Sunday, December 19, 2010

Countdown to the Holiday...

My twins love to torture me with telling me exactly how few days are left till THE Day.  Oh the agony of being behind...  I woke up at 4:30 this morning with my mind racing on all the things I need to do, haven't done or forgotten, and in between all that trying to give quality time to the girls, and bunnies.  Am I stretched a bit thin?  Yes, I think so.

On the lighter side, I sang the Messi*h with a symphony and a 100 voices.  My dh came and all five daughters.  I knew my deaf daughter would be bored so I told her that she could bring a book and things to draw with.  I also was clear that I expected her to behave like a 12 year old, not a 4 year old, which meant not slumping down in her seat, putting her hood over her face and going to sleep.  She didn't do any of that put she DID hold her book up high enough to block the view of the person behind her, and she did put her bright yellow coat on backwards.  My other daughter who was sitting next to her told her to stop.  I am seeing all this because I'm up in the balcony with the other sopranos.

But the sound of us was amazing, it truly just blew everyone's socks off.  As we ended a roar went up from the audience and they were on their feet even before the clapping started. Wow!  Four of my five really were impressed with the performance, what a great experience.

And today for the first time I got to sing with my twins. The chorale that I sing with arranged with the mall to do a random act of singing.  While we are all there we didn't interact but all of a sudden one person started singing, then another, and finally you had about 35 people singing in four part harmony Chr*stmas carols.  The people at the mall (and there were quite a few) went nuts and really enjoyed it.  My twins and I sang together, it felt wonderful!

I will continue tomorrow, I must get some sleep now.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hawk

Look what was sitting on top of one of our three birdfeeders looking for breakfast this morning!

We won!

Some of you might remember that I filed a complaint that my daughter's rights had been violated in the Middle School.  Well, after many months of phone calls meetings and such...we have won!  What does that mean exactly?  Well, when the government looks at this sort of complaint they look using three categories, and under each category are many sub categories that need to be looked at.  Our school district apparently violated something in all three including discrimination.  I totally missed that one, but they also flagged several other issues I was not aware about.  I am so excited.  So, the District will be responsible for paying for a qualified teacher on a one to one basis from the time she enrolled in March to June of last year.  That translates into them paying for summer school this coming summer.  They will have to pay the high school since she will be going there and the high school is a different Board of Ed and has a different District attorney. She will get support in all of her classes and have a separate time for tutoring. Not only is this and more happening, but I am thrilled to know that they are not going away when this is wrapped up.  They are watch dogging the District and they will have to send in reports on what they are doing to identify ELL students what testing they have done and the support that is being given.  SInce the school system has never done that before it became clear to the Government  Attorney that there is serous problem there and they will be watching them for a long time.  That means other students who come into the school system will finally get the support that they deserve and have the right to receive. So my daughter will start High School right after the holiday vacation.  Wow, we really did it!  And if I remember correctly, I think I filed the complaint in May, but the problems started two weeks after she had started school in Feb/March.

What a very busy time.  The three performances of four of my daughters with the Symphony were great.  The city has been producing The N*tcrack*er for over 25 years, and many said that these singers were the best they have heard in a long time.  There were only 18 children singing.  Now I'm rehearsing for my concert with the symphony.  There are 90 singers, the sound is truly magnificent. But hitting all those high notes for two hours is exhausting.

We trimmed the tree tonight.  My two new daughters started out a bit slowly not sure exactly what to do and why.  But they quickly got the hang of it.  They both want their picture taken in front of the tree, and I will post that.  My deaf daughter is beside herself with excitement about Santa Claus coming to bring her presents.  She can barely wait.

I'm decking my halls, and trying to figure out presents for the five girls, stay within a tight budget (HA-good luck with that) and having apoplexy about wrapping everything for five stockings, and all the presents that go underneath the tree.

I'm off to sleep (what's that?) now so I don't have to remember everything I am forgetting (Like totally missing my sister's holiday party...) and trying to remember everything I haven't done yet that needs doing.  Sigh, I hope I can sleep through the night, or at least what's left of it.

Monday, December 6, 2010

She is 14 years old!

This her very first Birthday party and her first birthday presents.

It was hard though to get her to agree to even acknowledge her birthday.  She said she just wanted it rolled into Christmas.  I said, "Oh no, in America we have a tradition to make that day special."  And it took a whole lot of talking and a lot of listening behind her words to understand what was bothering her about her birthday.  Two things, she didn't want the attention on her, and she didn't want us to spend money on her.  She is such a sweetheart.  I finally persuaded her to see a movie with two of her sisters. The twins were at a Girl Scout tea.  I looked through all the available movies, searched the trailers to show her the choices.  Finally I found one I thought that she would enjoy and would be visual enough for my deaf daughter,  But I had to find every trailer on this movie to show her before she would say "Yes".  They all enjoyed the film immensely.  She did have a wonderful day.  Before the movie they all had singing rehearsal for the "Nutcr*cker".  Then we went to a holiday craft show, and my friend had a table there and my birthday girl got to pick whatever she wanted!  And somehow all five of them ended up getting something. My friend is their 'Auntie'.

My daughter and I went to order her cake which was to be ice cream and the great thing about this store is that I always order their cakes for the girl's birthdays and since the owners are Chinese they can write in Chinese the birthday message and name!

I tried to explain to my deaf daughter today the concept of 'future'.  Whew that is a tuffy!  I used examples like graduating form HS then college you can have more doors open for you to follow your dreams, but you do badly in school you don't get into college and your choices are limited.  Now I used much simpler words describing this. Like what you do here will effect this here (Pointing forward).  Then she had a "Ah ha" moment when I explained how In HS I worked hard to get good grades and even did extra when I could, and I got into college.  That opened the door for me to go to Engl*nd one summer to take summer school (her eyes widened at this).  Because I liked it so much there, I thought how can I get back there?  So I worked even harder at college and was able to go to graduate school there and then stayed another year to work.

Well, by this time she was thrilled!  She 'got' the cause and effect.  What a joyous moment for me. Now I do not expect anything from this, BUT I know a seed was planted and I will continue to reenforce it with choices she is making presently in her life.

Susie, Leslie and Skyblue, you both have an excellent idea and I must and will do a chart.  Tomorrow, I will start.

Leslie, thank you for your encouraging words of support.  When comments are written such as yours, I often think, "Doesn't everyone have a busy life like mine full of responsibilities."  I mean I just think I'm normal, a typically stressed out parent.

Ruby, thank you for the offer to connect me with the parent.  It would be nice to compare notes with her.

Cara, I'm sorry for not replying sooner. Thank you for your offer to share experiences with our 12 year olds.  I will be contacting you.  The only consequence that means anything to her is taking away computer time.

Again it is extremely late, and tomorrow is an early start.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Morning

Thanks Sue for that encouraging comment!

Can you believe I am actually writing this in the morning instead of at 11:00 at night?  And I actually wrote a long one last night.

The past three mornings she has chosen to play instead of dressing properly, brushing her teeth, putting hearing aids in, making her bed, putting her work in her backpack the night before and making lunch the night before, eating breakfast.  I really got on her this morning because I had enough.  She even went outside before the bus came, I had to run around outside in my p.j.'s to find her and demand she go back into the house, and replied "No" 4 times before she finally went.  Her hearing aids were still laying on the table.  I asked her if she had eaten breakfast because I didn't see her do it.  She nodded and pulled an empty banana peel out of her coat pocket.  I asked if she knew not to put open food in her pocket, and she said,  "Yes".  Then why did you put it in your pocket? There was no place to put it.  I said you could have walked inside  and put it in the garbage.  I took a wet wipe and washed the inside of her pocket.  Meanwhile the bus came in the middle of this.  I told her to go to the bus, but instead she went and started to sit down on the floor and change her shoes.  I said NO! Go to the bus!  She started crying that she had gym today and I explained that she had plenty of time to put on the right shoes before.  She went out to the bus crying stood at the door of the bus for at least 45 seconds to a minute refusing to get in.  I had to send a sister out to tell her to get in.

HOMEWORK  - She did not do her reading because she was too busy playing last night.  I was not able to monitor her because I had to deal with a horrific 2 car head-on collision and I didn't get home until quite late.

My husband said she seems to be regressing into original behavior patterns.


Couple this with last night and the past 12 hours have not been great.  Before rushing out for my EMT duties, the two abandoned bunnies created HAVOC with my other bunnies.  The only way to fit them in was between two of my bunnies' cages.  Apparently since they both were fixed just a day ago their hormones were raging so I had to separate the two new ones so their stitches didn't burst during attempted hanky panky.  Great now I needed to create ANOTHER space that I didn't have.  This of course set off more chaos.  My two new bunnies started running around trying to get at my two bunnies (On either side of them), jumping climbing, hopping to see or get at each other.  My two who are usually pretty calm were going berserk.  But with new smells and everyone pooping and marking their territories....  I was up to 1:30 this morning calming down my two bunnies with floor time and treats.  Then everything was quiet.


I came down this morning, after dealing with my daughter and saw one of my bunnies and a new bunny (male) trying to fight each other through the enclosure and thick towel separating them.  And found my other bunny had escaped sometime last night, or should I say this morning since I didn't leave them until 1:30.  This bunny is only about 3 pounds, very tiny.  She could have been anywhere in three large rooms. It's 6:30 in the morning at this point I call my twins down to help me find her.  They come running down in all manner of getting dressed and we start looking. I call her name several times, nothing then out of the corner of my eye I see something coming towards my feet.  YES!  It was her! I scooped her up.  That is the first and only time she has ever come to me when I called.  After this came the final drama with my deaf daughter.  I'm tired.


Final thought.  I just got an email from a fellow EMT that was with me last night, our patient died.  Imagine his kids, Daddy is coming home from work as usual, except this time, Daddy won't ever be coming home.  Puts all of the above in perspective.  A mere hiccup in life compared to a devastating life tragedy.
I am sure with my previous lack of presence that I lost a lot of followers.  I also think that after things mostly settled down after the adoption adventure people lost interest.  But I will continue for a little while longer for those faithful followers that are still there.

My daughter who is deaf , It's really hard not to write about what frustrations she has given me.  She has been writing in books again, they didn't belong to her.  She continually 'forgets'  almost every responsibility that she has like coming downstairs in the morning WITH her hearing aids in, with her bed made and clothes picked up, supposedly was to make her lunch the night before, her schoolwork was to be already put in her backpack and she was to be downstairs at the LATEST 6:15.  What is supposed to happen rarely happens.  Two mornings ago she got downstairs 10 minutes before the bus was supposed to come, and she hadn't made her lunch or breakfast or put her hearing aids in , etc.  Now mind you while she was upstairs I kept going into her room and hurrying her up.  Even when she only had 5 minutes before the bus, she seemed to not comprehend, or care and moved slowly. This morning she came down in time because I heard her.  When I got to the kitchen she was sitting on the floor playing with magnets on the refrigerator.  It was 15 min. before the bus came, no lunch, no breakfast, no hearing aids, no backpack...  Again I let her know that when she doesn't follow the rules and take the responsibilities  seriously she is only hurting herself.  And I gave examples. The frustrating thing about all this is that my daughter lives for instant gratification of what ever she wants or whatever she wants to do.  Her concept of future is nonexistent.  Fathoming what 'future' means is at this time impossible. So it is hard for her to understand consequences.  And so it goes.

On a lighter note four out of my 5 daughters are singing in the Nutcracker Suite with a Symphony, and I am singing in the Messiah with 100 other voices and a Symphony.  And my daughter who is deaf is amazed and overjoyed at the tradition of The Shelf Elf and how when she wakes up every morning he's in a different place...

I need to end now it's 1:15 in the morning and besides having to take two abandoned bunnies in today and trying to find room around the 5 other bunnies here has been very difficult and my night ended with an EMT call to go to a horrific head on crash of two cars and trying to save one of the driver''s life.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hello again, late start on trying to keep the blog up so I will just write a short update.

You know as a parent you feel you sometimes 'get it right'?  I mean, you have a child that's crying their heart out for unknown reasons and you know how important it is that you find out what was wrong, and you feel you have said exactly the right thing and said the right words of encouragement and validation to the point of giving yourself a good old pat on the back?

My second oldest, who arrived in Feb., was on the computer and she had already had her computer day, so I asked her to shut down.  But in the past when I asked, I had walked away and come back 10 minutes later and she would be still on.  So after 4 minutes I still see her clicking away and I go over to look at the screen and see a message in Chinese pop up and I assume she is still writing, so I say, rather loudly, "Now!"    She said,"I'm trying."  And my dh pipped in that it tool a long time to shut down all the programs. SO I just let it go.  Twenty minutes later my daughter who is deaf comes down and says my daughter is crying.  So I go up and sit on the other bed and she's totally under the blankets with her head covered.

So for the next hour I talked with her, telling her that it was OK if she was mad at me for telling her "Now" in a strong voice, I'm still here, we're not going anywhere, we are your family, etc, we've only known you for several moths and sharing is a way for us to know more about you so we can be more supportive, it's important to talk about what's making you sad, keeping it in doesn't make it go away, and there were times I would not say anything telling her I would just sit there and wait until she was ready to share.  Still after an hour, she stayed under the covers crying.  Then my pager went off saying there was a multi vehicle accident on a main road.  I asked if she felt it was all right for me to leave because multi means more than two cars, she nodded her head, (still under the covers) and I took off.

Yes, it was a four car accident that closed down a large part of the road.  All four vehicles were totaled.  It's a good thing I went because only two other EMTs from my Department showed up.  It took three ambulances to transport all the patients, we had two, another one had two, and the third had at least one maybe two.  I got home about 3.5 hours later.  My dh had dinner prepared, and the daughter who had been so upset needed to be woken up because she had been sleeping, we ate, and after the kitchen clean up I suggested to my daughter that we finish the conversation that I had started.

We sat down and I said, "All right, what was so upsetting to you this afternoon? Was it one thing or several that had piled up? Do you want me to ask a question or would you like to just start talking?"  There were long pauses with no answer to each of these questions.  So I said the "We love you, you are family, you can say anything....Etc"  Thinking that I'm about to solve a huge problem for her, heal a hurt, sooth the parting from her Grandmother or helping her feel more accepted into the family, getting more involved as a family member, you know all the BIG things.  I was thinking, this is good, movement is good.

I tried for 45 minutes and she just said it's nothing, and I replied, "Nothing doesn't make you cry and hide under the covers..." Back and forth we went, I said, "When you say it's nothing, and there's nothing to say, I find that hard to understand because something was upsetting you, so I am not going to accept 'nothing'".

Well, guess what?  All that, "I'm making a breakthrough, I'm really reaching her, and whoa I'm really saying the right things..." was bogus.  It WAS nothing.  She was just very tired and it turns out she becomes overly sensitive when she is tired.  Hmmmmmmmm, guess the only thing I learned from this is — she becomes sensitive when she's tired.

Well at least I learned something from all that.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

I apologize for taking such a long break

Nothing serious has caused me to cease writing for a while.  I do appreciate all your concern and missing me.  As I wrote a friend previously who was a bit worried at me silence, my sister was diagnosed with cancer, my deaf daughter hauled off and pushed two classmates and has been sneaky and breaking rules everyday and since she only knows immediate satisfaction in everything she does with no concept of tomorrow,or purpose for doing things such as school - so it's a huge struggle everyday, one of my twins has started to shut down emotionally more than ever and just presents a rock hard exterior, I've had to put my oldest daughter into adoption therapy which we can't afford and I've identified a huge gap in her cognitive thinking and comprehension and now need to find the right testing for her, I finally got the Deaf school on track with the curriculum for my daughter after driving up there three times, it's taken 5 months for the Deaf school to finally get us a sign teacher to come to the house and I'm the one who found her, I feel I'm not a good Mommy on most days because I seem to have developed into a hard, no-fun person which really bothers me, we're still dealing with the hole in the dining room ceiling and all the furniture and rabbits piled into the living room, dh still doesn't have a job and I keep looking, making sure all the bunnies are getting enough attention and floor time is non-ending, I had to go through re-certification classes AND the 2 hour 150 question test and three practicals to renew my EMT license and tests just totally strips me of any self confidence and fills me with fear (and I don't know if I passed yet), I'm trying to figure out how to do Christmas, and then there are the rehearsals for singing in the Nutcracker (four out of my 5 are singing), and the piano & violin lessons, and it seems EVERYONE needs help with their homework every night..... That's basically why I haven't had the energy to write anything on the blog.


There you have it.  I'm sure all parents can identify and are going through the same thing, I just became emotionally spent and wasn't able to write and re-live what was going on.  By the time night came, I just wanted to go to sleep.

I will really try to write something every day now, and catch up on the family as a whole because it is all changing. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I never thought that I was old enough to be considered an antique...  I was asked to bring my Sti*ff stuffed animals to the museum today for a showing of antique toys.  That means, my toys that I grew up with are antiques!  How did this happen?  I can't quite grasp the concept.  But yet...when I figure out how old my stuffed animals are, about 50 years old, I 'guess' they are rather old, but antiques?  Sigh.

Some of my girls think it's pretty funny, hurumph to that.  I tell them, you just wait until your toys get to be antiques and see how funny it is then!

If antiques are worth money, does that mean I become more valuable the older I get?  It is a dilemma.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My deaf daughter DID draw a picture of what she remembered of where she had lived with her adopted parents in China.  She didn't just draw a house, she drew the whole street, with all the houses and the next block which was the town square where they sold their vegetables.  And she had taped 5 pages of printer paper end to end to complete it.  She even had her out house in the picture.  Next door was her friend who was little boy.  She described all the festivals they shared and the neighbor that had the biggest house, which was also in the picture, that always had good celebrations with peanuts and roasted sunflower seeds. They lived on a farm and produced vegetables.  She described her good-bye party and the food they served.  The details were so exact, that I have to believe she was at least six years old when she went to the orphanage.  Oh and she remembered her Father showing her photographs and she pointed to someone in the picture and asked "Who is that?"  Her Father replied, "That is you!"  She said she wondered why there weren't any baby pictures of her only little girl pictures..  Amazing, she took me on a whole journey through her life before us.

Halloween is befuddling me because my new daughters can't think of anything they want to be for Halloween.  Even with many suggestions nothing has interested them — yet.  I hope to post pictures of whatever the outcome.  I shall make this a short post as I am trying to  catch up on some sleep.  Then I will be able to share more tales of my Five Blossoms.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ah yes, it became late again without me knowing it.  But I will put as much news that I can before I am too tired, again.

We now have a definite date when the US Depart. Of Ed. will come and question the school district.  It is in about two weeks, yeah!  So hopefully my daughter can go back to school soon.

The twins are finally settled in at their new school and actually loving it.  And they had an audition for a modeling job that could put money into their college account.  I will let you know if they get a call back.  Oh I do hope so.

My daughter who is deaf still 'entertains' me with her actions and perceptions of the world. I find if I keep listing them you all will become bored, so I will just high light the real biggies as they come up.

My eldest seems to be taking huge steps to healing her past.  Working together, and finally understanding certain issues that I had missed before has helped in the communication department.  One is, that I realized that she didn't understand, accept or know what to do with efforts we make on her behalf, no matter how large or small.  For instance, when she needs more face wash, I try to get it within two days, or she asks to take Karate, we find a class for her.  So, this is what I suddenly realized that I needed to do.
I asked her, "SO why do you think I would drive 45 minutes all the way over here, and all the way back and then be late for my EMT training?"  She was silent, then groaned, "This is hard."  I waited , and waited, and then she finally mumbled, "Because you care..."  "Yes," I said, "you are right.  And as you say it more and more it will become easier."  Well, I have asked numerous times since then and she has answered each time.  And her answers are coming quicker and with a smile.  It never occurred to me before that she didn't 'get' that all this was meant for her because her parents cared about her.  So with that, I am exploring other things that I might have missed.  I think I know of one...extra patience and more acknowledgement of what she does right.

I must finish for now, I will continue tomorrow.

Monday, October 18, 2010

I have been absent

I have never had such a long gap between blog entries.  I am sorry if I have disappointed or frustrated anyone.  There have been no catastrophes, I have just been very weary and it has been hard to find the energy to sit and tap into my emotions to write.

I need one more night off, but tomorrow I will update the various adventures of my family.  So if you still are checking in, see you tomorrow.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

wow.....

Well, I am at a bit of a loss tonight. An unexpected tidal wave of information has washed over me that was completely unexpected.   I went in to ask my deaf daughter why she hadn't said good night which she does every night.  The light was off, she was in bed.  I came over to her she was crying.  I asked why?  She did not answer.  I asked again, no answer.  I turned on the light and asked again, she said no reason she just wanted to cry.  I explained if you are crying you have a sadness or hurt somewhere.  You need to try and find that sadness and tell me about it.  She could not.  I asked and explained in different ways to try and help her.  Sill nothing.

So I suggested that I would try to help her by asking a few questions.  "Do you miss your friends in China.?", "Do you miss China?"  "Are you feeling lonely?"   "No". "No" and "Yes".   So we started to talk, and as she went on my jaw dropped further and further to the floor.  I called my dh into the room and told him what I had heard, and he too was surprised.  And she continued with more and more information, it just poured out of her.

The documents I received from the orphanage said she was abandoned at the orphanage and was about 2 years old.  They described the clothes that she had on and that she had a little bag in her hand with a coat...  And this is what my daughter told me.  She was adopted by a Chinese man and woman, and they told her that she had been abandoned as a baby and they adopted her.   She had an older sister and brother.  She lived in the mountains.  Her house was very small, and they had to go outside to use the toilet at an outhouse that smelled bad.  Her Mom was a good cook.  Her Father worked in the fields and she tried to help sometimes, something about corn. They had a dog she played with.  There was a picture she kept describing that she wants.  It's her as  a little girl, not a baby she said, but a little girl and she was so cute.  She wants to have that picture....  She was five or six when she was taken to the orphanage.  She said it was a very long journey that took all day. She saw her parents sign papers and she thinks they cried. When asked why she was brought to the orphanage, she said her parents were very old, and signed crooked hands for her Mother which led me to think of rheumatism.  Also they didn't have any money to take her to the doctor for her deafness.  She talked about her fist fighting her roommate at the orphanage and stealing toys.  And there was an older deaf boy that would tell her not to do those things and explained why.  She said she eventually understood.   And there was more.

I asked her to draw pictures of everything that she remembers and to write all the details down and any names that she might remember.  This is huge.  It helps me understand her more.  I realize now that there is much I do not know of her that shapes the person who she is.  I am excited to find out more.  I did tell her that with whatever information that she gives me,  I would try and find out where her adopted family was and try and get the picture.

All I can say is "wow".  It is an amazing experience to learn about her life.  Before so much was unknown.  So the adventure unfolds...

I would like to thank those that left comments on my last two posts.  Your advise was gratefully received.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

And then there was today, when she purposely bought lunch at school, when she has been told numerous times that she was not to do so.  I had even gotten up early to heat up a home made Shepherds pie I had made that she wanted  for her lunch.  She had requested it.  She came home with it completely untouched because she decided she wanted a sandwich so she bought it.  Which means charged it to us!  I asked if she remembered that she was not allowed to buy lunch?  She replied "Yes".  Then why did you think it was OK to buy lunch and not eat what I had given you?  I won't continue with the back and forthing but suffice it to say, she thinks it alright to decide when and where the rules she will follow and won't follow.

Any recommendation for books on respect, following rules and responsibility would be appreciated.

Four of my other daughters will be working on a farm on Saturday helping prepare for the Harvest Festival.  It should be a great experience for them.

Did I ever mention that we have four bunnies? Three are rescues. Those three have interesting stories behind them.  Oops, I just got yelled at for staying up so late and not going to bed.  Tomorrow I will tell you their stories and post pictures.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

11:30 Sat. night, hear a strange sound, go into the dining room, I see nothing, all of a sudden a load of water comes through the chandelier, then through an old patch in the ceiling which I never noticed before, then through the seam in the ceiling.  I ran upstairs, burst into the bathroom, and turned the shower off scaring the you know what out of my dh.  The dining room ceiling is now opened up, our shower is unusable until all this can be repaired.  Do you know what this means?  Chaos!   That's right.  Seven people using the same shower, six females and one male.  We all know how long it takes for six females to wash their hair.  Now I have to set up a schedule for shower taking and fit it in between homework, chores, piano lessons, etc.  This will all prove to be very interesting...  Oh, and five out of the six females have very long hair.

My daughter who is deaf has been giving us a lot of things to deal with.  Completely not acknowledging rules when it is inconvenient for her, being confrontative and argumentative with her teacher and us, and not understanding the need to focus and be serious at certain times instead she has an attitude of everything is a game and its play time.  Tonight...suffice it to say, she flat out refused to do as I asked her, which she has done in the past believing that it is completely up to her to choose to obey or not.  Yes, I DO understand why she is behaving like this, and the lack of input at the orphanage is a huge contributer.  But I also know when she makes a conscious choice to break rules as it suits her.  We have such a long way to go.

And it is so frustrating because I can't explain and discuss with her why we have rules, why she needs to have respect for her parents and teacher, why she needs to honor her responsibilities, and how she needs to behave because her language is SO limited!!!  Even while we were going thru it tonight, I showed her in the dictionary the Chinese word for a sign she didn't know and she didn't understand the Chinese so  I had my daughter write an explanation of it in Chinese, still didn't understand.  This happened at least four times in the hour long discussion.  It is extremely hard to get information across to her, especially when her logistical and comprehension skills are so limited.

I will have more update on the others tomorrow. Although I hear the more you sleep the more weight you lose.  So perhaps I might plan to sleep for about 5 days, so if you don't hear from me...

Friday, October 1, 2010

I will try to start my posts earlier so I can write more on a consistent basis.  I wrote last night and finished at 12:01 am.  I got up at 5:45 am.  Deb, I know you do it all the time.  I need to plan my sleep patterns better in order to handle all my responsibilities in a civil loving manner.

Speaking of which, I have applied for a job.  The money situation has become quite serious.  I have applied in the past, but this time I had a telephone interview and I think they will be calling me for an in-person interview next week.  It is for part time around 32-36 hours.  The hard part will be that the shifts available are over night until 8:00 in the morning.  I will need to figure the balance with everything else.  I will wait and see...  Here's hoping.

The past two weeks we've been eating out of the cupboards and freezer.  The past several days there have been complaints that there has been nothing to pack for lunches.  They were right, but I told them to be creative.  Today I finally get to shop.  I'll be hitting two stores and stocking up.

My 16 year old has been trying to identify when she is negative and turn it around before it gets out of hand.  I finally realized (duh!), that she didn't recognize 'caring'.  Just the simplest to the overt acts of kindness.  Like giving her music lessons that are so important to her even though money is tight to getting her the shampoo she wants.  So, I started saying, "Why do I choose to drive 45 minutes so you can speak with someone to help heal you and 45 minutes back and I'm always late for my EMT training?"  She said, "It's too hard to say."  "Try," I encouraged.  She hesitated and mumbled something.  I said, "I didn't understand what you said."  Again a mumble that was a bit clearer, "Because you care." "Hm?" I enquired. "Because you care,"  she replied very clearly now. "Yes," I told her, "you're right.  And each time you say it, it will become easier and easier to say until it will be quite natural for you to think and believe that."

Fast forward several weeks, I had asked her the question several more times, and each time it became easier and easier for her to say.  Yesterday I asked how it felt and she said, "Good."  I also asked how it was going with stopping the negative thoughts and switching them to positive thoughts.  She said it was hard,  but she would still work on it.

My thoughts behind doing this was that she never really 'got' or recognized caring acts, let alone that they were meant for her.  So by her acknowledging that what we do are acts of caring, it places a subliminal message in her brain to open that part of her that is so tightly protected and abolishes the part that says she is worthless, always wrong, never is right, and unlovable.  In the past few weeks, I have see a lighter girl, as if she had shed some heavy weights form her shoulders.  We still have several years of healing to go, but this is a great start.  Especially since she enters high school next year, which in itself is a whole different bag of worms.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bet you thought I disappeared, or completely collapsed from all the craziness like when my daughter who is deaf was riding home in the bus with the 'prize' her speech teacher had given her.  She decided to bite into it, for whatever reason, and it exploded in white powder everywhere.  She then took the pile of it in her lap and smeared it all over her face.  THEN she decided to put her umbrella up, in the mini bus and keep it over her head!  Oh, and the other morning I came down and found that she had taken frozen pasta out of the freezer and was trying to fry it in a frying pan.  She has forgotten her hearing aids three days in a row and left them once on the bus.  All the kids are to make their lunch the night before.  One morning I asked her if her lunch was ready, she said, "Yes".  I looked in her lunch box and I saw, a cookie and a Chinese pastry...  All the homeworks, EMT runs, shopping, money concerns, going to three different schools to meet a total of 15 teachers, keeping on the government to resolve my daughter's educational issue.

It has kept my brain so full, I have been forgetting...what was I just talking about??

I need some sleep. I think.  The last tale I will leave you with, is my daughter who is deaf came running into my room tonight in a panic with a chunk of her hair in her hand.  I couldn't imagine what had happened.  She started signing, and I thought she had a snarl in her hair and had pulled at it too hard and it had come out.   She was frantic.  She pulled me into her room and pointed to her hair brush.  As it happens I had been brushing my hair when she came in and I carried it with me when she dragged me to her room.  She pulled hair out of her brush, touched her hair then the brush again.  Ooohhhh, I now understood.  She thought her hair was falling out because of the hair in the brush!  I explained to her that it was all quite normal, and she was not to worry.  "See." I said, and I pulled some hair out of my brush.  She saw that and was reassured.  The things we take for granted...  Sure keeps me on my toes.

Friday, September 24, 2010

I didn't mean to keep you hanging like that.  The days rolled into the nights which became late...you know the usual.  The experience with the Chinese delegation for my family was wonderful.  It turns out that 4 out of my 5 daughter's Provincial heads were there. Once each daughter was introduced they were treated as celebrities taken to other members of the delegations and being introduced and having their picture taken by many people.  Once they found out that we had adopted five girls, we became even more in demand to meet more people.  My girls had the biggest smiles on their faces.  Two really wonderful coincidences occurred for my oldest and my second oldest, who was just adopted.  The Director of my older daughter's orphanage was there!  And she was able to find out that all her friends had been adopted.  She was so happy for them, which was a new area of empathy that surprised her when it came out and me.  She also found out that her "older sister" who had aged out some time ago, not only had found a great job, but had also stayed with the Director for a year.  And my other daughter spoke with the Head of her Province and discovered she knew some of the same people.

I was able to meet the Deputy Director and have a fairly interesting conversation.  My family members were celebrated by the Chinese delegation as we celebrated their trip to America to meet the adoptive families and the children.


My daughter has finally learned enough SIgn Language that I could read a couple of simple children's book to her tonight.  She was thrilled.  It was rather hard for my because I had to substitute signs that she knew so she could follow the stories which changed the story ever so slightly.  It was a whole new experience for her.  I can't wait to do more.


Oh, the twins b-day party was an incredible success.  Look at these Traveling Cloaks my friend made just for this occasion.  They opened it first thing on their birthday morning.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I have run out of time-again to continue on about the meeting with the Chinese delegation. Today ran long into homework, making dinner, and in the middle of that, all three fire departments were called out for a chimney fire.  Off I went.  Finished just in time to drive to the next town for my twins teacher meeting.  I just arrived home and it is 9:45 and I need to finish what I left hanging when I ran out the door.

I will pick it up tomorrow, oh, wait a minute.  I have a curriculum night at my daughter's school for the deaf which is an hour and fifteen minute drive one way.  Hmm, I may not get home until after 10:00 or so.

So maybe the update will need to wait until the next day or I will try to write it during the day tomorrow.  I really will try.

Monday, September 20, 2010

I am here

I will catch you up a bit, because I do need to go to bed early, (that would be a first).  I have been busy with my time and emotions.

I did hear, finally from the Government handling my daughter's case.  The next step in a week or so is that they will be coming all the way here to interview the District and question their reasoning on their choices for my daughter... Then they will speak with me and my daughter.  I so want her to start school, for her sake.

The other day I drove an hour and 15 minutes, one way, to go to my daughter's school for the deaf, and had a long meeting the Head Administrator, the Principal and the head Teacher.  It was very successful, they seem to be on my page of concerns and goals.  I will see in the following months the progress that I hope that will be accomplished.

After the weekend of my Mother's memorial party, this weekend was the twins b-day.  I purchased a H*rry Pot*er party package where everything was laid out for you, all the things you needed were there to be printed out, and if you did need to buy supplies, there was a supply list.  The document was 140 pages long!  It took me forever to figure the whole thing out.  And I do mean days of looking, printing, and dissecting.  Then when I'm ready to sit down to collate everything and put it all together with what I hadn't printed out...we could not find the stack of papers.  We had moved it some place out of the way for my Mother's party, and not one of us could find it.  And believe me we looked in the weirdest places.  It was definitely too much paper for the rabbits to eat.  SO I started all over again…  Just as I was really starting to 'get it', and I was on a groove when I hear my EMT pager go off.  Of course I won't go I have too much to do.  A second tone goes out, no one is responding between two fire departments, a third tone goes out and I hear only one person sign on.  At this point I'm thinking, aw, come on, I was just in a great rhythm typing up a script and creating lists and sections for each event, (there were 7).  OK, I start to get up to slowly prepare to go.  I get into my EMT pants, grab my radio, phone, ID, a FOURTH tone.  I call in, I'm on my way!  You know, it's a good thing I did, because only two of us showed up.

I got back so late that I couldn't pick up where I left off, so I went to bed.  So I tried to start the next day, the week before the party was full of teacher meetings, shopping and researching for goodie bag items, dentist appointments, and much I don't remember. By Friday I was crispy fried, wound so tight I felt like snapping. By Friday I still did not have a complete grasp on it all and I had promised a friend to spend some time with her quite a while ago.  Ideally I felt I just shouldn't go, it was a 45 minute drive one way and the day before I had driven about 2 and a half hours roundtrip to my daughters school and I didn't want to put the effort out to drive following directions I had printed out that I could tell needed concentration.  See, I really was close to my limit.  I just wanted to finish trying to understand this party, get all the props set up with all the different rooms...  But the invitation was to benefit me.  My friend had wanted to give me a break.  Although I felt I couldn't spare the time just now.  I went knowing I HAD to do this, although doing for Me is never at the top of my list.  That's a typical 'Mom' thing.

I went, and did the Yoga class with her, she took me to a very yummy lunch, with two lovely friends of hers.  This she knew I needed, and made it happen.  I guess that's what good friends are all about.  By the time I left, I was taken down a t least 10 notches of stress.  It helped with the rest of the crazy day.  Because as soon as I got home, out I went with the twins, picked out a cake, picked out the balloons, went to a store to by a b-day present for a party one of the twins was going to that night, and then went shopping for food for the party.  Stayed up quite late preparing.  Went to bed, next day rise early and jam up to the 4:00p.m. start time.

There were 12 ten year olds, 3 boys, the rest girls.  Oh my was it loud.  It was very successful, they all seemed to really get into it, especially the potion class.  I had gizzards, and salmon skins, bat livers, bloodworms, and other gross stuff.  The kids loved it!  I also served dinner as a H*gworth feast, then more things to do.  Finally the cake, several games of telephone, opening presents, and 4 hours had passed and then they were gone.  Hugh sigh!  I started to clean up which took another hour or so, just as I was sitting down and relaxing...you guessed it, my pager went off.  Oh no, I thought.  One tone...second tone, oh heck I'm not waiting this time.  I gathered up what little energy I had and raced out the door.  I got home after 11:00 p.m. and slide into bed.

Only to wake up everyone early the next morning to go on a special boat ride with important people who are in charge of all adoptions in China.  A delegation of 30 people came over to meet adoptive families.

More tomorrow.

Monday, September 13, 2010

My Mother's Celebration of Life party went very well.  People appeared form my past that I hadn't seen for at least 40 years.  It was very special.

I was hoping to hear from the Office of Civil Rights today regarding the schools giving my daughter English grammar so she could access an equal education, but I didn't.  I will rattle their cage tomorrow.

My twins like their new school.  We are presently revving up or the b-day party this Saturday. I'll explain more tomorrow, but suffice it to say it will be a bit of work and creative energy...

My older daughter has indicated a few things that leads me to believe that it is now out of my range of experience to help her.  So for 3 hours today I researched many possibilities for an adoption therapist, which in my area is not many.  I found one, we went today, my daughter is happy with her and wants to go again.  Financially it will be a great hardship, she doesn't take our insurance.  The only other one I found that does take our insurance was a little over an hour away.  I am very sure that she needs to see this person right now in her life, and I realize it needs to be long term, I'm just not sure how to make it all work.

The deaf school is willing to meet with me after I wrote a letter that said in part:
 "I sincerely hope I will not have to continually remind everyone  again that she has only been in this country 7 months and does NOT know English and her ASL is very limited.  Would you please treat her as an ESL student.  Give her basic vocabulary with the signs that go with them.  Teaching her nouns before she has any vocabulary is counter-productive.  As her parent my request is that her education at this point is focused mainly on vocabulary, sign, math and nothing else. You will need to develop a special program for her.  You are not meeting her needs at this point."  

So three out of five children are settled in school at this point.  That's more than half, right?

I just came back from my EMS meeting so I'm off to early bed.  I hope to wake tomorrow, cheery, full of energy with a little blue bird on my shoulder.  (You have to be over 55 to understand that reference).

Friday, September 10, 2010

Eureka!

What a nice way to start the day.  I came down at 6:30 this morning to check on my daughter who is deaf,  That usually means I have to remind her to eat breakfast first, pack her lunch, pack her water, zip up her pants, where are her shoes, is everything in your backpack, are you looking at the time, is the bus driver here, etc?  Well, by golly, this morning, I had nothing to say...nothing!  She had done everything including zipping here zipper.  Wow, this is huge.  If it continues for 5 more school days, I think she will have arrived at a new level.  I do hope so because on the selfish side, I would like to see a little success from the efforts that I have put towards her.  I will let you know the results in 5 days, after the weekend of course.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Ah, the challenges of parenting

Do any of you out there have a child that just presses your buttons and makes you over react to situations?  Oh, it is so annoying, just as you think you are doing and saying the right things to your children, one of them comes along and pushes those buttons and makes all your hard work seem like it's going down the drain and you feel like a bad Mommy.  I know orphanage issues and hormones is a nasty mixture but jeesh, does it have to be so complicated as well?  This is going to be such a long road to healing for my older daughter.  So much for avoiding gray hair...

My dear daughter who is deaf, showed me again how far she needs to go.  She still forgets to zip her zipper.  And I caught her the other day pulling out that little pocket that is in the big pocket on jeans and patting it down so it hung out.  Why?  This morning she took out some left over rice from Chinese take away.  While she was heating it I asked her, now what should you put it in to carry to school?  She pointed to the little cardboard carton it came in.  I know why she thought that but her cognitive skills are a bit lacking, so I had to teach her by...do you think your rice will stay warm in the carton?  Do you think it might spill out?  Where should it go to stay warm and not fall out...She finally got it - the thermos.  Another day in my life that tells me the rest of my life will be full of challenges.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I return with a quick post.

Thank you for your kind support.  I have been absent because I have not had the energy to write.

There is not a lot to update except some of the 'usual' stories about my daughter who is deaf.  Hmmm, I probably should just list them.  Well she still can't manage to remember to zip up her zipper, I have to check it every time I see her.  It's just not in her radar to think of as important.  Then she came to me signing something about something not tasting good.  I walked into her room, she pointed, I looked at carved wood birds, and I signed, "What?"  Again she pointed at the birds.  I looked closely, and there was a glo stick around one of birds.  She had bit into the glo stick!  I asked "Why?"  She replied that she didn't know..sigh.

She also has no sense of time, she got up late today, I mean really late. Slowly she came down stairs, the bus was coming in 5 minutes, and she proceeds to take a pot out to warm up some rice for breakfast. I said to her, there is no time to heat the rice and there is no time to eat the rice, eat cereal instead. She could not understand why she couldn't have the rice.  I broke it down for her, it takes about 4 minutes to heat the rice and about 4-5 minutes to eat it.  You now have 3 minutes until the bus comes!  And all this is before I had my coffee...

She always forgets to put her papers, homework and books in her backpack.  Now mind you, I ask, "Did you put everything in your back pack?"  She always answers "Yes."  Then I will ask specifics, and she says, "Oh, I forgot," and proceeds to finally pack it. In her tunnel focus of, "I see it, I want it, or I do it," she fails to ask first.  She took out all the sheets from he closet and re-stacked them.  I know she was just trying to help, but now all the bottom sheets are mixed with the top sheets and the twins, and doubles and queen sheets are all together. She did the same with ALL her clothes putting jeans in her draws, hanging up sweat pants, putting short and long sleeves together and, well you get the picture.  Because of that it takes her forever to get dressed. So I re-did everything,again, and told her not to change it.

So many things to teach her, and to watch out for. I need to devote a lot of time to her because she has such a long way to go.

My other girls are doing well. I do have a concern about one of the twins.  I sense something happening there that isn't very positive.  I've tried a 'casual' chat with her a couple of times to try and figure out what was happening underneath, but to no avail.  I think I might need to press a little bit harder.

One last thing, I want to share a bit about what I wrote about my Mother for the obituary.

"While attending College she became interested in marine biology and spent years researching shark behaviors.  She was a trained scuba diver and has hand fed sharks.

She served on the Board of Directors for the Amer*can R*d Cros*, the Town Association, she was one of the founders of the Church, a G*rl Sc*ut Leader, served on numerous PTAs and was on the Board of Directors for the Pony Club. 
She was a world traveler. On her trip to Africa, she had the honor bestowed upon her by being accepted as a member of the Masai tribe.       

She chose to start a new career in her 40’s.  She became a Real Estate agent.  After many successful years in real estate, she was as one of the first Corporate Relocation Consultants. She finally retired when she was 68.
She is remembered as a caring person that was a great friend and Mother.  She had tireless energy devoted to her family and work.  She was also an avent garde type Mother, that in the 60’s liked rock n’ roll, blue jeans and marched for peace."


Thursday, September 2, 2010

It is difficult to start because I don't know where to begin.  I have found out a few things since Monday.  I found out that one of my twins has great empathy.  As I was sitting on my bed reeling from the news and crying, there came a knock at my door, and one of my twins came in slowly.  She climbed up on the bed and sat next me and said, "I wanted to comfort you."  Oh my heart could not have hurt much more.  She stayed by me, saying nothing just being there.  I found out that my dry eye condition gets a lot worse with a lot of crying. I found out that people I didn't know really cared about supporting me (all of you). I found out that acquaintances and friends I hadn't been in touch with for quite some time made the effort to let me know they were thinking about me.  I found out I am getting to know myself better.  And I found out that the family I had always yearned for, that I didn't have growing up and kept trying to 'make it happen,' was really all around me in plain sight.

I have felt sluggish for the past several days, but I couldn't give into it because the girls started back to school.  Two on Wed., two today and I stared Homeschooling again.  Regarding that, the complaint that I flied  is still progressing forward.  Within a few weeks the Lawyer and Advocate from the Government will come here from out of state to meet with the school system.  I do hope it is resolved soon.

After another confrontation of attitude, issues, etc., I sat my eldest down and made a game plan and agreement with her.  One of the things I suggested was to allow me to stop her as she is starting to rev up her emotions and anger.   She did just that last night, I stopped her, showed her another way of looking at what was bothering her and she calmed down and let it go.  Wow, that was a first.  I hope to continue helping her gain skills to use to re-direct her anger, disgust and lack of respect for adults.

One last thing as I am pretty tired. My deaf daughter starting getting all moody tonight when I asked her to pick out what she wanted for lunch tomorrow to bring to school.  She got all sulky and into, I don't want any lunch, I won't be hungry, or there's nothing to eat or a sister is in her way, and so on.  I asked one of the twins to help her pick something out as I was giving holding time to one of the bunnies.  She said she didn't want anything she was shown.  I asked her to come to me and I said, you have to bring lunch to school, you don't have to eat it but you do have to bring it.  Well, the tears started coming. I questioned her, "Why are you sad? Is it because I asked you to make your lunch? Is it because you don't want to do it , etc."  To all my questions the answer was "No."

"Then why are you sad?" "I don't know."  "Tell me why you are sad."  "You asked me to make lunch for school and I got sad, I don't know why."  "Let's talk about it and find out."  This went on for a while, then all of a sudden she started recalling being told what to do in China, being slapped all the time, being told she was wrong, and one particular man always had a cigarette in his mouth and smoke always got in her face when he was yelling at her.  OK ,I said to myself, we have some things to work on here.  So I talked about how that will never happen again, they were wrong to treat her like that. If it ever did occur at school she was to tell me and I would drive the school, and yell at that teacher and report them to the Director of the school.  Her reaction was, "You would drive all the way there???"  I said, Oh yes, no one hurts one of my children.  Your Mama and Papa are here to love and protect you always.  That is never going to happen again, we will protect you, we are your forever family and no matter what you do or don't do, we are never going away.  A whole new concept for her, I think she understood.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I want to thank everyone for their caring and kind words.  They actually do make a difference as I wander through a collection of emotions.

Tomorrow, Thursday, I will start writing again with updates on all.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Two things...

My Mother passed away last night.

We won't be getting the little boy with the heart condition from China. A couple has said they want to adopt him and their dossier is complete. So the good news is that he will be getting medical treatment soon and a family, the bad news is we won't be his family.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Yesterday I was going to catch you up on some things.  In the afternoon my sister called.  My Mother is dying, so I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening with my sisters and Mother.  I'm going again today.
We don't know when she will leave, it could be at anytime at this point.  So, I will take a break for a little while.  Keep checking back though, I will come back when things settle here to continue the blog and update situations.

Thanks for your continued interest in my family.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I totally forgot that tonight was the first rehearsal of my chorale that I sing in all year, so I'm starting this post later than I wanted to.

So I have been putting a lot of thought into how to heal my older two girls.  My oldest came to us angry.  Some of it has gone away, but the core is still there. She is so angry and hurt that she never had a childhood.  She doesn't want to grow up, she doesn't want to "act her age," or have responsibilities or be nice to her younger sisters who get to play all the time. She has a void that needs filling.  She can't go back to being six and start over again.  But she needs to experience what she has 'lost'.  I think I came up with a possible solution.  I don't know...  This is my idea.  That one day every week she gets to be a 'kid'.  She can choose whatever activity she wants, perhaps me reading her a story, playing dolls, playing Candyland, or just going for a walk.  I will have to ask her.  This is only my first attempt at finding a solution.  It's a start at least.

And for my other daughter, I think having more one on one time with her, getting more friends to be with, and talking about her past with names and dates and bringing it all out instead of having it buried might help.  All I can do is try.

My other three are works in progress and I am trying to develop agendas for them. In between all this I'm still working with the Office of Civil Rights who have already notified the school, I'm still trying to meet with the teachers at the deaf school to get them 'aware' that my daughter is not just deaf, but she is a foreigner and grew up in an orphanage all her life which means she learns and comprehends things differently, and so much more.  But it's late and I won't bore you with details...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sorry for the absence in communication, no reason really, just busy to the point of being too tired to write at night.  Like now.  But I will catch you all up tomorrow.  I'm on night duty tonight, so I'm off to bed...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

So, I am in a vice today/tonight.  Getting squeezed from my new daughter with trying to find the right words to help sort out her emotions and fears, my oldest daughter who is angry and resentful that she never had a childhood which manifests into negative, disrespectful, unreasonable behavior, and my daughter who is deaf, figuring out a way to build pathways in her brain to learn to listen for the first time.  And the twins entering their new school, and dh and I not seeing eye to eye.

I'm being squeezed from all sides right now.  It is not a pleasant experience to try and balance everyone's needs without craving an escape for myself to regroup.  I want to be able to say the right thing and give the correct guidance to my girls.   That takes so much emotional energy to focus and tune in and that is what I do.  I would like to escape for a night out at an expensive restaurant, with friends, without worrying about money and not thinking about anything...just for a few hours.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I forgot to mention the final step in the Spa treatment.  One of the twins got out all her Easter candy (I make them sort out their Halloween & Easter candy and keep only a small bit in a plastic bag in the kitchen), and she put it all in a basket an offered some as my treatment was over.  I would definitely say that it was a full service Spa.  They made their Father make an appointment for today for his pedicure and massage.  He also received the full treatment minus the nail colors and designs...

Now their next customers will be their Girl Scout leaders and they can earn a couple of badges from it as well.  They are so industrious.

I found out today, that my daughter CAN hear with her hearing aids on.  I thought they weren't working because she never responded to anything including working with her on 'hearing' her name.  Through a little Q & A, I discovered that she has no 'connections' in her brain to hear sounds, they don't register.  That makes sense you say, well yes, but somehow that barely crossed my mind.  So I explained to her that as soon as she hears her name she must look right away to see who is calling her.  I did a few experiments when her back was turned and darn if she didn't hear each time, she even said she did.  She just didn't know what to do when she did hear.  So now I need to create new exercises to start connecting those synapse and training her brain to recognize sounds.  Yet one more thing on my 'To Do' list.

So I started today, I sat her down and started her on listening to the alphabet.  I  didn't want her to say the letters, just listen to the sounds.  I took a long time working with her, and made comparisons such as the sound for "I" and "eye".  Then I would say a letter and have her try and sign what she thought I was saying.  And for such a short time, she got a lot correct.  Then we moved onto the vowels, and the long and short sound symbols.  With a lot of explanation and examples she started to understand the theory behind long & short vowels and how they effect the pronunciation of a word.  Then we had fun with a picture book where I chose things that are in a bathroom.  We did, towel, soap, bathroom, toilet, and a few others.  Again I tested her by saying the word and having her point to the picture.  When she got it wrong, it really wasn't wrong because it was part of the process of training the ear. It was a lot of fun, and a lot of work.  And we did numbers up to ten, and 'who', 'what', 'where' & 'why'.  Yes it seems like a lot on the first go around, but she was enthusiastic, so I kept going.  We'll go over them again tomorrow.

This could be a start of great things to come...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

You know it occurred to me, it is very hard to be an all knowing, insightful, intelligent, have-all-the-answer-parent when you barely know the child(ren).  I have only known my girls for 6.5 months.  How can I possibly hope to say or do the right thing?  Especially when there is so much unknown.  All I really can do is deal with what I see and hear at that moment.  It's like flying a plane and all you know about it is what you've read in books or seen in the movies, and hope you don't crash and burn.

My twins have been begging me for at least a year to let them give me a spa, yes really.  Finally I gave in today.  First they hung up directions on every wall all the way to their room.  Then I knocked and they had me sign in my name, date & time.  They then handed me a 6 page book they created of choices of services including the prices.  I had 10 choices of how much time I wanted for a massage, and then the choice of how many colors I wanted for my pedicure with prices that went up with each number, and 8 choices of designs for my toes.  I choose 4 colors with the star and moon on my big toes and percent marks for all the others.  For my pedicure they brought me a drink and magazine.  They first soaked my feet, then scrubbed them with pumice, then put cuticle remover on, then callous remover on, then a special lotion that they massaged in for at least 10 minutes on each foot.  Then it was time for their art work on my toes, which is absolutely gorgeous.  It took  two hours to do so we ran out of time for the massage, which I will get tomorrow.  The bill came to $30.00, but luckily they gave me a certificate that read:  my name and "no payment till the end of the year, can't be used for tips".  "Infinity dollars, Infinity cents".  So I turned that in.  But of course I did leave a tip.  Now they're ready to do this for their Girl Scout leaders and the girls in the troop.  They plan to save their tips for their college fund.  I am very lucky to have such kind, creative, intelligent caring girls.  Who could ask for more?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

So, the disruptions that I have been following are at a stalemate.  They are stuck with the children involved, in not the best environment.  Presently I have gone as far as I can go on it, especially because they are happening in other states.  I feel quite sad & angry at this point.  I will keep checking on them and hope for the best.

Well, my skills as a Mother have certainly been challenged this week. I don't know where to begin because it has so many layers. I will just list randomly some of the issues that came up.  And this is with my two oldest.

Why are people here in this world, why am I here, sees nothing to hold on to, sad and lonely, in the orphanage the only way we had to defend ourselves was to hit each other — we had to be strong, sometimes after that we were friends because we had to stick together, we don't like younger children, we don't know how to feel for them, American children are 'spoiled brats' they are soft, I had to grow up at 6, I never got to play and waste time, I can't feel anything, I'm always stuffing my anger down instead of yelling or hitting, can't change after years of being in the orphanage,  and there is so much more.

I have a lot of work on my hands.  With I deal with each  differently, yet on several things they have the same issues.  We will take small steps at first.  The first step is having them believe that it is all right to express their thoughts and emotions even if it is anger or negativity, but it needs to be expressed by choosing the right words and tone of voice.  We discussed how that would sound.  For instance my older daughter gets so mad at the twins when they discuss over who unloads the dishwasher and who will put the dishes away when she needs to do something at that counter space.  My daughter wants to just scream at them to stop being spoiled brats and do the work like you're supposed to!  Instead she just stuffs it down and it comes out as something else later.  So, I told her, "You're right, that can be annoying."  Her reaction was one of surprise that I agreed with her.  I needed to validate her emotions.  I said here is how you can say what you want to say.  "You need to make a decision now, I need to make lunch and I can't if all the dishes are in my way."  Well, she liked my idea.  So we talked about a few other situations that annoy her, and I gave her suggestions of what to say.

My other daughter although her English is somewhat limited has been holding back her confusions and feelings.  I gave her 'permission' to share what ever was on her mind and she was there when I was talking and dealing with the very intense sadness and anger from my other daughter.  So she could see that I was there to help, and I did understand.

Did I mention how this all started?  Several days ago it started with one daughter sobbing from the very depth of her being, and I spent almost 2 hours with her until she came to a place of being comfortable.  And last night my other daughter was sobbing also, and raging as well, and I spent almost two hours with her.  There is a lot of work to be done here, a lot of healing.

Like in the play Peer Gynt where he says people are like onions.  They have many layers, and as you peel each one off there is another one,  And you keep peeling until you find the center.  And that is how I will hope to heal my girls

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Why is it that adopted girls that are 13 seem to be disrupted more than others?  Before the present two came to my attention, I knew of 4 others in the past year or so.  And tonight, I heard of one MORE!  A thirteen year old deaf girl who is a perfect child according to a parent that knows her and had her stay for 3 weeks at her house.  The "mother' decided she "was done" and did not care where she went, she just wanted her gone.  So she put her with a family that doesn't know sign language or anything about the deaf culture.  They are supposed to be her legal guardians, but no one knows if they are even interested in adopting her. I am so ready to scream!!!  Who are the social workers that OK these people??  What are they thinking?  There has GOT to be a change in how parents are prepared and screened.  This is happening way too much!

To temper my anger and disgust, the good news is I heard from the woman whose organization will be handling bringing the little guy over and helping arrange for getting doctor and hospital to donate their services.  Although I'm not sure how she will do that because from several of the calls I have made, I didn't see any enthusiasm towards giving free medical care. But she assures me, that she feels confident that she can make it happen.  If it is meant to be, it will happen. Sigh, I am not the patient type.

When I hear anything about any of the disruptions, I will post the news.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

What disruption means.

In the past week and a half I have heard about more disruptions than the total of last year.  Now either they are just becoming more visible and talked about, or the adoption community is starting to take a terrible blow.

From the information that I have read or received, a  number of disruptions are the result of the perspective parents not doing any research.  Thereby setting up unrealistic expectations.  The parent can already have bio children, work in the health industry as a doctor or nurse, be a teacher, but that does not prepare the parent for a child with orphanage issues and unknown back history.  Case in point, the Mother who was a Pediatrician that abused her adopted daughter to the point of killing her within 3 months of adopting her.  She was a Pediatrician, shouldn't SHE have been the perfect parent?  If you don't read, research, talk to other adoptive parents you DON'T know and you DON'T understand what you are getting into. And it is so unfair to the child for the parents to cast them into an unrealistic role of a grateful, typical teenager, cute Chinese doll role.

If I hadn't done my  research when I adopted my first teenager, frankly I don't know what I would have done.  She had been home 2 weeks and I asked her not to wear a ponytail for the school picture.  Well, she threw one whale of a tantrum, crying extremely loud, screaming throwing herself on the floor, pulling her hair out in chunks and trying to break things.  And this was just the first of many.  Luckily, I had read about this, and knew exactly how it should be handled.  Then there was "I hate you!" to her younger sisters and being incredibly mean and impatient (which went on for about 3 years).  Again, I learned how to handle it, what caused it, and it takes a long time to dissipate.  It's the knowing that helps you get through the hard times.  And it's the not knowing that freaks parents out into disruptions.

Parents that have disrupted because of their child being diagnosed with RAD, or oppositional defiant disorder have something quite different to deal with.  I know parents that have had early diagnosis for their child (before puberty) and went into intense RAD therapy that the parents work incredibly hard  each day and the child develops into a loving attached child (after years of hard work).  Then again I have heard where even therapy and hard work did not help. Bottom line with a RAD diagnosis, if you don't get immediate therapy with a professional who has been specially trained the child will probably ruin the parents lives.  And there are times when 'the fit' just doesn't work and tears the family apart even with doing their homework on adoption.  But that is only in severe cases.

I wish that I could reach out and help some of these children who are being so misunderstood and mistreated because of the way they're expected to act. Their lives are being made miserable and they end up going into a deep depression. I would almost call the parents who act like this "Bullies".

OK, I'm off my soap box. No one needs to agree with me, I just needed to vent because at this moment I know of two 13 year old girls recently adopted and suffering because their new parents are making unreasonable demands on who they should be and how they should act.  It breaks my heart.

What I forgot to mention about the various frustrations that popped up during shopping is dealing with my daughter who is deaf.  She has no concept of self image.  She is totally unaware of how she presents herself in clothes, hair, or posture.   I don't think there is a day that goes by that I don't have to remind her zip her zipper up. Really!  It is too funny, its like she is oblivious.

When we finally found things for her to try on, she went into the dressing room and came out with pants and a top on saying they were too small. So, I looked, made her turn around, and then I looked closer...she still had her shorts on underneath!!  I asked her "Why?"  She gave me the "I don't know" and "why should I take off my clothes?"  I let a breath out slowly and stood there not moving for a count of ten.  I tell her to go back into the dressing room  and take the shorts off. She comes out and the pants fit fine.  I look at the top and she signs, as she pulls out her strap, "Should I take this off too?", referring to the shirt that she wore into the store!  I sign slowly, "Yeees..."  So she pops back into the dressing room, sigh.

The next day I was thrust into a very important  serious emotional situation with my other new daughter.  For her privacy I won't go into details, but suffice it to say that as over prepared I am in most areas, this one caught me by surprise.  If I don't handle it correctly, the consequences could be serious.  Thus I have discreetly asked around for book referrals, spoken with a couple of Moms that have teenage children and I'll do my meticulous research "thing,"

I am waiting until next week for more information for this little guy. Several things need to happen before he can come to the US for his surgeries. First we need to know that he can fly, then, most importantly, we need a Pediatric Cardiologist to donate his services and a hospital to do the same.  From what I hear getting a Doctor can be hard, but not impossible.  Having a hospital donate their services IS impossible.  Without surgery, he will die. That is a fact.  So without a hospital coming forward, we would need some very big donors to step in.  In today's economy I don't see that happening. But I don't give up easily and I believe we will find a way to keep this little boy alive,

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Shop to you drop - I almost did...

It started out as a just let's go to the mall, meet my friend with her daughter, and do some shopping.  All five girls went.  FOUR HOURS later, sore feet and back, I ended up shopping for all five girls.  We found a really great sale and just stayed in the store. Back and forth, back and forth from clothes to dressing room and back again.

Then we had my two new daughters who were noncommittal on everything I showed them all sorts of choices, one looked blankly at me and the other completely stonewalled me.  She just set her jaw and seemed slightly upset.  So I asked my friend to take her around in case it was me, but no, she showed no interest.  I pulled her aside and asked if something was bothering her.  She said "No."  I asked, "Are you sad about something?"  "No".  OK...  "Why don't you want to choose come clothes?"  No answer.  She finally comes up with she doesn't like the clothes here.  OK fair enough.  I say to her to let me know what kind of clothes she does like and I will find a store to take her to on another day.

I deal with my older daughter wanting more than I said she could have, I deal with the twins who are fairly cooperative but are distracted by the other things in the store like backpacks, jewelry, headbands...I deal with my deaf daughter who keeps signing "I don't know"  when I ask her "Do you like this?  Do you like this color?"  Finally I get her settled, she's the last one and I'm ready to check out.  I turn around and what do I see? My daughter who wanted no part in the shopping escapade suddenly has her arms full of clothes to go and try on! I silently think, now where did that come from?, and proceed to encourage her by saying that's a great color, or look at that style, or that is so cute on you.  But all this added another 45 minutes onto this day of supposed casual/short shopping.

This is my first experience of taking all five shopping, remind me not to do it again.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

No news yet

This is where it is today.  The woman who is President of the organization that brings sick children to the US to have treatment, the one who is presently in Beijing for five months, is going to see the little boy today, China time.  I can't wait to hear back from her.  Also I researched for her which Doctor to approach for gratis surgery.  I believe I found the perfect one, he is considered the top Pediatric Cardiologist and has trained Doctors in China and he himself is Chinese!  He also works at the hospital that was voted one of the top Pediatric Hospitals. The woman will be contacting him and start arranging the medial side of things.  If this Doctor and hospital are not interested , I will search out another.  This woman's organization has already committed to flying the child and nanny to America.

Let's hope the details start to fall into place.  This little guy will turn two on August 11th.  I hope we can give him many more birthdays.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Possible new adventure,,,

It is only in the very beginning phase, but there is a little boy about 2 years old in China, in a special foster home that will not live unless he comes to the states for special heart/lung surgery.  A Pediatric heart surgeon looked at the medical records and Angiogram and said, "Thereafter repeated cardiac catheterizations would likely be required to deal with developing scarring of the small lung artery branches.  Even patients with his kind of heart disease who have permanent access to cardiac intervention and re-intervention are very challenging and present therapeutic dilemmas. Permanent access to pediatric cardiology and cardiovascular surgery is necessary for patients with his heart problem to do well long term."  
So you see, that caught my eye so I replied to the email they gave.  They emailed back and gave me the contact person who is the main advocator for this little guy. And it was incredible!  The person is someone we travelled with almost 9 years ago when we went to adopt our twins!!!  Now there's a 'meant-to-be.'  So I suggested he call a certain Foundation that brings sick children to the US for surgeries.  I offered to be the host family.  Yes I know, do I realize what I am taking on?  Yes, I believe I do.  My guess is if it does happen, and he stays for about a year getting surgeries, we would probably adopt him.
With all the girls here, think how spoiled he will be!
OK, it has been 2 hours since I posted the above.. and - OH MY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  What has happened in such a short time, it is unexpected.


So, here it is: I ended up calling the Foundation and found out the Executive Director, that I know, is in Beijing for 5 weeks.  Which, by the way is where this little guy is.  I emailed her at about 4:45, which is 4:45 in the morning there.  The next thing I know at 5:00 my time, I get a call from China!  We spoke a half hour and the jist of the conversation was, "Let's do it."  I was in shock!  Then she said, she hopes to have him in the States in two months, YIKES!!! Whoa that's fast!
So my assignment is to find a Doctor that is open to gratis surgery and follow up.  Once identified, she will do the rest with the Doctor and hospital.   I think I found the perfect one, who is actually Chinese and works gratis in China and is passionate about children.  So she makes the arrangements, the organization flys the child and nanny over and, voila I will have a little guy in my house of girls.  Whew...


When everything is confirmed, I will post pictures of this incredibly beautiful, joyful child.  Until then, I will keep you all up to date.
I have all girls clothes, anybody out there have any boys clothes they don't need...?

Monday, August 2, 2010

I was just sitting down to write when my pager went off for an EMS call, and now I just got home, it is 1:23 in the morning so I will just be quick about a few things.

Robin and 'China Dreams' left comments on the situations of possible disruptions. I agree with all that they said.  Yes the social worker should definitely bear some responsibility in this case.  If she had asked the right questions perhaps she would have caught the misinterpretation of what adopting an older child, or any child really entailed.  Before they are allowed to adopt parents should be made to read information regarding what to expect and what could happen and how to handle it.  The the social worker should question them to see if they understood what they read.  Sometimes no matter how many times you say something, a person never hears.

We call the day our children were adopted "Family Day" because that is the day they joined our family.

The situation with the older child 'might' be getting slightly better.  There is another Mom and myself that are sending reality check emails to her and she may have started to 'get it'.  I don't know, we will wait and see.  I am not quite sure about the younger child though, I have not heard in a few days...

I should go to bed at this point. I had a very active weekend starting on Friday.  My 40th high school reunion happened, and it was wonderful.  Many of my classmates and I grew up together since we were three.  It was a warm fuzzy weekend.  I needed that!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

When parents haven't done their research...

Sigh, I am presently in conversation with two families that have  come home recently and have totally unrealistic expectations  (to smile and be friendly at relatives, like your new brother and sister, be perfect and loving).  These children, adopted from two different countries have issues that all abandoned children have.  To expect them not to be angry, frustrated, scared, and full of defenses is unrealistic. These two families are taking the children's behaviors as personal assaults and can not see the big picture, of a child in a strange country, scared, doesn't speak the language to ask questions or express fears, totally in culture shock and doesn't quite understand what is happening to them.

My heart breaks for the children.  I have written many emails explaining this is normal, sent articles, even emails of other parents going through the same thing and coming out on the other side saying it was all worth it.

I have offered several suggestions  where to seek help, if all else fails we will be a respite home for one or both until suitable families can be found.

I am feeling the hurt and confusion of these children.  Why don't parents do their homework BEFORE they adopt so they can understand what they are getting into?  It is mind boggling that they expect these children to smile and be grateful...  I am speechless.

I will continue to try and advocate for the child as best I can, and hope the parents make the right choices...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Tally

Just want to do a sort of roll call of my life...  Let me see, one husband somewhat used, 5 daughters of varying ages, 4 bunnies- three girls and one boy, one purchased three rescued, one Beta fish rescued, one house owned by bank, two very worn out mini vans, 4,500 dust bunnies at last count, a handful of spiders, one ladybug which means we'll be adopting again, (The only time I see lady bugs is just before an adoption starts), 3 sets of stairs which are perfect for up & down playing, a garden in progress (the progress will be continuous), and a slightly worn out me trying to look youthful for her 40th High School reunion this weekend...

Yup, that's everything, check, check and double check, it is all here.  Good, now I can go to bed and have a good night's sleep.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Hello, my birthday was a great success.  I tend not to have a groups of friends, rather individuals, so at this party few knew each other, the common denominator was me.  Everyone enjoyed meeting each other and making new friends,  I love it when that happens!

I had kids over to fit the various ages in the house...  I discovered during the party that my newest adopted daughter was not participating with the girls she was familiar with and her older sister.  Instead she hid.  Her head remained down as she 'appeared' to be concentrating on doing crafts all night.  Hmmmm

I spoke with her about that and said if she wants to learn English she must take a risk and speak to people.
She said that she has nothing to say...  Oh I know where this conversation is going and if I continue it, it will be a losing battle.  So I told her that she and I will have a 10 minute conversation, with full sentences every day starting TODAY.  Ad we did, and she squirmed a lot.   But the more we do it, the easier it should become.

Well, it turns out I won't have to fight for the twins this year to get a 'gifted' education.  Two openings came up for the International magnet school.  I am thrilled, this place is a new campus and teaches and look at what they study!  This was their curriclum from last year.
Areas of exploration for each continent are geographical location, climate, landforms, language, history, fun facts and daily life (including holidays, celebrations, traditions, schooling, family, and etiquette).
And they study all of the above in each country in the world. So you can see why I am so excited, talk about an amazing opportunity! This is exactly what I wanted for them. The school only goes to 5th grade unfortunately, but at least they will have one year.