We are so excited to share our Ethiopian adoption adventure, and our CRAZY lives with all of you! Our hope is that it will encourage you to step out in faith to do what God has called you to do! There are FIELDS of fatherless children waiting for someone to care for them, to love them, to tell them of JESUS' love for them...will YOU be the one??

Monday, June 13, 2011

An Ava Update:)

What you've all been waiting for...but without pics...I know, bummer! Hopefully I can get my hubby to download them tomorrow.

So, here goes...

Ava has been home almost 1 year now...July 10th will mark that date.

She speaks English pretty well, unless you try to go beyond the basics...then she gets confused. This has honestly been one of the biggest struggles I've had. I just want to have a conversation that doesn't require a "yes" or "no" answer, but it's coming...I'm just not as patient as I probably need to be.

She is potty trained now and no longer sucks her thumb/fingers...it was very easy..I just told her not to suck them and she didn't.:) Told ya she was easy!:)

She is now participating in Sunday School at church and loves it! She cried at first, then quickly realized they would hold her and give her "drinks", so now she LOVES it. Which brings me to this.....

How do I say this.....Ava was not treated like the other children in the orphanage...it's VERY evident in her behavior that she was held A LOT and loved and probably given what she wanted..not because she fussed about it, but simply because she asked. She was very "spoiled"! So much so that she constantly asks for help and "tunes up" when I make her try something on her own. And when she came home she WANTED to be held constantly(unusual for an institutionalized child). For a while I thought this was just an "orphanage thing", but it's clearly not! She just LOVES being a "baby". And she was babied a lot there! I keep telling her, "Ava, you're not a baby, you're a big girl and you can do it!" She seems to like the idea of being a "big girl" so we'll see...:)

*Edit: Ava came to us at 3 years old and is BULGARIAN not Roma...so I think this is one reason she may have been given more attention(sad but true)...and maybe I'm totally wrong about everything above...I'm not an expert for sure:)! But this is my take on it after a year of being home with her.

She loves to play with Legos(mostly taking them apart), dolls, and anything that she can turn into a cup...oh, and trash she finds on the floor...NOT kidding! I'm constantly telling her to throw it away, trash is not a toy! She loves to sit in my lap and read books and sing "her" song, "A Bushel and a Peck":)! Very cute!

She likes to play in the kiddie pool, although she shivers and shakes the WHOLE TIME! It's really pathetic to watch, but she likes it..go figure...

She hasn't gained much weight and still wears 24 month clothes...she's gained some height though..Dr. visit is coming up in a week or so, so we'll have her checked out again for anemia, etc.

I have seen more indiscriminate affection toward strangers lately...well, they're people at church mostly, and they ARE safe, but she doesn't know that. Not too bad though.

I have seen one BIG thing that really bothers me. She acts totally different with Daddy than she does around me. He lets her go on and on and on asking for something and doesn't get very firm with her...so she cries and whines, etc. She doesn't do that with me. So she already knows how to "play" people. We're NOT going to have that. I can't tell you how important it is for you and your spouse to treat your adopted child the EXACT same way. I mean even bio kids do this too, but they're coming from a different background. She tests people..to see if they're going to give her what she asks..especially Grandma and Daddy...everyone needs to be on the same page. I refuse to treat her like an "orphan" and I personally think it's more cruel to let her continue to do that for a year and then decide, "Oh, we really need to set boundaries, etc." It's one thing to understand and be sensitive to where they came from, etc. But in her case, manipulation is not gonna fly!

*Edit: This may sound harsh and I apologize....but after watching her behavior for a year now, this is just the way it is for MY daughter. Every adopted child is different for sure....

She really has no other issues... She is a very happy and easy-going little girl as of this point. She wakes up happy and goes to bed happy. She's sweet and gentle and loving and very much a blessing.

If you have other questions for me, feel free to email me and I'll try to get pics up soon...


  1. My daughter was the same when she came home and I really thought she had been spoiled but i was wrong. Alot of wanting to be held and treated like a baby for my daughter is that she never had it and craves it. I allow this regression so that she can move forward. It gives her comfort and like your daughter she wants to be held and cuddled all the time. She is 10 and says often i wish i was from your stomach, she drinks from a baby bottle and loves to be rocked like a baby. She is home 5 months. So this may be the same for Ava. It is also really common that they crave for attention like the shivering in the pool, we have the same. Please try not to think about her being spoiled but rather think of her being abandoned and neglected, the reality is the staff would be unable to spoil any child, too many children and little time with each one.
    These children used control to survive in an orphanage and have zero concepts of appropriate behavior norms. So like you we are sticking firm to teaching values and setting certain bounderies, it can surely only be confusing for them if we suddenly change our minds about things later on.
    Also given the chance my daughter tries to manipulate my husband so we have made sure we talk about things once a week so we are on the same page, or should i say my husband is on my page,lol.

  2. Thanks for the update :). So great to know that Ava's happy and doing well. Can't wait to meet her and the rest of your gang next month.

  3. love this update, thanks for sharing.

  4. "Bushel and a Peck.... I love you a bushel and a peck... and a hug around the neck..." LOL... I sent a musical card to Elina at Valentine's Day 2010... when I picked her up in March 2010 she had that card in her bag to take with her. She played it in the apartment that afternoon... when the meltdown freak out came on. I began singing that song (after an hour of melt down mind you) and immediately she began sucking her thumb, rubbling her ear and snuggled down on my shoulder as I walked the apartment. We all sing it at random times now... best $8 bucks of adoption expenses that I have ever spent. :)

    I am so glad Ava is doing well, try not to get wrapped up in the manipulation. Even if our sweet girls got more attention they are still survivors. That is what it is... survival. Try to let little things go... tease and play the behaviors... don't take them to heart. If my little Elina is days away from being 7 years old and still reacts like a 4 year old emotionally at times... maybe think of Ava as more of a 2 year old emotionally... she'll grow out of it... I know when Connor did I was so sad. Even Elina... she has grown and matured so fast... :) Cherish it while you can!

    While I can be supportive of the younger emotional state... blah blah blah... I can ALSO sympathize with the frustration. The expectation for our girls to "act their age"... Try reading back thru that book The Connected Child... it helps me when I get frustrated with orphanage behaviors. I think the ESL or a preschool program would be very beneficial for Ava... I found Elina did much better when she was in a structured program like that... IF you can find a good teacher that sets clear boundaries that she is a "Preschool Friend" (Elina's teacher always calls the kids "Kindergarten Friends"). Her first teacher was actually too loving (carried her everywhere) and hurt the relationship between us for a bit... it allowed her to manipulate to make me feel bad and give her more attention. At the time it felt good because I felt she was being "loved" but hindsight is 20/20.