Celebrating the one year anniversary of the day we adopted Brianna and Shane was so much fun. We took the kids strawberry picking. We left Katie and "Diego" at home with our babysitter and "Spaceman Spiff" was at school because it was a Friday. It was a beautiful day in August and the kids had a great time. Each of them got to pick an entire carton of strawberries. The berries were a bit picked over, but we found plenty of good ones. At home we made strawberry shortcake and strawberry smoothies. I'd love to go again sometime.
This past year I've seen both Bri and Shane grow and change so much. They've matured in many ways and, although they still have bad days now and then like all kids, they really feel like they've always been ours. We're trying hard to strengthen the bond between us because we know we missed out on those crucial early years. Sometimes it seems like we have to treat them more like we treat Katie, then the way we'd treat kids their age normally. They need those times of snuggling and rocking, singing and tickling, all the things that we do with a baby that shows them that they are ours and we are their source of affection, protection, and love.
I also forget sometimes that they learned most of their language skills after they arrived in our home. Today I was working on reading with Brianna when I heard her say "beebee" instead of "baby". She had learned how to say the word by hearing Katie say it. We thought it was cute, so we'd call her dolls her "beebees", too. So that's how Bri thought the word was pronounced. Daily we are reminded that we need to be proud of them and encourage them for doing well at the level they are at and not where we think they should be because of their age. There's a real difference in kids who come from neglect between "chronological age" and "developmental age". I have hope, though, that they will continue to improve and grow. Most importantly, I hope they grow closer to the Lord and deeper in their knowledge and understanding of Him.