Saturday, October 17, 2015

When the Horror Story Doesn't Happen

I'm sure you've all heard adoption horror stories.  You know a cousin's friend's sister who brought home a child who made everyone's lives a living hell.

The stories can be true, and they scare a lot of people away from adoption.

But today, I want to counter those stories with one that is just the opposite.  This is my boy Johnny, who came home just two months ago, and two months shy of his fourth birthday.

Johnny sleeps in his own bed, in the room that he shares with his brother.  He sleeps 11 hours every night and doesn't wake up until morning.

Johnny has an incredible attention span.  He can sit on the floor, by himself, with a 50 piece puzzle, and put it together and take it apart 5 times before he needs something else to do.  He can sit quietly in church or during his siblings' school productions.

Johnny is hysterically funny.  He dances.  He wiggles his hips.  He loves being chased.  He loves being tickled.  He is Mr. Enthusiastic.  When I tell him dinner is ready, you would think he had won the lottery.  When he sees a car come into the driveway, he shouts, "Friends!  Friends are here!" as if it was the president himself.  When he burps, hiccups, or passes gas, he giggles and says, "I'm grumpy!" which has now officially become a part of our family's vocabulary.  When I am gone for 5 hours or 5 minutes, he runs to me and declares, "I missed you!"

Our older kids adore him.  He plays well with them, but he also plays well by himself.  He eats everything on his plate.  He rarely whines.  He rarely gets angry.  Sure, he is not perfect.  When the kid wants to be stubborn, he can be stubborn.  But that's happening less and less as he gets to know us and we get to know him.

If you've read this blog for any length of time, you know I don't sugarcoat things.  I try to tell it as it is, while still trying to keep my kids' privacy.  So let me assure you that I'm not exaggerating.  Johnny fit into our family like one of those puzzle pieces he loves to put together.  It's only been two months, but it's like he's always been here.

Sure, the first few weeks were tough.  But I have been blown away by how quickly he has settled in, especially considering his history.  He has adapted much faster, actually, than some of our other children who came home much younger than he did.

Older child adoption can be tricky, and if you are considering it, you've got to keep your eyes wide open and prepare yourself for the worst.  But it also could be the best thing that's ever happened to your family.  Because that's how Johnny feels to all of us.

We celebrated Johnny's fourth birthday yesterday.  It's pretty special to celebrate with a kid who has never had a birthday party of his own, and never opened a present he could keep.

Personally, I think Johnny's pretty happy being a son.  And we're pretty happy to make him one.

Johnny's new bike was definitely a highlight of his day!

Celebrating at Water World

Johnny and his buddy Danny.  Danny and Johnny are almost the same age, and Danny was adopted from Forever Angels just three months before Johnny.  Danny's mom and I are friends, so we were really excited when we realized that the boys definitely remember each other, and are so happy any time they are together.  

FIVE kids adopted out of Forever Angels!

This is the kind of stuff you get to do when there are no rules at the water park.

And this:  Four kids and a Dad on one tube.  
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