Fluid Situation

My favorite posts to write are the ones that almost write themselves. They’re fairly short and to-the-point and they come together quickly (in fact, my favorite posts on the blog are 1,000 Words and Introducing … Sarah!, neither of which include any words, only a single photo each).

This is not one of those posts. I’ve been working on this one for about two days (during the kids’ nap times, etc.). The first version of this post was going to be, “Ethan Might Like Being a Big Brother.” A second version was going to be, “Turbulence,” but the reality is, it’s a fluid situation. It keeps changing. So far, Sarah seems to be handling the transition fairly, though there *will* be some transitional issues for her (mostly related to sleep, probably). But she’s been mostly content and pleasant.

Ethan has struggled, though. We knew this would be a challenge for Ethan. We also know that time will help all of us, including Ethan, who is resilient and adaptable, having gone through his own huge transition with us 20 months ago. So we’re not worried, but this is where we are.

We were glad to see Ethan’s initial response Saturday night. Sarah was in her crib (which Ethan refers to as, “Ethan’s crib”) when Ethan first saw her, minutes after seeing Mommy and Daddy for the first time in nearly a week. He leaned down toward her and said, “Hello,” over and over. He even tried tickling her and playing peek-a-boo. A few minutes later, when he was in another room, he said, “Go see what baby sister’s doin’.”

Ethan seems to be mostly okay with Sarah, but he’s shown some uncooperative, attention-getting behavior with us. We think it’s a combination of being apart last week AND showing up at the end of the week with a baby.

Ethan and I had a good morning together Sunday, when Mommy and Sarah were asleep. But later, during Sunday football games, I wanted to get a photo of the three of us wearing our game day shirts. However, Ethan refused to be in the photo with Sarah and me (around mid-day and Sunday night).

Ethan finally agreed to being in a photo with Sarah Sunday night, and then reluctantly let me be in the photo (after Joleen took a few photos of Sarah and me), but it had to be his way (with Ethan sitting on the couch as opposed to sitting with us). See photos below.

We know this is part of the way Ethan is processing the changes going on in our family and that “this too shall pass.” But we also know this is an important part of the process. As with any of life’s challenges, how we navigate the challenges matters!

This afternoon, we intentionally got out and took Ethan to a local park. Sarah was in the baby carrier (sleeping, most of the time) while Ethan got to play. When we got home, Ethan and I played with my last birthday present (a remote control car that I got from Joleen, which I wanted for Ethan and me).

For the rest of the night, Ethan did very well. He interacted more with Sarah (of course, the fact that Sarah, who’s been asleep much of the time since we landed in Washington D.C., was actually awake, helped!). Just before bedtime tonight, we watched “Wheel of Fortune,” a show Ethan likes to watch and has seen a few times. As we watched, Ethan climbed on both Mommy and Daddy on the living room floor (although, his first move was to plop down and squeeze in between me and Sarah 😉 ), a big change from refusing to be photographed with Sarah and me yesterday.

But while we *may* be turning a corner, it’s still a process. It’s a fluid situation.

During our devotion and prayer time tonight, I was particularly moved by God’s blessings on our family and the work he is presently doing in and among us!

Well, I realize these challenges aren’t anything unusual, or even adoption specific (although there may be adoption-related challenges involved). I’ve heard some good stories of older siblings struggling to welcome younger siblings into their families. Feel free to share you stories in the comments.

In the meantime, here are some photos from our first couple of days as a family of four …

8 thoughts on “Fluid Situation

  1. Randy,

    Love the pics. thanks.

    It will be okay. My boy’s are 3 1/2 years apart but I remember the first day I brought the baby home. My older one was very jealous. He was the center of attention for 3 1/2 yrs. The first day home his brother was sleeping in the bassenett and he went over and hit him. After my initial shock I asked him why he did that and he said ” I don’t like him” Not exactly how we would plan for our new addition!!!!!!!!
    Your probably right about Ethan missing you. He initally won’t be to excited about sharing you with a “sister.” He will require some extra attention. He will soon realize Sarah is staying and he will grow to love her. Soon if not already, he will be playing and enjoying his sisters company.
    You and Jolene are great parents. Your doing a fine job. I can’t wait to see Sarah. I know I also will have to be careful not to fuss over “Sarah” Ethan is smart and he is only “two” a very selfish stage (it is all about them at this age.) And so it should be, he is “adorable.”
    Everything will be okay. Keep up the good work.
    Love all of you,
    Cookie

  2. I think you are right on with your thoughts and how you are handling the new sister adjustment!!
    I remember when Mark arrived and I was at home with him the first Sunday after his birth and Brenda went to church with her Daddy and came home just storming carrying “his rose” from the altar – she was just plain fed up with all morning being asked about her little brother and how she liked being the BIG Sister. Her status had changed and she was not sure she liked it.
    They became great friends and siblings I am happy to report 😉
    God Bless you all!
    Jean

  3. I think the Steelers owe their Sunday victory to the Willis cheerleaders!! I was looking forward to this post and pictures. Sounds like you and Joleen understand Ethan’s heart issues and are responding well. Overall each day will probably get better with a few setbacks when you least expect them! You have a beautiful family and God who brought you together will bind you together. Blessings.

  4. Your pictures are just great….I love the pink steelers stuff!

    Don’t worry, ever since I was little I have heard the story about how my brother tried to trade me to my uncle for a B.B. Gun!!! It will get better…After 30 + years, I’m sure it would take more than that – Maybe the B.B.’s too!!! 🙂

  5. Great pictures! I remember Annie defiantly getting off the hospital elevator, where I had gone to meet her for her first visit after Emily was born. ‘I want to see YOUR baby, Mom.” Basically child #1 was a real blister for about 10 days until she accepted the reality that #2 would not be taken to the “Returns” department. As young women, they are the best of friends.

  6. I JUST LOVE THE PICTURES. I KNOW THINGS WILL CALM DOWN-REMEMBERING WHEN WE BROUGHT MICHAEL HOME, LAURA WAS ALMOST 4 YEARS OLDER. HE WAS SAFELY IN HIS SEAT (INSIDE THE PLAYPEN) WHEN I HEARD HIM FUSSING, LOOKING OVER AT “BIG SISTER” LEANING OVER HIM WITH THE WELCOME HOME BALLOONS. SHE WAS TRYING TO TIE THE BALLONS TO HIM. WE SAID TO HER WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO YOUR BABY BROTHER. HER RESPONSE WAS ” I’M TRYING TO LET HIM FLY AWAY” THINGS HAVE DEFINITELY IMPROVED WITH THEIR LOVE FOR EACH OTHER SINCE. AS ADULTS, THEY HAVE BECOME BEST FRIENDS AND WE ARE VERY HAPPY. YOU ARE GREAT PARENTS, JUST REMEMBER TO ENJOY EVERY MOMENT BECAUSE THEY GROW SO FAST.
    LOVE,
    MAURENE

  7. So glad you are sharing your story and pictures with everyone… enjoying them so much. Been reading the other comments and will have to say our situation was reversed. Hannah was 6-1/2 and very much READY to be a big sister and take care of her sister in everyway. Emily, already being 1 year old, did not want much to do with her and made it very clear. Because of Emily’s age, it took Emily awhile to warm up to each of us and it seemed she had to do it one person at a time…. and she did. You guys are going about the whole situation with the right attitude and VERY SOON you will feel like a complete family…. By the way, there will always be sibling wars so don’t get too comfortable… haha.

    P.S. Emily and I were soooo sad me missed the little trick or treater…. Tom was thilled with the visit and rub it in.

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