I hope and pray that this is what adoption feels like - the way I feel about this sweet little man. Maybe it's not instant for everyone but within a matter of time, they just feel like they are yours.
In the past year, Oziel has physically grown a TON. He went from 2T to 3T and then to 4T all in 12 months. He doesn't nap anymore in the afternoons. This past year was his first year in pre-school. He has learned to count to 15 in spanish and english. He knows his colors and is learning some letters. His handwriting isn't necessarily one of his strengths but he is a wizard with puzzles. I accredit the love of reading that many of the young Douglas boys now share to Oziel. Oziel fell in love with hearing stories one night before bed while listening to Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do you see? He asked me to read it again and again which I did but only 3 times in total that first night and then I made him go to bed. But after that, hearing a story became his favorite activity. He has figured out that adults know how to read, so he grabs books, brings them to you, and begs you to read it to him - doesn't matter who you are. If you are an adult, Oziel can work with you.
reading the book that started it all
A year ago, he responded to the name, "feo" or "ugly." All the kids would call him that and some workers who have since been fired used to call him that. It was literally his first name to all the major people in his daily life. When I moved in to be his caregiver, I decided that his new name would be, "Senor Guapo" or "Mr. Handsome." I'll never forget the afternoon that he stopped to look at me as we were walking back from lunch and said while smiling and pointing to his face, "Caroline, you call me that because I'm just so beautiful right?" He understood that he wasn't ugly. The rest of the kids understood that I thought he was beautiful and that messing with Caroline or saying anything she doesn't like is not a good idea and thus, the rest of the children's home decided that he was beautiful. After a few weeks, I never heard anyone call him "feo" ever again. Touchdown: Caroline.
Oziel loves Scooby Doo, stickers, frogs, bugs of all kinds, the Hulk, his bike, watermelon, bubble gum, puzzles, GATORS that are on tons of my t-shirts, stories of all kinds, going to the grocery store with me, trains, PJ's and snuggling. He is super affectionate and loves to press his face into yours just to make sure you are paying attention.
he asked me to put on a Scooby Doo movie, I said yes and this was his response.
If only other children were as easy to thrill as you Oziel
He also used to be THE bully out of all the pre-school aged children at Douglas. He reigned as king over like 15 little kids and if they did anything he didn't like, he'd just bite them. He is pretty fierce. I want to believe that he is slowly growing out of this. He is biting less and less each week. He now usually only draws blood when he feels physically threatened. His fight or flight comes out and let me just say - this kid has a lot of fight. But unlike many of the other little boys - he feels remorse when he has done something wrong. I love that about him. Disciplining him is rather easy. You put him in time-out for 30 seconds while explaining that he can't hurt other children and he immediately starts crying and saying he's sorry. I'll never forget the super cold morning when I lost him before pre-school. I had my other 3 pre-schoolers inside but where was Oziel? It was time to get in the van to go to school and he was hiding from me because I had scolded him about something. I finally found him behind all the buildings singing his favorite song - a worship song - Eres Todopoderoso - about how powerful God is.... I about died from laughter and I sang it with him. What child gets mad at you, hides, and sits there singing worship songs??! Oh probably the same 4 year old who is asked before every meal to give the prayer and have the rest of the orphanage repeat after him because his voice is soooooooo loud and hilarious. Yeah that's you.