Welcome to Our Journey of Faith. My blog is a place where I share the joys and trials of living a faith-filled life as the mother of an extra large (12 children) homeschooling family, and my prayer is that it brings encouragement to others to live their lives as an adventure of faith, as well.
At the end of the post, I was pondering the following questions ...
"How do we teach a child not to do something, if that something would never cross our minds to do?"
"How do we train a child in 'critical thinking' skills?"
"How do we make up for the many, many years of lost parenting, without having our house burn down in the process?"
These questions have continued to plague me throughout the past week. Papa and I have discussed them almost daily. We have discussed them often over the past 2 years. But, we have not found a whole lot of answers yet.
If you have adopted an Older Child ... a child who lived for 5+ years without the loving care of a family ... have you run into the same questions/concerns? Have you found any answers?
We LOVE our girls dearly!!! They are ... sweet, precious, well-behaved, obedient, hard workers, etc... We are BLESSED to have them in our family!!! Yet ... at times ... though their birth certificates say they are 8 and 11 (and we know they are actually even older) ... their minds often seem stuck in preschool mode.
I am not wanting in any way to be critical of their character or personality. It's not that at all. We do not see them as "immature" in a bad way ... but, in reality, their minds are very immature. Does that make sense?
Some examples ...
#1 Rachel fell out of the van 2 summers ago, and landed on her face on the concrete. As we cleaned up the bloody nose, we nonchalantly asked, "Why didn't you put your hands out when you fell?" Her response, "No one ever taught me to put my hands out." What is hard to understand, is that I have never taught any of my 12 children to "put your hands out when you fall"; it's just something that they instinctively do.
#2 Rachel fell off the swing last summer. She had seen her brother Elijah standing on the swing, so she decided to follow his example. While swinging standing up, she decided to sit down. So ... she let go. Yes ... she just let go. No one had ever taught her that she should stop the swing before sitting down. Oh my!
#3 J. broke a big bedroom window last summer. He was in the front yard. He saw a bird. He picked up a rock, and decided to throw it at the bird. He didn't really notice that the bird was flying right in front of a big window. I guess no one ever taught him not to throw rocks at birds or windows.
#4 Sarah broke a window a week ago. Her response to the window breaking was a very typical 2 year old response. She completely fell apart emotionally, something that she had never done before. Because she works so very hard to be the "good child", she didn't know what to do when suddenly she did something "bad". I wasn't angry. She wasn't in trouble. But, she completely beat herself up emotionally over her error in judgment. Her emotions were very much preschool emotions. So sad!
#5 Last week, Rachel wrapped the towel around the night light, which could have easily caused the house to burn down while we were sleeping that night (if the Lord hadn't led me to find it). When questioned, she said, "No one ever told me not to put a towel on a night light." Again, I have never taught any of my children that. They just knew.
I know this is not really a unique parenting situation for older child adoptions. Sadly, it is something that many families unexpectedly face. Yet, the mothers that I have talked to haven't really found any answers, either. The day after our night light incident, I spoke with the mother of a 14 year old from Ethiopia. This mother said, "Oh. Yes. I have to treat her much like a 5 year old." This mother actually had thought that it would have been nice to have bio. kids around her age. However, I shared the flip side of that equation: it is really hard to have bio. kids that are given much more freedoms and responsibilities because they have had so many years of training. When the adopted child is the same age as the bio. child, that brings with it daily reminders of "I'm sorry, but your brother has had 8 years of training already. I can't allow you to do that yet."
I would love to hear your thoughts, incites, and questions about this adoptive parenting challenge ...