The next morning, we picked K5 up from her foster mother's house and took her to breakfast before dropping her off at school. She introduced us to administration and her peers as her mom and dad...and by lunchtime, she was crying because we had to leave for the airport. We left her with the school counselor and promised to make arrangements to fly back in couple of weeks with some of her siblings for a visit. We knew it would take a few months to finalize the paper work to move her to a new state. ICPC is certainly not efficient - but that is a blog for another day. It broke our hearts to leave her that day, sobbing in the arms of school staff.
As soon as we arrived home in Colorado, we started making plans to return to K5's home state for a visit. Within a few short weeks we were headed back. After collecting K5 from the foster mother, we headed to the hotel. We had K5 all to ourselves for the whole weekend! K1 adored K5 and, at least for a few months, thought she walked on water. He spent a lot of time laughing and joking with her in the back of the car and teaching her about video games.
She politely smiled and tried to follow everything he was saying...but sometimes just couldn't keep up. At one point, K1 was imitating memories of spending time with his siblings watching comical videos he had found online. He had everybody in the car laughing so hard at the memories that we had tears rolling down our faces...except for K5. She had a confused look on her face and finally shrugged her little shoulders and said, "I am sorry, I don't speak your language yet." We all chuckled and K1 took the time to explain the memories. That night K1 pulled out the laptop and showed her some of the youtube videos he had been imitating. But her words stuck with me over the next several months as she transitioned into our family.
How hard it must be to suddenly land in a home and be told this is your family. A family with a history of shared memories and interests - and yet none of them shared with you. Even when somebody gets married, the couple generally takes months getting to know each other, building memories and falling in love. When an older child is suddenly placed in your home, everybody is expected to "be in love and be a family." But, it takes time to build that love, those connections and certainly it takes a lot of time to build shared experiences and inside jokes. That child is bound to feel like an outsider until you make new family memories.
K5 said it best, "I don't know your language yet." Family language is unique to each family and it takes time to learn the lingo...and with each child added, we add a bit of new language to our dialect.
Family, what a beautiful language it is.