I asked Alli if she liked swimming. Oh there was a smile and a yes! And then there was sadness. I don't have a bathing suit!
"That's ok, we can go and get one for you."
Her next response was, "I don't think I'm allowed to go into stores?"
"Because I'll ask for things."
"Well, how about if we go into the store, and you try not to ask for things!"
"Ok"..... She was actually AFRAID.
There is more to that story that I will not go into here. :(
So, we held hands and we walked into target. We walked down the aisles and looked at things, and then we walked out. :)
"There, was that scary?"
"So do you think we can look for a suit?"
YES! big smile
And we went in and found a bathing suit. We also found some tennis shoes because her shoes were too small.
We were SO FORTUNATE! The Lord was SO GOOD TO US! My dear friend JJ lives about 5 hours away. She also has 2 sons, one from Russia and her newest son, from UKRAINE, who was also recently adopted through DISRUPTION!
They came to the hotel on their way through town and Alli got to meet them. I was so happy!
We went to Dinner together and I remember E saying, in that thick Ukrainain Accent, "Hello! You will be fine! I too have been adopted by disruption!" "I too had another family!" "I like my new family!"
He became Alli's hero! :)
During Dinner, she layed on my lap and cried a little, but we made it through dinner. They had her favorite, mashed potatoes and gravy with extra gravy.
Of course after dinner we went to swim and both boys helped her to the edge of the pool like little gentlemen. I think that little girl crush has never gone away. LOL
I realized that Alli had not seen much of her new State, so I wanted to make sure she got to see the museums before we left and learn more about where she was living.
We went to several museums and had a wonderful time!
After several days, we finally were released to go back to Texas. I remember Mike and I cracking up on the phone because the girls were asking, "Is she going to be nice?" And she was asking on the other end, "Are they going to be nice?"We reassured everybody, that THEY needed to be nice and REALITY is, we will need to get used to each other. There will be misunderstandings, but we will work through them. We are a team!
When a child is so hurt, and so rejected, things don't just get better overnight!
She misses them, but has resigned herself that they cannot be together. ( I decided to show the entire picture, because it is elsewhere on the internet.... I have come across it several times. So, here it is.)
One of the big things we had to work through, was the grief and loss of her families. She did not connect her behavior to her losses. That was a tricky one. They WERE related, but it was not her fault. Explaining to her that her behavior did not effect her standing in our family, but that it DID in other families was difficult. She also had to learn that her behavior DOES MATTER. You cannot just act out when you feel like it. There are ways to express disappointment, anger, fear, frustration, without having fits or tantrums or attacking others verbally.
I would say the bulk of our year, especially in the beginning, was in untangling the hurt and mess of her past, and helping her learn to cope and look forward to her future. We had times of feeling defeated and triumphant. Times of confusion and times of clarity.
Convincing her that she REALLY DOES NOT UNDERSTAND ENGLISH well enough was a huge breakthrough. Getting her to TRUST once again was a huge. Children who have been hurt and rejected over and over and over again, have a tendency to have major TRUST issues. This causes major LOVE issues too. Alli was considered to be RAD, and I would say she definitely WAS at one point. BUT at this time, I would no longer consider her RAD. Just as Anna healed, she is healing.
She is VERY attached to us and expresses her love and affection for us. She is no longer as REACTIVE as she used to be. Oh my! For awhile, it was often, and then as she learned other ways to relate and communicate, it began to spread out more and more, and now it is minimal.
I would say the majority of the time, she is as sweet as can be to everybody. And is well within NORM for any sibling issue. Sadly, this was not the case in her previous families.
About Sibling Issues:
One thing that both Mike and I do not ever let go, is an issue with siblings. If there is discord, it can effect the entire family. So, it is dealt with right away. Alli has learned that siblings can be best of friends. They can disagree and not be angry or argumentative. They can do different things and that is ok. It is not a rejection of one wants to ride a bike and the other wants to roller skate. She has learned that it NEVER works to accuse another. (We do not correct behaviors in front of each other. If we need to talk to more than one person, it is in private, and the other person is never discussed. Meaning we talk to Alli about Alli, and Sarah about Sarah. etc. We do not talk with Alli about Sarah or Sarah about Alli.) We will deal with the issue directly related to the person in question. PERIOD.
This was hard for her to accept at first, and we got a lot of "but...she did this or she did that"......
And we would repeat.... Yes, we know. We are talking you about what you did. :)
Over the year Alli taught ALL of us that we can be stretched to love more, to be patient more, to be kind more and to reach out to each other more.... pray more.....ALL of us!
I have watched the relationships form this year between all of the Noelles and it has been amazing to watch. They have each struggled and triumphed and found a place of peace and comfort with each other.
Probably one of the most interesting things about this year, (that is not about Alli) has been watching how Anna has related to Alli and all her hurts. Anna could really relate to Alli and TOTALLY understands her. Anna would often talk to me and tell me things that were very helpful in trying to reach Alli. The two of them have a very special bond. Anna really stepped up and became a dear big sister to Alli. Alli really looks up to her.
TO BE CONTINUED.......