Friday, February 20, 2009

Again...About The Big Brother

Since our agency came out with a list of reasons why adopting families shouldn't bring siblings along to Ethiopia we thought we would give a list of reasons why we think it is a good choice for OUR FAMILY. First the reasons given by our agency...

1. It's important to have the 5-7 days to start the bonding process with the new child.

2. The trip is really not a vacation trip - especially after the family has the child.

3. What if the traveling sibling doesn't want you carrying around another baby (child)? What if the traveling sibling is vying for yourattention; how does the adopted child bond with you?

4. What if one of the children gets sick?

5. What if one or both parents get sick and can not take care of the children?

6. What about jet leg in the parents and the child? (You will betraveling for 24 + hours, one way alone.)

7. Consider the cultural shock that you and/or your child might experience?

8. The traveling child's immune system may not be strong enough to combat some of the situations that might be encountered in a developing country.

9. Will they possibly interfere with other families in the group who are traveling to pick up their child?

10. What if the child traveling can not handle the foods, or the high altitude of Ethiopia?

11. What if the adopted child bonds with the traveling child and not with you? That could happen if the children spend a lot of time playing together and not bonding with the parents.

12. Ultimately the trip is about creating the best possible situation to start the bonding and attachment process with the child.Sometimes when families return home that opportunity is lost for the child to have that time just the parents as many want to visit and be with you and your child.

13. Unfortunately families who decide to travel with very young children may find it necessary to find accommodations at one of the Guest Houses or Hotels in Ethiopia, as the House of Hope may not be thebest arrangement for families traveling with young children.

While we understand and respect all these reasons...there are also reasons why families should bring siblings. Our choice to bring Rhett is what we think is best for our family. It may not work for all families and I respect that and I would think others would respect us for our decision to bring Rhett.

1. We are a family. I tell Rhett this almost daily...when he complains about going to the grocery store, when he doesn't want to go to the fabric store (again!), when Mom and Dad need a date night, when I ask him to sit at the dinner table for dinner...Families do things together, for each other, because that is what families do. We are going to Ethiopia together, as a family to become a bigger family and be there for each other.

2. Mezmur will be introduced to her whole family the day we meet and she will know nothing different. She will bond with Rhett as well as us at the same time and this will make us a very strong family unit. Rhett needs this and Mezmur will also benefit from meeting Rhett from the beginning. While I'm aware of the differences of bonding with an older adopted child and bonding with a biological child I truly don't think having Rhett there will hurt our bonding process with Mezmur. Also, we need to keep Rhett in mind. For Rhett to meet Mezmur in Ethiopia together will be a much smoother transition for him and will be a great start for their relationship. Having Rhett with us might even make it easier for Mezmur to bond with us as a family.

3. Rhett is always up for an adventure. Yes, the trip will be loooooooong, but Rhett will sleep anywhere and is easy to entertain. He eats all kinds of food. For lunch today he ate Pho and for dinner Ethiopian food. He would eat Ethiopian food everyday if we let him.

4. One of the things I love most about Rhett is that he sees differences in the world and has compassion for those in need. He tells me, "Everyone is different." This is such a great quality. I'm sure he will be exposed to much pain and suffering in Ethiopia as well as such beauty and love that come from his sister's birth country. I guarantee he will pray before dinner about each person he sees who needs a prayer. He has a passion for Ethiopia, because he sees the passion in us. For Rhett to see his sister's birth country...where she came from will be something he will never forget.

Here is a great pro list from

There are so many "what ifs" in the con list that we will keep in mind, but we feel that the pros far outweigh the cons.

1. What if one/or all of us gets sick? Well, we are a walking pharmacy and are fully prepared for any ailment.

2. What if Rhett gets bored or is distracting to others? First of all, we are sooooo prepared for any boring situation. Also, we are going to an orphanage to adopt our baby girl. I find it hard to believe that our 4 year old son will be such a big distraction, or that the people we will be with will not have the patience for a 4 year old.

3. What if Rhett doesn't want me to carry Mezmur? This might happen, but Rhett will learn very quickly that...that is what Mommy/Daddy does, holds Mezmur and gives her attention. We will teach him this from the beginning, while being sensitive to his needs and feelings.

4. "It's not a vacation"...No, it isn't. Nothing about being a parent is a vacation. Nothing about being a parent is easy. Would it be "easier" to leave Rhett at home? Probably, but leaving him at home would also give us a great deal of stress, sadness, and worry for the one we left behind.

5. It is expensive to bring Rhett along, but to have him be there for the adoption of his sister in Ethiopia...priceless.

I could probably go on. We have been thinking and planning for Rhett to come along with us from the very beginning. I have talked to others who have brought siblings along and have had many conversations with Rhett about what to expect. We are very proud and strong in our decision to bring Mezmur's big brother with us.


Erica said...

Amen and Amen! Our decision not to bring our bio kids had nothing to do with them personally but the financial details of taking a trip with six people. Some days we wish we had just done it and other days we are grateful for the time we had with Silas before het met the rest of the crew.

I think your choice is amazing, well thought out, and I don't think you'll have any issues at all taking Rhett. I can't wait to hear about your trip and especially about your trip through Rhetts eyes.

dee said...

Very well said...If We could do it finacially Paul and I would bring our girls in a heart beat!! We do things as a family and they understand that. It breaks my heart that I can't bring the girls for this awesome moment in our FAMILIES lives!! Have fun as a family and grow as a family!!

April said...

I'm with ya sister!

Julie said...

I love your list, and truly the decision should be yours without being made to feel guilty. We are leaving our 8 and 7 year old bio boys home because we gave them an option and they thought that long plane ride would be too boring. They also have each other and Grandma and Grandpa right in town. We will most likely be in Ethiopia at the same time as you, and though I can speak only for Brian and me, I think having your boy around enjoying and taking in the surroundings like only a child can will be refreshing and fun.
Hope to meet you in two weeks, and happy packing!

Jill said...

I think Rhett will do awesome...he seems like such a great kid and I'm sure this is because he has such great parents! I agree that his bonding with his sister is just as important as yours. Mezmur is not being adopted by a couple, she is being adopted by a family and I stand behind you 100% for wanting to do this as a family.

Blog Shmog said...

I'm so happy for you that you are taking Rhett! Although there are pros and cons to both sides I would love to take our girls if it were financially okay for us. Unfortunately we are going to leave them here and I am already sick to my stomach about it. :( Rhett will do AWESOME.

Anonymous said...

Amen Sister! We are a little behing you in the process with CHI. We could here about our Ethiopian little girl any day. We have 3 boys 8. 10, & 12. For the last year we have made many hard financial decisions and sacrifices to make it possible to take our 3 guys with us. We believe the trajectory of their lives will be forever changed by coming along. We are fostering a PASSION for Ethiopia and Africa in our boys and coming with us is absolutely vital to this process. I love what you said and the conviction with which you said it. We believe God is calling us to bring them, and I can't wait to read how amazing it will be for your whole family when you go.

Stacie said...

Awesome post - I love it!! I agree completely! So glad you wrote this!

Anonymous said...

A decision that is right for you and your family is the right decision. . . Number 5 on your list. . . Priceless! That's all that matters. You all will have an adventure that will be amazing and a bonding experience for the WHOLE family. What else could be more right. There is more to your decision then your choices and that path will guide and protect you on your trip to pickup your "little girl". . . Priceless indeed!! LOVE TO ALL

Lori said...

Really well thought-out. Rhett is going to do great. I'll never forget that prayer before dinner that Rhett prayed. I wasn't sure I could make it though the meal from having to shove down the lump in my throat.

Missy said...

Man, I sure hope CHI doesn't give you too hard of a time about this! We are bringing all 3 of our boys when we finally get to go! It will be a priceless experience for the WHOLE family!!

Melissa and the boys said...

I agree with you 100%! You know your family best!