Yesterday, I wrote about the realities of adopting older children. Today, I want to write about the added challenge of adopting multiple children at once.
-2 Challenges of multiple child adoption!-
To compound the challenges of older children, adopting more than 1 child presents it’s own set of challenges and benefits. Being school age and able to realize the pain but not fully understand it, presents unique obstacles Here are a couple of the challenges.
1. Having energy to console multiple children who hurt deeply at the same time, when you are outnumbered!
When we were initially brought together as a family, it was very difficult to listen to the gut wrenching whaling that they all endured as a result of saying goodbye to their foster families.
This issue isn’t unique to multiple children being adopted but it is magnified, cause for the first 2 weeks, every night one of them would start talking in their native language, ours happened to be Spanish, and then they would all say, “SI!” and then start crying, then bawling, then whaling for about an hour or so. Finally, they would fall asleep out of exhaustion, and we would curl up in our bed and cry ourselves to sleep. How do you console 2, 3 or 4 little people who need to grieve and who you only have 2 arms to wrap around 1 or maybe 2 at a time. Those were tough days. Adoption isn’t easy.
2. Helping them bond with you, when they already have a common bond with each other.
I didn’t realize this until we began talking with our friends about the joys of adopting multiple children at once. It is difficult to create the reasons for them to bond with you when they can so easily relate and support each other, which isn’t a bad thing by itself, but can quickly become their only coping mechanism, and you are left out of the “inner circle.” After all, they don’t know if this is the last place they are going to end up. They form a mob mentality that becomes almost self sufficient; heck, they have “survived” this long without you already. You must stress your love and define how they “NEED” you, because that isn’t always that clear, at least to them.
It took a long time but 2-1/2 years after bringing them home, we finally began to see success in this area. We had to remind our little daughter, for a long time that her brothers have a mother and that she wasn’t “it!” Define your roles early, it will help them understand their roles as your children.
Hang in there…we’re in this together…more tomorrow on “Teaching them to play…”