Thursday, May 26, 2011

Input Please!

I would love your input! 

Things are going amazingly well with 6 new children in 4 years!
I am seriously down on my knees thankful for God's blessings!

I sometimes feel like I am living one of his many miracles!
To think that love, prayer, family and health care could do so much for a child is completely beyond me!
I wish that others who have not considered adoption would go down this amazing road!
It is nothing short of a miracle!

My question is about this little cutie in the picture- our Anna.
She is independent and often chooses to separate herself from the group.
She was our first child to come home and often thinks she is one of the birth children (which is kind of good in a way). She has no memories of China, she cannot speak Chinese and does not like rice. But she does have anxiety(cleft L/P) - to doctors, to being with people she does not know and is easily scared.
She did great in preschool and does wonderful with our babysitter!

We had one birth child that we always thought was meant to be in a small family but he ended up adjusting extremely well to this extra large family! He is able to hyperfocus and read as we are all around him. He comes and goes as he wants to and he has a ton of friends but only socializes as he chooses!
That is our Billy! Okay he is all grown up- you can call him Bill!

Anna is extremely smart, she has trouble sitting still but can work on a puzzle or project to completion- so maybe she is just bored with my school ;-)...

Since Ava and Sam have come home we have seen more whining, pushing the limits and refusal to cooperate. She wants to be held a lot. She can play well with Ava and Sam BUT seems to have a hard time when all the kids are together playing. She is bossy and need some work on her people skills at home although she did well at preschool. 
She is not a follower and probably doesn't want to follow the crowd. Whereas the others can easily follow the group- not necessarily a good thing... unless you have a positive leader! 

She is impatient with Emma who has a severe cognitive disability- we are trying to teach her tenderness and understanding but right now that is not at the top of her list.

Do you have any thoughts on -  
How we can help Anna with her social/family skills?
How we should handle her frequent whining or crying?
To feel more secure?
Allow her time away from her sibs?
Do you have a similar situation?
What are you doing for your child?

Thank you so much!!


Mom Of Many said...

I'm climbing into bed, but will throw in my 2 cents.

Actually I typed it all out and thought it didn't make alot of sense. I think I'm too tired. I will email you tomorrow, or at least try to. Praying for you as I drift off. xo

TanyaLea said...

Keeping you in my prayers. I'm curious about what Linny has to say, as I know she is 'experienced' in this dept and I'm sure will be of a great help to you!

In anycase, on a very personal, off-the-subject note: I just have to add how much I love your Anna! I think she stole my heart back at the Christmas party when she took Khloe by the hand and led her around the playstructure, keeping watch over her. So sweet!

I definitely see your concerns though and will be praying for wisdom and Godly advice for you, to help see you through this 'season' with your sweet girl! Keeping you close in thoughts and prayer.

Love ya!

Tesseraemum said...

As I read your post I couldn't help thinking how much she is like my Olivia! Part of it is her age believe it or not! Alot of it is she is super smart! Olivia has an extremly high iq and a good dose of adhd! She has always over-reacted to stimulus and pain and she was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder just recently. I really don't have any good advice except to not push her when she separates herself. Let her have time to decompress! And Don't give in with the homeschooling. If she is like Olivia she will absolutely not do well in school!! Olivia has had a horrible 5th grade year and I am really praying that my husband has a change of heart and we can have school at home next year.When Liv was in kindergarten she was supposed to write the letter c repeatedly on a worksheet.which is fine if you didn't already know how to read and write before you arrived.She saw no point in doing something over that she already knew how to do. So the teacher sent the work home with a note in red ink about how she didn't do it when everyone else did. Well, I had her sit down and write the c's. Her paper was full. The last few lines looked a bit Crazy, mind you, and she had written "I want to exit kindergarten." across the top.
The other key to Olivia (she has little patience for the girl nonsense that her friends get sucked into (turns out she functions socially about 3 years older than she is) is to have her help with the "special needed"(her term) and younger kids. If you talk to Anna about how Emma is older but needs more help and that even though she is littler she can help her she may step up or at least have a little more patience with her.
I'll be praying for you and Anna and if you want to talk you can email me at or on facebook (sheri whitlock watson)

Lori said...

We have such similar issues with Lucy. Right now I'm just trying to tread through the waters, not making a big deal of things. It's so hard to see her lash out because of jealously...I often don't know whether to come down hard on her or extend extra grace because of the huge changes recently that are obviously hard on her.

I need to stop back by hear to read all the comments you get!

Jodi said...

Great question - I'd love to hear the responses too - as I fear this will be an issue for us this coming summer when our boys come home. :)

Mom to my China Posse said...

We to have a "loner" in the bunch as we call Kamryn. She tends only to join in on her terms and can take or leave the presence of her sisters, but in 0ur case it was our last daughter from China, I spend alot of time and energy trying to get her to play or interact with the girls and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. She also has expressed because she was adopted at 6 and a half that she was a only child in her foster home and she wonders why we have so many kids. I am in constant prayer about it. I think because all our other girls have such big personalities that sometimes she struggles with that. I am also workign with trying to find something she enjoys and can do to help build confidence. One of our girls plays piano, one excels and enjoys gymnastics and I find that thats helps build confidence. So were lookign for something for Kamryn to do to cheer her on. Its sure a puzzle to figure out because what works for one of our girls doesn't necesaary work for another.

Julie said...

My first thought is that it is a combination of intelligence and introversion. I wouldn't tolerate the rudeness or impatience with Emma, but other than that, I would let her have plenty of time that she can be doing her own thing. I would however insist on some family time and if there are special activities you do as a family, I would make those non negotiable. She can learn to adjust.

My oldest son has Asperger's and while he needed time to be alone and get his breath, I didn't allow him to isolate himself from special times. He's 20 now and maintains a really good balance. I also have a 14 year old who is gifted and oh. my. goodness. do we struggle with him being impatient with his 6 year old sister. Unfortunately high intelligence can bring about intolerance and I just have no patience or grace for that behavior at all and we have had to start giving him consequences for it. It's the only way I think at this time he will start paying attention to how he is speaking to her.

Faye Verquer said...

Well, my 5 year old is exactly how you explain Anna to maybe its just normal! She has had to go through a lot of siblings being added and maybe wants everyone to realize she was here 1st and they can't take that away from her! My Lily could be the child you descirbed in this posting, however we just think its because she is the youngest of 5. I can honestly picture Lily in ever scenario you described, acting the exact same way... Im guessing its just the age! You are a fabulous parent and I know you will find what works for her.

Love you guys!!

Wendy said...

This is probably completely normal for all she has had to go through with having so many siblings in a fairly short time. It was hard for my youngest when we added his little sister. It took time, 1:1 time with him only, and lots of shared activities. It might help to find an activity that she and Emma can do together that they both like. As she adjusts to Emma's personality, she might adjust better to the whole group. We found activities that our daughter and son could do together. He realized that she is not that bad and actually quite fun. A thought might be that you pair the children up for quiet activites each day. Maybe just 30 minutes that they have to work together to accomplish something fun. Trade off who is paired with who. She will get some great 1:1 time with each of her siblings and realize large families can be a lot of fun. I am very impressed with your energy in adding to your family. In the end, it will be so worth it for Anna to have all the siblings. The more the merrier.
Good luck, my prayers are with you.

Dr. D @ Curls and Twirls said...

So much great input from others who are walking similar roads, so I'll chime in from a different angle.

I saw a picture of Anna in a much older post on your blog when she was the only little one in the family. Her brother was holding her and she was the little sister. I remember thinking, "Wow, how her world has changed."

In a short space of time her world really has changed. She now has more siblings, more action going on in the house, much more children to share her parents with, new siblings with needs that change the family dynamic. That's alot to adjust to.

So, back to that photo. What came to my mind was, "I wonder if Anna still gets to have those quiet one on one moments with her parents and older siblings." (Not that all children don't need one on one time.)

Yes she's gained alot in having more siblings. But she's probably also lost some things, some moments, some ways of life with each new addition to the family, and she may be grieving those losses. Sometimes lots of change in a short space of time can feel like a destabilizing whirlwind to young children.

In such a case the family finds itself having to work that much harder to maintian 'constants' that are important to the child and that reassure her that even in the midst of so much change there is security.

Bless you and your beautiful family, Jean.

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

I too would like to see what others post.

The only thoughts I have about Anna are that she is likely very smart and slightly introverted.

Maybe some one on one time where both were celebrated (time with one parent doing something "hard" --making dinner and having to measure things out for you or I took Kaja to an art class-it was one-on-one and HARD (that eventually other children came as guests)) might be a good time to talk to her about her strengths in the the family.

The crying and whining to me sound like shes either tired (is she sleeping ok in the room, need to go to bed earlier than the others) or attention (In that case, you know, no attention for it and tell her why she doesn't get any and you would love to TALK to her about it when she is done)

Also, acknowledging that she might be frustrated and its understandable but she may be (with your help) needs to find a way to cope better. She is old enough and I think will be able to vocalize her frustrations pretty quickly if asked when episodes arise.

I feel like I'm preaching to the choir but those are my thoughts......and we have gone through similar things with Kaja

Wright Family said...

I have been wondering how your precious baby, Anna, was adjusting. WHile, of course, she needs to learn enough self control to stop the whining, she probably needs some more lap time with mommy, too. I wouldn't worry about the alone time she seems to need - especially if she has also been in preschool. Perhaps she will grow to be the one you find with her nose buried in a book :). I am hoping for several of those to keep the noise level down around here...Catherine

laurajonesjournal said...

I can't tell you how much PEACE I have reading all these comments today. Thanks to you Jean for throwing the question out there!!! I'm typing with a very broken and kind of angry heart over my Mimi. All the same that other's have posted. Just praying and praying and yet trying not to MAGNIFY it as the center of my life right now. The enemy would love that, to magnify it, to blow it out of whack, to get anxious and worried, to ponder all day what to do about it. I'm choosing TODAY (one day at a time) to MAGNIFY GOD, and His son JEsus, the creator and perfect organizer of my family, He has fully equipped me for this "challenge" and I will WAIT for Him to reveal His will, day by day. Choosing to be thankful and praying for HUGE patience with this very difficult child....
EVERYTHING helps me to HIM....
Thank you everyone who contributed. It was God's perfect timing as I felt so sad and alone. O how I love HIM.
Laura Jones