It’s adoption education weekend ’round these parts. Almost done. Time for a study break.
For the past few weeks I have been informally trying to find information on the broad topic of Gabriel’s and Jude’s long term adjustment once Gabriel’s adoption is complete. It’s tough information to find. Mostly I have been finding articles on why pregnancies should be spaced X number of years apart to provide babies with optimal amounts of nutrients. Thanks. But not helpful. And for these kids…that train has long left the station.
Forbes had a semi-helpful article on the spacing of children and its financial impact on the family unit. In summary: the closer the better to share toys, clothing, etc. According to them there is also some little-known about grants if you have multiple children in college.
Then I came across (accidentally) the term “artificial twinning.” It would appear by some definitions of the term that by adopting 2 children almost exactly 1 year apart that we fall into this category. This was also EXACTLY the information I was looking for.
So Jude and Gabriel are for all intents and purposes exactly 1 year apart.
According to the available literature (and I am generalizing), here is what we are/going to be doing “right.”
1. Adopting in birth order. This was actually ALL Jude. The conversation came up late this summer just as she was becoming verbal. With limited vocabulary she was able to tell me that she wanted a sibling. When I asked if she wanted an older sibling (she had older foster siblings) or a younger one, Jude indicated she wanted a baby then pointed out an 18-month old child. OK. Jude wanted to be the oldest. Done.
2. Adoption spacing. If I had to guess there will be 16-18 months between homecomings. Which is greater than the standard 12-month recommendation of our (as well as many) agencies.
3. Keeping children a grade apart. The girls will be a year apart. Right now it appears that Jude will have no issues starting school at her expected grade level. I have no intention of starting Gabriel early just because it would be more convenient. Unless she is a super-genius she will start on-time (ie 1 grade behind Jude) or later if need be.
Things I will need to be cognizant of:
1. Comparing one child to the other. From what I have seen so far of Gabriel she is just as spirited as Jude. No doubt this will lead to a natural competition between the two. They do not need me comparing/contrasting them. I need to remind myself that they are 2 individuals despite many apparent similarities.
2. And per above I will need to make sure to focus on each child’s individual strengths.
Things that will be difficult:
1. Sibling Rivalry. I expect this. I have always anticipated this. I just hope that it is slightly better than it was with my own sister, but I won’t count on it.
2. Everything that comes with “twins” 2 toddlers, 2 teenagers, 2 new drivers etc. etc.
3. The initial adjustment phase. I am not naive. Adopting is not what it appears to be on TV. Those first few minutes, hours, days, weeks, months are going to have some serious rough spots. Repeat: Serious Rough Spots. There will be tears and tantrums.
Scary as the articles are, I am glad I have found them. Though we are not having twins, nor adopting children that are exactly the same age, nor adopting children at the same time it seems that the information applies to us more than it doesn’t apply.