We finally met Shimellis today. He was everything I thought he would be and more. Very warm and friendly. Great laugh.
He said the kids are very happy and excited to have been adopted. They said that wanting to be adopted is closely related to how well the kids settle in. Those who really WANT to be adopted do better. I guess in thinking about that statement, I want to say DUH. He said they are both great kids.
He has developed more of a relationship with Filemon over past year and a half, so he knows more about him. He said that Filemon is such a good boy. I know he said that several times. Such a good boy. He said that he would do fine whatever the situation because that's just the kind of kid he is. He says he's very helpful and quiet. Patient, let's see what else did he say? He said that because he's been the oldest of the group, he's used to taking care of others.
When Shimellis told him that his cousin who was adopted to Kentucky was having behavior problems in his new home, Filemon responded "I'm very disappointed in him." He indicated that both kids were very close to grandma, and that her influence on them has made them the great kids that they are.
He indicated that grandma was so happy they were being adopted before she died. Can you even imagine? Shimellis wasn't sure how long their parents had been dead. He thought it had been 3 or 4 years! So that would make Filemon 6 or 7 and Merkeb 4 or 5 when they died. Poor babies! We talked about the name thing again. I thought that I was being adoption sensitive about keeping their Ethiopian names. Shimellis said that it would ultimately be their decision about their names, but we should present them with the pros and cons of having an American first name. He said that in his experience, having people not be able to pronounce his name all the time was a barrier to making friends and becoming assimilated to this country. He said he often wished that he had changed his name when he came here because it would have been much easier to fit in and make friends. So that's something to think about.
He also said that as important as it is to remember their culture, we shouldn't dwell on it too much at the beginning. That we should think about them becoming Americans and what can we do to help them learn our culture. That was something new to hear. He also said that the fact that we have children their age will help them because they will learn a lot just from being around our kids. I said that was what I was afraid of... Well I will talk later, must make dinner! G