We adopted a sibling group of three 10 years ago, and one more two years later. It's hard trying to remember life before kids. Like most adopted kids, their parents were not models of society. The biological mother used drugs during pregnancy. She was a prostitute. Fathers were pimps.
Although there was no record of abuse, there was some. They were mostly neglected. Bad genes, drugs and neglect are not a combination that gets a person off to their best start in life. We adopted the trio at ages 6,4 and 2. The fourth was age 4, but his mother, also a drug addict, had at least put him up for adoption shortly after birth. Unfortunately, he was born tox positive and was developmentally delayed.
The oldest is now 19. He had the greatest trouble adapting which makes sense because he had been through the most. He largely rejected us as his parents and rebelled, but he made it through high school and was accepted into college. He has little contact with us. When we do see him, it is more pleasant now than it was when he lived with us, but despite how well it might go, he has to leave us something to let us know that it was largely manipulation. For example, his last visit he gave his younger brother a small amount of marijuana. But it looks like he might do fine in life.
Our 16 year old was never held as a child and suffers from a series of behavioral diagnoses. ADHD, ODD, RAD, mood disorders, etc. When he hit adolescence, he rebelled and we finally had to put him in a therapeutic boarding school in Utah. He is a very handsome boy (the girls screamed like he was a rock star when they first saw him), gifted athlete and has a million dollar smile. He seems to rebel against all rules but is showing some improvement after about 4 months. He too I think is going to do fine in life. Both he and his older brother have tremendous potential, but seem to make bad choices. We'll see.
Our only daughter and the youngest of the three is stunningly beautiful.
She also has an IQ of 139. She is dyslexic and whereas that effects her academics, she is going to set the world on its ear someday. She was taken from her mother at one. She spent one year with a foster mom that adored her and held her constantly. She does not show much of the RAD some obvious with her two older brothers.
Our fourth, came to us at age 4. He was readily accepted by the other three. He has some problems with speech, diabetes, and some learning disabilities, but the kid is some incredibly nice, he is accepted well by the general population at school. When we adopted him, he had been labeled mildly retarded. Last year he tested with a 109 IQ. He shows mechanical aptitude and I think he will apply those skills and between skills and being so likable, he will do well in life too.
I was divorced a year ago and my ex and I get along well and we share in the parenting. Sometimes we feel sad because our kids have had so many "problems" and it has taken so much effort to get them the proper assistance, etc. And when I get down and worry about my kids and what they will eventually do when they become adults, I think to myself, "but where would they have been without our efforts?" It has been very challenging. I am 56. I am old enough to be their grandfather. And whereas I know they will have to face problems on their own some day, I know they CAN do it.
When my time comes, I want to be able to look back and know that I did what I could to put them in the best possible position to be successful.
~ Greg Matthews