I'll just start by saying I have been overwhelmed lately. I have been filling in for the last couple of months for the Daycare Director position because we are in between real directors. It has been way too much to take on with all of the other responsibilities I have in my life, but there wasn't really a choice. I have not felt this busy and on edge in my life. So, obviously blogging has not been a priority. But I did want to post a few things to update everyone on our family...
We finished up the school year and all the girls were successful! Isabella and Becca will make the transition to the jr. high (where daddy can keep an eye on them!), Ryleigh will move to Boswell (where I used to teach, but thankfully there is a new principal), and Reagan will start kindergarten. I want the summer to go really slow, so I can enjoy them all before a new school year gets started! Time goes so fast...
Tim took the big girls back to Latvia last week for a court date. Everything went fine and after a 20 day appeal period, they will be officially ours in the eyes of Latvia and we will be able to make our final trip to finish up the American side of things so they can become U.S. citizens and legally change their names, etc. The judge was not nice and didn't smile (Becca's words) and had a lot of questions about their biological sister who is older. The social worker told the court that she had already had her children taken away from her, so she would not be fit to take the girls. Apparently, the judge wanted to make sure that not biological relative could take them. The girls did not show much emotion about any of this or about being gone for a few days. It is certainly a slow process helping them open up to real emotions. They were very excited that they got to swim at the hotel, though. Their flights were all smooth and great, except for delays in Chicago (Tim is boycotting that airport now!). I stayed home with the little girls and we survived just fine, but missed everyone terribly.
Our summer schools started today. I am taking Ryleigh and Reagan with me to Bright Beginnings' Summer in the Son program and Isabella and Becca are going to public school summer school. Lucky for us there are only 6 kids in their grade that are attending and the teacher is Isabella's teacher! I am glad they will be getting a lot of individual attention and instruction that will help them transition to Jr. High. Tim gets the summer off, except for teaching at Drury on Thursday nights. He is also going to drive the church van on field trips for my school! He's also going to come do science experiments! Both summer schools are only half a day, so we should have some down time as a family, which we desperately need. All the girls are going to take swimming lessons, too! Hopefully they will learn how to do the different strokes since they all can swim okay already.
I've had a lot on my mind lately about things I hear from others... People often say to us that we are such a great family and that Tim and I are doing such a wonderful thing adopting the girls. And to be honest, most of the time, I don't feel that way. It is not easy and it is certainly not an experience that is full of joy all the time. Tim and I have been struggling a lot lately with our emotions. There is very little time, if any, for us, and that is hard. When I am grouchy I don't feel like I am the right person to parent my four daughters. They have definitely seen me at my worst now and Tim, too. So, we are trying to do better and trying to balance everything. We know that we are so blessed that God made us a family and we need to really focus on bringing out the best in each other. I know my kids deserve better than the mom I have been lately and I am reevaluating my work life and how we can be more efficient at home with housework and all of our activities.
The girls are getting along pretty well, but you can definitely tell they are sisters. The preteen attitudes and bossiness is coming out in all 3 of the older girls. They love to correct eachother and tattle, but then they turn around and play for hours together. Becca and Ryleigh put on a show the other day using a bunch of science experiements and magic tricks they found in books. It was cute and very entertaining! Sometimes I can see that Isabella gets jealous of the bond forming between Ry and Becca and that is bothers her. I keep encouraging them to all find ways to play with each other and to never leave anyone out.
As crazy as life has been and as busy and hectic as we are, I still feel like we are one kid short to being complete. We are nearly 3 and a half years into our wait for our China baby and when we decided to adopt the big girls, we thought we would just play it by ear and see how things worked out. Honestly, I still want my little Reece as much as I have since the day we visited Reagan's orphanage. I just know there is a little girl that is meant for us and someday it will be our turn to make that awesome journey back to China to get her. All 4 girls talk about Reece like she is already a sister they have, especially Reagan. She always says she we have 5 girls in our family. I know she is going to be a great big sister! She is at the age now that Ryleigh was when we adopted her, which is so weird! It is neat to think about her getting to go to China and make all kinds of memories, just like Ryleigh did! She will remember it forever and have a better understanding of her adoption, too! I am excited for that! It is probably more than a year away, but it is something to be looking forward to for all of us. We will need all that time to rebuild our savings so we can all make the trip together (anyone want to come along and help us????).