Monday, June 1, 2009

Older child adjustment

I have been thinking about Hanna a lot lately. Mulling over her adjustments, trials and triumphs, and my own frustrations. Through much thought and prayer, I have had a revelation about her situation.

At the gangliest, most awkward and uncertain period of any girl's life, she is being asked to navigate a bigger life change than most people will ever encounter. The most secure, content and well loved birth child rarely does this with grace and yet Hanna is expected to do this with a support system made up of her older brother and 5 foreigners who claim to love her, in a country she doesn't know, using a language she barely understands, and a diet that is entirely different. That is her task.

My task is to fall in love and bond with this gangly, scared, frustrated, goofy, hormonal pre-adolescent who wants to love and be loved by me while navigating all of these changes.

It is difficult to realize that even though you have loved someone since before you knew them, you have to learn how to love them in an entirely different way when they are actually with you.

I think that is the part that adoptive parents aren't aware of. When they are actually in it they think, what is wrong with me? I love my child. Why is this so hard?

It is hard because it is supposed to be hard. How could it not be hard? Imagine if we had to marry our spouse the first day we met them. Most of us have a year or 2 of getting to know them while we fall in love. As adoptive parents, we fall in love with an idea and have to live out the loving and becoming a family in real time.

When we are feeling stressed out and over taxed and illequipped, and we don't really like these children we love so much, we need to remember to give ourselves and our children a break.

Change is hard even when it is good change, and baby, this is a big good change.


Jessica Knitter said...

Love the post.

ShannonC said...

Wow. Compassion expressed so lovely.

I just realized I'd never actually entered your blog into my "following" list. oops.

Our journey following Christ said...

Thanks for your honesty. We're planning on adopting again from Ethiopia, this time a girl 10-12 years of age. I'd love to talk with you sometime in detail and pick your brain and learn from your experience.

I'll pray for your adjustment. It is so hard, I know.


Andrea said...

Wow! So well written and so true! We have a bio teenage daughter, so the things you are describing ring so very true. And having adopted toddlers, knowing how difficult that is... it's a process. One that I thank God for teaching me.

ShannonC said...

Thanks for the Verse! I really appreciate it. And by the way... Did you really lose your sense of smell or was that a joke? I don't know how you manage? I'm greatful that is not one of my challenges!!

traci said...

I truely smell almost nothing. I can get the first sniff of a big smell change, like one sniff stepping into Fanny May candy, but after that, nothing. Really it is like a blessing. Most things smell BAD. Every once in a while I catch a wiff of something and think, Gross. I'd hate to smell this all the time! If you're going to lose a sence, smell is the most expendable.

Matthew and Amanda said...


What a wonderful post. So many great lessons and important things to remember. Thank you very much for sharing.