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 …