Friday, April 18, 2008

Lies and kindness- Older Child Adoption

Zoe lied to us. 2 times in one month. Both times it had to do with her getting a bad grade in Science. She told me she had not gotten a test back when she had cause she got a bad grade. ACCCKCKKKK! I almost had a melt down till I called an experienced mom friend with bio and adopted kids who said these are normal challenges at her age. AAACKKKK! Oh yeah... I said that already. Thank goodness for mommy friends to talk us off the ledge. :0)

So we had to deal with the lying issue. She is in major mommy boot camp. I made it very clear that we don't CARE about the Science grade. That class is harder for her, I think because they do a lot of written exams with LOTS of hard vocabulary like cerebellum and aorta and stuff. Zoe is really bad at written exams. She gets all nervous and freaked out that she won't finish in time. She KNOWS all the information but it takes her about 10 times as long to finish a paper cause she still has to read very slowly and work really hard. She kicks tush at reports and research papers but standard tests are hard for her still. All we care about is that she TRIES her best. She has precious teachers that have been so good to her and have worked with her needs and with us in every possible way. We are so blessed. I KNOW she is learning so much. That is what matters.

However, LYING is NOT OK! SOOOO NOT OK! So after we handed out discipline for the lying which entails having very few privileges and doing A LOT of work for a few days. ( I am a HARD CORE mean mommy!) Today I got down to talking to her about WHY she feels like she needs to lie. I asked her how she felt when she got that grade. She has a lot of trouble identifying her feelings so I really have to help her through that and drag things out of her. She basically felt very embarrassed and dumb. I asked her if that is what she tells herself when she gets a bad grade. Does she tell herself she is dumb? She said yes.

I talked to her and asked her if she would say that to her best friend at school? If her friend got a bad grade and she had done her best would it be kind to come say to her... "YOU ARE DUMB!!! YOU AREN'T AS GOOD AS US!" She said of course she would not say that to her friend. I asked her, "If you are so kind to everyone else then why are you so mean to yourself? You tell yourself awful things that are just horrible. Why do you talk to yourself that way?"

She immediately started crying and we talked about why. Which of course I knew. There is a person in Zoe's past- when she was little- that made her feel worthless. They told her she was dumb and made her feel she wasn't good enough. We talked about that situation and the lies it has made her believe. We talked about all the people that love her and the truth about who she is inside.

I told her about how God sees her. How He put her together- our beautiful Zoe- in her Guatemala mommy's tummy. How he knew even then that she would be ours. I told her that all those years she was not alone. God always loved her- He was always with her- He always had a plan for her- He cried when she cried- He ached for her and rescued her. He knows how many hairs are on her head and each little twinkle in her eye. Before she had an Earthly father who loved her she had a heavenly Father who loves her. I told her she was NEVER ever alone even when she was scared. She was loved.

We talked about how we are ALL adopted by God. We talked about how God rescues all of us. I told her how much God values adoption- how close it is to His heart. He even chose for His own son to be adopted by Joseph.

I told her that she MUST see herself the way God sees her. She is not perfect but she is perfectly loved. She must be kind to herself the way God is kind to her. She must love herself the way God loves her. Believing lies and being cruel to ourselves leads us to self destruct and become bitter and cruel. Love leads us to repentance and change and growth.

As I was talking to her I wondered how many if us do the same thing. We are so cruel to ourselves. We tear down what God values so highly. It's blasphemy in so many ways to say that we have a great God but that we will not value our lives as significant. To say we are not capable of what God says we are capable of doing- to say we are not good looking enough- to say we are not worth while. The truth is that we are nothing without God. With Him we are far beyond what we imagine for ourselves.

My Zoe is learning so many lessons. She is learning to forgive herself, and value her life as worth living. Truly though I think I learn more from her than she learns from me.

We are orphans in this world- alone, scared, hungry and cold. We are rescued by something much bigger than we can get our arms around and taught what it is to love. If we really dive into that love we will be blessed enough to learn courage and compassion along the way.
Hugs, Angel


Valerie said...

Um yeah, so what is your going rate for rentals? I might need to rent you to come here several times throughout Henry's childhood and have these awesome talks with him, too! Just kidding, but seriously, I loved reading all of what you told Zoe. You are doing a great job and it is inspiring to the rest of us as parents -- not even as adoptive parents, but simply as parents. I, too, am a big disciplinarian, and I know there are times that others might view me as a "mean mommy", but I do what I do out of love for my son and as the best I can according to the Bible and what it says on discipline. It is so nice to read that other parents like yourself struggle with all of this parenthood business, too, and that there is a whole network of support out there. :)

Lucinda Naia said...

As I read your post, I knew that I needed this lesson as much as Zoe. Not because I'm lying to others, but because I'm lying to myself when I say negative things about myself to myself.

I also thought about the anxiety Zoe is experiencing with tests. Would it be possible for you to ask for more time for her to take the tests? It would seem to me that you could get a plan set up to allow for that. Other students receive that kind of help for various reasons. After all, she's probably still playing catch up developmentally from the experiences she has had. Just another thought for you.

Thanks again for sharing your stories! I haven't said that lately, and I want you to know that I benefit from what you're willing to share about your family

Farrah and Jed said...

Thanks Angel for the tear jerker this afternoon, What would we do without you?
I'm the MEAN stern mommy here and I'm afraid that Madisyn hates me for it...

Your a wonderful mom, and Zo is so sweet....

Farrah and Jed said...

I meant to say that Zoe is a sweet heart...Sorry about that baby girl

Nikki said...

Aww, what a sweetheart. I can't wait to see what an amazing person she is going to grow up to be.

Natalie C. said...

Angel, You are so wise. I wouldn't even know where to begin how to talk to my children. Although mine is only 2 1/2, I love coming to your blog for advice and guidance. I have had the privlege to meet Zoe and watch her. She is one of the kindest people I have ever met, and very smart. I hope she knows how many people think of her the way I do.

Tracey said...

Ahhhh, growing up:( I think you handled the situation so well. We are so mean to ourselves, you are so right. Give Zoe a squeeze for me:)I hope one day she realizes how bright she really is:) You are both so lucky to have eachother!!

The Morgans said...

Thanks Angel I needed that today!!

Candy said...

Like it was said before...I can count on your for a good CRY...hehe...Oh my GOSH girl YOU ARE AWESOME at this and I will need to copy and Past this for me to use on Kya Blu and Jagger on day


Really how cool would that be if our kids could meet AS SOON AS THEY LAND ON US SOIL...Hugs

Faithful Froggers said...

Oh, Angel! What a wonderful lesson you taught Zoe - far more important than any science lesson she will ever have. How lucky she is to have you as her Mom!

Have a great weekend!

Scott and Carolyn said... are an AWESOME mom!!! You are DEFINITELY someone I look up to! :)

I loved reading about your trip and CANNOT wait to see all the new family pics with your precious Kaiya!

Aves @ Call of the Phoebe said...


I loved your story and I wanted to share that you could get Zoe on a 504 plan, which would allow her extra time without pressure to finish her test without feeling over-whelmed. This is for kids that do not need special education services, but do need accomadations. It is just a thought and take it for what it is worth. I am a science teacher in the northern US, and I can so see how it would be very over-whelming for her. I am also in the process of bringing two older girls home from Haiti,and I am glad to know that the 504 is available if needed.

Thanks for sharing her story so that we can all learn.


Michelle Riggs said...

Thank you so much for sharing about your beautiful daughters. You are doing a beautiful job raising your princesses.

I would love for our daughters to meet someday.

Reba said...

What an incredible lesson you have given Zoe. She is a beautiful girl...I can only imagine some of the fear she must feel in her heart with all she has dealt with. I often see that fear in Maria's eyes even when she is at her naughtiest. Or maybe that is especially when... Continue what you are doing with ALL of your girls...they are learning such valuable lessons!

Amy said...

Great post Angel. (see told you not only Zoey needed to hear that one!) Your rock girl and I'm so proud of you! Love, Amy

Sarah said...

Angel... you are an amazing Mommy!! Zoe is so lucky to have you and Russ for parents! Can you raise my teenagers too???

This is a very moving post... thank you for putting it out there for all of us to learn from!!

Also... so EXCITED about your upcoming trip to Kaiya!!!

Anonymous said...

WOW, you are so very smart Angel. My son is 7 and a couple of years ago .. well, in kindergarten, he used to call himself stupid when he did somethign wrong. He too had a loving (but bad-thinking)granddad that slipped that word to him just once when he spilled orange juice, and he never forgot. It's taken me 3 years to take that out of him. I never thought to explain it the way you did though .. that would he call one of his friends stupid if they did something wrong. Thank YOU for that lesson .. and to speak of God's perfect love for us, even if we are not perfect .. you are SO smart and have helped me today, in helping my son if this comes up again. Sorry for Zoe's lying, but ya, it's not because she is adopted, they are all like that at some point (I have a 14 and 16 year old too..) so you did good to nip it now though!


Dimple Queen said...

Angel, that was so sweet! You are an awesome Mommy. Many of us needed to hear just what you said to her too! Thanks for sharing!

My favorite part that will probably stick with me the most is when you asked her "If you are so kind to everyone else then why are you so mean to yourself?

Wow! I know I needed that reminder today!

Katie said...

Thanks for sharing ... you help alot of people with your honesty !!! PS I TAGGED YOU :)

Wendi said...

I second all of these comments. Thank you for a bold voice in a timid world.

PeWee said...

That ended up being a beautiful moment with your daughter!

Tara said...

Once again, you've done it to me Angel - I am sitting here in a ball of tears. How dare you?

These posts, I HAVE read before - honest. BUT - it's only now that it's all making sense.

I SO need to get some chat time with you (once school starts) to learn some of your wisdom....

You are SO natural at this. I 'thought' I was too, until our little 'Belle moved in and now, I'm just feeling like a fish out of water dealing with a pre-teen - AAAAAH!

Are you ready for me?!!! LOL

Thanks again!