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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Sibling Visit

Nancy Thomas said "A bond with an unhealthy sibling can stand in the way of the parent-child bond".  That's because the siblings carry a collective memory of the past trauma.  

We initially applied for our daughter when she was still with her sister.  Their adoption disrupted and initially it was perceived that our daughter was the issue.  Later it was determined to not be the case at all.  While we waited for several months, during that time, the girls were separated.  We saw our daughter listed as a singlet, needing connection to sister, but placed separately.  We submitted interest and immediately got a call, since her case worker had already reviewed our home study when they were together.

It was heartbreaking to think those 2 cuties would have to once again lose another family, but also each other.  Keeping them together though would have worked against their healing.  They needed very different things to be able to heal properly.

We were asked if we'd be willing to maintain contact and of course we were, no child should have to choose between having parents or siblings.  What we didn't anticipate though was falling in love with her sister.

Not on the same level as how we fell for our daughter, but lil sis has stolen our heart.

Over the past few years, I think we're slowly getting in her heart too.  She greets us with a huge hug right after she hugs and kisses her sister and she's finally saying "I miss you too" or "I love you too" when we say those very important words to her.

For the first 2 1/2 years, we could say that and she'd say "Uh huh" and we'd have to ask for hugs if we would get them, although hubs could get it willingly, she was much slower to trust me.  She enjoys rough housing with him, rubbing his beard, riding piggy back, etc.

Sometimes we have frequent visits, other times it's a long time between visits.  Our childs needs come first and we're the ones that have to do the most work to make it work.

After the heartbreaking phone call she had with her sister where she wasn't getting school pics because she's in a group home, After making a call to her social worker and offering to pay for the pics for her, she got her photos. I sent a note to lil sis to let her know not to just do without, if it's something like that and she can't find the right person to do it, to let me know or tell her sister to let me know and I'd work on it on her behalf and/or do it myself.

I really want her to learn that she can ask for what she needs and many times that's all it takes to get her needs met. She has needed to work on her communication skills for awhile, so it was a perfect opportunity to let her know we have her back.  I also let her know she's important to all of us, not just to her sister.

She called not long after and asked kiddo if she'd ask us if we could come pick her up for Thanksgiving. She wanted to come here, but didn't realize how far it was.  We told her it was a long drive and we couldn't get help to get her to us, but we'd come to her.

When we got there, I praised her for her progress and also for being willing to ask for what she needs.

So, what does she do? She asks me if someday I can get her a camera, lol.  Okay, it wasn't all material. She also asked me if I could get her social worker to try to find her Ipod which didn't make it in the move.

I told her good job asking and yes, I'd definitely ask her worker to search for her stuff and at some point, we'd find her a camera, but it may take a bit.  Managing expectations, you know?

As for the visit--it went pretty well.  She redirected easily, she's very proud of her progress and she accepts no better than she used to, not seeming to take it as personal rejection of her.  We were supse happy to see that and let her know that.

I did have to threaten to get her a dictionary though.  She has a mouth on her.  She also still has the rough play going on, "beating up" on her sister with an inflatable monkey because kiddo wouldn't give her the phone (which was because she was texting with bad language)

I was so proud of my daughter for standing up to her sister. She's always let her get away with anything she wanted and she said "why would you thinking beating me up will help you get what you want, that makes it LESS likely".  Made me double proud because I've used that on her and that means she's listening, taking it in and understanding.  Hubs told her not to be so aggressive, that acting out doesn't get you what you want.  She calmed down.

She does try the cutesy stuff to try to get away with things--ie. telling her to eat another bite and we'd order dessert to take to the park and she cuts one macaroni in half.  Ummm, want a re-do baby?!

This was the first visit in awhile totally just us an no supervision. She normally tests boundaries more without a witness anyway, but if that's her stretch, that's awesome.  

Her house mother didn't believe that she used to be violent, so that was promising that they've never seen any evidence of that.  She said she's made amazing progress in alot of areas.  Her areas of improvement needed are the same ones that took our kiddo the longest to work on.  

Food issues, first and foremost.  

There is hope though. I've seen so much improvement with our child and seeing her sister follow these footsteps, just slightly behind gives hope that she'll improve as well.  

She willingly let us leave with no sadness exhibited, so that worries me from attachment standpoint, but overall it went well.  

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