Thursday, July 25, 2013

525600 minutes


I can not believe I missed our anniversary of Sweetie moving in with us and becoming part of the V Family! It was last week. I have been so busy in life that I didn't even think about it. One of the biggest days of my life and I forgot to acknowledge it! I am feeling pretty rotten about that. I will have to make it up to Sweetie.
Every once in a while I dive in and reread Sweetie's records. Trying to truly understand her. It helps me to keep her actions in perspective. It reminds me of where she came from and why she does not know how to receive or give true unconditional love.

Tonight I find myself so humbled. Like rereading an intense mystery novel, I discover details that I hadn't really noticed previously. Each time I reread, I get a little more insight into what my daughter has survived.
 How strong my beautiful daughter must be to have survived for so long in such awful situations. My heart breaks for her. But I also have so much hope... As I read of past behaviors I think of how she isn't doing many of them anymore... How far my little one has come. When I look back over the last year, I see many low moments and many amazing moments. As an adoptive mom of an older child I get to experience many things biological families never get to experience. Even though times can be rough, I have found an enormous amount of love in my heart and have experienced the most amazing grace by being Sweetie's mom. My favorite moments have been the small quiet ones. Sometimes it was when she would allow me to rock her and read to her, other times it was just getting to be silly.
I mean real silly. Like wearing a mustache and driving through one of the roughest neighborhoods, waving to people and having them wave back. My absolute favorite moments are the nights she will let me tuck her in. Each time, I give her a hug and then snort and pretend I am eating her hair. She always squeals with delight and this makes my heart happy. Those are the moments of pure joy, with no agenda and they are moments when she lets her guard down, even if only for a brief moment.Those evenings are starting to spread out because she is a "teenager". But, boy will I grab that time anytime she will let me!
For the first time while reading her evaluations I did not feel dread. I felt hope When I read about lots of inappropriate behaviors that were happening on a daily basis and then I think about where Sweetie is now, my heart becomes happy! The defiant temper tantrums are so much better now. I am feeling that she is genuinely starting to care for us and beginning to let herself believe that we are the real deal and that we are here for her unconditionally.
So another 525600 minutes has passed in our lives and I find myself in in aww of everything we have survived together. Our little family has been plagued with trails, but we continue to pass through them. We find ourselves stronger on the other side of these battles. But the year was not only about trials. It was full of some amazing moments of friendship and love. God has not only blessed me with this amazing child, but he has provided me with amazing friends and amazing opportunities for her education. There have been mountains moved this past year to help Sweetie become the best Sweetie that she can be. We are loved and supported by so many wonderful people. This is something that blows me away. There are so many amazing souls in the Charlotte area.



Sunday, July 21, 2013

Calm



We have been having a good few weeks with Sweetie. She has really been making great improvements. She still has her moments of snippiness. But what teen doesn't. Overall she is really fun to have around. This weekend was a pretty busy one. Friday night we went o a baseball game with our Friends Matt & Megan. Sweetie really enjoyed that! Saturday we spent the day with Shelli and her nieces. We hit the pool, watched a movie and grilled out. Sweetie helped bake a cake and she decorated it. I wasn't really up to par this weekend, I have an awful ear infection and sinus infection. Sweetie seemed to be a bit more empathetic and even  let me sleep in both days. I am so grateful to all of our friends who have supported us and prayed for us during our journey. I believe it is God who is healing Sweetie's heart. There is no other explanation for the sudden switch last month. She has never been able to keep herself together this long. I am so proud of her. She is really trying to be better. My only concern now is her and my husband's relationship. They are so much alike. They are both waiting for the other to be the first to make a move. It gets really tiring being the buffer between them. I am not sure if this is something we will ever get worked out. This is something I have no control over, I can not change either of their feelings or behaviors.
I am feeling more confident about bringing her straight home now that she has stabilized. We are trying to get hooked up with intensive in home therapy for when she comes home. Intensive In Home Therapy is when 3 clinicians come into our home and work with us 3 times a week. They become my support if Sweetie starts to destabilize again. I am praying she doesn't
 destabilize. She is really looking forward to starting school. I can't believe how quickly this year has went. It seems like yesterday that we were school shopping for 6th grade. Where does time go?
Over all things are much calmer, I am happy and I hope it stays this way for a little while.


Sunday, July 07, 2013

Anything is Possible...Anything Can Be



During our journey to becoming a family I have found that indeed anything is possible. I have found my heart is more capable of loving than I ever imagined. I have found that I am stronger than I ever believed I could be. But more than I anything I have found that amongst the chaos and pain I have found an incredible grace and peace. Loving my Sweetie is difficult many times, but I find that I can still love her. Even when she doesn't believe she is lovable, I find her more deserving of my love. I have yet to meet anyone, including many professionals that has been able to say "yes I could do that". Most are quite the opposite saying that they couldn't do it and don't know how I do. I will let you in on a secret, I don't know how I do it, all I can say is that I am not the one doing it. I can only give credit to God for getting us all through each day. Most days I feel like the biggest failure of a mom, but I keep on trying.
Sweetie is still doing better. It is still very difficult, but she is not having the major tantrums right now. 
She was home for the last 4 days. Her longest stay since she went to PRTF in February. It was exhausting. She wakes up at 6 am and the minute she is up she will make sure everyone else is up. She does this by slamming doors. Thursday am when I couldn't take it anymore at 6:30am, I came out of my room and just said "that is so not cool" Sweetie proceeds to try to argue with me and tell me I am hearing things and lying. Then she starts crying. This was the kick off to my 4th of July. She had 2 more what I call mini tantrums before 8:15 am. They are much shorter in duration,which is progress. 
Over all the 4th went fairly well, but mostly because I just let Sweetie do what ever she wanted to do, just to keep the peace. The nonsense questions and chatter has really become nonstop. Most of it about shopping. She is obsessed with asking for us to purchase her things. It is the only thing she will talk about. And I am serious about it being the only thing. My uncle came from NY and she asked before he got here if she could ask him to take her shopping. I begged her not to ask him for anything and then she badgered him for 2 days asking for money. She asked me today to take her shopping with the money he gave her and I told her that I didn't agree with how she got the money, so I would not support her in spending it. Her response was "what the heck am I suppose to do with it?". I just responded "I don't know". I feel so mean being like that, but I can't condone it either. It is not like she doesn't already have us buying her things often. The picture above is of the new bedding she just got this week, In addition to new shoes and accessories. She is like a typical teen with her always wanting things and is already looking at the next purchase before the first is even cashed out.  Her sense of entitlement is insane. She believes and vocalizes that she should have better things than me, that she deserves it. I laugh at her when she says stuff like that and say ok, but it is scary to me. I fear for her as an adult, looking to fill the hole in her heart with items will lead nowhere. I am trying my best to show her real love and God's love is the only things that can fill that void. I try to show her how giving to others is more fulfilling than purchasing material things. This is hard for any early teen to comprehend, let alone one who has suffered as she has. I want to give her everything she wants, but I can't because it will only fuel the sickness. I am working on fulfilling her needs. The needs she can not even see. 
I am trying to create memories with her. Usually as things are happening she appears very unhappy, usually complaining. But later when telling someone else about them she brags how awesome it was. I guess it is good that her memories of these events are good even if she is not experiencing joy in the moments. Uncle Bill took us to a very nice restaurant.  Sweetie was able to get all dressed up, which she loved! She really enjoys wearing semi formal dresses. She beams when she does, you can see that she feels beautiful. I love that about her. Overall she did well there. We still have to work on her manners still, but she tried hard. I think this was a good experience for her to see what Cris and I are talking about, when we discuss using utensils. I have to remind myself this is the kid who was eating with her hands a few months ago. So, I give her credit for attempting to use her knife.  I am grateful for these small victories! 
On the baby front: 
I received an email from the baby's social worker that the foster family love him and want to peruse adopting him. That they will do what ever they have to in order to adopt him. All along I have said this was God's decision. I have had the paperwork ready to submit for our home study for over a month now, but I just couldn't submit it. I don't know why, it just didn't feel right. Once I heard that the foster family loved him and would do anything for him, I knew what we had to do. But I thought convincing my husband would be harder. He was in love with the idea of bringing the baby home. I had not seen him that hopeful since baby Leah was here. I have to admit it was nice to see him smile when talking about the baby. But thinking of baby Leah brought me back to the complete heartbreak I felt when we lost her. A pain, I can still feel in my chest to this day. The day we lost her, I feel as if I piece of my heart was removed. There is no way I could intentionally inflict that kind of misery on anyone. I prayed for God to help me make the right choice. The selfish part of me felt that this could be our only chance to have a baby. With Savannah, no one would approve us to bring another baby into the home, but they would a relative. If we wait until she is out of the house we will be in our kid 40's and that would be more difficult with a baby. But I kept coming back to that ache of losing Leah. I know this is normally something about me that drives my husband crazy. I am always putting everyone else above myself. But this time amazingly he agreed. There was no argument. We agreed as long as the bay would be safe and loved that we would be happy for him. We shared this news with the babies social worker and asked her to ask the foster family if they would mind contact. I received her email and sent her the first message. I had no idea what to expect. Mostly I was thinking I would not get any response. But I did get a response and it melted my heart. This baby is what this family has been praying for. We became friends on Facebook and I could go back and see post that were just like the ones I had written about Leah. I know now that we have made the right choice. I feel happy that he is where he belongs, he is with his family. And in a way, our family has grown again. So, I have found that anything is possible, anything can be.