Oct 27, 2009

What's in a Name?

     As you listen to Chloe speak, there is one particular word that is noticeably missing from her vocabulary.  It's her name "Chloe."  She can say almost anything you tell her, but whenever you ask her who is in the picture or in the mirror, she always responds "me."  At Chloe's last therapy session, I spoke to Arleta about this and she too thought it seemed odd.  It turned out to be quite a session.  The whole goal of the 90 minutes was to get Chloe to say "My name is Chloe."  She would say everything except Chloe.  This is the first time that Chloe has completely refused to do something in a therapy session.  It seemed to be a hold out of some sort that she wouldn't acknowledge her American name.  She was beginning to embrace her family and language, but not her name.  Chloe doesn't even seem to have a response to her Chinese name.
    Well today we had a break through.  I was holding Chloe to put her to sleep this afternoon, so I tried prompting her to say her name.  This is something I've tried repeated since the last therapy session with no success.  Sure enough, today when I had Chloe repeat after me "my name is..."  Chloe came out too!  I had her repeat it several times to make sure it wasn't just a fluke, but each time there was a very distinctive Clo-eee.  I have continued to ask her this evening what her name is and she continues to answer Chloe, with an occasional "me" thrown in with a giggle.  Praise the Lord for little breaks throughs like this one.  We need the encouragement to keep clodding through the bonding process.  Who knows why it was so difficult for Chloe to embrace and accept her American name.  The complexity of the mind created by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is beyond fathom.

    This family picture was taken at Greg's 20th Year High School Reunion in Atwater, OH.  We were able to spend the night at his parent's house for the first time since the adoption as a family.  Chloe did pretty well sleeping away from home and has really begun to reach out and accept others outside our immediate family.  This makes her grandma and grandpa very happy.

Oct 12, 2009

Family Time and Question Words

With the report from our family session of therapy in mind, we have been trying hard to focus on healing. We took advantage of a break in our kids soccer schedule and spent a weekend away as a family.
We spent lots of time together just playing and having fun. Chloe enjoyed going to the zoo for the first time. Doesn't the gorilla in this picture just look like another member of the family? :)

Chloe, as usual, was apprehensive when she saw the suitcases come out and sensed that we were going somewhere. Much of her life has been about leaving, so spending time away from home is scary to her. She's just not sure if she'll be left again. As we drove, she asked often if we were going to go home again. It's heartbreaking to realize the type of fear and uncertainty she must live with each day. Chloe still wants to wear shoes every time I do, so she's sure to go along. Thankfully, once we reached the hotel, she settled in and did really well. It was a blessed time for our family.
We are seeing really good progress in Chloe's attachment. There is just a sense of ease about her that was never present before. She is talking more willingly and even began tattling on her sisters this week. Question words were also new for her recently. It was just a part of her vocabulary that had been noticeably absent. They suddenly appeared this week. I'm beginning to feel her attach to me. It's becoming more difficult for Greg to work with her, but we're told this is normal. A child can only really bond to 1 person at a time, so unfortunately, Greg will just have to wait his turn. Although, he's excited to see progress, I think it's hard to continue to feel rejection from her. Chloe seems to genuinely want to spend time with me now instead of just putting up with me. The way she says "Mommy" has a different feel to it now. It warms my heart every time I hear it. We are bracing ourselves for the inevitable setback that accompanies such significant progress. From what we've been told, it is very normal and essential for the brain's growth and development. So as I close tonight it is with this prayer in mind - "Oh Lord, please give me the peace of mind to enjoy each day for what it is and the stamina to withstand the inevitable setbacks that are yet to come."

What Are Implicit Memories?

Arleta James, Chloe's attachment therapist, keeps a blog about attachment issues. She recently posted 2 articles that give a great explanation of why kids who have had a traumatic past (abandonment, neglect, orphanage care, etc.) may continue to struggle even though adopted at a young age. I hear so often, "But you adopted Chloe at 8 months, she can't remember any of that." And I must admit, this was my line of thinking before we met Chloe too. It just didn't make any sense. We can't remember anything from when we were infants, so how can her early history have an impact? Arleta's articles will shed some light on this subject and I would strongly encourage adoptive parents to take a look. You might be surprised at the new understanding you gain about your child.

Part 1:http://perspectivespress.com/blog/2009/09/28/implicit-memories-the-roots-of-todays-behavioral-challenges-part-one/

Part 2:http://perspectivespress.com/blog/2009/09/30/implicit-memories-the-roots-of-todays-behavioral-challenges-part-two/