Wow, I've been off of here for a while now. Seems strange that I haven't written much, but here at the house it's been chaos. We have to prepare for our first home study for Jia's return, and there is so much I need to accomplish. We have TOO MUCH STUFF - and I'm trying to either throw things out, donate to goodwill, or figure out what I can sell (either on Ebay or to a local store that buys children's clothes... believe it or not I have about 8 huge tubs - and I mean about 3.5' x 2' x 2' in measurements - crammed full of clothing that Kenzie wore and Jia will never be able to.) Yeah, I bought a lot of clothes when I had Kenzie - and most of them she wore possibly a handful of times. I have fancy fru-fru dresses that she never even got to wear because I couldn't schedule a photo shoot for her - and the others were worn once or twice at the very most. I hope I can recoup some of my money back.
The really good news is that things have gotten so much easier with Jia. In the last 2-3 weeks, she's had a bit of a turnaround... and is behaving so much better. She's finally "getting it" when it comes to what it means to be in a family. She takes it to heart when we punish her, instead of just being mad about being made to sit somewhere for a period of time. I hate to hear her cry when we give her time outs - her little heart is breaking - because she wants very much to be a good girl - but there is that part of her that still has to push us as far as she can to learn what she can and can't do. But the pushing is a lot less, and not as drastic as it was previously. We're finally looking at more normal sibling arguments and exchanges of what is "fair", and who gets to do what when. I love it.
I can honestly say that older child adoption isn't for everyone - and it probably would have been much easier had Jia been our only child, not our second. I could have spent far more time with her, and she would have immediately felt "special" without having to compare her situation with Kenzie's . It's amazing how smart and self-aware she is, and always looking to find where she is being treated "the same as" Kenzie. And overall, I think we actually had it pretty easy in our adjustment, now that I look back. It only seemed extremely difficult because we had it so easy when we first adopted Kenzie. But my husband has many times nailed the situation on the head, especially when he has talked to some of his clients about childrens' behavioral issues and what was going on with us. Yup, we had it relatively easy. I was exhausted and bewildered at first, but now, 5 months of being home and I couldn't imagine a life without Jia. She brings a lot of excitement into our life. And as Roy said, we were probably taking Kenzie for granted because she was so easy to take care of. Now, we have an appreciation of both kids for what they bring to the family.
I can say that all my concerns about Jia were pretty unfounded when it came to whether or not her behavior was truly a problem or was a kid who was a bit out of control. The other day one of Kenzie's friends at her Kindergarten asked her daddy if Kenzie could come over that afternoon to play, and when her daddy told her no, that there was something he had to take care of before Kenzie could come over, perhaps they could do it next week, the little girl began crying and then kicked at her dad and began hitting at him. My my whole face did this:
He had to pick her up and carry her down to his van so he could calm her down. I turned to Kenzie's teacher and said, "I will NEVER, NEVER again complain about anything Jia or Kenzie does again." And I meant it. NEVER. They have their little hissie-fits, but NOTHING that compares to that little girl's temper tantrum. Kenzie had never tried to hit out at me except for once, and it was half-hearted. A talk with her about that and it's never happened again. Jia has kicked out, but it was on the bed when she was laying down in a time out and she wasn't really trying to kick anyone, just kicking on the bed because she was so frustrated and mad. She has since calmed down, and doesn't do the kicking thing. She really doesn't want to hurt anyone.
Kenzie is getting ready for her dance recital. We've been having her practice her dance steps 3-4 times each day. I had to threaten her that I wouldn't video tape it if she didn't practice. And she's improving tremendously as she does it every night. Looks like my evil plan is working. Her recital is May 2nd, and I expect that once we get to that night, she'll know the routine very well... However, just like last year, I'm sure there will be something that will draw her attention away from her dance... Oh, well... she's only 6 years old.
The dance studio we take the kids to is going to have lessons in theater (singing, dancing, acting) next year (the 2009-2010 school year). I would love to get both of the kids in that... but will have to find a way to come up with about $225 per kid AND afford the costume fees. But I think it would be great for both kids to get involved. I can especially see Jia excelling in it - she LOVES to act and entertain and sing. However, I have found that Kenzie has a sweet little voice (and she can carry a tune really well - but her voice is so soft that it's hard to hear her sometimes). When she first started "singing", she was waaaaaaay off key. I think Roy's hopes that she would be the next Christina Aguilera or Brittany Spears was dashed at that point. Me? I don't think I want her going the rock star route. Very few people can handle it without getting into drugs, sex, and being surrounded by leaches who only befriend you so they can live off of your wealth and fame (or notoriety).
Well... I've gone way overboard for this post. More information than what anyone really wanted to know. I hope to be able to post a few pics soon. I've been horribly lax at taking them here lately. Bad Mama!