Wednesday, July 1, 2009
You do not want to believe that parenting your child from China is going to be different than how you parented your other kids. She is just your child, just like your others....right???? You love her just as much as if you had given birth to her yourself! But the reality is that it has to be different to meet the needs of this child. The child that comes to you with experiences that you will never know. Experiences that impact her ability to love and trust completely.
To be honest parenting Sophie is different in as many ways as it is/was the same with Ben and Hannah. Of course the initial differences are in the beginning when we were really focusing on the attachment with bottle feedings and carrying her as much as we could ( with hind sight being 20/20 those are two things that I wished we held on to longer). When Ben and Hannah were 16 months old we were fostering independence, for Sophie at 16 months we were trying to turn back the clock. My expectations for Sophie are the same as they are for Ben and Hannah, those things are not different.....the way we go about it is going to be different.
Yesterday we met with an attachment therapist. We are seeking help on the best way to set limits and give consequences and to increase her level of trust with us. Sophie has really done well considering all that she has been through in China as well as the surgeries and treatments she has endured here in the U.S. My girl amazes me with her strength! Sophie is very protective of her feelings. She is happy to get kisses and hugs from mommy and daddy, but more controlling when it comes "giving love". She also likes to control as much of her environment as she can, even if it is just lining up her crayons. We need to get our beautiful daughter to trust us completely....surrender to our love and care for her. I believe with help from the AT that we will be able to accomplish this in a short time.
One of the areas that I have really struggled with is discipline. The strategies I used with Ben and Hannah as well as with my kiddos in my classroom do not work. No stickers, or bribes will work. Potty training has been an eye opening experience. At this time Sophie does not demonstrate a desire to please me like most kiddos, although when she does something that she knows I will get excited about she will tell me "She did it" but when I try to help.....she fights me. Sophie is a good girl, but she has to learn consequences or we will have some big problems ahead of us! She can be defiant and oppositional. The challenge for me is shaking out the typical three year old stuff from the behaviors related to her trauma and loss. It is not so easy.
I am a student at heart. Give me books, resources, research and I will pour over it and discuss it to death:) So my friends I share with you my list;
The Connected Child. I read this before going to China. This is a must have!
Taming the Tiger while it is a Kitten. I wish I had listened to this before going to China. We are applying strategies now and I believe they are helping.
The Happiest Toddler on the Block. Recommended by Nancy Thomas. Kind of goofy but I have incorporated some of these strategies and they seem to help diffuse a hissy fit:)
Beyond Consequences, Logic and Control. Recommended by our AT. I like it! Every adoptive parent needs to read this book!
Beyond Consequences Volume 2. I have not started this one yet. It is a continuation of the first book and I expect it to be just as helpful.
All of our babies come to us with attachment issues of one type or another. Our children have suffered a loss. Foster care does not guarantee a child will not have attachment issues. Sure foster care is better than laying in a crib all day....that is if the foster care is good. Facilitating healthy attachment is a process that continues well beyond your one year "gotcha day".
If you have any other resources that you just loooove and can't do without leave me the info!
Posted by at 10:20 AM