Thursday, November 29, 2012

New Family Development

It's been a very ugly day in our house, the ugliest so far. I'm going to lay it on the table for the world to read so you see another example of the realities of older child adoption and the challenges it means to parenting kids like this.

Many items have been disappearing around the house lately, mostly small, or inexpensive, and others more, like a thumb drive and a P.O. Box key. The rate of disappearance has dramatically increased in the last month.

Do not blame Blossom. Sissy is the culprit. But what makes this so bad is that she set Blossom up to take the rap for it. How she could stand there and let that child take the punishment is beyond me, but the very first instance, in Blossom's first month here, sticks in my mind because I never quite believed Sissy. Today, Sissy enjoyed kung fu while Blossom sat out in the car, all the while knowing that Blossom was innocent.

If this wasn't bad enough, all of this was making it hard for Blossom to fit into the family and feel like she belongs.

Sissy's reason for these actions: She was angry at me. The most recent reason for her anger is that I've tried to get her to stop scratching her legs at night. Her skin is fine, but she was getting bug bites from leaving the window open at night. She scratched herself bloody and raw in places. Today's incident was because I threatened to remove her earrings for the same reason...She keeps scratching them and her ears are now red and swollen and look infected.

What complicates the matter is that Blossom trips her own story up. One minute she's admitting her guilt and describing what she did, and the next says she didn't do it.

This explains so many things to me. For example, Blossom is more physically affectionate than Sissy. Blossom seems to be trying very hard and sounds very sincere when she apologizes. Blossom is kinder to Jie Jie. Blossom is simply, a lot more likable than Sissy. Blossom is a people-person and Sissy is all about herself and her needs.

Other improvements in Blossom: She looks me in the eye all the time now, unless she's having a hard time understanding her feelings and is heading for a meltdown. She wants to sleep in my bed, even if it's for a little while. She's given me a few kisses. Sissy has given me one, and I had to teach her how, but she is starting to come to me for hugs once in a long while. Blossom thinks all the time. Her brain is never quiet.

I've been in contact with other moms with children from Sissy's orphanage and the problems are quite similar in all of them. The first thing we all agree on is that these kids are spoiled brats. I know that seems like a harsh term to use for orphans, but in this case it does seem to be the truth. Like most institutionally raised children, Sissy doesn't have any empathy for others. At all.

I still believe what I said in an earlier post that it's a blessing that Blossom came to our family because Sissy would have succeeded in hiding a lot of these behaviors from me for a very long time and I would have found out way too late to help her work on being a better person. Blossom's arrival did not make Sissy behave this way - remember, she was terrible in China.

Now that I have discovered what has been going on, I can work with Blossom in a whole different way that should help her feel more loved and part of this family. She gets her birthday toys returned tomorrow for something she did do - put the toothpaste down the toilet again. No harm to the toilet, I now put it into tiny paper cups.

Fair is fair, though, right? Blossom lost a few days of playing with her toys, so I took back Sissy's presents, including her earrings, which I took right out of her ears. I explained to her that I am helping her and helping her and she doesn't get it. I tell her not to scratch to prevent her from injuring herself or getting an infection. I went over this several times. Then, I decided to give her back her earrings under new conditions. She had to put them in herself, which was hard because it's only been one week since they were pierced. She also has to take complete care of them, but that if I see them infected or all scratched up, she must the earrings out for good and let them heal up. She readily agreed to the conditions then tried to put the earrings back in. The only thing I did was soak them in alcohol first. One wasn't too hard, but the other one was. She whined at me to help her and I used her own system and said, "No. If I help you, you'll be angry with me and I don't want that. I tried to help you protect your skin by telling you not to scratch and you go so angry at me that you stole my belongings and destroyed them, so I'm afraid to help you now." The look on her face was priceless! She whined a lot more, but finally did it, on her own.


Anonymous said...

Huge progress to find out the truth. Sometimes the truth is surprising. I am glad you know the truth so you can implement some new strategies. You are amazing. Good work Mama!

Almond Tea said...

Some considerations, K. Sissy might be allergic to the posts in her earrings. I have to have at least 14k gold posts or my earlobes will swell up, and puss (I know, gross.) Surgical steel isn't enough. Only gold posts will do. The other thing which is common with Asians, is allergies to insect bites. If I get bitten by a flea or mosquito, my bug bites will swell to the size of quarters and become hard and hot to the touch. I've had this problem since I was a child and was terrified when I went to China that I would get bit and have an allergic reaction. You may want to try giving her Benadryl at night (I will scratch them in my sleep without knowing it) to help her with the histamines and Allegra or Zyrtec during the day to help with the itching.

Anonymous said...

The 27th was the 3 month mark since Blossom left her SWI. She's coming up on the 3 month mark with you in two weeks.

I'm so glad you had this sort of "breakthrough" with her. It's a long time coming. Blossom has probably been "brainwashed" in not "tattling" especially on an older "sister." I'm sure tattle-tales were dealt with harshly when no adult was around. You'll have to work with her to help her see that telling the truth, even if it gets a sister in trouble is ok. Maybe start with silly, obvious games like you wearing your shirt inside out and seeing if she'll tell you that its wrong. I don't know, just an idea. Just so she knows it's ok to tell the truth, that you will protect her and not overreact to Sissy, because she'll have guilt about telling on her.

You are doing such a great job, K. I know you have such an amazing bond with Blossom already. I know in my heart you were meant to raise her and be her mama.

Doreen said...

K, You are a fabulous Mom. I don't think I would have the patience or the insight. Hang in there! I agree with Almond Tea about the allergies. My one daughter cannot wear any earrings except sterling silver and mosquitos bites end up as huge welts.

We're all thinking of and praying for you and your family.

Mike said...

K is a great mother!