Friday, May 6, 2011

Christian Alliance Orphan Summit

I am officially on vacation for the next 2 weeks....yeah! Next week we are heading to the Christian Alliance Orphan Summitt in Louisville and I can't wait. We are taking some break out sessions on starting adoption/orphan care ministries and we are taking some break out sessions on the empowered to connect pathway. I am seriously looking forward to those sessions.
Every time we seem to make some progress with Alex we find more issues. We had been having problems with finding toys in Alex's bed. She would steal them from her brothers and sisters and hide them in her bed. Very institutional I know. That has diminished and then in the last week, we had been noticing toys randomly showing up places and messes magically appearing overnight...so today we figured out that Alex has been getting up in the middle of the night to go play.
I know in the grand scheme of things and older child adoption this isn't that big of a deal. But of course there is the lying, and acting out that accompanies the discovery of these events. The question is what we should do about it? Is it a big deal?
The thing that is the big deal to me is the lying and the disrespectfulness to the toys she played with at night...a lot of them have mysteriously turned up broken in the last week (before we discovered her nightly visits to the land of unsupervised toy breaking). Most of these toys are Lilianna's toys that were delicate and for older kids so we moved them out of the playroom and the girls' bedroom to keep them from getting broken or stuck in little 2 year old trachea's! So it was another of many examples where Alex has negatively affected Lilianna's life.

Honestly, it is really difficult working on attachment (my attachment to her) when she keeps doing things to hurt the other kids. I know it is not something that people talk about...but it is hard for me to bond with my kids....It has been hard with all of my kids bio and adopted. It has taken me months with most of my children to really attach. It has been even harder with Alex because she does these things which create feelings of protectiveness in me towards the other kids. I am doing the old tried and true fake it til you make it. Everytime we figure out another layer of lying I have to question and revisit who I think Alex really is...how much of her "personality" and her behaviour can I believe or does she have an elaborate plan of manipulation in progress.
Then, of course, is the inevitable perception of everyone outside our immediate family. You know the ones...the "oh she is sooo sweet, how can she possibly be in trouble...clearly you are strict, over reactive, and mean mean parents....Alex is such a poor baby". Keith actually got into a fight on the phone with one of Alex's teachers when we refused to let her go on a school field trip to the movie theatre. OK...what chaperone is going to watch Alex (a large 9 year old) as if she were a 4 year old. Alex is more likely than our 4 year old to walk right out the front door of the movie theatre and into traffic.
That being said, I really do believe that Alex is a sweet little girl who loves her brothers and sisters. She has been through a lot and has issues to process so to speak. She has lots of things to learn and hurts to heal so that she isn't sad on the inside. I do not for one second have any regrets about how are family has come together. It does, however, get frustrating at times. Our issues are small in comparison to some of the issues other parents have....and I am not talking about adoptive parents...I am talking about all parents.
I know we will get there and everytime we have a problem I do remind myself of the problems we HAVEN'T had to deal with and that in itself has been a true blessing. We decided to adopt older children and more children because we love being parents and it is such an amazing blessing to see kids grow and change and become these special and different little people. Sometimes I wish we had a litte more free time and less stress so we could enjoy them a little bit more! haha.

Critically looking at our life right now...are we ready for the arrival of another baby....ummm...NO! Are we ready for Kyrgyzstan to reopen and for Aaron to join our family....um....NO! Are we ready to even plan for company.....ummm NO! but I have an ace up my sleeve. That's right....I have 2 weeks off. I have a cape that says "Super Mom" on it and I am not afraid to use it. We are going to come back from the Orphan Summit with plans and goals and new tools. Then I am going to whip this house into shape and whip our household into a well-oiled machine. OK....that might be a little bit unrealistic...but I am going to pray and plan and make my expectations match what is actually possible. I am going to clean and I am going to organize my house, our clothes, our time. It is going to be a productive 2 weeks.

I have rambled on for quite a while! I am disappointed and overwhelmed at times...but apparently I am also pathologically optimistic!

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