Saturday, August 8, 2009

Day # 8!

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


Acceptance with Joy said...

Praise the Lord!

paige said...

This post made may day. My heart is rejoicing for Abbie and your family! It gives me hope during this storm in which I am still caught. Love and hugs!

The McMurrays said...

Dearest Mouro family,
This post literally brings tears to my eyes and Proverbs 20:5 to my mind: "The purposes of a man's heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out".

I know that we just met you all towards the "end" of this struggle, but it has been so powerful to watch God working through your family in reaching this little girl's heart! You have shared His hope with her as you drew out her heart - in His time and in His way to make a home for Him; literally, preparing a place for Him to dwell! What a struggle it's been, but so amazing to witness. Thank you so much for sharing your journey. I know that it gives many other parents great hope!
Thank God that His word is clear - our hearts are always where the struggle lies, and we need one another to draw these things out, and lay them bare that we may bring them to the foot of the cross and be washed clean! Our God is the God of healing, reconciliation and love. Praise Him for your perseverance in the working of this miracle!
Love and rejoicing with you,
The McMurrays

denvermommy said...

That's great news! Praise the Lord!

staci said...

heathwoodhallputs joy in my heart just reading about the moments of love and peace Abbie is feeling- thank you for all that you do - praise, Staci

Angel Larsen said...

I am feeling your joy beam through your words! Praise God!

Anonymous said...

My sister ran across your blog months ago and emailed me a link which I didn't get around to looking at until tonight. Man, do I resonate with this post. I just read it out loud to my husband and we both laughed when I said, "sound familiar?" We have a 4-year-old boy adopted from Ethiopia at 6 months. I was unprepared for an angry 6-month-old and we have had a lot of struggles over the past several years. We've dealt with the same refusal to do things that I know he can do other days. Right now he claims ignorance of colors, letters, etc. to me but according to Sunday School teachers, he knows them just fine. Hmmmph. I would like to suggest a book that I have found helpful recently. It's called The Connected Child
It is not written from a Christian perspective, but I found it very helpful anyway. I also was introduced to Sensory Integration Disorder, which I have started to read a lot about and fits some of our son's acting out. I'm now convinced that some of his behavior isn't as willful I originally thought. I think he has some sensory issues that I'm considering having him tested for. Even if I don't go that route, I've learned more about him and think I will recognize some of what baffled and angered me so much before. Hope these words from a stranger help. I'm also a homeschooling and adoptive mom with no TV :+)
~Heather (ummeltrash at gmail dot com)

Jen said...


I am rejoicing with you! I am NOT surprised because this testimony you have shared is SO incredibly similar to our journey with our three adopted Liberian children! I think you will find the "hard" days few and far between now that you have her heart. Be diligent to keep her heart by still being cautious and not introducing a lot of other stuff like activities, friends, and media (ask me how I know - grin).

I shared in church about a year ago that I was so thankful that the Lord had completely redeemed our children from RAD - as in: they had EVERY symptom REALLY bad and now have NONE! It is totally and completely His work and (like you said) by His Living Word!

This is AWESOME!

Wife to the Rockstar said...

I told you it would happen!
God is SO good. And it your dedication to Him and your perserverance through it all that has gotten to her heart!

laura mouro said...

Courtney, you were so right!

Thank you all for your support!

She is still doing well--almost 2 weeks now! We had a rough day yesterday, but today was better.


Isamening said...

Great stuff! What an awesome strategy. We are praying for you guys!