Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I need Michelle Duggar and a swimming pool!

Hope is recovering from her cleft palate surgery still. Sadly, she developed a fistula (hole) in the roof of her mouth as the palate was healing. We knew this was a possibility but were hoping it would not happen since it will require another surgery. It's not urgent so the mouth will continue healing and later (maybe even years) it will be repaired. The surgeries have been WAY tougher on ME than I thought. I thought I'd just be so glad that she was getting her mouth fixed but every time they take my sweet baby back for surgery I almost lose it!

Hope goes back next week for another checkup and hopefully the doctor will give us the ok to ditch the NO NOS! She wants desperately to get her tiny little thumb back in her mouth! It was her security for 14 months when she had nothing else.

Lily continues to learn English more and more every day. She picks up most from Johnny which isn't the ideal, so we often have to tell her not to say things she says. It's a reality to me everyday that we are shaping her every little part of her being!

One night I was talking to her about her life. I don't think she understands that she will grow up one day. I am certain she doesn't understand death. She jumped into the pool yesterday without her swimmies on (I was right there) and PG and Rob were able to scoop her up safely. I tried to explain in a scary but not too scary way how bad it would be if they had not rescued her. She blankly half stared and half smiled at me. There is so much she has not seen or experienced living in an orphanage for 9 years. So many mysteries too. That I want to solve.

So anyway, Lily was asking for an iphone (yes, Lily was asking for an iphone). And I explained to her that she was too little. She told me Phoebe had one, and I further explained that it was an iPod touch and that she paid for it herself and that she was older. She asked me if she could get one when she was "too big" (bigger). I said yes, and she was thrilled! I told her that she will grow if she keeps taking her vitamins and that one day she might want to get a baby too, like I got her! She liked that idea. She told me that she would put the baby in Hope's crib, Hope could sleep in her bed, and that she would sleep in between me and Husband! I told her that she would have her own house maybe. Her face lit up with amazement! She was beginning to DREAM! Then she told me that she was going to leave her baby with the baby's daddy and go shopping! HA! That was funny because I have never done that....she dreamed that up all on her own!

I realized that this little girl believes what I tell her. And we will make sure to use this gift wisely. Let the dreams begin! I cannot help but think of this amazing scripture which comes alive when I think of Lily:

Jeremiah 29:11
The Message (MSG)
10-11This is God's Word on the subject: "As soon as Babylon's seventy years are up and not a day before, I'll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.

God's Word is alive and powerful and working in Lily's life!!!!

The more days that go by the better it gets with Lily and the more I feel like she likes me, but then again the more I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing and that I need to get a thorough education on attachment disorders. I read some information about it, took a video course with Husband, and such, but nothing prepares you for living it out.

Reactive Attachment Disorder is a psychological disorder that children develop when they do not receive certain vital things as a baby, such as nurture, proper feeding, affirmative love when they cry, etc. Lily lived in an orphanage for 9 and a half years of her life. We don't know much but we do know that she didn't walk until she was almost 5. So I am guessing that she spend most of those first years in a crib on her back. As great as I think she is doing, and as "normal" as she acts, I know that there are 9 years of junk in her precious mind that she needs to work through. I don't desire to sweep it under the rug as I know that she would not be able to have healthy relationships if we did this. She has a lot of growth ahead of her, and I am willing to go the distance with her.

Lily exhibits classic signs of RAD and there are many professionals who have written fabulous books that I am reading to educate myself and Husband on how to be the best parents for Lily. One thing I read last night is not to assume that just by integrating her into our family she will overcome this disorder. Which in a way, I kinda thought would happen. This is way outta my league of knowledge, so I am hitting the books to prepare. I love my little Lily girl. When I think about what she went through all those years it compels me to work hard for her to help her grow into a strong, healthy, well adapted woman of God! And I know she will.

For those interested, signs of this disorder include things such as:

Superficially charming and engaging, particularly around strangers or those who they feel they can manipulate
Indiscriminate affection, often to strangers; but not affectionate on parent’s terms
Problems making eye contact, except when angry or lying
Trouble understanding cause and effect
Developmental / Learning delays
Triangulation of adults; pitting one against the other
Self-reliance; prefers to work alone than with others

These are just a few things we can see in Lily's behavior. Lily is precious and has many great qualities and there are many other symptoms that are more violent, etc. that Lily has never shown. She is a gentle girl. She is amazing for what she has been through. And we realize that when she does these things, they are part of her personality that has developed as a survival instinct. And as she attaches to us, they will be replaced with healthy traits. Lily has trouble looking us in the eye. Even when we say good things, not just when we are pointing out negative behavior. We stop talking until she focuses. It takes a while. It's really hard for her. Husband and I talk about how no one in her whole life may have ever really looked into her precious eyes. Maybe no one even required her to look at them. And it's hard to stare in someone's eyes. It's a feeling of vulnerability. And she is uncomfortable with that. But she is learning there is safety in our eyes!

Also, she will ask me something and if I say no she will turn around and ask Husband right in front of me (not even trying to hide it like our other kids! Ha), and vice versa. She doesn't realize that Husband and I are a team. And she doesn't understand cause and effect like I clearly thought she did. But sitting in a room for 9 years and staring at nothing new probably didn't involve a lot of cause and effect. So to punish her right after she does something wrong isn't too effective right now. Sure, she is upset but I am not sure she puts the two together. And we've caught her telling some lies. Granted, they are minor like washing her hands, etc., but we realize that she doesn't have any knowledge of truth and lies and the morality of telling the truth. We are working on that.

She is very independent, which is how I am, and I love to teach my kids to be independent...so I like that Lily is this way. However, she needs to learn dependency on us right now, so I have to be more willing to do more things for her that I would expect my other kids to do, etc.

She's nine, but not really. So if we imagine her to be about 4 or 5, we can relate better to her.

This weekend we were at my oldest sister's home in Texas (her name is Aunt Tina, but Lily calls her Uncle Tuna, which we think is hilarious!). While swimming with Husband, Lily told him that she wanted to live with my other sister Chantel who also has a pool because of this reason. She named off three people that had pools and then said we don't. When Husband told me this later that night I felt rejected, hurt, and angry. I wanted to just say, OK, Lily, then why don't you go live with her! Because after all, look at all we've sacrificed for you and all the money we've spent (already $2600 in just four months on her teeth already as a matter of fact!). But as if she would even understand that! And besides, if I were in JR. HIGH that might be an appropriate response! So I am really trying to act mature and respond well to her....not as I want or normally would, but as a professional is teaching me to better Lily and not be concerned about myself.

So I am learning a lot about myself. I parent a lot through reason. And reason and logic isn't working with Lily. So we are learning how we should parent Lily. And all is going good.

The problem is I cannot get my laundry done and keep my house clean and spend enough individual time with each kid, and work my Shaklee business to help pay for medical bills or think about starting a cupcake business or be nice enough to Husband or make enough home cooked meals and healthy snacks!!!! I need to go to a mommy convention!!!! I need Michelle Duggar, desperately! And I'm serious!

1 comment:

Sarah Jenkins said...

Renee, I loved every word! I sometimes feel I try to channel Michelle Duggar (WWMD...what would Michelle do?? lol) I ultimately try & focus on Jesus too! haha I love the Duggars, they are a special family. And you all too. You are shaping & forever changing the path of Lily & Hope. I can't wait to see the story unfold. love to you all!