Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I spent the entire night last night grabbing the trash can and sticking it under Grace's mouth, holding back hair, filling sprite cups, washing bed clothes and towels in HOT water (like, 4 loads), and calculating how long it would take for such a virus to run it's course through 5 kids. Also, hoping it will spare the 2 adults. Since, you know, we can't afford for one not to work, and it's kind of hard to hold down the fort with your head in the toilet. So far today, my patience is low from the lack of sleep, and more patience is required because no sleep for Grace means she's extra whiney, and is melting down over every little oh-so-unfair act by her siblings. You know, since they breathe her air and they're watching her movie, too.

Despite last night's battle (and what I'm assuming will be a week long battle as everyone else falls victim to the virus), we've been doing extremely well. Our RADilicous baby (Charity) has had some marked improvement (at least at home, but not in public, yet). She tends to take 2 steps forward, then regress again for a few weeks, but once a new (good) behavior is there, we can usually see it take root more and more often over time. What we've seen, that we had previously not, is affection. I mean, she has been more than capable of wrapping her arms around strangers, extended family, climbing all over them in a ridiculous manner. In fact, that is often accompanied with "evil eyes" from her towards us as she overly affectionately hugs and kisses those around us. Rest assured, I AM NOT trying to make her out to be a monster. The opposite is true. More and more we are seeing that she is an amazing little girl, and we love her more each day. It's just that what we see at home is most often (some of our church family is beginning to see it and understand it - after keeping her for our Life groups and hanging out with our family for extended periods of time) much different than what the outside world sees. But I do want you to understand what this RAD can be like to live with.

Back to the affection for us. Before last week, true, relaxed, genuine affection without some agenda has been rare, if not completely inexistent. Eye contact had been extremely slim, unless she's lying, of course, and attempts by us to hold her were not pushed away exactly, but you could feel the tension in her little body, and if I scooped her in my arms and placed her in my lap, she would only remain for a few seconds before hopping down. Lately, however, she's sat in my lap contentedly. Looking me in the eyes and talking about all kinds of things. Once, after discipline, she even hung on to me while crying. THIS IS HUGE, PEOPLE! The only other time I think I saw sincere crying from her was only for a few minutes the day her brother left our home. And that day, she would not allow me to comfort her. She walked away, and cried for about 2 minutes with her back turned to us. Then, you could visibly see her shake her little body, as if to shake herself back into control. She shook her head, stopped the crying like she had a sudden revelation, held her chin high and then walked back to where we were standing. That's it. That's the only time I've felt her crying was sincere until the other day after a very extended time-out session and stand off between the two of us. There was one other time when one of the kids pushed her in the pool, and she clung to me from fear, and allowed me to comfort her. Even needed me for comfort. But 2 times in 8 months for a 4 year old? This kid has not had an adult to trust. No adult has convinced her that he/she is not going away. No adult has consistently met her needs and not disappeared shortly. It's amazing what this kid has survived. It blows me away. She's been with us for 8 months....that's longer than she's ever stayed anywhere.

So I just read back over the post, and it seems depressing. That was not what I intended. I wanted it to be a celebration of her life. I wanted the love we have for her to shine through the words. I wanted the joy of being a part of her life to be clear. We didn't just end up with her. And we aren't somehow frustrated that we're now dealing with a horrific disorder. We wanted her. We still want her (though that is still to be determined by DHS). We delight in her. And we are thankful that we get to be a part of her life....and just hope that she continues to be less and less guarded, fearful, and controlling, and that her spirit will be more and more free to enjoy the life God gave her. Oh, she could change the world one day! She's incredibly smart, discerning and methodical. Just you wait, world!


chickadee@afamiliarpath said...

let me know if this is going to interfere with tomorrow!

Green Acres said...

Your love for her did shine through in your post, and your other posts about her. Praying that she will soon feel that you are worthy of her trust. ((hug))
Sorry to hear about all the sickness in your house! Was hoping to see you all tomorrow. Hope everyone feels better soon.

Mandy said...

Oh girl.. praying the virus is gone soon and that we don't catch it from you. ;) tee hee

I love this post. I am so excited to hear that some progress is being made. I just know that your life and hers would so dramatically change is SOMETHING would just click in that girl's brain. It sounds like the first tiny lights are going on for her.. I cannot wait to see what the next months bring!

Amanda and Justin Dreyer said...

I don't think you were depressing... more hopeful. Glad to hear progress is being made however so slowly it may be. We pray for you guys all the time and I'm sure we'll be bugging you guys for advice when and if we fully decide to take that journey.

Annie said...

That is HUGE. Very good. It's nice to not have to try to cuddle a board.

I'll pray that virus doesn't spread.

hsmomma5 said...

It is so frustrating when everyone else sees something different from us--as we talked about the other night. But so encouraging when they take those "baby steps" of improvement. Two words that always come to my mind in our situation is God and time. There is even a song about it and I love it.

Hope the virus is short-lived at your house--YUCK!