Adoption Interview

Adoption Bloggers Interview Project 2012

Monday, January 17, 2011


palindrome: a word or phrase spelled the same way forward and backward EX: mom, race car, did

For years we have worked with Hannah to teach her how to engage another person to play (both someone she knows and new people in public, like at a park or play place). One of the biggest skills we have worked on is introducing herself and asking others what their name is in return. Lately we had seen a bit of progress in this area if we remembered to prompt her before going into a social situation. Tonight however, without any prompting, I heard this coming from the bowls of the Mc Donald's play place structure, "My name is Hannah with a 'h' at the end and the beginning. You spell it 'H-A-N-N-A-H.' It's the same forward and backwards. You call that a palindrome." If that's not progress then I don't know what is. Maybe it's not the most socially accepted way for 4 year olds to make an introduction, but it's technically sound. I couldn't have been more proud. I was also pretty tickled at the other little boy's response (as were his parents as indicated by the gut busting laughter erupting from their table across the room!). "Uh, um, well. . . . . MY name is Steven and I can spell my name TOO.' S-T-E-V-E-N' I don' t have any domes in my name though. They are all pointy letters." Oh my goodness! Out of the mouth of babes! Hannah then tried to give another explanation about what palindromes were, listing several other words as examples, but since he couldn't spell it pretty much fell on deaf ears. She eventually got frustrated with him and said, "Let's just go play! You don't get it."

For the last several months Hannah has been obsessed with time. She has desperately wanted a watch, but Kyle told her he would not get her one until she was able to tell time independently. She has worked diligently on learning to read a clock ever since and finally was awarded with the coveted watch this weekend. We are now updated with the time approximately every 5 minutes! I'm sure the novelty will wear off soon, but for the moment the constant time reminder is a bit annoying! She's actually gotten quite good at telling time to the 5 minute interval. The only time she gets a bit stumped is when it's close to the half hour. For some reason then, and only then, does she choose to say the next hour instead of the current hour. If it's almost to the next hour she'll remember to say the current hour, but at the half hour mark when the hour hand is half way in between the two numbers it trips her up. I'd say that's still pretty good for a 4 year old though. I had 2nd graders that couldn't tell time as well as she does!

At the moment Hannah has something going on that puzzles the heck out of me. I've tried and tried to come up with a reason for this new behavior, but I just can't. You see, she's started stealing food. It started with sneaking sweets. That I could understand I guess. There isn't the old saying about getting caught with your hand in the cookie jar for nothing. What kid doesn't want to gorge themselves with sweets. But even after it became a major issue and we removed all sweets from the house and made them only a special privilege when we are out the food sneaking remained. Now she's sneaking snack type food-cheese sticks, granola, gold fish. I just don't get it. She gets 3 meals a day and at least 2 snacks. She's allowed to eat as much as she wants at each sitting. We don't allow her to free graze all day because we want her to be hungry at meal times as that has sometimes been a problem, but we rarely deny her a healthy snack if it's a reasonable distance away from the next mealtime. She knows all she has to do is ask for a snack and she will either get it or be told that dinner is within the half hour. So why the food sneaking? She's never gone without. Never had food with held. I just don't get it. Today it was crazy. It was less than an hour until dinner time and she was watching a movie and I was in the office doing bills. I heard a strange sound and went to investigate. I found her in the fridge with her hand in the cheese drawer. I told her that she needed to ask before she got a snack and that dinner would be very soon and she could have a cheese stick with her dinner, but not right now. She was angry, but not hysterical. I sent her back downstairs, or so I thought she went back downstairs, and I went back to the office. Seconds later I hear sounds in the kitchen again and when I went in to investigate there was Hannah holding a cheese stick in her hand! It's really getting bad. It's become almost a daily occurrence, probably 5 times a week at least. She knows it's against the rules to get the snacks between snack and mealtimes and she'll attempt to hide them and lie about them if she is discovered. I just don't get it. Is this a typical developmental stage for a 4 year old or is this something I need to be worried about? She's a healthy weight, growing normally, seems to have plenty of energy. I can't find a physical reason why she would NEED the extra food. I'm positive I'm feeding her plenty.

We've started a new session of classes at the YMCA and this time Hannah's doing a mommy and me cooking class, swimming, and karate. Yes, we finally managed to get into a karate class and not have it canceled! She's the only girl in the class and the oldest by at least a year I would guess. She actually has pretty good skills as far as beginning karate goes and definitely when compared to the rest of the class, but the one place she is lacking is concentration and attention. She loses interest and focus VERY easily in the class and is soon off doing her own thing. She has by far the worst focus in the entire class. You would think these little boys would be all over the place doing pretend karate chops and such, but they are not. They have rapt attention on the sensei, but not Hannah. She's off in her own little world spinning or doing poses! :) I'm thinking karate may not be in our future next session! The sport she really seems to be excelling in is swimming although attention is a problem in that class too. BUT she LOVES swimming and is a natural at it so it makes things go a little more smoothly. One problem with swimming however is that she thinks that she is better than she is and that she already knows how to do things before the instructor explains them so she doesn't listen to her directions and that gets her in trouble. We're just going to have to keep working on those listening ears and obedience to adults. She also really enjoys her cooking class. I must admit it's quite fun. So far they've only made a salad and a fruit pizza, but she's got to measure, mix, and chop and to her that's the best. She even has an excuse to wear her apron!

Tomorrow we go to visit the small private school we are considering sending Hannah to next year for kindergarten. Unless after this visit my opinion changes drastically, we feel that this is probably our best option for her for next year at least. She'll be spending time visiting and participating in the kindergarten classroom and the first grade classroom so we can determine exactly where she'll fit best. Right now the options we are considering are the kindergarten room with a drastically modified curriculum, the first grade room with a slightly modified curriculum, or beginning in the kindergarten room right now for the remaining months of the school year and then going on to the first grade room next year. The biggest challenge with Hannah is that she is all over the map as far as development goes. As it stands now she has an independent reading level of about 2nd grade, an instructional reading level of 3rd grade, comprehension of about second semester 2nd grade, math at first grade level, and social skills at kindergarten level, spelling at first grade level, and oral language at 2nd grade level, and fine motor at kindergarten. Another problem is that while these are the levels that she is currently at, she doesn't progress at one grade level a year. She learns and masters things much more quickly than the typical child so while she may be at first grade level in math right now, by the end of May she may very well be at 2nd grade level. All this makes it extremely hard to decide where to place her in an academic environment. Do you place her with her agemates because that's where her social skills lie and allow her to go years without learning anything at all? Do you choose a skill and place her with her academic peers in that particular skill and allow her to be bored with the rote repetition of the other skills? Or do we simply pick a room and pray that small class sizes and an accommodating teacher will create a curriculum just for her? UGH! Wish us luck that the visit goes well and that it sheds some light as to where the best place to put Hannah next year is.

Photo Notes: I finally got around to posting pictures from our Thanksgiving trip back to Ohio and Indiana. The first two pictures are from while we were at my parents house. Hannah loved that little kitten fiercely! She hardly ever put it down. The next three pictures are from Kyle's dad's place. She had a blast roasting marshmallows with Pap. The final 5 pictures are from our visit with Hannah's birthfamily. The first one is her birth uncle, then her birthmom Tiffany, and finally the last few are with her brother and sister Chase and Kayla. It's amazing how much they look like each other even though they are only half siblings!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011


Today was a pleasant day with Hannah. I NEEDED that after the rough month we've had. We've had lots of acting out, sneaking around and taking things, stealing sweets, soiling carpets, and nasty words the past several weeks. BUT today was a breath of fresh air. We played, went out to eat, she played appropriately (not bossy at all) with some other girls at the play place, and she even took a nap. That today was so normal, but yet so nice highlighted the fact that things have been so tough lately. We are still on the waiting list for a behavioral therapist and I'm hoping we come up soon. I don't think the 123 Magic has been effective at all. She doesn't seem to care about the time outs at all. Sure she hates to take one, but they have no effect on her behavior and they do nothing to stop the cycle of poor choices she's making even in the moment. I feel like it's going to take something else, something really tailored to her to make a difference. I just hope we can find a therapist that's willing to put in the time and effort to really get to know Hannah, us, and our specific situation to help us get this figured out.

To update everyone on our dog Abby, we had to have her put to sleep last week. :( She had begun to suffer and we just couldn't let her hang on like that. She just couldn't breathe at all anymore. It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do making that decision. We were all going to be there with her to say good-bye, but Hannah was being very naughty and didn't seem to care at all so Kyle had to take her back out to the car and I had to stay with Abby by myself. When we were trying to explain to her that Abby would not be coming home and that she would never see her again she said something that completely floored me. She said, "I don't care if Abby dies. I'll still have another dog and I like Sally better." At first I wanted to believe that this was just her way of coping and that it would all hit her later, that she really wasn't being heartless, but that wasn't the case. Hannah truly hasn't cared about Abby passing away at all. I'm just not sure that she gets death at all. In fact she's actually told us that if either Kyle or I died that she wouldn't be sad at all because she would still have another parent left! Talk about a stake through the heart!
Besides losing Abby we also took another step towards growing our family last week. We turned in our foster care licence application and went to our orientation. We'll start our training classes at the end of the month. The classes run for 9 weeks and if all goes well our home study will also be conducted during that time period so that by the time we finish the classes we should be ready to take children into our home immediately. So, by the middle of April we could possibly have a new (most likely temporary) member of our family living with us! We are so excited and can't wait to get started making a difference for some little ones. Our ultimate goal is to adopt at some point either a child that is waiting or one of our foster placements that becomes unable to be reunited with their birthfamily. Right now we are open to foster placements of any child 6 and under or an adoptive placement of a girl of any age that is a good match for our family. Hannah is just beginning to understand what foster care means and how that is different from adoption. One thing that has come out of our conversations about foster care is her needing frequent assurances that we will always be able to care for her so that she will never have to go live with another family. The fear that I hear in her voice when she asks for this assurance just breaks my heart because if she feels that scared just thinking about it, how much more fear there must be for the kids who are actually entering foster care and being shuffled around?

Another big milestone went down last week, Hannah got her hair cut SHORT. She's wanted short hair for a long time, but I just wasn't willing to part with her beautiful locks. Eventually though I just couldn't take the hair brushing meltdowns that were occuring at least twice every day so I broke down and let her get it cut. I must admit it's a really cute cut and she loves it, but she looks so different to me. I keep wishing she still had her long hair. Lots of people have told me that she looks older with her new cut, but I actually think she looks much younger. I think her cut made her change from looking like a beautiful young woman to a cute little girl. So without further ado, here's the big reveal! What do you think? Do you think she looks older or younger with the short hair?

Photo Notes: The first picture is at our local Children's Museum. The second two pictures highlight Hannah's new fashion sense. She's taken to making her own outfits and seems convinced that she hasn't done her job properly if any of the individual elements are of the same color! The next two pictures are hopscotch during the library holiday party-scene of the most recent manifestation of "the library curse!" Check out the 3 links here if you don't know what I mean!