All in all our transition with Fares has been smooth sailing. He is a great kid in general and his attitude reflects that. We have only had one really difficult day and that was over a pair of gloves, so that should tell you something about how amazing he has been. Fares helps out, he changes diapers (without being asked), he rocks the baby, he plays well with the other kids (for the most part), he is doing alright in school, and (bless him) he doesn't complain about the cold too much (even though it totally blows - seriously, I am sorry kid, you wound up in FRIGGED WI for crying out loud).
Then this past Sunday came and the hardest thing hit me out of no where. Just came swooping in. Fares had a shy grin as he asked, "Mom, can I go to youth group?" YEP that question did me in. no joke. What? I now have a child old enough for youth group?!!! How can that even be possible? Of course, "yes" was my answer. However, inside I was fighting a battle, one that I didn't even see coming, and it knocked the wind out of me.
For me the hardest part about parenting out of birth order, the hardest part about adopting older kids, is that they in fact are older. I have not gone through parenting the pre-teen stages of life yet, I have not really let my kids go on activities on their own because our other children are still really little. I know babies, I know play dates, I know pre-school and half day classes. Biking down the street by themselves and letting them go to activities on their own.... that is brand new. And I had a really hard time letting go of my three month old pre-teen, even in the existence of a safe environment I trust.
Part of this letting go is in the fact that Fares JUST came home. He is, like I said, my three month old pre-teen. The other part of letting him go that is hard is the fact that it brings up how much we have missed in his life. He has lived a lifetime without us in it and even the smallest reminder brings that to surface.
All these things I didn't think about when we were in the process of adopting. All these things I didn't really think about until this past Sunday. Even though it is hard, of course we will let him go to events, he needs those times away with his peers. He needs the time away from his little brothers and sister. He needs that time away just to be a kid and have fun. The time at youth group and friends houses and sleepovers (when that comes) will help him thrive into an even more amazing individual.
So my friends the transition is going better then smooth... but if you see me tearing up on the last Sunday of the month it might be because my baby is at youth group.