Haven't written for a while because we've just been living it. This is absolutely the hardest job I've ever done.
The girl is getting more and more used to us and there are longer stretches of calm between the storms, but the storms do come. Last night I got a good solid punch on the arm, but I dealt with it properly by letting it go. I know that she's scared shitless when she feels so frustrated and misunderstood that she loses control of herself.
Last night, after the kids went to bed, the husband and I watched "ReMoved" which is a 12-minute movie about a girl who is taken away from her family after her father is arrested. Her acting out ends up with her living in different foster homes, but the whole movie is from her point of view and I learned so much about what the feelings of the children are and why they explode.
My girl has been through so much that we have no idea about. She was given up by her birth mother within a week of her birth, she was put in an institution, she was taken out of the institution and put in a group home -- something went wrong there, that we don't know about, so she was removed from the group home, then she was institutionalized again, and now she's with us. How can she not feel that no one wants her? How can she not be waiting for us to reject her and send her away again, so she's hardening her heart against us? How can she not be asking herself every day of her life "Who am I?" "Why am I here?" "Why does no one want me?"
And yet, and yet. Every morning is a new start. This morning, we greeted her as usual at the breakfast table; I got up to defrost some rice for her because the boy was extra hungry and almost cleaned out the rice cooker. She sat next to me at the table and we all chatted companionably. She asked about dinner and we'd promised her udon and gyoza. The boy whined, because dad also promised stew. I said that tonight we'd have udon and tomorrow stew. The boy whined. The girl said she'd be fine to switch. I thanked her sincerely for her flexibility. She asked the boy to promise that he would do the same for her. He concurred and I was proud of both of them for working it out.
These children amaze me. They have been through so much and they are trying so hard. They are my teachers. I am learning for them and from them.
We are slowly, slowly, making our way towards each other, opening our hearts. There will be storms, but in between there will be sun.
My thanks to all who continue to help me on this journey. You know who you are!