When {Older} Siblings Aren’t Supportive

February 29, 2016 adopting again, adopting later in life, Chris, February 2016 Feature - Siblings, sibling perspective, siblings 4 Comments

Wait. What?

You’re not excited that we’re adopting again?

But how could this be? Why? What’s the problem here? You were super excited when we adopted before… what’s so different this time?

These were the questions we asked when we told our older children almost two years ago that we were growing our family through adoption once again.

It was a hard pill to swallow that some of our older children were not exactly thrilled with our news. This adoption would take us to China for a third time. This child was our sixth blessing. After we prayed and had many discussions, my husband and I believed wholeheartedly that we had another child waiting for us in China. Never in our wildest dreams did we think for a second that any of our older children would have had any issues with this decision. After all, they knew we would have never pursued another adoption if God hadn’t prompted us.

So, yeah…. things were a lot different this time. All three of our older children were grown, in their twenties, two were married – we had two more amazing (in-law) kids, and we just welcomed the arrival of our first grandchild. Only our two youngest daughters were at home with us now. Life has a way a changing things up, right? But still. I thought all of our older children would be on board.

As I was collecting my thoughts for this story, I felt it would be wise to ask these older children of mine some questions about why they weren’t so keen about said adoption.

You know, to get my facts straight.
Make sure I explain things correctly.
Because time can blur the lines of my memory.

However, when asking open-ended questions based on emotion, one needs to be prepared for some real, honest, and raw answers. Yikes! I was not prepared for some of the responses…. but man, I did get some better insight and perhaps a better sense of their feelings.

Here is what I learned were some of their initial reservations:

1. That their relationship with their new sibling would be so different since they were not living at home anymore and some of them lived far away.

2. That we were “too old”. (Thank you very much.) There was concern that my husband and I would never have time just to be a couple again. We would always be raising kids.

3. That another adoption would put a strain on the family. The new child was too young. Maybe his needs would be too much. He would take too much time away from our other two children who were still at home.

4. That there was too much of an age difference between him and our youngest two girls.

5. That the typical grandparent relationship would be impacted… kid time vs. grandkid time. (ouch) That the new child would be only three months older than than our grandchild. Timing was not good.

6. That we would be exhausted. (Not gonna lie, this one is spot on. but we do sleep rather well these days.)

Despite their concerns, we knew this adoption was something God wanted us to do. It was something that we wanted to do! This child was just supposed to be our child. Period.


chris2


Were we discouraged? Yep, pretty much.
Were we sad? Absolutely.
Was this adoption about them? Nope. Not really.

Because…

Did we want their approval? Yes.
But did we need their approval. No.

We wanted all of our children to be a part of the journey to Jude. We wanted to share updates and pictures of our newest little guy with them. We wanted to share our excitement and joy with them as God was growing our family through adoption again.

But there were times during our adoption process where it was just plain awkward. We could tell when our older children did not want to talk about the adoption. So we just respected that. And they respected our decision. They may not have agreed, but they respected us nonetheless.

Now let’s go back and address some of my older kids concerns, shall we?

1. The distance thing. Yep. Some of my kids do live about eight hours away and all of them live on their own…. but let me tell you that Jude knows exactly who his older “brudders and sisders” are. He “lubs” them “berry” much!

2. Being too old? Umm, not really. Age is just a number. Seriously. Being 53, no wait. I’m 54 now (just had another sneaky birthday), is really no big deal. I say you are only as old as you feel. And somehow, my three year old son makes me feel young and fancy-free.

3. Strain on the family? His needs will be too much? Less parent-time for the our younger daughters? Let me tell you that we laugh more now than ever!! His needs? They are very manageable. His two sisters are crazy in love with him! And they are such good helpers. They read to him, play with him, dress him, teach him…. man, it’s all around good stuff!

4. The age difference between Jude and his sisters at home? Not really a big deal. The girls are eight and six years older, respectively. I think it’s just right for our family.

5. The grandparent gig? First, I am head over heels, crazy in love with my grandson! Holy Moly! Words can’t even describe how I feel about him and how I feel about being a Mimi! Best thing ever! Second, these two little boys…. my son and my grandson – the uncle and the nephew – are pretty good for each other. Built in buddies, playmates, trouble-makers. Right?

6. Oh and yes, we are always exhausted and tired and sometimes not even sure what day of the week it is. Funny thing is… we’re content. We feel blessed.


chris1


It’s been almost two years since Jude has been home. A lot has changed… for the better.

None of us can imagine life without Jude. He has won over the hearts of everybody. I knew he would. My {older} children? I knew they would “get it”. I knew they would come to understand what we were doing and why. God is always bigger than our doubt, our fear, our resistance. Here’s the thing, we are a just a typical, regular, every-day type of family…. we have our ups…. we have our downs. Regardless of anything, we will always, always love each other. That’s how we roll.

The Lord has blessed this journey to Jude. God used this adoption to grow us, change us, and bring us closer together. We have learned to simply trust Him, seek His ways, and do what He asks of us.


chris


Witness how the Lord works. This is what those same three older kids – the ones with all the reservations – have to say now:

“I am glad that my parents adopted again. Jude was literally the perfect fit for the whole family. For the girls, for my dad, and for my mom. Sometimes, even when the odds seemed stacked against a situation, we need to trust that God won’t leave us hanging out to dry. Especially when you’re trying to embrace His commands.”

“My parents have done a really good job at still being present in my son’s life. My mom is still very available and always willing to watch him when I need her to. Even though it’s not typical, it’s our new normal, and when my son goes to his mimi and papa’s house he’s not only excited to see them, but he’s excited to have someone to play with too.”


chris3


“I smile now looking back at this adoption. Once Jude was home, I had a peace about everything. I also realized that you were just a woman of God on a mission. A mission that our family was not very supportive of. It makes me very sad how Satan pulled us all apart and how isolating it must have felt at times for you prior to getting Jude.

I am SO thankful that you and Dad followed God and trusted Him. It took a big leap of faith and much courage. I admire you both so much for pursuing this journey. I wish we/I would have been there for both of you more. As soon as I met Jude, I was just so in love with him. There was a connection with him that I have never experienced with anyone else. I loved him – just because he was Jude, this little guy with a huge smile. I have trouble explaining, but it was life changing for me. I am so thankful. I think we all learned a lot of lessons that were much needed. I too could never imagine our life without Jude.”

ChrisNHBOSig



4 responses to “When {Older} Siblings Aren’t Supportive”

  1. Laura says:

    Thank you so much. It’s good to know we are not alone in some of our children not being as happy with our decision as we are. Yes, we would love to have their approval but thanks for the reminder that it isn’t required. 🙂

  2. So glad you shared….our older kids always fall in love with who ever we bring home….God works all those details out!

  3. Kay says:

    Thank you! But what if the older siblings are still home and reluctant to adopt? We are also looking at adding our sixth child, this time through adoption, and our oldest girls at 12 and 11 are not yet on board with the idea. I know they would eventually see the blessing of a new little sister, but their reluctance is a factor for our family’s decision. Should it be? If the Lord is calling us, he is calling us as a family, but I do want to be sensitive to the needs and concerns of the children he has already given us. Any counsel?

  4. Sharon Harp says:

    Thank you for your story! I have a similar story. . . . . An older son who was not to excited about our first two adoptions of his little sisters (23 year age difference). God called us to adopt a third time this past year and everyone thought we were crazy! It’s refreshing to know I’m not the only “54” year old who God uses to take care of orphans! Hugs to you!

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