Monday, July 22, 2013

The Long Road

Funny what you can find when you scour the internet.  I was able to find one picture of Michelle before she came into care. It is the youngest picture I have of her. 

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.


  1. I think your plan is a good one. I wouldn't blame yourself for sending her to camp. You need a break if nothing else. I am starting the twins in children's church next month but I will be sitting in back. If that is a problem to anyone, they just will not be going to children's church.

  2. I'm cheering you on from afar, Felicia, because we are exactly where you are. I think it must be especially hard on the oldest children, where their care-taking and feeling responsible causes them further damage in being able to attach. Our M, who is 7 also, has manipulation and deceit as her default mode, as a way of coping, and she is so bright and capable of fooling nearly every adult. She automatically gravitates to other adults, charming them, all while pulling away from her family. We, too, very much limit her interactions with other adults, and as I said in a previous comment, keep her world very small. Your plan sounds like just what she needs. Our M has been in our home over 3 years, adopted 7 months ago, and tomorrow, we're bringing home her bio brother, C, who is 5, and coming from a different foster home. A long road, indeed, but worth it, as you say!

  3. I am walking that attachment road with you. I see it in my 11 yo, adopted at 8. He still isn't attached. some days I think he is getting there, then poof I think we are back to square 1. Last week I watched as he "attached" or tried, to my 17 yo's brother who is 20. He would ignore help from siblings or me and ask brother to help him. Not OK! I wish there was an easy answer, or even a real answer. We have to just keep being there for them and praying.