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I don't know everything about E and his past, of course, but here are some of the things I do know after being his mama for one week: 1. He is stinking cute. His dark eyes and dark hair are actually very uncommon here in his home country. Most of the children being adopted have blond hair and blue eyes. E, like Nasko, is from the Roma tribe which is where the dark eyes, hair, and skin come from. Those features make him so beautiful.

2. He is a fighter. The orphanage staff told us this much, but I've now been able to see it with my own eyes. His legs and feet have many physical things wrong with them, but that does not stop him from making adaptations and working past the issues - many times as fast as someone would be able to conquer a feat traditionally.

3. E thinks that Louis is here as his personal pet. E likes to rub Louis' head and say sweet things to him (at least they sound sweet. Who knows what he's saying!). E also thinks he should be allowed to feed the baby!

4. On the topic of food, E really, really likes food. A lot. I'm guessing his small size has something to do with lack of nutrients/food previously available, and he is determined to make up for lost time. Thankfully, he isn't picky — I've been praying for at least one child who isn't — but he let me know that broccoli would not be consumed by him when he threw it at me while we were out to eat recently.

5. E's love of food is rubbing off onto Louis. Louis is by no means underweight, but he's always preferred nursing over table food. I don't think it's just because I'm not quite as available this past week, but Louis is eating more at meals and snacks. I think he sees E eat, and decides that must just be the thing to do!

6. E is a busy kid. Not Nasko-busy, but three-year-old busy. He likes to be helpful too though; he throws away garbage that he finds, folds towels, and attempts to clean up toys.

7. Everyone is learning patience from this kid. I'm pretty sure that our family's "We Are Waiting" song has soared to the top forty charts this week as everyone is learning that a third kid adds to the amount of time you have to wait for Mama's attention. (What, your family doesn't have a "We Are Waiting" song? Y'all need to get one!)

8. E just started giving spontaneous kisses today. They are melt-worthy.

9. E loves attention. The day we picked him up from the orphanage, we went to have his passport photo taken and he waved and told every passerby "Ah-tah!" (Bye bye!). Most people returned the greeting, but one woman was busy on her cell phone. E could hardly handle it, and he yelled "AH-TAH, AH-TAH" after her. He's used to everyone paying attention to him.

10. E is the most smiley orphanage kid I have ever met. Many children lose their smiles after being institutionalized, but E has kept it going strong. He may or may not use it as a manipulation tool, but whatever. I love that toothy grin regardless.

11. Since the first full day we had him in our care, E has refused everything of "assistance" that he is used to. He will not leave his glasses on for anything, and he SCREAMS when he put his brace on him. He finally started letting us use his special support shoes yesterday, but otherwise, he's not interested. The funny thing is, one of the questions Chance asked at the orphanage was, "Does he ever resist his brace or glasses?" The workers promised that neither bothered him. We're not sure what his motive is now, but for attachment purposes, we're not pushing the issue.

12. It's undetermined how much some of these assistive devices are actually helping anyway. We went to the zoo yesterday, and he seemed to see the far away animals without his glasses. His glasses have a VERY strong prescription, so maybe they've been made too strong on accident. We are anxious to begin seeing the doctors we know and trust back home.

13. E enjoys being read to. He has NO idea what I'm saying, but he'll still grab a book and snuggle into my lap for long periods of time to read. This is super exciting, as Louis also loves to read, and it's a great way to contain two toddlers for a few short minutes.

14. Every life change requires grief - even the good ones. Adopting E is no different. I had a couple days this week where I've focused too much on the order and simplicity that our life had before we added a third child (this is a laughable statement, if you have met Nasko). I forgot that this isn't always going to be pretty, but it's always going to be important. Today, I looked at E a little differently, and remembered that he is a broken little man who needs a Savior as much as I do.

15. The "Signing Time" theme song is permanently playing on repeat in my brain, but it is so worth it. E is very interested in learning sign language. He is picking it up quickly. It is pretty funny to see him confuse signs as he's trying to remember them - yesterday he wanted more food and kept signing "bath" instead of "more"!

16. E was never called by his full name in the orphanage. His caregivers used a European nickname for him. This wouldn't matter so much, except that we gave him an American name that is very close to his real name, but nothing like his nickname. Most of the time, he has no idea we are talking to him...

Everyday we learn more and more about our precious boy. I'm thankful for the privilege of being his Mama!

Life Hacks in [EEC] #2

Orphan-Grief: The Loss of Less