The Visit

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Let me start by saying that Dimples’ visit was very, very good. I have many thoughts about it, but today I’ll give you the broad overview.

Dimples and her therapist arrived at 4:00 on Friday. We sat and visited for a little bit then Dimples played games with her siblings while I made dinner. When I told them to set the table, she did it without complaint. Dinner was fine; she was content with the food, which was wonderful since food has been a huge issue over the years. For the first time in awhile, the big bottle of hot sauce was back on the table.

After dinner Dimples started to get a little silly and have some energy that wasn’t going anywhere good. Her therapist helped her talk about what she was really feeling, which was anxious feelings about going to bed. I asked her what she needed from me and how I could help her. We talked about leaving the closet light on and making sure she had her mp3 player. I suggested that I set up a CD player and give her the binder filled with Adventures in Odyssey cd’s and she liked that idea.

At 8:30 the therapist left for the hotel and I helped Dimples get settled. She accepted hugs, kisses, and prayers. When I checked on her at 10:00, she was still awake, but the wonderful and amazing thing was that she was staying in her room.

The next morning the kids played games again, then Dimples and Sunshine helped me make a pumpkin cheesecake for dinner. The therapist arrived and we took the girls grocery shopping. They were particularly excited about choosing a treat to share with their friend, Happy, at a tea party that afternoon. I have to laugh because after careful deliberation, they chose spicy chips – not a conventional tea party selection. It was a fun and relaxing trip to the store.

When we got home, the girls wanted to prepare for the party, but I had them help me put groceries away and chop lots of vegetables for dinner. Dimples was edgy and I could see that she was working very hard to be respectful and do what I asked. It was hard for her, but both girls pitched in, we got the work done, and then they got out their pretty tea cups and set the table for their party.

The afternoon passed with the three girls enjoying each other, while Signe, Michele, and I visited with the therapist. It’s an odd thing having a therapist in your home for a weekend. We didn’t do anything special and I think she got a true sense of who we are and how we live.

That gathering ended just in time for the girls to clear the table and set it for dinner. The older kids arrived and by 6:00 we were sitting down to our weekly family dinner. Dimples had a movie that she wanted to share with her siblings, and they were tired, so after dinner they piled on the sofa while the adults sat visiting at the table.

Dimples wanted Samuel to load her mp3 player with Odysseys and music, so while the other kids went to bed, she sat at the computer with him until 10:00. It was very sweet to see them listening to music together. Bedtime was easy because Dimples was so tired.

Sunday morning we were up and out the door before 8:00 for church. Friends were very happy to see Dimples and gave her big hugs. Everyone exclaimed over how much older she looked – and a little taller too. After the service, we settled the other kids in Sunday school and headed home with Dimples and her therapist, where we spent an hour an a half processing the weekend and saying goodbye.

This is long enough for now and I need to get rolling with school, but I have some observations I’ll share over the next couple of days about: the importance of Dimples having her own room, sibling/friend relationships, getting to real feelings, learning to say goodbye, and the supreme value of having a big rocking chair.

More tomorrow.

Lisa

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

13 Comments

  1. Paula Miles Spears
    November 13, 2013

    Loved hearing about this.

    Reply
  2. Emily
    November 13, 2013

    I love you. I'm so happy for you guys.

    ps: "It’s an odd thing having a therapist in your home for a weekend." Ummmmm you have some practice. 😉

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      November 13, 2013

      You don't count! You're better than a therapist – you're a friend.

      Reply
      1. Emily
        November 13, 2013

        and how blessed I am to be!

        Reply
  3. Luann Yarrow Doman
    November 13, 2013

    This made me teary. There is something about Dimples smile that is so captivating, and I want her insides to match her outsides.

    I love how the weekend was structured. I would have been tempted to treat her more like a guest, but you did the right thing…treated her as a contributing family member. I just finished reading reading "The Connected Child," and your response to Dimples' anxiety was very Karen Purvis-ish (How can I help you?") Have you found the principles in her book to be practical with kids from hard places? I love the idea of the re-do and am instituting it with my almost 2.5-year-old.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      November 13, 2013

      I rely on things I've learned from Karyn every, single day. She is one of my heroes. "Tell me what you need," is the most powerful phrase I use with Eby.

      Reply
  4. Mary (Owlhaven)
    November 13, 2013

    So glad it went well– hooray!

    Reply
  5. unconventionalwomanhood
    November 13, 2013

    Joy. So wonderful.:-) Prayers continue.:-)

    Reply
  6. Tracy
    November 13, 2013

    O dear. this sounds like our house and visits…right down to the hot sauce. which…I just noticed is Code RED…as we are almost out! Our daughter has been in Residential since July. it's almost as if you are writing OUR story. play by play. thank you for sharing this Lisa. thank you.

    Reply
  7. Debbie
    November 13, 2013

    So happy for you…

    Reply
  8. Ann
    November 13, 2013

    Thank you for sharing! I love both girls smiles! Sunshine looks especially exuberant and Dimples looks shyly delighted and soaking in the love. I've always believed there would be healing down this long road and I still believe! Praying and praying. We will never give up praying!

    Reply
  9. scooping it up
    November 13, 2013

    what a relief it went well. it made me think about this concept that some kids with severe PTSD and emotional regulation issues need a one on one. My 4 year old cannot make it through one meal without a parent managing him and every lift of the fork. He can't make it through an activity, a class, or family time without a parent helping. He needs an "aide" that is there just for him. It's not fair in a family dynamic that he takes so much of the time when there are so many other kids who'd like our attention, laps, hands, energy, etc. And then I see this successful weekend for Dimples and I bet part of the success is that she had her "one on one aide" there, the therapist, who was her person.

    How to move beyond him needing constant support so we can be there for other kids, well, THAT escapes me.

    Reply
  10. Emily B
    November 14, 2013

    What progress!!! What praise!!! I can't wait to hear the rest of your observations.

    Reply

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