Not that long ago, a mom who adopted two children from Ethiopia around the same time as us, posted on a yahoo forum that things were going really great for them, and offered that prospective adoptive parents could feel free to contact her if looking for information about adopting older children. Her oldest is the same age as Lizzie and the other is younger.
Though I am (truly) very happy that things have gone so well for them, I had a hard time reading that post. Though things are better for us than for many other adoptive families, I started to feel sorry for myself and had to stop reading on that forum for a few days.
I was envious. I wanted to be able to post that kind of message. But what I felt like I could post was that not every situation is going to be like that and if you really want to know what it can be like and to prepare ahead for adopting a(n older) child, contact me. I felt like cautioning people about the difference between adopting a kid who's three-almost-four (like Lizzie last year) and a kid who's five-almost-six (as Seth was when he came home). The transition with Lizzie has been really quite seamless, overall (though that's not always the case with other kids her age), but the difference with Seth has been/is shockingly different. I really just wanted to say to prospective adoptive parents that it can be awesome but wow, it can be soooo tear-out-your-hair-and-fall-into-a-depression-and-not-know-what-to-do-to-help-your-child-or-yourself hard.
I feel petty and ungrateful thinking these things because I am one of the fortunate adoptive families to have a family finally complete. And eventually I will delete this post so that my children never read it.
Things suck around here lately. My usual glass-half-full perspective has been hard to maintain the last couple of weeks. I don't know what's going on - it's like everything happens all at once, every day, all day. I'm tired of it. I'm terribly exasperated by Seth's 60+-times-a-day language issues and horrid behaviours, and by the length of time that it's taking Matthew to adjust to his not-so-new-anymore life-with-siblings, and by Lizzie's obsession (really) with putting water into the pump soaps in the bathrooms, and by the fighting and bickering that seems to have taken over my children. Some of the stuff that's happening is normal kid stuff, but then there's just this whole, huge, extra dimension that is adoption and trauma related. It's all driving me crazy and I just don't know what to do with it all. And I have no doubt that my attitude is not helping matters around here.
Our situation is better than many others that I'm aware of; there are older (5+) kids who come home with issues that make our situation look glorious. There are also wonderful stories of older kids who transition pretty painlessly. We're somewhere in the middle, I guess, in our experience. Though I don't think I would trade (any of) our kids for anything, it can be really, really hard when you're living the day-to-day, after-you're-home-from-the-airport reality.