Saturday, February 21, 2009

chronological age vs. family age

I was just recommended the VERY good book, Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child by Patty Cogen, from a wise, always learning adoptive mom, Becca.

I would highly recommend this book.

I have recently slipped into a comfortable place (maybe a bit lazy), not necessarily thinking about things happening in the family as adoption related or not. I wouldn't recommend that you do the same.

One theme that is addressed throughout the book is chronological age of your adopted child, compared with family age, defined as the length of time a child has been in the adoptive family. This has been very eye-opening. I think I sort of naively figured that we were now moving on to just "normal" parenting, not really needing to assess situations with "adoption" lenses. But this concept has helped me recognize that although the twins regularly exhibit some behaviors that are a little annoying, and not incredibly endearing for a 5 yr old, these behaviors are extremely normal in a one yr old. For some reason, this has been truly freeing for me, and has helped me be able to enjoy the constantly trailing behind me around the house, and be open to snuggling with a twin, who clamors up onto my lap the minute I sit down, to lovingly reach down and pick up a twin with arms raised to be held (bonus -- maybe I will have beautifully buff arms for summer), things like that. Of course, I would do that with my one yr old, and would expect him or her to behave that way. The book does an excellent job of teaching us that this is a l.o.n.g process, and that adoption related issues and concerns will be surfacing regularly for years.

I am not ignorant. I read many, many books prior to adopting the twins, so I wasn't uneducated, but sometimes you need to be in the middle of the situation to truly get what you have learned. You know, to have those "Aha" moments. I have had many while reading this. This book came at a time that my brain could connect it well to our current experiences, and I am grateful for that.

Oh, there are massive amounts of good stuff in the book, this is simply the one that resonated the most with me at this time.


Laurel said...

Great reminder to all of us. Thanks for the book recommendation.

We brought home 3 siblings last March (ages 6, 9, 12). While they are all school age, they basically "lost" all of their preschool years. They never learned the preschool concepts that our bio. children naturally learned. So, at school in the orphanage, they learned a lot of facts (2 + 2 = 4), but not the concepts behind the facts (2 spoons + 2 spoons = 4 spoons). They, seriously, did not understand the concept behind 2 + 2. And, while they would all "read" well; they had no idea what they were reading most of the time. While our preschoolers have a large vocabulary prior to learning to read, these 3 had learned to read phonetically, without the vocabulary.

It's been a challenging year, to say the least. But, I am glad that I have the opportunity to homeschool them.

We are working hard on preschool concepts, while at the same time teaching social middle school skills. In the past year we have had to teach them ... how to use a fork and spoon, how to use the toilet properly, how to take a shower, how to brush their teeth (and not eat the toothpaste), how to knock on a door before entering, ... plus all of the academic concepts. At times, it certainly felt that we were adopting triplet 3 year olds.

Blessings to you and the family!

mama of 13

Holly said...

It's difficult to remember that sometimes. B exhibits behavior typical of a 1 and 2 yr old too from time to time. It gets old real fast to carry around a 5/6 yr old as though they are a baby, and it's hard not to just get frustrated and push them away. (because you are "too big" for this!). Thanks for the reminder. ;)

The Albertsons said...

I'm SOOOO glad that this was helpful to you. It is especially helpful with the adoption of older kids (meaning, not babies when they come home), as you have mentioned and as Laurel commented above. There are truly some concepts and behaviors that simply aren't learned. Re-tracing those lost years is crucial.
Once again, I wish I lived down the street from you, miss buttercup. Zach says "hi", and ps, you already have buff arms.

coffeemom said...

Ah, good good point. I have to now go check and see if I have that book stashed on my shelves, forgotten, or order it. It's so easy to forget, especially when you all feel so bonded!

Keeping you all in my prayers and tracking progress....hoping for speed! Love M

Lori S said...

We are there (you may be able to tell this from my last post)! I need to get that book! Sounds like it will help me to understand my daughters better. Thanks for sharing this!

Paula said...

I started reading this book about a month ago, but I stopped because it was stressing me out too much. But I'm glad to hear that it has a practical usefulness... I'll pick it up again and give it another go.

Jen said...

That is the first book that I read. I have probably read 15 since then. After reading your post, I pulled it out and began reading from cover to cover, again. (can you tell, that I needed a distraction?) Thank you, as always, for the guidance.

Do you have a court date for Little B?

Paula said...

Thanks for the encouraging comment you left on my blog. We are so ready for the twins to come home and yet we are so NOT ready! Scary, but I can't wait.

The Roberts Family said...

Hhhmmm ... I do NOT have this book, but I will be ordering this book very soon. I'm really struggling in some areas with Arsema. Too difficult to get into on a comment. :) But thank you for sharing your heart!! ... and wisdom! Much love, Shelly

Lori S said...

P.S. I ordered my book today! Thanks! (o:

Robin said...

I too will be buying this book. I've read many books on adoption too but not this one. Thanks again for your honesty in helps all of us to know we aren't on this road alone!

Monica said...

Thanks for posting this. I think I need to look into getting this book too.