Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Tough Stuff About Adopting

For those who have been with me for awhile, you may recall the post What Have I Done? from about a year ago. In it I explored those dark moments after adopting where some of us wondered what we had done.

I have been thinking lately about the trials of adopting. Often when talking with someone who is considering adopting, they want to know about the tough stuff. They want to know what it is so they can ascertain if they have the reserves to walk through what might come their way.

So, if you have adopted, here is an opportunity to let others see what the tough stuff is. Please leave a brief comment that conveys what the hardest part about adopting was for you.

Note: I am more concerned about authenticity than about knowing who you are, so feel free to log out of your Google account and leave an anonymous comment if that is more comfortable for you. On the other hand, if you have posted about your tough stuff on your blog, feel free to leave a link here.

Note: This is not a contest to see who has had the worst experience. Do not let the easy or difficult time others have had hinder you from sharing what you have experienced.

A final important note: You may have come through your hard time, you may still be in your hard time, or you may not have made it through. Let us know if you are still dealing with your tough stuff so we can be praying for you.

I guess I should go first. Here is my brief “comment.”

Hi - My wife and I have four bio kids (6-12) and have adopted 3 kids from Ethiopia (4-9). One of the hard things for me was when something was not going well (difficult interaction with a child or tension between children) I would assume that the behavior would get a little worse each year for the next decade and there would no longer be any happiness in my life. It turns out that this stuff continues to get better for us over time, as my rational side suspected, even though my emotional side was all that my head could hear in the moment.

33 comments:

MetricGirl said...

I love your "What have I done?" post and have linked to it on my blog in the past. I agree that it is important to talk about the rough times, in part so that others who are experiencing the same don't feel that they are the only ones having problems. My son was 4 1/2 when I met him, and at first the hardest part (especially as a first-time parent) was being thrown in at the deep end with discipline and behaviour. The testing and power struggles were constant. Days with four or five hour long meltdowns (his, not mine) would leave me thinking I had made a huge mistake to adopt an older child.

This behaviour improved immensely at the 3 month mark, by 6 months home it was smooth sailing. Now, the hardest part by far is dealing with his loss and birth family questions. The first time that you get hit with the question "Why my ababa give me away?" is a killer. "Why (name of brother) still in Ethiopia and I not?" is no picnic either. I think this is something we will always be working through, so I would say this is going to be the "hard part" for me for a long time.

june

jody said...

I just appreciate you covering this topic and actually just revisited your "What have I done?" post TODAY. We are just beginning this journey and some nites I just lie awake thinking "when will I be TOTALLY ready and not have any more fears/worries/questions?" and then God reminds me that I have those all the time with my birth kids so why should this be different? Thank you for bringing the reality into the forefront and showing that is ok for it to not always be a "fairytale" but that doesn't make it any less worth it

Pam and Brian said...

We have been blessed that our transition with our son has gone very well. He was 2 when we brought him home and has been with us for 2 years. We have the typical discipline issues and power struggles, but so far they seem normal. But then I begin to second-guess myself. It is easy to wonder if issues are normal toddler behavior or if they are due to institutionalized care. My son is also very small for his age, and I catch myself wanting to explain to complete strangers. I often have to remind myself to keep his personal life private.

We are waiting for a court date to go back to Russia and adopt two little girls. I am now fearful that the transition will not be as easy with them. We'd appreciate your prayers that all will go smoothly.

CrazyD said...

Last night after I wrote this post I almost did not put it on the blog. I was unsure what, if any, the response would be. The first thing I did this morning was check the blog and I was touched by what has been shared so far.

Thank you June, Jody, Pam and Brian for sharing.

Pam and Brian - You will be in our prayers.

CrazyD

Shane Richardson said...

The hardest part for us (4 adopted children) has been the grief that they have all gone through for their biological families, even if they never met them. It can, if we let it, leave us feeling inadequate as parents and rejected, because of the fantasy they have created of birthmom. Even worse this grief can exhibit itself as misbehavior.
The other difficulty, and this one is even harder, is dealing with a child who has attachment issues. The behavior makes no rational sense and can emotionally painful, especially to mom, physicall draining and at times physically dangerous. By God's grace, after 4+ years, we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel for this. At the beginning, sreaming fits would last for 8 hours straight, and would occur almost daily. We are down to 1 to 3 times a week and lasting 30 minutes or less.

Bingaling said...

We adopted two little boys who are 4 and 5. They've only been home a little more than 3 months and my hubby and I are first-time parents. So, we all had a lot to learn right from the start.

Two things stick out in my mind as the "hard stuff". The first happened in the earlier weeks home...one boy needed some behavior correction, so I took him up to their room and sat with him for a while while he screamed and cried and tantrumed. When I came back downstairs the other one asked me if I had beat his brother. Of course I hadn't, but it made me hurt for him that a beating was the first place his mind went.

The other is attachment-related. As a mom, I spent months and months dreaming about my little boys and wondering what having them at home would be like. I wondered what it would be like to have a little boy call me "mommy" and say "I love you". I knew that there would be rough spots along the way, but it was really hard to watch my 4 year-old wander up to random strangers and act as though he'd be just as happy with them as he is with me. I wasn't surprised by his wanting to please random adults or by his declaring that he wanted to go to "their house"...but it hurt my mommy heart tremendously.

For me, that has been the tough stuff.
Chanda

Anonymous said...

We adopted 2 children from birth. The adoptions are open and we have frequent contact and good relationships with the birth families. Yet the hardest part for me is the rejection I get from one of my children. From the beginning this child sees their birth mother whenever they look at me. It's not a conscience thing but at the same time all of their anger and abandonment issues are mirrored back to them by my presence. This child loves me and hates me. It is like being in the center of a tornado. My other child sees me differently from their birth mother.

Anonymous said...

We have three bio kids 9, 12 & 12 (twins) and have just adopted two older siblings 10 and 5 from Ethiopia. We've only been home just over a month now so I can say that I believe we're in the thick of it right now. The hardest thing so far has been trying to get the two girls (one bio one adopted) to blend with one another. Our adopted daughter seems to hugely resent our bio daughter and has wanted nothing to do with her for the past couple of weeks. It's been very tense and it broke my heart when our bio daughter said the other day that she wished they could go back. I have had many moments of the "What have I done to my family" but I can honestly say that I know this was meant to be and things will get better. I had a little talk with our adopted daughter about being nice and reassuring her that her sister loves her very much. I also said that I know how hard this is for her but WE ALL love her and everything will be ok. She seemed to understand, cried a little, then ran to her sister and gave her a big hug and kiss. This was two days ago. Things have been miraculously better ever since. Can't believe it but then again each day brings different things to us and I believe everything happens for a reason. We just do what we're supposed to do and do it the best way that we can.

Carpenters said...

We’ve been home with our two children (now 17 months and 7 months old) for two and a half months. The toughest moment for me was when we received the news that we had an unfavorable ruling in the Ethiopian courts. I was devastated and wept bitterly thinking that my beautiful children who were already very much ours in my heart were not really going to be ours. It was heart-wrenching. God reminded me that he was in control. A couple of weeks later, the missing paperwork was soon remedied and we finally were approved by the court.

Since we have returned home, I have had only one “I don’t think I can do this moment.” The second day after we returned home with the kids, my husband left early for work before any of us had woken up. For the first time, I was alone with our little ones to figure out all this new parenting stuff on my own. It was a tough day and I thought many times, “I can’t do this.” Each day, however, has gotten easier and easier and both our blessings have adjusted really well. As my mom says, we have had it easy and I agree. It just took me a few days to get used to being a first time mom with a new toddler and baby to take care of, that’s all. Now, we’re getting along very well and they are such a joy.

We truly have been blessed and even in the hard days, God was there to help see us through. Bringing these two little ones into our family is truly a miracle and any pain or heartache along the way has made it more than worth it.

Blessings,
Penelope

P.S. Thank you for posing the question and sharing your struggles.

sally said...

Pre-adoption, I was a strong believer that "environment" was what impacted a childs personality. Post-adoption(10 years later), I realize "genetics" may play a bigger role than I first thought. Not always bad...just different. Love your posts!!
Sally(mom to 4)

sandwichinwi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sandwichinwi said...

Love your blog! You have a great familly! And great topic!

After worrying for months about my son not attaching to me, once he was home, it was actually "I" who couldn't attach to him. I had fairly intense post-adoption depression and daily thought "What have I done?!"

I was always able to "act as if" and God gave us a very loving and resilient little boy. He is still difficult to parent and lives all his emotions out loud, but he is so loving and is a true blessing.

God helped me to overcome my negative feelings about him (it truly was a miracle and came about solely due to prayer).

I talk about it now so that others don't feel as alone as I did whilst in the midst of it.

God Bless you and your family,
Sandwich in Wi

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your blog into the life of a Christian transracial family. My husband and I are in the paperwork stages of adopting a domestic African American boy. Our biggest hurdle right now is my parents. They are unsupportive to the point of refusing contact. We have two bio children already, and it makes me sad to see how it is and will affect them too. But the Lord has clearly called us to this, and we are very excited about what HE is going to do. We are also trusting that my parents will come around.
Have any of you struggled with unsupportive family members, and what advice or thoughts would you be willing to share?
Carissa in AL

Darcy said...

We have 2 bios and one adopted at 22 months. My hardest time was the adjustment period and how much work our adopted child took. I became resentful of her and started disliking her for taking all my time and energy and leaving none for the other kids. Then a light went on and I realized I was the adult and I had to take control of the situation. I began putting her to bed at 7 pm and using that time for one-on-one with the other kids. It helped the situation soooo much. I would say our family took a good year to a year and a half to get to equalibrium again after the adoption. You can't be in a hurry, for sure, especially in toddler adoption.

gellerbee said...

Thank you so much for this post. We have 4 bio kids 5,8,9 and 17. We just adopted two children from Ethiopia, ages 8 and 10. We have been home for 2 months. I had several of those moments of thinking "What have I done?" Even before we left Ethiopia, but especially once we came home, definitely in that first month. In looking back now, I can't even believe I had some of those feelings. I felt such self loathing and guilt and the inability to even verbalize those feelings outloud to myself much less anyone else. I kept thinking, "I've lost my family." "Things will never be the same." "I'm not the person I thought I was." I held onto Melissa Faye Greene's article about post adoption panic and decided to not worry too much about "feelings" and just "fake it till I make it." It definitely seems like a taboo subject and those few people I tried to talk to within my adoption circle made me feel even worse. I applaud you for writing about it. The best thing is that I held onto the hope and faith that God called me to adopt these children. He called me long ago, and He would not have done that if this adoption was not going to be a blessing to my family. Things are finally settling down. The kids are beginning to share their grief with us instead of using it against us. We are slowly becoming a family of 8 instead of two separate entities. Thank you.

CrazyD said...

I continue to be impressed and blessed by what all of you are sharing. If right now you are on the fence about leaving a comment, think about how much you just enjoyed reading the above comments.

The most rewarding stuff in life is often the hardest. Adopting a child is rewarding and hard. God bless all of you for what you are doing.

CrazyD

Anonymous said...

We have 4 bio kids and came home 3 months ago with a 7 yr old and an 11 yr old who were not related. We are in the "hard stuff" to the point that we have considered disrupting with the 11 year old. But every time I pray over that sleeping child God speaks to my heart that this is his will for our family. I don't understand what He is doing or why but with a lot of prayer and such an encouraging post I know that we are doing the right thing.

It has been exhausting, draining, rewarding, and heartwrenching but only God can heal the wounds this child has. We have sought out help from a qualified therapist and are praying that God will move.

Thanks for this post!

Apryl said...

This is a great post! I have a hard time responding to people who ask me about 'the hard stuff' because I want them to know that it isn't always easy, but don't want to be discouraging. I have two bio boys and a daughter (adopted at 2), we are going to ET in 2 weeks to pick up our daughter (3yo) and son (6 mths old).

When we brought our daughter home, I expected issues that I had read about pre-adoption. Head-banging, rocking, attachment problems...Our sweet two yo didn't do the things we expected--she starved herself. That threw my husband and I into a tailspin. We had no idea how to deal with a child who was intentionally "failing to thrive". It seemed like a slap in the face, but in the throes of it, neither of us could really see what was going on. So we did the best we could (she drank lots of pediasure) and pressed on. I think that put stress on our bonding--an ugly cycle.

It was atleast a year before things became "normal". That said, we really didn't have it bad. We love our daughter, all three of our kids adore each other, and we are adopting again (if that is the litmus test).

apryl

thecurryseven said...

I so remember thinking, "What have I done?" I was convinced I had ruined our family by adopting our son. He was 3 1/2 years old and we were his fourth placement. We had no honeymoon...it was two hour long raging from day one. We had it all...biting, pinching, spitting, hair pulling, glasses throwing, kicking, urinating, and vomiting (he could vomit on demand). Both my husband and I were sporting dental imprints which would make an orthodontist proud and both my upper arms were covered in bruises. Living with our son was like living with a time bomb. We would do some sight-seeing and then something would cause him to explode and we would find a taxi and head back to the hotel. I have never seen such an angry child in my life. He was difficult to like, much less love. Once we arrived home from Vietnam, things got a little better, but I continued to fake it for a long time. It's been almost two years now and we have a vastly different little boy...happy, funny, obedient, caring. He is a joy and very easy to love. But without my faith and the belief that we were meant to add this child to our family, I'm not sure I oould have survived.

bhenderson said...

Hi!

Love the blog! We've adopted 3 children from India at separate times and have been so blessed by our children. The hardest thing for our family has been the attachment behaviors exhibited by our daughter adopted at 33 months. Before she came home she was described as "moody" and "quiet"...it seems at the orphanage she just sort of hung in the background. Once she came home, it's as if all of the anger at the neglect she'd experienced came roaring out of her in a whirlwind. She was constantly on the go, and had no real ability to play with toys....She just loved dumping them and moving on to the next thing. She refused to sleep, and we only got her to sleep at night by forcibly holding her on our chest until she fell asleep. In a few months she had dumped about 3 bottles of shampoo in the bathroom, broken a dozen eggs over the kitchen, and flooded the bathroom twice.

She still deals with issues from her lack of parenting from birth, especially anger and sensitivity to perceived rejection, but she has come such a long way. She is bright and funny and loves animals and is the most nurturing of my daughters to her baby dolls. She's doing great at preschool and has incredible motor skills. She's a talented artist and is VERY attached to us now. We still receive coaching from an adoption therapist on her issues, but we love her so much, and it has been a huge blessing to parent her. But there were lots of days when my mantra was more along the lines of "endure for brighter days"....As someone else posted, I knew that God had given us this child, and that gave gave us the strength and hope and faith to keep going.

BTW, the 2nd hardest thing about adoption for me has been knowing when to stop! :o) We're in process now to adopt a baby girl from Ethiopia!

shell said...

We have 3 bio (5,5,2) and 2 from Ethiopia (4,3). I think the hardest for us was that there was not that automatic feeling of 'love'. I think it might have been that our kids were so close in age and we are just sinful people! I am happy to say that almost 2 years later, I would do anything for any of my children and would not trade them for the world. At 6 months home, I am not sure I could have said that. Also, be ready for anything. Our one son is quite smart and talks more than any child I have ever heard. I was ready for a child who would be behind and I have on who is being tested for K as a 4 year old! That can be just as tough and drive you just as crazy!

Anonymous said...

What a great topic--what a necessary topic. We adopted a sweetie from Russia 4 years ago when she was 1 yr old. I was thrilled to be adopting and could not wait to meet my daughter (we had 2 bio sons ages 6 & 4). I prayed for her, dreamed about her and imagined all the fun we would have together...then the day came when we met. After traveling endless hours on plane, eating poor food and sleeping little, being stressed to the max over all the details of the trip, I was handed my daughter and felt....nothing. She was cute but she didn't feel like "mine." She felt like a strange child I was babysitting that to be honest, didn't smell so great and did bizarre things with her tongue (self stim behaviors). I had totally expected to be completely in love with her from day 1. Didn't everyone I talked to just instantly love their little one they adopted? Was was the matter with me?? Serious guilt and anxiety set in immediately. My husband was awesome and bonded to her instantly--I kept busy getting things ready to go home, taking pictures, signing paperwork, etc.

Once home, I went through the motions but felt so guilty that I didn't really feel so in love anymore now that she was here. Our little one cried--alot and demanded to be held--alot. I thought I was prepared for that but the disruption to family lasted day after day after day. I prayed continually for our relationship--I knew I was called to love her even if I didn't "feel" in love. But it was such a hard, lonely time.

I look back at pictures and I see myself smiling but I also see that shadow in my eye lurking, thinking "What have I done? What if I am not capable of loving her?" I was disturbed that I didn't love her instantly like my bio kids--what kind of terrible person was I? Most friends and family were thrilled for us--our daughter was beautiful, healthy and sweet. The one friend I confided in looked shocked and upset that I didn't feel emotionally attached to my daughter--I felt worse after sharing and looking back, depressed.

Thankfully, I went through motions with the Lord's help. I acted in love even though I didn't feel in love. The days passed and I slowly fell in love with my daughter. The Lord was so faithful! After 6 weeks, she began to settle in and cry less. (She stopped all the strange orphanage behaviors too) After 2 or 3 months, I found myself chuckling at the cute things she did and the faces she made. I looked forward to getting out of her crib in the morning. She bonded to me very quickly and that touched my heart. By 6 mos, we felt like a family. It wasn't perfect or easy but I now acted and felt in love so it didn't matter really. Now, after 4 years, I have to remind myself that she is not my biological child. She shares my interests and uses my "lingo." She completely lights up my day with her chatting and questions. What a blessing she is!

Thanks again for sharing so honestly on your blog :-)
Laurie

darci said...

wow, can i just say thank you to you crazyD and to all the posters? this has been great to read, and answered every fear (and some we didn't think of lol!). we are just at the beginning of the journey (homestudy stage) but we know God is leading us, and that is what matters. THANKS for sharing everybody. darci

Melinda said...

Great post! Wish I would have seen this before I adopted. LOL! We have three bio kids and one adopted son from ET. He has been home a year and 3mo. now. I wish I would have read up on Post adoption depression and would have anticipated not bonding right away. I had a whole month of "what have I done" I did not feel love towards my son and thought we had made such a big mistake. He was 16 mo. old and wanted to be independent. I guess I would just encourage those out there to read up on PAD's and don't expect the bonding to happen right away. It does for some, but not for other's. I am happy to say things are 100% better, I love him and we are bonded, and we are adopting again from ET, this time an 8 year old.

Tanya said...

Thank you everyone for being so honest.
I know when I am going through the tough stuff, I will be referring back to this post and the comments to remind myself that I am not alone.
Great Post.

Anonymous said...

Several years ago, we adopted an older toddler with severe emotional and mental health issues (unknown to us at the time of her adoption). After two very, very difficult years, we decided to disrupt the adoption. We made the decision for her well-being and for the safety and well-being of our other children. She was placed (by us and our attorney) as the youngest child in a large family. We still keep in touch and see her and her family every few months. She is doing very well--has become extremely attached to one of her new siblings (a great first relationship for "real" attachment), blends easily into their family with several other adopted children with special needs (not to mention EXTREMELY experienced, qualified, and wonderful parents), and is able to qualify for the kind of help we could never have afforded for her (eg, a full time PCA). I truly believe that for some children with RAD it is easier to be in a larger family. I prayed for years for the "right" answer--it was an incredibly painful experience--before the disruption and after, but we have never regretted our decision. Disruption is so stigmatized in the adoption community that I think many parents continue to struggle and many kids stay in families that are a very poor match for their needs. This hurts everyone--especially, in the long run, the child. For our family and for this child, this was the right choice.

Anonymous said...

We have 3 bio kids and are recently home with 3 older kids. Our oldest biological child is having a very difficult time and the hard part is feeling guilty that we are "ruining" his happy life. We have 3 fabulous adopted kiddos and wondering when I will stop feeling guilty about our messing up our happy home is hard!

erika's funny farm said...

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you to Crazy D and all of you for sharing your experiences with this. We are still in the process of our first adoption of a 5 yer old special needs little girl and have 4 bio kids. We have read and studied like there is no tomorrow about so many possibilities. However, it is in the Creator's hands. He has called us to adopt this precious little girl. It is comforting that my fears of what may be are not just my own. I have no idea what the future will bring, and I can only anticipate how difficult some of those days will be. Thank you all for your honesty. Crazy D, thank you for your offer of prayers. We hope to bring home our daughter this fall from China.

Shawn Tremblay said...

This post is for gellerbee. I was the anonymous post with three bio kids and just adopted two older siblings from Ethiopia, ages 10 and 5. I loved reading your post. It sounds like we could definately help each other out with advice due to our similar situation. I'd love for you to e-mail me @tremblaytwins@comcast.net. Talk to you soon hopefully!
Shawn Tremblay

Jim & Laurel said...

Great post!

We are the parents of 13 children, having just added 3 (ages 6, 9, 12) from Ghana a month ago (to our 10 bio. kids).

While the challenges have been overwhelming at times, when I read some of these comments I feel blessed that our challenges aren't worse (but ... maybe they are yet to come).

We stayed in Ghana with the children for 6 weeks, which we believe was very beneficial to the transition, as they were able to work through many issues with the two of us parents, before adding 10 children to the relational mix.

Our biggest challenge this past month since being home, has been to help the 12 year old boy figure out where he fits. He was very independent prior to the orphanage, and he is very strong willed. He also was the primary caretaker of his youngest sister for many years, so is now having a difficult time sharing her with the 6 year old brother that is just her age. He also now has 3 older brothers that still live at home (and another arriving next month), so he has lost his big brother role. He is 12 years old, but looks 8 years old (very small). He sometimes acts 15, while at other times he acts 5. So, please join us in praying that he would find his spot in the family.

While we have definitely had our issues with the two younger girls, things are going very well, considering.

Laurel

Anonymous said...

I love your blog. How inspiring and comforting to see how others have struggled, triumphed over struggle, and then struggle again. To God be the glory!!

We are about to finalize on our adoption of 2 domestic, African American girls. We've had our girls for 14 months. We totally relate to many of your comments about the tough stuff. Doubt would creep into my heart particularly (mom) and it would take a miracle encounter with someone to make me stay the course and know we'd get through. Most of my struggles were/are selfish, though. My husband and I were married for a long time before taking our girls and that was an amazing yet difficult transition into parenthood. I thought my happy days were over and this was my new lot in life, doubt and daily struggles. Time and God have healed that thought and many of our struggles.

Something we continue to tell our girls is that their bio-parents love them but couldn't keep them safe. We are very honest about what happened to them in their "former life" when they bring it up. At one point our oldest daughter (6) was telling me about all the fun things her bio parents did with her: biking, hiking, baking sugar cookies, etc. She was either testing me to see if I'd agree that her bio mom did all that stuff or she really did believe that the things we do with her were actually done with her bio-mom. Does that make sense? That's where the "they love you but can't keep you or themselves safe" came in. Then, we made a list of all the REAL things they did with bio-mom and dad and a list of all the things they did at our house. She quickly admitted that bio mom and dad never did take them biking etc., but she did have a 1-2 real things she remembered that were special to her with her bio-parents. This was not done to put their bio-parents down or to elevate us, it was just a reality check for our daughter to see that God put her in our home for a purpose and a real reason. Not necessarily for the fun we have, but to show her that we do keep her safe and let her enjoy life.

Don't know why I shared that. The list is something we did once and haven't had to refer to again. We try to "...anticipate nothing but in everything with prayer and petition present our requests to God...." and to just trust HE will get us through those tough stuff days. The list was one of those things that really helped us.

Thanks for all your comments!!

Anonymous said...

We have two bio daughters 7 and 4 and two ethio daughters 5 and 3 home now for 5 mos. We have had a super smooth transition. The hardest thing for me is spending time one on one with each child as I work outside the home. I feel like I miss my bio daughters a lot b/c the new girls have needed a lot of my time and attention. Truth be told I felt this way when i had my 2nd daughter too....
The other tough stuff for me too is just knowing their story and their losses and I grieve that for them...I know its not my loss to grieve but its just those moments that catch you. We've had some health issues lately with the girls and then I see grace that brought them here to america where they will get the treatment they may need but then am rocked at the injustice in that...I have more existential angst than day to day issues...
carol mom to 4 lovely girls, 2 from ET

Story of our Life said...

Somehow this morning I stumbled upon your blog. :) What a blessing in disguise it has been/will be.

We are a home w/2 bio children and 1 adopted...however, we ended up disrupting our adoption. It has been 18 months and my heart still is grieving this loss. I miss him sooo much.

I was advised to "write" about the tough stuff, good stuff, our life w/our son via my blog from a therapist that I have seen.

Even though it has been very theraputic it has also been very hard at the same time.

The tough stuff for me...right now...this day..this moment...

Would be what does a parent who has 'had' 3 children and now only 2 due to disrupting say when asked "How many children do you have?" I 'have 2' children. Yet, I have 3 in my heart.

I sometimes look at it in the sense of a mom who has lost their child to death. Most likely she doesn't say she has less than what she actually did.

The tough stuff is tough. Really tough. But the good stuff....is good.

Our son was 4 when he came to live with us..

Anyway, I'm glad I stumbled upon your blog today. I'll be reading it and getting to know your family.
THanks for sharing. Gala