Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A Rough Patch

I had written a post about the orphanage behaviors that we were seeing at our house.
I deleted it because it just didn't feel right.
Melissa and Madeline are doing very well in their adjustment to life with our family.
I am so thankful for that!

And Mia...
She is also content and fine
 every once in awhile I see a red flag.
At first I thought I was imagining it and everything was completely fine.

Now I don't think I am imagining it.
I think I am seeing some things that need tending too.

I have always been honest in my blog so I will share them with you.
And we will be actively dealing with our few issues that are causing some red flags for this Momma.
I will also be asking for prayers because I know nothing is too big for our Lord and HE will be able to get us back on track!

We are seeing a few things in Mia that need to be worked on-
She is quite sneaky and little things have happened that I have not witnessed.
BUT something inside of me said
Something is wrong...

With the number of children we have I am not with everyone all the time.
Although I am ALWAYS with somebody!

She is calling the other children unkind names in Chinese
She often inadvertently(maybe) pushes someone.
She has been pulling down other children's pants (to be funny- BUT it's NOT funny)
She is yelling at the other children in a very loud and bossy manor (I hear her from the other room but she never does it in the same room that I am in)
She is taking other children's Easter candy without asking (stealing)
When asked about it... she is lying.
( she did confess after I told her I knew she did it)
Taking food from other plates and then giving them a cute little smile after (NOT OKAY)
Telling a child she likes them, getting what she wants and then telling them she doesn't like them.
She is encouraging the other children to make poor choices.
She has taken advantage of others who are cognitively impaired and unable to say no.
She has been "kind of, sort of" bullying the other children.

And then, there is the extreme control issues.
It is undercover...
like she is actually helping out...
BUT that's not really what it is.
She is trying to control her environment and her new family so she doesn't really have to bond with us. She is trying to maintain her independence...

Does she had RAD?
No, it is much too early to label or diagnose her behavior.
Could she have RAD?
Maybe... time will tell?
We are going to do everything that we can do to steer her in the direction of bonding and attaching to us and a "real" way.

We have our work cut out for us- that's where you come in!
Pray, Pray, Please Pray
for us and for her!

I need to keep her very very close most of the time (actually all of the time, if I can).
She will be only allowed to help us when we assign her a task.
We're going to brush her teeth, comb her hair and pick out her clothes and pajamas.
We will specifically serve her food to her, sit next to her and watch her much more closely in the kitchen and everywhere else.

She is very sly and has learned a lot of unhealthy behaviors in the orphanage. 
She has learned to disappear in our home.
And she has learned to negatively influence others that would normally make good choices.
And that my friends will 
(FYI- I am not really as tough as I talk- so please pray)

I have been fooled...
When confronted, she has an awesome surprised look...
It is so convincing that you yourself, would second guess what you had just said...
You would think, naw... she didn't do that?

She also shows a tender spirit but if you heard her yell you would not think it could be the same person.

Mia is a child that has come from a very hard place. 
She spent many years in a very tough poor orphanage.
She never had an opportunity to experience family life (in a foster setting).
She doesn't even understand that what she is doing is wrong (well, she may understand that some of it was wrong but not all of it.)
So we will teach her!

With some of our adoptions we have been able to immerse the child right into our family and have not needed to spend the extra time and effort to integrate. The child has just naturally fit into our home and family. Love was easy...
I do have the support and counsel of other families that have been through older child adoption challenges- so that is very good and helpful!
And we will seek more help if necessary.

I do realize that Mia came home to a house full of Chinese children. To her, we may look like an orphanage BUT we are NOT.
We are a family
 Melissa and Madeline have made a beautiful transition despite the language issue and despite Mia's behavior.

Mia deserves our time, effort and love.
And that is exactly what she will get (while being watched like a hawk).

Actually, our other children deserve that too!
So they can live in a peaceful, safe, loving home!

We have work to do
she has work to do!


kristine barr said...

Praying and hoping she catches on quickly.

Sally-Girl! said...

And together with Him and all of us praying for you she will overcome!!!

Sounds like you are doing all the right things and headed in the right direction!!

She needs an invisible leash for a while!

Loving you!

Sarah said...

Oh, sweet girl...I will be praying! God is so much bigger and He loves her beyond compare. He will not give up on this precious girl. And I'm so glad that she has your family to guide and encourage her.

Angie said...

Sounds like you "hit the nail on the head." Keeping her close will allow you to watch her, teach her, and love on her, too. You're doing a great job!

blstmama11 said...

Prayers for you all! So glad God brought Mia to you. She is so precious. ~ Denee

Chris said...

mamas can just get the right feel of things, sometimes it takes awhile to actually figure out what is bothering you...prayers while you keep the same one close all the time...not necessarily fun.

Rebecca said...

Praying for you...

Mama Ds Dozen said...

Thanks for your honesty and transparency.

Pray . . . I can do. :)

Have any of your other kids had symptoms of RAD? I am always amazed that you can adopt so many with such seemingly smooth transitions. (We adopted 3 older children, and 2 were over-the-top HARD.)

Hugs & Prayers!

mama of 12

laurajonesjournal said...

jean, thanks for sharing! sign me up as a member of Mia's pray team. She's on my list!
It's so helpful to read your post, thank you for being so honest.
praying for all!

Sue said...

I will pray for Mia and the rest of you. Eventhough Erin didnt/doesn't exhibit some of the same behaviors as Mia is, we went through and they still pop up at times behaviors that aren't accepted. I have complete confidence that you will make it work and that Mia will learn what it truly means to be in an an family.

Alison @ said...

Praying for you and your sweet family. Much love to you!

likeschocolate said...

So so sorry! I will definately pray that this little girl knows she is loved, that she is a part of a family, and that her behavior is disruptive and that she needs to treat her family members with kindness.

LaRita said...

Sorry to say we may be paddling the same boat! My sweet Victoria also came from a very difficult orphanage and foster care. We have quite a time with the "borrowing" of items, lying and sneaking about. She also is very helpful when it serves her but at other times is very careless with her belongings and environment. She's been home almost 6 months now and things are improving; slowly but improving. I do get tired of hearing my own voice in constant corrections but I know we are making good progress. Hang in there and know I will pray daily for you and your family but especially for Mia to learn to relax in the love of her family!

KO said...

Good for you for talking about the hard side of adoption. We have 1 of 3 with Trauma Disorder, and it is hard. We found lots of support from Heather Forbes (Beyond Consequences). We will pray for you and all families with kids from hard places.

Debbie said...

One of our two little ones has had attachment difficulties. We had a few consultations with a therapist specializing in this just to make sure we were on the right track. Keeping her close is great, but the right attitude has done amazing things for us. The attitude is called PACE and it comes from Daniel Hughes, Creating Loving Attachments. It's the model our therapist recommended. Our daughter's name is Mia too!

Praying for you guys!

Tesseraemum said...

Praying! She is such a smart, tough cookie. It has served her well and some of those traits will serve her well in adulthood but she so deserves to be a kid right now! Praying the Lord softens her spirit and does a good work in her!

Jennifer P said...

Half the battle is recognizing there is work to be done, no?

We have one that was in foster care and one that wasn't (in China). I keep telling my other kids that we cannot discipline the child who only know orphanage life the same way, because she has no frame of reference.

The power or prayer, indeed!

Susan A said...

Chuck and I prayed that the Lord will continually lead you by His holy Spirit, giving you discernment and wisdom as every situation arises, for only He knows the right answer, only He knows her heart... praying that Mia will end up mature, wise, loving, and generous, truly from her heart, inside to out :)

Sammie said...

I am so gald you are talking about this. I have two adopted kids with significant behavior issues. I personally prefer not to use the term RAD, what I see again and again is trauma. That a history of truama and neglect creates many problems for our kids. (you can call it RAD but its really about the beahvior and the challengs that you see in these kids). My own feeling is that when a child gets called/labeled with RAD it becomes hopeless and parents can feel like giving up. when you view it as trauma, then there is room for seeing that its really is a reaction to very difficult things that have happend to this child. The wiring in their brain does not develop as it should and it takes many, many repetitons of postive things happening to begin to change that brain wireing.

When you describe Mia I totaly see the ill pre pared Aya's who have to many kids to mange and no understanding of the needs of young children.(she mimics them when you hear her yelling in mean sounding Chinese). I see to many kids and not enough resources and kids doing what they have to do and piting one against another to find ways to meet their needs. She toatly is a reflection of those difficult places that she grew up in.(again I know you understand this, but sadly, not all parents are able to see this).

I find it also helpful to not view taking things as "stealing" or calling it "lying" when a child does not tell the truth. If a child does not have the wiring in the brain and the impluse control then when they see something they want they will take it. There is no thougt in their brain that this is stealing. Its survival for them and it does not go away just because they move into a save and loving home. (I know you understand this). That brain wireing stays with them and takes a great deal of work and time to help that childs brain begin to rewire. Mia's behavior is showing you exactly how she was treated and what she had to do to survive. What is hardest for us, as the paents of these kids, is to change how we parent them. They will not respond to traditonal styles of parenting and need to be approached in very different ways. It is hard, and it takes a lot of work on everyones part. My best advice to you, is to get lots of self care, and as you have mentioned, lots of communicating with other parents who have kids who come from truama backgrounds.

I'm so glad you see the good parts about her. That is what will help you get through the really hard days when those good parts are not so apparent. What I have found in parenting my oldest who was adopted at age 6 and is now 17, is that its me that has changed the most. We still have some hard days, but he has come so far and continues to make progress. In additon to the beahvior chllenges,he has had to struggle a lot with significant learning disabilities. When kids are negelcted and abused it can also impact how their brain develops in many areas and can impact how they learn. My son has very severe ADHD that medicaiton has helped immensly. He has also needed medication for anxiety. I find with kids from hard palces that it needs to be addressed at many different levals and for some of our kids it means they will need medicaitons to help them to be able to do and be their best.

There are some great links to resources that have helped me that I will send you later when I have time.

Thank you for being honest and for sharing your walk with all of your kids.

adoption journey said...

As my husband recently reminded me when I was having a bad day with one of our kiddos (adopted at age almost 14)...we can't UNDO their past. We might not be able to fix or erase their trauma and/or the way they react to things. We can only learn how to deal with the child's behaviors

Julie said...

Might I suggest a book? Empowered to connect. I love even the title of it because it's about empowering these kiddos to feel safe enough to connect. Good news: She is bright and catches on to how to work the system quickly. Now she just needs to use all of that energy for her real benefit and not momentary benefit. Praying!!

Wendy said...

Thanks for sharing Jean. These difficult behaviors are the same behaviors that allowed her to grow in an orphanage setting. She just needs to know it is not necessary anymore. It took my daughter about 4 years to realize this and now it is smooth sailing. It sounds simple enough but it is certainly not. It is nice to know that we are not alone. For the longest time, all I heard were the positive side of adoption and I thought I was the only one who had challenges. A blog such as yours is so helpful to so many. Again, thank you for sharing. Also about does not matter what it is called, it is about changing the behavior which happens when the child feels secure in knowing they are not going to be rejected again. Again, easier said than done.

Vicky said...

I too witnessed that sneaky behavior from my child from this same orphanage! Thankfully it didn't last long!

I will keep you and Mia in my prayers

Janet said...

We have one of these=). She is the only one of my 8 kids that I cannot "read" and know if she is realy lying, or at fault for a problem. It takes time! You're doing a great job. Slow and steady, like the turtle=), is what it takes.

Amanda said...

Jean, I believe in Mia. I saw a light behind those beautiful eyes of hers, and I am praying God will heal her scars and give her peace. Praying for strength for you!

Judy Deaton said...

Praying! Hard days, hang in there:)

Hanna said...

Praying for you all!

LisaE. said...

The scariest part about adopting an older child. It's the reason we chose not to for so long. Well, that and God hadn't called us to parent an older child yet. We have heard some many good things about Min but also know that even though she was with her family until she was almost 8, she's still been in an orphanage for almost 6 years. It's scary but I like to be prepared and I so appreciate your sharing truthfully. I'm praying for Mia and your whole family.

Sammy said...

James Dobson says if you have very many children you will get a "strong willed" child. I found that true with adopted kids too. Out of 10 (so far) I only had one like that. One thing Dobson says and I think is so true is they LOVE to get a raise out of you. My best advice is while you're correcting her, not to let her see she is getting to you because they do get to you. : - )

BethFlanders said...

our daughter was in that environment too. She is sneaky, but as Sammie said- it is survival behavior...akin to lord of the sad, but will take some time to re-wire. The id behavior that I see in Kerry is softening. Her sweet side is real and she wants to be nurtured. I too believe in Mia and am sad that she waited so long. Having an 11 yr old from Huainan who came home at 11 months makes me realize what these girls have truly missed. She is doing so incredibly well! But it is a tricky balance especially when they try to corrupt the files- you sure don't want the whole system to crash. I can't imagine what must be happening in her mind as she tries to understand how a family truly works and how much she is loved. I will pray that our God who is love will wrap Himself around her and that the seeds you are planting will grow this spring and the fruit of your hard work and love and wisdom will bring a wonderful harvest for you all. Sorry for the symbolism, but it seems fitting. I am glad that God has chosen parents like all of you that have commented for the road less traveled. I can see why. lol. Beth

The Taylor family said...

Praying for you all. We are 2 years into the bonding and healing process with our daughter. she came home at 11 1/2. It has been a tough road, but we are seeing some really good things the past 6 months.

It sounds like you are handling things the right way. Keep her close and guard the little ones. The manipulative skills the older children have developed are no match for their younger siblings. And please don't hesitate to get help if you all need it.

We started Kira in trauma therapy about 5 months ago. We needed help. She has made really good progress, but there are some things that are just a part of who she is, and they are most likely not going to change.

But we have faith that God can heal, restore and we are seeing signs of that more and more.