Sunday, February 3, 2008

Corazon...


Corazon is the child of my heart. Three years ago today my life changed forever. She came to live with us after a whirlwind courtship. We met on January 25, 2005 and less than 2 weeks later she moved in. She was a 4 1/2 year old spitfire. Beautiful, charming, strong-willed, manipulative, engaging, intelligent, scared, dramatic, powerful, are all words I used to describe her then and would still use today. Of course, today she is also my daughter. She came with a history of disruptions between foster homes, birth mom, paternal aunt and other unknown caregivers. She started off in the world as a 3 lb preemie and is now a 46 lb powerhouse.

She called me "Mommy" from day one and she melted my heart with her smile. She is intellectually ahead of her peers and socially far behind her peers. She had developed a whole slew of coping mechanisms for dealing with her unpredictable life and the hurts experienced in such a short life. She became what I wanted her to become and she fought every choice, expectation, request and demand as if her life depended on it. Several months after her arrival I discovered that she was suffering from Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and my life became a battle for her life. She appears like a normal loving child to every friend/stranger we meet and at home she plotted her escape and my demise. She lied, stole, hurt and fought for the "fun" of it countless times a day. She built a wall around herself and worked hard to make us hate her. She charmed the pants off strangers, asked them all to take her home, created a reputation for me as a "controlling" parent and her energy and attitude made her a menace to every living creature smaller than her.

My fear for her survival led me to read everything I could find on RAD, change therapists several times and ultimately turn her into my sticktight. She has grown into a caring thoughtful child who I believe has and is learning to trust and love her family. She keeps me on my toes but I think we have made a number of breakthroughs that give me hope for her future. She is a beautiful spirit who enjoys dancing, gymnastics, ice skating, writing about her adventures, being with family, helping with chores and cooking meals with me in the kitchen. She loves being a big sister to Pollito and Milagro and even Tortuga, who is older chronologically, but is younger in most other ways. She still craves incredible amounts of attention and will do ANYTHING to get it which makes her a challenge and danger in many instances. She is sweet and thoughtful and has adjusted tremendously to the three sibling additions that 2007 brought.

She loves science(planets, bugs, animals, earth, rocks and sticks) and history and is currently obsessed with famous people including Amelia Earhart, Bessie Coleman, Harriet Quinby, Eleanor Roosevelt, Helen Keller, Rosa Parks, Helen Keller, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Harriet Tubman. She has become more sensitive to the needs of others although she still needs to be watched constantly. She feels safest when we make the decisions for her and choice often signals uncertainty and stress rather than independence and freedom for her. I fear I have neglected her in the time since her brothers/sister arrived and I give her as much one-on-one time as I can. That concern prompted my decision to homeschool her and she seems to be thriving in that arrangement.

I cannot imagine my life without her and in fact, barely remember my life before her. Happy Anniversary my little one....

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