Saturday, September 29, 2007


While I LOVE living in Madison...I DO NOT love the morons that like to come during our festivals! Ok now please don't take offense if you are, indeed, NOT a moron and love to come to the festivals. I am talking about honest to goodness true, red blooded MORONS! I was pulling out of McD's today, ready to head downtown to actually go to this said festival...when my son refused to quit throwing his temper I turned my blinker on, and moved from the left hand turn lane back into the left lane of traffic. Keep in mind there was NO ONE behind me except for cars that were sitting at a red light behind me. I am now in the left hand lane driving nicely along (son still screaming) when a red Chevy (ok barf) truck comes out of no where and and FLIES around me. By this time I was up to speed limit (about 40) and he passed me like a was sitting still. Ok whatever....he gets in front of me and gets back to "normal speed." There is a car next to me in the right hand lane (where I need to be in order to turn onto 7 to head home) so I speed up a bit and turned on my turn signal to get into the right lane. The car slows a bit and I move over and the MOMENT I move over the red Chevy INTENTIONALLY swerves to hit my car! in the car by myself...ignore with three kids in the back of my car + extra doses of progesterone= yell and ask this guy what is going through his feeble little brain. Ok so I didn't exactly say it like that....He wouldn't even pull up next to me...I just yelled at him that the next time he wanted to run someone off the road make sure they didn't have kids in the car that could of been killed!!! God was really with me because I really wanted to just call him a snot blowing booger eater that had a car that looks like his mama painted it with her eyes closed while holding the spray gun in between her butt cheeks (this truck was more of the hot rod style- older 1960's style Chevy... so with Kyles business being what it is...I guess that's the first insult I look for lol). But I was nice...I didn't say it...and then laughed at myself for even thinking it...then thought hum...for someone who is NOT good at comebacks...that was pretty good LOLOL. The thing is...this guy looked to be about my age! It wasn't some bratty kid out driving daddy's paid-for car. I would think that he would of had more sense than that. Why do people act like that? That is how people get KILLED!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Meet the newest member of our family!

here it is....the newest member of our the way for those of you who don't know about freecycle..check it out! This vacuum was a freebie off of freecycle:) Whenever you don't need something anymore you can post to a list specific for your area saying you have something to offer and more than likely someone on that list will want it. They come and pick it up. You can also post a note to when you are in NEED of something. I therefore, posted a need about a vacuum and someone had bought a new one and had a perfectly good one to get rid of! This is a bissell and a top of the line one at that. It has the turbo attachment and several different height options. You can even turn the beater bar off to be used on laminate flooring!

Dr. Kyle? Seriously?

Last Wednesday I went to the Dr. and I got the OK for the big shot in the hind quarters.....Kyle was excited to say the least as this meant he was able to be the nurse and ...well...stick it to me. Good news is I didn't even feel it....but would you seriously want this guy working on you??? *insert scared cry here*

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Spare vacuum anyone?

Last week our water heater died as well as our bathroom faucet and they say death comes in threes so it should come as no surprise that our vacuum has now passed on to the big trash pit in the ground. If anyone out there has an old vacuum sitting around please let me know! With 3 kids, a dog, a cat, and a husband my carpet needs vacuumed daily!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Update on our house...

Since we haven't had enough excitement for the week our son decides to help us out a little bit. I previously told you that his room had flooded because Kyle had to take off a panel of dry-wall and fix the pipes. We have been waiting for his carpet to dry before we get back in there and start putting his room back together. My loving son, decided this am to go in and tear up the dry-wall slab that was to be put back on his wall. Oh gets better. Since nothing in our house is a normal size, it stands to reason that our dry-wall is not either. You can not purchase our size dry-wall in stores. It is thinner than anything else you can buy. What does this mean? We are now going to have to replace his ENTIRE WALL with new drywall, tape, puddy etc and then re-paint the entire room. *sigh*

The meds are taking over............

I am not sure if I have ever talked with ya'll about the side effects of these meds....UG I feel like they just take over for a couple of weeks and I turn into this person I can not recognize lol.

1st off...all I care to do it eat and sleep. I am always hungry, and always tired. It gets really bad when you try to eat and sleep at the same time lol. No really, I have to get more sleep at night and take naps in the day. I had completely forgot about that...maybe KONOS will be back on the list for next week! face looks like a 15 y/o that hasn't washed his face in weeks. No kidding. It looks that bad. My skin is oily, but sensitive. Normally I wash my face, use an astringent, and then put some type of moisturizer back on to keep my skin from burning. Not when I am on these meds! I wash and use astringent..that's it! and my skin even then still breaks out!

3rd.....ok..I get crabby. I noticed myself getting upset about a box of cereal yesterday.. Seriously? Seriously....let it go....a box of

Pray for my family....(insert the laugh of Ursula from "the little mermaid" here).......Yes..I also causes me to be a bit twisted....

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Homeschooling around real life........

This week has been a bust as far as school is concerned. We have had no real schedule and there fore not completing everything we need to get done. We have been back to school for 3 week now and have not started back to KONOS. It always seems like something is going on! Between funeral visitations, trips out of town, Dr. Appointments, speech therapy, and my house we have not been able to adjust to a normal schedule. The kids normally are in bed by 8:30 and up at 6:30. This is PERFECT for our day, it gives us time to clean and do all our work with lots of play time. However when you are gone until 11:00 at night, or the kids aren't able to sleep because someone is working on the pipes (or sweeping up water in the bedroom next door) it is just not fair to make them get up at 6:30. That would be more like punishment as they wont work to their full potential, they will be tired and crabby. So here is hoping that I can loose just a little bit of excitement in my life and we can get back to being the normal conspicuous family we are supposed to be lol.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

my house is needs an enema

The lime has completely clogged up my house, so therefore my house is constipated. All afternoon Kyle was giving an Air enema by blowing out the lines, taking the air hose off and then BOOM there goes lime flying out of the pipes....only to cause another thing in the house (toilet or some other faucet) to become re-plugged. *sigh* so it is decided, we can not wait a week for a new water heater (kyle was going to ask his dad to order one) so instead he went out and purchased one tonight. So now we have a 40 gallon water heater with 2 heating elements. I am so tickled...we might actually be able to wash dishes and take a shower at the same time!

Anyhoo---here's a neat pic..and no that's not cottage cheese....that is just a tiny tiny portion of what exploded from our pipes.

So I am drooling over this new water heater (sad I know) and I am getting the kids ready for bed. I throw the kids in bed and start looking for things to do. In the meantime I am seeing kyle run out of the house, run back ....ok water on, water off, water on, water off....and the vicious cycle continues. By now I have held my bladder together about as long as humanly possible and I ask if I can use the restroom...Kyle says yes but I have to follow the general daytime procedure for the past 2 days.....the toilet is not filling up fast enough so when you are ready to flush grab the bucket, fill it with water, and dump it down the toilet. *fun*

Ok so no problem, I go in, do my business, am now getting ready to flush when I hear a very weird noise....there is hardly any water pressure...I stop what I am doing and walk into Noah's room as the bathroom is next to his room and we had to remove a portion of Noah's wall to get to the pipes (I am telling you this is no easy task!). What do I find......the next words to come out of my mouth are "KYLE!!!TURN OFF THE WATER! NOAH'S ROOM IS FLOODED!!!!!!" Oh lie.....water everywhere...and not just a little sprinkling...the floor is completely squishes when you walk in his room. It is a good thing we had taken his bed apart and the mattress was sitting on its side as it protected all of our books (and we have TONS of them!). We did a sweep or two with the wet vac and will take the mattresses out tomorrow to dry *sigh*. I will try another sweep with the wet vac for now I am headed to bed! Or the couch as my room is such a disaster (along with the rest of my kidding...I am beginning to feel like a candidate for BBC's How Clean is Your house? I would not be surprised if I had nightmare about 2 British women coming to my house calling me a dirty Begga lol) I can't even get in there. It is amazing how much of my life depends on something as simple as water!

The past couple days....

The past couple days around here have been absolutely nuts!!!! Kyle came home on Monday and started tearing our pipes apart. I wasn't here long as I had to leave at 5:30 to take the kids to dance. After dance we headed up to Indianapolis so I could stay the night at Lori's house as she was watching my kiddos while I went to the Dr. I appreciate her letting me do this as the Dr office is only 30 min. from her house. If I wanted to just leave my house that am, drop my kids off at her house, then head to the Dr. we would all have to leave here by 4am at the latest! So thanks Lori!

Anyhoo- I get to her house around 10:30, throw my kids in bed and sit up with Lori, Barbara, Spike, and Brit (somewhat lol-she crashed on the couch) just chattin. I was up around 5:30 and stayed in bed for a few (didn't want to wake others up) but got up around 5:50....took a shower, stayed around to see Ruby head off to school and then headed out.

Arrived at the Dr. just after 7 and was taken back in just a few minutes. I got the "go ahead" for my meds and headed back to Lori's....I knew Kiara was on the bus around 8 and I was REALLY wanting to make it back to see her before she left! I walked into the house and there she I got my Kiara hugs and she was off to school.

Then it was Karleighs turn for school. So off we went, watched Karleigh head off and we headed off for a yummy breakfast at Perkins. We were then able to go see Loris new house, new neighborhood, and even where her house is going to be! It is a GREAT looking neighborhood with a cute park for the kids and yes, even a swimming pool for their neighborhood. It is pretty easy to find (a plus for me LOL). Please pray that they can get their house sold ASAP so they can get started on construction.

After that we headed to Wild oats, then back down through Columbus (looking for some Jazz shoes for my boy). I stopped at the payless and the lady in there was trying to convince me that the tap shoes were the jazz shoes lol. She kept saying "Taps and jazz are the same thing." I kept saying "no...tap shoes have TAPS on them...Jazz shoes do not" lol Taps= lots of noise, Jazz= the sound of silence lol. luck. Off to check ebay and then if none there....ordering them ARG

Arrived home and house was a disaster. My sons room is Topsy-turvy as my husband had to take out part of his wall to get to our pipes. He is flushing airthrough lines, removing this part and that part, I have hoses hanging out of every window to help get the lime out. Ug, 5:30 we leave for football practice. I have no water in my house so I don't take a drink for my son................I realize this when we are 1/2 way there. The coach always has Gatorade for the kids...but not today! So i head to the store, pick him up a drink, and head back. Practice is great, he was having so much fun out there, except for maybe where he running from another player, ran out side of bounds, "flew through the air" trying to ump over another kid and actually kicked him in the head. It hurt Noahs foot but I think the other kid was actually alright lol.I get a call from Kyle, we now have hot water....but no cold. ARG! So I swing by Michele's for just long enough to mess up her computer, head to Kroger's to pick up some take and bake pizzas, and head home. House is still a mess, but we can now use the kids shower. Hopefully today when Kyle get home he may get the water flowing through our bathroom. Oh and we found out the is actually our water heater. Apparently this 30 gallon, 1 element water heater that I love (notice the sarcasm) has its plug ins the opposite of any water heater my FIL has seen and there is nothing to keep the limes from settling...therefor it settles and after time forms these huge rocks which are blocking our pipes (and yeah I saw them looks like gravel for our driveway!) So *sigh* here is hoping that he can fix it tonight!

Monday, September 10, 2007

A bit of a prayer request......

As silly as this may seem in the grand scheme of things......please pray for our water situation/kyles exhaustion/getting it fixed. Over the past couple days we have noticed our hot water level getting lower, and lower, and lower..........From the beginning we knew it was a chunk of lime stuck in the pipes somewhere....but with the visitation on Thursday night, then Kyle being behind in the garage, delivering cars etc he has not had time to get in there and fix it. On top of that, he has had to work overtime at work. Since last Thursday he has not being going to bed before midnight/1:00 am, getting up at 4 and physically working himself all day. He is exhausted to say the least. Coming home to take a nap was on his high priority list of things to do today. Well..............I got in the shower this am and you might as well say nothing happened:( There was barely a trickle of hot water. So this means no showers/baths and no white loads of laundry (which this includes all of the kids bedsheets as since they all have asthma/allergies their stuff has to be washed in HOT water....not a big deal? 2 of mine still wet the bed so as you can see we can not go a couple days without doing laundry!). The kids and I area heading up to Loris tonight as I have a VERY early Dr appt in Indy on Tuesday so we are staying the night up there. This means Kyle will be here by himself exhausted and trying to flush the lines! Ug!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Matatoes anyone?

Not really matatoes...but tomatoes. I couldn't help it...that's how Maddie pronounces it! LOL Anyway....does anyone have any recipes/suggestions for canning tomatoes? It looks like I am going to end up with a BUNDLE to can in the next few days so I would like to get as many canned as possible! I have a ball book for canning but if anyone has any favorite recipes please share!

I HAVE to brag......

Yeppers we had a football game today and I HAVE to brag about my little football player. This was his first game ever and for now he is on Defense. The coaches are all VERY nice and great with the kids. I could see some of the coaches out there yelling at the kids already (they are only K-2). Our coach is VERY firm...but patient. I actually knew the coaches wife from when our kids went to preschool story hour several years back (it was Sanite and their oldest boy). She came over and was talking with me and said that her husband was VERY impressed with Noah. They said it is not often that you find kindergartner's that can throw the ball and run like he does. She said he was even considering letting him run the ball today. She continues to say that to have a kindergartner run the ball is very very rare and almost never happens. She said he talks about Noah after all the practices about how well he is doing. (OK BIG BIG BIG BIG GRIN here!!!!!!!). He was out there running around and having a great time trying to get the flags off every ones pants. here are some pics of today's games!

Noah coming off the field

OK I got what?

I'm ready whenever you are!


Friday, September 07, 2007

My Niece has a blog!!!

OK everyone..check out my nieces blog. Her name is Melissa and she is one of my sisters girls and just as sweet as sweet can be! She was just hired on at a local factory and is so excited about it (and we are excited for her). Go read and send her some hype!

Yet more Maddie-isms....

We are on the way to the funeral home last night (2 hours drive) And we are about 1 1/2 hours into it (maybe a little bit more). and we get the dreaded question from Maddie..."Are we there yet?" Kyle said "nope, not yet." Maddie says "Oh yes we are! Read that sign!" (pointing to a sign on the road)" It says YEP! YOU'RE HERE!"

Let me start by prefacing that there is a joke here in our house about Parades following my husband. Last year when our bestest (yes I homeschool) friends Spike and Lori came down and camped with us for the weekend we took them around downtown Madison. We went for lunch at The Downtowner (ok SUPER YUMMY). For some reason, Kyle, Spike, and some of the kids were outside. Lori and I had taken the rest to the potty. Keep in mind, this was an average weekend...NOTHING going on. When Lori and I came out of the bathroom we went outside and there sat the kids with handfuls of candy. I said "What happened?" Kyle said" I dunno! I was just sitting here and a parade went by!LOL" no kidding. They were just sitting there then all of a sudden a couple floats went by on the street throwing candy lol. So now back to the story...

We are now leaving the said funeral home and we are seeing flashing lights. There were police and firetrucks everywhere. Keep in mind it is a Thursday night. Kyle says "Its a parade I tell ya! They follow me everywhere!" Sure enough we get up there and there are people everywhere..for what? A PARADE! LOL We turn down various side streets trying to avoid it when we hear Maddie yelling from hte back "I WANT TO GO!" I said "Babe we can't go we have to get home. Maddie replies" Well Put some gas in my butt and let me over there!" LOLOL

Maddie's first day :)

Maddie has been so excited about starting "big girl" school this year! One thing lead to another and days were starting to become cramped. Today I just said OK....I have to get her started or she is going to cry! LOL So we sat down today and work on some are some pics of my babe at her 1st day doing "big girl" school! (cry cry cry)

Maddie and her "big girl" bag

See my book on the color green?

Hey! I'm tryin to read here.....


I counted all my balloons and matched all the colors...proud of me?

Last night

Yesterday evening we drove to Connersville, In to give our sympathies to a family who just lost a great spiritual educator, Dave Fagan. I have never seen a visitation such as this! There was a line out the door to visit the family! Most of the visitations we had ever been to the family would sit and you could walk up to them and just talk. Not this one! How long did we wait? Would you believe, we waited in line for 1 1/2 hours to greet the family! the funeral director told us it had been like that since 2:00 in the afternoon (it was now 8:15). Now don't get me wrong, I am not complaining. In fact it is the opposite. I find this absolutely amazing! So many people wonder how just one person can make a difference..."well I am only one person..." Well this one person impacted thousands of peoples lives (if not more). The greatest thing is that he did not do it for his own glory. He was a simple man. He loved the Lord, he loved his farm (you always saw him in pants and cowboy boots) and he loved his family. He was a great mentor to my husband (noted by my husband last night) and he will be greatly missed. While I am so happy for where he is, I am sad for the family as I know that he will be missed. Please pray for his wife, Teresa, as she now will have to face living life without him.

Guess what came in the mail today???

HA! Yep I got my meds in the mail today....apparently my Dr. has upped my needless to say my face is going to look like a pizza in another week or two. I don't know what it is about that one drug but boy it makes my skin break out!

Shot in the butt anyone??????

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Noah the football player...

Noah started football last week and well......he has talked about playing football for a YEAR now so I thought he would be a bit more enthusiastic! Last night though He did AWESOME! He was the man all over the little even ordered me to give him an ice cream last night LOL. He was the little man running all over the field and ripping flags off everyone....He was trying to catch it every time he turned around (sometimes caught it, sometimes not). He has his 1st game on I am hoping he does just as well! Here is a pic of my little man after he had just snagged a flag off of someone:P

Our cups!

As I said last week, I took the older 2 kids to All Ways Pottery and had them paint some cups for our "tea time" every morning (well for sanite and myself it is tea anyway LOL). We picked them up and here they are! They came out VERY cute!

Sanite's cup

Noahs Cup

My Cup :)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Ok THIS is bad.....

78%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Mingle2 -

Ok Lori...If I am that bad..................

Monday, September 03, 2007

Happy Holiday In September!

/>Ok I say that because I always get my holidays mixed it Labor day or memorial day???i think Labor day but I am not going to bet on it lol. Today started off great...I got to meet my sis for breakfast and just have some grown up girl talk...something MUCH needed...I headed home and started some school with Sanite. She did really well in Math and Grammar and that's all she and I did today. I had her head out to go get Noah so we can practice the pledge (I don't normally do this....I am pretty sure my kids know I am not un-American...but home schooling is about real many of us stand up and say the pledge every morning?). Being as Sanite will be going back to speech therapy next week at our local elementary school, she will be there at 8:00am (YIKES!) and that is when they say the pledge. When I walk out to see my son...he and Maddie jump up like "uh-oh...busted!" I ask "WHAT are you doing?" Why do I do that to myself? That is an open door for a lie lol. As I am looking at my precious (ahem) children...they are standing in the middle of the rocks (our driveway)....covered in rock dust from head to toe...and their is a container in which someone has put the rocks into this said container. I asked again "WHAT are you doing?" and here is comes............his eyes roll into the back of his head..................................the arms go behind the back....................the foot goes from side to side..................."um......nothing." Images for your blog codes So I tell him that I already KNOW what he did and I am just being nice enough to give him the opportunity to be honest........His hands now migrate toward his mouth and he says "Im plafthin im de rawps.." so I say take your hands out of your mouth and repeat that to me....."I was playin in theRAAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWWWKKKKKKKKKSS" is heard while he starts to scream and cry at the end of the sentence. Now I am not cruel to my kids..and rocks are ok..except my kids play with them..and remove them out of the driveway (which the gravel was just put there last Christmas and it is now almost gone) and put them in our yard. Papa comes around with the lawnmower and then there is a bend blade or worse, the rock goes flying through the air and hits a window........hence the broken window in Papas truck. Bring Noah and Maddie in...they are disciplined...all is well and good in the Caswell house. For a while....things went downhill with Noah until I was like..."LUNCH! Then to BED!" The kiddo ended up sleeping for 3 hours! I knew he had to be tired to act like that.

After lunch it was time to get ready for supper....steaks and corn...both on the grill YUM! Both of these were served with a side of salad and it was super delicious! After that we had a family game of soccer (ok I thought I was going to die...but it felt good to be out there playing with the kids like that!) The the kiddos played with the neighbor kiddos while Brandi and I had some "mommy conversation time." It was great. the kids even had fireworks to shoot off and rode the 4 wheeler...too much fun! Hopefully all will get to sleep quickly as we DO have school tomorrow and lunch at the elementary school....Have a grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreat day tomorrow!

GREAT article..please take the time to read!

The post-institutionalised child
by Karleen Gribble
Each year there are over 10 thousand inter country adoptions worldwide. Many of these children have spent at least some of their life in an orphanage, experiencing institutional care, which has had a far-reaching impact on them. Most of these children will have some interaction with paediatric health or other childcare professionals in the months and years after their adoption. However, because theirs is a relatively rare situation it is understandable that knowledge of their special needs is outside the experience of most professionals.Nevertheless, given information, professionals can use their specialised skills to assist parents and play an important role in the lives of adoptive families.
This article aims to provide a background on the experience of children in institutional care and highlight issues for health or other childcare professionals to consider in caring for a post-institutionalised child. These issues include: developmental delays,over friendliness or "over attachment," sleep issues, peer interaction and language acquisition, food, hospitalisation, over friendliness or "over attachment", developmental delays, "hidden"symptoms, issues of diagnosis, and consideration of the needs of the parents.
The experience of children in institutions.
Institutional neglect
The experience of a child in an institution is very different from that of a child in a family. Though institutions vary widely in the quality of care they provide, they generally have high child to caregiver ratios, which do not allow for individualized attention;they may also be lacking in heating, cooling, space, toys and nutrition. The physical and emotional deprivations of institutionalisation can result in a raft of problems including: a range of health issues, trouble with forming relationships(attachment difficulties), physical and developmental delays and language and sensory integration issues.
The most serious deprivation of institutionalisation is the lack of a consistent and sensitive caregiver with whom the child can trust and form a healthy attachment. Development of trust and a secure attachment normally occurs through interactions in which a primary caregiver meets a child's needs in an appropriate manner resulting in reduction of discomfort and in feelings of relief. This cycle of need-distress-gratification-relief-need is ordinarily repeated many thousands of times in the first years of a child's life but is absent or greatly reduced in the experience of institutionalised children.The absence of this attachment cycle in the early years of a child's life can be incredibly damaging and impact their ability to develop relationships and function in society.
Developmental processes
High child to caregiver ratios also limit the physical experiences of children who may be restricted to a cot/room for extensive periods of time, may spend very little time in interaction with any adult and are unlikely to have treatment for any physical special need they have. As a result, many children will not meet gross or fine motor mile stones during the time they are institutionalised. Nutritional deprivation or contamination of food or water with toxins such as lead or mercury can also impact development and health. Some children will experience sexual or physical abuse and infectious diseases and parasites are easily transmitted in the collective living conditions of an institution.
Health risks
Many of the medical issues that need to be considered post adoption are obvious to medical practitioners who know to routinely test for infectious disease and parasites, reliability of immunization record and to organize developmental, hearing, sight and dental checks within an appropriate time frame. Guidelines for health care professionals are readily available on these topics and references are easily identified via a Med line search for example, however,there are matters that may be less obvious but are nonetheless important to consider.
Different children will be impacted differently by institutionalisation, not just because the quality of care they experience may vary but also because their internal resources for dealing with their environment and care or lack of care will be different. Some children, potentially those adopted at a younger age,will appear to emerge relatively unscathed but others may be profoundly affected. Few children will have all of the problems discussed here and many problems will likely be evident only for a short period of time. Children are remarkably resilient and sensitive caregiving results in incredible healing for a large proportion of children. However, it is vital that appropriate care be given in order for healing rather than exacerbation of problems to occur.Health and other child care professionals have an important function in assisting and supporting parents in their care giving and play an extremely influential role in providing expert advice.
Developmental delays
Children who have spent an extended period of time in institutional care are often developmental delayed and retarded in growth due to physical and emotional deprivation. Children will often have three different "ages," a chronological age, a developmental age and an emotional age, which may vary widely from one another. Their developmental age will depend upon the care they have received prior to adoption. In many institutions, babies are left lying on their backs for extended periods of time and preschool aged children may be restricted to a cot for most of the day and therefore have poor gross motor skills. Even older children are likely to have had a limited opportunities for physical or fine motor activities and thus, will compare poorly to children in families. However, children often experience enormous catch up growth developmentally and physically after placement and can benefit from the assistance of physical therapy and early intervention services. It is also worth considering that although there is often rapid improvement post-placement, some children have permanent damage as a result of their early experiences. Children's emotional age will be related to the quality of relationships the child has had prior to placement. If the child has not had sensitive care from a primary caregiver their emotional growth will be severely retarded. Many suggest that the emotional age of the child is linked to the length of time they have been in a family. Thus, a 5 year old adopted at 3 years will have an emotional age close to those of a 2 year old born into their family and may express this in their needs and behaviour.
What professionals can do:Arrange for developmental assessments shortly after placement,understanding that they can assist in tracking the child's progress but may not be a good indication of the long-term prospects for the child.Refer to early intervention services and do not assume that delays will be transient or be ameliorated without assistance.Consider the emotional age of the child in determining how tests might be administered, matching testing procedure with emotional maturity rather than chronological age (e.g. hearing or sight tests).Provide practical suggestions that may assist a child in overcoming delays.
Over friendliness or "over attachment"Over friendliness to strangers (called indiscriminate affection in the literature) is a common behaviour in post-institutionalised children. In institutions, where there are few carers, children learnto be cute and engaging in order to maximize adult attention. This is a survival mechanism since children who receive no human touch are at increased risk of morbidity and death. Post-placement, children sometimes seek to be attractive to strangers, seeing every adult as a potential new caregiver. Perhaps because most caretakers in institutions are women and have failed them, many children show a definite preference for men (alternatively they may be scared of men). Children presenting indiscriminate affection need to learn that there are different types of relationships with adults and that family is something special. Parents have had success in teaching their children this by limiting the opportunity for contact with other adults and instructing those adults that they interact with of the boundaries they have set with their child. Younger children maybe easily confined to their parent's arms. Older children may be told with whom they may cuddle (initially it is advisable that this is only mum and dad) or hold hands or talk and specific instruction on relationships provided. Emphasis can be placed on how parents care for their children and that children in families do not need to look after themselves.Explaining to children the concept of "circle of care" is often helpful in aiding children to understand the inner sanctum of family and how extended family, friends and acquaintances are spread out like ripples on a pond; the distance from the centre indicating the closeness of the relationship.At the same time that children are seeking the attention of strangers (or sometimes apart from this behaviour), children may strive to distance themselves from their parents, particularly their mother and may appear to be very independent. Thus, children may avoid making eye contact, avoid physical contact, be stiff while being held or act in such a way as to attempt to make themselves undesirable to their parents. Fear of intimacy is behind this behaviour as post-institutionalised childrenhave experienced multiple caregiver loss and learnt that they canrely only on themselves. This can be very difficult for parents,particularly the mother who is often the primary caregiver and the focus of the child's rejection (many children will be somewhat accepting of their father while vehemently rejecting their mother).It can also be easy for parents to come to consider that their child is naturally independent and to allow them to maintain emotional distance. This however, is not in the child's best interest as healthy independence can only grow from healthy dependence on a primary caregiver and the long-term consequences of accepting distancing are serious. Families may need to be supported by family,friends and professionals if they are not to take the rejection of their child personally.Parents often find that they are able to assist their child to trust and build attachment with them by being responsive to their needs and gently persisting with closeness, not accepting the rejection at face value. It is not a case of forcing closeness on a child but providing closeness in ways that the child finds acceptable and gently increasing their tolerance over time. If a child rejects comfort from a parent, the parent should remain with the child and continue to attempt to comfort them. Activities that build trust and maximize close physical contact can also assist; for example, carrying the child in a sling (note: since children are rarely carried in institutions, many do not initially know how to hold on when beingcarried), cosleeping, cobathing, swimming together, playing gamesthat initiate eye contact, dancing together, massage and handfeeding. These activities can be a beginning for reinstating theattachment cycle that was disrupted by institutionalisation.Assisting the child to develop a secure attachment with a primarycaregiver may be the most difficult part of parenting a child withpast hurts. There is a continuum of attachment from securely attachedto severely attachment disordered. As children with severe attachmentdisorder may exhibit extremely antisocial behaviour as they grow(including aggression, lying, cruelty and self destructive action)and find it difficult to function in society, early intervention onbuilding attachment is vital.Some children rather than rejecting parental care become what someview as "over attached," usually to the mother, and cannot toleratebeing out of her sight. In fact, such children are insecurelyattached and, fearing loss of another mother, determine to neverleave her side. This can be wearing for mothers, however, resolutioncan only be achieved if the mother gives her child the closenessneeded, allowing separation only when the child is ready to do so,moving from short periods of separation to longer and emphasizing thepermanence of the relationship. Forcing separation will have theopposite affect of what is desired and will prolong insecurity ofattachment.Over friendliness, premature independence and "over attachment" canbe challenging for parents not just because they may be difficult todeal with but also because Western culture values independence inchildren.
What professionals can do:
Support parents in their measures to deal with overfriendlinessor "over attachment" and parenting in a way that promotes attachment.Encourage parents whose child is rejecting them not to take itpersonally and to persist in striving for closeness with their child.Refer families of children with severe attachment issues toprofessional assistance.Listen as parents describe their concerns, understanding that somechildren with a disordered attachment will present very well inpublic and save their troublesome behaviour for home.
Sleep Issues
Sleep problems are very common in newly adopted, post-institutionalised children and can be the most challenging aspect ofparenting in the first year post-adoption. Both difficulty in gettingto sleep and night waking may occur and last for months to years. Itis not unusual for a newly adopted child to take several hours to goto sleep at night and to wake a dozen times per night or more indistress. However, sleep difficulties are not the problem that needsto be solved, rather they are a symptom of an underlying issue.Possible reasons for sleep difficulties may be a result of trauma, aninability to feel safe, or that night has been an unsafe time forthem in the past.For most post-institutionalised children, adoption is a traumaticevent. Their placement is often abrupt, with little or no preparationgiven to the child who experiences a change in caregivers and adrastic change in environment. Communicating to the child what ishappening to them is often difficult because of language differences.Children may be able to consciously control their reaction to thestress of the new environment during their waking hours but in a morerelaxed state during sleep their anxiety and or anger is exposed.Night is also a time when grief can more easily surface and thelosses that a child has experienced are revealed.Children may also have difficulty sleeping because they do not feelsafe and to sleep well a feeling of safety is required. The upheavalin the child's life means that they know that any change is possible.They may fear what changes may happen while they are asleep and fightsleep, sleep with their eyes open or wake in fear during the night.Night can also be an unsafe time in an institution as are theregenerally few caregivers at night (one per 20 children is common).Thus, if children are being abused, it is likely to happen at night,resulting in feelings of unsafety at night.Since sleep difficulties are a symptom of a deeper problem, sleeptraining techniques such as controlled crying/comforting are notsuitable for children who have lived in an orphanage. Such techniquescan cause further damage to an already hurt child as they learn thatthey cannot trust their parents to respond to their cries. However,in responding sensitively to children's cries at night, parents mayassist the child in working through the trauma of placement, or otherpast traumas, and in feeling safe in their new environment. Beingwith the child as s/he goes to sleep is advisable. Some families findthat co-sleeping, placing the child's bed next to or in the same roomas the parents' bed alleviates symptoms. Co-sleeping in particular ismentioned by many parents as being pivotal not just in improvingsleep for everyone (note: it can take a couple of weeks for parentsto become accustomed to cosleeping) but also in promoting trust andattachment. Remaining close to the child during the day andmaximising physical contact at every opportunity (for example;avoiding the use of prams and baby chairs but instead using arms,sling or lap) will also assist in building trust, attachment andimproving sleep. It is important to realise however, that nointervention is likely to result in immediate alleviation of sleepdifficulties but that time is required. Parents whose child hassevere sleep difficulties will need to find strategies to assist themin coping with the situation. This may include catching up on sleepduring the day or on weekends, sleeping whenever the child sleeps,suspending non-essential activities and garnering assistance fromfamily or friends to maintain the household.
What professionals can do:
Support parents as they deal with sleep deprivation and parenting ina way that is outside the cultural norm.Assist in developing strategies for dealing with sleepproblems/deprivation.Encourage parents by assuring them that they are doing somethingimportant by being there for their child at night and pointing outthat every time their child exhibits distress is an opportunity toprovide comfort and thus strengthen attachment.Provide advice on ways to help the child to feel safer (some elementsof "protective behaviours" programs can assist with older children).Peer interaction and language acquisitionIt is conventional wisdom that children need to socialize with otherchildren in a group environment in order to develop socialcompetence. However, group childcare environments are not appropriatefor the post-institutionalised child in the immediate post-adoptionperiod. If children are placed in a group care environment they maybecome stressed because it reminds them of the institution they camefrom and they fear abandonment. Alternatively, they may seem to fitright in and wish to spend more time there, finding the closeness offamily life stressful and wishing to avoid the intimacy there.Neither of these situations are in the child's best interests. Somefamilies of post-institutionalised children find that the needs oftheir child may necessitate delaying schooling or homeschooling. Ifentry into daycare or school is necessary, the introduction should bemade gradually. Each child needs to be considered individually asresponses to alternative care varies widely and thus, it is notpossible to give absolute timeframes or protocols that are applicableto all.It is often suggested to migrant families that daycare or school maybe helpful in language acquisition. However, as mentioned, groupchildcare environments are problematic for post-institutionalisedchildren and since their adoptive families speak English, it is ininteractions with parents and siblings that the new language is bestacquired. It also needs to be recognized that issues associated withlanguage acquisition for post-institutionalised children may bedifferent from migrant children learning English as a secondlanguage. This is because migrant children are generally learningEnglish within the context of speaking their first language at homeand often after having obtained competence in their first language.However, post-institutionalised children most often do not haveparents who speak their first language. In addition, children may nothave developed age appropriate language competency prior to placementbecause the low child to caregiver ratio in institutions means thatchildren associate primarily with same aged peers with similarlanguage deficiencies. Thus, the building blocks of language may havebeen missed, presenting special issues for language acquisition.
What professionals can do:
Support parents in any requests they make with regards making entryto daycare or school easier for their child.Take care not to inadvertently usurp the parental role and be sure toassist the child to distinguish between themselves as temporary part-time caregivers and the parents as permanent family.Not accept inappropriate affection from the child and discuss anyconcerns you have with the parents.Observe language acquisition carefully and refer to speech therapy ifnecessary.
There are several situations in which food can be an issue for thepost-institutional child. Because many children have experienced foodscarcity in institutional care they may hoard or overeat. Thisproblem is usually mitigated with time and allowing the child to havefree access to food (placing nutritious snacks where the child canreach them or packing a lunch box for the child to carry around).Restricting access to food may make the problem worse. Children mayalso not have developed the capacity to recognise the feeling ofsatiety or hunger since they have been given food on a schedule andregardless of individual need. Parents may need to encourage theirchild to make a connection between body signals of hunger or fullnessand their relationship to food.Some children may not have experienced much variety in food and mayneed a gradual transition to other foods. In some cases, children mayhave been sustained solely on bottle feeds well past the age at whichsolid food would normally have been introduced and may refuse solidfood. Problems with different textures may be a sensory integrationissue, children may also have an overactive gag reflex or may belacking muscle development to chew food.It is also common for children to regress in eating habits at thetime they are adopted. Regression is a frequently observed responseto trauma and, as discussed previously, placement is traumatic.Children may also seek to regress in order to experience some of thenurturing that they missed out on earlier in life. Thus, childrencapable of feeding themselves may wish to be fed, children longweaned may request bottle feeding and some children pursuebreastfeeding with their new mother. Regression should not be viewedas a problem but as an opportunity for nurturing. Adoptive familiesare encouraged to provide times where their child can be 'babied' andto bottle feed even if the child is well beyond the normal age ofweaning.
What professionals can do:
Refer eating problems to specialist speech pathology if necessary.Support parents in "babying" their child.If concerned about dental caries, suggest preventative measures thatdo not involve weaning from the bottle.
Hospitals and the procedures that happen there can be frightening forany child but for post-institutionalised children there areadditional reasons why they might be anxious. The hospitalenvironment, for many children, is reminiscent of the institution inwhich they once lived and this can create great fear, as they maybelieve they will be abandoned at the hospital. In the short termthey may react to this stress by shutting down, disassociating,talking incessantly, becoming hyperactive, or uncooperative (note:these symptoms may be seen in any stressful situation and some post-institutionalised children suffer from post-traumatic stressdisorder). Some parents have found that even a day visit to ahospital can disrupt the child for several weeks. Thus, time in ahospital should be minimised and for example it may be helpful toarrange for the child's history to be discussed with health careprofessionals via telephone and for waiting before an appointment tobe minimised (parents may suggest that they wait outside the hospitalbuilding and be called by mobile phone when their child is to beseen).In addition, post-institutionalised children who are hospitalised mayneed to have their parents with them at all times, regardless oftheir age. The potential seriousness of the long-term consequences ofnot doing this cannot be understated. If the child feels that theyhave been abandoned in the hospital because their parents have notbeen allowed to remain with them the attachment relationship that hasbeen developed since adoption may be severely damaged. If the primarycaregiver of a child is ill or requires hospitalisation this can beextremely scary for children who may regress or otherwise expresstheir anxiety.
What professionals can do:
Assist in modifying hospital procedures in order to minimise timespent in the hospital environment and to allow parents to remain withtheir hospitalised child at all times, including at night.Be understanding if the child is difficult or uncooperative becauseof fear/anxiety.Explore delaying procedures that require hospitalisation to allow thechild time to adjust to life in their new family and forstrengthening of relationships prior to another stressful event.Make accommodations to minimise the impact of parentalhospitalisation on the child.
"Hidden" symptoms
Some unusual behaviours may present in post-institutionalisedchildren that may not at first appear to be connected to a child'shistory but are indeed related.Children who have been institutionalised may have difficulty inrecognizing the signals their body is sending them. Such abnormalphysical responses have already been discussed in relation to feedingbut can also present in relation to pain responses and wasteelimination. Thus, children may have an abnormally high tolerance topain and may not recognize the need to go to the toilet (for example,physical discomfort may be expressed as emotional discomfort or asanger). The lack of recognition of body signals in relation to foodand waste elimination is a direct result of the regimented life of aninstitution where eating, sleeping and toileting are on a schedule,regardless of body signals. A separation of body signals and actionresults in the quenching of normal response in some children. Highpain thresholds can result, as caregivers are consistently unable torespond to a child's pain or discomfort. Parents of newly adoptedchildren who exhibit an inability to recognize body signals may needto assist their child to make a connection between what their body isexperiencing and why they are experiencing it.Lack of a responsive primary caregiver can also result in a child notdeveloping normal object constancy (since the primary caregiver isthe first 'object') and they may have difficulty inrecognising/recalling the existence of something they cannot see orin distinguishing their own boundaries. An example that illustrateshow this is revealed is a school aged child who stands in front of aparent with eyes covered saying, "you can't see me". This "realspace" conceptual incapacity fuels its emotional counterpart and achild seen to commit a naughty deed may deny responsibilityexpressing the same emotional lack of objectivity (sometimes referredto as "crazy lying"). Underdeveloped object constancy is anotherreason why children may find separations from parents difficult.Responsive caregiving and playing baby games that involve breakingand regaining contact (eg peek-a-boo) and reliability in returningafter separations can assist children in developing this vitaldevelopmental milestone.In addition, since primary caregivers act as regulators of infantphysiology and emotion, children who have lacked this externalregulator do not develop normal self-regulation and have difficultydealing with stress. Thus, post-institutionalised children may appearloud or hyperactive, be disorganised in their behaviour and havedifficulty managing and recognising emotions. Parents sometimesdescribe how their child oscillates from being in control to beingout of balance. In situations where the child is out of balance theyfind that bringing the child physically closer to them, limitingchoice (essentially acting as an external regulator) and reducingstress is of assistance.Another impact of non-responsive care in institutions is that post-adoption some children expect that their parents will be similarlyunresponsive and so do not cry when they are hurt or in need. Forinstance, children have been known to be sick during the night butwill not call out to awaken their parents but will lie in their vomitand waste until morning. A baby who does not cry when upset, hurt orin need because they do not think their parent will respond is nota "good" baby but a badly hurt child who is internally distressed butunable to express it. Such children need to be taught that parentscare for their children and want them to ask for help. Parents canassist their child by watching them carefully for any signs ofdiscomfort, intervening to provide what is needed as early as theycan. Children may also appear very happy after only a few days post-placement, laughing, joking and being engaging. However, thisresponse has a similar root as "over friendliness" in childrenbelieving that they need to be attractive to adults in order tosurvive and families and professionals should not be fooled that thechild has "settled in."Self-soothing is common in post-institutionalised children, usingsuch methods as finger sucking, rocking, head banging ormasturbation. It is unwise for parents to seek to forcibly removeself-comforting behaviours from their children. However, self-soothing is a sign that a child is in need of comfort and suchbehaviours should be gently discouraged with the parent attempting tobe a source of comfort to the child. It is important that the childnot be made to feel that they are doing something shameful in self-soothing.Some post-institutionalised children self-mutilate by scratching orbiting/hitting themselves or pulling off fingernails. In some casesthey are hurting themselves because they have the poor physicalboundaries and abnormal physical responses described earlier andcausing pain is a way of feeling something. In other cases, neglecthas left children feeling unlovable and deeply shameful and theirself-harm is in response (this sense of shame is also seen in out ofproportion responses to correction, lack of confidence, performanceanxiety or perfectionism). In still further cases, self-mutilationoccurs in response to stress and as a distraction from emotionalpain. In order for self-mutilation to be extinguished, the root causeof the behaviour needs to be addressed. Sensory integration therapy,reducing stress and assisting the child to develop a secureattachment are helpful in reducing self-mutilation.Post-institutionalised children are often bossy and controlling inrelationships having been used to needing to look after themselves.Post adoption they seek to control their world because being incontrol equals safety. This is an artefact of anxiety and one thatneeds to be resolved so that the child can learn to trust theirparents to care for them. Parents may need to constantly remindchildren that it is their job to look after them and that they do notneed to look after themselves. Providing preparation forchanges/transitions can also assist the child to feel safer. Allowingthe child to control everything will be counterproductive in the longterm.It is tempting to think that a child from deprived conditions shouldbe given as much stimulation as possible in order to help them tocatch up. However, this is not a good idea as children are under anincredible amount of stress post-placement as they learn to survivein a new world. This stress has been measured in high cortisol levelsand is evident in some of their behaviours. For instance, it iscommon for children to be hypervigilant meaning that they never relaxbut watch everything very carefully, seeking patterns andunderstanding of what is required of them. This often results inchildren picking up new things very quickly. However, minimisation ofstress should be something that parents aim for and since post-institutionalised children have been used to a very small,predictable world it is advisable for parents to also restrict theflow of new things so there is not too much for the child to have toprocess.The stress that children are under and the limited world in whichthey have lived, leads to other problems. Many children havedifficulty with any transition (e.g. from wake to sleep, from home toout etc) and may take a long time to be comfortable in a newenvironment or with new people. Routine is often very important tochildren, as predictability helps them to feel safer. When meeting anew person, it may take months of interaction before the realpersonality of the child is revealed (many children are very good atmasking their real selves/putting on a brave face). In addition, manyexperiences normal to children in families are foreign to them andextreme reactions to situations such as seeing a dog or walking ongrass are to be expected. Older children may not know how to playwith toys and need to be taught how to play.Many children exhibit great grief at the loss of previous caregivers.Exhibition of grief is a sign that the child had been attached totheir caregiver and this is a good thing as the child can transferthis attachment to their new parents. A child who does not grieve aprevious caregiver may not have been attached to anyone and may havedifficulty building attachment without prior experience of anattachment figure. Thus, allowing the child to grieve is importantand if possible, it is helpful to maintain contact with previouscaregivers.
What professionals can do:
Support families as they deal with these "hidden" symptoms andvalidate their concerns (especially important because family andfriends may discount the reality of these issues).Encourage parents in providing sensitive caregiving and a structured,limited environment.Understand that it can take a long time for a child to be comfortablein a new situation or with new people, including professionals, andSupport families as they deal with the distressing manifestations oftheir child's hurt.
Issues of diagnosis
Issues associated with trauma, abuse or neglect can make diagnosisand treatment of other problems difficult. Thus, a holistic,multidisciplinary approach is required. Although the effects ofinstitutionalisation on children can be devastating and long lasting,not all of the problems that a child presents with may be a result ofinstitutionalisation.It is also easy to forget where post-institutionalised children havecome from when they present well groomed and looked after with theircaring adoptive family. Thus, it is easy to make assumptions aboutwhat to look for based on the child's current environment and nottheir previous one and miss opportunities for early diagnosis andtreatment.
What professionals can do:
Take the child's history into account when diagnosing and devisingtreatment plans.Not assume that all the problems that the child presents with are aresult of institutionalisation.Consideration for the parentsWhen a family adopts a child from an institution they are taking astep into the unknown. Often little is known about the child they areadopting and there is no way for them to predict how the child willadjust to being in their family and what problems will arise. Theinitial adjustment of a child post-adoption can last for a very longtime, at least a year, sometimes longer. The best-prepared family mayfind themselves surprised by what they encounter, thus, the parentsof a post-institutionalised child also have special needs. A parentor a 4 year old who has been with them since birth is not in the sameposition as a parent of a 4 year old who has only been in the family6 months. Society considers that the birth of a child into a family,though a joyful event, is also difficult and support is oftenforthcoming at this time, however, adoption of a child, particularlyan older child is often not similarly supported. Lack of support andunderstanding from those around them can add to the isolation thatnew parents feel. Parents can find it especially difficult to explainto others the special needs of their children, for example if theirchild has age appropriate cognitive development but is emotionallydelayed. In many cases, the initial period of caring for their childwill be physically exhausting but also emotionally exhausting as theyinvest their energies in seeking to help their child. Further, thedevelopment of relationship between parent and child is a two wayprocess in which both the child and parent must participate.Depending upon their history this will be easier for some parentsthan others. Parenting can bring to the surface previouslyunrecognised personal difficulties that should be dealt with, as itis through self-awareness that problems in this area can be overcome.Although this article presents a quite extensive list of potentialissues that families might face, it is far from exhaustive andfamilies may have other concerns not mentioned here.
What professionals can do:
"Prescribe" rest and avoidance of outside activities if parents areoverdoing it and seeking to get back to normal too quickly.Support parents by providing a listening ear and not dismissingconcerns expressed about their children.Recognise that you may not be able to materially change the situationfor the family but your support, caring and encouragement can make abig difference to the parents' ability to cope.Understand that some parents may not have a basis for comparison ofnormal child development and will need assistance in identifyingwhere their child is in need of help.If appropriate, explore with parents how their history and how theywere parented may impact difficulties they have in providingsensitive caregiving to their child.Be aware that families may be dealing with a multitude of issues andif they do not follow a course of treatment immediately this does notmean that they are not serious about helping their child but thatthey may have more urgent priorities.Ask parents "what can I do to help?"Provide parents with positive reinforcement for the hard work theyare doing with their children.Retain the lines of communication open with parents, understandingthat you are all seeking to care for the child, but in different waysand each must be able to hear and respect the others viewpoint.Adopted and foster children who have not been institutionalisedA significant proportion of children adopted via intercountryadoption have not experienced institutionalisation but resided infoster care prior to adoption. This is generally a much bettersituation for children and means that many of the issues describedhere are less likely to occur. However, even children who have beenin excellent foster care since shortly after birth have stillexperienced multiple loss of caregivers and a dramatic change inenvironment at adoption. Thus, they may still grieve post-adoptionand for example have sleep difficulties that have a root in feelingunsafe. Generally the more moves a child has experienced the greaterthe impact and, as with every new placement, the cycle of attachmentneeds to be reinstated. The approaches for building attachment withpost-institutionalised children also apply here. Foster children withhistories of abuse, neglect and/or multiple placements will presentwith many of the same issues as post-institutionalised adoptedchildren and similar care strategies may be helpful.
This article presents a summary of the issues with which post-institutionalised adopted children may present and ways in whichhealth and other child care professionals may assist them and theirfamilies. It is very important that it be kept in mind that not allchildren present with these issues and that for many children theproblems they have a relatively short lived. Post-institutionalisedchildren are not abnormal and to pathologise them because of theirhistory does them and their families a great disservice. Rather, theresponses described here are normal reactions to an abnormalenvironment. Children are not meant to live in institutional care butin families and for many children growth in a family after adoptionprovides them the opportunity to heal from past hurts. Although theimmediate post-placement period can be challenging for familiesseeing their child grow and heal is something that parents and thosewho have assisted them find particularly rewarding.
This version dated 2/04
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* Recommended reading
Karleen Gribble is the mother of two children, one born to her andthe other adopted as an older child from institutional care in China.Her adopted child came home with a physical disability anddevelopmental delays that have necessitated consultation with andtreatment by a wide range of health and other child careprofessionals. This article has arisen out of her experience as shefound that providing information to professionals about the affectsof institutionalisation helped facilitate communication, optimisedindividualization of care and provided her with the assistance sheneeded to help her daughter. Karleen is also a scientist (BRurSc,PhD) and is Adjunct Research Fellow in the School of Nursing, Familyand Community Health at the University of Western Sydney, NSW,Australia where her research focuses on adoptive breastfeeding andthe non-nutritional impact of breastfeeding.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Sleeping babes...

Handsome Boy asleep...This would be cute if you could figure out where they are.....

Saturday, September 01, 2007

The beauty of the *stubborn* adopted child....

Today was the North Vernon yard sale..for me this is a YEARLY tradition! Only this year was the 1st year in the past 4 years that I have had to go on my own (Boo hoo!). Brandy and Michele were both supposed to go with and something came up last minute for each of them and they were not able to go. This was supposed to be my ONE day without the ONE day where I am not chasing someone around...the one day where I can feel like a normal person again....the one day when I am not saying "hey! don't touch that!", "What are ya thinkin bud?", "keep your hands to yourself!", "No we are NOT buying that", "I thought you just USED the bathroom!", "DON'T EAT THAT!", followed by "you just ate 30 minutes ago!" can continue to think of more:).....and I really needed that day alone...or so I thought.

This story actually starts over 4 years ago when this beautiful, temperamental, stubborn, pig headed little girl that was starving for affection was placed in my arms. I had fallen in love with picture. Fallen in love with the "image" of her and how life was going to be. The somehow, someway, God places this little "challenger" in my life. I knew all the advice I had been given on conventional parenting was out the window...and I better double read everything I could about parenting the adopted child. I went back and re-read all the posts on the yahoo groups I had "deleted" as..."I" wouldn't need them. I had people around me that had raised children...I will have PLENTY of advice...unfortunately NO ONE here had adopted a child....therefore their advice....useless in her case....On top of that they couldn't understand why I disciplined my children they way I did....or why I was so picky about things (who she goes to for food, comfort etc).Trying to explain to people (even some of my best friends at the time) was like talking to wall to only receive looks of disapproval an non-understanding. I felt alone and I was go glad that God had put Lori in my life, who had raised an adopted 3 year old, and now has a successful, beautiful young woman with a precious, precious heart. I called her many a times (and still do) for advice. An attached child will respond to traditional discipline...why? because they are attached....bonded.....they WANT to please...and don't want to disappoint. The older "freshly" adopted child..doesn't know you from Adam (for a lack of better term). She could care less about you, your feelings, pleasing you etc. *I* was the person who ripped her from everything she had known. *I* not only took away her "home", but I also removed her language, familiarity, and ......power. WHOA! Did I just say that? yep...she lost the power over herself. She lost the ability to take care of her self(something she had done her 3 almost 4 young years). Suddenly she was going to start listening to what I say? What for? I was just her next *stop* until it was time to go somewhere else. She might as well just act rotten and get moved onto her next *stop*....after all life had taught her that this was her one wanted her. In her mind, her birthmom had left her, and was now in several different foster homes, these people come and take me into their home for 2 weeks, then hand me over to yet another home, only to come back and rip me out of my entire world. They take me to this strange place where I know no one and understand no long will I be here? Might as well make this stop short and make myself unlovable. Some of you may think this is outrageous...but later I will share some books with you to read.....Traditional discipline just will not work until that child is bonded and even then there are time you have to step back and say is this a normal kid issue or an adopted kid issue? Many times the end behavior looks the same...the big difference is the reason behind the behavior....*sigh*..............we have come a long way....but there is still more work to be done in this 'ol house.

Lets speed up to 2007.....God has worked in her life and ours. She has become more open...but yet not "too" open (fear of rejection). Trust is still a work in progress and will be for many years. People look at us and we now look like any normal conspicuous family (is that an oxy moron? lol). She calls us mama and papa.....she hold our hand...she cries when she is in trouble....and I feel she is growing up so fast......I am worried that I am not going to be able to "catch up" for all the emotional things she needs to learn... I give it up to God daily...and I pray that I do right with her (and of course my other children too, but in a different way).

Now that I have written a book....lets go back to the Yard sale....I SO did not want to go by myself....Sanite had been asking to go....I said "kyle would you mind if I just took Sanite tomorrow?" He said it wasn't a big deal. So last night....she and I slept in my bed (as to not wake up the rest of the house!) and we were up at 7...out of the house by 7:30. We head to the bank...McDonald's for an OJ/Coffee, then we are off! We had about a 20 minute drive before we found a place and parked....then we walked....and walked.....and The entire day it was her and me (or I..I was never very good at grammar). We took our time and spent 6 hours going from house to house....block to block...we made stops for restrooms, looking (ahem buying) cute clothes, looking (mostly) at toys and other items. She has become so generous...the whole time she hardly thought of things for herself, it was "Maddie would like this!" or "Noah would LOVE that!" We shared pop, ate beef jerky....and had LOTS of conversation...just the two of us. Don't get me wrong...we do mama/Sanite time where it is just the two of us...but there was something different about today....almost like another "stage" has began in her life....another "inch" on the trust-o-meter. What did I do to mess it all up? We came home and I was washing the umpteenth load of laundry...and I told the kids to get their room cleaned and we were running in to town to pick up pizza. I went back in the room and told them to make sure that all the parts get put back into one certain toy, and Sanite said something (don't remember what it was)...and then I made the accusation.....why didn't God give me the good sense to think before I talk most of the time? Here I was ...I thought I was right...then I started to re-think the situation on the way to get pizza.....uh oh.....I think she meant something else by what she said....and it wasn't the way I interpreted it. We pick up pizza and head home............I throw the pizza on the table, ask Kyle to serve 'er up...and bring Sanite into her bedroom. I sit down and asked her what she meant by said comment earlier...and there it was ...I was wrong.....So I apologize...........and ready? My girl came up to me, hugged me, and said "It's alright...I forgive you....we all make mistakes sometimes...." I couldn't believe it....was this my same little girl? anytime I had apologized to her for something I had done wrong (and yes there have been plenty...Hard to believe I know! LOL) I was often times met with a blank stare....but not was met with love, understanding, compassion, and trust.

Cost of Sanites jeans today= $21

Cost of lunch= $12.50

Trust from the "stubborn" adopted child= priceless