Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Isn't there a saying out there that goes, "when it rains, it pours" or "bad things happen in threes"? Really, I'm not superstitious, but we've had our hands full lately. Kristina's mainstream teacher called to tell me about an incident at school. Don't worry, she didn't go Rocky Balboa on anyone, it was an obedience issue. I hate that things seem to be happening back to back for her, but nevertheless we found ourselves once again confronting her about her choices.

She wasn't exactly open to the conversation. She had a meltdown and went into a weeping, flinging herself on the bed, "everyone hates me, I can't be good, I hate school" rant. I know you gentle parents out there will cringe, but I don't put up with that sort of response. I put her in her room until she calmed down. When I let her know dinner was ready, she declared she wasn't eating and rolled over to face the wall. After dinner I went in to see if she had any homework she needed help with. She reluctantly pulled out her social studies book and a worksheet.

As we were working through the paper, I observed her stiffen slightly before she posed the question, "How old I am before I can go back to Ukraine?" I didn't react, but calmly responded that she would need to be eighteen to travel by herself. At that point she put her book down and regaled me with information about her uncle. Supposedly this uncle lived close to her maternal grandmother and told her he was coming to adopt her . . .but . . . we got there first. Now, mind you, we've never heard about this uncle and none of her paperwork shows that she has a living uncle. I think the uncle story is a defense mechanism for her. She is doubting her worth and coming to grips with the fact that her biological family could not and did not claim her. I explained this as tenderly as I could. I also reminded her that no matter where she traveled in the world, she would always be part of our family. No distance could change that fact. I told her I hoped we could take a trip back to Ukraine together one day.

Perhaps her nerves are raw from the number of discipline issues that have cropped up in the last week. I don't know what God is trying to teach her, or us for that matter, but I do know He is dealing with her on a number of levels. I am sympathetic to her transition, however, I simply won't allow her to wallow in who she has been. Kristina was an orphan. She is no longer an abandoned child. She has been redeemed by a family who loves her beyond measure. It is so easy for us to revert back to our past identities when things get hard. We are encouraging her to persevere, lay aside the old life, and remember that she is a child of promise. It will take time for her to be sanctified to that conclusion. We plan to hold her to the standards of her new calling with plenty of grace and love.

So there ends our terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. To top it all off, I missed spending the day with Sasha and dinner with my girlfriends because of this nasty cold. And you thought that picture at the beginning of the post was of Kristina . .

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
-Romans 8:38-39


Wendy said...


Hey how did you find that picture of me!!!! Unfortunately it does seem like things happen in 3's. I sometimes wonder if those 3's come in 3's....which is what our live seems like lately!!!
I have to say that you are a wonderful mother,especially since I did not gasp when you allowed for it or cringe when other might!! Seriously I think she is very blessed to have such a wonderful, God instilling mother. I have always been a firm believer that your actions are followed by consquences and you are responsible for your actions!(even when they are tough ones and want to fix it for them!) But this would not do them any good.


Anonymous said...

Hi Leslie,
My husband and I love your blog and we admire your family for the journey you have taken. You inspire us!

We are in a similar boat - we are adopting a girl from Russia. We want to refer a book to you: "Attaching in Adoption" by Deborah Gray.

As you well know adopted children have different issues and this book has some practical advice and signs to look for.

Our adoption agency refers this book to all their clients. I met an adopted mother in Russia who used all this advice for her first adoption and her son has bonded with her and is well adjusted. She swears by it, and attributes most of her success to the knowledge gained by it.

Wishing you well, Jesse and Jason in Oakland, CA

Unknown said...

Leslie, I am praying for you and Robert to be full of the Holy Spirit as you deal with these issues. I pray that your daughter will find the aroma of Christ in you to be sweet, and that her heart will be filled with that same spirit.

Hang in there. It will take some time, as you already know.

Love to the Landrums.


Melissa E. said...

Sounds like you and I handle things very similarly. I don't put up with big displays, either.

I know you must be feeling for her and all her adjustments. I can see that you are trying to get inside her head and see where she is coming from and work from there. Good for you!

Of course, it will just take time...and Jesus.

Praying for you and your family.

Leslie said...

I just wanted to say thank you to all of you for the words of encouragement. Wendy & Melissa, I think we're kindred spirits. We see things alike so often. Vicky, you always know how to point me back to Christ. Thank you, dear friend. Jesse & Jason, thanks for the advice. I will try to get my handson a copy!

ArtworkByRuth said...

Thanks for posting such honest situations and your approaches. Our next adoption is a teenager so we are gleaning all the advice we can get! We have also started "Parenting the Hurt Child" by Dr. Keck, have you read it?
God Bless!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your insightful comments. Our children have been home with us for 6 years and they still bear the scars (and always will) of the abandonment and rejection they experienced in Ukraine, from both their birth parents and the caretakers. But you are right, they stopped being a victim the minute we chose them (actually the minute God showed them to us). However, so many people still see them as orphans, including themselves, at times. Keep blogging.
Catherine Hendrickson

Heidi and Felix said...

Great job Leslie! We handle most situations the way you do and don't allow big drama either. We love to read your blog and it inspires us to keep fighting for Rimma & Zina. As we have written in our blog, you are one of the many reasons we chose to adopt older children. Keep up the good work! Read our blog at www.heidifelixukraine.blogspot.com if you get a chance.

The Rogé family

Anonymous said...

It's Thursday March 20 and with the first day of spring I hope it's a better day for all.

Nataliya said...

Leslie, I think you are doing great with Kristina. We all know about the words we eventually hear from our adopted kids(you are not my mother, or I want to go back), so it's not Kristina Hope talking, it's the tiny part of her that still didn't adjust. She lived for 12 years there, and only for 3 months here. Also, don't forget, she's 12, almost a teenager, so maybe it also contributes to her behavior.

Thank you for sharing your experiences with us, it's a great help. I think you are a fabulous mom, and I'm very impressed with the way you handle all these challenges.