Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Adjustment...

How are we doing? How is the adjustment going?

Well, considering we have added 6 new family members in the last 18 months...

We are doing remarkably well!
(BTW- the pics have nothing to do with the post!)

That doesn't mean we don't have our challenges...
because we do!

I originally thought Emma and Ellie were not threatened by the addition of two blessing,
I was wrong.

Ellie has exhibited some PTSD (post traumatic stress symptoms). Her sypmtoms are minor and usually she is just fine. Sometimes I will see a blank stare, unable to answer the simplest question (especially if it involves her doing something she is not supposed to do), her speech has gone backwards big time (she was speaking as if she had marbles in her mouth- we were so surprised). Sometimes her movements are very very slow. She will be fine soon and we  can already see improvement. (Praise God)

Emma has been a bit angry lately. It is directed at me. I can tell by the way she looks at me. She is feeling like everything is unfair and somehow she is getting the bad end of all of this- it couldn't be further from the truth. She feels this way in every area of her life- school, food, clothes, etc. It is just the way she is currently perceiving things.
I do understand and know in time things will be fine
but it has made it extra challenging. 
She has gone backwards on the progress she was making at school.
I feel like sometimes she is not even trying.
She is also giving me the completely blank look.
At times she has been defiant and will do exactly what we ask her NOT to do.

I signed the children up for a homeschool gym class but I did not put Emma in it. She is unable to move  fast and when things are happening quickly she freezes. Emma is forever 4 yrs old. She doesn't understand... that she does not understand (did ya get that!) She does not see that she is different. Others do and we made the decision for safety purposes. We also made the decision to allow Sarah and Ellie the freedom to do the things they can do!

Somehow we need to teach Emma that she is loved and valued just the way she is... I'm just not sure how to go about doing that BUT that is the goal.

Ava has shed more tears over minor things lately. 
I have made the mistake of calling Abby, Ava and Ava, Abby. BIG oops! I am sure this did not help Ava's adjustment.
Abby didn't notice a thing!

Sam has been a bit more rambunctious! He's been telling a few... untruths, lately!
He has been all about the competition and winning more than usual.
He seems to feel a little threatened. At the same time he is as gentle as can be to Luke. We can tell he is thrilled to have a little brother!

Last night the tears flowed, he finally broke down and allowed me to comfort him.
In the past when we he cried and we held him- he would cry even harder.
Seems to me this boy hasn't even been comforted when he was sad in the past.
I think he didn't even know how to handle it.
So when we comforted him it made him even more sad (because for 4.5 years no one comforted him).
I was so quietly happy that he held on to me tight and in time stopped crying!

Anna and Sarah seem to be doing great! Anna has really taken Abby under her wing! She loves having a sister her age and does not seem to be threatened by her at all... unless of course she likes her outfit better! The she may negotiate a trade with her non english speaking sister!

Our house was busy but fun over the holidays! Matt and his girlfriend Caitlin came from Colorado to visit for 4 days! They brought their doggy Mei Li!
The kids loved Mei Li!

Especially Luke- who has now overcome his love/ hate feelings for doggies- it's all love now!!

Everyone has gone home now. We loved having a houseful but it is nice to return to everyday life!
God has been so kind to give us a full everyday life!

We are back at school and attempting a routine!
I just about posted after our first day- HELP SOS!!
But thank the Lord each day is getting better and better!

Luke is a dream child! He is so mild mannered! He will repeat anything we ask him to say! He joins us for school then he plays puzzles, says hello to Sarah, plays legos, plays with shapes, colors, goes with me while I heat up my coffee and then back up the stairs, sits on my lap for awhile and then returns to playing legos - he is a JOY!

He currently has zero interest in potty training! I just bought 3 potty chairs to have all throughout the house and next we will be reading books on going potty in the big potty and maybe even some videos!

We are not going to rush the process just planting a seed right now!! ;-)

I thought this was so so creative! Roller blades on the horse! They needed 2 pair! It was Sarah's idea!! I love it!!
 Go horsey, go!

We are blessed to have these two in our family!
Matt and Caitlin! 
So happy they could come home and see us!!

We will continue to put one foot in front of the other and somehow find our "new normal"!
(I may have heard that was one of the most hated new terms of the new year!)


Susie said...

Hi Jean! May I suggest the book Nurturing Adoptions by Deborah Gray? It is her follow up to Attaching in Adoption. There is some great stuff in there about PTSD, the zoning out, etc. in a child who has suffered abuse or neglect, and who has been institutionalized. Also, it is an easy and interesting read! Important if you are going to read something right now! Also, she gives you permission to skip around! Perfect for the mom interrupted by many blessings! Hopefully, Emma and Ellie will realize that while you have added more, no one has gone away! I hope by the time Johnny heads to college they can grasp what that means.

Sarah said...


It seems like you are doing wonderfully, considering all the changes in your family. You are an incredible mom!

One thing that has really helped our one child who struggled the most is a natural supplement called neuro ps. It may be something that could be helpful for Emma. It lowers cortisol levels that are usually quite high in children who have experienced trauma.

I'll be praying for you!

Sally-Girl! said...

You never cease to amaze me!!! Love you and miss you!

Janet and Kevin said...

Jean - thanks for posting such an honest and heart-tugging post. It helps to know that others go through "adjustments" in the adjusting period.

Sometimes people only write about the positive things, but we all know who have been there, that some stuff is negative for a time after coming home with a new little one. Often, it is not the new little one who is doing the negative stuff either!

Case in point - with Sophia, it was Elijah who was definitely the biggest challenge! But with God, all things are possible - even getting to a new normal!!

janet and gang

Debbie said...

Emma could really benefit from the Special Olympics. She could have special training and enjoy competing with others of similar abilities. The Minnesota website is:

Jo's Corner said...

Jean, I love reading your posts! One of my favorite blogs. But, I really feel led to respond to your comment about Emma being "forever a 4 year old". First of all, she won't be 4 forever, even in her mind. Her little spirit and heart have been broken in the past and she is stuck at an early age, due to that abuse. But, with love, she Can Heal. I can even see changes in the photos. As a Christian Mommy, I feel it's important that you "speak" the things you "want" for your children, over them. When my 3 year old niece was in CICU, near death from a heart surgery, my sister called me, sobbing and filled with fear. These are my words to her on that day, 15 years ago: "Robin, you must Speak Things that Aren't, As Though they Are, Until they Are and They WILL BE!" She went back to Brynn's bedside and laid her hands on her baby girl and began to speak LIFE and HEALING over her. She cried out to God over low oxygen rates and everything that was wrong with that tiny body. And, she began to SEE and WITNESS that HEALING Grace of our God. And, it had to come from her Mother! No one else could do that for her. Brynn Claire survived and graduated from High School last year!
Pray over Emma and Ellie and ALL of your children. Speak Healing for Emma's mind and heart. Ask Him for the things you WANT to see in her Healing. And, Believe that it will happen.
Don't even let it cross your mind, don't write words of failure. Keep your Faith! I just KNOW in my heart that Emma is going to exceed everyones expectation. Perhaps putting her in some activities with the younger children would be helpful and appropriate for awhile. She probably IS at that same level emotionally and cannot possibly respond at her real age. She just can't. But, she does need to experience those stages that she missed in order to grow into a healthy young girl. It is frustrating when a child's body size doesn't match their emotional level, but try to see that she has been damaged by her past. I wonder if her reactions are that she is expected to be 10 and act like a 10 year old, when she is really emotionally the ages of your littles. Just like you would not expect them to be doing things that Sarah and Ellie are capable of, Emma can't function the same way either. She feels more of a connection with the younger children and is frustrated at not being able to do the same things that really ARE her level. That time doesn't last long. Once she's experienced some of the things she sees the little ones doing, she will move onto more age appropriate behavior. I think she and Ellie, too probably missed out on those early childhood experiences. Please, know that this all comes from a heart of love. It is NOT about you and how you parent. You are a wonderful Mom! And, those children are Blessed to have you as a Mama. Everything I wrote comes from MY OWN experiences as a broken, damaged child. I had to re-do some experience things that I NEEDED, only at an older age. And, I did heal. I will continue to Pray for all of your family, but especially for E&E. They have a special little spot in my heart. I can't wait to watch what He is going to do in their lives.
MUCH Love to You, My Sister/Friend! ~ Jo