In many ways, things have really been much easier than I had expected. I expected hard days, tantrums, us not liking each other, having to stay home a lot, sibling adjustment issues and have experienced every bit of it. Being prepared made a huge difference, so I wasn't shocked along the way. Hiwot is very easy to love...generally a very happy, smiley, people pleaser by nature. She does have her moments but recovers quickly...picked up the language faster than you can imagine and is smart as a whip. As Mark said the other night, God kind of threw us a softball in giving her to us because she's pretty easy. I think the part that has been harder than I expected is all about me. I underestimated how hard it would be for me to attach, and I have become aware of my need for grace more than ever. At first I knew I would have to put in a ton of time to connect with her, and I did that. About three months in, I started slacking and would let her go next door to play with friends for way too long. She would play with friends all day long if I let her. I was getting my stuff done and thought things would be okay. I have come to realize though that my work is just beginning. I have had to the attachment work back in to high gear. I went to the Empowered to Connect Conference here in Dallas a couple of weeks ago, and I am sooo thankful for what I learned. I learned a ton about kids from hard places but probably just as much about my biological kids and me. It was fabulous, and I highly recommend going to a conference or at least ordering some of their materials. http://empoweredtoconnect.org/ I think it should be required training for those of us adopting or fostering.
The other kids have had their moments too, but they have accepted Hiwot and love her even when they try not to. David (my 6 year old) is best buddies with Hiwot, and they play together constantly. So thankful he's not our little left-out guy anymore. I think it has been hardest on Margo as her spot as the only daughter is forever gone, and she shares a room now. She has been a champ though and loves being a second mom to Hiwot as much as I will let her.
So, overall I'm thankful. It has been hard, but the good far outweighs any negatives. We have lots of support and great people in our lives who have walked this road before us:-) Hiwot was curled up next to me on the couch tonight, put her little hand on my face and gave me a kiss. She's a sweetie, and I pray every day that God will help me be the mom she needs me to be.