Malachi. My sweet, silly, hidden gem. This little boy was shy and got passed over a lot. He was quiet and cooperative. He didn't demand the attention Grace got. He didn't expect to be singled out or given love or affection. Oh, but how he loves it all now. My Malachi, that was afraid to give us a hug or sit in our lap, who was afraid to even look at us, much less speak to us, my Malachi how you have blossomed. You have become the most snuggly, chatty, affectionate little man. You bring me gifts all the time with your big grin. You love to climb into my lap and snuggle and love as long as I will sit. I never imagined you could have come alive this much in just 6 short months. And how you have brought joy to my heart.
In the orphanage, Malachi was serious. We spent most of our time in work-play with him--moving sticks or wiping down boards. He didn't come to us for cuddles and love. He didn't talk our ear off like Grace. He just quietly interacted. I know how shy he is and how hard that must have been for him. He is such a brave boy.
When we first got him out in Kiev, I thought he had lost his mind, lol. The overstimulation and nervousness made for lots of mad-scientist like giggling, hyperactivity, and running. Oh the running. The first thing we did when we got home was buy a stroller so we wouldn't lose him. How terrifying the world must have been. We still catch that giggle and know he is getting overstimulated or scared. We now know how to handle it fortunately. Those early days, I didn't know how we would ever be able to leave the house. The only activity he wanted to do when we got home was sweep. He swept and swept and swept. He will still go get the broom if he is worrying about something.
But now, my sweet Malachi knows how to play with toys. He will walk to the car by himself, where at first he was terrified to the point of screaming. He will play outside and upstairs with his siblings or alone, whereas those first days he would just sit on the couch giggling. And he will go in the back yard and play with our giant black dog, the dog he was so terrified to even see out the window. Malachi, what a brave boy you are to face these fears and adapt. To learn to trust us when you have no reason to.
We were told that Malachi was a picky eater. What we found was that no one had encouraged him to try food. His fear kept him from trying, but with a little encouragement, he will eat anything now and lots of it. We were told he was delayed in speech and learning. What we found was that he is so thoroughly shy that he probably didn't perform for those testing him. He is in fact extremely bright and just as chatty as Grace when you give him the chance.
And my sweet Malachi was living with eyes that were terribly farsighted and so different in prescriptions that the eye doctor was surprised his eye hadn't turned in yet. He now sports and adorable pair of eye glasses, which he is learning to face the world with and not hide in fear.
This little guy still has moments of fear. He still fixates on certain things like his jacket and he can't control his emotions when you take that item from him (say to buckle in the car), but he is working on it. If we are calm and patiently explain and reassure him, he adjusts and will calm down now. He no longer panics that food isn't available, but is in fact cooking. He knows how to wait and that the food is coming soon. He knows to run to me for help when he is overhwhelmed instead of the pointless running to nowhere he did in the beginning.
And wow this kid can talk. His English is age level now, despite an adorable, age-appropriate little lisp. He asks questions, he wants to learn, and he loves to show me his new tricks. He knows that he will get the praise and ackowledgement and he now knows he loves it. He now loves to play with Samuel and his legos or Anna Faith and her music. He isn't afraid of Nathan but loves a good tackle. And oh how he loves Eli. He tells him all day long and watches him with a huge, adoring grin. And of course, he still loves to play with Grace. I love watching them interact. They now argue in English instead of Russian, but she has always been his encouragement and his support. She has been the one he could trust through this whole process. This would have been so much harder without having her by his side to blast the way. And now she hides behind him when she is unsure and he gets a chance to be the strong one. He is learning to follow his protective instinct to take care of those he loves. He is breaking down those walls of fear. We love you too our shy little man. Our "angel boy" as your nannies called you.