Thursday, August 28, 2008

Mom, Dad

Over the last weeks there was activity around the apartment due to a family with younger children on the first floor. They left yesterday though for Kuwait as they usually do this time of year. So things are quieter outside now.

The boys keep adding language and trying new expressions, too much to keep a written record of. But I did notice in the last day or so Erik used mom and dad at times in referring to us- don't even know where he would have the model for that!

David is expanding into fuller sentences in English now too. He seems more grown up just in the last week because of how he is beginning to express himself.

Yesterday I visited the baby house with Erik again. I hoped to see the caregiver he mentioned most often. She had not been there the other week when we visited. And I also visited another little girl to get some pictures/video for a prospective adoptive family. Erik did well with the visit with the little girl. But it was difficult to get him to go to the group room where the caregiver was. And then he did not want to talk to her and clung to me. She was glad we came, but it did not work as well as I had hoped to get a pleasant picture with the caregiver for his memories. There was a time I wondered if Erik would transfer his loyalties completely to me for as often as he talked about Dalia, but it looks like it happened!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Bilingual Sunday School

Our little church in Silute hardly has enough children to have Sunday school. But last week with visitors there were 6 children. Fortunately for them, I had prepared something. The age ranged from 2 3 yearolds to 1 11 year old. I brought back a book of activities for 2-3 year olds from which I took a craft activity and I also brought a Lithuanian New Testament for children- stories of the New testament, not really a Bible.

Gregg came back last Sunday to help out, which basically kept our two in line. And he provided a story in English for them. Then the craft time involved everyone well and there were enough to do some effective singing!

This week it was our 2 and the 11 year old. So he got to read the story while I contained our 2 boys and I tried to tell them the story while they also looked at other books. (Gregg was preaching today so there was no other assistance of course)The craft time went OK for all again.

So this is proving to be a challenge in a way I did not anticipate. For now our boys do not understand enough Lithuanian to respond or listen. starting preschool in a week should prove to be interesting! And eventually the language issues should correct themselves I hope.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Where's the sun?

We are thankful for the few afternoons since we are back that the rain stopped and we could get a little time out at the beach before the cooler weather is here and are schedules are full of school and preschool. Temperatures are about 70-74 F perhaps, quite a change from our weather in PA.

I've stopped trying to remember the new words and phrases in English. Erik especially is really adding phrases every day. And it seems the boys think that whenever someone asks them something in Lithuanian they are supposed to say their names, which they do in English.

We went to immigration yesterday to declare the boys' American citizenship. It will take from 2 months even up to a year to hear back that they have officially lost their Lithuanian citizenship, since dual citizenship is not allowed. Then we submit the papers for them to get the long term permission to live here (for more than one year).

The LT president is working with parlaiment in this next political year to make changes in the consitution to allow for dual citizenship, but it will probably not be in time for Erik and David.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

coloring and stories

We have observed some really encouraging things in the week we are back. The boys seem more focused with attempts at coloring than they ever were before. Though it had been part of a chart for rewards this summer, neither of them really wanted to color and they tended to scribble across the page. So seeing intention inside the objects to color looks like really big stuff to us!

And with the increased English the boys are now ready to have full stories read to them. One of our books with English fairy tales has 6 stories and within a couple of days being back Erik demanded that I read the whole thing- 6 stories in a row! we've heard of people who waited more than a year to be able to sit down and read to their internationally adopted children, so we feel blessed!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I no understand

We were surprised to find that the boys do not understand spoken Lithuanian!
Our first real entry into language was going to church on Sunday in Silute. Erik is better able to verbalize and he was asked several time how he likes flying, if he liked the airplanes- but he looked at mama and said- ka yah saying, I no understand.
I have learned to interpret the mix of language and figured if they still use Lithuanian they should understand it. Wrong.

We had visitors on Monday night, Ema and her mom Gina, one of my best friends. The boys understood a simple word or request sometimes but questions had to be asked in English.

Again today we were with Ramune and the two children who the boys know from before. We went out by the sea and they absorbed and added a few Lithuanian words, but mostly looked to me to interpret questions. But children do well with whatever language and they really enjoyed playing.

We are happy to see that for the most part the boys are eating well and we are not having some of the battles at mealtimes that we were having for the last month or so.
In a lot of ways they seem to feel at home, though there are still new ways for them to explore playing in our larger apartment. And outside they enjoy riding bike and tricycle and chasing 2 or 3 cats that hang out near by. And there is another 5 year old boy riding a bike outside too.

The boys request to sing Jesus loves me about every day. I am still surprised at this because I never remember making a big deal to teach them that song! They do enjoy a couple of tapes my sister had sent us a while back with Sunday school songs and maybe they have picked it out as one they understand.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Mommy, where are we now?

We walked into our new apartment in Klaipeda after 7 pm our time yesterday and the boys excitedly explored all of their toys. Erik brought the ball with a globe painted on it and asked me to show him where we are now. I thought that was pretty significant. Now they have a concept of travel and distance they did not have before.
There were mentions of gammau and papa along the travels for the last 24 hours and a beginning reality that they will be far away.

David talked about it during the night too. Both boys felt like it was time to play at about 2 in the morning. I needed to stay in the room partly to keep them in bed and partly to lessen the fears of the new place. Erik has developed some kind of rash around his belly and back (increasing since Saturday). We don't know what it is, but beginning to wonder if it is a stress reaction.

Before we left we started to get into a routine of rewarding the boys with stickers for listening and after a certain number of stickers another prize. The final prize was bicycle helmets. They were eager to wear them at first as they had seen cousin Matt wear one. We are not sure how eager they will be in LT where it is not so common.

We also got to sit at Harrisburg airport to eat lunches before going through security.

The flights went better as far as the boys were concerned. I had found really fun little fans with lights at KB toys that were good incentives for listening and a little extra fun for holding on the airplanes. The stewardess thought they were pretty cool too. In the Frankfurt airport I started digging into my extra bag of little things to do. I blew up balloons which was great for the first couple of minutes, but when they popped we got a lot of startled looks from people and I knew I had made a mistake. Of course we were warned not to use any balloons in the airplance (which I was not about to do anyway).

Saturday, August 2, 2008

a week in pictures

From Dutch Wonderland to visit to Great Grandma- who has improved so much she just moved to an independent apartment- to visit to Sharon's cousin's farm/home place- to one last tractor ride. Now the packing begins!