Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Today... Today... Today was one of those days...

Today... Today... Today, was one of those days...
One of the days that I'd like to be able to push rewind and have another try at it!

Today I realized that I as a Mom still have so much to learn. Today I realized God's goodness. Today I was grateful for forgiveness both in the eyes of the Lord and in the heart of a little girl...

It started out like every other Wednesday. Busy, but we know the routine. The girls went up to the schoolroom and I got the dishes in the dishwasher. I met them upstairs, some were hard at work and some needed to be redirected.

On Wednesday I have a babysitter for a few hours so I prepared a little for her as they worked. I then gave them a gentle reminder to make sure they brushed their teeth and went to the bathroom. They all responded in unison- "YES Mom"!

My mothers intuition told me that they all didn't do it- so I checked toothbrushes. Emma's was dry. I called her to the bathroom and asked her again- I was not upset at all. I just wanted everyone to brush their teeth and move forward with the day. Emma just looked at me and would not respond.

To make a long story short- the point was lost in the interaction. the interaction digressed from one of a gentle reminder, to a lesson and then to frustration on my part. During all of this I could see our daughter moving further and further away from me into her own little world. I could read her eyes- I tried to bring her back but couldn't. She was lost in a world from the past, a world she does not want to be in, a world where she is afraid and alone. I was not overly upset but fear took over Emma and she froze.

I ended up brushing her teeth- which I do sometimes anyway- because she misses portions when she brushes (like all the front teeth). Tears fell down her cheeks- I felt awful, she felt awful. 

I immediately questioned myself what could I have done to prevent the downward spiraling of this interaction. 

We went ahead with our day- both with heavy hearts. I prayed all day as I was accomplishing my minor tasks and checking them off the list. I prayed for forgiveness (fyi- I didn't do anything horrible but I didn't handle it right either). I prayed for Emma, I just kept on praying.

I felt like I had lost her. I wondered if I would get her back. Would it be the same between us? Where had she gone in her head- she was so far away, it scared me.

Emma has not had good experiences with mothers.  We have recently found out more information on Emma and Ellie's abandonment. We thought they had been taken from the home but it seems that may not have been the case.

Of course the real truth is lost. Lost in convenient stories for adoptive parents, lost in translations from a younger sister, lost in what memories are too painful to tell or to realize.

It really is heartbreaking...

I came home after a few hours. The girls were in the kitchen. Emma looked at me like she was glad to see me (I was glad for the look in her eyes). She walked right over to me to get a hug(she still turns and gives me her back unless I instruct her to keep facing me and stand straight on her legs). I hugged and hugged her, told her I loved her, kissed her cheeks and her forehead. Little tears where in her eyes. She smiled and once again the look of peace was on her face.

I am so thankful! Thankful that she came back to us with her heart and mind. Thankful for God's forgiveness. Thankful for God's grace. Thankful for the little smile on a precious little girl's face.

I am contemplating attachment therapy for us. I am generally not a fan of therapist but if we get the right one- it could be so incredibly helpful. I have read all the books and if I had the time I would read them all again. Sometimes I feel like I need someone to talk too. Someone to help me figure out how to help our little girl and how we can give her the best life possible.  I will be praying about this and see where God leads us.


Lori said...

Hi Jean - I've followed your blog for a few months now. First off, thank you for the encouragement and prayerful thought you put forth. We've adopted two older boys a year ago. They too have experienced a rough start before they came home. As I read this post my heart practically came apart. Our youngest son was in much the same place as Emma, with the shut downs and retreats. The first couple times I felt such hopelessness to know how to meet his needs and to learn what it would take to become the parent he needs. You are an experienced parent and will find your answers. I just wanted to say you've started with the best therapist of all when you spent the day praying for Emma. For our son those rough days and retreats have become further apart and less severe. It helps to look and see how far we've come and the first time he ran up to me and gave me a full all out hug, without turning his back to me, is etched in my mind. I pray that time comes quickly for you both. God Bless, Lori, Iowa

Holly said...

I love honesty in blog posts. So helpful for others of us! Someday I know we will adopt again. I know I will pull all these stories from my memory when things happen, and be happy for the feeling that someone has been there, done that. If you choose therapy, I will be anxious to hear how that goes. I think you are right, that the right therapist could be just what you need. I will be praying for you too!

Sally-Girl! said...

I agree that you have already met with the best therapist! We had one of "those" moments ourselves at 5 am this morning. The boys keep getting up earlier and earlier so they can play. They wake the whole house. I got very firm with them and lost both of them to tears. It was hard on me and them, but through prayer remembered that it is my duty to discipline them and to train them. He also encouraged me not to get so upset over such little things, that yes I need to train but I don't need to do it with an anxious heart.

Love ya!!!

Anita said...

Thank you for sharing this honest moment of parenting, Jean. I know I have so, so much more to learn even after parenting for 24 years. Only through HIS grace can I have the insight into our children's hearts, too. :) HUGS!

Sarah said...

Oh, Jean. I had a tough day with Yana, as well. I have taken each of the other kids out for lunch sometime in the past couple of weeks. But Yana just doesn't want to go. I feel so sad and discouraged....trying to keep perspective...trying to remember all that she has been through. But sometimes I get so tired of trying to make up for other "mothers" mistakes. So grateful that Jesus never stops loving us...holding on to that today.


Sophie said...

I think your doing a great job. As far as therapy, I think there are many qualified therapist out there than can suggest different approaches and offer some great advice. You shouldn't have to struggle down this road alone, reaching out and getting support can be a welcomed relief and a blessing.

Lisa said...

Hi Jean -- It's so hard to make the call to a therapist. I know. I feel like I've failed somehow if I need to bring in outside help. But the handful of times I HAVE made the call, it has made a world of difference! Don't hesitate. If you feel like you need to talk to someone outside your immediate family, do it. You won't regret it. So glad to hear that Emma "came back" to you. It's a wonderful feeling, isn't it? I've had days where I feel like I've taken giant leaps backward with Lin, only to have her reach out to me for a hug and an I Love You before the day is over.

You're doing great!

Lori said...

Oh, Jean...I hate those kinds of moments. I think all adoptive moms have had them. Therapy may be a good option but also, don't underestimate the knowledge you have from previous education and more importantly, the discernment of the Holy Spirit. We had Macy in grief therapy for about four weeks but got no where. The therapist was a specialist in attachment and a Christian but it just didn't work for us. She simply wouldn't open up to a complete stranger.

Anyway, don't be hard on yourself...these things happen. And in my opinion, the best source of encouragement and wisdom is other experienced adoptive moms. :)

I'll be praying that today is better.

Love you!

Difference2This1 said...

We learned something last night...ours longs to go back to the place where things were "easier". Where "easier" is when no one loves expectations, no consquences for misbehavior, no one asking you tough questions. Ours sees being loved as much "harder" then going without love. I almost feel Emma thinking this also through your words...she is blessed to have a Mama who will keep nudging her to connect even when it seems like the more difficult road. Hang in there and keep following your "gut" and His promptings because someday you will help her overcome this. God bless, Jennifer

Jo's Corner said...

I think that what you described about coming home from doing errands and seeing Emma with that "look", that look of Love in her eyes, says SO MUCH! Emma Loves her Mama! Those tears in her eyes were there due to happiness that once again, you Came Back! Came back to your daughter.
Therapists can be wonderful, but I wonder how much E would respond to a stranger. But, perhaps someone for You to talk to would be great. Just saying your feelings & thoughts to someone can really open our eyes.
You are doing a great job "Mothering" your girls! All of them. Try to remember that every Mom has her bad days, when she "loses it". Forgive yourself. Sounds like Sweet Emma forgave you! And, if you can communicate it, Tell her that you are sorry for how you responded. I guarantee that both of you will feel better. And, it will be a teaching moment for learn to Apologize and ask forgiveness when she hurts someone!
Christmas Hugs! ~ JO

Susan said...

You might find this resource very helpful. Bryan Post's work is phenomenal.

Angela said...

Thank you for posting this and sharing the hard things. We are leaving in a few weeks to bring home our 8 year old daughter and I know we'll have similar experiences.

Adeye said...

Oh friend, been there done that!

I so appreciate you sharing your heart and your beautiful honesty. I have many days that I wish I could rewind and start all over again. I am so thankful for His grace! Where would we be without it?

So glad your day turned out happier.

rachel said...

This was so heartfelt and heartwrenching. I love how honest you are in your story telling. Your love for your children and amazing intuition are an inspiration.

Amy said...

Praying for you as I write this as I have had those days. There is always hope when the Lord is present. The Lord is so very gracious to work in the hearts of our children in spite of our human-ness.

Thank you for sharing.

Annie said...

Hi Jean, I have a family interested in the first little guy on your blog. Do you have anymore info than what is listed on CHSFS's website? If so, may I pass along your email address??

Sarah said...

Just had to write again and say that today with Yana was so much better! Chatting and smiling (and yes, some pouting too). But mostly chatting and smiling. :)

Oh my! Some days it's discouraging and exhausting, but these precious kiddos are SO worth it!

So grateful for our Savior's patience on the days when mine has run out. He is so good.

And so grateful that you will soon have two more beautiful little sweethearts to love on!


TanyaLea said...

Oh Jean,

I have had a couple of instances where I could've definitely handled things better with Khloe, too... and where there was a moment of distance in her eyes. Not the same as you had with Emma, but it still broke my heart and caused me to reflect and regroup. I think that God uses these moments to teach us and help us to grow our patience into a new level of understanding. Sometimes I forget that Khloe wasn't born into our family and that she has only been with us for 7 mos now. Most of the time she is extremely secure, so I take it for granted. But when here eyes tell a different story, my heart sinks and it breaks me up inside to see. So I understand your hurt and fear for your precious girl. But it's clear, your 'Therapist' above seen you through this moment, and Emma, too. What a happy ending to a tough day. She knows LOVE because of you, and I can't wait to see how she blossoms with more time in your home. You are a beautiful person with a wonderful heart, and EVERYONE has those off moments (I'm sure even those 'mom-of-the-year' recipients do! It's part of being human!) But as Christians, we have a deaper grieving in our hearts because of that discernment, and aren't you glad to know that our Father forgives us!?! He is the BEST example! <><

Praying for you and your precious family.

Love ya,