Sunday, November 11, 2007

In case you haven't already read, this is what I shared with our adoption groups. I havent the energy to go back into it all so I'll just cut and paste. We had another hard night as Ti and Landon were both up crying off and on since 3am ...

Hey everyone, we made it home. I have to say that I have thought over and over about sharing the details of our lives here recently. In the end I have decided that if we are not open than how can anyone else learn or gain knowelge from our experience as we have from others. I also thought about the families that said they wish they would have shared much sooner than they did. With that being said this post will be long. Our last couple days in Taiwan and trip home were pretty eventful. Ti was as prepaired as a 6 year old could be like we were told. I think that as we thought there is no real way to prepare your heart for what you are about to experience fully until you do experience it. She knew very well what was going to happen as far as that goes. In respect to that she has done very well. She didnt mind so much going with us (though sad of the loss), the hotel, the plane or the ride home. She wasnt shocked by any of it. She reacted accordingly with wanting one of us then rejecting us, a natural reaction. She would recite who she was going to see and look at pictures of our house. She cried 2 nights, not consecutively, for her loss of her Keelung mommy and daddy. She likes her new home, her dogs, and her room. She is happy with Ahma, Nana, papa and her aunties. But I have to share however personal this may be, We are having serious issues. They are not so much related to the transition of families (though hightened is clear) as it is to many other facts. But let me back up a little so you can understand. Before we recieved our rulling, we recieved a very long letter from her foster mom that was very detailed about her personality. We felt very blessed to get such a long detailed letter. Much of what came as a shock as we had never been told any of it. As time passed the next month the conclusion was that culturally they can focus on some negatives and are critical. So we went with it for the most part though we are not naive to adoption or the issues related to older child adoption nor fostercare children by any means. We now know that everything that was said in the letter was true and said politely. Please understand that we already love our daughter and we are commited to her future and her in our family. The problems that she had with the foster family for 4 years were very real and they are the same that she has now. We have been punched everywhere including the face, smacked, clawed, strangled, kicked,bit, and spit in the face more times than any of us can count. She has hurt Landon several times and just about broke his finger, ripped his skin, strangeled him, and kicked him in the face with pointy toed boots, and then some. All for no reason and out of the the blue to Landon. For him at Random and for no reason other than to do it. Most other times these things arent done to us unless we do not let her get her way 100% exactly as she wants it. It is very real. Fostermom said that she can not be left with small children that she doesn't understand she can break bones and it is true thought we believe that she completly understand that she can hurt him or anyone else. We can not leave her with Landon at all. Her aggression comes out when she is happy, sad or mad. She will be very excited and happy, touch his face softly and then claw him to death in that very spot and touch. Landon is so affected by her and can not trust her at all. He runs in paranoia most of the time and is on gard with every touch or if she nears him. But when everything is good, and rules are not having to be told or enforced so much she is sooo happy, smiles and giggles. Very sweet, happy and affection. And some days are better than others so far dependng on how much rules have to be applied. She is also very very smart and can manipulate already. Odviously we know that she isnt used to our rules and we cant expect her to follow our way of life right away. We would never expect that. For examples of some of the rules we had to enforce in which she reacted in this way: standing up in the plane seat and bopping the person in front of her and behind her on the head, trying to open mouth kiss me, being aggressive or physically hitting any of us, and/or break or throw things. We were told that she does not like adults unless she thinks that she can control them and we have found this to be true already. When I tell her no or do anything that she doesnt like or want me to do she screams over and over in every tone and expression on her face "NO, NO NO NO NO" stairing me down and ussually swinging. She then stairs without blinking into my eyes sticking her head forward as and says in this voice that you think only a 15 year old would be doing "NO" and if I look away she celebrates. Yesterday I decided I wasnt going to look away no matter what and she litterally staired at me for over 20 minutes until she fell asleep. It broke my heart and I cried after. I hate to have a battle of wills or domination but I cant let her celebrate her win of dominance when that is what she has done with them for the last 4 years. Unfortuenlty we honestly feel that she will not make it successfully in life on her own, never depending on any one else and we can not successfully parent her if she controls us and we live in constant fear of her. She will have to learn to respect us and everyone else. She will have to learn not to result in physical aggression and contact when she wills. Though I dont want to scare any of you, I have to tell you what is real. The strugles we are having are unique but every child comes with their own set of challenges. She was thrown out of one school for beating up a boy 2 years older than her. I have to think that there had to be an incident more than this or wonder the severity of the incident if she was not allowed back and made to go to another school in which they had to work on these behaviors. Liberti is very happy when things are going her way and no rules are given. Today was a really good day for her considering it was her second day home especially surprised us. She did punch Greg in the face when he asked her if she needed anything and sat down by her. (she was fine with him yesterday) It wasnt because she was rejecting him today. she went to bed mad at me and woke up mad at us. So we left her alone for a while. Then I came to talk to her and she got furious and began hitting me as well. I held her hands from hitting and explained she cannot hit and it wasnt ok to hurt people. She does understand "no hitting" She would not stop. I put her in my arms and rocked her telling her I love her and that she would be ok. She began to cry and trying to still hit i just held her and wouldnt let go. Not like typical holding therapy just kinda rocked her like a baby. until she gave in and layed there but she was furious. Still the feeling wasnt that she was mad at me for any other reason than I didnt let her do what she wanted yesterday. She can hold a grudge too. When I let her up she punched me in the face 2 more times so I held her again. I wasnt holding in her arm or hand or not letting her move. I just rocked her holding in a natural position. After about 10 minutes she calmed down and then Greg came in and she reached for him and I allowed that. We are not 100% sure of the things to do just putting into use some techniques from our research of other families and what feels natural. She calmed down, ate breakfast and was happy all over again. She played and laughed. It is easy for her to be rebelious to us and hate everything we do as she should, not knowing us or loving us. We accept that part of it. But when she is not fighting a battle of wills she is completly content with showing affection, talking laughing and things of the sort. She wants me there if she goes to the bathroom or takes a bath and feels secure in that. She litterally is like nite and day. Jsut as her videos were of her having one of these fits and the other of her enjoying her time at the zoo. We are sure that if she wanted anything she had/has to ask me. and if she refused then she didnt get it or couldnt do it. She was happy the rest of the day and into the night. Though I didnt have to enforce any rules today really so she didnt have too much to get mad over I stil felt better today than yesterday. She was better with Landon too and he felt ok to ride around with her in the riding toy outside and play with her on the floor for a while. Still she did little things to him when she would walk by that werent enough to make him cry but enough to make him flinch. she would grab his hand and squeeze, or bop him a little too hard on the head or things like that. But this you could expect from most siblings. Not completley acceptable but progress considerably. We are very compassionate about the fact that her world has turned upside down and if we didnt know that she has done all of these things for so many years then we would think it was all do to the transition and move. There is considerable stress, fear and confussion, loss of culture, family, country and language on her part. There have been some other incidents as well of things just as serious that have to be looked into further. This and her pain are nothing to forget about or take lightly and we won't. Even with today being so good we cant help but wonder what tomorrow brings. This is going to be a very very long journey. Her foster mother expressed that life with Ti was like a relay race and that she was very tired and hading over the baton. That sentence speaks very loudly to me now. She also expressed that she has the potential to be a very good person or a very bad person in life. That too is loud and clear. Still with all of this, alot of tears and emotionally drained we still know that she is our daughter and we must help her. We have begun talking about some steps to help her move forward. We will give 4-6 months of dicipline, love, and structure and if without enough progress then consider professional therapy unless we feel it is needed sooner for what ever reason. We hope that a very strict aware school and a sport like gymnastics in which she can feel personal gain and reward as well as release energy in a positive physical way will help. We will be contacting our homestudy agecncy and our adoption agency to speak with them and get their professional support and opinions about implemementing some strategies and resources. We may even consider to have counseling to some degree sooner. At home we will be consistant in working towards trust and bonding in and of itself that can take a long time, as well as rules that she can clearly understand and abide by. We have a very strong support system with family and friends but we know there are sure to be times we feel very alone in all of this. We trust that love and time heal most. We know that these habbits that have been aloud to develope are very instilled and it will take a lot to reroute her reactions to many things. We have faith that can and will happen in time. How much time we dont know. Will we be pulling our hair out? yes. Will there be lots of tears, yes there already have been. Will we question what we are doing, have done or whats working? Of course who wouldnt? Right now we are tired and a little weary but again faithful and trusting that we were lead to our daughter. Do we feel the way we did with Landon? No we dont. Do we feel love? Yes we believe we do and its still growing. Are we sad or discouraged. Yes a little. I am sur eI sound like a crazy person right now with limited sleep, stress and jet lag. This is all just being honest. And I write it today as I am not sure I will have the gutts to its publicity tomorrow.
Still needing and asking for prayer
Nicole

16 comments:

shelley said...

You are so brave and wonderful for sharing some of the harsh truths about adoption and abandonment problems. Please know that I will remember you all by name in prayer and pray that you see a small amount of progress (if not daily, then perhaps weekely) We all remain dedicated to helping you with listening and anything else you need. I want you to share with us anytime you need to. I also pray that OUR agency can help in any way possible.

Kisses to Landon as well.

Andy & Rebecca said...

Nicole, I am so glad you posted this. You need to have the prayers of the many people out there who care about you & your family and little Liberti!

Everything right now is so new - everybody's tired, and adjusting, and emotions are probably a little raw. Not that I am an expert by any means... But I have to believe that in 6 months Ti's behavior will improve with your family's consistent love & discipline. We'll be praying for all of you - each one - and please, keep us posted on how things are going. I think counseling is a great idea, or find a group of people to meet with who can be your sounding board, listen to you and pray with you. The support of others is so important!

Prayers & love and many hugs,

Rebecca

midwayfarm said...

My older daughter Emily posed many issues as she had childhood cancer when she was 2. As a result she was afraid of many things and still has strong reactions to various life issues. She is doing much better today at 16. The strength that your daughter is presenting has served her well in coping but since her situation is very different now (safe continuous) I will pray that she understands that she no longer needs to fight to survive but rather trust in order to love. Vonne BARNETT

Jaclyn said...

Nicole and Gregg,
Thank you so much for sharing this. It will help many of us to know what we can be up against. I have been blessed with Rebecka , but I can't help but be fearful that we may not be so lucky this time. Your honesty is very much appreciated. I pray that you both will be very strong and help Ti to heal quickly.

Chairman Mom said...

I know I already posted to the yahoo group, but honey, I just wanted to say again how much all your e-friends love you and support you. You are not alone.

Hugs,

Stacey and family

MOM said...

Dear Nicole, What a post. I will pray for you all regularly. Thank you for your honesty--it some ways it fightens me, being on the verge of having our own new little girl with her own "issues", but it also inspires me to see your love, committment and understanding. I hope I will also be blessed with such a depth of wisdom and caring should my need be so great. I know our heavenly father is holding each of us in his loving care. I will keep praying. May God continue to bless you, Debbie

Sarah said...

Dear Nicole,
Wow. I pray for you and Greg for strength, patience, love, and wisdom... and healing for Ti's heart. It's okay to ask for help. It's okay to not know all of the answers.
Sarah

Annie said...

Nicole, Thank you for sharing so openly. I am praying for you and Greg and Liberti and Landon. Phillipians 1:6 "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

Kikilia said...

Thanks for sharing. It took a lot for you to do that and hopefully your words might help another family in the adoption world who are also struggling.

In addition- just like you wouldn't leave your daughter alone with your son right now- please don't leave her alone with the family pets.

I can only imagine how overwhelmed you are and wish you peace and strength in your journey to parent your daughter.

A said...

Please, research a therapist who specializes in RAD and other attachemnt disorders. Don't put off consulting someone. I don't want to scare you, but this is something you need experienced help dealing with. You don't want to wait until you have lost all hope... before you contact a specialist. I will be praying for you and your family!
Andrea

http://sweetasberries.blogspot.com

Andrea said...

I left comments on the group as well but I wanted to share my support here too. You have a strength and courage not many have to be honest about what is happening. This can help so many people to know it isn't all rosy. As I found out, talking about to others helps a tremendous amount. Prayers for your family and the healing you will be going through.
Andrea

Ann said...

Wow Nicole. I have been sitting on this post for a couple days now, reading over and over what you have so humbly posted. I want to say something to bring you comfort and peace, but I am at a loss. I don't know what to say to you to help, but I want so much to give you some words of wisdom. I think it was brave and so emotionally raw of you to write this. I know that you are tired, scared, frustrated, but I also see the love and determination in your heart. I would NOT wait to see an RAD expert as some have suggested. Even if you do not see them regularly right now, they may be able to give you the tools right now to help Ti understand that she is safe and loved. I will keep you in my prayers. You have been a great support for so many other families and I hope that during this time you are able to lean on us, even if it's just to vent to understanding ears. Much love and prayers for you all Nicole.

Shana said...

Nicole, thank you so much for sharing! I know that wasn't easy but as a family about to bring home a 3 year old I really appreciate all that you have to offer. I expect that we will probably face some challenges and it is good to know that we won't be alone and that we will have your support, as you have ours.

Consistency is so important and maybe once Ti sees that you are consistent and in charge things will simmer down. We wish you all the best and you are an inspiration to us.

Love,
Shana

Rita said...

nicole, while it breaks my heart to hear the difficult time you and your family are going thru, i hope to be able to share some positive light for you. we went thru our own difficult time when we adopted our two. And had i been given a magic crystal ball, where i could see into the future i would have handled things so much better. but while you're in the midst of a sometimes awful, sometimes good transition it is so hard to see beyond the now. so trust that you and greg are doing everything right. pick your battles. so what if she refuses to wipe her hands after she eats... as long as she's sitting at the table and eating with you. those kinds of things. it sounds like what Ti desperately needs is boundaries and love. and it sounds like that is exactly what you are providing for her. just keep being consistant -- that really is the key. thing of the top 5 things you need to address right now (or maybe just the top 2 or 3 things) and focus on that. trust me the rest really does fall into place. love her as much as you can and believe that she knows this and is feeding off of it and being nurtured (and cured) by it. my heart goes out to you, but i truly think you guys will find a way to ease her pain and she will be the loving sweet child you get glimpses of.

Jackie said...

Nicole- you are and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

Jackie

Judy said...

Thank you for sharing your story. Your strength is inspiring. It will take some time, but with your love, dedication and support it is my hope for your family that Ti will come around and enjoy the many blessings around her.

Judy