Monday, June 4, 2012

A Long Overdue Update

It's been a long time again, hasn't it?  I have pictures to share later, but for now, just some motherly observations involving the growth we've seen in our youngest in the past five and one half months home from China.  Today i need to remind myself just how far Cassie has come because in my humanness i can get caught up in thinking about how far she still needs to go in the overall healing process, and I begin to feel overwhelmed and incapable of helping her the way she needs to be helped.   Of course, a verse that brings me back to sanity and reality is, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."  Philippians 4:13

I cannot do anything well without His divine help and intervention to lead, guide and direct my every step. In other words, when I step out of His way and let Him do it, VICTORY IS ACHIEVEDWhen I forget this and try to do it on my own, I fail miserably - as a wife, as a mother, as a Christian.  I know many people who might say otherwise of me because they are only familiar with my "public self".  But only through Him does my public and personal self fuse.  By Him and through Him alone, I can behave the same toward those who I am the closest to as I do with the people with whom my path intersects in the world. 

How has Cassie grown?  Allow me to enumerate:

1.  She no longer follows me or Randy around begging to "go bye bye" every half hour.  Actually, Cassie can stay home now for a full day without going completely berserk ( I kid you not). And even then, when we would take her out on daily excursions, we could be home for less than an hour before she would start begging to "go bye bye" again. 

2. She no longer, generally speaking, takes things that do not belong to her.  In the past, i would often find Sonya's stuff mixed in with Cassie's treasures. 

3.  She no longer glares at Randy and me and stomps out of the room threatening to put herself in bed when we tell her "no".  Not so long ago, while we got the "evil eye" several times per day, others got her smiles, laughter, hugs and kisses.

4.  She no longer pinches, kicks, spits on, strangles or hits.  And for the most part she's given up belching.

5.  She no longer tells me she wants a "new mommy".  :-)

6.  She no longer wets her pants or bed.  Cassie told me at the orphanage she would wet her bed or her pants and she would be left in it.  Now she takes pride in the fact that she can keep her bed dry by getting up in the night and using the bathroom.  As far as wetting her pants, she's had to spend a few times sitting on her bed for ten minute intervals before breaking this habit. 

7.  She no longer climbs in bed with me several times a night for fear that I will not be there when she wakes up.  We're down to one time a night when she comes in for me to walk her to the bathroom and tuck her back into bed afterwards.

8.  She no longer picks the cat up by the tail or, generally speaking, holds her against her will. 

9.  She no longer runs into the arms of strangers or acquaintances while throwing her arms around their neck and kissing them profusely about the face while turning away from Randy and me for the same.  Now she will ask permission first to give someone a kiss on the cheek but only if it is someone we know and she knows.  And she will openly volunteer kisses and hugs for Randy and me, moreso than before I should say. She still has a ways to go in this area.  I think while Cassie has helped Sonya to become  more affectionate towards other people because of the affection she herself has lavished on Sonya, Sonya is teaching Cassie that hugs and kisses from mom and dad are "the best".

10.  More and more, she sees herself equal to Sonya, in worth, merit, ability and love.  Cassie has been very jealous of Sonya in many ways and at times takes it out on Sonya while in a public setting which, of course, has
served to horrify Sonya to no end.  But slowly, Cassie is beginning to feel or understand that Randy and I truly want to be there for her just as much and in the same way we are there for her big sister.

There is more i am sure, but all of the progress sometimes gets clouded over by the glaring reality of what abandonment and rejection and neglect will and can do to a young life.  But I do have a short story to share with you that just happened today, and if I could step back from my own life for a moment i would see that everyday there is a new story to tell and a new breakthough which occurs in the midst of emotional outbursts and challenges.

So here's what happened.  Something I've been working on with Cassie is to tell on herself when she does something wrong.  For instance, one day while I was in the kitchen I noticed there was yogurt all over the ceiling, the cupboards and floor.  Immediately I went to get Cassie because, honestly, had it been Sonya she would have come to get me to help her clean it up, probably apologizing profusely in the process because that's just Sonya, but the long and the short of it is this - Sonya has learned it is far better to tell on herself when she does something wrong than for me to find out about it on my own. 

Anyway, I took Cassie by the hand, I lead her into the kitchen, pointed to the mess all over the ceiling and cupboards everywhere and I asked her if she knew anything about.  She only looked at me and shrugged.  I proceeded to tell her I knew she had done it and asked her why she didn't tell mommy.  Cassie could only insist that she knew nothing at all about this and that it must have just happened on its own, or something like that.

I asked her next time that something like that happened to please tell me so I can clean it up right away.  I told her if she were to come to me she would not get in trouble, but if she were to keep it from me that when i found out about it, there would be consequences.  That day I left the situation with her not really sure what she understood me to say.

Until today that is when Cassie showed me she had knocked some of her father's clean work shirts to the floor which had been hanging up in the laundry room.  She pointed to them and looked up at me and said, "Mei Mei did that, Mommy. I sorry, Mommy.  I no do again."

And of course, I gave her the biggest hug, kissed her on the forehead, and then looked her in the eyes while telling her how proud i am of her.  Cassie, BEAMED, and she said, "Thank you, Mama."

Well i didn't stop there.  I hurriedly took her out the door where she was to meet her daddy and sister for a date and exclaimed, "I have some very exciting news to share with you about Cassie!  Cassie just told on herself!"
I proceeded to tell Randy what had just transpired, and he too gave Cassie a hug and told her how proud he was of her. 

Our words to Cassie were like a healing balm to her fractured soul. I could see this in her eyes and in her countenance.  And i am fully aware that as i type this that tomorrow will present us with even more obstacles and challenges which will probably appear huge and insurmountable in my eyes, and have me shaking my head or leave me with a quivering lower lip until i look up and ask for help.

AGAIN. :-)

Now onto the pictures!

I know!  I know!  I promised pics, But can anyone tell me why blogger is disallowing me to add pics to this post?  Everytime i hit the Publish button, the screen goes blank? I would LOVE a little help here if you have a sec.


  1. Bummer. Try logging out and then back in again.

  2. Love the update! She is doing so well! Love to hear about these little success stories and every day is something new! And sometimes we have to remind ourselves to look for the success in the midst of the chaos!

    Sometimes blogger will stop loading after I load several pictures. I log out and log back in and then it works fine. Are you over your limit of pictures? I was last year and had to pay for additional storage because I was over the alloted free storage limit. Or it could just be "having one of those days"! I'm still trying to get used to the new blogger!

  3. Cheryl, I love the update! It is so good to read of the successes! I'm sorry about the photos.

  4. Cheryl, the tender way you are parenting Cassie is such a great reminder to me to praise Ping more. Thanks!

  5. Hey Mrs. Houim, I'll read your post later but I wanted to let you know of something! I gave you the "Versatile Blogger Award" I recieved, and then I was supposed to give it to 15 others, but I didn't make it that far! You were one of them, and of course you can do the thing if you want, but you're supposed to!
    Go to:

  6. Hi Cheryl! I was just thinking about you this morning and about little Feng Mei. I thought, I haven't heard from Cheryl in awhile (I know, I am so busy too!) and I came over to your blog, and voila, several new posts!

    I am happy to hear of Cassie's progress, be it slowly but surely. I know that the age of 6 - 10 is really difficult to adopt as they have missed TOO much yet are still acting as if they are preschoolers. Your patience and work it paying off, along with the beautiful grace of God that He has bestowed upon us.

    I will say you've got me beat even on a couple and we have been home longer with Katie Grace Xi Hua! She still "collects" things from everyone's rooms and we find them in her purses, backpacks, boxes. Although, I never have thought of it as stealing, more of just a curious little one finding things to do, so we just put them all back together every couple days. She still wears a diaper to bed. (she is 4). We haven't conquered that yet due to her surgeries, etc taking over her life and the stress was too many things to work on for her. I know Cassie is 7 and that is older. Working in the foster care system, it is very common for children with a traumatic or comprised past to wet their pants or beds. For a long time. They will stop eventually but I know it is frustrating. Hua Hua still gets into bed with us every night and sleeps the rest of the night with us. Again, she is pretty tiny. But, wow, you are doing a awesome job and Cassie is progressing! I love the story at the end about her confessing to the shirt fiasco. Good girl! Hua Hua still says she didn't do it even if I catch her in the act! Hopefully soon...