I have to be losing my mind. DH caught me with the agency's website up tonight. We started talking about the possibility of trying to adopt again when the bills are paid down (drat that darn house in MO). My guess is that the "Journey to Kayden"--yes, he already has a name--will take at least 2 years. That would put Hunter around 5 or so. We are leaning toward a somewhat older child this time 1-2 years younger than Hunter. Those of you that have adopted older, please give me your experiences so far and if you had to do it over, would you?
I still find myself wondering about that little boy that was walked past us on trip 1 two years ago. He was about 3. I'll never forget the look in his eyes. How I wish I had asked his story and if he was available. We started thinking about an older child then.
Theresa,
I just know you will adopt again - it's been on your mind for some time. I hope you get the bills under control quickly.
As you know, we requested one child under the age of 12 months. We ended up adopting 2 bio siblings ages 2 & 4. It just goes to show that you don't always know what you want!
Yes, I sometimes mourn the fact that we didn't have them as babies, but they are so wonderful that I cannot imagine anything different. I agree 100% with Crispex's comments.
I would add that older children are able to enjoy all of the things that you want to share with them...Christmas is more fun with a child than with an infant, a trip to the zoo is thrilling, a visit to a playground is great. Our kids love all of those things and we didn't have to wait for them to get older to appreciate it.
Jen
PS-
Just remember that Kayden could come with siblings ;)
Jenny---SIBLINGS!!!??? :eek: Kayden will already make #6 technically. Yep, I can see that happening to us!! :evilgrin:
Well, having adopted only a three year old, I can say that I don't have anything to compare it to. It worked out well for us because we were able to experience some of the fun stuff of toddlerhood and yet within a year and a half of bringing him home, we placed him into preschool. On the positive side, he had his chicken pox, was completely potty trained and had heard Russian but wasn't able to speak it yet. We are thinking of adopting a child between 5-7 next time so that our son will have a playmate the same age as him.
Good luck, I remember conversing with you lots about St. Petersburg.
Nancy
Our little guy was 4 when we brought him home last February. He spoke fluent Russian, but within months he had picked up enough English to get by. Now, 10 months later - and after his 5th birthday, the language gap is no problem at all. It's still a fun age. He has bonded very well with us and his older brother (17) and sister (14).
I'm with Crispex and LilyMoon.
But adopting a slightly older child is a wonderful experience. DD had some survival behaviors (hid food) -- our answer was to put little piles of toddler food down on every flat surface she could reach (whole baby carrots, little veggie sticks, cheerios, teensy apple slices and bits of fresh bagels). At night, we sent her to bed with a REALLY stale bagel, which she could only suck/gum on. Would fall asleep almost instantly, with bagel gripped tightly in one hand....
Sensory and gross motor issues are possible (I'd suggest a PT and OT evaluation shortly after home-comeing). Language barriers can be an issue, but we swear by the book, "My First Thousand Words In Russian" (for communicating), and phonetic word lists for you (for the same).
Why did we choose a slightly older child? I had signed on as a substitute in our local school system in order to get "the inside scoop." Sadly, I had much training with special needs children, and one day was assigned as the teachng assistant in a special needs class. There, I met X, who had an unusual name, a repaired cleft palate, and the most severe autism I'd ever run across. I spent the entire day chasing X. At the end of the day, I commented about his unusual name. Head teacher: "Oh, you didn't know? He was adopted from Russia as a 6-month-old."
Soooo...I realized that he had been my child, I likely would have committed suicide. It ranks up as one of the three worst days of my life, the other two involving the deaths of family members.
I hope this helps! PM if you have questions.s
To further elaborate - Julia, age 6, is more like 4. In fact, she and my great niece - who is 3 and very, very smart - get along famously. See this Christmas photo of them, showing off new bracelets. So, yes, these older kids - they're definitely emotionally younger than U.S. kids. Lots of happy firsts to enjoy.
Becky
[url=http://www.woodworthfamily.blogdrive.com]The Woodworth Family in Beautiful San Antonio TX[/url]
Hi Theresa,
As you know, we adopted a 3 year old along with an infant. There are pros and cons, but we would definitely do it again. Actually when we do go back for number 3 it will be for a child that same age (probably 2.5 years to 3.5 years depending on how old Sophia is at that time).
He learned the language quickly. He assimilated into the family and attached to us well, but we did attachment parent and I think this is extremely important for a toddler/preschooler. He had issues with indiscriminate attachment at first, but what would you expect from a child that age who suddenly has parents he is supposed to be attached to that he has never even met before.
He was potty trained - we regressed him to sleeping in pull ups because of the stress his occasional accidents were having on him. I regressed him in rocking him with a sippy cup and lying with him when he went to sleep.
We celebrated a whole different kind of firsts with him. First time in a pool, feeling grass under his feet, eating pizza, seeing a movie, etc. It was a joyous time in many ways. It was a stressful time in many ways.
He was very easily overstimulated and this took a long time to overcome. We had him tested for SI issues but since he was borderline there we never had any formal therapy there. Overall with him I always believed that he was shell-shocked that first year. As if he was waiting for it all to come to an end and desperately clinging to whatever we were doing that day. He didnt get that there would be more tomorrow. It took him a long time to really relax with us.
Today we are home 2 years and things are fine. Its been a really busy, tiring, overstimulated couple of weeks here with the holidays and I have to say that he's been great. Better than great- DH and I both feel this is the best holiday of our lives. :love: Our friends and family cant believe how far he's come.
It took time, but we've come a long way and we feel very blessed to have him in our lives!
Christina
We also adopted bio siblings...22 months and 3.7 years old. We were weary about attachment and emotional issues adopting a child around 4 years old BUT we did it.
The first three months home were SO HARD with her. She had many tantrums, tested every rule, and didn't want any part of Dh. But once she learned our home was safe, that she would be there forever, and she learned to talk in English sentences it was a quick turn around. She became a happy, fun, loving little girl. And as for the firsts, she has been home almost 10 months now and still is experiencing so many firsts.
I agree with others that they may be 3 and 1/2 but are emotionally younger than that. I would say our DD now 4.6 is probably about 3.5 emotionally. But is on target or advanced in everything else! :banana: We also did regress the potty training at nighttime and put her on a sippy cup. We dressed her, bathed her, brushed her teeth, fed her...she fought all of this because she wanted to show us how independent she could be. But now it justs comes natural to her.
And to be honest, I think I have formed an attachment with my oldest at a deeper level than my youngest. (And youngest was a fairly smooth transition.) I think it's because she understands sooo much and really can communicate her thoughts and feelings, but still act like a little girl. When I say I love her to pieces it doesn't even come close to explaining how much I love this little girl. :love: So, of course I would recommend adopting this age in a minute, although the beginning will be rough. We actually talk about one day maybe going back to adopt an older child, around 6. Funny, since we started the adoption process wanting an infant under 12 months!!!
Good luck to you...and I agree bio sibs are great!:flowergift:
First I have to say to BeckyWW...WOW!!!!! little Julia has just blossomed!! she caught my eye at the embassy, her dark eyes and sweet face,, funny how that day seems surreal now and is playing with your other girls as if she'd been her forever!
Ok here is my two cents worth! I completely agree with all that has been posted. Summer was 3.3 yrs when she came home. Didnt even need pull ups!! She hit the ground running LOVED LOVED LOVED the book My First 1000 words (a lifesaver!)ate anything offered and took a 2 hr nap daily!! Language issues were so non exsistent, you'd swear I was lying! I handed her a milkshake the other day and she said very seriously
"DRINK RESPONSIBLY!!!"
they soak up every darn thing they hear! The firsts are even more fun!
Forget walking and saying mama!
Watching her on Christmas morning opening a pile of presents or holding a little love bird or "wearing makeup"OMG it's such a hoot.The returns emotionally from an older child are huge & immediate.
I stubbed my toe the other day and despite tears running down my face (trying not to swear loudly!) she came up and hugged me and said
"shh... its ok mommy I got you. Im here and I will never go away. then Are you happy? ܜ
her goal in life is to make sure everyone around her is happy!
Their characters and personalities as kretz said are simply amazing to watch.
For our family her age was perfect (remember we went in search of a much older child!) We hit the ground running and my older boys adore her in ways I NEVER saw coming. Am I rambling?? LOL can you tell I want to do it all again??? ܜ
good luck but I say go for it!! Older children have so much to offer.
Theresa, good for you for thinking about it and good luck with your decision.
I met Antonina when she was 5 years old and adopted her when she was five and a half. I wouldn't change a thing even though she is screaming in my ear (playing) as I type this message!!
Antonina gets very easily overstimulated which is a work in progress and I also believe she is emotionally behind compared to other kids her age. That said, there's so many positives - way too many to mention!!
Things have calmed down alot over this past twelve months and the difference is incredible.
.....Beckyww. Antonina has just seen the photo of Julia and asked me who she was, I explained that she was a lovely little girl adopted from Russia and Antonina is asking when she can come round and play with us......
....Theresa, I've also explained to Antonina why I'm typing this particular message and she asked me to send you this pink rose in the title. Once again good luck older adoption would be for me again.
I agree with everything the other posters have written. In most ways adopting an older child has been a very positive experience. Regina was 4 when we brought her home and Lilia was 2. Regina has been fully potty trained (even through the night) since we got her. That has been a major bonus! Both girls eat just about anything we give them. (They have experienced severe hunger in their lives so they don't take food for granted like our boys do.) It has been a hoot to have them immediately enjoying things in our family that a baby wouldn't be able to do...decorating the xmas tree, singing carols, going to Chuck E. Cheese, and all that fun stuff. But that has also been a down side too. They were instantly into their brothers stuff and knocking down their towers, etc.. The boys weren't really expecting that part. I also found the language piece to be very challenging for myself. Although Regina learned English fairly fluently in 7-8 weeks, it was a LONG time to get to that point. I longed to be able to talk with her as I talked with my boys. That was very tough. Hand gestures and sign language only go so far. I also wasn't quite prepared for her reaction the first night we had her. It was one of the happiest days of our life and one of the worst days of her life. She couldn't stop sobbing. She hadn't seen us for almost 6 months so I don't know if she remembered us or not. She had to take a 10 hour boat ride with a caregiver to get to us and was exhausted and hungry when we were finally reunited. It was 9 pm at night. The first 2 weeks with her were some of the hardest of my life....wasn't prepared for that. She was confused and scared. Being older (and having such a neglected past) made her much more aware of what was happening.
But now...7 months later...we have adjusted well. I have loved adopting slightly older children. Our intent was not to adopt a 4 year old. We found out about her after we'd accepted Lilia's referral. Thank goodness we decided to bring Regina home too. She's been a real blessing to all of us. We have definitely had to do a lot of attachment parenting which has helped immensely. Regina especially had quite a deal with indiscriminate affection with strangers. So we had to limit all physical touch with anyone but my husband and myself. It worked ! We did it strictly for 3 months and then we let grandparents in the circle. No one else for now. They no longer go to strangers and stay pretty close to us in most circumstances. If adopting an older child, I think it's common to have this issue. We had someone help us work through it. Yes, it had very rough days but now the reward of it is paying off more than I could imagine. The funny thing about indiscriminate behavior is that we thought it was cute and wonderful when we met our children for the first time and they easily came to us. But it's not so cute when they do it to others who are not their mommy and daddy. Kind of a double standard. That really made me think when an attachment therapist said that to me. We have to re-teach these older kids how to function in a family. They totally go on survival skills that have served them well up to this point.
Good luck with your decision!
We brought home our 7 years old son Sasha this past September. No regrets at all !!! Otherwise he would have zero chances of being adopted because of his age.
I just wanted to wish you well in your decision and encourage you a bit. My advice is to follow your instict and it sounds like you are aware of that. Go with it! Everything else will work itself out.
Hi Theresa, Since I ONLY have one child, and DD came home at the age of 8.3 years old (though emotionally she was about 5.5 or 6 years old) it was a wonderful fit for "Me". I sure do wish that I could experienced her "FIRSTS" with her, but was not meant to be. I thought I would adopt a child that was MUCH younger then 8+, but once I read the statistics, and agreed to a summer hosting program for older children, I KNEW this was my Path...... To this day..... I can be gazing at DD, and so wish that I had her sooner, but knew that she was placed in my heart at this special time. This child will change the world, instead of the world changing her!
There are Pros and Cons to a child at any age.... Follow your heart, and you will know what is right for you, your family and the child!
I'll respond from a slightly different persective. We wanted an infant, as young as possible. Allie came home at 15 months - and at first I was disappointed that it took 5 months for court because we met her at 10 months old!
Looking back, we started the process when our son was 4 - barely out of toddler stage himself. A baby was a perfect blend to our family:)
Looking forward, ds is 7 - second grade - in every sport known to man. I am soccer mom (baseball mom, basketball mom, hip hop mom, etc. etc.) member of PTA, volunteer in the school, and take him to cub scouts. Our son is a kid - a full fledged member of boyhood - very busy and very much not the little man he was when we started our adoption journey.
Going back to a baby in diapers is very, very difficult! Family movies are out of the question right now, attending sports functions with a baby is very challenging.
I love Allie very much! Don't get me wrong - I wouldn't trade her for anything! However, an older child would fit better in our family. IF we every did this again, we'd go for a boy about 2 years younger than our son is at the time, and perhaps a girl 2 years older than our daughter (I like balance..:) )