Editor's Note: Window on the Clearwater has joined the Wednesday's Child network to help spread the word about children that are waiting for families to give them the loving care that they need. Each Wednesday we will profile a different child. For more information about Wednesday's Child and how you can be involved check the web site at: http://www.idahowednesdayschild.org/.
Big surprises come in small packages. Cheyenne is a petite child who may appear physically to be half her age, but don't underestimate her or treat her like a baby. Her compact body holds a huge spirit and intellect. It also packs many uncommon abilities, like gardening, catching more fish than anyone else and saying exactly what she thinks. If you ask her what she likes about school, she will tell you emphatically, "Nothing! I like to stay home and color and read books." Here are some of the many favorite things she does like to do:
"I like doing ceramics at Fire and Ice. I have painted a star and a mouse.
I like to color with my [foster] sisters. My favorite color is yellow. I like purple and rainbow colors, too. I like to read books like Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob SquarePants and Patrick and all kinds of other books.
I love to take a bubble bath and make a mustache and a beard and maybe a Santa suit.
My foster mom helps me with my feelings. She helps me 'get up' by asking if I'm upset or sad. And if I am, she rocks me like a baby. "
Cheyenne's foster mom of several months has many positive things to say about her:
"Cheyenne is very good at sharing. She has a really kind heart. She tries hard to manage her feelings and work on her behaviors. Even though she struggles with strong emotions because of what she's been through--and she may lose control on a daily basis--I don't take it personally. She is a loving girl and she comes back and tries to make it right in her own way. She's just trying to work through all the things she's been through."
Finding and sharing the "fun stuff" with Cheyenne is just one way her parents can bond with her. According to her foster family, she loves the "girly things" like dressing up, braiding hair, accessorizing and painting nails. Her foster mom said, "She is very creative and loves to really get into arts and crafts. These things are very enjoyable and help her to creatively work through her emotions and process the past. Though she may not embrace school generally, she loves to learn with puzzle finds, word games and reading."
Her therapeutic foster parents and adoption team hope her adoptive folks will follow through with the techniques they have found to be successful with Cheyenne. Each of these items are important qualities in any adoptive family:
1. Don't take things personally when Cheyenne's feelings overflow. Show constant empathy, emotional safety and find the right moments to help identify strong feelings that precede behaviors. You are modeling the self-calming and self-control that Cheyenne is trying to develop.
Cheyenne's caseworker has known her for three years. She calls Cheyenne her "little ray of sunshine"--usually happy and full of energy. "Cheyenne is small but mighty. She's been through a lot and she is a pistol--up for anything. She loves to try new things. She has a big personality; smart, quick, a good sense of humor. She will stand up for herself--not always in an effective way, but she's learning how to get her needs met without meltdowns. These are decreasing, but they can be intense, and families who might want to adopt Cheyenne need to be realistic and able to access community services. They also need to know that she is not the sum of her challenging behaviors. She has so many charming qualities!"
Cheyenne could be in just about any parental situation--a couple or single parent--but probably not in a large family or one in which she has to compete for attention with younger children. Because of growth, development and ADHD challenges, she will need counseling, medication management and other professional services.
Cheyenne's adoptive parents need a patient, child-focused perspective that allows them to start each day fresh with an appreciation of Cheyenne's desire to love and be loved. Her caseworker describes this trait as "being able to accept the whole package with no illusions--Cheyenne's charm and endearing personality as well as the emotional and developmental challenges ahead." If your commitment and your support network are solid, this child will amaze you with her tremendous ability to tackle those challenges and prevail.
Portrait by Photography by Rashelle
To find out more about Cheyenne, adoption or becoming a foster parent, email the Idaho CareLine or call 1-800-926-2588. You may be asked to provide this reference number: 30488.
|Window on the Clearwater
P.O. Box 2444
Orofino, ID 83544