Suppose you’ve got a family that consists of more than one child. Suppose family is very important to you, and togetherness is something you treasure. And now, suppose one of your adopted children really, really doesn’t fit in with the group. This one child refuses to watch football with you . . . or join the chess team . . . or play an instrument with your family band . . . or go to church with you. We could go on, but you get the idea. What do you do when your adopted child just doesn’t fit in with the rest of the family?

Regardless of the reasons your child doesn’t seem to conform to or relate to the rest of the family, supporting your child in his or her personal interests is far more important than pushing conformity . . . even when the motive is family unity!

Looking at the long range well-being of your child and, in fact, the unity of your family, helping each individual to pursue individual dreams, talents, and interests is paramount. So the answer to What if my adopted child doesn’t fit the mold of my other children? Is this:

So what?!? 

It might mean that you don’t have a Von Trapp family performance group or you won’t all attend sports meets together. It might mean that while one child is traveling to ballet practice, the other is studiously performing science experiments. But what it doesn’t mean is that your family can no longer be one big happy group, or that you can’t spend your Saturdays together in family fun.

Not only does it not matter that your child is different—diversity can actually create cohesiveness! How boring a box filled with only blue crayons would be! So it is with family. It’s diverse talents, interests, and skills that make family interesting and add to the fun.

So celebrate the differences, and even encourage them. Help your child excel in her individual way. And be sure that your children feel your honest support and pride in their accomplishments and gifts. There’s nothing more wonderful than feeling valued. And when you know you’re valued not despite your differences, but because of your differences, self-esteem rises and success is imminent!