Monday, June 6, 2011

Blended perfectly

One year after our family grew - Summer 2007
One of the most difficult things for me to do emotionally when Troy, Michael, and Amber came was to stand back and let the children establish the pecking order in the house.  Many times the mother bear came out in me when I saw my birth children mistreated.  I fought hard to not over-react realizing that Troy, Michael, and Amber had to also figure out where they fit in the house.  If I didn't handle situations carefully, they could easily feel like they were not a part.  The struggle was my heart had to learn to grasp that these were all my children, and it was a process which took time.

Ryan because he was five years older then Troy wasn't challenged for his place as the oldest.  Kaytlin and Troy at first clashed.  It's been amazing watching that relationship develop though.  Troy told me a couple years ago, "Kayt is a lot of fun if I let her have her way."  I had to laugh.  Yes, they both have "in charge" personalities.  Kayt's is a quiet strong-will, but it won out over Troy's loud insistence.  The two of them have a lot of fun together now.  (And Kayt has Troy wrapped around her little finger.  He enjoys allowing her that honor though.)

Alex and Troy were in the same bedroom at first.  That did not work.  It was like putting Esau and Jacob together.  Troy's exuberance was too much for Alex to cope with continually.  We moved Troy to a bedroom with Cory and Michael which gave Alex the space he needed to get away from "people".  Alex simply requires "alone time" in order to function.  Ryan who is quiet was a much better partner in a bedroom with Alex.  Otherwise Alex made the adjustment to new siblings easily.  He had tended to be the one getting in trouble before, so now the spotlight was off of him, and his behavior improved tremendously.

Cory was the one it was most difficult for me to watch.  Previously he had been the baby.  Amber who was three years younger now had that position.    I watched my happy carefree boy withdraw and watch the world soberly from behind his big brown eyes.  Troy, who had the need to be in control, incessantly picked on him.  Should I interfere?  Then Troy would accuse me of "loving everyone else more then him."  Troy was so insecure.  I prayed God would help me figure this out and give me my happy little boy back.

One particular day was a turning point.  I had been watching the children playing outside.  Troy had been bullying Cory and bullying Cory.  I was about in tears, but Cory hadn't walked away so I just watched to make sure no one was going to get hurt.  Suddenly Cory picked up a big stick and just whacked Troy as hard as he could across the shins.  Because Troy completely did not expect it, he crashed to the ground skinning up his knees and getting a bloody nose as well.  Troy came inside just a blubbering.  Cory came in sheepishly.  I told him he needed to apologize which he did.  While I cleaned up Troy, he protested greatly.  "If I had done that, I would have been in big trouble."  I told him he was right.  He didn't understand why I didn't punish Cory more.  I finally told him, "Troy, you had it coming.  I've watched you pick and pick at him.  You got what you deserved."  That day was a turning point.  Cory and Troy are best pals and are almost inseparable.   Cory has come back to the happy carefree boy that I feared we'd lost.  He just had to establish his own boundaries with his new brother.

Michael and Amber fell into their place naturally as the two youngest, and life began to take on a new normal.  Now most of the children in the house only remember always having each other.  When we meet someone new, they can't even tell any of them are adopted.  In fact when we were at the dentist the other day, he told us they all had excellent oral hygiene and they all had the same growth patterns in their mouths.  He then added, "But then that's what you would expect since they are brothers and sisters."  I just smiled and agreed.  I'm thankful God has blended us together so perfectly.

All the same color, too - Summer 2006

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