Sunday, June 20, 2010


Well we've had several sessions with the counselor now... and the jury is still out as far as I am concerned. To be clear we are not going for attachment therapy - we really do see many positive attachment behaviors from her and while there is a long way to go neither the counselor or I think there is too much he can do to make it happen - time and prayer are what is needed. So then why are we at counseling you might wonder - Alem has some very serious fears... she is beginning to conquer them (and no the counseling has nothing to do with that, we have been working hard) but we felt that we needed some guidance in making the best choices to help her get over her fears and begin to trust that her new family was safe. This seems to be hard for her, in part because as some point in her past she was not safe. Older child adoption comes with many unknows - and trauma history is a big unknown. We have no idea what happened in her past or how it affected her, and there is no way to ask her... not because she doesn't have the language for it - she does (well at least for some of it), but because if she isn't ready to talk about it then she isn't ready. Either we aren't "safe" yet or she is choosing not to remember. It doesn't really matter.... except that we need to help her to manage her fear and conquer it so that she isn't held back in any way. So she does play therapy - she plays and interacts with the counselor and he makes observations and suggestions to me. We are going to give it a few more weeks and see if something good shakes loose.

The thing is that if she were the way she is now when she was home a month I wouldn't even think about counseling... but at a month home we were so falling apart... we have done alot of hard work to get her here and if there is any help or suggestions someone who sees traumatized kids on a regular basis can offer then we are going to take them up on it. Mostly he says that we are doing a good job - doing all the right things to help her - and that it takes time, we are expecting too much too soon. (LOL to that as seriously if he were living with her he'd be pushing her hard to get better and move foward too.)

We are believing that God will heal her heart and in the fullness of time she will learn to trust, to love with out fear, and to rest peacefully in Him.

When he calles me momma....

my heart melts.

From the beginning Estifanos has called me mom - but just mom at first. It was simply my name - not who I am to him. Little by little you can see his heart softening towards me... at first when I'd take the time to figure out why he was upset and set things to right, then when I'd make some dish for a meal that he really likes... little by little and he'd call me momma instead of mom. Now a days it is momma more often than mom... sweet.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

" I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living" Psalm 27:13

Yesterday was a tough one - some days are harder than others, but that wasn't her it was me. I was worn thin and missing my sweetie (who is traveling this week) and I had scheduled a play date for her - which was a first ... and it had it's challenges. And this week I have been reminded by my big kids that while she is doing better there is still quite a way to go and we need to not settle for better - but strive for best.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


So today I was able to rejoice with a wonderful blog friend about the growing attachment with her son. She had been running the race and is on the wonderful downhill side. And while I am so very excited for her - it feels like the uphill battle we face is unending. sigh. I love Alem and am totally commited to her.. but it is so very very hard. She is difficult on her best days and horrid on her worst and often I wonder if things will ever ever change? Will she ever stop demanding all the attention be focused on her? will she ever stop trying to control my every waking moment? will she ever just relax and not worry about whether or not she has more than everyone else? will she ever stop acting like each bump is the end of the world? and on and on and on.....

I know that she has made tremendous progress she no longer keeps herself (and me) up all night. She no longer has raging fits every day, not even every week. She no longer tries to run away. She finally is eating healthy meals. She is nice to her brothers and sisters. She gets ready for school and church without a fuss.

Of course then just now she refused to come to the dinner table then flipped out because we prayed and began eating with out her - really?! I simply took her aside and said you may want to control when we all eat but it isn't going to work... we pray and eat when mom and dad sit down not when you finish playing. Ugh.

I lost my mind

I lost my mind when I thought letting Alem and Emma have a friend over for the afternoon might let me get some paperwork done.... instead we have been to the park, done crafts and painted nails. Fun for them - but my todo list is getting longer....

Monday, June 7, 2010


Well I have to admit that each and every night I am beat to the ground tired. I'm not at all sure if it is just getting used to managing such a large family or still adjusting to the new kids or what but I am so ready to get some energy back. I realized that somewhere along the way of the last few months I quit eating all the veggies that I used to eat - salads especially. I think I gave them up in favor of quicker meals where I ate what they ate - but I think it might be affecting my energy level too - so this week I am back to tons of veggies and way less of what the kids are eating. That is actually going to be hard to manage with Alem who prefers to eat whatever I eat, and like most kids she isn't the biggest fan of veggies... but I imagine eventually her hunger will win out. I am also going to get more sleep each night. Sadly right now 8 hours just isn't enough - which kinda cracks me up as I used to exist on less than 6 without any problems - but I am not at my best any longer without a really good nights sleep!! And to a certian extent I have to admit that parenting the new kids is still stressful. Estifanos is just now beginning to trust us with his hurts - both real and emotional and always being on the lookout for that is hard work. And Alem continues to be challenging. She would really like to run the show. LOL. and that so isn't going to happen, although to a certian extent she has been driving things, and we are cracking down on that pretty hard. She also begins therapy this week - stay tuned for a report on that.

So if anyone has a magic energy pill they would like to share - then I might be able to get caught up with the house and the paperwork... otherwise all that is going to have to wait.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

my first ....

"I love you" that is! So last night was the very first time Estifanos said I love you to me - so very sweet.


On paper it seems as if we created artifical triplets - our bio girl Emma is 8 (9 in Sept), Estifanos is 8 (9 in Aug) and Alem is 7 (8 in Aug). Currently the reality is that we created 2 sets of twins - Emma and Estifanos are very close in age - and in personality which is nice. It also works well because they are boy/girl and thus into different things so at least so far we haven't had any difficulities there.

The second set of "twins" would be Becca (who on paper is 4 - but most likely is at least 6 months older) and Alem (who on paper is 7 but emotionally is 4 or 5). This presents many challenges as it is hard to explain to Becca why Alem doesn't treat her the same way as Emma and Estifanos do. Or how to handle the envitable fights over Barbie and Polly Pocket since neither of them is really capapble of negotiation yet... I am hopefuly that Alem will emotionally mature faster than Becca and this set of twins will naturally go away...

I can understand why social workers are hesitant to allow families to artifically twin - it is hard work to make sure that no one gets lost in the shuffle.