'Older child adoption' refers to the adoption of any child over the age of 3. I guess ours qualified as a super-duper older child adoption! After reading olderchildadoption.com, we pretty much expected the worst. We were afraid that attachment would come very slow for both us & the kids. (It's kinda different than just having a baby & immediately loving it.)
To make matters worse, ours weren't just 'older kids'. They were 'older, institutionalized kids'. That pretty much guarantees major issues.(Or so we have read.) Institutionalization is estimated to cause one month of delay for every 3 months the child spends in the orphanage. Ours were there for 5 & a half years. They were doomed.
We were encouraged to adopt a much younger child by lots of people. Friends, our social worker, the online adoption community... None of them meant to be discouraging, just trying to look out for us.
These are all the reasons why adopting an older child from an orphanage is too risky, especially if you are adopting two of them.
Now I'll tell you why it's worth the risk.
There are two beautiful children living in my house who are no longer orphans. They love being loved. Quite honestly, the attachment has been SO easy from the first time we met in Ghana. It was funny, because from day one we would always share my water. But I've noticed that I never drink after Malorie's friends. I think it's gross. But I'll drink after Malorie, Serwaa & Konto.
I don't struggle to treat them the same as my biological daughter. I'm not grossed out by their poop or throw-up. (But I will gag if someone else's kid pukes here!) Seriously, loving them is unexplainably easy.
In return, they seem to be doing great with attachment too. Research told us that the first 6 months would be extrememly difficult. But it's almost 3 months home, and it's all good. If I were a kid living with a new family, I would be super awkward! But Serwaa & Konto don't even seem to notice they weren't always ours! They usually wake up early, come get in my bed & snuggle as close to me as they can. They beg me to carry them downstairs (and everywhere else). Konto will move my stuff over & hang his pictures on the fridge. Serwaa stands 2 inches away from me the whole time I cook. They are just as quick to tell on Malorie as she is to tell on them. (That's what I'm most proud of. They aren't timid- they know they are equal!) And nighttime. Konto keeps his arm around me, kisses me and asks me to stay until he goes to sleep. Serwaa gives me a ton of kisses and just stares at me with a huge smile. The past couple of months have been absolutely wonderful.
If you actually got to the end of this post, thanks! I know it is long. But there's too many people out there saying 'older child adoption' isn't worth it. I want to at least be one small voice that says, "Yes. It is."