My husband and I didnâ€™t know much about our older daughter when we adopted her ten years ago.Â The first record was when she was picked up from a police station on Aug. 31, 1999 and taken to an orphanage. On September 1st, she was admitted to the hospital with â€śfailure to thriveâ€ť and came back to stay at the orphanage six weeks later.Â The videos and notes from the individuals working with her after she left the hospital all suggested she was a happy, carefree little girl.Â Very resilient, they suggested.Â She bounced back from her illness and from all of the events that led her to the orphanage.
Resilience:Â Itâ€™s a word we often hear associated with older adoptees.Â Â These children have all had a life trauma and adoptive parents usually are left wondering,Â how resilient is this child?Â Can this child recover from her past adversities?
Over the years I have learned more about my daughter’s past, and like the individuals in the orphanage who cared for her, I know for certain that she is indeed resilient!Â (Although I admit to having some concern during those junior high years.)
So when those times became difficult during the early adolescent years I often reminded my girl of how much she has already been through and how I knew that she could handle junior high. Somehow I knew that those previous traumas were going to help her maneuver through the difficult terrain of thirteen-year-old girls.Â And I told her that repeatedly.Â If she could survive losing her first mother, living in an orphanage, moving to a new country and learning a new language, she could certainly handle anything a mean girl could dish out.
Recently I learned that my instincts were correct: adversity does make a person resilient.Â At least that is what a new study reported in the New York Times suggested.Â Writer Benedict Carey writes (1-6-11) traumas make people stronger.Â Researchers speculate thatÂ adversity may provide a road map for individuals–â€ťThe number of life blows a person has taken may affect his or her mental toughness more than any other.â€ť
What is that old saying, â€śWhat doesnâ€™t kill you makes you strongerâ€ť?
Maybe that is a perspective we should have with the older children who come to into our homes and lives.