Sunday, January 3, 2010

Adopting an older child

Because I have been asked recently what it is like
to bring an older child home.

Jorja came home she was almost 5 years old.
She was ready for fun and play.
She did great meeting the whole family...
all but our dog.
Cosmo really scared her, and Cosmo wan't too crazy about her either.
They kept their distance from each other.

Since we arrived home Jorja has always loved hugs and kisses.
The hardest part with adopting Jojra as an older child.
Was the lack of rules that she had in her life.
It seems that at her orphanage,
there was a lot of unstructured play time.

Structured play time, or reading a book to her
was to her like I was disciplining her.
She would throw herself into a horrible
temper tantrum.
She would hit and spit on me.
If she could run and jump off the walls of our house,
she was happy.
Unfortunately for her,
that doesn't happen at our house,
and was not something that was at all tolerated.

Honestly, Jojra doesn't and hasn't really had to be
disciplined for defiant actions,
or mean antics. 
She has usually needed to be settled down.
To play, but with control.
She always scared me that as she ran through the house -
arms, legs and head flying -
I worried that she would hit herself on a corner of a table and
really hurt herself.
Teaching boundaries is very difficult.

When we corrected her uncontrolled play,
she said, "She was bad."
"No sweetie - just goofy and we can't be goofy."

(of course, we are all goofy - but I couldn't think of another word that
we could use - I didn't want her to think she was "bad".)

She is now at the point when she knows she is getting out of hand -
she will look at me, calmed down and say, "I no need be goofy."
Yes, we can have fun without being out of control.

I am so thankful that the older kids play soccer -
(rather then an indoor sport)
These games gave her the opportunity
to play and run as much as she "needed" too.
We also have a small trampoline inside,
and a large trampoline outside!
These have been wonderful for her!

Three of our kids do karate too - 45 minutes classes.
Though these classes are indoors it was
 a great time to teach her how to control herself
as she watches them.
For the first few months she had to be taken outside,
because of the fits she threw when she was asked to settle down.
 She now knows the rules of the karate school,
and loves going to watch the kids -
and loves the instructor! 
And joins Jailyn as they quietly entertain and chat with
the other kids and adults.
I think Jorja knows everyones name in the karate school,
and I know she knows every name of the big kids soccer teams!
She has an incredible memory for names -
hopefully she can start helping me with that!

Sensory processioning disorder -
She has some sensory issues, but as she is home longer and longer -
this has gotten much better.
When we first came home -
she would cry when the wind hit her face,
or there was a light sun shine in her face.
Though she loves to hug - it is always gentle.
Jailyn loves for daddy to give her "big" hugs -
Jorja screams for "gentle" hugs.

Jojra is a survivor and very competitive.
She is still learning that sometimes she gets to go somewhere with Daddy or Mommy
and sometimes it is Jailyn, or one of the other kids, or all of us.
She is usually okay if it's one of the big kids - or all the big kids -
but the competition comes through with Jailyn. 

Many people wonder about food for an older child.
Jorja loves Ramon Noodles and yogurt!
When she is having a rough day and acting out, usually pushing her limits -
I will make sure she has noodles and yogurt.
It usually brings her out of the poor attitude.
I know that I like a bit of comfort food - she does too! :)

There were and still are many times that she acts like a 3 year old.
She still has many  years to catch-up on, but she is catching up.
And has come a long way in the last year.
And so have I!

I love her more then I can say!
My heart aches when she has a "bad" day.
My heart jumps for joy when she plays with the
family and obeys the boundaries,
with a smile.

She is blooming every day!
Learning more and more!
And being more confident in herself
and us!
She is learning that she doesn't have to
rely on herself -
we are here for her and always will be.

I didn't get much rest the first 4 months Jorja was home.
I was stressed out and
many times needed a good cry.
It was hard,
very hard -

but ohhhh so worth it!


Cupcakes and Hairbows said...

In looking back to last year, ours was also harder than I think I even realized when I was in the "midst" of it all. Alaina's adjustment and assimilation into our family has been nothing short of a miracle...

NiHao Nepal said...

Jorja and Jailyn both are blessings to Landry. She feels comfortable at church in large part to their being there. We are thankful that we met you guys!

Kim K. said...

What a raw, yet beautifully heart-felt post. I keep looking again at older SN children. Our SN daughter was 21 months old when she came to our family. Such a baby physically and emotionally. I often wonder if we are really done. Thank you for sharing.

The Vest Nest said...

Love it!

Dee said...

We get the same questions. I am glad there is more than us out in the world adopting the wonderful "older children". Thank you for becoming our friends through our wonderful older children.


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