It is raw, desperate, and needed. Children from abandonment and brokenness have lots of pain inside and need a safe haven to express these emotions. They need dignity in the hard times. It happens in the four walls of our home.
Most of the meltdowns are from miscommunication. She can't tell us what she wants and we can't figure it out. Most of the time it is a guessing game. Sometimes what we offer she refuses all to change her mind in no less than a minute later. She doesn't even know what she wants.
Life is so unpredictable and the main reason we are not out and about or having lots of people over.
One thing I've learned through seven adoptions is to have no expectations.
Taking it moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day. Giving the gifts of space, time, and love.
Space~ A place to know what family feels like.
Time~ Moments given so broken hearts can heal.
Love~ Unconditional and complete acceptance of any and all behaviors.
Love for these little ones has to be unconditional and okay with the unpredictable.
Sometimes she lets me pick her up and console.
Sometimes she doesn't want to be touched, hits, and screams.
I have to stay close by to provide safety and my arms when she ready.
If she refuses me, I remember she's not rejecting me.
If she hits, I remember she's not trying to hurt me.
If she reaches up, I pull her in no matter her behavior.
Things We've Learned in the Last Month:
Feet Up More than Down~
Calla needs to be held more than not. I had a friend tell me 'Hold them for a year and it will make all the difference in the world'. (Cathie Zinn)
Calla is the best sleeper once she is asleep but getting her there requires patience. She has transitioned onto the sofa bed in our room but still needs us in the room with her. We are okay with that. Sometimes at night it takes her two hours to fall asleep. No telling where all that originates but being with her is what she needs.
Learning New Words Everyday~
Giving Calla one word phrases has proven to be her way of learning. She understands most of what we say to her and is learning to verbalize back. We tried teaching her to sign and she just shook her head. Her speech is great and can repeat most any word we give her IF she feels like it. :)
Music is Her Love Language~
Sometimes if we are having the worst time I can turn on her Chinese music and she calms down. I have sang to her from the moment we took her in our arms. She can sing back any tune I sing to her. Definitely need to build on this gift.
Calla likes most everything we offer her and at first she spit everywhere. She spat at me when she was mad... that has stopped. She loves all kinds of foods too: meat, vegetables, fruit, dairy, and sweets. She usually wants me to feed her the first half of her meal then takes the utensil to finish. Sharing this builds our bond and attachment.
I have been amazed at how well the other kids are doing with Calla. They know she needs more of me and have pitched in to help. They know she may accept them and other times she pushes away. We laugh either way and move on. She is choosing to follow them around to play and sits to 'school' when we are working. I see them pulling her in and showing her what being connected is all about!
May Need Tricking~
Sometimes we can't 'talk' Calla into what we would like her to do. We have found if Evie does it, she will want to do it. This works with eating, swinging, riding in her push car, putting on her clothes, etc. She just needs to see and then it becomes her idea. Get the trick?
Loves to be Outside~
If all else fails and even before we need intervention, outside is the golden ticket. She loves being out even when it is in the high 90s. She is used to it being from Guangxi. We spend lots of time just being in nature. It makes us all feel better!
Calla is very loving. I saw it in a photo from her orphanage days as she patted a baby in a bouncy seat and thought this would be the case. She hugs and kisses us and loves to be held. She holds her baby doll and sings rock-a-bye to her. She has fallen in love with her big sisters and believe me it is mutual. She has us all wrapped around all her fingers. :)
Learning No and Mine~
She is learning to express her 'no' and 'mine'. It's okay because the others are old enough to understand she's the baby and we give in the her (for now). Allowing her to express herself is huge in attachment. Her strong will is evident quite often and we know in the long run, it will serve her well!