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!