Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Laila Lou is Four!

Today this precious girl is four!

I can't believe we have been privileged enough to celebrate three birthdays with her. It seems surreal. Only a few short weeks after she moved in she turned two. And when I look back at that little girl, I can't believe how far we've come. As a family, as a mom and daughter, as a team.

She has come so far. She was such a scared and hurt little girl when she arrived. She had suffered far more than I even knew at that point.

And now I look at her and I am just overwhelmed with the goodness of God. How far he has brought her (and us) in such a short time. How much He has shown me through her.

Today is a special day for her in so many ways. Last night I let her stay up (because her and I watch the Voice together, for a bit.) and I started talking to her about her story. And reminding her that her birthday is the day we celebrate that she came out of her Niah-Mommy's tummy (name changed). So we talked about her Niah Mommy for a while. And then we settled back in to our show. And I couldn't help but feel a bit overwhelmed. Thinking of all that God has brought this powerful little girl through in such a short time that she has been here. And yet her story is really just beginning.

If you've read this blog for a while you might remember my new years resolutions for my kids... With Laila we decided that this would be the year that she learns her power and preciousness. That we would help her find her voice...

Well, we're nearly five months in and yesterday we had our first public victory!

David went to pick up Laila from school and the teacher pulled him aside. She said, "I am going to ask you a question in front of Laila on purpose so she can hear your answer. Okay?"

We have a little history with the teacher and have asked her to only speak to us about our kids behaviors away from the kids...
"Okay." Said David hesitantly.

She then went on, "Now Dad Laila said that her mom says it is okay for her to hit people... Is that true? Can Laila hit people? Because she said her mommy said she can hit people."

Laila hit a class mate.
It wasn't what we were going for.
But the point is, Laila has found her voice. She is no longer throwing fits, or acting like an infant. She is no longer crying and pointing when she has a need, and she is no longer letting people hurt her.
She is using her voice!

(Now obviously we had to remind her that we don't hit our friends when they knock over our castle. We use our words.... And reminded her that the only time it is okay to push people is if they will not stop hurting your body when you ask them to. You see, we all do this with most 18-36 month olds. They hit, because they are learning how to tell people how they like to be treated. It's a normal developmental stage. Unfortunately Laila never felt that anyone would listen to her boundaries about her body... So we are teaching her now that she is precious and powerful, and you can read more about it here.)

So today we celebrate this amazing little girl and the story she has yet to write with her amazing life. We love you Laila Lou and we are so honored to be Mommy and Daddy.

An Interview with Laila:
What is your Favorite color?

Who is  your favorite sibling?
Charli because she is getting bigger like that.

What is your favorite thing to do?

What is your favorite food?
Ummm.... Strawberries, and skittles, and jelly beans.

Tell me about the most amazing thing you've ever done.
Eat candy and eat strawberries.

Is there anything else you want to tell people on your birthday?
Yes. I want to tell them that I am getting a new chair for you.


  1. I love that Charli is her favorite:) Sisters gotta stick together!

  2. I've just read an article on adoptivefamilies.com about how you've helped her find her voice. I have 3 adopted compliant girls, girls that rarely express a need because they were so used to them not being met.
    I recently blogged about baby girl who is finally learning to express her needs, and is even feeling brave enough to be a little stroppy with me, I desperatly long for her to have a tantrum because, well that's what kids do isn't :)
    I have to say, I do differ in opinion with your 'hitting in defense' is ok theory. I totally get why told her this and I fully understand your motive, but for us, I want my girls to see that I can meet their needs, that I can keep them safe, that I can protect them and that they can trust and rely on me. The message you've given Laila is that its ok to defend herself, the message I choose to give my girls is that I will protect them, and they don't need to ever have to worry about keeping themselves safe anymore, that's mommy's job.
    I hope my difference of opinion doesn't cause offence, adoption is hard enough without feeling as though your being judged so please don't feel I am, I can tell from the little i've read that your a wonderful mummy who loves her daughter and is doing all she can to empower her, I don't in any way mean to critisise your 'ways' I just wanted to share our 'ways' as well.
    I've only just found your blog so I know very little about your family but I intend to have a good read of your journey :) Happy Birthday to your gorgeous girl :)

    1. Thanks for your thoughts!
      I don't know how old your girls are, but unfortunately I do not have the privilege of always being able to protect Laila. She goes to school, and soccer, and dance, and she plays in the basement, out of my sight. And that is why I felt it important to teach her this.
      Almost all children(and people) will defend themselves. This is a natural instinct. Unfortunately when a child has been severely neglected the message that they receive is that they do not matter. When a child has been a victim of domestic violence, they are taught to not defend themselves, or they will get hurt worse.
      And I do not believe those things to be good messages for Laila to take into her life as an adult. I want her to know that if she uses her words and asks someone to stop hurting her and they do not. That she is worth it. That she needs to, that she deserves to, and that she is entitled to defend herself.
      I do not want her hitting classmates when they knock over her castle! But I do think that this is a step in the right direction.
      There is a thought that the recovery of function recapitulates the discovery of function. Meaning that in order to relearn something, you must go back to the beginning, and re-teach it. So just like my two year ild hits people when they hurt him, and he is learning what is appropriate ways to express himself. I need to take Laila back to this mark as well.

      It sounds like you have some wonderful girls on your hands and I hope to get a chance to read your story as well soon! Glad to "see" you around on blog land!

  3. She is precious! I love that she is finding her voice and her strength. I know these wishes will arrive late but, Happy Belated Birthday, Laila! I hope you had an awesome day!!!