Saturday, December 18, 2010


Anastasia hit her breaking point.  Poor little thing.
After a few short months when she:
  • Lost her teacher and her safe and structured class.
  • Lost her best friend at school....
  • Lost her cross country coach, after she'd just discovered the sport she loved.
  • Was thrown into middle school, albeit small, it is still a lot to deal with - different teachers, different building, a lot more people, a lot of boys, a lot of girls who don't like her (and since she acts horrible when nervous and scared, I can't blame them)
  • She had a Birthday - huge trigger
  • She endured other people's birthdays - worse triggers
  • Christmas approaches (triggers galore)
  • New nephew  (trigger)
  • And, finally......a visit from her sister....the sister who she can't help but see as her mother's "real" daughter.  She longs for Lydia to love her, but can't believe she does.

Lydia arrived on Thursday; Anastasia and I picked her up at the airport.  BAD night on Thursday.  Bad, bad, bad.  But eventually, I was able to get her alone in a room, and after any number of unpleasant and quasi-violent interactions, she dissolved into tears and related all the abuse she's been taking at school.  The girls don't befriend her, because she is so nervous she tries too hard and comes off as a snippy, boy-crazy, b*t#ch.  I hate to admit it, but she glosses herself over not only with too much make-up, but with a hard shell.  With the girls.  She flirts shamelessly with the boys, all of the boys. The boys are uncomfortable and the girls don't like it, either.  She makes herself sound stupid.  I can't stand it....but there is so little I can see to do about it.  I can (and may) put her back up in the elementary building after break (and delay this scene by nine more months) but she mentioned that one of the sixth grade boys walked by her in the lunch room and gave her a violent elbow jab to the ribs.  I suppose he feels she is being "uppity"....moving up to "middle school".  And, I wouldn't doubt she brought it on herself to some extent, by her expression or attitude to him.  That would be in keeping.  She doesn't stand around school looking sweet and approachable, that is for sure.  But, be that as it may - she somehow thinks that what she is doing will work.  She longs to be liked; included, to have friends.  She doesn't know how.  Poor little thing.

Friday was marginally better and she went back to some of her tried and true "methods" of self-soothing.  I was actually proud of her, that she took her DVD player and retired to her bedroom with four movies.  Not what I'd recommend - except in this case, for her.

Only hopeful thing - she seems better able to voice inner feelings.  "I come from garbage; I'm garbage."  "You're not my mommy; you're Lydia's mommy."  "You're not my real mom; Lydia's not my real sister."  "I'm just going to be a sl*t, like my real mother."  "I have to have a boyfriend; I don't know why; I'm obsessed; I have to have someone love me."  Horrible things to hear, but somehow I think that putting words to it is actually a sign that she might be ready to benefit from some therapy.

As far as school goes....what to do?  I can keep her in the secondary building.  She is working hard and doing fine academically.  It isn't actually as stringent and demanding as what she was doing before, but she is capable of the work.  The social life is very hard for her....but do I try and protect her from everything?  On the other hand the other night she was threatening to retaliate and while worried about "going to the office" and getting "in trouble" with authorities, I could see she was truly evaluating what would be worse - putting up with the abuse or turning on her attackers. 

I can put her back in the 5/6 class in the other building.  Social life, odd.  Two much younger girls, one of whom is "difficult" (i.e. she seems to not have a very well-developed social intelligence).  And boys, most younger.  But, if she bonded with the teacher, I'd be assured that she'd be making good educational progress at an appropriate level.  It would probably be humiliating for her.

Her former teacher did start a "school".  Mrs. A's school is something like homeschooling with tutoring - but Mrs. A is a brilliant teacher.  This is the milieu in which I think Nastya would learn the most.  Socially, she'd not really have much challenge.  I think there are six or so kids working there.  Her age or older.  Nice kids.  There's be a cost.  Logistically (pick up and drop off) difficult.


You'd never think, by looking.....
Nastya asked to go back to the Catholic School where she imagines she had lots of friends.  I don't recall this being the case, actually, and I think we'd have the boy-crazy follies....only this time in my workplace.  Not sounding good, is it?  And there is a cost here, too. 

My husband is mostly for leaving her where she is, but she doesn't talk to him. 

 Any advice is welcome!





Fioleta said...

*hugs* Sorry, no advice. The secondary school doesn't sound like a healthy environment for her, but I disliked school a lot, so am very biased. From what you are saying Mrs A "school" sounds like the best option if it wasn't for the cost and driving. Is it the one you would prefer?

Diana said...

I'm sure you've probably already addressed the obvious with her...where does SHE want to be? It's a tough call all the way around. One thing I can say for sure, though, is that middle school is rough for all kids. My daughter has really struggled with the whole friends and overwhelm thing. It's a tough age. Kids this age really are too old for elementary school and many of them end up really bored or getting in trouble and bullying the younger kids. But socially and emotionally, they're not quite ready to swim in the ocean with all the other bigger kids and social pressures. It's a tough call, for sure!

Tina in CT said...

Does she see a child psychiatrist on a regular basis? I think her problems are such that it's just too much for a parent to try to solve.

Annie said...

Diana - She wants to go back to the Catholic School, but I have this idea that she forgets the social issues with the girls (which were hard - among other things everyone there is quite wealthy so it adds another whole set of issues) but I think her desire is based on a new and larger set of boys. With individual attention she could really take off academically, but she wouldn't get that at the Catholic school (not to my liking, anyway).

Tina, trying to get a child psychiatrist or even psychologist who will help her is about as easy as trying to find some rare archeological treasure. Except, with the psychiatrist - I've tried. Really tried. Spent probably $1,000 of our own money, a lot of time, and a lot of emotional upset. No one covered by our insurance (a psychiatrist or a psychologist) is taking new patients.... The counselors (who sound wonderful since I've found several who specialize in her kinds of issues)are - either not taking new patients or [most of them] not covered by our insurance. The one psychiatrist we did see (and throw $300 at) seemed lovely, but "rejected" us, saying Anastasia needed someone who could work with her more intensely and consistently than she could, because she is semi-retired and travels a lot. Great. I think something beats nothing, but we clearly received marching orders and have found no replacement.

Things got so much better when she began running, but I'm told there won't be track, and no more x-country. I'm really frustrated!

Tina in CT said...

What about calling your social services in your area to seek out a counselor, psychiatrist or psychologist Perhaps there are so sort of programs you might be able to qualify for? From what you write, it does not sound like it is going to get better without this type of help.

As for the track, is there an indoor track in the area that perhaps has a program she could get into for the winter season such as indoor soccer has in our area?

Is there any sort of support group you might contact as they might have knowledge of where you could go for help for her?

Hevel said...

Oh boy! I'd probably go with Mrs A. even though that could cause a whole lot of trouble. And find some local runners.

FaerieMama said...

My vote is Mrs A, no matter how difficult it might be to get her there. Your Nastya sounds sooo much like my Nastia...even the things she said about herself..I've heard some of those word for word. If I had a Mrs A here, I'd be sending Nastia there.

MyGirlElena said...

I'd go with Mrs. A's homeschooling. But I also feel this is just putting a band-aid on the real problem. Unfortunatley, I think your A has deep emotional issues that need to be dealt with by a psychologist. There are psychologists who work mainly with adopted children (I used to work for one in Miami). He went under the title of educational psychologist because he tested children for academic/behavior delays. But, he did work A LOT with RAD children. He was excellent! I think your daughter would benefit from that type of help.

Tina in CT said...

My Girl Elena has some good advice too.

Elizabeth said...

Sounds a lot like our Anastasia, although she was about Nastya's age when she arrived in the U.S., so at least yours had a few years of assurance that she was loved, before hitting puberty.

Sports did help some, although A. had a tendency to have fights and quit things when she was in a bad mood (AKA hormonal). She was very good at dancing, although lessons cost money, of course. She had told the adoption judge she wanted to be a ballroom dancer, and my parents helped her pursue the hobby to a certain extent.

Sometimes just sleeping a lot was her way of coping.

She was quite the flirt and had a few older boyfriends. Eventually had a baby and married the father. I know that isn't probably what you wanted to hear, but she is thrilled to have a family and says all the time how thankful she is to have a family and that she never could have dreamed of it. Hopefully for your daughter that's at least 10 years down the road and will involve a committed relationship!

MamaPoRuski said...

I don't think she will react well to any change, even if she thinks she wants it, because deep down she doesn't feel she really deserves it. She needs a psychiatrist and something to help stabilize her moods, even a non-adopted child goes through these emotions through puberty and depression/self-harm is always an issue. I would invest in that expense rather than the tuition at the school. JMO. HUGS for the mom!

Mary said...

Ah I wish I could help Annie. You know one thing I used to do that helped the children I worked with was to take them to therapeutic horseback riding. Also, I tried to find each one an outlet, something they were good at, that they could find success and build upon that. It seems like the cross-country team was good for her.