Even after being home from China for over 9 months, we still get the question, “So, how did your other kids handle the adoption?” Of course there was an adjustment process, I’d say there is still an ongoing adjustment process even now. But truthfully, in the beginning, the 2 older kids were infatuated. Obsessed even. And now, they still love their little sister immensely!
In some ways, bringing a child home through adoption is different than bringing a biological baby home from the hospital. Recovering from jet lag, working on attachment, and often reuniting with children left behind may all differences. And there may also be surgeries or therapies in the future that are likely different as well. But in most ways, bringing home an adopted child is not much different than bringing home a new biological baby.
There is always an adjustment period whenever you add a new little person into your family. The newest little one still needs more attention from Mom & Dad – this is true with a new biological baby or an adopted child. Changing the family dynamics, no matter how you do it, means that everyone has to adjust, stretch and give a little more of themselves. Early on, we made sure to pay extra individual attention to the older children and even instituted “date night” with Mommy & Daddy for awhile. That was something we all looked forward to a lot and I think it helped them know that they were still just as loved and important to us as before, especially because baby sister monopolized much of our time.
As time has gone on, the honeymoon phase has worn off, and the new “normal” has surfaced, we see typical sibling behavior. There are many instances when all three of the children play together so beautifully that it brings tears to my eyes. And then there are the other times when they don’t play well together, and we try to use those times as teaching experiences as best we can. Either way, their behavior is normal and expected of all siblings, biological or not.
And then there is the unexpected behavior … the stuff I hadn’t really thought much about … like how the beautiful act of adoption would change and soften the hearts of our precious children. When we decided to follow God’s call to adopt over 2 years ago, we had no idea how far reaching that decision would be – how much it would affect our kids in ways we didn’t know possible. Sure, I thought about how it would stretch them and ask them to give even more of themselves. And I put a bit of thought into how it would strengthen them and how wonderful it would be to celebrate another culture in our home. But for some reason, I never thought about how they would feel that adoption was a blessing.
When I was going through my oldest daughter’s school work a few months back, I came across this page in her workbook. I read through all of the blessings she had written down, deeply touched by each one … these things that she felt were blessings in her life.
And then I saw it …
The bottom left “rock” … the blessing that has now become such a matter-of-fact, everyday part of our life.
I started to cry.
This “rock” that my husband and I know to be a miraculous blessing from God is now seen as a blessing by our children too. It’s inspiring … truly inspiring, to watch their little hearts grow for adoption and to see their faith develop. At such a young age, their understanding of our adoption into God’s Heavenly family is already developing. So when people ask me how the older children handled the adoption, I smile and think back to this workbook page that my daughter brought home. And then I explain that although they had to adjust just like everyone else did, the blessings they have received because of adoption are simply immeasurable and far outweigh any adjustment process.