It’s October! Besides pretty trees and college football and pumpkin spice lattes, October means it’s adoption time!
Our little guy turns six months old this month, which means our adoption comes off hold. Technically, that means we could receive a call at any time and bring home a child(ren) in about six months. More realistically, we’ll be lucky to have our adoption completed by the end of next year. We are so excited and anxious and giddy and nervous! We have a call with the adoption agency later this week and will know more then.
If you know me in real life, you know that both the husband and I are researchers. Almost to a fault. We read and analyze and discuss and question. I especially recognize that other people have expertise in areas that I don’t and enjoy asking about the lessons they’ve learned along the way.
As we move forward with adoption, we have been thinking about what we’re prepared to handle and what would be too much for us at this time. We feel a call towards older child adoption (more on that in an upcoming post). We are also well aware of the special challenges that come with older child adoption. One of the (relatively minor) challenges for our family would be the large age gap between children, especially because we would like to have more children eventually.
Tonight we were at church and came across a couple who had children 7 years apart. This is a potential situation for our family. I explained our background to them and told them I was anxious to hear about their experiences parenting that kind of age gap. They politely answered but then she went on to tell me how they have friends who have adopted older children and how they came with pasts and issues and it is just awful and it tore their families apart and the world went dark for weeks and everyone lost their extremities and eventually they all died slow painful deaths. (I might have made some of that up). She closed by warning us that it’s not the age gap thing we should be worried about but the older child thing.
I wanted to punch her in the face.
Since I’m not a violent person, and since we were in church, and because punching someone in the face probably wouldn’t properly convey my point, I took a deep breath instead. I quickly explained that yes, older children can and often do come with “issues”. It’s important to do your research and prepare for the worst. Then we got called away and I was glad because I was soooo over this conversation. It’s hard to talk about important life issues in a passing discussion.
I’m not naive. If we do end up adopting an older child- and that’s still a big if- I’m not expecting it to be easy. I’m expecting our marriage to be challenged, our happy little family to be disrupted, our newly adopted child to be hateful and sad and at times violent.
Adopting an older child is not right for a lot of families. Heck, it might not be right for our family at this time. But what if everybody had this woman’s attitude? What if everybody was so afraid of living outside their comfort zones that they never stepped outside their little picket-fence box? How could I have responded better?