I am not surprised that it has been more than two months since I last posted about our family. Adding Levi into the mix has been…….exhausting. 🙂 Before he came home we had settled into a comfortable routine with our family the way that it was and then we threw in some dynamite!
Seriously, it has been very interesting. The girls were so patient and kind to Levi for the first month to month and a half. They put aside their own desires and devoted themselves to him. I think that is just amazing and I am so proud of them. It made the initial adjustment so much easier. However, it also lulled Levi into a false idea of what normal life around here would be like. 🙂
He is now dealing with the realistic situation – that it is NOT all about him! Now, we all need to learn that at some point in life, right? From what Kevin and I have gathered from information we have been given (or saw ourselves) there was not much that Levi was told he could not do in India. The nuns were great as far as showing love and taking good care of the children, but there was not much discipline. I am very grateful for their good care of him – don’t get me wrong! Levi is very charming and he flashes his smile and figures that everyone is going to fall in line and align with his will and all will be right in his world.
It doesn’t happen that way around here and I think he is still getting used to that.
The girls have had a huge adjustment as well. There are a lot of things at play. Boys are unashamedly esteemed higher than girls in the Indian culture. Everyone knows it. The girls know it. When we told them that we were going to adopt a boy (they were hoping for a little sister) they asked a lot of questions trying to find out how that would change things around here. They point-blank asked if we would love him more than we love them. Although we did talk about this and assured them that we loved and treated our daughters and sons the same, they were still worried when he came.
The girls have grown and matured so much in the last three years. They do not remember that they behaved in much the same way that Levi is now. That has been a good lesson for them. They will be exasperated with Levi and I will say, “You did the same thing when you first came.” They are shocked! 🙂 In the same way, it is encouraging to us to remember how far the girls have come and to remind ourselves that Levi will get there as well.
When Kalindi told me that she had the most annoying little brother in the world I informed her that EVERY big sister said that about her little brother. “Really?” was her response. We have a lot of talks around here about how to get along with each other. I have read 1 John 4:7-12 several times with all three kids and talked about what it means.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
What a wonderful opportunity to teach my children that it is through God’s love that we are able to love each other and in so doing we show the world God’s abundant love for us.
So, great things are happening, but it has me very busy. I have told many people that this time of parenting Levi is like boot camp. We are trying to strip away what he has been taught or learned before and replace it with the way we live in our family. This entails a lot of time and energy and consistency. We have seen it work with Kalindi and Kira and so I continually remind myself that the effort is worth it.
If you think about us, you can pray for all of these adjustments. We would really appreciate it!
The girls have completed their year of schooling although we will continue with reading and math through the summer. They each did their achievement tests and did very well. Kira scores higher in reading, Kalindi scores higher in math. Not a surprise to their teacher! 🙂 I have done very little school with Levi. It was frustrating trying to work him into our established routine when he was so hard to focus and keep on task. Levi is working on kindergarten level material. He knows all his letters, most of their sounds, his numbers and easy addition. I think he is very smart, but I also think his brain is working at warp speed. It is going to be a challenge to juggle everyone, but I will figure it out.
Kira is excited about a month-long reading intensive summer school she will do this summer. Kalindi is looking forward to beginning a new program that should help her with some of her reading difficulties. It is a six month program that she and I will begin next week and work at it six days a week! If it helps her it will be well worth it. Kalindi is also super excited about going to junior high camp this summer. Junior high! Can you believe that? Kira turned ten in May and Kalindi will turn thirteen in a couple of weeks. Wow.
In other news, both Levi and Kira learned to ride a two-wheel bike without training wheels. Kira has been afraid to give it a try after several spills. I think watching her little brother learn in about twenty minutes gave her the nudge to try it herself. She is doing great! That reminds me about Levi’s approach to physical activity. Let’s just say that if I didn’t color my hair I would probably be completely white at the roots! He comes and gets me and asks me to come watch him do “Some incredible thing!” on his bike or scooter or the play structure. Boys and girls approach life completely differently, don’t they?
Levi is a sweet boy and is beginning to show us some affection. If I try to put myself in his place I cannot imagine how hard it would be to all of a sudden be placed in a family and be expected to trust and love them. Can you imagine? It is a slow process, but we do see some good signs of him learning that we can be trusted and that we love him.
I would love to hear from you if you have any questions. I am always trying to promote older child adoption – there are so many kids sitting in an orphanage wondering what their futures might be. It is not an easy road, but it is an amazing, wild ride! Even if you can’t adopt, support and encourage an adoptive family or support an orphanage or orphan ministry. There are a million of them!
Well, that is all for now. I just wanted to give you an update. I will try not to wait another two months for the next one. 🙂