Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A different kind of relationship

Here is the thing I think people should wonder about:  How is it different parenting an adopted child as opposed to your biological child? 
Maybe not people in general, but perhaps I should have thought about it more. 
Serge and I were our usual selves on this matter (that being a compliment in neither case on this point) and assumed it would be the same.  We were called to adopt, we would get her, we weren't going to change our mind after we had her no matter what ergo our feelings would be the same for all four of our children and our parenting style also the same.

It isn't - the parenting style part.  I love Ellie.  If the house is burning down I am going to grab her as fast as I grab Julia (although at the moment she would likely fare better as she is still in our room....).   But she feels, in many ways, like someone else's child still.  Less so as times goes on - perhaps to ultimately not feel even a tiny bit that way I pray - but definitely now. She has habits that I am not use to, she smells different to me, she eats things I would never have fed my children, she has needs I have never had to meet before.  I would be lying to tell you those things don't make any difference. 

A small example, we never let our kids suck their fingers or thumbs.  I do not have any Pharisaical hang up on the matter, you go right ahead and let your children do whatever you want, I simply can not stand to hold some one's hands with drool on them.  Even my own children.  So it was just not something that I ever let start.  That was what pacifiers were for.  Pacifiers have two ends - the drooly side for the child and the handle for the adult.  I am a fan of that kind of division.  Ellie, however,  sucks on her fingers, well mostly sort of chews.  I do not like it but hesitate to hinder it, after all perhaps it was the only comfort she had, right?

And, that, in a nutshell, is what makes parenting Ellie different than the other three.  The theme can range from the significant to the mundane - from would I let Julia cry in this situation to would I let Julia eat that cheerio off of the floor.  Any tears they do cry come with a lot more baggage.  No matter how good the decision is for the child or for the family, you always say to yourself, how many unnecessary tears has she already shed?  All of the decisions you make tend to breed this kind of second guessing.  Would I make the same choice if it were Julia?  Am I putting Ellie in the car seat first because her protest is less vocal than Julia's today?  It can be endless and downright silly.

Except that it isn't.

So we pray for Grace and Wisdom and then some more Grace - for Ellie and for the other three.  Without which we are most decidedly doomed to failure.


  1. Sweet pictures! My girls had that same red dress! Trust me when I say you will love more as time goes on. She will feel yours as time goes on. Of all 3 adopted, Ivy feels less mine. It has only been 2 years. I love her, but there is some small wall still up in both our lives. As for the finger sucking...Eva smelled horribly because of it. She sucked in bed, out of bed, no matter where, she sucked her fingers, and smelled because of it. It was definitely a difficult time for me to try loving and kissing on her. After we felt she was happy and comfy being home, about 9 months, I started putting the thumb sucking stuff on. It didn't take her long to figure out that she didn't want or need to suck her fingers. See you all soon!

  2. I think what you've said also applies to grandparenting, at least it's been my experience. Please keep writing about this process you are in. It's good for all sorts of folk on all sorts of levels.