Originally Posted by NaturalMom
I'd love any advice from those in a similar situation. How did it all work out with you and a bio child, especially an "only" child?
We adopted a boy who was supposedly 21 months old when our bio (and only child) daughter was 33 months old. (It has turned out that our son was likely somewhere between 30 and 36 months old when he joined us.)
We thought that having an older child (and by that I mean not an infant) join us would be easier for our daughter because I wouldn't be spending so much time on a baby who would, from our daughter's perspective, take a lot of my time but not give her much. We thought our daughter would enjoy having a ready-made playmate. Also, dh and I did NOT want an infant.
The adjustment for our daughter was rough. We underestimated how much it would stress her to have a child "always there," always playing with her toys, always imitating her, always trying to get our attention. Our daughter was angry that she was not the center of attention anymore, and it's been hard for her to carve out time for herself without her brother intruding. We have since added another child to our family, an 11-year-old (now 12 years old) girl. Ramona remains miffed that she is no longer an only child and tells me at least weekly that she wishes that it was just me, Daddy, and her.
Ramona is a difficult child under the best of circumstances, and she tends to be a malcontent by nature. (She reminds me a lot of her momma in that respect.
) She and Efram spend vast amounts of time together, frequently sleep in the same bed, are each others' most adoring audience, and are best friends. They prefer to play with each other over any other playmates. Ramona's anger over being ousted as the star has been directed at us, not at Efram. Dh and I both agree that Ramona would be lost without her brother, whom we refer to as "monkey do" because whatever Ramona does, Efram does too. We are making an effort to give the kids opportunities to do different activities and we have established the idea that if one of them goes to the bedroom they share for some time alone, the other must stay out. I would not again adopt a child so close in age to Ramona, but I do not regret what I have done, and I think that each situation, be it bio sibs in their multiple combinations or adopted sibs in their multiple combinations, has its pros and cons and I think that whatever course we would have chosen would have presented challenges.
When people ask me whether I recommend intentionally having two kids so close in age, my answer depends on my current mood. Sometimes I am adamant that they shouldn't. Sometimes I am equally adamant that they should. I think that the biggest thing for me was that I was not expecting virtual twins, and that is what I got. I am finding that reading parenting advice for parents of twins is helpful to me. I also think that, had Efram actually been his stated age and developmental level, things would have been somewhat easier.
Ramona has had an easier time adjusting to Desta's arrival because, although Desta is older, there is such a huge gap in their ages (8 years) that it doesn't really bother Ramona that she is not the oldest anymore. In her mind (if not in actuality) she is still the oldest of the youngest two. However, as Desta's emotional age is more like 4-7 years old, it is very challenging for me to deal with the equivalent of virtual triplets!
So, how was that for a long yet entirely indecisive discourse?