Saturday, September 20, 2008

Diamond in the Rough


The human brain is quite an amazing thing. Sophie remains to be in her hyper-vigilant, disocciating, fight or flight mode a good majority of time. Kind of coming in and out of that mode all day long every day...depending on what(or who) is going on around her.
Now, she will be 4 years old in just a few months. Every time we have an appointment somewhere...we get the questions about whether she knows how to do this, that, and the next thing...which are all typical of kids her age. My answers are most often, "no".....and "I am not worried about it either as she needs to heal emotionally before her ABC's or 123's make a difference". She had a check-up with the pediatrician a week ago and again we were asked if she could draw a circle and if she knew some colors and if she knows the difference between he/she. These were 3 year old goals and she is almost 4. All "no"'s.
Our pediatrician(also an adoptive Mom) had to inform me that the reasons they have these very basic milestones is to know whether there are some neurological issues going on that need to be addressed. Well, yes...there are...but not in the same way that a child who has not PI(post institutionalized). I told her that I see down under...that one day when she is healed from her day...she will be just fine. I see the light under the issues. But the healing has to come first. all of her wisdom and experience...agreed.

We spend lots of time with her on colors as that is usually one of the first and easiest things to teach a child. A year later and still...nada zilch. Would you day last week...she was able to name 4 out of 5 colors I asked her! She could not name one last week and then boom.

We do not let her use scissors yet because of some of her destructive behaviors....well, you will notice(in the picture above) that the bangs that I have been growing out over the last year...are gone. They were the same length as the rest of her hair and she chopped off a good 5 inches the other day while I was at work. My family tried to cheer me up by saying that she cut them quite straight seeing as she does not use scissors....and she did. But that did not help cheer me up...I was most unhappy about that. Any of you that have grown out bangs know what a hassle that is and now we are back to square one!

She only wants to scribble when she has crayons...which is daily. She sits next to Ella every day and watches her draw pictures of all sorts of things. She just scribbles. Ella knows her alphabet and writes all of her letters and is trying to sound out words. Sophie has NO interest in any of that...and that is fine. She scribbles away and we let her. I think it is actually a soothing type of activity for her.

Well, this morning we had Chinese class and the kids learned words about family. They were then asked to draw a picture of their family. Ella starts out drawing her very detailed people and I see Sophie look over at Ella's picture once or twice. I then hear one of the Mom's say..."look at how Sophie is drawing people..can you do that?" I thought...what in the world? I walk over to see the picture you will see below. WHERE did that come from? LOL!!!


So, things are getting through...there is a light underneath the issues and one day...the diamond will shine!!!

Oh, and please do not take this as I am worried about her not reaching these milestones...I truly am all. I know the healing is way more important and that is where our focus is.

It is a BEAUTIFUL day here today on the East Coast! Hope your week-end is a good one!!!




The Byrd's Nest said...

I understand exactly what you mean Michelle. Emma Jane cannot reason with me at all on ANYTHING! But yet she can color in the lines (not that I care) name all of her colors, identify many numbers and some letters.

Lottie who has not experienced hardly any delays on anything could care less about staying in the lines...drawing circles...identifying letters, numbers etc... and will be four in a couple of months.

They just seem to wake up one day and "poof" they are able to do these things! When I was a younger mother, I did care that they hit each milestone. I find as an older mother, I know they will catch up in their own time and it is refreshing to find another mother with the same attitude. Our little Sopie will find her way just like my girls will. Life is not a competition, there are far more important things to know such as...Jesus is our Savior.

You are such a wonderful Mother and Sophie will grow under your wings and thrive and flourish. She is a blessing to us all.

P.S. Sorry about the bangs!!! I have never let the girls have bangs because I can't STAND growing them out. BUT she really did cut them straight. ;)

Isabella's Mommy and Daddy said...

Sounds like Sophie is doing well...
She will excel in no time..
Have a Great Weekend..
Love the drawing..
and if I say so myself... the bangs are pretty straight if I do say so myself...
Hugs girly..

Half Gaelic, Half Garlic! said...

Hi Michelle,

I am sorry to hear about the bangs...I can understand your frustration as we are growing Sarah's out at the moment....if it makes you feel any better...I butchered her bangs myself...who was I to think I could give her a quick trim....never again!!

During this long wait I have been trying to educate myself about some of the very things you are discussing here....from what I understand it is pretty common.

That picture is wonderful....I would love to hear more about that sounds very interesting!

You are is beautiful up here today...enjoy your weekend!


Sherri said...

Michelle! This is such fantastic news! I know you weren't worried, but it sure is nice to see some progress, isn't it? :)

You should frame that picture of the family she drew. I love children's art.

As for the bangs, Olivia cut her bangs in up to her year on CHRISTMAS EVE! Everyone in the family thought it was funny except for me. So be thankful that Sophie at least has some talent in the hair cutting department. I read that Angelina Jolie let Maddox style his own hair when he was little, and he liked the mowhawk. So you're just like Angelina Jolie!

Have a fantastic weekend!


Denise C said...

OH you sweet are the best Mommy do see right through all of this that Sweet little Sophia is "working through"....and I know that is such a secure feeling for her! I love her little is precious...and it screams hope!
Thank you for sharing your precious family with us...and for sharing your beautiful heart!!! You are precious!
*ps...I didn't learn anything new at all about our camera! hee-hee! I knew I wouldn't read those books when I packed them! ha!
We even had a "almost hurricane" pass through leaving us with two bad weather days...and I still didn't read the books! ;)
OH well.....for now "Auto mode" is working for me! hee-hee!

Dori's Mommy (Diana) said...

She's a piece of pure carbon now, but her diamond will shine even brighter one day! Hugs & Blessings!

Michelle said...

I think you are so right. You have the right attitude about this and the right priorities. Emotional healing matters so much more than whether or not they can draw a circle. You are an AMAZING mom and your precious Sophie has come so far. There will be plenty of time for ABCs.

By the way, I'm sorry about the bangs, too. I have to agree that they look pretty good, though. :-)

Somewhere In The Sun said...

You have great Mommy Instincts, Michelle. That's obviously why you were chosen to be hers. You must be really proud of her accomplishments!


Mom to 5...Daughter of the King said...

My Charis (who was 4 in April) is very similar. Her 4 year old brother went into preschool knowing EVERYTHING. Charis knew almost nothing in her screening. Like you, we heal the emotional wounds first and the others will follow.

missy said...

Sweet, beautiful little Sophie is starting to peek through some of that darkness!!! What an angel. God knew exactly what he was doing when he honored you all as her family. You are such an awesome mommy, Michelle! You truly inspire me.

Cheering on Sophie everyday from TN.

Kristin said...

Oh Michelle, I am sorry about the bangs! I haven't even attempted to grow our girls bangs out yet because they won't keep them clipped back. Anna Grace cut her bangs a few months ago so I had to have our stylist layer what was left so it wouldn't look too bad!

I think that underneath all that Sophie shuts out, she really is starting to absorb life around here. Perhaps you'll start seeing a little glimmer of something new each day---or at least each week. Baby steps.

Jodee Leader said...

I love the picture of Sophie! Her eyes are just beautiful! I also love the artwork!

Shanna said...

Wonderful, Beautiful, Amazing! What a blessing you have in your diamond.
We too have our issues with our sweetie. Some days are tougher than others. Small milestones and surprises mean so much. They see that we are smitten during those moments and take it all in.
You are a wonderful mommy.
BTW~she is so cute in bangs. I don't know that I would suffer through MONTHS of growing them out just yet. Enjoy her new creation :)
Hugs to you-

Mei Mei Journal said...

Sophie's hair does looke cute! I know that as soon as Paige's are grown out, she will end up cutting them.
I also understand what you are saying about her healing before dealing with the learning. We feel that when she is able to more comfortably "let down her guard" we will see her flourish in other ways, also. We can just tell that about her.
I'd love to get together again!

Torrie said...

hi I just found your blog, but how great to see that you are so aware and patient with what your daughter is experiencing. Our oldest is 5 1/2 and we are just figuring out that she still has some issues. For the longest time I couldn't believe a tiny infant could experience "trauma". But now we see these behaviors are so common with adopted kids and we must all learn how best to help our little ones cope.

a Tonggu Momma said...

Michelle ~ You are so right! Emotional healing brings about change. Focusing on that will bring much greater rewards in the long run. I've seen the Tongginator blossom so much these past six months. I thought our attachment was finally "there" around January, but now I am realizing that every six months brings greater progress and rewards.

Oh, and the Tongginator finally began drawing "people" last month at four-and-a-half. Isn't it wonderful that children have their own time tables?

And remember Mulan - the flower that blooms in adversity is the greatest flower of all. :)

Nikki said...

Oh Michelle, I loved this post! She is certainly taking everything in...and your mom's heart knows it will all come out in time...when she is ready.
I love her "family" picture.
(and I think her hair looks cute...but I do understand how agonizing it is to grow out bangs.)

Our weekend here is wonderful too -We are lovin' all this sunshine!

Finally a Family of Four said...

I think Sophie looks adorable with bangs. I really like them and think they soften her sweet little face.
I agree with you, don't sweat the small stuff-colors, numbers and all that good stuff will come. Healing and nuturing come first.
I am glad you posted about Sophie and her progress. Sophie and you and the rest of your family is in my prayers

mommy24treasures said...

oh Michelle I am feeling for you on the bangs. Its just such a down feeling when they do it I know... Caitlyn has done it twice and both times I was so upset. I pray it grows fast :)

There is some major light shining in there! WOW on the picture huge breakthrough...
Cailtyn is kind of like Kim's Lottie... smart as a whip but no desire to color learn colors abc or anything at this point. I am not concerned a bit either. It will all come at the right time I know.
Always praying with you for the continued healing of your sweet girl.

my3 kids said...

Michelle I totally understand what you are saying. You are one special person and Sophie is a Diamond in the Rough!!! Sorry about the bangs too...yikes good thing she didn't cut right to her hair line!! Enjoy your weekend. Hugs, Janice

Kelly Green said...

Way to go!! All things in good time and when they are ready. It always makes me smile hearing of kids that aren't "learning" but then turn around and draw pictures, know colors, speak full sentences, etc.

I cut my bangs too when I was 4. Not even remotely straight :) Such a sweet face!!

Thank you for sharing your experiences!!

Donna Geer said...

Hi M,
You are very wise to see what is the priority. Grace was the same way. She did not start to make strides in speech therapy until she started to heal emotionally. It will come.
Donna & Charlie

OH MY #6 said...

You are an awesome mom! I hope I can have the stamina that you have.

Have a good week. The weather here promises to be beautiful.


Mom To Six said...

Oh, Michelle! Praise God! You are an amazing Mom and all those milestones will come with time. You are so right in that her little heart healing is so much more important.

I LOVE the family pic!



Carmen said...

My Ami cut a patch of bangs to the hairline at around 2 1/2.

I must admit I love the bangs on Sophie. I am so happy she is making such big strides.

Waiting for Mia Hope! said...

What a special picture of Sophie's family! I actually LOVE Sophie's new look!!! That little flip in back gives her a "sassy" look. :) Michelle, I know the road has been long with more mountains than valleys....but I do believe that your love and persistance will prevail and that thru prayers Sophie's hurts will be healed. Please know that I am constantly praying for Sophie and your family.
Hugs to you my friend!

Shawnstribe said...

thank you for this posting, your heart and love for your babes just shines right through.
i have tears in my eyes and in my heart, so much that you describe i now see coming out in my X X.
Colours.....nope, not interested...
drawing....nope just started scribbling up down, up down, rhythmic movements....
ive always known that there is so much more to come out, you dont spend 26 mths in an institution and not have it make a profound impression on you.
Ugh im such a slow mommy, why do i take so long to realise what i am seeing?
I cannot thank you enough for teaching me to really see what im seeing.

Mr.Brian said...

Every time I read a post about this I am so amazed at your strength.
You know that deep down there is a child who is just wanting to shine.You know that God has a special plan for all of you.
God gave you this special little girl for a reason...he knew you would be the one to love and nurture her until all of her hurts are healed.
May God continue to be a blessing to you and help you on days you feel lost.
You are an amazing family and God has great plans for you.
May you feel the many prayers of others as you face each challenge, and may you shine and give praise for each step of progress.
Keep the faith.
I remember a friend who stood by me when i was deeply depressed.I could be so mean to him and say such hurtful things.One day I asked him why he kept putting up with my hurtfulness.He relpied that he knew there was a great guy waiting to get out and I had.Just as you dear child will to some day.

Retta said...

Michelle! I can't believe the hair drama, but I have to say...the bangs look really cute! I'm glad Sophie is doing well, and I think your focus on healing is spot on. That's what's important.

Suzy said...

I keep reading about kiddos cutting their hair, and I had a bad dream that I accidentally cut a huge hunk of my own hair with a razor in the shower. LOL. Reminded me of Bill Engval "Honey, were you sleep stylin' again?" I like her new style, but I have sympathy for you, too. Growing bangs out can take an eternity.

Walker said...

She is a Special little girl, Michelle! Course, I know you already knew that!
Children are like little sponges, aren't they?!
Her picture is soo sweet, something to treasure mom!

JShannon said...

Awe, Sophie doesnt look bad with her bangs. But like I said before, I think its every girls "right of passage" to cut ones own hair. lol. I do LOVE her picture though!

Colleen said...

I love her beautiful drawing! It's an amazing gift, as hard as it can be at times, to watch them blossom right before our eyes. Sophie is an amazing little girl with an amazing Mommy!:)

Rebecca said...

You are so wise to go with your instincts. You're her mama! And she is going to continue to blossom with the love of her family. That picture is just precious!


Paula said...

I agree that for all she has been through she is doing well. I'm sorry about the bangs. I know with my older daughter how long it took to grown them out. Oh well, back to square one again.

Tiffany said...

Oh the growing out of bangs is no fun but ......I have to tell you.....I think Sophie looks too cute with her new do! She did a great job!

Michelle you are such a wonderful mother and there is no doubt Sophie is going to continue to blossom with your unconditional love!!!!!!!

Jeff and Amy said...

What wonderful news of Sophie's accomplishments, it takes time, love and patience which you are full of!!!!! The dreaded bangs, sorry, my boys have been very funny about Lily having bangs, but sometimes it is a pain!!! LOL

AZMom said...

WOW! That is incredible. Ya know though, Busy Boy has been like that. One day he can't do any of the stuff he should and then when we aren't looking, BOOM, he does it all.

I think our kids are unique in that they are dealing with their trauma issues first and learning second. We just have to be patient I guess.

I owe you an email back. I will try and get to it tomorrow. Been a busy week at work with no end in sight. Ugh.

GGAdventures said...

That is great news!! I LOVE the picture. It's so beautiful to see her blossoming. You've done a wonderful job!!!
Sorry about the bangs. We're trying to grow Carli's out and it's such a PITA!

Jewels of My Heart said...

I love that you are not in a hurry.... that you know your child well enough to know what she truly needs..... having said that... how exciting that she knew her colors and that drawing!!! Yes, my dear friend.... she is listening and understanding....
God's Speed...

Sam said...

Every child is unique and special. They each have strengths and weaknesses. Our Chinese daughters have already been through so much that sometimes their timelines need to be adjusted. It doesn't mean they are any less smart, but they are just more special in other areas.

Kieren's delays are frustrating some days. I'm so tired of the shocked looks on people's faces because she isn't the same as every other 3.5 year old. No, she can't speak like other 3.5 year olds, but she is usually more graceful and coordinated than they are. She may not be able to carry on a conversation, but she knows where to turn to get to any place she has ever been (and will "tell" you if you go the wrong way!).

Sophie is special too. She will find her way in life. She will just do it in her own time and her own way!

BTW, thank you so much for visiting my blog! I'm happy you did!

Sam @ Just Keep Swimming

Sheri said...

How wonderful that you are beginning to see that diamond start to shine through a bit. I commend you on your positive outlook. You are a wonderful mother to all of your kids!

Robin said...

Your blog showed up in my google recommendations this week, I'm so glad it did.

Reading about how sweet Sophie began drawing people brought tears to my eyes. My own daughter is about to turn five, and just as recently as July was still scribbling too, and probably for similar reasons. In her case it isn't RAD or PI induced, but we know the rages, and the dissociation, and the fear, and that sick feeling you get in the pit of your stomach each time you wonder what the future holds for your child. Or worse, what the present does.

Maya (my daughter) has been receiving a number of different therapies for the past two or so years, and in the past few months we are starting to see tremendous strides. Just two weeks ago she became interested in coloring in the lines, and just this past week she suddenly started drawing people, completely out of the blue. Followed it up by tracing letters I didn't even know she knew in the sand. I just sat there and cried. Hope is such a beautiful thing, capable of bestowing such tremendous strength for the days ahead.

I wish you, Sophie and your whole family many more hopeful days, with that light at the end of the tunnel beginning to shine more and more brightly.

Steffie B. said...

Answered prayer my sweet are an awesome Mother and teacher to all of us! ;)

Welcome to our blog! We are happy for you to be a part of our "Day by Day" and to share how God is working in our lives. To read earlier posts, scroll down to the very bottom of the page and you can click on 'older posts'. Remember...we love to hear from YOU as well!