Yesterday, I left off here:
So, your new one shows up at your door wearing their honeymoon mask. After living with them day in and day out their mask comes off and you see where you are starting from. You see it. The ones living in your house see it. No one else does. Welcome to the second part of the supervision nightmare.
Just as I was unable to determine the extent of her needs and issues during that honeymoon stage, others won't be able to either. The problem is, they may never see anything except the honeymoon stage.
Take for example her behavior in school. When I enroll one of my kids for the first time I always meet with the teachers and someone from the administration. I want them to have the information they need to keep her and other students safe. Remember, these kids come from hard places, there can be some pretty severe issues.
The problem comes when, armed with as much information as possible, the teacher disregards what she's heard because my girl "doesn't seem that bad." Don't get me wrong, I think it's great that she's behaving for you. I hope you praise her and I hope it continues. What I hope doesn't happen, is that the teacher assumes whatever behavior problems she had in the past have been conquered and this kid is going to be smooth sailing.
When that happens, someone has the potential to get hurt. It could be my kid, but it could be someone else's kid.
Let me tell you what one of mine did one year. My third grader asked to go to the bathroom. That seems simple enough. Let the kid go to the bathroom. Only she didn't go to the bathroom. She went to another teacher's classroom, the classroom of a girl she had befriended. She knocked on the door and told that classroom teacher that her teacher needed this girl. Now what do we have? We have my kid, whose motives are anybody's guess, and someone else's kid, roaming the school without any supervision.
This situation is not good. While nothing terrible happened and they were quickly caught, the what-ifs of the situation bother me. In the beginning my kids are functioning in survival mode. They only know what they come from. They are not making informed, good choices, they are doing whatever will get them what they think they want. They are not thinking about how their choices affect them. They are not thinking about how they affect others.
Because they are not thinking that way, I have to think that way for them, at least for a while. So, go ahead and consider me crazy. I will wear that label well, I guarantee it. Because after their heart changes and they become the young lady that God created them to be, I don't want them walking around with guilt or shame or memories that I could have prevented. If that means I look a little nuts to those around me, so be it.
My girls had to raise themselves for the first nine or ten years. They don't have to do that anymore. I'm here now to help them make those hard choices, to help them navigate through those difficult situations - especially those in the first two years. If you are raising a kid stuck in a hard place, keep doing what you know is best. If you are teaching one, listen to that parent, even if you think she's crazy. After all, she lives with that kid every single day. She may not communicate it well, but there will be truth in what she says.
I didn't get into the adoption ring thinking it was easy, but I also didn't get in knowing it would be this hard. Somedays I'm barely making it. Somedays I'm on cloud nine. But everyday I love these girls and everyday I'm trying to do my best for them.