Saturday, April 14, 2012
Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!
I love "The Wizard of Oz," especially Dorothy and all that she encounters on the yellow brick road. She and her friends are constantly afraid of what is around the corner or new things they encounter. I feel that is "J's" life. As we enter into more and more of her world, we encounter her MANY fears. We are in the process of sorting out so many things with her and seeking out some professional help with several areas but sensory issues are a definate problem. So like Dorothy, there can be a lot of shrieking going on!
Our latest adventure was this week when we went to do a family visit for Z. I would love to blog more about this but because of privacy issues, I can't say a whole lot. However, the meeting was emotionally draining for everyone. I'm thankful Z doesn't know a whole lot of what is going on. There were other families who were visiting at the same time and when the time came from children to leave their parent, the crying at the separation was enough to tear my heart in two. The brokeness, pain and suffering in this world has become so much clearer as we have entered into this journey of foster care and adoption. So many things that break God's heart, have broken mine/ours as well.
Anyway, we decided to make a "family trip" out of the visit and stayed at a hotel overnight. So it was new surroundings, new noises, new beds, new routine, etc. We had several "moments" that wore us down. So we decided to add another "new" to the list (yes, we're crazy!). One thing that we haven't done since J has been with us is swimming; I've been worried because there have been several fears around water, especially bathing, so I wasn't sure how it would go and have been avoiding it. So, literally, we took the plunge! J was excited as we looked at the pool and put our suits on. She talked about her brother and swimming. It is hard when you don't know a child's full past. You don't know what they have done and not done; what things have brought pleasure and what things have been terrifying. Well, we got down to the pool area and as soon as her feet touched the cement area that was wet from the pool, there was serious meltdownage :-) So Craig scooped her up and put her on a chair by the pool and as we are setting our stuff down, my 4 year old son Jonah just runs and jumps in the pool...except he can't touch...and he begins to go under!! AHHH! So Craig to the rescue (I had the baby in my arms). So once we get all of that under control, we go back to working with J and the pool. I tried to get her to sit on the side of the pool and just put her toes in but she was having NONE of that! However, Craig came and scooped her up again and got her in the pool. She DID NOT like that..at first. She began to snuggle into him and hold on for dear life! But he got her in a little ways. Then he brought her to the hot tub. Again, it didn't go so well. But he was so patient with her and realized that if he put towels on the ground, she wouldn't feel the wet cement as she sat down. Then the bubbles of the hot tub were quite upsetting, so he showed her how they popped and eventually she began to do that herself. He would have her hold her hands out in would pour water into them, slowly getting her used to the water. He worked so slowly at taking things one step further. She definately was overwhelmed by the echoes of noise in the room, by the wet cement, by the bubbles from the hot tub, etc: her own version of "Lions and Tigers and Bears!"
So this morning, we said we were going swimming again. She didn't fight putting on her suit and seemed excited. We got down there and opened the door, she paused when her feet hit the wet cement..but no screaming! But she just wanted to sit in a chair. We let her..for a few minutes :-) Then Craig picked her up and brought her in the pool. She didn't like it but wasn't screaming. He slowly got her to go in deeper and deeper water with him and she didn't completely flip out. Then we got her back into the hot tub. I made the mistake of holding her in the water right next to where the bubbles were shooting out, not her favorite! But I finally just held her in the middle of the water and again she wasn't happy but once she calmed down, I would count to 3 and we would go to our bellies, then our shoulders and finally our chins and get wet. Then I taught her how to hold her nose and shut her mouth and we got a good deal of her face wet! Progress!!! It was very exciting to see her conquering some of her fears and working through some of her sensory issues but I will admit it can be exhausting.
I wish it was all big triumphant moments of moving forward but the truth of healing is that it is one step forward, 2 steps back; sometimes, though, it is 6 steps forward but usually followed up eventually by a few more back. It can be frustrating. We definately have moments of "can we just be done with THIS step and NEVER go back!!" However, I think that this can be how we are as people no matter what. I reflect on all of the mistakes that I have made in my life or those that I have watched others make. God must think, "Really, you need to go back to repeating that!" I'm so thankful for the grace and mercy that God has blanketed my life with. As we learn to live into the image of God, we are called to put on the attributes of Christ, the fruits of the spirit: peace, love, joy, patience, kindness,goodness, gentleness, self-control, and faithfulness. They are so much easier to read on a bible page or put to memory, than to live out! So I'm getting my fruits of the spirit exercises. I hope you are too!
Posted by Laura at 7:57 PM