Thank you to everyone who has supported our family (especially our Anna) both on and off this blog as we learn to deal with ADHD. I apprecaite every comment - from those who have been through it, to those who have taught children with it, those who have a family member, those who just know how to support us in what for us, has been a very difficult time. I will say that I know so many others who are dealing with so much more, and I am SO VERY THANKFUL that I don't have more that I am having to deal with, with regard to Anna - but for us this has been difficult as well. Seeing Anna struggle has probably been the hardest part.
There have been times when Anna could not get a green ticket at school to save her life. I would drop her off at the door in the morning with a routine "Remember: Love God and Love others. Treat others how you would want to be treated. Treat people with kindness. Do not speak out of turn. Hands are for hugging. Kind words should come out of your mouth". It was one constant reminder after another.
Then we'd get to work and the phone would ring. If it was the school, I knew it was bad. If it was Tim, I wondered if he was calling me to tell me the school called him. For awhile I would get upset if he called me for a work question because I lived in fear that he was calling because he got called about Anna.
I fear even writing this, because surely my world will fall in around me just for writing it... but yesterday Anna celebrated getting her 15th (yes, 15!!!!) green ticket in a row. She has not only gotten green tickets, but has mostly come home with green tickets with a tootsie roll taped to it. "Green ticket with a tootsie-roll" means that you did not even have to be reminded once throughout the day about your behavior or how to treat people. This is the Anna that I KNEW was always there. I can't remember the last time Anna got two green ticket in a row let alone 15!!! Not only am I happy for me... it makes coming to work and having the phone ring a lot less stressful :) but I'm more happy for Anna. This is the child I'm sure she has wanted to be. You could see the frustration in her before. You could see her sadness in not being able to achieve like the others. She has a different "pep" in her step. Her smile is bigger, her eyes brighter, her laughter comes more readily - because she is not constantly suffering consequences.
I'm keeping a calendar of her progress - both in terms of behavior at school and in terms of any side effects of the medication that we notice. At first it was a decreased appetite, she was unable to sleep through the night and she was more weepy than I have ever seen her. These are for the most part gone though. The only thing that still remains is somewhat less of an appetite than she had before, but nothing to be concerned about.
It's actually interesting to see the things she gravitates to now... she is still a rough player. Anna has always been a kid that plays and plays hard. At the same time, she has colored me picture after picture. She has never been able to really sit still for extended periods and color a full picture. She would move onto something else half way through. Now, not only does she color a full picture in one sitting, but she might color more than one. She is also a great writer. She enjoys writing letters - I have so many little love notes from Anna saying "I luv you mom" (She sounds out love and to her it is spelled that way). She also just likes letter formation - she has sat down and copied parts of the bible... now what mother in their right mind would stop their child from doing that??? :) Copy away my dear Anna! Copy away.
One of her after school child care workers, I'll call her Ms. "H" - she'll know who she is if she reads this - is such the cheerleader for Anna. She has always loved my Anna, but she is quick to notice the difference in her as well. Every day I walk in, she tells me what an EXCELLENT day Anna has had. One day, I went to pick the kids up from school and Cameron want out to the car with Tim and I went and got Anna. She was in the office. I thought "oh no - this didn't last very long". She came skipping out of the office with Ms. H. Because she was having such a great behavior day, she was allowed to go to the child care office and help with some things in there. She was THRILLED. The smile on her face was huge. You could always see it on her face when her brother had the opportunity to do these things, but she never did. They got to put together snack bags for a special kids treat, or things like that - even things like putting announcements in envelopes for the parents. The kids who are behaving have an opportunity to help and they all enjoy that. Anna had her turn. All by herself and the smile on her beaming little face as she was skipping down the hall was priceless!
I worried about how the medication would change Anna's personality... would she just sit there and do nothing? Anna has always reminded me of a little hummingbird - flitting all over, bringing people joy wherever she went. (ok, when she was not misbehaving). But seriously, that was her personality. I did not want to see that changed, and thankfully, it has not. I really have not noticed anything, other than a less frustrated, more compliant child! Praise God for that!
On the adoption... no news. We've been waiting over three months now and anticipate waiting quite a bit longer. Wish I had more to share in that regard!
Thank you all again, for all of your support!