Visiting Lalibela

Visiting Lalibela

Friday, September 24, 2010

what works

This post will probably be boring for those outside of the adoption community, but I know many people who are adopting, read the blog and so this post is for them.

We are all learning everyday little things that make our home run more smoothly and that produce more smiles than frowns. Homeschooling continues to be a great option for our family, especially with the great tutors and helpers who come in during the day. I honestly can't imagine sending the new kids to school right away when they got home. THEY NEED US so much on a minute to minute basis. They need to feel the safety and security of home. They need the routine, they need the chores, they need the ability to be around siblings all day long and work together to live together in peace. They need constant reassurance and constant love.

Laundry used to be overwhelming, BUT thanks to my husband, is working smoothly now. We created cubbies for everyone, with names clearly written. The kids bring their laundry down every other day. E, J, K and M help me keep things running between washer and dryer and then it's brought out to fold and put in everyone's cubby. Twice/day (once after breakfast and then again before bed), the kids clean out their cubbies and are responsible for putting their own clothes if we could the socks to match themselves...

We've had to be quite creative with our discipline, as our kids have traumatic pasts and have come from really hard places. We also have a huge language barrier to deal with. Here are some ideas that have worked well:

1. writing sentences about the desired behaviors (this helps with handwriting as well-ha ha)
2. scooping poop- self- explanatory here-there really is nothing better than a few minutes by yourself scooping that glorious dog poo.

3. Sticker chart- the kids would rather do just about anything than lose a sticker and have developed great servant attitudes when they are able to earn a sticker for great behaviors. Three kids are getting to go to Wal-mart tonight for their reward, which should be a lot of fun.

4. Taking away a favorite activity. Knowing that they may lose an afternoon on the "cycle" is the best way to stop any undesired behavior- a behavior that has been used self-defense after years in an institutional setting.

5. The glue stick method- thank you Aldrin Family...when someone acts outside what we want, they get to be glued to Mike or me--Mike even got a two day out of town trip with one child..the difference was like night and day.

6. Using an English/Amharic Bible- this has been an incredible gift- when we have something we want to say, but don't have the right words, God's word, in their native language, speaks volumes. I need to get one for everyone. It is a cherished posession.

7. Charades- this is our best tool for showing the kids what we expect. It helps to have other kids involved who understand what you're trying to get across.

8. A sense of humor-- used all of the time.

9. Exercise- we have the kids exercise quite a bit, several times/day. Bicycles, trampoline and running are the best,but when the weather is uncooperative, Tae Bo and the Biggest Loser DVDs work well. We can tell when we haven't done this enough. It also works for the Mom and Dad- we're so excited for the new elliptical.

9. Last but not least, prayer, prayer, prayer.

We have been rewarding good behavior like crazy. I don't think the kids had heard, "thank you" or "please" from anyone for the past two years.

We have seen mountains moved this past week. Thank you all who have been praying specifically for different difficulties we've had. It's amazing to look back over the past few weeks and see what God is has done in all of our hearts. He really is binding us as a family.

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