Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Tribute to My Children

I have often been asked how this adoption has affected by four biological children. The answer is much more complicated that what I could possibly answer in a minute or two, so I have decided to write out how much children have grown through this very difficult time.

Eleanor - Eleanor is my oldest. She exhibits much of the typical oldest child traits. She is steadfast, she is a pleaser, and she has a huge heart. Eleanor loves being a big sister, especially to her baby brother Lincoln! From the very beginning of our journey, Joe and I always said Eleanor would be the last to "fall in love with George" but the first to be totally committed to George. Eleanor holds her heart in check and doesn't let people really in very easily. We have a very close relationship and I think she is satisfied with what we have to the point where she doesn't seek much from other places. That is good - but sometimes that can hurt her. Eleanor was shocked at George's behavior initially! And when George would be mean or physical with Lincoln, she would yell "That's my baby brother! You can't do that to him!!". Being a tween hasn't helped much, either. She gets annoyed very easily with all of us! Imagine a tween's reaction to a boy who screams, cries, hits and eats with his fingers - sometimes she just can't handle it. We have given her a lot of space and a lot of opportunities to get away from home. Eleanor has had to establish her role as an authority over the kids recently when I took the kids to school, George decided to run out the door and scream and yell in the yard. Eleanor rushed after him and literally picked him up and carried this kicking, screaming child into the house, put him on his bed and said, "We don't do that around here." When I came home, George was calmly playing in his room and Eleanor was sitting at the kitchen table looking at the comics. Well handled! Soon after that, George started hugging Eleanor and when Eleanor is gone he always asks where she is. That relationship will come, we always knew it would take some time. But, I know in my heart that 10 years from now, they will be very close.

Harry - Harry also struggled greatly in the beginning. I can remember a few days home, Harry sat on the back patio with me and just cried and cried. Harry really struggled with a 7 year old acting like a 3 year old. I think Harry was hoping for a brother that would sit and play Legos with him (not tear them apart), or a brother who would let Harry read to him (not tear the pages as he tried to turn them). What Harry got was another Lincoln! So, Harry went into ignore mode. Harry was never around, always asking to play at friends' houses or disappearing for hours into some unknown part of the house. Eventually, Joe had a talk with Harry about how George needs a big brother! George needs a brother who will be a role model, who will be firm and decisive when there are arguments, who will lead the others. Something must have clicked because Harry started stepping up to the plate. One Saturday morning, Harry was playing wii and sure enough an argument occur ed between George and Lincoln. Before rushing downstairs to intervene, we waited and listened. Harry became a big brother. He dealt with the issue fairly and strictly. George got upset, of course, and threw a typical temper tantrum, but Harry stayed calm and said, "I'll wait until you settle down." I later told Harry he would be awarded the "Big Brother of the Year" award! Now, George and Harry are getting along very well. There are lots and lots of hugs and George is anxious to see Harry every afternoon after school.

Isabel - Oh, how can I even begin to tell you about this amazing child? From day one, Isabel was soft-hearted, kind, forgiving, gentle, and loving! She was the first to hold George's hand, the first to hug him, the first to put lotion on, the first to love him. I am humbled as I watch this daughter of mine be Christ to George each and every day. There have been some tough days, mainly when Isabel feels responsible for the way George is bahaving, but generally, our joy-giver has proven her nickname to be accurate. She has given pure joy to George. At around lunch time, George starts asking for Isabel, knowing that when we pick her up there will be a sister who never gets annoyed, never gets mad, and is always there to keep trying. I wish I could be more like Isabel.

Lincoln - Lincoln is a typical 3 year old boy! So, when you pair a 3 year old boy with another boy who acts like a 3 year old, you get constant chaos in the house!! Lincoln loves George, but at times, he can't stand George. They fight over everything! They are both trying to establish their role in the family so they are constantly battling it out. Every day they are hitting each other, pushing, fighting or yelling. But, they also can play for hours with giggles and smiles on their faces. I am really looking forward to seeing how these two grow up together.

My children have been amazing! I thank them for their honesty and this experience has caused us all to grow so much. The older kids are learning what it means to have empathy. The younger two are simply being Christ to George. I love my whole family and this has just made me appreciate how different and yet how close we all are.


Brooke said...

Traci-this one made me tear up! Love the uniqueness of each of your children! They all are doing such a great job accepting George. What a sweetheart Isabel is to him! You have 5 amazing kids!

Cory and Margaret said...

So beautiful....your kids all sound amazing!! What a great Mom you are!!!