Sunday, July 11, 2010

Baby Steps!

We went to the local zoo this morning. Emma started off at the zoo having trouble- she whaled for a good half hour- during that time I held her hand and enjoyed the zoo (kinda, sorta). Our guide talked to her and after awhile she settled down. She did translate to us that she missed her foster family... I am sorry but I don't think so... what she did miss is doing what ever she wants whenever she wants. Emma has enjoyed her freedom and enjoyed being naughty. She was kicked out of school 5 times in the last 2 months. Once she found out she was going to be adopted she stopped listening to anyone. They tell the children that they will have the good life in America and that their parents will buy them anything. It is too bad they do that but our sweet daughter will find out that it is not true. She will be loved, provided for, educated but she will learn respect and she will behave!

Even at the zoo we could see progress. After she was done with her tantrum and we no longer held hands she still stayed with us. I can see it in her eyes she is intrigued with what is happening. She is getting it ... just a little BUT she is getting it!

Ellie wanted to swim- she loves to swim! She did well at the zoo but her main goal was to get back and go swimming.

We hit Starbucks again for lunch- the girls did great this time- they gobbled up their lunch. They now know if they don't eat what is served or decide to pout and cry during our eating time, they are out of luck.

Many may feel that we are too firm but I will tell you adopting this age is completely different than adopting a baby or a teen (I have no experience adopting a teen). There are no books that focus on adopting the 6-11 yr old, so I am praying my way through while taking bits and pieces from what I have read and going with my gut... Honestly it is working and it thrills me! Each day we see a difference! It is small but it's happening!

It is a combo of consistency, tough love, tenderness, sticking to our guns, and a sense of humor.

Today we saw how much they want love! They wanted to be held, to ride in the stroller and to sit on our laps! If they were frustrated with one of us they had someone else to go too BUT they did not seem to hold onto their grudge today- that is good. They moved on from being mad!

Today their was joy, real smiles, laughing together, etc (I haven't really captured Emma's real smile yet but in time we will see it). The girls actually played TOGETHER today and enjoyed each other!

The possible nit issue has made it more difficult to hug, give love, snuggle, etc. But we have done the treatments and for now their is nothing else we can do- so we are snuggling, carrying, giving kisses and moving forward.

Swimming was a huge hit- and NO double booby pinches today! Emma kept saying "No touchy, no touchy"- I was so glad she didn't try it again! She is getting it!
It is so bonding in the pool. Emma has learned to respect the water and she hung onto one of us the whole time! At one point she scurried away and acted like she might jump in... when she got to the edge she chose not too! Good girl! Ellie is doing well with water wings! I think she could be a good swimmer someday!

At dinner the girls kept spouting off instructions for the waiter and waitresses. They really had them jumping- bring water with ice and without and more. We finally told them to stop listening to the girls- in this family the Babba and the Momma will make the choices!

I feel such hope! Our feelings are growing towards the girls and I really think they are feeling the same way! I was scared for a few days... wondering if we had done the right things and was this going to work out. I underestimated our Lord. I am so thankful to Him!

I could only download some of the pics but I will try to finish in the morning- off to bed now!

Thank you for your prayers! Please keep praying!
Thank You Jesus for baby steps!!


Sally-Girl! said...

I prayed for you for a long time after your email this morning. I want you to know how proud I am of you and how lucky I am to be walking this journey of adopting older kids with you.

Let's make our next trip to China at the same time!! I think together we can make that happen!!! Let's talk when you get back on how!!!

Mary Kate said...

So happy this morning for your "Baby Steps!" Soon those baby steps will turn into GIANT leaps and bounds...Can't wait to see that happen!
Thank you so much for the pictures...I am so grateful for Shasha's smiles!!!!!

Mary Kate

Michele said...

Jean, thank you so much for keeping it real. As a mommy about to travel to get our daughter, I needed to hear the things you are saying!

I especially need to hear that it's ok to discipline and show that we are in charge. I have heard so much about now it's the time to "teach" it's the time to show love. I just feel I can do both. So thanks for sharing your your experiences.

Also, can I ask if you are using a VPN? If so, which one?

Mama Fish said...

I am a fairly new reader who has adopted internationally and is in the process now... but we have and are adopting younger children. I am so intrigued by your story and I love hearing and reading how God is unfolding this love tale in your family. I can only get a sense from what you write, and i can only imagine the glimpses you get as you watch these girls transform before your eyes. Your oldest daughter Sarah, has a smile that lights up her face, and to know she too was adopted as an older kid and has come so far... well it's just inspiring!

You have a new reader who is praying for you as you head through the final stages out of country. Hoping the nits are gone, and that you are soon home to eradicate them for good. I too agree I love how you tell it like it is... very real. And I love your parenting style!

Are These Kids All Yours? said...

YEAH!!!!!!!!! Some people may think it is tough, but love is not easy. It is tough, but also the toughness of love shows boundaries, and safety. This is NEEDED!

So excited and will continue praying for you all :)

Sue said...

I think what you wrote today is very true. With us adopting a 13 year old, we have been told all about the different behaviors, things they will do an so forth. We have also told that you need to set the boundaries right away so they learn right away. The way you are doing it, showing them love at the same time showing them the boundaries I think will help in the long run. I truly feel that they are testing you to see if you will still love them even when they do things. You guys are a great family. btw did you get my personal email.

Janet and Kevin said...

You go Mama Jean! We don't judge you at all for using the tough love approach. In fact, we have to do that with our newest little one quite frequently! He rather likes to be in control ALL THE TIME, but he is slowly learning that his Mommy and Papa are the ones in charge. We provide plenty of love and affection, consistency, and tough love. It's a good combination! You are absolutely doing the right thing.

So happy that you are starting to see progress.

Janet and gang

From the Erben Gang..... said...

LOve to see the progress! You are expecting a lot in a few days--but thats a good thing and what the girls need! The need structure, they don't know what to do, but they also need to act out and to see that you still care-even if they do act up-that you are their family and will not abandon them. I love the first photo with you three in the mirror beaming at them!

Craig and Phyllis said...

What you are doing is great! I agree wholeheartedly. We adopted 3 brothers from Russia, and they definitely were told they would be able to do what they wanted and have what they wanted. Wrong!! Trying to reign three of them in all at the same time has been difficult. So be prepared that 2 at once will be challenging. BUT, we have a mighty God Who is able to do exceedingly more than what we can ask or even imagine!

I just love seeing all their smiles. And love the picture of you with 4 of your girls!

Pam said...

Great job, Jean! We were much firmer in China (with Charlie) than we had expected we would be. BUT, I saw no point in allowing unwanted behaviours to be tolerated in China only to have to come home and undo those behaviours. So, we decided to nip things in the bud. I'm really glad we did, too. I think our children need boundaries. And they need to know our expectations. Hang in there. Baby steps, baby steps! You are a great mom!

MoonDog said...

ok I am sorry but FOUR little girls in the same outfit is about as cute as my lil heart can stand! they are just too darn cute!!! I adore matching outfits! have I mentioned that matching outfits are fun? lol. I agree with the no books on adopting 6-11 year olds. ps we just got back from 5 weeks in Ukraine adopting a 6, 7, 8 and 8 year old! will go finish up the paper work in a few weeks and bring them home. wish it was simple like China! (yes I know it isnt simple) congratulations on such beautiful little girls. I have been loving but firm with my kids and have seen it pay off. I agree completely with setting the tone from the start. It will only be harder if you treat them like little queens now and then get them home and expect them to suddenly behave!

Chad and Kristy said...

Jean, you are such an amazing mom! I am really enjoying your journey! We are home from our visit with Anna Li. It was such a wonderful time and so hard to say good bye BUT, she is doing so good and is so happy.

I will continue lifting you and your family up in prayer.

God Bess!

Wright Family said...

The four girls are adorable! I am impressed with your ability to manage everything with good cheer. I am taking notes for our trip to get two 11 year olds in a few weeks. It is amazing how much progress your girls have made in just a few days (although I know I am still working on behavior issues in my 9 yr old after two years). Praying for you all..Catherine

Laura L. said...

Hello Jean and family!
How wonderful to read about how everyone is doing.
I had a busy few days and didn't get to check in as much as I'd like.-(grad party)
I'm all caught up with your posts now.

Sounds like you've been through some real challenges, but I know you are handling this very well. I agree with handling inappropriate behavior with firmness and showing love too.
My heart was so touched when I read that the girls are now wanting love. Wonderful!

It is truly exciting to hear about your journey, the good and not so good. I am so happy for you all.

I will pray for you guys.

Difference2This1 said...

Praying for you all. So many good things- but sounds like there will be some challenges. Stay strong- you are already getting good practice setting all those boundaries, aren't you! Praying time flies until you all are home!! Blessings, Jennifer

Adeye said...

Wwooooohooooo, baby steps are BEAUTIFUL, friend. They're moving in the right direction---that is GOOD news. Boy do I know how tiring it is though. Hang in there--once you get home and into a normal rountine things are bound to improve RAPIDLY!!! You're almost there...hang tight.

Karin said...

Soooooo happy to hear that you are making progress with the girls!! Go God!! I don't think you are being too firm. I think you are being just right. It's kinder to let them know right off the bat what is expected rather than change the rules once you get home. I am thrilled for you that they are getting it and choosing to accept the reality of being adopted by Americans. :)

Holly said...

So happy for this good news!! I love reading about your trip, and I will be praying, praying, praying!

David and Sarah said...

I am so glad! Isn't our Lord so good to answer your (and all of our) prayers for your girls and your family. It is wonderful that they are learning so much and growing so much already. Consistency and love go such a long way. You're doing a great job! I'll keep praying for you.


Acceptance with Joy said...

You go!!! You are not being too firm. It pays off in the end. We are on month 4 of our twin 6 year old adoption.. . . I've had to be firm and firmer and even more firm and the Lord has blessed and we are seeing happier, sweeter children emerge!


Faye Verquer said...

JEAN you are doing a SUPER JOB with those girly girls! Someday soon you will look back on all of this and laugh! They will be perfect little ladies in no time! I love the matching outfits and if you havent discovered yet you will soon that matching them makes it so much easier when you are in crowded areas and can pick your kiddies out in the crowd! My boys match anytime we venture out to the Zoo, amusement parks even the neighborhood parks because that way when they are not stuck right to my side I can pick them out and know they are safe!

Good luck as you travel and may God be with all of you.