A sweet blog friend has asked some good questions about older child adoptions, and I thought that I would answer her questions here, because others may be wondering some of the same things.
First up, I MUST STATE, every child and every adoption is different! Each child will react differently to the new changes. So please keep in mind that this is how our new children acted/or are acting now.
We used ASIA and loved working with them!!!
Noelani was 11 years old when she came home, and Clive was 8 years old.
How has the transition been? Hmmm, that's a little harder to answer. For those of you who know about the trip to pick them up in China, I wasn't sure that we were going to make it. Looking back and now that I know the children a little bit better, I can see that they were scared out of their minds, and that really brought out the bad and the fight in them. Noelani is settling down really well now, loves having a family, is a very helpful little girl and generally pretty easy going. It took some time as she tested out our rules, but she has transitioned really well. I am very proud of how far she has come in such a short time. I thought, based off of how hard she fought us in China, that she would have a harder time than she is. She did cry and miss China at first, but now she is very happy to be here with her new family.
I thought that Clive would do better than he is, so you just never know. I am a little confused by him. As I stated earlier this week, there seems to have been some abuse. His behavior isn't coming along quite as well as we had hoped. He still tests us a lot, more me than Steve. He seems "afraid" of men and behaves "better" with them. He throws colossal fits. He does steal things, and hordes. These are things that we read about and are certainly not surprised by. It's the "emotional" aspect of it all that starts to wear on us all.
There are of course, institute behaviors that take time to retrain. We know it takes time as the children learn the right way to act in a family. They are learning that they do not have to fight to protect themselves; learn how a mommy and daddy are different than the workers in the orphanage; learn to be a part of a family; learn to respect others and their property, etc..
What has been the biggest struggles? As I said earlier, Clive is a confusion to me. I'm not completely sure what I am dealing with. Immaturity? Definitely. Emotional wounds? For sure. He's only 8 and there is so much I'm sure he still doesn't "get". Also, for both of them, and us, it has been hard not speaking the same language. We get along, and teaching them sign language has been one of the greatest tools. Still, I know we all get frustrated with the limited understanding. We use google translate when we have to, but, it's hard to speak heart to heart that way. They have learned a way of living called survival, what ever that looked like. Now they are trying to learn that they are safe in a family, that they are loved always, that even when they do wrong they will not be rejected...it will take time and we pray for them and for their healing.
Ha, here is a great example...as I type this Steve asked Noelani to do something that she didn't want to do. She started "talking" in Chinese. Steve said back to her "Noelani, are you complaining? She said no and he said, "I may not understand Chinese, but that sure sounds like grumbling. She said "Sorry daddy."
I know that some of you may still have questions. Feel free to ask away. I will answer what ever I can. Older child adoptions does need one thing above all others! Tons of support, understanding, and as much before hand information as possible. I would never want to "scare" anyone from adopting an older child, but I will state that more support, honest acceptance, and being ready for this different ministry is very important.
And the children are worth it all!