He was 2 1/2 years old at the time. (And he loved the camera back then as much as he does now!)
He didn't really know that Larissa was his sister, she had been kept in a back room.
He came with a head full of hair that I cornrowed for 2 years. He also came with some serious delays and behavior challenges.
He has destroyed furniture, acted out in inappropriate ways for a 2 year old, tantrummed, was delayed in many ways, had no speech (since no one talked to him according to his mom) and tested in the intellectual disability range. His skin was in terrible shape and he had not been taught how to eat with utensils, sleep in a bed, use a potty....basically he was left to fend for himself.
The first few years were very difficult. Several times we almost called to have him moved but we just couldn't do it. It was hard but he did grow. He did stop tantrumming and other behaviors improved.
When he was little he feared a lot of things. He wouldn't go close to the water at the beach. Bugs scared him. Dogs scared him.
Over time he learned to love his sister.
He no longer tested as a child with intellectual disabilities.
He still loves to have his picture taken.
He has learned to play in the ocean now instead of fearing it.
Even though Anthony has learned how to live within a family, those years of neglect still impact him today. His defiance gets him into trouble frequently. Unfortunately, it also impacts his schooling. The last month of school he really struggled. Many days he would come home with his school work to complete and the art work he had done instead attached to his behavior chart. He does have more green days a week then red. But, it is infrequent for him to go a week with out a problem at school. His defiance is what gets him into trouble the most.
I don't know why I don't write about the school issues. I think because it just keeps repeating itself every week and I am sure that folks don't want to hear about my weekly frustrations....over and over!
A few weeks ago we had planned on moving him over to one of the bedrooms where all the other kids are. I started decorating the room in Marvel comics (his choice) then some of his old behaviors resurfaced. We put in a camera upstairs but I didn't feel that I could appropriately monitor it all night so for now we are not moving him. It seems like just when you think that you have a behavior under control it rears it's ugly head again.
Thankfully he is not defiant with me. If he is with me he does great. He also does great with his dad. I just wish that we could transfer that to his school, church and the teens when they babysit. Just recently the church told us that he had gotten so bad with not listening to them that they don't even tell him to do anything anymore. He got to sit with us in church for that. I can't have him with me at all times. I think that defiance is my biggest area of frustration.
John has started taking him to some of his activities. Anthony is in charge of trash duties and gets to go to the dump with his dad. He also got some hearing protection of his own and goes to the shooting range. Today the two men went to the VA and then to a gun show. Anthony came home with a new Army hat. (John doesn't do pictures so I never get pictures of the men's activities!) Anthony loves doing stuff with his dad.
Anthony does get tired of being the only boy in the house. He has asked for a brother. I can understand his position, he is surrounded by dolls and Barbies. However, our hands are just a little full right now with the ones we have.
I do get frustrated with the behaviors that just won't stop. It has been more then 6 years since he came into our home. However, visitations lasted for 3 years and those really hampered him and his behaviors.
When I look back to the beginning I can see how much he has improved. He has come so far and overcome a lot. That little wild child is gone. He no longer destroys things, instead he prefers to build and create things. He does have compassion and empathy. He has the potential to reach his dreams and the love and support of a family to help him get there.