Monday, January 13, 2014

17 Nosy Questions about special needs adoption- ANSWERED (Part 3)

Part 2: 12. Did you ever feel ‘stuck’ after you adopted, that you weren’t happy with the ‘end results’ of what your family became?

Jaclyn: Not yet. I feel overwhelmed at times as every mother does, but I felt the same way when I had 2 bio kids very close together.

Sara 1: I have NEVER felt stuck or unhappy with who my family has become. I have however felt disappointed with myself as a parent when I'm unable to met my daughter's needs in the way that she needs. It's something that I work on daily.
J: Never felt stuck with the first 3, fit in nicely even with lots of medical needs. But do I feel "stuck" at times now....yes, I spend every day praying for the confusion and guilt to fade.

Gillian: Yes, I've experienced this emotion several times since my child came home. The trick is to pray and breath through those times. I can't take a bad day as a bad life. We live day by day. There is always tomorrow.

Alysha: I think I feel more of a compassion for him then love. I don't feel like I love him and have bonded to him the way I did our Isaac in the first 8 months of being home. It really has been a hard adjustment to him. His needs can be time consuming, overwhelming, and his whooing's annoying. He never learned to interact with others . This has made bonding with him tough. He usually doesn't give any type of affection back. He just doesn't know how. We weren't expecting his needs to be as great as they are. I have faith it'll get better and I will feel bonded to him in the same way I do my other kids..but I guess it's just going to take more time. I don't regret him being home and wouldn't change it, but I do wish it was easier.

13. How do you keep a reasonable expectation of life-after-adoption when all you have to go off of is a photograph and a short write up about a child ahead of time?

Jaclyn: This question always gets me...... I did not get to chose what special needs my bio kids had and honestly I did not get to choose what special needs my adopted kids have either. God knows I do not like surprises, but he also knows I worry way too much if I know in advance, so he surprised me with my child being deaf and my other son being blind..... I always say I didn't choose them God chose them the same way he chose my bio kids!!!

Sara 1: I think that problem is if you have expectations based on a photo and a brief summary. You need to have zero expectations, and then move up from there as you get to know your child. Things as simple as basic manners, if the child has never been taught or expected to use them, you will have to teach them and remind them.

Meredith: I’ve felt from the beginning that God protected us in our first adoption.  We had this idealized view of what the two children would be like that we were planning to adopt, and though we met them both, we were unable to adopt one of them and we found someone else was coming to adopt the second.  We ended up bringing home two totally different children in every sense.  Our children we intended were somewhat independent, walking, and generally “healthy” children with special needs.  The children we brought home in the end were both like infants, neither walking or supporting their own head even, and both had some medical complexities.  After meeting the “photo children” we learned how much we had built an idea of personality from our own dreams.  We did bring home one of those photo children years later, and God prepared our hearts for her many additional needs in that first meeting. After that, it was easier for us to NOT set up false expectations for future adoptions, which is really what is necessary!!

Amanda: I don't have expectations really I don't guess. I just expect that they are kids who have no idea what to expect. They don't know what is happening and are afraid. I have to be on constant supervision until we learn more about them and also be constantly aware that they need constant reassurance while giving them plenty of space. Everything is a balancing act in the beginning. You have to learn from the child what they need and how to parent them best. Every child is different. You have to know that the write up is most likely wrong. You go into it with the knowledge that this is a special little person that God has made and you love for who they are. . . you just have to learn exactly who that is.

Brittany:  I've learned to have no expectations… :)

14. Do you wonder if your typical kids will resent that you adopted more children with special needs?

Boston: I think we view it as an opportunity for our children to realize concretely that the world doesn't revolve around them and that we take our faith seriously in that we are commanded to care for the orphan and the needy.

Jaclyn: All my kids have varying "special needs" (bio and adopted). I honestly do not think there is a such thing as "typical".

Sara 1: No I don't. This is the life that she has always known, and now she will continue to know it. These are her sisters, period. They are not her adopted sisters, they are not a charity that we are providing, they are our family.

Sara 2: We asked and the SW asked our other girls if they wanted to adopt the baby and keep her with us forever before we adopted. They had no idea that saying no was even an option before we asked them, but then they couldn't figure out why we would consider "getting rid of her". She was their sister from the first time they met her in the hospital.

J: Our younger bio accepts adoption as normal and assures me he will adopt in the future. My 16 year old resents it already. Not so much with the first 3 who are medically needy, he bonded with them but the last 2 he still asks us to disrupt due to intense behaviors and emotional needs.

Meredith: Our biological children may go through a season with something like this, but as things are right now, they ask about adopting again on a regular basis, and are very accepting of our children, friends’ children, and really even complete strangers’ kids with special needs.

15. If your child exhibits behavioral problems later on, would you regret the decision of having adopted them?
J: It would depend on if it negatively affected the rest of our children or damaged our family unit and how severely.

Amy: We have dealt with some very challenging behaviors and unexpected diagnosis. There were times I honestly questioned God why He allowed us to experience the painful stuff. In the midst of it, we truly knew adopting that child wasn't a mistake. Thisis one of the reasons it is vitally important for both a husband and wife to be in agreement about an adoption. Coercing a spouse to adopt and then running into issues could be disastrous, not just for the adoption, but the marriage!  you aren't guaranteed an outcome with biological kids either. Would you regret giving birth to a child if they made poor choices?

Jaclyn: Of course NOT! Every child has the potential to have behavior problem. While adopted kids may be prone to it, it does not mean it will happen.

Sara: Never. Partly because I don't believe in regret, but mostly because she is MY daughter. We were meant to be in each other's lives, good and/or bad. We are here to get through this together. It is my job to help her through any and all of that. Figure out the cause, find healing and coping strategies so that she can LIVE her life as best as she can.

Meredith: There are no promises.  Similar to the idea of whether a chlid’s past can be “undone”, you don’t know what will happen and have to trust God with it all.

16. Which kids are your real children and which did you adopt?  

Jaclyn: All of my kids are my real kids. My girls came to me as infants while my boys had to wait 6 whole years for me to find them.

Sara 1: Which are biological and which are adopted? Because all are real. But honestly, if it's not asked in a rude way I have no problem kindly correcting them in their wording.

Meredith: My hope would be that people would learn to ask instead, “are you comfortable telling me about how each of your kids joined your family?” All our kids are our real kids.  We do openly share about our children’s adoptions, however if our children had a different reaction to adoption, or if they had a different level of understanding of their past hurt, we might be more hesitant to approach this subject with a stranger.

17.  How would you handle things if a child decided they wanted to find their biological parent?  Would you feel jealous?  

Boston: My daughter sees her birth mother by Skype because she lives in Ukraine. I think birth parent involvement is very unique to. Each family situation. With one adopted child, we consider her mother family. With the other we would never allow contact.

Jaclyn: This question varies per child. Adam was wanted by his family. They wanted to keep him, but laws in their Country and lack of finances forced their hand. I hope to find them one day, so they can see how good he is doing. Matthias has siblings (a twin) and I will encourage him to look for them. As far as his parent go, we do not know about his dad and his mom abandoned him. I will still support him if he decides to look, but I also plan to be open and honest about the circumstances as well.

Sara 1: No, I wouldn't feel jealous. We are searching for more info at this time, so that we will have it if she ever wants it. It is not worth your time to worry about jealous feelings towards your child's bio parents. If you are going to adopt you MUST accept the fact that your child has biological parent, who are NOT you. And no matter who they are or what they've done they will hold a part of your child's heart (even if your child doesn't recognize that).

Sara 2: We do see her biological parents, and I provide them with regular updates and photos. I was worried about what our relationship would be like, but we were able to easily settle into a comfortable rhythm (which I am VERY thankful for!!!).

J: I WANT to find some of my kids birth parents though I have no idea how. I would love to tell them your/my child is loved, cherished and happy! They are OK! A few are in jail and I would probably discourage them from making contact as adults but I would respect their decision if they felt they needed/wanted to. HAVE MORE QUESTIONS?
Feel free to leave a comment, and as long as it is a honest and respectful question, it will be published and adoptive parents are welcome to pop in and answer it for you from their perspective. :)

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