Emma is a mess. She dislikes brushing her hair and her teeth. She stains her clothing and often I have to make her change because clean or dirty clothing, it doesn't matter to her. She still has her little diva attitude.
However, in important matters she is growing.....
She comes to me to do her hair.
She wants to hold my hand when we are walking.
She tells me about her day when she gets home from school, ALL about her day.
She has learned how to self-correct on a lie.
She has finally taken an interest in babies and caring for them. She is still an early riser and will get Benjamin his breakfast in the morning when he rises early.
She wants me to watch her when she practices her dances.
She is making attempts to eat better (because I told her that her hair is taking forever to grow because she doesn't eat well).
She is able to play for longer times with Larissa without conflict.
She has stopped screaming when things don't go her way.
She is still playing catch-up. Although she is 10, emotionally she is about 8. Holding her back a year in school was the best thing for her. She is comfortable in school and has friends. Her teacher and I have communicated a lot this year to work on her tendency to be a bully with her peers and she has come a long way. She has a great teacher this year who understands her and is firm with her. She doesn't feel sorry for her, she expects certain standards from her.
Watching her grow is such a joy. It feels like she finally believes that I love her, she finally is comfortable within her family.
It is said that love alone does not heal a child. I believe that. Not all children will heal from early neglect or abuse. However, how will you know until you try. She has been with us for more about 6 years. At what point do you give up? We don't ever give up but that is hard. Some days I feel frustrated, some days I think of giving up. Some days I am just tired. Thankfully, each day starts anew, although we don't always get it right, at least we keep trying.
No, love alone won't heal a child. You need time, patience, forgiveness of yourself when you lose that patience, consistency and lots of prayers. Love does help, although sometimes you have to keep keeping on even when you don't feel the love because that child is worthy.
I will be honest, it took a while for me to love my child. It was hard on the days when she sat and screamed for hours. When she was pushing away and screaming for a different family. Hope kept us going in the hard days. However, along the way love happened.
I can't tell you exactly when, but it happened a while ago....love.