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Our 10 year old daughter

Discussion in 'Share Your Story Here' started by divalison, Jun 24, 2015.

  1. divalison

    divalison Member

    My husband and I adopted a beautiful 9 year old little girl last year. Let's say her name is Anna. Anna was in the foster care system for nearly three years when she came to us, and was abused in both foster homes she was placed in before she came here. Her parents were two young teenage drug addicts and her mother used pills, heroine, cocaine and alcohol, as far as we know.

    Anna is adjusting to living with us on every level except lying and sneaking things in regard to food. She gets plenty of food to eat, but will go to the kitchen and sneak food when she isn't hungry, even right after meals. She admits that she's not hungry. She lies to hide that she has done things like this, and out of the house tries to eat as much as possible, though we make her lunch and there's plenty of it. She has a wheat allergy, and a dairy sensitivity, and this makes things worse. All she wants is wheat and dairy. She has been "dropping" her lunch on the floor at school so that she can get a hot lunch, all wheat and often dairy. Even though the teacher in charge knew of her allergy, she was sending her to get a hot lunch all the time and not reporting it to us.

    We've been dealing with Anna's digestive issues at home, and rereading every label on food packages to see if we missed gluten or wheat anywhere. Finally I realized that she must be eating wheat and dairy at school and confronted Anna and the teacher. Both of them told me what's been happening.

    The worst part of all of this is the lying. She lies perfectly and you'd never guess that she's doing it. But I have a radar for lying. We are in family therapy with a great therapist who says that while we have provided a safe, loving and structured home for her, Anna still doesn't feel safe because of what happened to her before she got here. The therapist does not want me to point out when Anna is lying. She wants me to only encourage and praise her for the things she's doing well.

    I worry that with markers for drug addiction on both sides of her family, that we are ignoring where she is headed. Lying and sneaking things to me seems to already be the behavior of an addict.

    I thought I would tell you our story before it IS a story, in the hopes that if we do everything the best we can, she will not end up being an addict. Thank you.
  2. deanokat

    deanokat Community Organizer Community Listener

    @divalison... Welcome to the forum and thanks for sharing.

    First of all, I just want to say how great it is that you and your husband adopted this child. She will benefit so much from having loving, caring parents after the difficulties she's had to endure.

    As far as the stealing food and lying go, I don't know if I would associate it with her biological parents' addiction or not. Yes, lying and stealing are behaviors that a lot of addicts engage in. But in my experience, the lying and stealing usually come after the addiction starts. My son never lied to us or stole from us before he started using drugs. It was only after he was addicted that those traits started showing up.

    Unless you're suggesting that your daughter is addicted to food, I would say her behavior could just as easily be tied to the abuse she's suffered. I'm sure that your daughter's past is having some influence on her behavior, but I'm obviously not an expert and can't tell you what's causing what.

    Have you voiced your concerns to the therapist about the lying/stealing/addiction? If so, what did they say? If not, maybe you should consider doing so.

    I will say this: I totally agree with your therapist about not focusing on and calling attention to your daughter's lying, but rather encouraging and praising her when she is doing well. Positive reinforcement can go a long way in helping to motivate someone to change their behavior. So keep doing that.

    I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. The fact that you came to this forum and asked questions shows me that you are a fabulous parent. Your daughter is so lucky to have you. If you don't mind, keep checking in from time to time and let us know how things are going. I'd be curious to see what your therapist has to say about your addiction concerns.

    We are here to support you in any way we can.

    divalison and Damien Lee like this.
  3. Winterybella

    Winterybella Community Champion

    Davilison, please allow me to join Dean in welcoming you to the forum. I read your story with interest. I too applaud you for taking this young child into your home and providing her with the love and security of a family. I hope she comes to appreciate what a blessing it is to benefit from your love and kindness.

    My wish is that with the help of the therapist, you can find a way to help her deal with her past, while confronting the future. The physical and emotional scars inflicted at a tender age often remain for a lifetime. I hope that it gets easier with time. As usual Deanokat, has made some interesting observations and suggestion and I want to join him in letting your know that we are here to support you. I don't know we can offer expert advice, but sometimes it's enough just to know that there is someone to listen and understand. We are here for you and your family to the extend that it is possible. Welcome again.
    divalison and deanokat like this.
  4. JessiFox

    JessiFox Active Contributor

    I have a few thoughts here...for one thing, fantastic of you and your husband to not only take her in but spend so much time and effort caring for her. I understand the worry but don't let her biology define her. Children often lie and exhibit bad behaviors, especially after trauma like she has experienced. I don't think it has to do with addiction or risk for that at all, especially at her age.

    I think the therapist gave you some good advice in praising her for when she does well, positive reinforcement and acceptance will help her to feel more secure and attached to you. Perhaps give it special attention when she is very honest and forthright and praise her for that.
    divalison and Winterybella like this.
  5. divalison

    divalison Member

    Thank you so much, Deanokat. I appreciate the time and thought that you put into this message. I do worry that food is an addiction, because she eats when she's not hungry. It's to fill an emptiness inside her, and that's why I came on here. We have a biological son who is 17, and wow is it different to be raising these two kids. He doesn't have that emptiness, that bottomless pit feeling that it seems she has, because he was raised with love and structure. I did tell the therapist what I thought about food and addiction, and she didn't disagree, she just felt that the positive reinforcement was what we should be focusing on. I just wanted to check with you all, and hear what you think too. I am so grateful. Thank you. -Alison
  6. divalison

    divalison Member

    Thank you, Winterybella. You're definitely correct that just hearing that you're there and listening means a lot to me at this point. As for your words about our welcoming our daughter into our family, I was an abused child too, and that's why we wanted to adopt a child in the system; to give her a chance to have a happy life. But honestly, we are the ones being blessed by having her. She really is a terrific kid. -Alison
    Winterybella likes this.
  7. divalison

    divalison Member

    Thank you, Jessifox. I love that you said "don't let her biology define her." I am going to make that my new mantra. You're right. If biology had defined me, I would be severely abusing my kids, because that's the upbringing I had. I was able to have awareness that my father was ill and that I didn't want to treat anyone that way, let alone my children. My daughter can also be free of her past. I don't know why I didn't look at it that way. Thank you for changing my perspective from what I fear to what I know.
    JessiFox and Winterybella like this.
  8. deanokat

    deanokat Community Organizer Community Listener

    @divalison... Thank you for the kind words. Eating can also be a stress reliever. I myself have been guilty of stress eating on many occasions, especially since I quit smoking almost 25 years ago. So it could be that and not necessarily an addiction to food. In any case, I'm glad you're getting professional counseling. It really does help. And keep that positive reinforcement going. Kids really need that, and I'm thinking your daughter needs it even more because of her past.

    Thanks for coming here and trusting us and our opinions, Alison. I wish you and your family nothing but the best of luck going forward! :)
    divalison and Winterybella like this.
  9. Damien Lee

    Damien Lee Community Champion

    Kudos to both you and your husband for adopting the young girl. From your story, I can tell you're doing everything to provide a loving home where little Anna can grow up healthily. Children are unfortunately prone to lying, especially when they realize that they are doing something that parents don't approve of. She probably did endure some form of traumatic experience in her previous home. Hopefully, given time you will be able to steer Anna in the right direction.
    divalison and deanokat like this.
  10. JessiFox

    JessiFox Active Contributor

    Always happy to give another perspective :). I'm sorry to hear that you grew up like that, but it's amazing that you were able to break that cycle. Remember that your daughter can do the same. It's only out of love that we worry, of course, but it's important to remember that if we try and define people by their past (or worse, their parents' past) than we rob them of the chance to break free from it and define themselves.

    I know it's tough to worry, I guess you have to trust that your love and guidance, along with her own strength will be enough for her to break out of those patterns.
    divalison and Winterybella like this.
  11. SarahWorksAtHome

    SarahWorksAtHome Community Champion

    First off I just want to send you a great big virtual ((((((hug))))) and thank you for what you are doing for this little girl. I am the mother of an 11 year old daughter who has been a life saver for me and the motivation to staying clean. I cannot fathom how a mother can get to the point of losing their child over addiction. (Not judging at all, I just don't fully understand as I was a mother who stopped before I lost mine.)
    I have high regards and respect for foster and adoptive parents who adopt from "the system" as these kids have been through so much in their little lives and come with many issues often.
    I think you are doing great reaching out for help and trying to save her from future problems.
    Does she fully understand her food allergies and intolerances? Has her doctor spent time explaining them not just to you but to her as well? My daughter went through a period of sneaking candy and dairy treats and it messed her system up badly but she wouldn't listen to me so we had the pediatrician have a talk with her explaining what those foods were doing to her belly/digestive system. That helped a lot.
    divalison and deanokat like this.
  12. EditorsRHumansToo!

    EditorsRHumansToo! Community Champion

    Love to you and your family. And Welcome @divalison As I read your family's story, I remember about little children being watched and cared for by "Angels" sent from God. YOu and your husband have been earthly angels to Anna. God's heart are towards the poor, the needy, the orphans and the widow. Your child, Anna, has been brought to you by their kind and loving Creator. You love and protect her. You provide a haven of a home such as yours where Anna has filled her heart with.

    Do you have a support group in your community? A safe place where you can share the delights of adopting a child into your home. I heard from a home-school speaker before that we, Moms and Dads, must speak to people with kind words of praise and encouragement about our children's character in the hearing of our chidren. Not only with what we say to them even when other people aren't around.

    She could have been deprived of real home-cooked meals at the previous foster facilities. She was probably starving-- of love and physical needs, like food. Now that she is with you, she cannot yet understand the concept of the permanence of her stay with you as her loving and gracious parents. It takes time for some to grapple and accept in her young mind that there'll be more food available which you provide.

    I believe you and your husnand are doing a great work in Anna's life. She'll go through life -- many bad and good times-- in your love, security, friendship and provision. Trust in yourselves. God is helping you in caring one of His precious little children.
    divalison and deanokat like this.
  13. deanokat

    deanokat Community Organizer Community Listener

    @divalison... I'm just wondering how things have been going with your daughter. Let us know when you have a chance.
    divalison likes this.
  14. queend17

    queend17 Active Contributor

    I hate to tell you this, but she may be going through the samething that my younger sister was going through... She thinks that maybe if she acts like addict by eating/drinking stuff she knows is bad for her, the people who took her away or if her parents gave her away, one of them might come back and see she's just like them, take her back and her REAL parents will love her again... Even though Anna may be 10 and you think that she wouldn't do something like that you'd be dead wrong... My younger sister was less than half Anna's age when my mother left my father and never gave a 100% real reason as to why. My sister went into a complete mental downward spiral... She lied and stole just like Anna, misbehaved and did everything she could to get attention, she spited me for a few years because to her it only seemed like our mother only had interest in only me... To make matters even worse she had such a bad mental colaspe that she thought that if she acted like our mom's favorite animal she would notice and love her... But in the end it none of it ever worked, I literally had to turn into the bad guy and tell my sister and my brother (cause he was holding onto empty promises) that our mother wasn't coming back even if God told her so Himself... Cause once they finally grasped this concept they were preteens to teens....

    So even though you may be a loving couple, you are going to have to make Anna understand that nothing she does is going to change that her parents chose that life and if they truly wanted her back in the three years she was in the system they would've tried to become sober... She may not like it but in the end if you don't want her killing herself you're gonna have to make her face the truth...
    divalison likes this.
  15. divalison

    divalison Member

    Wow! I haven't been getting notifications at all about any messages on here since June! I hadn't realized that anyone else had written after June 25. I just got queen17's message now! Our daughter is definitely doing better. Way better. This summer she started telling me that she lied right after she lied, which was a huge change. I'll go back and answer some of the other questions above after I write a little here.

    Thank you queen17 for taking the time to write this, and thanks EVERYONE for all the comments since the last time I knew there were any! queen17, I think Anna is a little different from your sister, because if anything she really hates her biological mother and says she doesn't want to ever see her again, or be like her. She says she wants to be like me. Fortunately, I don't lie! I actually have been working with her on seeing her mother as very ill, and having compassion for her, so that she can eventually forgive her, or at least for now doesn't walk around feeling so much hate.

    We just got her report card and while I really don't give a crap about grades (just about trying your best) she had straight As and one B+. We had her parent/teacher conference today and the teacher raved about her and said you'd never know that she had been in the system, and what a kind and compassionate kid she is, always helpful and smiling. She's been that way here straight along too, except for the food issues and lying, but there seem to be less and less of those issues now.

    I'm not finished with you guys! I don't see this as a quick fix or something that can't swing around and bite her (or me!) in the ass. I have to see what the teenage years are going to be like, and you'll probably hear more from me then. But for now, we have reached a new place. The therapist says that she changed (stopped lying as much, and owns her lies when she does tell them) because she finally feels truly safe. And that's pretty great.
    deanokat and queend17 like this.
  16. divalison

    divalison Member

    Thank you for the hug. And I'm so glad your daughter saved you. I try not to have judgment, but it's hard. Anna was beaten by her bio mom's friend, and then again in her first foster home. In the second foster home, they took away all her toys and books for wetting the bed, and locked her in her room, even on Halloween, after buying her a costume. Evil people. The night she arrived, I sat in front of her and said, "I understand that you have an issue with wetting the bed. It's not an issue here. I don't care if you wet the bed six times a night. I'll change the sheets six times. It's not a big deal. She never wet the bed here. Not one time.

    I don't know that she really understands her food issues, no. She sees food, or especially if she sees other kids eating that food, and she just WANTS it. She doesn't think at all. There is no conscience that says, "Wait, I'm allergic to that." or "I might not feel well or even get in trouble for eating that." She sees it, she wants it, and she eats it. I don't think she's relating the indigestion to what she ate. I've had the doctor, the school nurse, and the therapist talk with her about food allergies. She seems to understand while they're talking, but completely disconnects from it when she sees the food.
  17. divalison

    divalison Member

    I wrote you a reply, but I did it wrong. It's below!
  18. divalison

    divalison Member

    I wrote below! Thank you.
  19. divalison

    divalison Member

    Thank you so much, Editors. You know, you think you're adopting a child because you want to be a parent, but once they arrive you realize how much they fill your life. People say what a gift we've given her, but really, she is a gift. She is such a strong little person. She never broke, no matter what happened to her. And trust me, we took in 8 children before her who all went back to their families (heartbreaking for us). I saw kids that were very broken. She is a survivor. But drugs scare me. I saw my sister in law become a drug addict and lose her whole, entire life. She became a different person and I don't even know her anymore. I think drugs can change even a strong person, and they are so prevalent today. I just want to solve her issues with food, and have her see that she chose what was healthy for herself, so that when drugs come along she can make equally good choices.
    EditorsRHumansToo! likes this.
  20. divalison

    divalison Member

    Thanks, Damien. I think she lied to survive, and she's finally realized that she doesn't have to do that here.