Friday, August 17, 2007

Adopting an older child series- Age Difference

PLEASE KNOW THAT EVERYTHING I WRITE ON THE SUBJECT OF ADOPTING AN OLDER CHILD IS SIMPLY MY OPINION BASED ON PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. I AM NOT A PROFESSIONAL- JUST AN ADOPTIVE MOM.
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Question- How has the age span between Zoe and KK been. I am in the process of adopting a girl who on paper is 2 1/2, but actually I think she is either 3 1/2 or possibly even 4 1/2. If she is the oldest age that will make her 3 years older than my dd at home. So I am wondering how the age difference between the girls have affected their relationship.

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Answer- My girls are about 4 years apart in age. I wasn't sure how the age difference would work. It has worked beautifully so far. I think one thing to keep in mind that the majority of adopted children will be much less mature emotionally and in some cases developmentally.
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I think it is so important not to look at our children's immaturity as a negative thing. For these kids it has little to do with intelligence. It has much more to do with interaction and experience. Many counselors also agree that people are unable to mature emotionally when they are experiencing a traumatic situation.
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When we met Zoe her physical age was 6. Emotionally she acted about 3 or 4. She was so afraid. She would not communicate her needs at all. She was afraid to answer any question. It was so strange to watch her though. On the one hand she seemed so young and vulnerable. On the other hand she was so mature. The child could clean like a mad woman. She could cook and care for babies. When she walked around she would always scan around her making sure she was safe. It was a sad irony witnessing this little girl who had not yet had much of a childhood.
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The interaction between the girls has been awesome for both of them. When Zoe came home she was 7 years old and Kaitlyn was 3. Emotionally Zoe was still much younger.
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That is not to say she can't get along with children her own age. She certainly can. I just think she naturally is drawn to younger children because that is the stage she is in right now.
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When she came home she wanted to watch Barney and Sesame Street. She was fascinated by baby toys. We would take her shopping and she wanted to buy clothes that looked like a 3 year old would wear them. Her attention span was much shorter. We could only do school in short spurts or she would just shut down. I totally went with this and let her be little.
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I didn't baby her though. She still had age appropriate chores and discipline but I let her enjoy activities for little ones. I think it was great for her.
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She has matured emotionally at a rapid rate. She has been home nine months. Now she is past Barney and on to Hannah Montana and High School Musical. :0) She likes clothes that are much more like what a girl her age would wear. She still loves Barbie and coloring and playing pretend though.
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Part of her still being young is because no one has told her it isn't cool to play pretend. No one has told her it's not cool to play with her younger sister. I love that she is just soaking in being a child.
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My girls are literally best friends. They are just wonderful together. They play all day every day. They hardly ever fight. When they do it is a very short spat usually.
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I think with discipline and instruction this age span can be great!
Does that answer that one??? Please feel free to ask more. I'll keep at it! :0) Angel

2 comments:

Aves @ Call of the Phoebe said...

Thank you for a GREAT and reassuring answer..

Aves

Anonymous said...

i am a visitor on your blog and i have a question about older child adoption. (i hope to have an older child adoption one day!). Did you have any problems with Zoe adjusting to the food in America?