Before our adoptions I home schooled our kids and and worked a full time job. It was pretty simple when we had kids that could jump into any curriculum and required only a few modifications to curriculum here and there.
After taking courses on the attachment and bonding needs of children who are adopted ,we made the choice for me to give up my job so Angel would have one person with her 24/7. We scaled back quite a few outside activities to invest that time in her to bond, attach, and catch up .
Later , we adopted Princess . Throw in the typical attachment and bonding needs, seizures, therapy, medical visits and surgeries little time was left for anything else. She also started the Ketogenic diet and we were packing food everywhere we went . Even though she isn’t on the diet anymore we still watch the kinds of foods she eats ( no junk)and we are still packing food. We also keep a pretty predictable schedule to make sure she gets enough sleep and keep stress levels low because lack of sleep and stress can be seizure triggers as well.
Next ,we adopted Sweetie. Packing food was very helpful as she knew it was always available if she got hungry when we traveled somewhere. Sweetie has also opened some doors for Princess in regards to what choices are out there for home education in the realm of alternative curriculum so students can remain at grade level with modifications .
I truly enjoy my family and homeschooling our kids but over time I have had to accept it as a bit of a lifestyle and learn there is little time to really do anything outside of our home and homeschooling right now . We have to ensure that each child is thriving as much as possible able to do extracurricular activities. Fortunately, we pull it off really well. Unfortunately, friends and people who do not know us well really don’t understand why we aren’t hanging out with them or doing things without our kids with us . I have had some ladies wonder why I can not get together with them last minute or why I am not volunteering to do this activity or that activity. I simply can not. I have to make choices and the things that will flourish will be the things I invest my time in.
I love my family and time moves on quickly. These kids will grow up one day and will have their own lives. There will be time later on to volunteer, get a job outside the home, hang out with friends etc. . Right now my time is being invested in something so much bigger . It’s something not everyone understands.
Adoption means that the longer your child lived without a mom or dad then it is going to take longer for your child to realize what love and family is versus living in an institution. It means the longer your child went without an education then the longer it will take to learn educational things. In some instances, things will need to be modified. The longer your child went without structure the more you are going to have to work to keep a schedule and structure so your child feels secure . It is a different kind of parenting and parenting at a more intentional level.
Everything takes time. There really is only 24 hours in a day . Every time we do something outside the home something doesn’t get done inside the home. Everything is a bit of a trade off. Life is easier for everyone if we know what we are doing each day, the kids know what is expected and chores, laundry , etc are on a manageable schedule. Add in medical appointments at a hospital 2 hours each way, normal kid activities at the library, therapies that Princess needs to do and life can get hectic without a little planning. Then someone gets sick or Princess has a seizure and things get busy really fast. Life didnt have to stop, but it has had to slow down. Being forced to slow down has taught me to stop and really take in my kids. To look at them and see how much they have grown up and changed , yet are still the same.
H was always that kid that got along with any kid. He was boisterous, talkative, and loved to be in charge. These qualities have helped him move forward in his career with helping others.
C was always a calmer kid. What someone would describe as “all boy” . He always loved to make build and create. He always loved to work and do any kind of hard work. He still had the orneriness that all kids will have but when it came right down to it he was always able to stop, think and understand the adults around him and to be respectful. He is siuch a huge help and has helped to keep the family business up and running covering for his dad when Princess has a medical appointment or someone goes on vacation.
It’s difficult to tell where Angel, Princess , and Sweetie are headed.
Angel is almost like the oldest child even though she is the youngest and smallest. She is small and fierce. She is wise beyond her years. She is a self taught reader since age 3. She likes management and organization. Some days I am just plain tired and Angel is the kid who reminds of dates and appointments.
Princess blows our minds everyday with her insight about life in general, the hilarious things she says and how even though academics are a huge struggle for her she keeps plugging away no matter what. The kid who wasn’t going to do this or that is the kid doing everything all the other kids are doing. It is different , but she is doing it and that is all that matters.
Sweetie is just growing up too fast. She feels like it has happened too fast and so do we. The fact that she is high school level now in 3 years is phenomenal. Sweetie in many ways is our easiest kid and most difficult kid . She has her own ideas about things which were influenced by her culture. These are not bad. Dating ,for instance is something she she can not understand . She doesn’t understand why people her age are dating and wants nothing to do with it. They were talking about dating in youth group and she literally asked,”Can’t you let me finish Earth Science for this school year before I date?”She also doesn’t understand why kids spend the night at each other’s house. To her, she has a family and she belongs with us. Why would she want to spend the night at a friend’s house? They can come and visit during the day . She did express interest in a Christian camp , but the cost was prohibitive and it did not seem like it was service oriented. We really want her to focus on service and giving to others. Sweetie has really stretched our thinking as parents . Things are not easy for her trying to go along with this family stuff and teen life when sometimes her ideas about things are different, God have her a strong soul and she refuses to compromise when she thinks her ideas are better than those around her. It has it caused any contention , but it has made me stop and think and see the world in a different way. I am so grateful that we have such a wonderful daughter who challenges our thinking.
I am so grateful to God for each day he gives me with our children. Like all moms, I really struggle sometimes with multiple different needs . I do sometimes wish I could just wing it, . I am always behind in getting things done . Sometimes , I just don’t know how to help my children except to continually point them to the one who created them . When I see their happiness and success I give all the glory to God and feel so blessed to be a part of their lives.