Friday, January 15, 2010

Seeking help for our sweet girl

I have always been a big believer in seeking assistance for myself or my children when I either do not have the answers or the tools to deal with life's interesting twists and turns. With that said, we have made the decision to speak to a therapist about Katie.

Katie has been struggling mightily since her grandfather passed away this past September during the time when her father was so ill and then operated on shortly after his own father's death. Since that tumultuous time in our lives, Katie has struggled with sadness and a bit of anxiety as it relates to illness and potential loss of any of her loved ones. When one of us is ill (and even has the slightest complaint) she is hyper-vigilant in her level of concern and worry. She will ask continuously whether we are OK or are feeling better. In addition, when Grandma is around, Katie will bring up how much she misses Grandpa and then let out a long and very sad wail. She will even bring him up out of the blue and then respond the same way. She is becoming a bit more obsessed with controlling her surroundings and I do not want it to lead to OCD which is as painful to watch as it is to live.

I know in my heart that she is more vulnerable than most due to her early losses and her three sets of caregivers in her first year of life, culminating with being adopted in her sleep and waking up in a strangers (us) hotel room. What a nightmare for any child!! I feel that she does not feel completely safe that the bottom will not drop out again. I hate to see her suffering this way so we contacted a child psychologist that we met when she spoke to our FCC Chapter about psychological implications, as they regard to adopted children.

Adding some complication to all this is that I have gone back to work outside of the home 30 hours per week and this past week has been very tough on her. She asks her daddy for me dozens of times a day while I am gone and is very needy right now. She is not sleeping well and has been waking us up nightly crying in her sleep about missing mommy and where is mommy??

I have had one session with the therapist and to sum it up, she feels that this past year of business closure, Marc's illness and Al's death has been just about as traumatic in some ways as Katie's first year. No matter how much that we tried to shield the children from the worry and pain, there was really no way that they would not feel the vibes. The therapist says that children key into these emotions like animals. They do not need to hear anything to know that something is very wrong. She has given me some tools to deal with it and would like to see us a couple of more times to see how Katie relates to me and then to me and Marc to determine her level of good attachment.

Nature vs Nurture comes into play with our children in such a big way. Ethan had a very difficult time of it as well, being so ill and neglected for the first two and a half years of his life. Somehow though, he is much more able to let things roll of his back. He is quite resilient. Katie's personality is much more complex and it really is WHO SHE IS. She can think through any new situation ad nauseum and it only serves to be more painful for her. I really do not think that aspect of her personality has much to do with her nurture. I think this may be her, so we will have to help her work through issues in as painless a way as possible.

I am happy that we are being proactive with this so that we can give Katie the best chance possible to live in a more peaceful state. I know that we do alot "RIGHT" at home but I also know that there is no way that we can really understand the feelings that live inside our daughter's sweet head and heart. This really hurts us so much. She is such a wonderful, loving, empathetic, smart and beautiful child. I hope to be able to add peaceful to that list of superlatives soon.


Monica said...

Lori, I know that you will be able to find the way to helping Katie deal with all of this. Working with a good therapist is such a help. We have been doing that with our Katie for a while. Different situations, but some similarities. Illness & anxious attachment for us. I know you are an amazing Mother & am proud of you for doing everything that you can to make sure that your children are safe & happy mind, body & soul. I'll try to call you this weekend.

Teresa said...

I think the losses and stresses that your collective family members have experienced over the last few years would take a toll on most adults. I think that it's an extreme toll on any 4-year old and even more so on a soul as sensitive and caring as your Katie. Good for you and her to be so proactive and helping her before this takes such a deep root that she will have life-long issues of anxiety. It's too easy for us parents to think they will outgrow these things and we ignore them, but you are doing well to take care of it now.

Tammie said...

Being the proactive parents that you & Marc are is probably the best thing for Katie Starr in the long run.

This has certainly been a hard year for everyone in your family. As sensitive as your sweet girl is, she is also a strong person. I know that with the guidance of her amazing parents she will do well.

If you need anything, I'm here.

Vivian M said...

Kudos to you both for being proactive and seeking help for Katie. Sometimes love is not enough, and our kids needs more help.
Sending you all huge hugs. Been there, still doing that! And it will get better.

M3 said...

Good for you! Part of being a great parent is knowing when you need help and getting it. Sounds simple, but actually doing it is so dang hard. And you guys are just the best.

Candy said...

You had mentioned that you were going to do this, and I'm happy you did. Katie and the rest of the family will benefit greatly.

Donna said...

Katie is at an age where loss is especially difficult. She's too young to understand that losing a loved one isn't a crap-shoot but old enough to appreciate how long "forever" is when they do go.

My son was four when my Mother died and it took years before he was comfortable with being separated from me. Years! School was okay but I'd better not try to leave him alone with Grandpa or Aunt Lara or anyone else! I wish I'd understood more about his problems back then and I wish I'd had the resources to help him. You're wise to get Katie this help now.

Sending hopes and prayers for a good outcome!

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