2013: Steph Timeline


Age: 9

Major Events:

  • Adopted Jordan.
  • Stephanie’s jealousy of the other kids (and of me) increased.
  • She was angry.
  • She had a best friend, but making close friends was difficult.
  • She loved sports, singing and crafts.

We tried to sidestep Stephanie’s chaos as much as possible. I remember thinking that adopting Jordan wasn’t nearly as difficult of a transition for Andy and me as it was when we adopted the girls; however, it was very difficult for Stephanie. She didn’t like someone else having attention.

Stephanie demanded a lot of attention. She especially demanded Andy’s attention. Whenever Andy did something with one of the other kids, Stephanie would insist on being involved, or throw a fit to prevent anyone else to get Andy’s time. Andy coached her sports teams and often took her to run errands in order to give the rest of the family a break from her demands.

What we didn’t know then, but we do now is much of the time we were walking on egg shells to try and keep Stephanie calm. It is remarkable, really, that Andy and I remained firm with our boundaries and expectations. We held firm to expectations for her to complete chores and keep her responsibilities. We knew there would be an outrageous fight when it was her turn to do dishes or fold laundry. We knew she would rage at bedtime, and it was likely she would want 10 more minutes for reading We knew if we didn’t bend to her demands she would scream in ways that shattered our ears and kick, spit and punch.

I think this was the year she threw rocks at our front windows and broke one of the panes. She was angry that we asked her to put the dinner dishes in the dishwasher. Later, she said, “Maybe now you’ll know not to tell me to do chores. I can do what I want.” Stephanie did dishes for the summer to pay for the window.

We were consistent with boundaries. We gave grace for mistakes. We were logical and rational with discipline decisions. We spent quality time with her and gave her loads of attention. None of it dissipated the anger or the jealousy.

However, we like to think that it gave her more years within a family and that one day these years will matter in helping her learn to love and accept love.

See all of Stephanie Timeline posts here.


  1. Maybe from the perspective as a young adult, Stephanie will begin to see that her behavior was a fight for her very being, a need she still needs to see that there are other ways to be? And perhaps not, but writing this & knowing that you did give her love and showed how a loving family works–all together, taking time to help out, sharing, etc. was what you could do and what you continued to do. I am sad that she has missed so much love from you all & hope she’ll realize that she wants it. Raising a family is complicated always, yikes! And we still want to be parents! Hugs for carrying on, Ruth

    • Yes, we think a lot about how Steph would feel if (when) she reads these posts. We are sad, too. I’m learning it’s okay for grief & relief to live in the same heart.