Wednesday, January 20, 2010

They Grow Up Right Before Your Eyes...Literally!

You know, you just have to laugh when adopting from Central Asia.  Information ends up being flat out wrong...birth dates are wrong, history or background info ends up being conflicting, and you never really quite know what the truth is although you eventually sort out something resembling a story that makes sense.
Today, Irina and I both realized Olesya is not 9.  She is 10 years old, but started school a year behind.  BOTH Irina and I had been under the impression she was 9, and somehow Dominick had figured it out when applying for their health insurance and asked me about birth dates being correct, but I thought he was talking about Angela as hers was obviously off by a couple of years.  I didn't really pay attention to Olesya's and there were 2 school years between them.  Just as Irina did, it didn't click.  Dominick never followed up with our conversation saying "Gee...did you 'get it' that Olesya is 10?"
Tonight we were at a little restaurant where there was this play place where the cut off age was 10 years old and the subject came up and all of a sudden, Irina and I realized at the same time that our 9 year old Olesya was indeed our TEN year old Olesya.
So why is that bothering me a little? You just wrap your mind around one set of facts then it becomes different.  So now our family has two sets of virtual twins, not one:
In descending order:
Angela 11 years old - April 22, 1998
Kenny 11 years old - November 15, 1998
Matthew 10 years old - June 12, 1999
Olesya 10 years old - August 12, 1999
Joshua 7 years old - December 26, 2002
How in the world did we manage to create this mess????  HAHAHAHA!!!  Here I thought we had spread them out at least a little bit and now we realize they are ALL just months apart in age, even if they are years apart in maturity and educational standing.
So now we have an 11 year old who has had 4 1/2 years of school, an 11 year old who has had 3 1/2 years of school, a 10 year old with 2 1/2 years of school, a 10 year old with 5 1/2 years of school, and a 7 year old with 1 1/2 years of school.
Oh my.  Talk about all over the map!!  I am going to need a personal secretary just to keep track of this!
Add in there that Matthew is working well ahead of grade level and is about 2 years ahead at times in maturity he will likely always be our "oldest" in our minds with Angela running a close second but Matthew is now really our very middle child.  Kenny is working well below grade level and is way behind in maturity and although our second oldest is more like our second youngest.  Olesya is obviously not really ten in some ways in maturity and at least at the moment strikes me as being somewhat like Kenny when he first came home...having to touch and look at everything.  Then we have Angela who has seen way too much for her age including several of the Halloween movies and who knows what all else at the orphanage in addition to the horrors she witness in real life and is TOO mature in some ways and needs to grab hold of a childhood and step backwards of possible.
Hmmmm...should make for some interesting and quite confusing blog fodder at some point, don't you think? 
We LaJoy's just tend to break all the rules of adopting, don't we?  I don't think in "Adoption 101" they teach you to adopt out of birth order and especially not to create 2 sets of twins.  Glad we don't follow the rule book too closely and follow a more important Rule Book, the one God sets out for us that supercedes all.  Kids need love and a home, if you can give them one, do it...and I'll send you the right kids.  Follow THAT rule book and hopefully all will work out OK.  We will see in the future and you may either watch us go down in flames or rise from the ashes.  Who knows?
Olesya is 10....10....10...I have two 10's and two 11's and a mini-7.  Eventually it will stick in my head!
Can I tell you I am tired just re-reading what I wrote?  Funny how one little bit if information can totally change your thinking.  It's not that it changes anything really, it does not effect much at all I guess...but it sort of does if it only changes my perception a little bit, which it sort of does. 
Everything sort of does change, and sort of doesn't.  And I know I am making no sense at all.
Sort of.


Anonymous said...

I truly enjoying your posts about your time there, your family, and your thoughts about adoption, adjustments, etc. So glad to read that your husband arrived. I can imagine how good that feels to everyone.

I can relate to having two sets of virtual twins. I always wanted twins, as my mom had a twin brother. Our last biological daughter (three of those) weighed in at 9.3, so I was hoping it was twins. Nope, we were both just heavy!

Our first Guatemalan adoption was a referal. The last three we asked specifically for, knowing of them or meeting them on trips for another son/daughter. So we did choose to have them close in age, and unknowingly adopted two sets of virtual twins, also. Because the last two (girls) came home at ages 10yrs and 11yrs, we chose to put each of them one grade behind their "twin" brother. It not only gave them another year to catch up and learn the language, but also gave the boys "space".

So, after going one round of middle school/high school activities with our first four kids (one US newborn adoption), we are now back in the bleachers watching ballgames and concerts. My husband claims us to be the oldest parents at these events. Perhaps, as we are 54 with a 6th grader. Some days we feel too old for this task, but most days we can't imagine doing anything else with our lives.

Our kids are in 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th. Right now we have two 13yr olds and two 15yr olds. Each year in July, it appears that we have four kids, four different ages. By November, they're back to being two sets of twins. None of them would claim "twinhood", however, so we don't discuss it or put that idea out for their friends to pick up on. They like each other, but enjoy their space, too!

Sometimes having them so close is a challenge. I once told my husband, "They're all the same 'dumbness'", refering to them all making the same dumb teenager mistakes, etc. But they're good kids, nothing too difficult, most days. When I remember to keep my sense of humor and rely on God, they are a riot. It's fun to hear them chatter about teachers, friends, funny things that happen at school, etc.

Our older girls are all very supportive of our "2nd wave" of kids. It's a blessing to all of them (and us)to have the support of a large family (8 total kids, if I confused you). And even though being close in age sometimes brings out more conflicts than I remember our first four having (more years between and all girls), our prayer is that these last four will be supportive of each other and share many wonderful experiences and memories of these years together. It's sad that the girls will have fewer years at home, and that the challenges increased because of that, but God blessed us with being a family, no matter how or when it happened.

I appreciate your honesty about fears and difficulties ahead. But I can see the love and support you all offer each other in your writings. Adopting older kids is certainly not for the faint-hearted. And even though our hearts sometimes do faint and our spirits fall, your faith in God and the love you share already will see you through those tougher times.

Enjoy this special time of shared experiences with your family, as you grow more and more in love with each other.

Who is this crazy woman whom you don't know, who writes such long comments? As if you have time to learn about my family, in the midst of forming your new one!

Nancy in the US Midwest
another snow day here!

Anonymous said...

Wow! Five children all 4.5 years apart! What a blessing :) Praying for smooth transitions for you all!

Anonymous said...

Hi --

In our family, "artificial twinning" has been a real blessing. We were advised against it during the adoption process. Our two are 5 months apart and in the same grade in school. The benefits are always having a buddy to play with or talk to. The negatives are people asking "are you two twins?". Seems to me, the benefits outweigh the bother of answering an occasional well-meaning question. I know our situation is different from the Lajoys, as our kids were together since an early age, but I wanted to add this in case anyone is considering adopting two of similar age. We have worked hard to help our kids have individual identities, interests and friends, but would have needed to do that no matter what their age difference. We have friends with two sets the same age (and hopefully one more to come soon!) and they seem to all be doing great. Hope this helps somebody out there!

Peggy in Virginia

Sarah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

You forgot to list two members of the family. How old are you and Dominick, and where would you put each of you in maturity?


Stephanie said...

Oh I can SO relate. When we bring home our new 3 from Bulgaria, we'll have 4 sets of virtual twins and then an oldest and youngest as well. Like you, NOT planned and NO rule book. We do what we are called upon to do. I have loved reading your blog about your journey. I thank you for keeping it totally honest.. the good w/the bad. I wish you all the best and safe travels home in FEbruary. Take care,

Kathy W said...

So now you need to update Olesya's age on the right hand photo...

Kathy W

Anonymous said...

So, if I look at those b'dates and ages correctly, in August of this year when Olesya turns 11, you will have 3 eleven year olds until November when Kenny turns 12?? Awwwww, forget it...I can't think that hard...let's just say you have QUADS! Congratulations!

Deborah in Smyrna, DE

Carrie DeLille said...

We've got the same thing!! Don't always believe what the social workers teach you. Our sets of "artificial" twins has worked out fine and when Isaac comes, we'll have triplets!!

wilisons said...

Ok, all I can say is can you really leave poor Joshie out of the virtual twinning? Does that call for one more to land on your doorstep somehow :-)

I taught an adorable little guy in 2nd grade a few years back. He was adopted at 6 from Kaz. He was a virtual twin to the family's bio daughter. All of her friends were very jealous and would ask their parents to adopt a friend for them too. Ellie and Dauren could not have had a more amazing relationship!

mom to Tamar and Libby

Mark said...

Don't forget to change Olesya's age on the main page.

I agree you need another child for Josh. Not only doesn't he have a virtual twin - he was born in a different century than everyone else in the family. Besides, haven't you learned anything from the Brady Bunch, you are supposed to have 3 boys and 3 girls. ;)

Cathy Hartt said...

LOL - every thought of getting a reality TV show to pay for the insurance :-) I am very tired so I hope that is funny and not taken the wrong way.

Anonymous said...

LOL - you fellow commenters crack me up! How about "The LaJoy Seven" for the reality show? Naw - we can come up with something better? Ideas? Eight would be a nice even number but let's not push Cindy over the edge just yet, since she has come through so much! And I'll tell you this, you know you are a "real" social worker (and weathered!) when it gets easier and easier to throw the rules out the window and you see remarkable families make the square peg fit into the round hole and miracles happen, and lives are saved, and families grow, and struggles are won, and commitment prevails, and, well, love wins.
Miss Joan

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, even though their birthparents were horrible, I suspect that Angela will not be able to view them in the same light that you do. They were her parents. Much as you hate what they did to her, they were her parents. I fear that letting her know how much you hate them for what they did will end up causing her to view *you* as the bad parent. You can hate what happened to them, and hate that they had to go through that, and let them express their feelings about it... but don't hate their birth parents.