When Julius & Pauly came home, we were very surprised. They did not think for themselves independently yet. They were 4 years old. We expected them to be curious, sneaky, opinionated and active. Maybe even strong willed. Pauly had no will, and Julius only knew how to push people away. They couldn't follow us, and they always ran away from us!
This wasn't all bad. It made the emotional connection from us to them grow strong quickly. They were so vulnerable. They needed to be protected, from each other (they did not like each other then), from dangers, from strangers, from themselves.(self abuse)
They depended on us as infants would. Except that they could help us by sitting, and hanging on as we carried them. They grieved so heavily for all they knew before us. They didn't really like anything.
Initially feeding them was hard. They liked cold food, only certain consistencies (soft-no lumps). They did not chew. Now they only eat what we put in their mouths. They do not like to touch food or put it in their mouths. This has been harder. They "play" with food and throw it! They used to refuse food from our hands, but Julius has always been curious. So he will sit with his head next to mine, side by side. I put my food in my mouth, then I put some in his mouth. Then he eats food from my hand. Pauly still doesn't think this is a good idea! But it's coming! And I think it's been coming pretty fast after all they've been through!
When Julius came he would attach himself to an odd toy- like a drawing board (he didn't draw), and a stringy plane toy that Lufthansa gave him. We could use those to communicate to him. We always made sure they were near him. (he actually clung to them) We moved them aside from him if he hit. He learned quickly how good it was to be rewarded. :o)
Julius loves lots of toys now and can manipulate many electronic toys. But being a normal pre-schooler, he's fascinated with empty plastic containers the most! (and dog water bowls!) He's learning on-off, open- close, in- out. He also sorts colors but doesn't know their names. Yesterday he even watched 5 minutes of wheel of fortune! I think the clapping got him! He loves to laugh and clap. Neither boy likes TV or DVDs.
Pauly did not know what toys were for. And he bit us. So we taught him to chew on toys instead. He teethed for about 6 months on every toy. And from there he showed us that he liked any toy that made sounds/music. Soon he learned from hand over hand teaching, how to manipulate the electronics on them. It's fun to watch him now. He'll figure out if the toy needs a "rolling" movement of his hand or a press the button. Yesterday he lifted a Buzz Lightyear plastic lunch bag/box to his ear to see if it had sound!! So cute!
Both boys were terrified the first 6 months about where they were going next! New people made them fearful. They couldn't "read" adults at all. (Pauly goes to strangers now, but slaps his face repeatedly in frustration when he doesn't know how to walk away from them) Any children they are with, even their siblings were fair game for hitting, slapping, spitting, biting. They are still learning to have respect for their "older" siblings. They don't get that older sibs are to be listened to. That older sibs role model good behavior. (most times- wink!) Dad is also fair game for dis-respect, until mom steps in and uses her tone of voice to let them know they need to be nice and listen. :o)
When they first came they treated me as the mean orphanage lady! They wanted to moan, cry, slap their faces, hit us, spit, bite. But the mean orphanage lady said no! Pauly "got it" first. He really saw I loved him dearly, he responded sweetly. Julius was learning independence was too much fun- who needs this mean lady who says no! Now Pauly will test my "no", which is perfectly normal. :o) And Julius will immediately stop if I say no, then wait till I turn my back and continue on! LOL!! They are becoming so incredibly normal! LOL!
Pauly loves kisses and hugs and tickles, only from us. Visiting siblings don't get any. Pauly will go to anyone who holds out their hands. But again, he regrets that after he sees they are not someone from his family.
Julius is still more reserved. Kisses for mom, none for dad, a few for big brother Isaiah and hugs for all siblings who live at home! Julius likes to use smiles, laughs, and silly faces to show he's happy. He used to make faces- by pulling his eye lids, rolling his eyes into his head, etc. But he's learned that we don't respond to these faces happily. We respond with concern. Reminding him, don't hurt your eyes, look at dad!
Both boys adore their dad. And their dad adores them! I am reminded daily by Tom that "he" was the one who met them, returned for 5 days and flew thousands of hours bringing them home. Tom says they are "imprinted" on him. OY!! LOL!! My personal take is that they have been "male" deprived for 4 years. They have lived surrounded by women and children. They "get it". They want to be like Dad. They like guy stuff! :o) It makes me cry with Joy.
The physical stuff when they got home~ diaper blow outs, constipation, drooling, tonsils, adenoids, boy bottoms (that's what we call the personal area- it's either a boy bottom or a girl bottom! LOL!) umbilical cord issue for Pauly, surgeries, ENTs, Urologists, specialists. etc. Was all small stuff that had added up over 4 years. We jumped in and tried to fix it all within the first six months. Bad choice- it was too much. Let me warn you, this was silly of us. There was no rush, except Julius' bottom and Pauly's heart check. Nothing else was/is life threatening, just things that need correcting. So this time, with the next three, we'll make a list and prioritize things better!
Sorry I don't have any pictures on here. I'm using my traveling laptop. Tom has yet to figure out how to load them. Maybe next year Tom? LOL!! Oh I'm just giving him a hard time! I wouldn't have a computer without his help- it would be in the lake! LOL!! He's my guy!
I just wanted to share our Joy! of LOVING these precious boys. We are counting the minutes until Noah, Moses and Jacob come HOME!!!
Thanks for listening! (((((((HUGS))))))))))))) love and prayers to you ALL!!