Saturday, August 8, 2015

Our Happenings

Work, work and more work for me. I've been doing interviews with families, trying to get my daycare business up to capacity. It's been an interesting experience, to say the least. The jobs around here aren't 8 to 5, Monday thru Friday. Most who have come to my door are in businesses running 2 or 3 shifts, and work a few days per week. For example, the forestry service, fire and police departments, nurses at hospitals, and postal workers. As a single mom of 4 kids with special needs, I just don't have the energy to work a 12-13 hour a day job and not burn out, especially a job where I'm on my feet all day, without a single break, tending to needy little people. I'm starting to piece together my enrollment, but it's quite a change to go from having a waiting list of families who love what I offer and can't wait to enroll, to people who don't have any option but to put their schedule and financial situation above the quality of care their children end up with. My location is about 3 miles too far south to draw the kind of families who want the kind of care I offer, but as all those "northward" day cares fill up, they are starting to find their way to me.

Jie Jie continues to "even out" and find her own way, independent of carrying Blossom along. It's hard. It's easy to fall back into old habits, but she's doing a good job of working it out and I'm much better at recognizing the difficulties and helping her.

Blossom went through this week talking in something one step above gibberish. She repeated herself, used far too many words, pronounced them badly - anything to draw attention to herself. The result was that I told her we will not respond to her unless she speaks properly. It got so bad that those around us outside the family were commenting on it.

On the plus side, it's been a week since her last tantrum. She almost had one yesterday, but I reminded her that she was on her last day of being able to earn back a privilege so she reined herself in.

She also doesn't follow directions with her school work, so three days of work amounted to nothing. Her assignment was to read The Secret Garden (a little bit of a stretch but she's seen the movie and understands the story), write down the words she doesn't know when she comes to them, look them up in the dictionary, then, eventually, write her own sentence using those words. She wrote down words she already new, for example, just, hate, best, blanket, like, and late. When she made sentences with those words, there were tons of careless mistakes. When I asked her to correct them by writing the sentence correctly underneath the wrong one, she drew lines through all the sentences then made up completely new ones, but only partly. Nothing was complete and it was a mess. She does this ALL THE TIME lately, which is why she's off to special ed in public school this year.

I spoke with the special ed coordinator yesterday and we're lining up a good program for Blossom. She's going to start in functional skills, probably take a reading class and choir class. I'll be sure she's escorted to the cafeteria to get her lunch, and escorted back to class to eat it so she doesn't swipe food from other kids or the trash can. At this point, her food issues are for one thing: to get attention. Everything she does is to get attention. We've been talking a lot about her need for attention and how it's not appropriate, but understandable given her past and that she will have to work to resolve her issues in appropriate ways and that those ways may take many, many years.

Sissy returned this morning from church girls' camp. She had a great time and her English was better in that is was slower and clearer. Obviously, she adapted to those who weren't familiar with her and had to make herself better understood. I wish she'd keep that care with her speech here at home, but she's already going back to her old mumbling ways. One girl taught her a "bad word" without telling her it was a bad word and told her to go around and say it and she did. Finally someone clued her in. The bad word meant "you are ugly" and wasn't a word, but a phrase without any bad words in it at all so she either got it wrong, or it's teen-speak.

She climbed a 50 ft. rock wall, did a zip line, swam in the pool, did a skit, attended talks, did service projects and more. It was a great experience for her!

Apple is coming along well. Compared to kids her age, she's still behind in most of the mainstream ways, but is very mature and ahead in others. She has excellent self-control and patience, great table manners and sleeps well for naps and at night. She's great with animals and is pretty fearless in a good, confident way, showing appropriate caution. Speech therapy continues and we are seeing results every week, but there is so much to speech that she's going to be in therapy for many years and my main concern now is for her to be able to communicate well socially by the time she starts school in a year or two. She has a few 3 word spontaneous phrases, but most are memorized. One of the things that holds her back is lack of depth perception and her inability to bend her fingers to hold on and pull herself up. It's slowed her down as far as running, jumping and climbing goes. What gives her an edge with her peers is her ability to understand and adapt while playing. She can jump right in and join a small group playing and know exactly what's going on and contribute her own ideas well. She's going to be fine in the long run but it will take extra effort for now.

My Firefighter and I are still seeing each other. Our relationship continues to progress, but much more slowly now as he waits to see how things turn out this year with the girls. He's close enough to us all now to see behaviors that are quite repulsive, even to me, but he's assured me that it doesn't affect how he feels about me or the girls, it's just more information he has to use to decide if he can handle a life with us. I'll be honest here. While each of the three girls all have BIG issues, Blossom's are the biggest due to the treatment she received in her orphanage. She can be and often is grossly inappropriate and intrusive. Jie Jie's issues are mostly her physical special need and the recent emotional issues I feel confident are going to resolve completely with what we are doing now to address them. Sissy is an unknown at this time. It's very promising that she corrected her speech to make herself more understood at camp this week. That means she recognized a social problem and solved it. She lacks motivation, ambition and is unable to grasp the concept that she can teach herself by seeking out knowledge and acquiring it, but the first seeds of it might be starting to grow. I see her being able to function appropriately, but very basically, as an adult, but I also see that the potential for more is there IF SHE CHOOSES TO GO FOR IT.


Jo's Corner said...

Have you ever considered, really, seriously thought about giving Blossom a chance in a new home? I think about this every single time I read your posts. You speak so often about the negative aspects of Blossom's behavior and really, there is nothing positive. She deserves a place where she can get more attention. Her behavior is screaming for attention and love. In a recent post, you talked about how you put your arm around her shoulder and gave her a hug. And, that she "used" that hug by following you everywhere. She desperately needs that physical touch. She seems to be a child who would thrive in a home where she would get more one on one attention. Please. Think about the possibility. I can honestly say that I would be willing to adopt her. I am a single woman myself. I have more than enough time, affection and love to give her.
It is so hard to read that you are going to be doing daycare for other children, when you are so obviously stressed out by the 4 girls already in your home. No judgement on you as a person. Just saying what I have held back for several years. Your dream of being a Mama to an infant girl happened. You got your Apple. You also got 2 older girls who will never be what you dream/wish/want them to be.
I believe your life would be so fulfilling with your Fireman, your Apple and perhaps Jie Jie. The older girls would also be happier and more content if they could be in a family with more realistic expectations. And, with more affection.

ourchinagirls said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
K said...

For crying out loud! My children are not stray puppies to be "rehomed" when things get tough! Do you honestly think it's appropriate to go online and read someone's blog, their blog mind you, a place for moms to share and vent, and suggest they give you their child?

Have you been in my home? No.

Do you know what my expectations are for my children? No.

Do you know how much attention and affection my children receive from me? No.

Have you ever met my daughter or me? No.

Yet you both dare to suggest that I give you MY child and suggest I'd be more fulfilled? The words, "Are you crazy!" come to mind. What is the world coming to?

I'm not giving away my child just because she's going through a difficult phase right now. What is wrong with you both?

Blossom gets plenty of love and attention from me! Blossom has RAD, PTSD and other issues common to children whose first several years of life were filled with trauma. She doesn't need another home. She doesn't need me to give up on her just because things are hard right now. She needs help making it through this current phase and she needs to learn that the world doesn't revolve around HER but that she's loved anyway.

I realize you both think you're trying to help, but really - give you my child just because things are hard right now? Plenty of families, even with only biological kids, go through hard times. That doesn't mean they aren't loved or wanted.

Please read my blog in its entirety so you understand that I love and want ALL of my children and that we are working through our hard issues with love and understanding, taking the advice of experienced professionals who help children heal and remain in their families. I'm not a mom who does things for my own convenience. If you can't glean this from reading my blog, please stop reading it.

Jo's Corner said...

I don't want you to give me your child. I expected the anger you responded with. I really believe that you are a good person. That you do love your girls. But, you are so very angry. Blossom needs a place where she can thrive. A place where someone will have the time to help her with her hair, not cut it all off. Not only does she act differently than her siblings, now she is forced to look different. Yep, hair.
I was shocked way back when you cut it off, due to her inability to not be able to groom it to meet your standards. You know enough about children who come from hard places. She cannot possibly be expected to act or perform at her given age. She is NOT a normal teenage girl. Anyone who knows about adoption and older children, in particular, must be given expectations based on their mental/emotional age.
I did not write my comments anonymously. I am not "crazy". I am much like you, in that I say what I see. My guess is that many people who read your blog feel much like I do. But, no one wants to say it. I am not afraid of using straight-forward words. Sometimes, often, a person is a stronger person when they choose to "let go" of something that is difficult. I do not see Re-Homing as a negative thing. Not when it is given much thought and prayer. Choosing the very best for a child is sometimes difficult. But, it is also very Brave.
My prayers are always with your family. Especially for the spirits of your girls. They have been broken since birth. They deserve to heal.

Anonymous said...

Not all children "from hard places" face the difficulties Blossom face and have her delays. I think that K has actually done a great job of NOT oversharing just how bad things are probably with her. I doubt Blossom will ever be able to live independently - her progress has been so little. But she is loved and safe. K deserves credit for all she's poured into her. And while the hair cut was shocking, and a little 1970's (c'mon K, you could have taken her to a salon and had something a bit more modern. DIY haircuts that drastic are never a good idea,) it was necessary.

Not all adoption has a fairy tale ending, and K deserves the right to mourn the fact that she is not going to have a normal mother/daughter relationship with Blossom and possibly her other girls. K's blog is very honest, and I refer a lot of people who are considering older child adoption her way, so they know the risks of taking in a child. People need to quit romanticizing adoption and the notion "that love is enough to heal a child." It isn't. It worked out well for our family, but we adopted our daughter at a much younger age. Sometimes children are damaged from birth, from circumstances, etc. This isn't a matter of "enough time". She isn't going to go from struggling to a "straight A" student. EVER. No matter who raises her. I think Blossom's most recent testing will confirm my theory.

Love and support to you, K.

Anonymous said...

I feel to agree a lot with Jo's Corner. It is always negative. I felt so bad for Blossom too when K cut her hair.Lots of things make me feel sad for her actually