ANSWERS TO PREVIOUS QUESTIONS:Part 1: http://cornishadoptionjourney.blogspot.com/2014/01/17-nosy-questions-about-special-needs.html
6. Do you worry a child can’t be “turned around” if they have a difficult history before coming to you?
J: I am very much worried about that right now
Amy: When we adopted a child with a significantly traumatic history and severe attachment issues, I realized that we couldn't "fix" her and she might never truly heal from her wounds. We realized all we had control of was how we loved her and not if she responded to that love. That is hard! I realized that loving unconditionally is so hard in reality (no matter how much you understand "why").
Jaclyn: I always worry about the future of all my children. My biggest concern is whether or not Adam will be able to function in a "normal" manner later in life. He literally has only half a brain because they left his hydro untreated. Either way, we love and adore him!!
Sara 1: I didn't with this adoption, but it is always a thought in my head when considering other adoptions. Mostly because I have to make sure that my children at home are safe, not because I'm not willing to parent a troubled child.
Shelley: EVERY adopting family should realize that there is always the possibility that you can't "fix" the child. If you are going into adopting with the idea that you are "fixing" or "saving" a child, I'd recommend you rethink things.
Meredith: I’ve experienced, as a sibling to adopted children, that love doesn’t cure history. It’s not up to me to turn a child around, but to love them through it and to trust in God’s delight of His child. I hope and pray my children will all learn to love the Lord and find healing in Him, however I am not naive enough to believe that I have the capability to change a person’s heart from the inside out except through Him.
7. How do you make the decision to adopt a child when you have vulnerable children at home? Have you ever been concerned about the child being unkind to or resenting the children with special needs?
Jaclyn: All of my children including my bio kids have special needs. We made the decision as a family.
Meredith: We have only adopted children with significant special needs, so our concern with them resenting another’s needs was never really a thought. We do, however, have safe practices in our home because even though all of our adopted children have significant needs, they are not always safe left unattended with one another, either. We have gates as physical boundaries at night and use other similar practices in the daytime when needed.
Erin: I cannot recommend hosting enough. We had 3 little kids at home. Our daughter who is also adopted has CP, so she is vulnerable on many levels to "older kids" in the home. We hosted a sibling group of older boys a total of 3 times (individually and together). We went into it as a short term mission to a child for the summer, expecting it to NOT work long term. Instead found that they got along well with our other children, our other kids LOVED them, and they didn't have any alarming/concerning negative behaviors. We also just had a peace about them while they were here and after much prayer and careful consideration, we adopted them. I have also seen other families host with intent to adopt and come to the realization during hosting that it will NOT work with the other kids in their home because of behaviors that become evident or the desires of the host child. Our boys got to experience our home and our rules several times and they asked us to adopt them. I think that has made our transition with them much easier than if we had just showed up at their orphanage. If we had not hosted, we would NEVER have considered adopting "older kids."
8. What do you do about the feelings you have because you can’t bring them ALL home?
Jaclyn: I knew going into it that I could likely only "save" one or two. I continue to advocate and encourage others to do the same.
Sara 1: It's a horrible feeling. For us we knew that one little boy HAD to get into a family and we came home and advocated for him. If no one had gone for him, we would have returned. Beyond that I know that I can't take them all of I would just have my own version of an orphanage, so I do what I can to help anyone else who wants to adopt, and I try to share as much as I can about adoption with as many people as I can. I also try to support my daughter's old orphanage however I can.
Meredith: I try to advocate for those left behind as well as the general care of orphans, but it is a burden that doesn’t go away.
Allison: I try to motivate other people to bring home children.
9. How do you get the feeling that that child is the “right” one?
Jaclyn: God...... It is the only answer I have. I prayed. He answered!!
Sara 1: How do you ever know anyone is the one, your best friend, your partner? It's a feeling you get, one of peace that says that this is a right option for you. And it's up to you to move forward with that or not.
Allison: The feeling of connection to a child/sibling group just wont go away. I pray about it and if it wont go away I know God is trying to tell me something.
Brittany: For us, it has always been the feeling of immediate excitement versus the feeling of trepidation. For each of our adopted children, I had an immediate sense of peace in my heart and excitement in our responses/conversations about the situation. For every situation we ultimately turned down, we are now able to look back and the first thoughts we had about the situation were somewhat unsettling. We, of course, have had fears, thoughts, questions etc each and every time we are presented with a situation, but when we have been the right family for that child, there is a sense of peace that comforts and quiets the mumbles and allows us to leap (with faith) forward.
10. Do you ever truly love your adopted children like you do your bio children?
Jaclyn: Definitely! They are my kids. As my friend told me once..... does it matter if a package comes via UPS or Fed Ex?? God sent them to me as my children and I love them all.
Sara 1: Yes you can. But I think it's possible to love all of your children differently, biological and adopted.
Sara 2: Absolutely.
Lorraine: Yes. Having both biological and adopted children, I can honestly say there's no difference between the love. There's a special relationship with each child that looks different because each child IS different. I would bet that if people watched us interact with our children without noticing skin color, people wouldn't be able to tell which ones are biological and which ones are adopted because there's no difference in our love for them.
Gillian: Do you ever truly love your adopted children like you do your bio children? Bonding has been an issue for Evangeline and I but four years in I can say that I love her, and I don't see her differently than my other children. Do I still struggle? Yes? But it makes it a lot easier when there is love.
11. What was the biggest difference between kids from US foster care and kids from other countries as far as how they do in a family?
Boston: Surprisingly, there were WAY more institutional begavour's in our foster adoption situation. She was essentially in a nursing facility and they cared for her, but she spent a lot of time in a pack and play.
Sarah 1: I don't think it's kids from overseas orphanages vs. kids from North American foster care. Children are all different, and they take in a deal with their life experiences in their own ways. A child who has been living in a MI may be better adjusted if they were well feed, and allowed to play, and talked to, and liked by staff and other residents then a child who has been severely neglected and or abused by a birth family and then placed in an abusive foster home (or even just a foster home ill equipped to meet the child's specific needs).
Amanda: Kids from orphanages in my opinion adapt MUCH easier to family life. . . Kids from foster care have been taught what a family is over and over and over, but every time it was a wrong view and they were again moved. This means that you have to try to get them to change their view. Whereas kids in an orphanage don't even have a view of family yet. It is MUCH easier in my opinion (after 8 from orphanages and 12 from US foster care) to teach them what a family is the first time, than it is to try to change their view of family from something negative to something positive.
Meredith: Our son from foster care adapted easier to our family than any of our other kids, except maybe our first son, who was much like an infant. Our foster-adopt had a single loving adult in his life from 3 months to 3.5 years, then came to our home. One of our children from an orphanage was unused to being held or touched and so sensory deprived that she had a difficult time adapting to life outside of her crib and would scream to be put back in her crib. Another daughter was raised like a pack-animal and had no social boundaries, knowledge of appropriate interaction, manners, or knowledge of the many ‘ordinary’ things in life like waiting for food to cook or going to a grocery store. It felt like we were training an animal at first, and she had such a long time of all of that, that we are still trying to get through some of that.