One of the most common questions we got about adoption was, "What do your big kids think?" I could go rambling on about orphan statistics and our heart for the poor and needy and meeting that need through adoption.....but instead I decided to go straight to the source. The source being J one of our "Big Kids" who our adoptions affected directly. This is her story unedited in her own words.
I remember when my parents sat my brother and I down that night to tell us they wanted to have more children. I was thrilled!! I wanted so badly to have a sister to play with, play barbies with and dress up in pretty princess dresses with. I wanted to grow up with a sister and have a best friend that would be there forever.
Years passed. No sister. I prayed and prayed for one. Nothing happened.
As I entered my teenage years I had pretty much given up hope that I would ever have one.
Then my parents told us they were praying about and considering adoption. Adoption? Really? I mean I was already 13! Why did they want to start all over again? I mean I was excited about having a baby in the house, but had my parents really thought this through? I was still a kids who needed parents too! Would they still have time for me with a new baby? I had been the youngest for so long! How was I going to be a big sister?
My parents got asked all of these questions a lot. And they still do. How did adopting affect your older kids? Did it ruin your relationships with them? Did your biological kids bond with the adopted ones?
During each adoption of my sisters, I don't know that I could've given accurate answers to these questions.
As soon as the oldest of the Princess Collection, Nature Girl as she is known to you all, was brought to us, our family immediately changed. Alot of my days at home involved feedings, diaper changes, picking out cute little outfits and helping my mom. I loved every minute of being a big sister. When sister Blondie came along, my daily baby tasks doubled. I loved coming home from other activities in time to rock my baby sisters to sleep. I laughed when Nature Girl poured an entire jar of honey on the carpet right before my parents left for a wedding. By the time we got our little slice of Asia, I was a well seasoned pro.
In the years that followed I said "no" to a lot of things because of my new sisters. I said no to having leisurely talks with my mom about life. I said no to going out with friends because my parents needed me to babysit. I even said no to my own high school graduation ceremony so that I could go to China with my parents. And during those years of saying "no" I often complained. I loved my sisters of course, but a lot of the time I felt like a teenage mom. Cleaning up after them, changing diapers, disciplining bad attitudes, telling them to go back to bed over and over. Oh how I wish I could have my 25 year old self speak some sense into my 14 year old self!!
Now, 11 years after Nature Girl was handed to us, here's what I would say to 14 year old me. It's worth it. Saying 'no' to all those things, is worth it. Here's why.
Those 3 little girls love me. They are proud to have me as their big sister. I know because they tell me. They fight over who gets to spend the night at my house next. They know that when they are on a date with me they get a Starbucks treat. They wave and smile at me when I'm singing on stage at church on Sunday Mornings. They leap up from their schoolwork when I stop by on a home day. They send me get well cards when I'm sick. They give me the best hugs in the world.
And every time they tell me they love me, I can't help but think 'where would they be if my parent's hadn't started over? My life would be so empty without them. Yes, I may have gotten to go to more parties and movies with my friends. I may have had a few more conversations with my mom without being interrupted. I would've sat through a really boing graduation ceremony. But I wouldn't have gotten them. These 3 beautiful, precious, one of a kind sisters that love me. They don't know all of the things I said no to when they came along. But they do know that I love them.
See, God knew what I needed in a sister. He knew that I needed to be 14 years older. He knew that I needed to learn how to sacrifice my life for them. And He knew that I needed 3 of them. Remember what I prayed for? A sister I could grow up with, play girly things with, and have as a best friend forever. God answered my prayer. I grew up when my sisters came along. I do play Barbies, and tea parties and dress up with them. And I know that the friendship I have with them will last forever. God answered my prayer. The answer looked different than I thought it would, but I am so glad!
So to answer the commonly asked questions. Adoption has affected me to the very core of my life. Seeing the joy that these girls bring has only increased my desire to adopt my own children some day. My relationships with my parents didn't suffer at all because of my sisters. I respect my parents so much more now because of the sacrifice they chose to make and still make everyday. As for the bonding question.....well, I would never doubt my bond with my sisters and I hope they never doubt it either.
These 3 girls have utterly changed my life. I would not be the person I am today if God had not allowed me to be their big sister. I am so grateful. And yes, they still drive me crazy and there are times when I still think my parents are nuts for doing this. I hope to be just as nuts as they are one day.