Dec 22, 2011

Merry Christmas

Family Snowfall Holiday
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Nov 23, 2011

Forgotten or Left Behind?

It's amazing how quickly the happy little girl you see above making applesauce with her family can disintegrate into an angry, misbehaving one. 

     I have committed to being frank and honest on this blog about the reality of raising an adopted child diagnosed with Radical Attachment Disorder and Sensory Integration Disorder.  I must admit though, it's much easier to sit down and write a good report than a difficult one.  I don't in any way want to represent Chloe in a negative light or give the impression that our love and commitment to her as our forever daughter has changed.  Simply, I understand that we are not the only parents struggling to help our child adjust to trauma from the past.  If we can help others find solutions, then our struggles have not been in vain. (2 Cor. 1:4) 

   In the last blog post, Chloe was having a lot of success with her sensory disorder through occupational therapy.  Since that time, we have had a steady down hill slide back to constant anger.  She is provoking her sisters and doing anything she can think of spread the anger she is feeling to those around her.  The little girl who loved preschool and looked forward to it, is now crying and begging not to go.  We aren't exactly sure what triggered the regression.  Chloe had a big reaction to my arriving 2 min. late for a preschool pickup several weeks ago and also she has come to a new understanding in therapy that her birth mom did not just forget her, but that she was intentionally left, thus the blog post title.  
    Apparently, Chloe had decided that her birth mom had simply forgotten to come back and get her, so she was angry at the orphanage and us for taking her away because her birthmom "was coming back to get her."  This was easier to accept, but her new understanding has brought on a whole new level of anger.  Since her birth mom isn't here, she takes it out on us. Can you imagine suddenly grasping that you were intentionally abandoned?   As Chloe grows up, there will be many times that we will have to revisit her life story and address the same issues in light of a new capacity for her brain to understand. 
    So what now?  We pray a lot, continue therapy and neurofeedback along with directing her anger toward who she's really mad at, her birth mom.  In our family, much of our job as parents also is to help our older daughters cope and know how to react to Chloe when she's struggling.
     As always, your prayers for us are greatly appreciated!  We'll keep you posted.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Oct 18, 2011

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

    I have spoken of Chloe going to occupational therapy for her sensory disorder on several occasions, but I thought it would be nice to show you what it actually looks like at Concorde Kids.  Chloe is swinging with her therapist and gets the heavy muscle workout that her body craves by grabbing bean bags and throwing them at a target.

    The rock wall climb is always Chloe's favorite activity. She gets to climb the wall and then jump off the platform into a crash pillow.  Each activity is about joint compression, heavy muscle workout, or intense sensory input.  They even use things like sour spray and pieces of bubble gum to give her jaw a workout and her senses input.  Amy is always asking Chloe about what her body needs.  Does she feel like "a Tigger, Pooh, or Ehor?"  Tigger would mean she feels crazy and needs more of a workout, Pooh means she feels good, and Ehor means she is too tired.  Part of the therapy goal is to help Chloe recognize what her body needs and fulfill it in an appropriate safe way.

Sep 17, 2011

Preschool Blessings

  There was a real air of apprehension as I left for Chloe's first day of afternoon preschool.  We had been talking about it for a long time and Chloe always said she didn't want to go.  It would be the first time she was away from us for any extended time without her sisters.  At orientation she was very excited to see the fun, challenging toys that had been laid out to play, but I must say that my mouth was nearly hanging open when I left and there was no clinging and crying!  I even stood in the hall for a while to see if there was a delayed reaction, but there was nothing. When I went back to pick her up 2 1/2 hrs. later, she was sitting with the class on the floor and even answered a question. 
  Chloe sleeps with a picture of Greg and I beside her pillow each night so that if she wakes up she can look at the picture and know that we are here and haven't left her.  She has struggled in her big bed upstairs waking up feeling like she was back in the orphanage alone.  The picture seemed to resolve those feelings, so I sent a picture of us attached to a lanyard along with her to preschool for her to wear and look at anytime she was scared we wouldn't come back and get her.  I'm not sure what did the trick, but I'm certain the fervent prayers that were being offered on her behalf that day by so many played a huge roll. 
  So we consider ourselves very blessed to be able to share this milestone with you.  Chloe seems to genuinely enjoy preschool and we rejoice that we can celebrate this step forward in her trust and security.

Aug 27, 2011

Family Therapy - Green Beans

     Last night we had arduous task of snipping green beans to freeze for the year.  It takes about a 1 1/2 bushels and it's never been a favorite of mine.  So, needless to say I was not looking forward to it.  It has been a crazy first week of school with a daughter in high school, Jr. high, elementary school, and preschool, not to mention 2 fall sports.  We really haven't hardly seen each other.  As it turned out, about 8pm last night we were all home sitting around the table snipping beans.  Green beans, single-handedly, provided us with the family together time we so badly needed.  Who knew one little vegetable could do all that?

Here are a few other summer highlights: 
We toured Churchill Down, home of the Kentucky Derby.  We took a back lot tour and had a great time exploring the museum.
Chloe in her jockey silks

We unexpectedly came across the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile on our trip to Nashville.  After that, each day we looked for an unexpected blessing, our "weinermobile" moment.

We spent a weekend with an adoptive family at the Opryland Hotel.  We hadn't seen our friends since China, so it was great fun to catch up.
Chloe and Ella became quick friends and their similar tendencies were uncanny.

We also had a special visit with Chloe's orphanage crib neighbor Alexandria.  She is the one person Chloe still seems to miss from the orphanage.  When they are together, you can just sense their special connection.  Chloe would like for her to live next door.

Jul 28, 2011

Special Needs vs Non-Special Needs

    Yesterday was Chloe's 4th Birthday and we had a good time celebrating with her.  We took her to Chuck E Cheese, which caused a great deal of jumping up and down excitement.  There was however, also extra drama yesterday.  Birthdays tend to be an emotional trigger for adoptive kids and so it was with Chloe.

    There is a lot of debate in the adoption world, especially in Chinese adoption, about choosing a special needs child or one with no known medical condition.  Because of the extended length of wait for a child with no known medical condition, up to 5 years now, many families chose to adopt either an older child or one with some physical challenges.  Our family felt a NSN child (no special needs) was best for us and so Chloe entered our family at 8 months of age.  At the time there were no obvious physical issues with her.  We had seen a medical report, blood work, etc. and there was nothing obvious.  Those of you who have followed our blog for some time, know that Chloe did indeed have some physical delays, needed ear surgery, had a parasite and inactive tuberculosis that required 9 months of medication.  However, what I was very uneducated about were the emotional scares that come with an adoptive child.  No child is truly without special needs.  The trauma that has come from whatever circumstance placed them up for adoption has put them in their own "special needs" category.  There was a long time that I waited for Chloe to be "normal" and like my other kids, but the truth is I can't change that Chloe was adopted.  It's not that she isn't a complete, loved part of our family or any less my daughter than my biological kids, but Chloe will always be impacted by her past.  It will "flavor" how she looks at life and impact her decisions and thought process.  We have worked very hard for Chloe's emotional healing and she has come such a long way.  It will be an ongoing process, as she can understand more from her past, there will be more healing to take place.  Really the change has come from my expectations.  I don't expect Chloe to someday act like she was never adopted and then consider myself a success as her parent.  Adoptive kids are an investment, not only financialy, but in every part of life, but I can tell you first hand, that they are so worth it :)  Chloe had no choice about the past that was handed to her, but struggles or not, she is still just as precious in God's eyes. 

Jesus said, "And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes Me."  Matt. 18:5

Jul 22, 2011

Almost 4

We celebrated Chloe's Birthday a little early this year.  It's hard to believe she is turning 4, but she certainly is looking and acting like a 4 year old.  She has become a fabulous Uno player and frequently beats us all.

Daddy built her a sandbox, which does not pack well in a suitcase for vacation over her birthday, so we celebrated early. None of the girls have had one since we watched our turtle sandbox going floating down the creek in a flash flood about 7yrs ago. It has been a nice new excursion for everyone.

Chloe also got a Nintendo DS like her big sisters.  This should help with travel time :)

Jul 8, 2011

My Little Flower Girl

   It was one of those days when I just stop and realize how far we've come with Chloe.  We began this journey 3 1/2 yrs ago with an 8 mon. old baby who was sick, had a parasite, inactive TB, and would not even sleep without being held.  She has worked through developmental delays, severe separation anxiety, speech issues, attachment disorder, and sensory disorder.  Today this lovely little lady walked across a bridge and down the aisle as flower girl in my nephew's wedding.  If you had asked me even 2 years ago if we would ever reach this point, I probably would have said no, but through God's grace and healing a beautiful little girl has emerged

The bride arrived in a carriage and the guests got the bonus of a ride for themselves after the wedding.

Jun 11, 2011

Summer Time

Summer time has arrived at our household and Chloe is so glad to have her sisters home again.
We got to spend a day at Kalahari Indoor Water Park.  The largest one in the US.
Chloe, water lover that she is, loved the wave pool and every slide she was allowed to go on.  Here she was waiting to catch a wave.

They had a great little kids play area with things to climb on and run through.  Chloe is coming out of her shell and even made friends with some of the life guards.
Chloe has waited for a very long time, but finally we have baby kittens at our house.  Anytime I wonder where Chloe is, I just need to look in the garage and I'll find her holding those kittens.  It's a great new summer toy :)

    Chloe continues to grow and change.  It's hard to believe she will be 4 next month.  She has been with our family for over 3 years and in therapy for nearly 2.  She is making good progress with her speech therapist and will begin occupational therapy for her sensory disorder soon.  We have signed her up for preschool in the fall and hope it will help with her continued separation anxiety.  I think she will love the learning once she is comfortable.  Sunday School has been the first separation hurdle as we continue to push and move her forward toward trust and independence. 
    Currently, Chloe is struggling with anger from her past abandonment.  It boils over on the rest of the family often.  Spreading the anger around her is a way to avoid dealing with the real issue.  We are all working with coping techniques in the mean time, but your prayers for her emotional healing would be greatly appreciated.  We are so grateful for the fantastic professional help we have received as we move Chloe toward emotional healing.  God has provided the time and finances each step of the way and I am in awe of His continued love, intervention and provision for her and all of us.

May 23, 2011

Creepy Crawlies

    So the last blog post I refused to include a picture of Chloe petting a snake at the zoo.  It was just too creepy for me.  Saturday the girls were planting some flowers and guess what Chloe brought inside to me - a whole handful of worms.  I quickly took her pictures and then said, "get them out of my house before you drop one!"  This is the same girl who would not go down the slide because there were bugs outside.  Go figure.  Worms and snakes, no problem - flies, problem.
Chloe after watching the Karate Kid movie.
I am happy to report that Chloe's elbow will be fine and she will out grow the problem of the loose ligaments that allow her elbow to get dislocated so easily.  We just have to be careful with it for a while.  Woohoo, no more sling!

May 19, 2011

The Next Specialist

I think every family has one child that is prone to accidents.  It took our family until the 4th child until we got ours, but Chloe definitely qualifies.  Back in Nov., Chloe dislocated her elbow when I lifted her funny.  It was put back into place and healed quickly.  She has since dislocated it 2 more times in the last week.  The doctor at Stat Care made sure it was in place and put her arm in a sling.  She wore it for about 72hrs., sleeping and all.  We got the okay from our pediatrician to take it off, but tomorrow we see a pediatric orthopedic doctor to see if the ligaments have had too much damage and need to be repaired.  Lets hope not.  It was pretty funny to watch her adapt to using only her left arm.  Not much fazed her except going to the bathroom.  That one she never quite figured out how to do on her on.
We celebrated an 8th Grade Graduation in our family.  It's hard to believe we will have one High School soon.
Chloe loves to sing when her big sister practices guitar.
Do you see the resemblance?
Chloe got to go along to the zoo on a home school field trip.  It was rainy, but fun.  I couldn't bring myself to post the pictures of Chloe petting the snake.  They just gave me the shivers.

May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

   It's great to have a day that honors what moms do, but it's also a good reminder to me to be thankful for the girls I have been given.   So often I get distracted by the struggles and how to fix them.  I am truly blessed with my 4 beauties!

   We have a family tradition that we have a food art competition when we celebrate Easter with my family.  We take a variety food items and arrange them on a plate using squeeze icing as glue to make a picture.  It's all just for fun.  Chloe really got into it this year and I thought I'd share her own little creation.  The theme this year was the zoo.  Can't you see it? ;)

Three year olds are so fun to watch coloring Easter eggs!  It takes very little to make her squeal.
   Our older daughter played "minute to win it" for her birthday party last week.  One of the games involved throwing rolls of toilet paper.  Chloe had a great time retrieving all the "misses" and running them back for another try.  Who knew someone so little could carry soooo many rolls of toilet paper?  Who needs toys to have fun?
   Chloe has gotten into doing her own hair "like her big sisters."  She has learned to put rubber bands in all by herself.  What she doesn't realize is that she misses the back completely.  We had been watching America's Next Top Model the other night, so Chloe got all dressed up in her swimsuit, did her hair, and proceeded to pose for her photo shoot :)

   This would be the mad side of Chloe that still shows up often.  She's working through her life story dealing with the mad emotion now.  Unfortunately, we are the ones who get the brunt of her anger.  Thankfully this too shall pass as healing comes.  Please keep praying.