March 17th, 2010
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1217979_v-houseUnfair” is a word commonly used in our house.  It is unfair that one sissy  has a green headband, it is unfair that Meg has 4 American Girl dolls, it is unfair that your peach and I’m brown.  Sometimes unfair is a silly little thing, and sometimes it is not.

This time my heart is screaming unfair.  The latest change in our house is unfair to my two biological kids, yet this change has also improved our home life dramatically.

To back-track here.  Our home-life has been hell for the past few months, with some improvements here and there.  Basically after intense counseling two of our daughters may start medication very soon.  One with ADHD medication, as attachment disorder apparently mirrors ADHD and so the medications can help about and the other daughter for depression.

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Please don’t flame me for this.  I have been adamantly against medication for my kids, until we had given them enough time to “settle” in. I didn’t want to medicate if the issues would resolve with further attachment. Plus I think we as a whole over-medicate kids.  At the same time I am a nurse and I know that medication is sometimes necessary and it can help dramatically.  I would give insulin to my child if she were diabetic, so of course if she has a neurotransmitter issue I will medicate for that as well.  Some of the behaviors we have been experiencing:  Kicking out screens and hanging out a second story window, extreme manipulation, cruelty and physical violence that is escalating, uncontrollable “spewing” of mean words, and sentiments.

As you can imagine this is taking a toll on all of us and I am feeling especially worried about my two bio daughters who seem to be getting the brunt of it all.   Here comes the unfairness that is working well.  We changed rooms. We gave Mita and Enu their own rooms, upstairs beside ours and now Meg and Elle are downstairs sharing the littlest bedroom in the house that is away from all the other rooms.  Meg has eleven years of things and memories she is trying to cram into this room she is sharing with a five year old.  She would love to have her own room again, but she was very blunt with me when she said,”Mom, we need to get out of there.”  There being the bedrooms and bathroom upstairs they all have shared for over a year.

My feeling unfair isn’t my thinking my bio kids deserve more, it is more that I feel as if I am rewarding misbehavior.   Today at therapy, I was told to think of it this way:  “If you knew someone who was incredibly jeolous of you, who took your things, and said mean things to you as well as hurt you sometimes would you share a room with them?”  She reiderated that the size of the room doesn’t matter, the sharing of the rooms doesn’t matter, what matters is that all four children are now where they need to be.

In the past three mornings since the room changes Enu has slept longer, awakened with clear eyes and no fighting.  Mita has gotten up on her own instead of having to be pulled out of bed and again no fighting.  Meg and Elle have a very clean and organized room and bathroom and Meg isn’t having to lock everything up anymore.

It has been peaceful and that is exactly what we have needed for a very long time.  I know this is a novelty, and that they will again fight in the mornings, but I cannot help but think we hit something big.  Maybe in all my trying to put the girls together and to treat them all the same, I was pushing to hard.  Maybe they just need some space to chill and think.

If you have an older child who has experience trauma or is an older adoptee we need to remember to think out of the box.  Traditional parenting we have had passed down to us isn’t going to fit your situation.  Sharing rooms may build character, teach kids how to share and be good for social skills  (all things I believe in), but if you have a child that is overwhelmed by another person’s breathing, maybe a room change is in order.

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5 Responses to “Unfair”

  1. spbratton says:

    There was an excellent conference at Grace family Baptist Church regarding adoptions recently. You can pick up the audio here: http://tinyurl.com/y6cr4lo. It is WELL worth the money. Also, you can pick up a copy of Russell Moore’s book, adopted for life.

  2. tburnett says:

    I am new to this site and am just starting our journey on adopting an older child. I am glad I came across this post as we are considering adopting two siblings. I have two bio children and have four bedrooms but this would still mean that one of my children would have to share their bedroom. The children we are considering are a 9 yr old girl and a 5 yr old boy. My daughter is 10 and my son is 13, so most likely it would be my daughter sharing a room with her new sister.
    I have talked to my daughter and she is ok with this but I feel that after the “honeymoon” period wears off, this may be a problem down the road as she is like me and tends to need somewhere to “escape” every now and then… not to mention they will soon be two hormonal teens sharing the same room.
    I am thinking maybe we should re-consider adopting siblings unless they are of the same sex…

  3. lyssie says:

    Sounds like you have a bit of what goes on at our house. Traditional parenting has been completely blown out of the water here too. Our daughter recently had to move out she is only 6 but, in order to keep the other children safe it had to be. She is living with a couple who have no other children for the next six weeks. The doctor intends to have her out of the home for 6 months to a year. With out giving specifics take my word for it–It had to be. In the time that she has been gone I have rethought a lot of things. I am seeing my 5 year old eat again swim out in the pool finally leaving the steps, venturing further than the shore at the beach and generally we are seeing a lot less commotion. What have our children endured over the last three years while my husband and I tried to help this little girl whose survival instinct is so strong that it has choked out her ability to function with others? What all have they been patient(even though it appeared not so)with for all this time? invasion of privacy, nothing to call their own because it is lost, stolen or broken, manipulation beyond my comprehension as every relationship is exploited, threats of death, physical pain, emotional turmoil that is beyond their ability to process(they are still little). All in effort to love their sister and knowing that we love her, they are far to polite to speak right up and tell it like it is. They know what family means and we committed to having her be a part of it. SO…they aren’t going to say something has to change. They have all patiently waited. Now, looking at things as they are I see, it does her no service to allow her to manipulate all of these little ones, to destroy their security. It doesn’t help her to know that she has hurt them in ways that can’t be taken back. Where do we go from here? We have yet to see.

    to tburnett: We adopted an older child and I strongly recommend that you don’t have those two girls share a room. There is a significant amount of anger and resentment toward bio kids already that will be played out while you can not see it. I think you are wise to consider a placement in which the newly adopted children can have their own space(and the bio can as well) It takes an amazing toll on the family to welcome older children into your home and family life. They have to learn how things are done in your home and they have such a different background coming in that it is like they speak an entirely different language of existence. Even if they are adopted within our nation’s borders. It never fully registered with me before we adopted that this child had to have been through very severe circumstances to be relinquished or removed from their home. The ways they have learned to survived are amazing and astound most adults. Be very careful in your placement and know that you are promising to manage not cure. I understand not every child placed through adoption has the extent of difficulty we have dealt with but, many, many do.

  4. marcela123 says:

    I am new to this site as well, and I’m just looking to help
    I’m a adoptee child. both my adoptive parents have two biological kids, though they are much older then me, by more than 20 years, It still sometimes feels like my parents may favor them over me. It’s a difficult thing I deal with it, considering I see it from a different perspective. It’s something hard, and not very easy to deal with. I am also ADHD, along with suffering from bad anxiety. With adopting a child, remember that most of us feel intimidated. I know I do all the time. It gets easier.

    • Margie C says:

      I’m glad you responded marcela123! I hope you continue to bring your perspective to this site. Have you talked to your parents about your feelings of them favoring their biological children? It might seem that way because they have a long history together and maybe you still feel like an outsider? I’m glad it is getting easier for you! Hang in there!

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