I began writing these thoughts the first part of 2014. We have been so busy this year with the restaurant, that I have not had time to finish this post until now. So, it may be a little late, but here are our thoughts from January and February of this year.
The beginning of this year was filled with memories. One year ago on January 10th, we left America for Hungary. On January 14, 2013, we met the kids for the first time! On January 21, 2013, we went to court and received custody of the kids. Then we brought them back to our hotel to stay with us for the very first time. That was the first day that we didn’t have to say goodbye to our children. It was so wonderful. February 21, 2013, we went to finalize the adoption! February 25, 2013, the children asked Jesus into their hearts outside the American Consulate. That was also the day we picked up their Passports and Visas so that we could fly home!!!!!
We spent the first part of this year reminiscing about what we were doing last year at this time. It is so amazing what has happened in just one year. The first week that we met the children, they did not know any English. They could barely write their name. They did not know how to act in stores and at restaurants. They were impulsive and did not understand rules. They did not have healthy eating habits. It was like they were 2 and 3 year olds. Since that first day that we met them, we have introduced them to a whole new world! Today they are making A’s and B’s in school. They have a wonderful vocabulary and no one would ever know that English is not their native language. They are very well behaved and they are so happy! They write sentences and read at an average level for their age. We are so thankful for every day we have had together and for everything that they have accomplished in just one year! These kids are amazing!
We remember the days at the mall on that first week of visitation with the children. We got to go see a movie – “Rise of the Guardians” and go bowling with the children that first week. We spent too many hours in a small play place in the middle of the mall. We tried to figure out what the children would eat. We spent too many hours in a van with Adam. We didn’t like saying goodbye to the children each day. Dorina was so excited to see us each day! She
We have been remembering those first days as a family. We used bath toys to get them to take a bath and to get them to let us wash their hair. It worked too! We started teaching them to write. Dorina used to say “Nem Rosetta” when she would write her name those first few weeks. Tibi loved writing and he still does! We started watching Micky Mouse Clubhouse to help them calm down and get ready for bed at night. We started praying before meals and we used one short phrase that we repeated over and over until they could say it in English. Then as they learned a sentence, we added another sentence to our prayer. We still use that simple prayer at meal times and have added phrases over the year. “Thank you God for Daddy, and Tibi, and Mommy, and Dorina. Thank you God for loving us.” The children have such wonderful and beautiful prayers each day. They have developed a wonderful prayer life and we are so proud of them! The children love God, worship God, seek to please God, and listen to God! We are so thankful for their relationship with God!
We remember those 30 days in the apartment. We still repeat the phrase we heard on the bus that we would ride to Tesco, “Hajdúszoboszló Tesco” That is how we learned to say the name of the town that we lived in during that time. We remember how the kids acted the first time we took them to eat pizza! They tried to run around and crawl under the table and jump up and down. They tried to climb on everything! They still climb all over us – but we like that 🙂 We had to work on teaching them how to sit quietly and how to wait patiently. We had to teach them how to try new foods! Dorina used to take every thing off of her pizza. She would eat the crust and then eat the cheese last. She loved to put mayonnaise on her french fries. Tibi was a runner. He liked to run around and he thought it was funny to try to run away. Dorina didn’t want to hold our hand or follow rules. The first time we took the kids to Tesco, Tibi put grabbed things off the shelf and didn’t want to let them go. Now the children are so sweet and they try hard to do the right thing. We have fun eating out and shopping together and the children are patient and kind when waiting.
We remember how clever Tibi was in figuring things out – and he is even more clever now! You have to watch that boy! We are so proud of how smart he is and he is a great problem solver. Dorina used to sing all the time (in Hungarian) and now she sings all the time in English. The kids both love their “Jesus music.” They love to worship God! At the apartment in Hungary, Dorina used to line up water bottles and talk to them for long periods of time. Now, she lines up her dolls and teaches them and bosses them around for hours! Maybe that is what she was doing in Hungary! The kids enjoyed the art projects we did in Hungary to pass the winter days.
We would spend time in the park on the days that got warm enough. Dorina was scared of heights and pretty much everything in those days. She would cry just to think of going in a bathroom by herself. He teacher commented recently that she knew Dorina had come along way when she raised her hand to say she needed to use the bathroom and then toddled right to the bathroom by herself. We remember the days she needed to hold a hand, open the door before flushing, and when she used to run out of the bathroom because she was afraid of the flushing sound!
The kids used to wake up very early every morning – they still do! They seem to be morning people. They would stand beside our bed thingy and whisper until we would make up. Then they would jump on us and into the bed thingy and we would snuggle. They still like to snuggle! We so enjoy our time together as a family!
During those days at the apartment, Dorina would whisper to Tibi in Hungarian until she would make him cry and then she would start to cry. We never knew what they were whispering about until recently. She said they used to cry to get what they wanted in the foster home. They found out that it didn’t work with us. One reason is because we didn’t know exactly what they wanted. She also said she would remind Tibi of the things that they missed about their house. I asked her recently if she still missed her house and her foster family. She said that she remembers them but that she doesn’t miss any of it. Then she held my face in her hands and said, “I have had 3 different mommies. You are my favorite Mommy and I love you very much! You are the best Mommy and Daddy!” The kids tell us frequently how much they love us and how they love their life in America. We are a very happy family. It is hard to believe that we started out as a family just over a year ago. We are a forever family and we feel like we have been a family forever!!!