Thursday, July 26, 2012

Big Week

This week has just flown by! Overall it has been a good week. We are still adjusting to life as a family. Getting used to driving Sweetie to Kim's each morning before work and then picking her up again has been the biggest adjustment. This has been made a bit easier with awesome friends like Antoinette and Amy making us meals! These have been lifesavers. The time that I would normally be cooking, I can spend doing things with Sweetie.

 We had some big milestones in our adoption journey. We had been looking for someone to notarize our Adoption Petition and Sweetie's Consent for Adoption, however we had been unsuccessful. We had finally just come to realization that we would have to just go to a bank and do it. I wanted it to more special than that. Than I received a message on Facebook from Kim that someone I had meet through SPAFA had contacted her and offered to do it. So I contacted Linda on Facebook and she wrote back that she could come right now! WOW!!! So I made some quick calls to get witnesses. At almost 9 at night Linda as well as my neighbors Amy and Joe came over to be our witnesses. I feel so fortunate to have people in our lives that we can call at night, who will drop what ever it is that they are doing to be a part of our journey. It was so nice to be able to stand around our kitchen table while each person signed.

The next night we had our first post adoption visit with Erin from the Nathanson Adoption Agency! She was Awesome!!! She gets Sweetie's special needs and really made us feel at ease. Sweetie was a bit quiet and rough with her answering at first, but quickly warmed up. I am sure having a social worker in the house brought up all kinds of bad feelings. Another time there has been one in her home in the past was not for good things. Erin confirmed with me that we were handling Sweetie exactly how we should and she seemed very pleased with us as parents. Just 2 more visits with her and we are good to go! We are scheduled for our 2nd visit August 22nd. Right before school starts.

The next day, Sweetie was having a rough time. I think that her big feelings of fear were starting to surface. She told Cris that I lied to her and tricked her into signing her Consent for Adoption. Part of me was hurt by this, but I understand that she sometimes only pays attention to parts of sentences and creates "realities" around that fragment of a sentence. I handled this by putting her consent and our petition in an addressed, stamped envelope and giving it to her to mail when she felt ready. Today while she was with Kim, they went to a mailbox where she mailed put it in the mailbox herself. Which is what she is doing in the above picture :)
She then went to an art class today where she did a beautiful VanGogh copy. Sweetie is very talented in the arts. She can draw, paint and is musically inclined.

 Sweetie has been starting to eat better. She is now up to 75 pounds from 69 pounds and she is super excited about this, as am I! Ideal weight is 81-91 pounds for her height. So we are almost there. Her appetite is suppressed by the medications she takes, so finding creative ways to get good calories in has been tricky, but we are doing.

Again, I sit here amazed by the support we are receiving. My dear friend Kim, who I swear is a saint has been so wonderful and has been taking great care of Sweetie during work days. Some adoptive parents from church have reached out to me.It is just so amazing how many people have touched our lives through out this journey! We are truly blessed.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Week One

What a week... I am completely exhausted. Lots of good moments and some not so good ones. 
Last Saturday Cris & I got up at 3 am and drove 19 hours round trip to bring Sweetie home. 
After 18 months the day was here! I was excited but anxious. Not knowing what we would be walking into. I knew that this was going to be difficult on Sweetie. I can not imagine how difficult it must have been on her to leave Ms. T, her Fostermom. To see Sweetie breakdown when we were leaving was heartbreaking. Overall the trip home was pretty good. Considering she had to spend so much time in the car, she did well. 
Unfortunately, I was unable to take any time off and that meant we had to jump right into a routine.
I am not sure if it is a good thing or not. I have been really blessed that my friend K has really been awesome and is watching Sweetie during the week while I am at work. Sweetie has really enjoyed going there during the day. She hangs out with K's daughter and has a lot of fun! I am glad because when she comes home she is absolutely miserable. She has so many big feelings and doesn't know how to deal with them, so they come out as anger. Anger directed at the person closest to het and that is usually mom. This is the stuff they don't tell you about in MAPP class. If it wasn't for my friendship with K, I would have never been prepared for this last week. 
I know I have a following of people who are behind us in the adoption process and I really want to stress to you to take this time to read and listen to cd's about trauma and loss, love and logic parenting and anything else you can get your hands on to prepare! A great resource is the Utah Adoption Exchange Lending Library. They lend out 3 books, cd's or videos of all kinds of adoption resources at a time for no charge. They survive solely on donations.  I prefer the cd's,I listen in my car to and from work. These resources have prepared me for what we would be facing and given me the tools I would need to handle everything calmly which is the most important thing. 
Children who come from trauma have many different issues, things you don't even think about like sensory issues. Temperature, Noises and just saying no can send them into a complete downward spiral. 
The closer they feel to you the more they push away. It is a hard road...but one that we are committed to. 
Wednesday we have our first post adoption visit with a social worker. I have been working to get Sweeties medical benefits switched to NC all week. Friday I was told 45 days. This is unacceptable. She needs weekly therapy and her medications are hundreds of dollars each. So, I will do what I do and work until I get this fixed too. It is so frustrating that everything in the system takes so long. We are going to get our adoption paperwork notarize this weekso we can get it in. I will try to continue to update my blog as much as I can, but free time is almost nonexistent. 

I can't end this on a bad note... so I will share what I did this am to lighten the mood some. While making breakfast this am, instead of cracking the egg of the side of the bowl, I used my head getting egg everywhere. Sweetie absolutely loved this. It was the firsttime all week she just laughed. That made me happy :)  

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Mom Jeans

2 days and I am a mom! I can't believe it is finally here. 18 months, 15,000 views on my blog and more paperwork than I ever imagined we are finally here! So, I have one I now I have to start wearing mom jeans? haha
Seriously though, I have been a nervous wreck...I hate to open my email or look at my phone for fear that I might get a call or email that says "oops...we made a mistake, it's not going to happen". 

What an amazingly insane journey. As many times as I wish that things would move quicker, I know in all my heart that things happened as they should. If one thing happened sooner we would not be here with Sweetie.

I know the next few weeks...more likely months will be complete chaos as we try to adjust to having a tween in the house. I have never been so scared in my life as I am now... seriously, I have run into burning buildings and jumped into cars that have been wrecked while they extricated patients... and that all seems easy compared to what we are facing. We are going to have to become "therapeutic parents". Which is what I have been educating myself on for the last 18 months.
Sweetie has some special needs and will need a special form of parenting. Here is one of my favorite videos to show the style of parenting I am going to be using. I have been using it with her and it has worked :)
This is something I would like those of you who will be an active part of our lives to watch, in hopes that you may understand why I do something that may seem weird with Sweetie. Due to the trauma that Sweetie experienced during the first 12 years of her life she has developed what they call Reactive Attachment Disorder.
Here are some facts about children with RAD
  • RAD children, those having attachment problems, simply do not trust you to keep them feeling safe. Even though you give them a safe place in which to live, they still expect something “bad” to happen to them like it did when they were younger. Or,unconsciously, they don't really believe you're going to keep them and not send them away.
  • A parent’s angry voice reminds them of earlier times when an angry voice sometimes meant they would be physically hurt, and/or neglected.
  • When children having attachment problems become upset, they lose their ability to think rationally because they unconsciously and immediately regress emotionally to a younger age somewhere between the ages of one to three. They're not able to understand anything you say because they're not feeling safe. Have you ever tried to reason with a two year old who’s upset and/or angry?
  • Because of earlier life experiences, many of these children decided they could only count on themselves for survival. They became their own inner parent. If this is so, why should they count on you?
  • Because they need to feel they’re in control in order to feel safe, they play lots of unconscious mind games with unsuspecting parents so they can feel bigger and stronger. These games can be very subtle to the untrained eyes and ears.
  • They have an over all unconscious belief about themselves that says they are not worth loving and they are not important. They therefore unknowingly, create situations which can be extremely annoying and frustrating to parents, thus proving this belief about themselves is true.
  • When they’re sent to their rooms for a time-out, it can often be a relief. Or, they become angry at you for abandoning them instead of looking at what they did to be sent to their room in the first place. Hence, they don’t learn anything from the experience and will repeat the negative behavior again and again and again…. 

I am hoping knowing these things may give you some insight into the difficulties that Sweetie will be battling with...most of it on a subconscious level. Unfortunately her trauma is still going on. Yes, she now has a "Forever Family", and we are ecstatic that she will finally be here with us. But my heart hurts for her that she will be suffering another loss this Saturday. She will have to say good bye to yet another family and move 8 hours away from everything she knows to live with a family that she has only spent 13 days with. No matter how many times we tell her we are her family, time is the only thing that will prove it to her. And sadly she may never truly believe that we won't abandon her.

This brings me to another topic that is touchy for her. She doesn't want anyone to know she is adopted.
Now, you and I know that people are going to notice that we all of a sudden have a 12 year old. But I would ask that those of you who know us respect her wishes and not bring up the fact that she is being adopted. No comments about how lucky she is that we picked her or anything like that. For so many years she has been the "Foster Kid" which comes with a lot of prejudice. She just wants to be a normal kid and doesn't want to be different anymore.

I appreciate you respecting her wishes and I am so grateful for all the support you all have shown us over that last year and a half. Love to you all!