Hello Realm! It’s Jax, here for a check in. My personal Realm has been a crazy explosion for the last two weeks, and TheScott and I are loving it. Nineteen days ago, we took in two young ladies with the hopes of adopting them. Our new girls are nice, smart, beautiful, and a lot of fun! There have been some tantrums and some tears, but for the most part things have gone better than we expected. Thanks to Pathways for excellent preparation!
- Day 1. The kids pulled up in front of our house with a caseworker after their first ever plane flight (they’re from Texas, but not from Austin), knowing nothing about us but our names. The little one* (4 years old) had on a pink shirt and pigtails. The caseworker carried her out of the car and she manically looked around while clinging to the lady. The older one (7), in a whimsical Hello Kitty shirt, immediately found a cricket to follow around the yard so she didn’t have to look at us. We all moved inside, they got into their room, and started piling everything they owned up onto their beds with declarations of “MINE!” Apparently things get stolen a lot inside an emergency shelter, where they’d been for six months, and keeping your stuff on your bed is one of the best ways of protecting it.
- On Day 2, the older one immediately forgave me when I apologized for shrinking her ONLY pair of socks. Mom FAIL. Child WIN. Cute polka-dot socks were acquired by Aunt Laura on Day 3. Aunt Laura DEFINITE WIN.
- Day 3 also had an epic tantrum from the younger. Fortunately it was only for about an hour, but there was head-banging, stepstool-flinging, clothes-washer-donkey-kicking, ear-splitting-screaming madness. It was so bad we called Pathways for help with how to handle it. The trick? Leave the room and let them finish. That was not my natural response. A half hour later, with TheScott and the older upstairs reading books to try to keep her calm, the younger reappeared in the room next to hers (where I was waiting, trying to at least LOOK calm). After all the kicking, flinging, screaming, banging violence, she had hurt herself for the first time when she slipped on a pool of water (that she’d made by flinging a cup) and scraped her foot on the bottom of the door. She exited for help with a bandaid. The surprise on her face that I was out there was pretty cool, as was my realization that she didn’t actually break anything or hurt herself (except the minor accident that ended it). The little drama queen performed the whole thing to get her way about… I don’t even remember what it was about. She didn’t get her way. And the ignoring trick? It works. We’ve had minor ones since, but nothing like that. And each time she starts to throw one and I walk out of the room, they’ve gotten shorter and less violent. In fact, she started one last night, I walked out, and she was done in 30 seconds. Pathways WIN.
- Day 4 had the first tantrum by the older. Hers are less tantrum-y and more hysterical crying-y. That’s more heartbreaking to listen to. Her psychiatrist told me she’s dealing with PTSD, and occasionally little things set her off in BIG ways. Nightmares are also a serious problem for her. Just a few days ago she woke me up after a big one. I stayed with her for a little over an hour, sang her songs, did visualizing a happy place with a meadow and a lake to swim in, that sort of thing. The next morning she cheerfully told me that visualizing a peaceful place really helped her. Hey… theater arts training comes in handy!
- Day 5 was TheScott’s first day back at work. The younger one was so shocked and excited when he came home she leaped into my arms, peed herself, buried her face in my shoulder and screamed anytime TheScott got close. It was a strange reaction, but she was really happy. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a person spontaneously vibrate before. It hurts my soul a little bit to see the general shock on both of their faces when we follow through with the things we say we’ll do, are still there to love on them after “bad behavior,” and in general behave like reasonably responsible people. The oldest one still keeps count on her whiteboard of how many days she’s been here. As I write this (Sunday) we’re at Day 18.
- Day 13 we took them to the farm where our vegetables come from. They got to pet a chicken and a very muddy pig. It was pretty hilarious. Day 15 we went to the Texas Capitol building and they loved climbing the stairs to look down the three story atrium. Day 16 we went to the Texas Natural Science Center and they oohed and ahhed over dinosaur skeletons and geodes. I love watching them do new things. The wonder in their eyes is inspiring.
- Day 14 I got a card from the oldest with “I love you forever” and a picture of the her and I smiling drawn in crayon. It’s pinned up by my desk, and might be there for the rest of my life.
- For the first week and a half (and occasionally still) the girls would thank us at every meal for the food. This broke our hearts because we don’t feel like feeding our children is something that warrants thanks. It’s something you just do. Yesterday, that’s Day 17, the youngest thanked us again for the food. The oldest looked up from munching her taco, said, “Thank you for this life,” and went back to eating. I almost started crying at the dinner table.
The day I post this (Tuesday) is the day of the trial which decides whether or not the children will be up for adoption or if their mother get yet another chance. I’m not allowed to talk about the details of the case, but from what I understand, the situation they came from has not changed in any significant way from when the girls were removed. If the judge decides to send them back, he’s not sending them someplace safe. There is a part of me that feels it is a terrible thing to wish for the splitting up of a family, but I look at these two wonderful girls and I think about the court documents I’ve read, the older one’s nightmares and the many things the younger has said to me about life before us, and I don’t think it’s right for these children to go back there.
If any of you could spare us a candle (or whatever it is you do) for these children and their future today, we’d deeply appreciate it. If you feel you can wish for the four of us to be a family, I would appreciate that, too, but simply wishing for the best road for the girls (you can call them A & L) would be deeply appreciated. For those Heathen inclined, the wonderful Michelle at Let’s Radiate has put together an awesome bindrune for us made from Ingwaz (for inheritance), Berkano (for motherhood), Wunjo (for joy), Gebo (for the gift of family), and Elhaz (for protection for the girls no matter what). I’ll be meditating on those today in the hopes that the trial comes out in favor of the girls and in favor of us. TheScott and I love them already, and we want to be a family.
* We’re legally not allowed to use names or pictures on the internet while they’re still legally foster children. After we finalize the adoption (if all goes well, that will be in February), I can and will post pix!
+ “Plastic pattern blocks, mathematics teaching materials: there are six shapes: square, hexagon, a thin rhombus, a fat rhombus, an equilateral triangle and a trapezium (US: trapezoid). All have the same unit length.” by Annielogue