Friday, February 13, 2009
I'll take the group with the baby...
If I thought that what I am ready to post would cause people to not want to adopt sibling groups with babies, I wouldn't post it. But I know that is won't change the dynamic so I will risk it.
But I like to point out things that most people think are "obvious" and show how on the surface something is plain as day really isn't always that simple.
I've posted this picture before, but I'm doing it again to make a point that there really is no way to determine how things are going to turn out.
Here are some assumptions:
1) If you get the kids as younger kids you'll have a better chance at making a difference.
2) Younger kids will have less issues.
3) Older kids are difficult and have a harder time attaching.
Advocates of teenage adoption have slogans like "Younger doesn't mean better it just means longer" and "puppies grow up to be dawgs." Very very true statemetns.
Last week I posted a couple of sibling groups each with 4 girls under the age of 8. One group was ages 4-8. They were adorable. All I saw when I looked at the picture was drop dead gorgeous teenage girls ages 14-18. And I was shuddering at the the horror of the thought of it.
If I post a ten year old boy, I might get two responses. If I posted a ten year old boy with his infant sister, I would get 50. How fair is that to the ten year old? And what are the risks in a situation like that?
Cindy started an excellent discussion today, spurred on by Yondalia, about whether or not to separate siblings, and like Cindy, I don't have the answers. But this blog and the conversation I had when with Cindy when I was there have spurred on my thinking and prompted me to write this disjointed blog entry.
Back to the picture. I have told Leon and Tony that I am going to have them travel with me someday so I can explain how sometimes myths aren't . Tony (caucasian boy in the picture) came at 19 months, has been with us for 12 years, and he and I have trouble getting along for 5 minutes. He has multiple issues we never knew he would have and is the most difficult child I have parented and that's saying something. Leon (the other boy in the picture) came when he was almost 13. He is a joy. He loves his mom, let's me hug him in public, has a strong sense of self, is bright, unmedicated, undiagnosed, and has a lot of character. He has from day one been a contributing member to our family system and has not once talked back to me. And Sadie is exactly like one would hope. The youngest in a sibling group, coming to us at four, she is a pure delight 99% of the time. Her older brother and sister have given us a run for our money, but she has always been emotionally aware and reciprocal, very attached to us, and delightful.
However, logically, the reverse is often true. Do birthmothers on the edges of society become better mothers as time goes by? Not often. They become more stressed out, more addicted, more marginalized, more frustrated. They drink more, take more drugs, and because of stress are often more violent with each child. So, as Cindy pointed out in our private conversation, often the child that is the youngest one in the sibling group is the MOST difficult, not the least, and you end up having them for what seems like forever.
People are always going to want to adopt a baby. My post isn't going to change that. And children deserve to spend as much of their childhood in a safe, permanent family. But if for one minute parents are thinking that if they come younger they are going to be easier and less damaged, there certainly aren't any guarantees.