I can’t believe how long it’s been since I have posted. I have had several complaints and emails from folks wanting to know what’s going on in the Hollis home. Yes, we are still here and all is well, busy, very busy, but all is well. But because it’s been so long I don’t even know where to begin. Since my last post I am back to work 25 hours a week and in full swing with football and fall activities. The fall is my busiest time, I love it, but I can really feel a difference when football season is over.
So let’s start with Jess. A day or two after my last post we decided to put her back in 1st grade. She was doing well but very behind the other children in 2nd grade. They had only been in school a week or two, so the change was not a big deal. She is doing wonderfully in 1st grade and instead of struggling and feeling behind, she is on top of the game and doing well with reading and making friends. She is also coming along wonderfully with her English.
Jessica has recently been coming out with a lot of interesting stories about her life in Colombia. We have struggled with knowing if some of them are made up or true, some of them are definitely true, but some just don’t make sense compared to the info we have been given. I can’t imagine she remembers as much as she claims. She was a young 3 ½ when taken to the orphanage. She claims she remembers the day the police came and how she was taken to La Maria. She also talks about wanting to change her name. One day she wants it to be Molly and the next it’s Tatiana. Her middle name at one time was Tatiana. Her name was changed a few times before she came to us. We keep telling her we love her name as Jessica and so she says, “Ok, but call me Jess or Jessie” Normally we call her Jess, but she is so funny about this name thing. We will have our re adoption hearing in November and we can make changes to her name at that time. Right now she does not have a middle name, and we planned to make it Jessica Ann. Ann is my middle name. I love the name Tatiana for her middle name, but the family really wants to keep Ann. So we’ll see.
Jessica’s new thing is to call Emilee “my sister” and the boys, “my brother. It’s really very cute. She will say things like, “Can I stay at home with my sister when you go to the store?” She is very proud of her family. I remember a time when they called everyone Mom, so it’s great to see they have bonded so well and are proud of being part of a family! Every night Eric says bed time prayers with the kids. He is trying to teach them how to not recite prayers but to make their prayers from their own hearts. So the other night Jessica was saying her prayers and just before Eric turned out the light she said, “oh wait Daddy, I have one more prayer!” then goes on with “and thank you Jesus for the best Mommy and Daddy you could give me” Doesn’t that just melt your heart?!
I have also had the privilege of being able to help out at the kid’s school once a week. The first day I came in I was helping in Jessica’s gym class. She was sure to tell the whole class “That’s my Mom!” Just innocently proud to have a Mama!
Little Miss Jessica has kept the tooth fairy busy. She lost two teeth in one week. After she lost the second one she said, "please no more picutres Mommy!"
As for Joaquin, what can I say, he is just Joaquin, a heart melter, a comedian, a love bug, and a very smart boy! He is doing great in school, and learning everything he can. He already knows almost all of his letters and their sounds and can come up with two to three words that start with each letter. He loves school and his teachers. I think he will be reading by the end of the school year. He is always trying to come up with words that rhyme, so that’s our big game. He is no longer afraid to go to bed in his room by himself, which shows me he is feeling very comfortable in his home. He does well with his chores and is finally gaining a little bit of weight since we got rid of the parasites. His English is awesome and he loves to play karate with Emilee. He has a great imagination that I love to watch in action. He can play with cars, action figures, or just about anything and can play for a good long time.
One of Joaquin's favorite places...on the couch with Jazz
The other day I was asking the kids what they would like for Christmas, and Joaquin thought for a minute then tells me he wants a picture of Nate when Nate was a baby. So Jess chimes in with “Joaquin, we are in the United States now and we will get lots of stuff, so think harder!” they are so excited about the holidays. It’s definitely going to be a Christmas to remember.
Emi and Nate are just staying busy with friends, sports, homework and tween life. Emi has just grown up so much in this last year it’s really hard to believe. And she got all As on her report card for the first quarter of Junior High. I am jus so proud of her. She is a beautiful young woman making wise decisions in her daily life and with her friends. Nate’s football team took 1st place in their league again, so we will start playoffs next weekend. The last 3 years his team has won the superbowl, so it’s a big deal, they are trying to keep their title.
We have our second post adoption meeting with our social worker on Monday. In just two weeks it will be 7 months since the kids have been with us. I remember this time last year we were playing the waiting game, just waiting for any ounce of news Colombia would have for us.
What a ride!
A normal day in the living room when Nate's willing to give up Sports Center on TV and get on the floor to play.
Emi and Jess at their Pajama party in the living room
Boys...what can I say!