His Mercy

"His Mercies Are New Every Morning"

A Thought

In this life we can not always do great things. But we can do small things with great love.." :) Mother Teresa

Prayer Quote

“I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God- it changes me.”
― C. S. Lewis


I believe in the sun even when it's not shining. I believe in love even when I don't feel it. And I believe in God even when He is silent. (quote found on the wall of a concentration camp)

Weather Underground

Click for Wylie, Texas Forecast

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Anniversary Sweet Alli part 2

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?"
"Why not?"
"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
Our son and daughter in law and grandsons also came and spent a weekend with us. We had a wonderful time and the boys were a great distraction for Alli. :)

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!

 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!
 And here is the first meeting in Dallas
 We had already made plans to go to Great Wolf Lodge, so we added a person, and went. We weren't sure if Alli was ready for such an excursion, but overall she did really well. She had some overwhelm, but we were able to work through it.  Sarah had an awful time because she had broken out in HIVES.  She was struggling with hives from about 3 weeks after Alli arrived. Honestly, I think it was an emotional reaction to all the changes, not a food allergy.  Alli was very controlling of Sarah in the beginning, and we really had to work through some jealousy issues.  We fully expected this, but it was still hard for everybody. 
When a child is so hurt, and so rejected, things don't just get better overnight!

 Alli won 1,000 tickets in the game room! Oh my was that a treat!
Alli really struggled with the loss of her biological brother and sister.  They were together until she was 10, but the relationship within her family was unhealthy... that is how they became orphans in the first place.
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.


Unknown said...

I am so very happy for you... for Alli... for the rest of your family.

HatchersInChile said...

First of all, what a wonderful family God has made for all of you! Alli, you are blessed but you are also a blessing to others. Imagine what God has planned for you - to help and love on others as He has shown you with your family!

Now, on another topic...I have and continue to enjoy your blog, especially your attitude and explanations for discipline, correction and LOVE. My husband and I adopted two boys in Santiago, Chile. We are missionaries in Chile and when we found out that having biological children was not what God planned for us, we adopted as Chilean residents - about the only way to do it here in Chile as it requires at least one year in residence for paperwork before you are able to leave the country with the child. Our boys were adopted at 6 months (now 6 yrs old!!) and 2 months (now 3.5 yrs old). We occasionally take trips to the US (every 2 years for 2 months) and things always get stressful. Of course that can be part of living in someone else's home and having no space or routine. We recently decided for many reasons to move to the US in 2014. For us this will be a homecoming, for the boys it will be a shock. Do you ahve any resources for helping transition children to a new country? One thing that I started with our 6 yr old (who lived in an institutional setting for his first 6 months) is spending time every morning in the rocking chair. As he has recently had a growth spurt, he was worried about hurting me when sitting on my lap. I told him that he will NEVER be too big to sit on my lap. This is something that he confirms to me on an almost daily basis. He asks if he becomes a giant will be still be able to sit on my lap. I reassure him that, yes, even if he becomes a giant, he will always be welcomed and encouraged to sit on my lap. I love those moments!

Anyway, long story...do you know of any resources/strategies to help children transition to a new country especially those that get overwhelmed easily. Thank you!!!

Penne Hatcher

MariaG said...

I am really enjoying this "series" and learing more about Alli and your family :-) Thanks for sharing! I think that picture is precious of Alli and her siblings. It is remarkable how much they all look alike. How sad the other family (or is it families?) do not want to maintain contact. Hopefully they can connect with Alli when they are all older and they can see what a lovely family Alli has and what a lovely young woman Alli has become!
So happy Alli is with you. Thanks for sharing about your journey and sharing your insights ... it helps me be a better parent :-)
MariaG (Canada)

Christie M said...

Hatchers in Chile,
How exciting that you have been Missionaries abroad! Do you know our dear friends the Bonners? They are now in Peru, but have served in several locations in South and Central America, through Calvary Chapel Ministries.

Now, that aside: I can't think of a SPECIFIC resource, but in our classes we took they gave us specific instruction about not overwhelming the children with too many new things all at once.
Keep things small and simple. (Don't rush out to super walmart, it will not just overwhelm them but you too!)
One benefit you have is that you will all being coming together! If your children are bilingual, this will be a benefit already!
I love it that you rock them. :)
You are never too big to be rocked. :)
Change is always hard, and especially cultural change... Cooking familiar comfort foods, keeping home traditions and unconditional love will go a long way in your children's ability to adapt. :)
Anybody else have any ideas for resources?

You Are Still Holy