We have three children at the moment. One of them is growing inside my belly. We affectionately call her Lil’ Bean. The other two, T and Z, are both adopted from the foster care system. They are not bio brothers and did not know one another prior to coming to our home. Despite the shock of many of the people we know, we want to adopt more children. In fact, we are hoping to adopt a sibling group of three some time in 2010.
Each time a new child has entered our home we have had to work very hard to prepare the other child or children. Children who have been adopted, regardless of the situation, deal with the knowledge that someone gave them up. Regardless of how you deliver the news, they all have to deal with that loss. Children who have been given up time and time again are panicked that it will inevitably happen again. My children believe this to be true each time a new child arrives. They are both sure that our growing baby will replace them and they will have to move along. They are both sure that when we adopt more children they will need to go.
There are many things we use to combat these fears. My favorite and so far, the most successful, has been our family motto. One day, after lots of prayer and the decision to pursue a sibling group, Hubby and I sat down with the boys. We busted out our infamous white board. The boys know when the white board arrives, there is about to be a BIG talk.
So there we all are on the living room floor with markers in hand. We drew our house floor plan and numbered the available bedrooms. We talked about Mom and Dad needing a room and the boys needing a room. Then we looked at the empty rooms. We told the boys that God never gives us resources He doesn’t intend for us to use to help someone else. Then we talked about what we as a family cared about. We all agreed that the kids who hadn’t found a forever home yet were important to each of us. We told the boys it was time to write our family motto.
After discussion and veto options such as “Our family lives to collect all the Hot Wheels cars in the WORLD!”, we settled on our final choice. “Our family mission is to love kids without homes!” Each member of our family had a part in developing our motto and each one of us got to share why that was important to us. It was a cohesive moment, without fear, when we were able to see the love each of us had for those lost kids. It has been the defining conversation regarding preparing our kids for more adoptions.
By giving our sons ownership in what was once a passion reserved for Hubby and me, we brought them into a very important fold. They now look at our motto as a mission that includes them. They want to love kids without homes as much as we do. By validating their desire to change the lives of kids like them, we helped to remove the fear of being replaced. Now they know that we can only properly love those kids when we have the help of our two boys. Fear still remains but we can always return to our family motto and remind the boys that we can’t accomplish that goal without their help.