10 days ago my wife and I received two new adopted girls into our home. That brings the total number of children in our home to 7. 2 adults, 7 children, we are a family of nine. Naïvely I thought that raising these two children would be basically the same as raising my other 5, but 10 days in and I am realizing that this is an entirely different game. We just moved from playing checkers to playing chess.
Many of you are much smarter than I and are probably thinking, “Well duh!” But I guess I didn’t think about it much. I figured there would be issues with language and things like that but, what do you do when your new girls are petrified of the family dog and scream and squeal whenever she comes near. With my other kids I disciplined them for this type of outburst, but these girls have no english language skills and they have been taught all their life to fear dogs. Dogs carry rabies, they bite or they are trained to attack. Dogs are dangerous.
Last night I was trying to show the girls that our dog was friendly and easy going. I called her over, let her lick my face, then I opened her mouth and stuck my hands inside. That did it, absolute fear. You would think that the dog was biting my hand off if you just listened to the sound track. I took it out, dripping with slobber to show her that all 10 fingers were there and that everything was ok. They still don’t by it.
So what do you do with irrational behavior. You love it out of them, you pray it out of them. You grant them time and space. These are all new lessons in my parenting repertoire. I think it is just the beginning. Adoption changes all the rules and brings a new game to bear. I hope I am a quick learner at parenting on steroids.