“Adoption is a commitment you enter into blindly, but it is no different from adding a child by birth. It is essential that adopting parents are committed to making it work, committed to parenting this child for the rest of their lives, and committed to parenting through the tough stuff.” – Brooke Randolph
People keep asking how things are going with our newest addition. Things are good. Things are better than expected but that is not to say that it hasn’t been challenging. We are in the adjustment phase of this new journey and everyone is feeling the growing pains. It is much like bringing a baby home…We’re more tired than typical, a bit overwhelmed, the kids are all trying to figure out their place in this new family unit, all while Toby and I work to bond with our new son. What is different from the addition of a baby is that this child comes with his own fears, insecurities, habits and past that we have to navigate as we work to bond as a family. I had forgotten how tiring the first few months with Tyler were as we went through the process of establishing relationships, teaching boundaries and building trust. It requires a lot of active parenting and in that sense is much like parenting a toddler…or should I say toddlers…since the supervision required is for Tyler and Ozzie.
Ozzie and Tyler are the best of friends. They frequently let people know this when they are out in public but they haven’t quite figured out HOW to be best friends. They haven’t learned each others’ friendship language. As a result they are much like an old married couple with their nagging and bickering. The either desperately love each other or drive each other crazy. This is where that active parenting comes in. Much of my day is spent mediating, correcting and redirecting. They just haven’t learned how to play on their own yet without help. The older kids have been a great asset in this department, especially Rusty, because when they all play together the older kids serve as role models for appropriate play…take turns, inside voices, calm touch, etc. Although there have been days that seem to just be filled with tattling and bickering they are both each other’s greatest defenders. The other day Ozzie lost the privilege of playing with his matchbox cars because he wasn’t playing fairly. Tyler came to his defense and claimed it was all his (Tyler’s) fault. It wasn’t. I was watching the entire interaction. He told me that it would make Ozzie “so sad” to lose his cars and that he would be willing to do Ozzie’s time out and Ozzie should get to play with his cars. 🙂 Moments like that one give me great insight into how far Tyler has come. Bringing Ozzie into our home has really given Tyler an opportunity to step up. Often, when watching them interact, it feels as though Tyler is the older brother even though Ozzie is 2 years older. We are at the beginning of the adoption road with Ozzie and the last two weeks have helped me remember what that path was like with Tyler. It is all coming back to me…the tantrums, the tears over missing old homes, the fears that if they are bad they will be kicked out, the bad habits that must be addressed, the new rules that must be learned, the fear that another meal might not be coming and the balance that we must strive for as we parent this new child that needs so much of our time and energy while we try to continue to give the other kids the time and attention they need. Even in the midst of all that I would say that things are going better than expected.
In the midst of this big life change life marches on. There isn’t the luxury of putting school, church callings, appointments, etc. on hold while we bond with our newest addition. Here is some of what has been happening at Patchwork Farm..
Things have been cold…VERY cold. The result of negative temperatures, when you live on a farm, is a lot of extra chores. There are more feedings, laying fresh bedding, and refilling water when things get cold. It also means a lot of two-hour delays for Ozzie. He has been thrilled by all the two-hour delays but I am finding it frustrating because I still have to home school the others. We typically start school at 8:45 but on days where there is a delay we aren’t able to begin until 11:15.
We also have had the scheduling challenge of many appointments. Ozzie came with many already scheduled appointments down in Pittsburgh that I have had to keep but we have also had appointments for the other kids that were set up before we knew about Ozzie. The result… 7 separate appointments in one week. I feel like we are a “car schooling” family rather than a “home schooling” one. This should ease up after this week. I hope.
The three older kids have been keeping busy with school and activities. Gracie received her 2nd quarter report card and was thrilled to find out that she got straight A’s. The big kids also have a fun activity going on with their piano lessons. The three older kids take piano from a friend of ours. She is wonderful! She comes to the house to teach them and it has been something they have all enjoyed. In honor of the winter Olympics she has created a Winter Piano Olympic challenge for piano practice. They each received a folder with daily challenges, instructions on how the Piano Olympic games work and insight on how to earn a perfect 10. It has been a fun motivation for the kids as they compete with each other.
On Saturday we got a nice amount of snow so Toby took the little boys outside for sled rides behind the ATV. They had a blast!
Ozzie has started cub scouts. He is so excited. We picked up his uniform and book last week and this past week he has worked with Toby to build his car for the pinewood derby. Last night was his first meeting which also happened to be the race. He LOVED it.
This week continues to be packed with activities. Tonight the older kids at church are having their own pinewood derby. Gracie, Molly and Rusty have spent the week working on their cars. Tomorrow is also a big day for Miss Grace…she gets her braces off!
As I was flipping through a book of quotes the other day I came across this gem by Scott Simon that sums up how I have been feeling…
“There are times when the adoption process is exhausting, and painful and makes you want to scream.
But… so does childbirth.”
There you go.
It is hard… but so worth it. 🙂