Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Adopting An Older Child- Adopting Out of Birth Order


QUESTION- Among so many other things, I'd be interested to hear about your experience adopting out of birth order. I've seen some comments elsewhere about this being a challenge, but I'm not really sure of the details - or even if that's true.

ANSWER- I am tackling this question first because I think it's a big one and I get asked this question a LOT. I know we are a rarity in this area. Frankly, the stigma on this subject seems a bit blown out of proportion. Now I am NOT saying that adopting out of birth order is always a good idea. I DO think it can be a harmful thing in some situations.

BUT should you DARE to ask the question on the adoption forums of whether it is okay to adopt an older child out of birth order.... all the stuff will HIT THE FAN. Trust me on this. I made the mistake of asking. What was funny was that the people telling me how CRAZY I was for even considering this obscene notion had NEVER adopted an older child and hadn't adopted out of birth order. The support I received came from people who had done it successfully.

I guess what I'm saying is that I think there are very few areas in life where you can draw a hard and fast rule. It is human nature to spout these rules because it is much harder to think through the specifics of each situation.

What I would encourage people to do is to really think through their individual situation rather than just accept the pat answers that you get. Any new person coming into your family means that everyone's position gets shuffled. The baby becomes the middle child or the older child.... It's just the nature of change.

In our situation I believe adopting out of birth order was much LESS traumatic for Kaitlyn than it would have been if we had adopted an infant. Kaitlyn was very little when we started the process and very comfortable with her "baby" status. Had we brought in a little baby I think she would have struggled more. She would have actually lost her status rather than kept it.

Not that I am saying that would have been a horrible thing. I guess it just makes the point that adjustments come from every area no matter what the age of the children.

As it was the adjustment was beautiful. Zoe is a perfect fit for our family in every way. She is an amazing big sister. She is just one more person that dotes on Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn LOVES that.

When we adopt again it will not be out of the question to adopt out of birth order. If we were making the decision now I would not be too concerned about adopting a child older than Kaitlyn. She still doesn't mind being the little one although I think adopting an infant will be much easier on her now or in the near future. She is growing up!

I would be a teeny bit more cautious about adopting a child older than Zoe at this point. She seems to love her older sibling position. Because she has gone through so much her "leader" status seems to give her strength in a sense. For now she needs that. In the future she may no longer need that but it will be taken into consideration.

I am so glad we prayed and sought out wisdom from those who had walked this path. If we hadn't we would have been scared away from receiving this amazing blessing named Zoe. I can't imagine Kaitlyn without her beloved big sister. I can't imagine our lives without this precious little girl. I can't imagine her life without us. For us adopting out of birth order has been AMAZING!

Does that answer the question thoroughly? Please let me know if I you have further questions in this area. You can also ask any other adoption questions. I'll just keep writing posts until we get them all answered. Hugs, Angel


Home sweet home said...

Wow ..that is interesting. Thanks for sharing your family with us !!

Our Family of 5 said...

No questions here! I commend you for speaking out on it and I just have to tell you that you have 2 beautiful girls!
Lisa & Sophia

amber said...

Great post! SOOO much information and so awesome to hear your perspective. I saved it to my favorites to reference back to.

Do you have any thoughts on whether or not gender plays a role in adopting an older child (i.e. do you think it would have been harder for Kaitlyn to adjust to an older brother?) ... What considerations (if any) do you think should be given to gender preference when adopting out of birth order? Just curious...


Anita said...

Ok, question... I'm reading on attachment and there's a lot of talk about the phases when an older child joins a family through adoption: honeymoon, etc... How did your family handle this... like to keep it from being a slumber party, when did you give her family chores to do, did she have an opinion right away how her room was decorated, did she need a lot of reinforcement that "we are your forever family", etc. I guess just overall, what was your plan for her transition before she came home? Does that make sense? Sounds like babble to me. :) Hopefully you can make sense of it.

GDS said...

Wow, a lot of information to absorb there. I would say you answered my question very well. It's one of those things that sounds as if it generally should not be a reason to avoid adopting an older child.

It's so helpful to read about your experiences here.

Anita asks a good question. As much of a disciplinarian as I expect to be, I would be probably be very unsure as to when start parenting.

Sig said...

What a GREAT post. THANK YOU so much for writing it! We are adopting child #8 (adoption #2) but adopting totally out of birth order. We are getting slack anc criticism where we least expected it, but we are ready for it!


Christine said...

Great post. We have adopted out of birth order too... a couple of times for that matter. Your daughter sounds like she is an angel. :)

Anonymous said...

Wow, that's crazy man. They should really try to do something to fix that.

Anonymous said...

Nice post, kind of drawn out though. Really good subject matter though.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post! What a feeling of relief it is to read about adopting "out of birth order" in a positive way. My husband and I are looking into adopting an older child now, and we have a 1-year-old daughter at home. We know there will be disruptions, but we don't anticipate that the disruptions will be a direct result of birth order (in spite of the inflamed reactions out there on the web). We know there will be challenges, we know it won't be easy, but we want to grow our family this way. If anything, as you said, I think our daughter would notice if she wasn't the "baby" any more. Thank you for this breath of fresh air.

anything but LoKEY said...

I just found your post on a resource page about adopting out of birth order. Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this. This is something God had begun to whisper to our hearts before I had heard anyone's opinion on it. I was bombarded with all the negative stuff immediately. This post is some of the first hope I have seen. Thank you for sharing your experience and congratulations on your growing family! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi there, I'm emailing you from Nova Scotia Canada. I would really love to talk more to you about your experience of adopting out of birth order. We're going through it now, and your blog has left me feeling hopeful, in spite of all the warnings out there. Wondering if you would be so kind as to email me so that I can ask you some questions. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Our children have had loads of say in this. The oldest would prefer a child older than him, but says younger is fine too. The middle child just wants a sister close to her age, older or younger does not matter and the youngest wants to stay the youngest. He says that he likes being younger. Older kids think he's cute, and he gets out of doing a lot of the chores because they are willing to do them for him if he uses his puppy eyes... ;)
Might do him some good to have a younger sibling... but all in all we're matched with a child right in the middle, and we love her just where she is.

Stutzman's Eight By Grace said...

I just came across your post, I know it was a few years ago, but we have 5 bio kids(13.5 boy, twins boy/girl 10, boy 8.5, boy 7) and an adopted baby (20months)from Ethiopia and we are in the process of trying to adopt a boy 12.5/girl 5.5 siblings from Ethiopia.
I would love any advice you can give us now that you have walked through this for a few years. What to expect, what to do/not to do, etc...we are just trying to get as educated as we can! Thank you! amber Stutzman

Rachael Quinn Egan said...

We have adopted 3 girls. The first two came homw when they were infants and they are now 4 and 6. 7 months ago we adopted a 13 year old. She is now 14. The younger kids adore her. The (now) middle child who was our first child told us before we adopted, that she would be happy not to be the oldest, because it was a lot of responsibility and she would like a big sis to play with and teach her things. She now loves having a big sister and so far seems happy as a clam. With all these warnings out there I live in fear that she will one day hate me for this decision, but so far she is secure in knowing that we love her very much and that she will always be the child who came home first. The youngest is just deoighted to have another person to cuddle her and pay attention to her. The oldest- well she loves her little sisters, but has a hard time keeping them out of her bedroom.

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