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Oh Holy Tantrum

Here we have been cruising along, no major issues. We've had some hiding of pull ups and skid mark underwear but that's pretty standard for the age range 7-9 (I feel). The pull up I found of Sarah's on Saturday, stuffed in the bin in the closet, prompted a repeat of the family therapy discussion we had about embarrassing stuff (bed wetting) being more embarrassing when we hid the evidence and Mom finds it anyway (because she always does).

I very calmly said that she needed to find any others that were in the room and throw them out. That any found after that day would be treated as new and the consequences would be going back to sheets (meaning she needs to strip the bed and put them in the washer) and writing sentences and no TV. (We've been escalating the consequences over the past few weeks.)

Monday night we shared the news that we have an adoption court date with the kids. The kids cheered! Everyone seemed excited.

You know where this is going, right? Anyone want to guess what was found today? 

Yes. A dirty pull up, in the closet.

Very calmly I said you need to go get paper. And the sobbing began. 

I asked why she didn't just throw it out.

"I didn't want to."

Hmm. Not I don't know. Not I forgot. 

I didn't want to.

I set the timer. 2 minutes to get the sobbing out of the system. She was still going and now inturrupting the rest of the family.

Please go to your room to calm down.

Well of course that resulted in screaming. Thrashing. Hitting herself.

And it was right around then that it clicked as to what was really going on.

The ADOPTION is actually happening. Not someday. Not after court. Not in the next six months. 

In three weeks. Mom wrote it on the calendar, so it must be real. 

So I went into the room and sat across from her. I tried to engage her "rules". 

I don't want anything! 

And as I talked her through the "big feelings" I got enough nods and shoulder shrugs to get to the core of the problem. She didn't trust this was actually happening. And was worried if she was still wetting the bed we wouldn't adopt her. Or rather, she was proving to herself she wasn't worthy of love forever and her pull up was going to prove it. And probably doing something to make sure I noticed her because I might leave her behind. So many people promised to take care of her and then walked away from that responsibility. I'd have a hard time feeling secure in what was happening too.

It's been a long time since Sarah has had that strong of a tantrum. I forget at times that she's capable of them. Or that they were daily at one point. And I should have anticipated this reaction based on what happened when the goal change to adoption was delayed last year. 

But we did a good job 1) recognizing the trigger 2) talking through the feelings 3) regulating and staying calm and 4) reviewing the better approach to discussing these scary feelings.

I reiterated that adoption is hard and complicated and often filled with a lot of emotions, sometimes conflicting ones. I told her that it was okay to feel sad about the adoption and worried about what that means for Sheila and her place/role in her life. I shared that, I too, feel sad that Sheila misses out on the everyday stuff but that doesn't mean I can't be happy that they are my kids.

We moved on and got through the rest of the night.

But YAY for adoption day (finalized 4-5 weeks after our day in court)! Such a long time coming!


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