Chris took W to go register for baseball last night. I decided to take little Miss J shopping! I'm getting her to realize that sometimes it is FUN to treasure hunt at the Goodwill. So off we went.
We walked into Goodwill and as we were going through the racks, I thought to myself 'Old Navy is right across the street. And it's just about clearance time.' So I looked at J and said "Let's go to Old Navy!" She replied "Really?" Sigh. Their reactions sometimes still amaze me. Then she proceeded to tell me that this was going to be 'the best day ever'. Which would be fine. Except any time we do ANYTHING that she likes, it's 'the best day ever'. I'm struggling to get across to her that just because we go to the zoo, or go out to lunch, or order in pizza, or sign them up for gymnastics, doesn't make it the 'best day ever'.
So while we were in the car, I told J "sweetie. Dad and I are your parents. Taking you shopping, and going out to lunch and going to the zoo are things that parents do with their children. I need you to start telling yourself that this is it. This is what a family is supposed to be like. This is what a family does. I know that you have had foster parents in the past tell you that they were going to adopt you, and then that fell through. However, dad and I came into this process not to be foster parents. We came into this process with the sole intention of adopting. Now that you are here, it's ON! Like Donkey Kong!"
J is having some problems with attachment. She attaches for rewards. In other words, she only shows affection when she gets something out of it. She only engages with the family and gets excited when she is going to get something in return. I know some of you may be nodding and saying 'um, yeah, so does my kid', but if you are the bio-parents of that kid, then it's different. Trust me.
Case in point: W will come up to us and give us hugs for no reason other than he just wants some affection at that time. He willingly asks to help with chores, or carry things in from the car. He engages with us, whether we are disciplining him or praising him. Whether we are reading to him or we just smile across the room at him.
J will not do any of that. She's the first to rush into the house from the car when we get home. She only does chores when we ask her to, and only WHAT we ask her to do, nothing more. We don't get hugs randomly, only when we've given her something. She doesn't engage unless we make her. When she is being disciplined, she gets a look on her face that definitely says: I really don't care what you have to say. She disengages, and shuts down. We can tell that there are times when she is only doing or saying what she thinks we want to see her do or hear her say.
So we are working on reiterating that this is it, this is the final lap. This is NOT her temporary home, it's where she belongs.
I am hoping that my speech to her got through last night. And all I can do is continue to reiterate to her that this is it.
On a positive note - we're getting ready for her birthday bash! She's going into the double digits and will be 10! She's excited about her party, as are we. Memaw and Papaw are flying up from Arizona and we're going to make a weekend out of it. Should be a great time!