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Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Age Related
We now return this blog to regularly scheduled adoption related stuff. When we last left on the "Adoption Retrospective" walk down memory lane we discussed social workers. Or moreover, the fact that I am dumb and didn't research the social worker (at all) and got screwed in the process.

I want to switch gears for a moment and backtrack yet again. I posted about evaluating a referral, but I didn't talk about making the choice on age and such. I kinda glazed over that subject. I want to return to it now.

When we made the decision to adopt from Russia part of it was because at the time one could receive a referral as young as 6 months. Yes, yes... I've talked about this before. The hurt of not being able to get pregnant was still fresh and I truly wanted an infant. I believed that I could have a child home before their 1st birthday. Hey... I was on track to do so. Our paperwork stated "up to 18 months as young as possible." I didn't want to go much over 18 months. I was scared. When a child is mobile, can talk and has had 2 years of institutionalized life things get more complicated. I didn't think I was prepared for that. Little A was 10 months at time of referral. If all would have gone as planned he would have been home at 13 months. I was good with this.

After losing Little A we had to redo all of our paperwork. This included a homestudy update. We spoke with the tool and he didn't so much talk us into upping our age range as we informed him this is what we wanted to do. 9 months of waiting gives you a whole new perspective on parenting. We felt confident that we could handle a child about to enter the terrible twos. Of course secretly we still wanted a young child.

We got Pickle's referral and he was 17 months. To say the least we were a little stunned. Within our age range, but older than we anticipated. By the time he came home he was 23 months. Looking back, I wouldn't have it any other way. I love my toddler. I see brand new babies and sure, they're cute, but my toddler has this little personality. He talks to me, he plays, he has this amazing sense of childish wonder. Yes, a younger child would eventually get to this point.

I hear so many stories of people choosing domestic over international because they want a tiny infant. Many of those are people who have gone through years of infertility treatments. I am not saying it is wrong to want a tiny infant. They are cute in their own right. But I encourage some to think about children closer to toddler age.

There are certain first that you will miss out on. First step and all, but there are so many that you will get to experience. First time he tastes ice cream, first dinner as a family, first trip to the zoo, first trip to the beach, first time he calls you mama, first time he falls and comes to you for comfort. Every first is just as amazing as that first step.
Blogger Jenni said...
I could not agree with you more Elle! We also wanted an infant when adopting (we requested an infant and a toddler since we were adopting two and were told it would be nearly impossible to get 2 infants at once).

However, in the end, we wound up accepting a referral for a 3 year old and a 4 year old. And I am so glad we did! After seeing my friends with their newborns I have come to learn that parenting an infant is not really for me. I even feel a bit giddy about the fact that I skipped the whole childbirth thing and newborn period. Babies are adorable, don't get me wrong, but I certainly do not feel any loss over not having experienced the hourly feedings and sleep-loss associated with parenting a newborn.

Plus, at the toddler and preschool stage, everything is so exciting for kids. I remember very clearly my kids' first ice cream and trip to the zoo, as well as the first time they swam in a pool and the first time they had a birthday party.

I hope that others out there who are reading our blogs and learning of our experiences have become more open to the idea of adopting an "older child." While there are definitely challenges involved, there is so much positive about it that the negatives of not seeing the first steps or the first smile simply fade away.

Blogger Tricia said...
I'm with you. We first signed up for Russia because we had the OPTION of getting a child under 2. But when we thought about it... what we were really looking forward to... was all of the stuff when the children were older. (Including grandkids... we don't want to be too old when that happens.) So we are going with 3-6 years old, but wouldn't rule out a child up to 8. I know all of that stuff about attachment & institutionalism... but I love the idea of meeting our children and knowing their personalities! Hearing them talk... I just don't think you see that as much with referrals under 18-24 months.

ps But I love the young ones as well!

Blogger Melissa said...
And of know how I feel about this subject!!! You've helped me through some of my own "feelings"...and I am feeling stronger, everyday, about parenting a "slightly older than we originally anticipated" child!!!

You give wonderful insight!! :)

Blogger Maggie said...
I think a lot of people start out with the "young as possible" thought.

The truth is that every age can be a joy. I had an 8-year old in my home and still experienced a lot of firsts.

Anonymous Christina said...
Great post Elle. I really like the tiny baby stuff - and the 6-9 month old baby stuff - but the 3 year old boy stuff is pretty great too. He did have so many "firsts" of his own and he can jump right in and play with the kids... Zeeb has been a great fit for our family.

Blogger Jennifer said...
And a different perspective. We received our girls at 5.5 months old. Very young and I wouldn't change a thing but this was a really really really hard age and now at 8 months still is. I think you get dupped into thinking the younger the easier they will be and that isn't the case in my case...well of course it being twins and all....but we have major sleep issues around food, we have no sleep at all for us alot and we have babies that cry really loud and you don't know what they want really. Then again, attachment seems to have kicked ass and we get to teach them lots of new stuff, basically everything.

So I would consider either now. I just think you need to really think about it if you don't have a kid. What does that age entail. It didn't even occur to me until we got on the plane to go to vietnam that the girls wouldn't be sleeping through the night!!

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