Thursday, August 2, 2012

Is the adoption transition harder than expected?

Someone recently asked me this question. It really made me stop and think. I answered "not really".  I keep thinking about the question.  So I decided to consider all of the transition issues, what I expected based on our adoption preparation, and how it actually turned out.

I will start with the issues/concerns that were definitely harder than I expected.  Take note, most of these items seemed harder not because of the twins, but because of me.

Rocking - watching Emery rock against the wall to fall asleep was very difficult.  It broke my heart that I was of no comfort to her.  I knew one or both of the kids could have a rocking issue.  What I didn't realize was how hard it would be to witness.

Tantrums - Blake's tantrums wore me down to the bone and squeezed every ounce of patience I had right out of me.  Again, I knew tantrums could be an issue.  I had a plan to deal with them.  I adjusted the plan as necessary based on advice from my social worker.  I knew dealing with tantrums would be trying and tiring.  They were far harder than I imagined.  They completely exhausted me both physically and emotionally.  Thankfully, Blake and I both made it out of that phase in one piece!

Potty Training - I am not a very good potty trainer and I just do not like it. Enough said.

That's it.   Now for the issues that were easier than I expected

Pets - I was afraid the twins would have a hard time adjusting to our dog and cat and pets of our friends and family. Not a long adjustment period at all. Before I realized it, Blake was kissing the pets and pretending to be a pet himself! Emery just ignores them entirely.

Booster Seats & Seat Belts -  Blake had no problem at all. Emery was agitated her first two times in the car. The third time, she was in a silly mood and we didn't make an issue about it. Hooked her in 
without saying a word.  She was fine.  No problems since. 

Sleeping Issues - No major sleep issues.  Emery still has a hard time falling asleep, but both kids sleep through the night at least 95% of the time.  I can't complain about that!

Language Barrier - Really did not impede communication as much as I anticipated.  Blake is very animated, so he usually could make us understand what he was saying.  I worried about communication being even harder with Emery because she didn't talk.   This was not the case at all.  Emery began understanding English as quickly as Blake began speaking it.  

Plane Ride Home - We were all so nervous that the twins would cry continuously or throw tantrums on the long flight home.  The flight went smoothly!  I think we were really lucky on this one!

Cottage, Boat, Lake -  We spend a lot of time at our cottage in the Summer.  I was very worried another "home" would confuse the twins and upset them.  Emery does have a harder time falling asleep at the cottage, but otherwise they love it.  They love the boat - especially Blake.  They love swimming - especially Emery.  They both enjoy playing in the sand and with the neighbor kids.  Blake begins asking when we are going to the cottage on Monday morning and continues asking numerous times per day until we leave again on Thursday.  We hung a hammock up last weekend and  it was a big hit with both kids!

Behavior - I was so afraid that one of the kids (or both) would have challenging behavior issues and it would completely disrupt our lives. Now I believe our love for the twins will carry us through any issues that arise.  So far, any behavioral issues have been transition related.  It is no longer a concern any more than it is with our biological children.

Blake's Leg Issue and Emery's Delays - If anyone has read my blog from the beginning, you will know that we actually stopped the adoption at one point for a year because we were so afraid we couldn't handle these issues.  We had never considered adopting special needs kids and had zero experience with any special needs.  Could we really handle a physically disabled child?  Could we handle a child with mental delays?  We had very discouraging consultations with two separate international adoption doctors.  After we recommitted, we were still extremely concerned about the twins' special needs, but we knew God was leading us to these kids and we would deal with their issues.  It is funny how your thoughts change after you have your children home.  Blake being on crutches has not affected us at all.  He gets around as well as any of us do.  In fact, I think he could actually out run me!  He has the best personality and his spirit is beautiful.  Now, rather than being concerned with his physical disability, we just want to eliminate his leg pain and see him ride a bike (he really wants to ride a bike someday).  Our concerns for Emery shifted from her delays to
helping her accept comfort and learn how to be loved.  This little girl had no idea how to let someone love and comfort her.  She would fall down and skin her knee and go climb in a chair to rock and cry alone.  Seven years with no love.  It makes me wonder why on earth I was so concerned about her delays.  This little girl needed a family.  Period.  Now, as she is beginning to accept our love, we will spend time helping her with her delays.  We will spend time helping Blake eventually be able to ride that bike!  These kids are now loved and we will do whatever is needed for them.

So, no the adoption transition is not harder than expected.  Just the opposite.  Life is Good.

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