Michelle turned 9 in July and Larissa will be 9 in September.
The castle bed is long gone, another little girl is enjoying it. I got rid of it because I felt that the girls considered it to be Larissa's bed. I wanted the bedroom to be Michelle and Larissa's bedroom. Also, the girls are getting older so I want to move up to a preteen type room.
I am slowly working on the girls room. Each girl has picked their color and I am painting desks. I finished Larissa's old desk and bought one for Michelle. I bought the paint but haven't painted it yet. I have some things to paint for babies and then will get back to work on the girls room. Honestly, money has been an issue. My budget hasn't allowed me the opportunity to get to Lowe's for building material. Money is another blog post!
October will be three years since the girls came home. The system is so slow that it took until May of 2013 to complete the adoption. I don't think it would have even happened then if I hadn't put in numerous complaints to the state. The therapist that the girls saw stopped seeing them stating that she really couldn't do much more since they didn't have permanency.
I think that all the moves had different impacts on the girls. Emma came out with serious attachment issues. She barely remembers all the moves and the time is a blur. Michelle on the other hand remembers every move. Every rejection. As much as Emma wanted to move on when feelings got uncomfortable, Michelle wanted to stay and was always fearful that we would have them moved. She enjoys being stuck.
However, she also developed ways to cope. These coping skills are not beneficial to her. She wants to please in such a way that she will tell you lies instead of the truth so that she can tell you what she thinks you want to hear. I have told her that she is stuck with us regardless of her behavior and that I prefer the truth over lies. I don't know that we have gotten anywhere with the lying but I am taking a break and ignoring them.
She has also developed a serious issue with jealousy. I am sure that some of this comes from moving so much and having everything taken from her while watching other kids who have stability. Her jealousy tends to make her act out in mean ways. We are working through this but I feel that she will always have some level of jealousy that she will deal with. Her therapist felt that this would be a lifelong issue for her as well.
Relationships are hard for Michelle. I watch her at church and I see that some of her peers exclude her. She has tried sitting with them but they are not welcoming. I told her to sit with Larissa and lately she has started doing that. In the past she has had issues with inappropriate talk. She also does a lot of attention seeking behaviors that kids just don't appreciate and adult find annoying.
Larissa tends to be very shy but has excellent relationships. My hope is that by pairing them together that Michelle will be able to learn from Larissa on how to build positive relationships. I talk to Michelle all the time about building relationships but watching a peer do so has a bigger impact.
Sometimes Larissa feels the pressure of having good relationships with all her siblings and she will come to me asking for space. She needs time alone and it is hard to get when Michelle and now Emma follow her every move. The other day I watched as Emma followed Larissa in the pool, move for move. I could see Larissa getting irritated so I called Emma to me to talk with her (to give Larissa a break). When Larissa asks me for space I make sure that she gets it.
A year ago Larissa and Michelle could not room together. Today they are doing just that. Time, patience, love and consistency slowly do make change. Sometimes it is hard to see the change when you live with some of the same issues day by day. However, the intensity of these issues are slowly diminishing.
Look for a bedroom makeover by October 1st. I have a lot to do.