Wednesday, November 17, 2010

As your adopted kids grow older . . .

A wonderful, terrific, important, helpful, must-read post from Christine at Welcome to my Brain, on something that adoptive parents learn as their children get older:
My children who joined our family through adoption are now 7, 11 and 14.

And as they grow, things are different.

My entire perspective has changed as I acknowledge and honor their individual needs. One of them may love talking about adoption one day and despise it the next. One may crave the contact we have with their first family and extended family, while another may want nothing to do with it (pick any random day and that changes again). One may talk about their home country with pride, while another is indifferent. Of course, none of these reactions mean they don't care. If anything, it means they have massive feelings for their history ... their family. It is beyond important to them.

* * *

So, I have had to wake up to a few things that were never even on my radar just a few years ago. For instance, I have one child whose stomach is turned by the word "orphan" or "orphanage." With good reason. Regardless of the status of this child's first parents, the word "orphan" sounds hopeless and awful and wrought with pain. It has been placed on them in the past, and continues to be connected to their people and their country. This child hates it. "Orphan Sunday?" Yeah. Not a positive thing for them. at. all. They see it as churches being cruel and calling children a name that is negative.

* * *

I am learning to give them space and have zero expectations on their feelings from minute to minute. It is theirs. I am not them. I have no right to tell them what to feel, how to feel it or when to feel differently.
So what has changed for you as your adopted children have left toddlerhood and reached school age, middle-school age, high-school age?  Have you been surprised by their attitudes toward adoption, birth family, birth culture?  If you have more than one adopted child, are their reactions and feelings different when it comes to adoption issues?  Go read what Christine has to say, comment there, and come back and start/join the discussion here!

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