On Friday our foster daughter, Ashley, moved in. We were so nervous. I am still nervous. She is sweet girl who like princesses and American Girl. She likes to sing to herself in the shower and to play with her dolls. She likes swimming and is an overall good helper.
When we were told about her, we warned that she is prone to major temper tantrums and oppositional defiance. We haven't seen any of that, but we are still in the honeymoon period. We are all trying to figure one another out still. Unlike the twins, she can take care of herself in a lot of basic way and that is amazing. Like the twins, she has had a lot of trauma shoved into her seven years and that isn't awesome.
She is always asking questions and trying to figure stuff out. She wants to know what is going to happen and when it will happen. Part of this is seven and part of this is coming from a life of never knowing. In the past 72 hours, we have been reminded that being a foster parent means looking at the ugliest parts of humanity.
We are still sinking in. It is a lot like the first week of school, we are all nice and patient and not sure of ourselves. Today we had a family meeting where Justin and I outlined our basic expectations and how living in our house would work. Because we were told that she had defiance issues, we are taking a love and logic + positive behavioral support approach. Today we started trying out the behavior support part. I printed out a behavior expectations chart and the three of us picked out two goals for her to work on this week. We also introduced a token system. If she makes good choices, she gets tokens. She can turn these in for things she wants. Her current goal is to earn 14 tokens in two weeks so she can take swim lessons.
Our goal is put attention on her good choices and respond to her poor choices with little to no emotion. We know this won't work all the time, but hopefully it can help her see that good choices garner good attention.
My favorite part of the weekend has been family story time. Before Ashley goes to bed, the three of us gather in her room and Justin reads us The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe. I don't know if she likes it as much as I do, but she did acknowledge that Lucy, Peter, Susan and Edmund had to adjust to a new home, just like her.
Thank you for the support and prayers you have sent our way this week. It has made a difference. There is a calm in our home and a mild easiness to our interactions. I hope that we can continue to grow closer and relax together.