I have spent this week considering siblings, as that was the highlight of this years National Adoption Week. We didn't adopt siblings so I wondered if my thoughts could be included, then decided that of course they can, just because we haven't adopted all our children doesn't change how adoption has affected each and every member of our family. Child 4 joined our noisy, rambunctious and happy household a year ago and we now have 2 girls of 15 and 8 and 2 boys of 13 and 3. Our home is now noisier, more chaotic and for the most part full of laughter, love and happiness. I am so, so very proud of our older three children they have followed us down the adoption journey road, even occasionally overtaking us at surprising moments to lead the way with a wisdom that belies their years. They have questioned and discussed our decisions, sharing their worries and moments of joy along the way with an honesty that is sometimes a little scary. Before child 4 joined us I set up support networks for everyone, I spoke to schools, friendship groups, trusted friends and supportive family members ensuring that when difficult times arise all four children could have time, support and anything necessary to their well being.
Some people forget that our child 4 has been adopted as he is so much part of the family and that is an amazing gift, however when times are difficult, which can be a lot of the time, he is the one that demands so much of our time and this can be detrimental to his older siblings. It is so different to have adopted, had I given birth to another baby there would have been the 9 months preparation then when the baby arrives they sleep a lot, they don't climb the walls or stair gates, they don't throw cutlery, books or trains, they don't hit, pull hair or bite and actually they are quite boring. We by-passed all that and went straight into manic toddler mode and so of course there is a knock on effect.
I picked up early on that child 3 was struggling, I guess that I was expecting it, after all she had been the baby for 8 years,so her nose was understandably very bent out of joint, but actually she is thriving in school and our love bombing moments have definitely helped to keep our relationship strong. It's child 2 that seems to have slipped through the net. Maybe because he has just hit his teenage years, maybe because he hasn't found his place yet, he isn't as secure in himself as the other children are, so I am left trying to manage what could be a sorry state of affairs instead of pre-empting an issue. Hopefully because I have laid the groundwork for asking for help, that help will be quick and forthcoming and we will be able to resolve his issues quickly and sensitively.
I could beat myself up for missing his worries and no doubt I will, but right now there is much work to be done repairing any damage that may have been done. At least he knows as I do that his foundations are strong and full of love.
Despite these hiccups along the way, adopting has been an amazing experience for us all, I cannot see anything that would change my mind on that, life is full of ups and downs regardless but adding another through adoption has truly shown us the power of love, resilience and laughter, lots and lots of laughter. And those things far outweigh the tears, tantrums and traumas.