We are on day number 8 of "good" behavior from Abbie! I am not kidding when I tell you that the change was instantaneous, like a switch was flipped. Literally, last week we thought there was no hope that this child was ever going to change, she was acting out SO negatively and then--BAM!--a change. Nothing really precipitated it, just months and months of consistently taking control away and speaking truth over her again and again and again and again.
Yesterday, she asked to do school. I previously had told her I was not going to do school with her anymore until she was REALLY ready to do it, and not do it wrong on purpose. She got her book out and said, "I'm going to do this because I want to learn to read." WHAT?! I was shocked. She did several pages and did them correctly. She showed them to Cameron and was so proud of herself! Yesterday, she closed the rabbit hutch correctly and then turned to look at me. I raised my eyebrows and gave her a look that said, "Oh, you CAN close the cage!". With a sheepish expression she said, "I can close the cage now." I said, "You always could, you were just pretending you couldn't." Abbie gave an embarrassed smile and said, "Yeah." There was one time she stood out in the pouring rain, crying, for 20 minutes because she "couldn't" shut the cage. It was all fake!
That is all gone. For 8 days now, chores have been done correctly, hygiene done correctly, speaking correctly, eating, manners, playing, EVERYTHING--correctly! No "forgetting" how to do things, no incomprehensible speech, no games, NO LIES! Gone. There have been just a few things, but hey--I'll take them and they are more "childish" things than deliberate disobedience.
I feel like she is a new person. I cannot even begin to explain it in words. She laughs, smiles, talks. This morning, as I was laying down nursing Semaiah and just waking up, she climbed up into bed with me and talked. She has never done this before. As she went to do her chore she kissed me! She then turned and kissed Semaiah. What a change from the fearful little girl she once was! She would never have initiated kissing me before because I think she was afraid of rejection. Last night, she excitedly brought me 2 cucumbers from our garden (she LOVES cucumbers!) and said, "Mommy, look what God gave us! He gave us these cucumbers because He loves us!" She is now acknowledging His presence and authority in her life!
Is anyone as shocked as I am or did you all know this was coming, because I sure didn't? I mean, I have heard of "success" stories with adopted kids who show signs of RAD, but I really thought that Abbie was an extreme case. I thought we might see improvement over time, gradually, but never such a drastic, immediate change. I knew God could heal, but I think part of me sort of doubted that Abbie would be healed because I thought this was our cross to bear. I still think we will have bad days, but I honestly think the worst is behind us. This is my prayer.
I think the biggest change happened when we started to get to her heart and the root issues of "why" she was acting out. It took us time to even get to the place in which she would show us her heart. She was locked away inside herself before, floating through the day. When we began to take control away, she came out of that hiding place to fight us off, to make us go away and leave her to herself and her anger because it felt "safer" to her. We then used her fight to our advantage, engaging her in the battle, so that we could storm into her heart and set up our camp there. We no longer allowed her to retreat. It was all about the surrender and we were out to win! Boy, was this draining!
We would tell her the WHY of her disobedience, addressing her anger and fear, and we would then see a change in her. Each time, her surrender became longer and longer. We talked a lot about her anger about being given up for adoption, for having a hard life, for not choosing us, etc. and that her anger was at God, not us, because He is the one who is in control. We explained that His plan for her life is perfect and He knew what He was doing putting her in our family, that it was for her good. We talked about how God chose us to be her "forever" parents even when she was in her birth ma's tummy and that everything that happened was no accident or mistake. We talked about accepting God's will, trusting His plan for her life and going to Him to express her anger instead of taking it out on us. We fed her God's word literally for breakfast, lunch and dinner: Cameron and I would read the Bible or do a devotional at every meal. We have limited outside entertainment-no tv, computer, videos, and limited activities--no Wed. night church, Sunday school, playdates. We are it. All food and affection come from us. She cannot turn to something else to meet her needs. We have taken control away to the point of seeming to be "mean" but knowing that we have to show her who is in control and that we are her parents and she cannot get us to change our minds no matter what tactic she uses to control us--tears, lying, acting out, tantrums, pouting. It is almost as if she has finally surrendered and she is SO happy. A different child. She is the happiest kid in our house right now. It is like every day is her birthday, she is that giddy with joy.
Thank you for your prayers and support!
In Christ, Laura