Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Older or teen adoption

I wanted to write about older or even teen adoption today. This video shares 5 of our teen girls and some of their insights about adoption. We have 11 teenagers... 9 who were adopted and one is our bio. son, Ben. We have adopted 8 older kids ..who were age 11 or older when they came home...We have also adopted a 7 yr old, and 9 yr old and a 5 yr old - some people would call this age an older child adoption as well. We have a total of 12 girls and 10 boys ( not counting Gracie and Andrew yet).

We have found the adoption of older kids to be very rewarding and different than the adoption of younger children. One of the bigger issues that takes longer with the older kids is the language aquistion. It takes the older ones longer than the younger ones to learn the new language. Although it is amazing how quickly they all learn . We have seen all of our younger children not retain they first language which was Russian. Our older kids though are fluent in both languages... we have so much Russian spoken that hinders the english to be learned but it has allowed them to keep their knowledge of the Russian which we are grateful for.

Teaching them about our culture, what a family is like and how different it is than an orphanage are some of the issues we have dealt with... there has been lifestyle of revenge in the orphanage( a skill learned to often just take care of yourself there). For example when Jonas would run up to me and accidently step on my foot ... he would offer his foot for me to step on... while in Ukraine I would tease him and do it ever so gently... but once home he would try and I said," No here we are a family and we forgive... he had a hard time learning that he did not have to protect himself by this action. Another area we have worked in is personal hygiene. Most of them did not have very good habits about cleaning or keeping themselves clean, teeth brushed, hair brushed, changing clothes, or throwing their tolite paper in the tolite and not the trash. They usually make their beds well and keep stuff organized ...probably learned this in the orphanage. Teaching them things actually has been a way for us to bond and it gives us an excuse to invade our "space" so it has helped with our bonding. We had lice one time when Cate, Leah and Joseph came home.... it was bad and every nite for months I had to "nit Pic" was a great time for me and the girls though... they were worried I would cut their hair.. but it gave me an opportunity to touch and go thru their hair ... teens are thought not to want physical touch... but we have found the opposite. Especially with our older adopted children... they seem not to get enough of our touch.... I will often take them on my lap and rock or they love when we are out shopping to wrap their arms in mine as we walk.... even some of the boys are like that too.... Watching them learn that they are capable of learning because some of our kids were told the opposite... seeing them discover the joy of learning and reading has been a blessing.

One huge thing that we just love about these older, adopted ones is if we discipline them... and at times it can be intense during this time... as soon as it is over... they want to make our relationship mended... they do not want to be seperated because of a negative behavior... they forgive, forget and want to love or be loved very quickly... which is how I think it should be for all of us...

Our transitions into our family have gone very well... I do think mostly because of the homeschooling ( we are together 24/7) and have lots of opportunity to bond, grow and learn about each other....

We have been blessed with these older children in our lives and have had such positive experiences with the older, child adoptions that we would like to encourage others to at least open their hearts to these kids.... there is an even bigger need to adopt the older child... as the girls shared it is horrible for them in their orphanges and after they have to leave to the streets many times.. at the age of 16,17 and 18. I will share statistics in another post... but roughly one third get back into an institution like prison, or support themselves thru prostitution or commit suicide.... when we were talking today , Cate started to cry.... and when asked her response was," I know what it would have been like and I think about those I left behind."


soontobemomof9 said...

I love seeing your family. What a wonderful post!

I never could see myself adopting an older child, until we adopted James who is 8. Then I started thinking that older children were a definite possibility.... I can not imagine what it is like to have no one. :( My heart just breaks for them...

Mike and Christie said...

Great post Jeane!
Your girls are so sweet! I hope many people see this post.
Do I have permission to link?? :)

I think you are right that home schooling certainly helps in facilitation of relationship and bonding. It brings the family together, because they ARE together.
I was reading recently about a situation where the child was outside of the home with unknown friends, and I can't imagine how difficult that would be, because of the background.
Teaching our children about Christ, and forgiveness is paramount in their success into family life.

BTW- I love hearing your sweet voice. :)

mommajeane said...

Of course you have my permission anytime without asking me.. I trust you.

Cindy LaJoy said...

Can you please email me off blog? Someone gave me a link to your blog this morning (I intend to come back and read it thoroughly) as they thought it would be helpful. We have 3 adopted sons...2 from Kaz as infants and one from Kyrgyzstan came home 2 1/2 years ago as an 8 year old. We are travling in a month or so to adopt an older sib group of 2 sisters ages 9 and 11, they are from Kazakhstan as well. We just began the homeschool journey with one and plan to homeschool them all once we get home with the girls and settled in, and I sure could use some advice and encouragement...I know it will be fantastic for us but I am terrified of all these ages and skill levels! If you have time and are willing, please email me at . Thanks!