What I want you to know about adopting an older child

What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here.  Today’s guest post is by Jenn Porter.

My husband and I married young. I was 20 and he was 21. Then a year and a half later, we got the crazy idea that we should adopt an older child. So we did. Our daughter was 8 when we got her. I was 22. What I want you to know is that while it looks so sweet and admirable from the outside, it has been really hard. We sacrificed our honeymoon years for trauma parenting. What I want you to know is that no one celebrated the arrival of our daughter into our family. I think everyone was probably worried about us and our sanity. But no one brought casseroles or clothes or new toys for her. And I want you to know that I'm not angry about that. But parents who do this kind of craziness need support. And I know an 8 year old may not be as cute and cuddly as a newborn, but it would have been nice if someone had celebrated her with us. I know that she was a foster child at that point and that her future with us was uncertain. I know that we only had 24 hours notice and that was hardly enough time for anyone to throw a shower. I know that. I want you to know that we spent a lot of nights in tears. We did a whole lot of fighting. I had no clue what I was getting myself into. The homework and the tantrums and the night terrors and the medication. I think we bit off more than we could chew. But I'm proud to say that we stuck with it. We stuck with her. Because we love her. And because she is precious. And somehow, miraculously, she has stuck with us too. She loves us and accepts us. She has somehow managed to deal with the fact that her mother is not much older than she is. She's dealt with not looking like us and having people say really, really stupid stuff to us all the time. Like that I don't look old enough to be her mom. Or that we don't look anything like each other. Or that she's so lucky to have us. What I want you to know is that it was worth it. Every single second. It was worth sacrificing our honeymoon years to see a terrified little girl grow into a beautiful young woman. If I could do it over again, I would. I would do it. I might be a little wiser. I might ask for more help. But she would be with us.





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