The first step is to penetrate the clouds of deceit and distortion and learn the truth about the world,
then to organize and act to change it. That's never been impossible and never been easy. ~Noam Chomsky

Friday, March 14, 2014

One month home

Alex has been home for one month and 3 days. We are cuddled into the yellow glider chair together as I write this.

We spent a week in Haiti with Alex at our friends' house (the family he has been living with.) It was very low stress, everything went smoothly with his visa and we said some important goodbyes. We also enjoyed a day at the beach with Alex's best friend.

Goodbye to JC, Andrea and baby N - constant encouragers

Goodbye to G, H and Kai Kai 

Hard to get a pic of these two not in motion

Goodbye Tara

Goodbye Tara and Troy - doers of the impossible

Goodbye Geronne and Jenny 

Goodbye Jessica 

Ariam came with us to Haiti. We decided that we really needed to go as a family and return to the U.S. together as a whole family. Ariam did a great job traveling, being flexible and showing her little brother the ropes on the flight home.

Now we have a start to our story together that includes everyone in the family. That feels right.

One big benefit of having visited so often is that Alex was comfortable with us. We actually had fun in the airports and on the airplanes. Lots of giggling and excitement. Alex and Ariam are both so naturally curious, adventurous and easy going. We flew first from Port au Prince to Florida, spent our day long layover with family there and then took an evening flight home to Colorado. Alex became a U.S. citizen when we arrived in Florida.

And now it's been a month!

We are learning a lot about being parents to a little boy (and a sister to a brother) but in so many ways we already knew Alex so well. The huge benefit to him and to us is that we can communicate, we know his likes and dislikes, we know what makes him laugh and how he wants to be comforted. And he knows how to live within a family. There has not been an extreme transition. Just the basics like figuring out how to get two kids out the door and to appointments on time and how to navigate sharing space and toys.

We spend a lot of time looking at Alex's loved ones online and have done some skyping. This is such a special bonus for him to retain connections. He looks at his godparents/foster parents, Troy and Tara, and kisses their pictures over and over.  The grief has not been overwhelming compared to the joy which is surprising to us but for which we are very thankful.

Because I know these things change so fast here are a few facts about Alex at age 31 months, 1 month home:

- in the 73% for height, 63% for weight with huge size 9/10 feet!
- loves Elmo and Yo Gabba Gabba
- guitar playing genius in the making (he likes to close his eyes and really rock out)
- has already conquered the high slide at the playground and will climb anything
- calls every dog "auggie" which is the name of one of our dogs
- loves being read to more than any other one on one activity
- has tried and liked a lot of new foods that were hard to get in Haiti like cooked zucchini, grapes, tortellini, and chocolate popsicles
- sleeps all night without waking up
- has the cutest angry face
- learning how to push his sister's buttons by doing things like poking her baby doll
- always wants to be outside and never wants to wear socks and shoes
- loves long walks riding in the stroller
- feels that his hat is a required accessory and brings it every time we leave the house
- is learning the ABC song
- is giving us many hugs and kisses and cuddles every day

Alex seems to not have a preference over J and I unlike Ariam who preferred daddy. He soaks in physical attention like tickling, wrestling, cuddling and jumping on the trampoline.

We are so thankful for his resilient spirit and his tender heart. He is showing a lot of empathy and engagement with Ariam and with everyone he meets.

Ariam is wavering between being absolutely thrilled to have a brother to play with at home, at the park, in the car, etc and feeling very infringed on. Lest it appear that everything is perfect let me say that there has been a very annoying level of tattling, whining and some whacking each other with toys. But we will get there. We are getting there!



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