Last night I finished up Yikealo's 2-year post adoption report. It needs to arrive to the Ethiopian government by the anniversary of the date that we took custody of our son - June 29th, 2009. In order for it to make it overseas in time, it has to be to our agency by May 29th. We had three reports due in the first year of having him home, but all of these were written by our social worker, so this was my first effort. From now on, these reports are due once a year until he reaches the age of 18, so I'm sure that I will become quite adept at doing them! It is exciting to me that Ethiopia cares so much about the welfare of their children. Most other countries only require reports to be completed for the first year or so.
Anyway, we needed to provide detailed information on how he is doing physically and developmentally, give an example of his daily schedule, and discuss anything pertinent to his life and health: how he sleeps, how he eats, how he interacts with others...you get the point. The final questions were about what we see as his most difficult challenge and his greatest joy since adoption. It took me a little while to come up with the answers, because we have had very few challenges and everything is exciting to Yikealo, but I think I finally arrived at the truth. Yikealo's greatest challenge was probably learning that we were not going to leave him. He has a strong memory of his birth mom leaving him with strangers and not returning for him, and new situations have sometimes brought those fearful memories to the surface. Today, though, he seems to be very secure in our love for him. Several times a day we have a variation of the following conversation:
Me: "Hey, Yikealo, guess what?"
Y: "You love me!"
Me: "I sure do! How did you know that?"
Y: "Because I am your little boy!"
Me: "How did I get so lucky to have YOU for my little boy?"
Y: "Because God told you to get me, because He knew that I needed a Mom and a Dad!"
Which brings me to his greatest joy: his beloved Daddy. Yikealo has told us that he had a "first Mom" before me, but that David is his "first Dad." He loves having a father figure in his life, and he will try to imitate EVERYTHING that David does, from the things he says, to the way he dresses, to the way he folds his toilet paper - (I'm not kidding!) Mr. Y delights in anything that will make him "just like my Dad!" They play chess and an ancient computer game from David's childhood called "Final Fantasy", they both have to use a shoehorn to put on their good shoes, they both eat hotdogs with only mustard (because "only girls like ketchup") and they both have to have a stack of interesting books or magazines in the bathroom - their "places" marked with a sheet of toilet paper (never mind the fact that Yikealo can't read yet.)
A few weeks ago, David was getting dressed for work, and happened to put on a t-shirt that Yikealo has also. Yikealo was SO excited, and immediately tried to copy David's outfit as closely as possible.
A few days later, Yikealo insisted on buying a pair of slippers with his money - because "my Dad always wears slippers!" The next morning when David left for work, I found Mr. Y's new footwear exactly where David always leaves his slippers - on the rug in front of David's closet.
And then there is the way that they both run their fingers through their hair, obsessively pat down their cereal before pouring milk into the bowl, and make the same ridiculous faces...I mean, honestly, what can you really say about this?
In short, if David does it, you can be certain that Yikealo will imitate him. All silliness aside, son, I think that you've decided on a great role-model, and it gives me great joy to watch you being "just like" your Daddy!