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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

update

I will do a st. louis update later but for now I just wanted to let everyone know that we are having a really really hard time with Anteneh. Please don't let this scare you, I think Anteneh is having a MUCH more difficult transition than the majority of other kids. Not to say we have it the hardest or anything but after visiting with Shimiless, it seems he is REALLY acting out, being very very disrespectful and all together a horrible kid. I just don't know what to do. I am really tired. Tired of being treated like a servant who is nothing more than a stupid joke. Tired of being treated like crap. I am tired of getting up at 7 to wake him up only to be ignored the rest of the day. I know we have only been home 5.5 weeks but I think things are getting worse rather than better. I am constantly ready to snap and mom and I got in a huge fight last night over nothing. School starts in two weeks and something has to change.
Please realize this is my venue to vent my frustrations. Don't think that because you are adopting an older child this will happen to you. Even if your child is at the same orphanage Anteneh came from, chances are their transition will be a lot easier. Our problems are stemming from Anteneh's ideals that he is the cutest thing in the world, everyone should give him presents, clean up after him and he should have free reign of the household.

15 comments:

Hearts of Hope said...

Your brother sounds like a typical Ethiopian boy! I have 5 Ethiopian sons and it is VERY important to me, that they learned that MOM deserves respect. Culturally, boys tend to be rude to woman, so it is a training thing. Any Ethio men in your community who would be willing to set him straight and offer a "manly" point of view of life in America?

Sharon

betsi said...

Our family is a bit like yours --older kids (ok they're recent adults) and younger adopted kids. It sounds like your current experience is not all that unusual with an older child adoption. It is a SLLOOOWWW process of forming into a new family especially when you add in the cultural male superiority issue. The best image someone gave me was that of a mobile. Every time you add another piece to the original mobile it's wobbley and takes time to right itself --just like our families. That being said --it is so tough when you are in the midst of it. There are lots of us out here who have been in the trenches and are happy to help and support. The process is slow but the small rewards are ecetionally sweet! Betsy Mom to 7

Julie said...

Ditto to what Hearts of Hope said. We learned in our adoption training that basically women in Ethiopia are looked on as someone who cooks, cleans and fetches and it is difficult to overcome that view in the boys. And don't feel bad for venting. It's great for others to get a realistic view of the things that you deal with. It helps the rest of us prepare

happy_manatee said...

My 8 year old daughter's behavior, home now 4-and-a-half-months, went downhill after we'd been home about a month also. I think that is when the grief and homesickness really set in. And, they now feel more comfortable that you're not going to give them away if they show you some of their harder emotions. We had lots of raging, tantrums, etc. Things are getting better but we still have a ways to go. Most people tell me it takes at least six months for them to settle in a bit - some say it takes longer than that. It's definitely a process. Good luck!

Suzanne said...

I noticed that you said Antenah's behavior deteriorated more after visiting with Shimiless. I know this is an Ethiopian man, but my older son often deteriorates after time with other Ethiopians, especially his friends from the orphanage. It gets awful. And I've really had issues with his lack of respect, and very poor work ethic. No other way to say it, this boy is LAZY, even by Ethiopian standards. I totally understand being tired and constantly agitated and antagonized by my son. He and his siblings have been home 1.5 years. It gets worse then gets better - a cycle really. Hang in there, it does get better. Take martial arts classes for self-defense. This helps me control my son if/when he has tried to get physical with me. He has found that I am not a push over and rarely tries that route, instead pushing my buttons in other ways. But we seem to be having a break through this summer... maybe. I am hopeful. Please feel free to contact me directly for support and just to vent. God bless you and your family.

Suzanne in MI

Amy said...

Oh sweetie. I dont have any good advice for you but want you to know that I am thinking about and praying for you guys. Hang in there girl!!!

Hugs

suzanneatty said...

So sorry you are at a low spot. All of us who adopt older children have been there, done that. My 11 y.o. son (now 13) really grieved leaving his Ethiopian Mom behind to die without him. We stay in contact and often noticed in the beginning that contact with Ethiopia or other Ethiopian adoptees brought on an incredibly angry/hostile/rude bout of grief. He HATES talking about feelings, so often times I will do the talking, telling him I TOTALLY understand his feelings of sadness and loss, how unfair it is to expect a boy his age to deal with all this "appropriately". BUT - he doesn't get to take it out on us. Grieve, we understand; act out, and there will be consequences, even though we love him and understand. Suzanne in Port Angeles, WA

Rebecca said...

Hey girl.
I am so sorry to hear this....I must say that I wondered if it would happen. I know how bad I feel after having such a great time in St Louis. Hang in there...you are all such awesome people that it just has to work out.

Anonymous said...

I adopted an 8 year old Ethiopian daughter 3 years ago. We had some major problems in the beginning. I felt just as you did in the beginning. Hang in there. I think that in 3 months things will be much better-----and by 6 months maybe almost normal.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry you are going through this. If anyone ever told me how hard it was going to be to adopt a precious 3 yr old girl, I probably would have run to hills screaming NO WAY. But we did. And things are getting better. Slowly but surely. Just know you are not alone (hugs)

Amber

ellerbee eight said...

Wow, I wish I had known what Suzanne said about their behavior getting worse after seeing their friends... as you know we have had a MAJOR freaking meltdown here at Ellerbeeville. Josh is actually refusing to do things... which he's never out and out done before. He's always been lazy and ignored us, but he's never just absolutely been defiant to me. He says he doesn't like people and would rather be alone than be with us... ouch! I would love to talk to Suzanne in Michigan and hearts of hope. I thought 6 months was when things were supposed to be getting better. I pretty much want to crawl in a hole and die right now. I am tired of being his slave... I am tired of being ignored. This boy is the laziest kid I've ever known and so unmotivated. When I asked him if he wanted to just sit around by himself and think about nothing... he said yes, that was what he was after. Guess what? That's exactly what he's going to get for awhile. Miranda - I love you and I feel for you. I cried today and it helped a little. I will continue to pray for you! Blog on girlfriend... it makes us feel better.

Kim said...

Hey guys..Kim Stordahl here..sorry Grace and Miranda you are dealing w/all these challenges. I appreciate you sharing..I know you dont want to scare those of us adopting older kids..its nothing most of us havent heard or read....but it does just a wee bit..only natural..I am hearing Wubitu might be 8 now..some say 9! ..so it is ever more important to know what is possible in store for us..as I was not prepared for this age. Lets face it, emotions and hormones are much different when they are 8, 9 10 than4, 5 6. I am learning from the comments posted here too...The comment about learning martial arts..NOW THAT IS SCARY! you are in my prayers Grace/ Miranda..you will be an expert and the go to gal when my guys come home!! Thanks for sharing..God Bless..Kim

Anonymous said...

When we adopted our son from Ethiopia 3 years ago, we figured things would be more or less "settled" by the 6 week mark. As my kids would say - NOT! We adjusted our expectations to the 3 month mark. NOT! By one year, we had "normalized" as a family, still with many issues and knots to work out, but it felt like a family again. We also expected a grieving child when we adopted, but we expected that grieving to manifest itself as sadness and crying - the same way we would grieve. Well,it turns out that a grieving child looks angry, disrespectful, frightened, defensive, etc - not so much sad! But they are still grieving! It
took us a while to realize this.

So yes, you need to be firm and let your son know you must be respected - but at the same time, gather up all your empathy and love for this child who has lost everything - everything! - and is probably freaked out beyond belief to be in a new family, new country, new culture, new language, etc., so very far from home. Stick with him and you will grown and learn to love in ways you can't even imagine now. It is so worthwhile.

Lots of Luck to you during this very difficult time - I remember - it is very hard!

Owlhaven said...

Hi, Never been here before but wanted to let you know that you are SOOOO not alone in this challenging-older-child adoption thing. We have 10 and 12 year old girls who have been home one full year. Some things are better, but still 3-4 days a week are tough. One thing that helped my sanity was a consequences chart-- I blogged about it here. http://www.owlhaven.net/2008/02/20/works-for-me-champ-ladder/
If you can figure out what motivates your son, that is a big key. My girls love movies, later bedtimes, and phone time. But still there are just days that stink. Hang in there. YOu're not alone.

Mary, mom to 10, (6 adopted, but only 2 at older ages.)

SisterMom said...

I would love to talk to Hearts of Hope and Suzanne as well as anyone else who has advice, Gina. This has been such a hard week
Grace