Sunday, January 18, 2009

What they don't tell you....

They don't tell you how hard it is to have the person who is to be your daughter (but who is a complete stranger) move into your home and immediately be expected to become a family. And they don't tell the little girl who moves into your home and leaves behind everything and everyone familiar that she will go through an adjustment period and these feelings are normal. It's a process that takes time and now, seven months later, we are moving closer to that goal of being a real family. As Kayla gets more comfortable with me and in our home, the effects of her past are coming closer to the surface. Older kids who get adopted go through a "honeymoon" phase where everything is wonderful and they are on their best behavior. Then as time goes on and they become more comfortable, the real issues and behaviors take over. Kayla has a habit of keeping everything inside and not talking about her feelings but she has been seeing a therapist for the past few months and has slowly started talking about some of these things. Last week we started family therapy together and our first session went better than I could have imagined. I think it will be really good for us to get all of these things out on the surface and deal with them now rather than later...or not ever.

We had a court date last week. We had originally believed our adoption would be finalized next month but now me, the therapist, and our social worker have agreed to hold off while we go through this period of counseling and give Kayla time to work through some of these issues and give us time to work on building a stronger relationship. I can already tell a difference in Kayla since our meeting with the therapist last week. She has been much more open about things in her life and telling me when she is scared. She even got angry with me once which I take as a great sign because she has not done that before. And you don't get angry with people you are not attached I think and hope our relationship will continue to get stronger each and every day. It is a process and a journey, and for me, as well as Kayla, a valuable learning experience on dealing with feelings and issues as they arise and learning to be able to communicate and ask for help. This is by far the hardest thing I have ever done in my life but I would not trade a minute of it.


Maggie said...

Hmm. Slugger got angry with on day 3. But all kids are different. Slugger never really had that honeymoon period -- he pretty much started testing me from day 1. But his behaviors and testing patterns changed as he became more attached and secure.

It certainly is a challenging process. Slugger has been here for 19 months and we're not nearly as attached as I thought we would be. But it continues to grow and it will over a long period of time.

As hard as it is, it's so very worth it. And, as you said, I wouldn't trade a minute of it, either.

Violet said...

As much as it's good that the kids (in my case, plural) trust us enough to be "open" and "act like themselves" it's SO HARD sometimes! 3-steps forward and 1-step back..

We're now coming up on 14 months and everything is still fluid in some ways - one kid is totally bonded, one is occasionally, one resists. There's anger, sadness, happiness, and all 3 boys are at different places at different times, it seems.

Exhausting. Hard. Definitely. And yep, totally worth it. :)

(Therapy = GOOD! Oldest One is in therapy, I'm in therapy, and I believe Middle One will eventually start, too.)