What Did We Miss?

When people hear that we adopted domestically the second time around, they invariably comment on how great it is that “L” was placed with us as a newborn.

 “That way, you are there from the very beginning,” they say. “You don’t miss out on anything.”

 The thing is, we don’t feel like we missed out on anything with Dylan’s adoption.

Yes, he was nine months old when we met him, but as a preemie and a baby house baby, he reached developmental milestones much later than other children might. We were there with him the first time he sat up, the first time he crawled, the first time he clapped his little hands together. We were there for his first tooth, first steps, and first words. When we took custody of Dylan, we got a baby who slept through the night, who ate solids and hadn’t used a bottle in months (we were spoiled, I know).

So what did we miss? We missed the sleepless nights. The getting up every two hours and walking around the house like zombies the rest of the day. We missed the months of colic and the incessant, desperate crying it creates. Isn’t that what everyone complains about, anyway?

I think the bigger question here is, what did DYLAN miss?

I see how big and sturdy “L” is at four and a half months, and my heart aches for the nine month old we met in Kazakhstan. Granted, he was in one of the “good” baby houses, the ones where the caretakers have genuine affection for the children and do everything in their power to provide as much for them as they can, but the reality of the matter is that they just can’t do all that much. There are way too many children for too few caretakers, and as a result, most of them don’t get the attention, affection, stimulation or even the nutrition necessary for them to thrive.

At four and a half months, “L” is a chunky baby who wears 6-month sized outfits. The same 6-month size outfits that were too big for Dylan during our stay inKazakhstan and he was still wearing at a year old. At four and a half months, “L” is only one and a half pounds lighter than Dylan was at a year old.

Because of the circumstances of his first months of life, Dylan has some issues to work through, including language and developmental delays. It is to be hoped that the love, constant attention, and stimulation that “L” is getting at such a young age will prevent him for experiencing the same struggles as his brother, but of course there are no guarantees in life, and if any of these issues should present themselves we will know where to get the resources we need to help him out as much as we can.

No matter what, we love our boys more than we could possibly express. We are blessed to have had “L” with us since he was two days old, but would we love him any less if he had been two weeks old? Two years old? Unlikely. So what if we would have missed a few milestones? We have a lifetime to share. 




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  • Well said, Khadine! I agree that the issue is more about what the children miss when they lack a secure, consistent environment in their early years rather than what the parents miss. Due to unfortunate circumstances, my foster daughter Nina was very neglected during the first six months of her life, whereas my son Lenny had an absolutely fabulous foster mother (not me!) who gave him much love and security from the time he was a few weeks old. I cannot help but wonder whether this is the reason why, to this day, Nina (5 years old) is always anxious while Lenny (3 and a half) is happy-go-lucky. I am sure there are innate personality differences between the two, but there is a difference in their level of confidence and approach to life that could at least in part be due to one having dealt with early neglect.

  • In reply to jiyer:

    Glad you agree! I love that second sentence of your comment -- I couldn't have put it better myself. I absolutely believe that Dylan's early experiences have contributed to his current struggles. Those first few months/years of life are so important. Even if they don't remember what happened, the experiences remain with them forever.

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