Dawit. Now that I’ve done some reading, I’m confident that he doesn’t have any attachment issues.

It was enlightening to share perceptions and realizations with other parents of older kids who have been home for awhile. It was interesting to me to learn that I was not the only one who figured out much of what I saw in Ethiopia months after our return to the States. Our own filters can bend reality in a way that we can process at the time.

Another family began sponsorship of their adoptive son’s cousins in Ethiopia. So far, it has been a good experience. We met several kids who were sponsored while we visited, and it is clear the impact $400 a year makes on these families.

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