Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wishy, Washy

I have been feeling so wishy-washy lately about what our adoption plans should be. I've been thinking about ALL of our options...trying on one idea for a day or two, changing my mind, and trying another. So far, nothing has struck me as the "right" path just yet. I know there is a path forward, I am just stuck at the crossroads wondering about which path we should start walking down.

And our agency representatives (bless them all) are probably so tired of me asking questions that are scattered all over the map!

One path I had not considered until today is the path of adopting a child (or sibling pair) older than our boys. I know there are LOTS of older kids waiting for families. I guess I always just thought that people who have experience parenting older kids should adopt the older kids. We're newbies to this parenting gig, after all. (all day today) this issue has been on my mind. Why aren't we considering the older kids?

So...for those of you who have adopted older kids (like ages 5-10), please feel free to leave me some feedback. I want to know about the good, the bad, the ugly, and the wonderful. I'd love to know how you prepared your kids at home for new siblings who were older than them. I'd love to know how you transitioned them to public school (if your kids go to public school). I'd love to know if language was an issue. I'd love to know if attachment issues made things hard. I'd love to know about experiences of "twinning" adopted children. I want to know about all of those things (and lots more).

And, if you're of the praying persuasion...we'll take all the help we can get making this decision. Its been a really difficult one for us.


Kristin Jag said...

I will be praying for you as you make your decisions. I do have to say that I never thought we could handle the older kids. But after going to Eban House, I could have imagined most of the older than 5 kids joining our family. In fact, I am so happy that some that we conneted with got referred right away or else I think I would have been trying to figure out a way to bring more into our home. The kids were so special there and just loved the interaction with the adults. I think the majority of the kids could step into most homes with such blessings to share.

Heather A. said...

Older kiddo's have a special place in my heart, so I'm glad that you're considering an older child/group. Mary was just turned 6 and Sophia was just a few months shy of 8 when she came home, but such a world of difference between the two. Younger kids need a lot of stuff done for them. M still needed help picking outfits, getting dressed, getting toothpaste on her brush,cutting food, pouring milk, getting moisturized, eating . . . . And those little things help build bondds of attachment. Sophia was a few years older and wanted to be more independant. She resented help with outfits, help getting dressed, moisturized, etc. There were fewer options to bond over the little things. She wasn't as interested in cuddles, kisses goodnight or snuggles on the sofa.

Language was a huge issue for Sophia as well. Mary came home speaking enough English to get by, but S couldn't express her wants, desires, needs, hurts, etc. which translated into mondo temper tantrums. It wouldn't be an issue with older children from Ghana though.

Older kids are HARD. But there are also lots of blessings with older kids! The "get" adoption more than younger ones. They're more independant so you have a bit more freedom as parents.

As far as education, I worked with Sophia for two hours ever night for the first year to get her on par with peers, although she was still a bit behind after that. Last year it was a huge issue that the children in her class were one to two years younger than she was.

Can't wait to hear what you guys decide! WE're praying!

Amy said...

Hi Chanda,

Any surprise I'd chime in? ;) I know you have already heard a lot about our family's challenges with older child adoption and it has not been an easy road, but it has been SO worth it. I would not change it, nor would I say that a challenging road is meant to be shied away from...

Our Jonah is about a year and a half to 2 years younger than Yaw and at first they really battled it out for that baby spot, but now they truly adore each other & fight like brothers (BUT with a real love underneath it instead of pure venom like it was at first).

The girls are very similar in age to Luke, though on paper they are younger. Because of the twins being a force AS twins, it took longer for Luke and the girls to begin to form a real connection. There were times when I genuinely wondered if it would ever come. It has and it has been wonderful to see the love and caring blossom between them.

I really have enjoyed the beauty of a bigger family too. I didn't grow up with one, but the natural responsibility (as in we all HAVE to do our part to make everything happen, not just because I want to teach them responsibility- we NEED them to be responsible) has really convinced me of the beauty of a larger family.

I sure hope your answer becomes clear to you Chanda. Whatever your decision, I hope you know that while older children do come with challenges, they come with memories, culture, and personality that is a delight to behold. You seem to know that already though! :) Praying for clarity for you and your family!

Amy Fabu