Look What She Made

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This girl has been talking my ear off today!  Today she read 4 books that were full of information, and believe me, I have heard so much about random things!  Like how a python can get so big that it can eat a crocodile!  Ummm…Wow!

But the best part of her day was making these cool Lego creations!  She is so very proud of them, and I am very proud of her.  She had a great day and is riding high!

Love you Little Bit!

Adoption: The Hard Truth for Some

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Many people have said to me, “Oh my goodness, you adopted!  What an amazing thing!  Your daughter must be so happy that you saved her!”

When I hear this statement and ones similar, about us saving her, or how amazing this must be for us, I cringe just a little, and realize that before we picked her up and brought her home, I too had this romantic version of adoption in my head.  I had my thoughts focused to how happy she will be that we took her from the awful situation she knew.  That she would love and hug us everyday.  That she would quickly and seamlessly integrate into our family, and never look back or have thoughts of the horrible place she came from.

Oh how reality hits, and hits like a brick sometimes.

On the day we swooped her up in our arms, we quickly realized that our story would be quite different than the others that were with us.  First, she was older, second she was more vocal.  None of which are negative, but when adopting can be difficult.  She would scream from the top of her lungs in public place that she hated us.  Because it was in Chinese, we did not know what she was saying at first, but learned from our guide.

When we brought her home, all her anger and frustrations was directed on me, which makes it difficult for the bonding to occur. I will admit to distancing myself, and diving right into work, which looking back, I have realized that was the worst decision I could have made.  Hindsight, is a wonderful thing.

But, lets fast forward five years later, to today.  You would think that all of the hate and negative behavior would be unlearned, and the statement of, “She must be so happy”, would be true on some level.  I guess maybe on some level it might be, but she is still angry.  She tells me she hates me and wishes for a different mother at least once a week.  She tells me she only loves her dad.  She tells me she is an orphan and the orphanage nannies were so much better than I could be.  This always makes me shocked, because she came from an orphanage with 2,000 kids, the pictures told of no bathing, lice, and filthy conditions.  When we got her, we quickly discovered the bruises on her body, where a cane would strike her.  She has mental bruises from sexual abuse.  She went through PTSD therapy for two years, and is going back again, since the relapse seems to be causing her little mind so much anguish.  She tries to gain control so she will not be hurt, like she has been so terribly hurt  before.  Her tantrums are not the screaming and stomping feet kind.  They are kick holes in the wall kind, they are the kind of tantrums in which she tries to let out all the hurt she feels from feeling strange and alone.  She is not happy we took her from all of her pain, because now she has to think about it, which can be worse for a little girl who fights so hard.

The comments above make me laugh loudly, because she is the one who has opened our eyes to the hard reality trauma can cause.  She is the brave one, that keeps going even when she does not want to.  She is the one that faces all her demons, and wants to love, but just cannot bring herself too.  I recently talked with a gentleman from our church who adopted a little girl from Korea in 1971.  He is now 80 years old, and his daughter is estranged.  He tries on a daily basis to get into contact with her, but she will not talk to anyone in her family.  He said looking back there were warning signs, and in the 1970s it was still taboo to talk of such things.  He looks back and thinks of all the ways he failed, but has also realized he raised a little girl who must be a good citizen because she has never needed money, which he still tries to send, he has never received a call from the police etc.  This is the way he consoles himself, and gives himself comfort that he believes she is safe.  My husband asked what his thoughts were on helping our child feel loved, and this gentlemen said something that has changed my world forever, “It is not about feeling loved, it is about helping her understand that she is secure.  The love will come after that.”

Oh, security, isn’t that what we all need?  I need to be secure as a mother, my husband needs to be secure as a father, she needs to feel secure as our daughter.  She needs to be secure in herself.  She does not even feel safe in her own mind, constantly on the verge of feeling like she will lose this “good thing” forever.  Must hurt us before she gets hurt.  You know , self preservation.

So how have I changed, that should be the real question.  I now give her baths, rock her to sleep in the rocking chair.  Rub her head, feed her food.  I know this sounds ridiculous for a nine year old, but what would you do for your baby?  How would you help your baby feel safe?  These are things, I should have done years ago.  Again with that hindsight business.  I take her to therapy, I pray with her when she gets angry, because I need that to.  I need to be just as secure that I can parent her, as she needs to be she is our daughter.

I am thankful for this older gentleman who was willing to share his story with me, but my heart breaks for him and his daughter.  His story is now the story that he tells to help others heal, even though he cannot heal.  We still have time to change our stories.  He feels like he is out of time.  He looks at me and says the next time we come over, he wants to show us pictures of his daughter.  Says he takes them out and looks at them every so often, wondering how she is.  A tear comes to his eye, and he hugs me.

What do I want to tell others who have adopted and are struggling?  What is my story?  I do not know yet.  But the man above told me his so that I would have a different one.  So that I can remember that it is so much bigger than me feeling sorry for myself.  It is about a little girl desperate for security.  Grasping for it, and it slipping from her fingers.

She is my baby, and I am her mother.

Thank you for reading this long post.

Have a wonderful day everyone,

Suzy

Lego

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The pictures above were all taken by my kids for their stop action movie.  Pretty cool!

My kids absolutely love Lego.  And this past weekend, we took them to a train show in our town to see a Lego display.  A man whom my husband works with is a Master Lego Builder, and runs a local Lego Club in the big city we live close to, had made the display.  The display was of an aircraft carrier, surrounded by a train.  The aircraft carrier had more than 40,000 pieces in it and was designed by himself.  This changed my kids world!  I do not think they will ever be the same again!

The man told us of a local Lego convention coming in May for teenagers and adults.  If you register, you can build your own Lego Mock and enter it into a competition.  This made my teenagers ears perk right up, and since then, he and a friend have been working on designs.  This convention has consumed his thoughts, and I am actually really excited for him. What a great way to homeschool without really homeschooling.  He is learning how to design on graph paper, collaborate with a friend, create new ideas, and basically learn architectural skills.  Funny how there are opportunities to learn so much more outside of school.

The other two are not left out of this.  They have been building scenes and making stop action movies. Funny how a toy as simple as Lego can help kids work together and use their creativity in ways that are so beneficial to every day life.

Hope you are all enjoying your week and finding your own creativity!

Love,

Suzy

Rockets!!!!!

For Boy Scouts, the boys were required to make rockets.  We have a policy, we will help them build, but the ideas are strictly theirs, as well as the majority of the building.  Sometimes, they do not like this policy because the other kids have their parents build theirs, why can’t we?  The other kids were better made, or won because their parents built their model!  Why can’t we.  I will tell you why as I tell them.  It is assigned to them not to me, and how can they ever feel a sense of accomplishment or learn problem solving when others are doing their work for them?  I am not saying that all parents do this, but where we are at, this seems to be a trend.  Our kids do not like this rule sometimes, and they begged us to build their rockets, but we held our ground, and finally, my children got to feel that sense of accomplishment that they, and I have been waiting for.

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Rockets were a success.  Even Little Bit was allowed to participate.  Now she did not build hers, but one of the leaders really wanted her to help, and she was more than willing!  Look at that smile on her face!  Next year, she will build one, and feel even more pride!

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Have a terrific evening everyone!

How I Encourage My Kids to Practice

Every single day, I try and get my children to practice their instruments. And every single day, it is the same thing. “Ugh, can’t I just go outside?” My first response is always to lay on the guilt trip. “Do you know how much we pay for your lessons? blah, blah, blah.” I am positive I sound like Charlie Browns teacher when I am talking to them.

So, you know what I did? I got out my violin. It has been three years since I have played, and my kids ask me all the time to play for them. You know what I say, “Ugh, can’t I just go outside?” I wonder where my kids got their enthusiasm from?

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So, I have started playing a little bit after school is over, and low and behold, guess what has been happening?

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You guessed it, they are playing. Even Little Bit is wondering when she can start playing and instrument!

I guess being an example is important in parenting! Who would of thunk it?

Now, I better work on improving my grammar.
Have a great day everyone!