I look at that picture and I wonder what was going on in her life at that time.
What would you guess her age to be?
I do know that shortly after turning 4 she ran away from home with her then 3 year old sister. They were found walking along the highway. Michelle remembers running away. She blames herself for coming into care.
The road from the girls first foster home to our home was long; three foster homes, 2 children homes, and one adoptive placement before coming to our home. All those homes and all that rejection, Michelle remembers every one.
Many of the moves were actually because of her sisters behaviors. Michelle was very good at flying under the radar. While her sisters behavior was very loud and in your face, Michelle was quietly dealing with her pain.
I knew that she had some attachment issues. However, I didn't realize how bad it was until she went to the church camp. When she returned from camp I realized that I had made a mistake in sending her. She wasn't ready. She may not be ready for a long time. The road to attachment is a long road. It takes years. I think that in her case her ability to deceive others makes it all the harder.
Watching her attempts to form attachments with anyone older is worrisome. As is watching her struggle to connect with her siblings.
So we are going in to attachment mode. Our 12 year old foster child went to her fathers today. The two little foster kids are still here but little ones don't seem to be a problem. We will have to say no to any foster children over the age of 6. This also means that if we do another adoption the children need to be younger as well. Another adoption may not happen, everyone wants younger children.
We are also going to limit her interactions with other adults. She needs to form her attachments with her family. We are going to have to have more purposeful interactions and help her to learn to interact with her peers.
We have a long road ahead of us but one worth travelling.
She is worth it.