Friday, April 5, 2013

Two Days Later...

Older child adoption is such an adventure and an extremely interesting journey.
I know that many of these behaviors we are seeing are to be expected but I always hope they do not appear.

Seeing an older child transform into a lovely family member is probably one of the most gratifying experiences in the world (okay IMO).
It's so worth the "trouble" and all the hard work.
However, not every older child adoption turns out they way the family has hoped and planned.
We feel confident that from what we have seen and how she reacts to us that she will adjust and acclimate just fine with time.

I truly believe that Mia is going to be an awesome daughter.
We have a lot of rough edges to smooth out and it will take some time.
She has a lot to learn and she has a lot of history she has to overcome.

While in China-
I was a little concerned.
After all... 
she didn't like us.
I prayed about it, a lot.
I was eager to get her on my own turf so we could begin the healing and bonding process.
Once home Mia did make good progress and it has been very encouraging.
Most of the behaviors we are seeing are to be expected.

While in China the Lord gave me a dream.
Mia was sitting on the ledge of the tub and we were talking.
She was speaking perfect English and explaining something to me. We were laughing and having a wonderful discussion. She was older, maybe about 16-20 yrs or so. She did not have bangs and her hair was wrapped up in a lose bun on top of her head.
She was delightful and her spirit radiated.
I knew I loved her deeply in that dream.
I believe that the Lord was encouraging me and that dream was a snippet of what is to come.
After I had the big talk with Mia (through g**gle translate and with Sarah's help to make sure it was translating accurately), Mia made some big changes.
She was really trying hard.
She was with me all the time and guess what?
I think she actually liked it.
I really think she likes us... a lot.
I think she wants more of our time and attention.
She ate it up!
She didn't fight it for a second!

I was surprised!
She liked it when I picked out her clothes, too!
And when I sat next to her at dinner and breakfast the next day!

This little challenge has been on my mind and after thinking about it I realized
 I may have pushed her away, a little.
The more orphanage behavior she showed, the more I needed a break from her.
And the more I needed a break from her, the more she tried to please me 
and began to take over everything that I usually do.
One morning she had everything set up for breakfast- with 11 children and one Momma that is quite a task.
I felt smothered and not in control so I did not view it as a positive thing. 
I said a half hearted "thank you" but that was it... 
(trying to control the environment is common for adoptees)

I also felt like I was walking on eggshells.
What if I corrected her and she didn't obey or became mad about the correction.
We might be right back to square one?

I know now and I knew then, too.
I need to speak up. 
I need to be the fearless leader throughout the day.
I am "the Mom".
They need to know someone competent and loving is caring for them.
(I think I just took a little mental siesta!)

Now today,
 a few behaviors are creeping back in.
After all, one can only be well behaved 
for so long...

They children were outside and Mia thought she should teach Emma how to ride a bike.
I stopped them before Emma went speeding down the driveway and got hurt.
Then Mia decided she would like to throw the ball and have Emma "fetch" it for her.
(she saw Sarah and Ava play fetch with the dogs)
Ummm, no Emma will not be fetching the ball, Mia...
You go ahead and run after it!

It took Mia every ounce of strength she had to not steal a french fry or three from a sibling at McD's today and she was quite put out when I gave Sam one extra nugget.

But this...
 is nothing...
This is all normal behavior for a new older adoptee.
Sarah did all of this and more, some 4.5 years ago!

Mia has not presented one "new" challenge since we have been home.

I had Mia sit with Sarah and I during our reading time.
She was snuggled up next to me and sat through the last 40 pages of Caleb (from Sarah Plain and Tall). She sat quietly and then had to watch me closely as I got teary in the end. After that I gave both of the girls a big hug before sending them on their way to play.
and the time together even though she couldn't understand a word of what we were reading.

The one behavior that I cannot tolerate for a moment is
the bullying of another child.
So I will continue to pray for her, watch her closely,
with frequent reminders and corrections
while maintaining my sense of humor!
Sounds like a good plan to me!

We so appreciate your prayers and ask that you keep sending them our way!   
I can hear her loud low voice yelling something-
 gotta go!


Jennifer P said...

Love your vision. And your perspective. Can you share some of that sense of humor? I think that is the hardest part with older kids.

Sarah said...

You are the perfect mama for this precious little girl!!!

Wendy said...

How awesome! Reminds me of when my daughter came home. Her behaviors sound so similar and I was so putout and tired from it but I, too, persevered and prayed and things are just fine now. Good luck!!

thesleepyknitter said...

Wonderful post! You are doing a great job with Mia and all your other little treasures. I love your dream about Mia!

Jboo said...

You are a wise and wonderful woman full of sweetness and love. Will keep you all in my prayers. Bless your hearts!

Yvette said...

Love this

Wright Family said...

She reminds me of one of mine - a child who always has a new (in her mind 'good') idea. Other kids are so drawn to her because of it. Unfortunately, her judgment is lacking. I find myself saying over and over, 'Please just do what you Know You Are Supposed To Do. Do not get any ideas of your own !' .....She usually means well and I am growing to love her. But she can drive me crazy.

Karen Twombly said...

I was encouraged by your description of them needing a "leader". There are times I have caught myself drawing away from a struggling child too. Sometimes it is just very emotional exhausting. I pray every day that I will display the fruits of the Spirit.
Thank you for writing!
Karen T.

Sharon said...

I love the dream the Lord gave you! He has given you hope and vision for her/your futures... to hold you steady in the times you don't see this reality. Although we have adopted young ones, I love to read your parenting experiences and wisdom. You are such a blessing to share with us your struggles and your insight.

Karin said...

I will be praying for you and Mia. I love that the Lord gave you that dream to spur you on and give you HOPE! He is so good--and will help you and give you the wisdom you need. It sounds like He has already given you tons of wisdom and perspective! He is so good!

Donna S said...

Keep up the good work!! It can make for some LONG days for sure. Take some time outs for yourself if possible. Prayers for you and your sweet family.

Sammy said...

I know they are all different and some really do have lots more "issues" than others, but I think everyone should watch their "older" adopted kids closely the first few months. I think most of them come playing a little too rough or don't really know how to be as nice as they should be. I guess it is orphanage survival and they just have to be taught. At least that is what I've seen.