Our family has grown by three.
We adopted three children: two from Poland and one from Haiti. They are beautiful, more so than we could have ever imagined!
We now have six children. Three boys and three girls. Before we added Katrinka, Annechka, and Alphonse into our family, we had our own three: Raven, Cory, and Xavier. They are thrilled with their new brother and sisters and so are we.
We started the adoption process over a year and a half ago. After what seemed an incredible time of waiting and not knowing anything, we got The Call last month and now, finally, our three newest children are here! They came last week and things are reather crazy around the house.
Alphonse speaks mainly Creole French, which is different than thte French that Raven is taking in school; yet they are able to communicate and understand each other (fairly) well. The two girls, meanwhile, do not speak one word of English, so we are having to take a crash course in Polish 101 and rely on our next door neighbor, the Petrovskis, who came from Poland, so they will act as translators for us and our girls.
Alphonse has spina bifida and walks on crutches, but we feel that he will not let his disabillities stop him. He is a very stubborn, hard-headed, determined little boy. Annechka has vision impairments, but she relies on Katrinka, her older sister, to be her "eyes".
We have gotten Katrinka, Annechka, and Alphonse new toys and clothes; they are still not sure how to react to the new gifts. They all lived in an orphanage in their respective countries and were apparently treated without much praise or love. They are all incredibly shy and strong-willed. It is going to have to take a lot of patience to deal with them whenever a meltdown ensues.
Alphonse has already demonstrated his rage. Just the other day he slugged Xavier when he accidentally stepped on his hand. Xavier currently has a nice big black bruise on his arm from where his new brother punched him. It looks a lot worse than what it really is.
We have started working with the children, trying to set rules and boundaries. We have to let them know that we do not allow violence or disobedient behavior in our house or when we are in public. We do a lot of pantomiming and simple signs to communicate with them. Trying to deal with children who do not speak English is going to be a daunting task. I can see it all now.
Then last night, Alphonse hit Raven in the head with his crutches after she switched the tv program he was watching. Raven cried for an hour but was otherwise okay. Alphonse had to spend another time out in the hot seat until we told him it was okay to get up and after he thought about his behavior towards his new sister.
Alphonse is going to be our biggest challenge. He is aregular little live wire!
Well, the phone is ringing. I will write in here again soon with another update on our family. I guess you can say we truly do have growing pains because we went from three children to six in less than a year and it is going to take an awful lot of ingenuity and getting used to!
Take care and may God bless you always!
~Sincerely, Gretta Heidelmeier, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (GO, Steelers!!). :)