Monday, October 13, 2014

The Truth About Adopting the Older Child

      Okay, I'm going to attempt the challenge.....to try to share, while being respectful of the privacy of personal information, some of what I've studied and experienced about adopting the older child.  I've benefited from some of the transparent information others have shared about their experiences... and want to convey the true beauty of adopting these precious children, through all of the challenges.

       Though the process of adoption begins with the paperwork....the waiting....court dates...gotcha days.....it really truly begins when the child is home.  Then it becomes reality.... So let me share my truth about adopting the older child.....in case, like me, you wondered how it would be to ignore the warnings about disrupting birth order....to look past all of the crazy stories people want to share with you....to choose to trust God and not the feelings of uncertainty and fear.......

So, for me....adopting the older child means that.......
         
Sometimes, the honeymoon stage you often hear about.....it just won't happen.....I say, let's dive right in....I'm glad you feel comfortable enough to be you.....

Often times you'll feel sick and devastated over what your child has endured.....and all the more thankful and certain that God brought you together for such a time as this......

Often times you'll be amazed at their resilience....character.....love....despite everything they endured.

Sometimes you'll wonder if you'll ever get a second to yourself....ever?  And then you'll remember how fast time goes by....and how thankful you are to be wanted and needed and privileged to be mom to these gifts.....

Sometimes you'll wonder why you thought it was so much work with (insert number of children prior to adoption) and how people do it with (insert number of children higher than your current number).

Often times you'll wonder how you possibly managed to carry the smallest child, purse, backpack, and one million other items to and from the house and car without an extra set of hands.....

Sometimes you wonder....if the feelings you're feeling are normal....are okay.....

Sometimes you will feel like you're neglecting your other children......and then you may be reminded that it's probably good for them to learn that the world does not revolve around them...and that it's probably good for them to learn about what others endure and how we can help them......

Sometimes you will cry with your child as they struggle to maintain control over all of the emotions....and then you wonder if you've made things worse by doing so when they see your tears and cry even harder.......and then you get the opportunity to tell them that you're crying because you love them so much and you hate to see them in pain.....and they learn just a little more how much you care......

Sometimes your child will ask if they can take your little ones outside to play on the swings....and they'll think it's Christmas.....and so will you......not that you'll get anything done because you'll probably be running from window to window taking pictures of how sweet they are together......

Sometimes you will struggle with feeling frustrated at the irrational behaviors....at the purposeful pushing of buttons......feelings are fleeting....and the lessons being learned and trust being built take time....they're way more important than giving in to those feelings....

Often times you'll find yourself giggling together and being silly and realize how much fun it is....

Sometimes you will have to remind yourself that their family age is 0....and treat them accordingly....and you'll have to try to explain that to little ones who have trouble understanding....so much time spent explaining explaining explaining.....but progress is happening and hearts are learning compassion and understanding.....

Sometimes you will find yourself wondering what you will do if you hear "mama" called one more time......and then you read a post about a family grieving the loss of their child and the perspective is suddenly aligned.  

Often, you will take two steps forward and one step back....or one step forward and two steps back......and it's okay..........

Sometimes you will need to hear from another who has been there.....are we doing things the right way?  Did you make progress?.......

Often you will wonder if your heart can take all of the love you and joy you feel.........

Sometimes you will have to teach and re-teach, assure and reassure, that it's okay to say how you feel.....it's okay to talk about where you came from and the people you miss.....we know you're where you want to be....

Often you will be thankful for the lessons you're learning in true gratitude and what really matters......when one is planning what they will purchase next for their sibling and you ask, what about you?  And the response is a shaking of the head and waving of the hand over all that she has...and saying family with a smile.....

Sometimes you will learn what it really means to give and think of other first......when one tries to put on a smile, but it's overshadowed by the sadness for those left behind........

Sometimes you'll have to reassure your child they are not crazy....no...the crazy ones are those that hurt you and filled your beautiful mind with those lies......

Often times you'll be amazed at the intelligence.....the abilities...the talents.....

Sometimes you'll have to do things that they're fully capable of.....brush their hair, pick out their clothes.....choose what they write about....choose what they draw.......just do it.....they've been independent for far too long.....

Often times you'll answer a hesitant question with "yes" and be rewarded with more excitement, hugs and kisses than you could imagine....

Sometimes you'll have to drop everything and let them get it all out.....however that may look.....

Often times you'll have to reassure them of your love.....that it's not conditional.....that you're not angry when you instruct.....

Often times it'll appear that attachment it there....fully.....but you'll need to remember that it's more than bonding and loving each other.....it's staying consistent and true through the hard and challenging times and building trust.....over time....

Sometimes you'll feel like they don't trust you.....that they're trying to control the situation....yes...they probably don't and they probably are......for so long their brain was focused on survival, they may not have the tools they need......it will come.....

Often times you'll marvel that it's only been (insert time since child's been home).....these children are incredible.....



So that's my truth....yours may look different....or you may still be considering if you will have one....if I could offer any advice, it would be....don't let the fears of the unknown or warnings of others ever hold you back.....keep your ears attuned to the still small voice of God and His leading....because no matter the challenges you will face, He is so faithful.  He will not only equip you with exactly what you need....give you strength you'd never have on your own....and be there every step of the way....He will also fill you to overflowing with joy and gratitude.....and so many blessings.





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