My daughter, Yan, was the only child for quite some time. However, not quite two years ago, I felt the call to adopt again but felt lead to go through our local foster to adopt program. A couple of weeks after I became a licensed foster parent, I got a phone call. The person on the other end asked me if I would be interested in a baby. Though I’ve always wanted to adopt an infant, I hadn’t imagined that it would even be a possibility. This little girl was scheduled to be released from the NICU the following week and she had no place to go. They told me that she was medically fragile and was on oxygen. She had drug and alcohol exposure, her lungs had stopped developing at 20 weeks and when she was born, she was given a 20% chance to live.
I was so excited that weekend, I scrambled around (nesting-yes, it even happens if you’re not physically pregnant) trying to get everything ready. The moment I laid eyes on her, I knew. They said it might only be a short-term placement, but I knew deep down that she was my daughter. It took over a year and a half of fighting, and finally, about six weeks ago, I adopted her legally. Her name is Mady and she is one bundle of personality. She is a fighter, strong-willed, feisty and funny. And she already ADORES her sissy. She follows her around and stops to hug her throughout the day.
But the other day something happened that completely startled me. I was telling Yan to do something, and she was really struggling to understand me. There was a puzzle piece that was hidden under a bookshelf. I was attempting to describe where it was, but she didn’t understand. However, Mady, who just turned two last week, did understand. She walked over, picked it up and gave it to me. Honestly, I felt a tinge of pain. Mady, at two, is beginning to catch onto some things that Yan, at twelve, still has trouble getting. It hurts.
In that moment, I think a wave of fear washed over me. I don’t want to change Yan. I mean, I want her to learn and succeed to the best of her abilities, but I don’t want to change her. I just felt worried about their relationship. What happens when Mady realizes this? Will she pick on her, or take advantage? What can I do to help this stay or become a healthy relationship? How do you foster a great relationship between siblings who are so different?
The only thing I am doing right now is reminding them that they are there to love each other. They need to help and love each other. I also find myself whispering to Mady, “You’re sissy may need your help…you can help her”. I hope these are the right things…. Walking in faith that somehow they will grow up to love and help each other.