Adoption Interview

Adoption Bloggers Interview Project 2012

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Adoption Through the Eyes of a 4 Year Old

So adoption is nothing new to Hannah. Because we have an open adoption with Hannah's birthfamily she's always known she's adopted and has been able to give age appropriate explanations for what that means. We've discussed the ins and outs of adoption with her since the day we brought her home from the hospital. Lately, there have been many examples we have come across in books, tv, and movies that portray adoption. Some of them have been positive portrayals and some not. Some of them have been fairly accurate and others, well, let's just say they seriously missed the mark. Anyway, each time I've spoken with Hannah about what was real and what was not about each depiction and she seemed to get it. We compared the fictitious situation to her adoption and founded the similar aspects and the ones that weren't the same. I thought she had a good handle on things. Imagine my surprise when she opened up with some real adoption zingers that flew so far off base from reality that you would think they were coming straight from a 1940's handbook on how to be a happily adjusted adoptive family or how to place a child for adoption! I was horrified!!!!! Here's just one example. Hannah wanted to play house. She was the mother and I was the kid and several of her baby dolls and stuffed animals were to be recruited to be kids too. She turns to me and says,"Sweetie, you're going to be getting a new baby sister. We're going to adopt her because I can't grow a baby in my tummy." So far so good right? Then she follows up with. "I have to go to the store and buy her. I'll be right back." OH MY LORD! Never once have we ever discussed the fact that adoptions cost money at all. Where did she come up with equating it to buying a baby!?!? I immediately worked to put out that fire and explain how we NEVER buy humans. How when humans used to be bought that was called slavery and slavery is wrong. When you adopt a child they become part of your family and they are not slaves. I'm not sure she was buying into the thought that the baby was not available at the store. Then later in the play session she brought out ANOTHER whopper. She said, "Sweetie, the lady next door really wants a baby and since we have two babies now (we had since adopted a baby brother for me!) we are going to give her your sister to be her new baby. She's going to adopt her." I about died! A discussion began immediately about the reasons people place babies and children for adoption and that the reason is NEVER simply because someone else wants to be a parent. Babies are not traded as property simply because someone else likes them. We talked about the reasons that Tiffany and Mike placed Hannah for adoption and that they would have NEVER placed her for adoption simply because Daddy and I wanted her. They placed her because they could not care for her. Tiffany and Mike chose us because they knew we would love her and care for her, not because we wanted a baby. Hannah put up a fight about this explanation and still insisted that it was only right to share the baby with the lady next door since we had 3 kids and they didn't have any. UGH! I never managed to get through to her on that one and she got angry with me and we had to abandon the conversation for another day. That particular conversation brought back memories of a conversation we had just after Abby died. Hannah had informed us that if either Kyle or I died she wouldn't be sad because she would still have another parent left! Adoption has really been on her mind lately all around because she's asked me to tell her the story of her birth and adoption practically every day for the last 2 weeks! Never before has she expressed such interest in it. I suppose this is just another step in her journey to processing what it means to be adopted and how that makes her who she is, a unique combination of her birthfamily and adoptive family. I'm sure in the days, months, and years to come we will continue to revisit these topics again and again. Please pray that I am able to calmly and successfully guide her through the process!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Operation Mommy-Mart

We've begun yet another behavior modification/reinforcement strategy in our house. A good friend of mine does something she calls Mommy-Mart with her kids. Each child has a cup and they earn pennies (or sometimes more) for all sorts of good behavior. She home schools so they earn for quality effort in their schoolwork. They also earn for chores, good behavior, using their manners, etc. Then they can use their money to "buy" things from the Mommy-Mart once a week. If behavior gets really bad, shopping day is delayed and that's always a HUGE deal. I decided I would give it a shot with Hannah. She had seemed interested in it when she saw Ann-Renee's kids doing it and she is VERY interested in money right now so we are going to try it out. Day one was today and it went fairly well. Hannah earned 17 cents for the day and I also pointed out opportunities where she COULD have earned more money had she made a better choice. Of course she didn't like being reminded about lost opportunities and the cash that had slipped through her fingers, but for once she seemed to make a bit of an effort to change her behaviour a few times throughout the day which is a first! This may be a huge flop, but really I'll be satisfied if it gets me through our move. If we only ride the novelty of the program out for the next few weeks I think it will be worth the try!

Speaking of the money portion of Mommy-Mart, counting money has been Hannah's newest academic achievement. She can now count just about any amount of change up to $1.00. She might be able to go higher, but I haven't tried that yet. I want to be sure she has a solid foundation before I add the paper money to the equation. The coolest thing is that she can actually do it in her head without even seeing the actual money to count it out. She had me quizzing her the entire meal during dinner tonight. I would ask her questions like, " How much money would you have if you had 2 quarters, 1 dime, and 3 nickels?" and she would get the right answer about 90% of the time! Actually, every single time she got the wrong answer was when it involved her having to say the number 15. For some reason whenever she says any of the numbers in the teens she hears 50 instead of 15, 60 instead of 16 etc. So, when she's counting on in a problem like 1 dime, 1 nickel and 4 pennies she will often say, "10, 15, (hears 50) 51, 52, 53, 54. " instead of saying, "10, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19. " Anyway, that's the latest on my smart cookie. She probably counts change better than 90% of the fast food workers here in Rhode Island!

An interesting thing has been happening lately. Hannah has always been mistaken for older than she is because she's tall for her age and she has advanced language skills as well, but lately people have been guessing her at 2-3 years older than she really is! 3 times in the past week I've had someone suggest to me that Hannah was 8 years old and in the 2nd grade (and thus must be on spring break since she was out and about with Mommy) and each and every one of them gave me looks like I was absolutely insane when I informed them that actually she is only 4 yrs old. It's like they seriously think I have no idea how old my own daughter is! Hmmm. . . . If this trend continues it could be a BIG problem if Hannah ever tries to use her "fake" age to her advantage. I totally wouldn't put it past her either if her sneakiness now is any indicator! Pray for me please. The teen years are gonna be tough!

Photo Notes: The first photo is of Hannah showing off her "sleeve" that daddy gave her with temporary tattoos. The last two are of Hannah and her friends playing "super wairies" See this post if you don't know what a wairy is!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Post Script

I can't believe I neglected to write about the best part of Hannah's phone adventure in my last post. When I walked into her room to find her chatting on the phone she was talking to my step dad. She had called him because she really wanted to talk to my mom, but she couldn't find her phone number in my phone book so she had called Tom to get it! Now my mom's number IS in my phone, however it isn't filed under Mamaw or her first name! Of course it's under mom, but Hannah only knows my mom as Mamaw and her first name and she couldn't find either of those in my phone. My step dad is in there under his first name and since she knows him as Papaw and his first name she thought she'd do a little problem solving and just give him a call to get Mamaw's number! The little stinker!!! Smart, but a stinker none-the-less!

The behaviour around these parts has been pretty rough the last few days. It started the instant we dropped Kyle off at the airport. My punishment for delivering Daddy to the plane was having to drag my almost five year old daughter on her stomach through the main aisle of the grocery store to check out while simultaneously dodging hits, kicks, and bites. This continued out into the parking lot and all the way to the van. Eight things, I only had eight things on my list and we HAD to get those things. We had nothing to eat in the house so I couldn't just abort the trip like I often do when things go bad-just leave the cart in the middle of the aisle and run. We couldn't even manage to buy 8 things. UGH! The night only got worse from there and I ended up putting her to bed at 5:30pm! She had lost every possible privilige for the rest of the night so there was really nothing left for her to do so she went almost willingly. She ended up reading to herself until she fell asleep. I found her with a book open on her chest and the lights still on at 8:00pm. I'm not sure when she actually fell asleep, but she looked peaceful and happy. If only I could bottle that peace for when we need it during the day!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Moving News

Boy oh boy! I have been really bad about posting. I have LOTS of updating to do. First off, our house is officially for sale. We've had one showing and an open house that brought in 4 couples, but so far no takers. With the real estate market the way it is we are really worried that we won't be able to sell our house for what we have left on the mortgage. Things have tanked that badly here in Rhode Island as far as home prices go. We aren't even attempting to get what we paid for the house. We simply don't want to have to do a short sale! On the flip side, we are benefiting from the depressed market in terms of buying a new house in Nebraska. We found an AWESOME house and are so excited to move in. So far things are going along swimmingly on that part. All we have left to do is get an appraisal (which should be a piece of cake since the sellers are actually losing almost $100,000 on their house because they HAVE to sell and it's been on the market for 2 yrs) and a termite inspection done. All the other inspections have come back fine. Kyle is already in Nebraska so it's just Hannah and I holding down the fort here in Rhode Island and that has been tough on both of us. Hannah really misses her daddy and it totally shows in her behaviour. Lots and lots of meltdown and sneakiness. She's also back to having accidents at night. More laundry is totally not what we need while trying to keep a house show ready every single day. UGH!

Hannah's most recent stunt was sneaking my cell phone into her room and making about 45 calls! She came into my bedroom during her nap time to "give me a hug" or so she said. I took the hug and then sent her back to her room telling her that rest time wasn't over yet. She went back without a fight which was in itself unusual, but I didn't think too much about it because I was really tired. Then, when nap time was over she came back into my room and said, "Mommy, nap time is over, but I'm still really tired. Can I sleep until 5:00?" Then she marched back into her room. I was in a bit of a daze having just woken up, but when I sat up and my head cleared the warning bells started going off. Never has my daughter EVER ASKED to go to sleep. I immediately burst into her room to find her chatting away on my cell phone! She quickly snapped the phone shut and prepared to chuck it across the room, but I nabbed it before she could. A study of my recent calls list showed that she had made 45 different calls and had either left messages or had conversations with many different people! The crazy thing is that she's never been showed how to use a cell phone or how to look people up in the address book. I guess that's one of the down sides of having a 4 yr old that can read and is way smarter than I am. She can figure stuff like this out and totally knew exactly who she was calling each time. These most definitely weren't random calls! UGH! The little stinker.