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Archive for February 27th, 2013

Then and Now

On Saturday we had a morning of training at the Bair Foundation where they went over all of the “Structured Interventions” we are supposed to be doing with the kiddos on a consistent basis.  Things like having family meetings, daily check-in, tracking behaviors, and house rules.  Some of the ideas we already had in place but a lot of them were very practical things I need to be using in my therapy with the kids.  But as we were talking the thing that stuck out to me the most was when our trainer was talking about how far all our foster kids have come.  With a room of almost 30 parents, she said the progress she’s seen is unbelievable.  Progress?  In our homes?  Surely she can’t mean mine.  But it’s so easy when you are stuck in the middle of the battle and you feel like all you’re ever doing is putting out fires to notice that there are some fires that are no longer burning.  There are some embers that aren’t even glowing anymore.  There are some battles that have been won.  So as I sat there at my “Super Saturday” training I started thinking of all the progress the kids have made in the months they’ve been with me.  And I wanted to write them down so I would start focusing on these positives.  When all I focus on is what still needs improvement, the kiddos are never going to improve.  When I focus on their failures, they will fail.  But if I start to see these victories as evidence that God is working and these kids are growing and things ARE getting better, we may, just maybe, get through this war in one piece.  So, here’s my list of “Then”s and “Now”s.  Starting with Sweet Pea:

  • Showed no emotion, not even when in physical pain…Cries and openly expresses feelings.
  • Stood in front of the mirror saying how much she hates herself and how ugly she is…stands in front of mirror and talks about how adorable she is.
  • Wrote inappropriate things on books and paper and magnetic boards…uses her writing skills to write encouraging notes for others and for creating amazing stories.
  • Struggled coming up with a single sentence to write with her spelling words…easily comes up with well worded sentences and ideas.
  • Wouldn’t take responsibility for misbehaviors…admits to wrong doing and can verbalize where she messed up and how to make it right (even to the point of correctly correcting her brother).
  • Lied about everything…lies about nothing.
  • Woke up several times a night with nightmares…sleeps through the night.
  • Said inappropriate things to strangers in public…carries on a conversation with an adult she just met.
  • Cut or pulled out her hair and pulled out her eyelashes…growing out her beautiful blond hair.
  • Cussed and used foul language…is very cautious of the words that exit her mouth.
  • Had an understanding of Jesus…has a heart for Jesus.
  • Wouldn’t help with chores…takes her dishes to the sink, helps with the dog, and helps clean the house.
  • Threw tantrums for hours…occasionally throws tantrums for minutes.
  • Refused to eat anything…eats pretty much everything, without complaining.
  • Fearful…confident.
  • Detached…attached.
  • Bounced from house to house…finally home.

And now for Little Buddy (although I’ve only known him for a few months, I have seen growth in so many areas):

  • Covered his face and pouted when in trouble…makes eye contact.
  • Refused to admit when wrong…apologizes to the person he’s hurt.
  • Wouldn’t help clean up…cleans up his toys and offers to help his sister.
  • Whining to express feelings…starting to use words to express feelings.
  • Shy and quiet…outgoing and confident.
  • Couldn’t read…Reading little books.
  • Cried when dropped off at church…walks in room by himself, no tears.
  • Lied…tells the truth.
  • Only ate one vegetable…now eats three.
  • Didn’t know Jesus…knows Jesus.
  • Bounced from house to house…finally home.

I need to write these things down.  I need to think of more.  I need to pay attention to the subtle ways their lives are changing and their hearts are opening up to healing.  I need to stop focusing on all the “thens” and start believing God for more “nows”.  What a beautiful work He has done when I wasn’t even watching.  Oh that He would open up my eyes to see His hand just a little, every now and then. 

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