When we set out to bring Kristina home, our bio children were both rather young. Even though we tried to prepare them for the changes that adding Kristina to our family could bring, they just couldn't comprehend entirely how difficult it would be. Shoot, for that matter, neither did we! I really don't think ANYTHING could have entirely prepared us . . . but thankfully we did have some decent preparation in the form of classes, reading books etc.
For our children, there was much less prep. We read what good books we could find to them, but it became quickly apparent that our prep had been entirely too limited, too "sanitized" and was.not.enough. There was no way it was enough.
Bringing a wounded child into our home who had no compunctions about erupting into a frenzy of hitting, kicking, biting, pinching and every thing else she could think of when her fearsome tantrums did not move us to give her what she wanted was not something we could have prepared ourselves or our children entirely for. Nor could we have entirely prepared them for the issues that RAD like behaviors could cause. It was just really too hard to have known how to explained all that well ahead of time to young children who had never seen or heard anything like it. Their wide eyes and fast exits out of the house were proof of how much they hated the "show". To this day, some years later, there are struggles stemming from those months of pain and anger.
I have often wished I had known more about how to prepare our kiddos for the possibilities that came in the package. With Katya we tried a lot harder, and I think were overall more successful in preparing our children. Of course, some of them were old enough that we handed over some of the adult books intended to prepare adoptive parents. Those were helpful to the older ones. And we had lots and lots of talks about how pain and being wounded causes distrust and how that spills out even on to "safe" people who love you. We talked about how being non-verbal causes frustrations that could lead to a lot of screaming and yelling.
After Katya was home, we continued (and still do!) to teach and train and educate . . . we are pretty open with our kids about the types of abuse she suffered, and how those can impact a child. I'm happy to say that the kids all are very loving and protective of Katya. Even though she has stretched them to their limits often, they have not lost sight of their love for her. She knows she is loved by her siblings, even though she doesn't always know how to receive that love yet. But little by little, it's coming easier for her!
So with that background in mind, you can see why our family was thrilled to find out about a new resource for adoptive families--a blog called "The Soak Share". It's been in the works for a while and debuted today for the first time! Please book mark it and follow along as siblings of adopted kiddos share from their own lives what it's like to be the sibling of an adopted child! What a great resource for families who are adopting to help prepare their children, or for children whose siblings are already home to find a "connection" and to know they are not alone!
Enjoy "The Soak Share--Siblings of Adopted Kids".