Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Siblings and friends

One of my biggest fears when we adopted our sons nearly 4 years ago was that my children wouldn't get along with each other. Probably not unusual to worry about that when your 2 year old daughter gains two 16-month-old brothers literally overnight. And it wasn't like they were little babies or anything--Anna's new brothers were her peers.

In reality, anytime you think about the prospect of having several children, you think about their quality of life. Especially when you yourself are an only child and have no concept of siblings, period. When our family went from one to three children, we knew it was what God wanted, yet still I worried about how that would look for our kids. And when Kaitlyn was born, again, I was confident that every child is a gift from God...but how will the bigger kids feel? Then, when Mary came on the scene, I wondered how Kaitlyn would feel? Will life be reduced to mediating squabbles and trying to calm resentful kids who just want their own bedroom?

Happily, the simple answer to that is "no." My kids are friends. Best friends, really. They play together literally all day, every day. From day one really, the older kiddos have included Kaitlyn in their activities. Not because I asked them to, but because they want to. In spite of the fact that she's two and a half years younger than Yosef and Biniam, and three years younger than Anna. And that has translated into her being part of the group, self-confident and terribly in love with her older brothers and sister.

Now there's a new baby, and the only strife that has come from adding #5 has been the occasional argument over who gets to hold her. :) Not a bad problem to have.

Please don't get me wrong. My kids argue, have trouble sharing, and hurt each other's feelings from time to time. (Which drives me nuts.) But in the general day to day life around here, they're friends. I can't predict what the future will hold, or if they'll always be close, and I don't know what the recipe is for getting your kids to get along. I DO know that God calls children "good", and that if you're considering adding a child to your family through birth or adoption, you can feel encouraged. That by God's grace, having a large-ish family doesn't automatically sentence your kids to constant fighting. It DOES, however, mean your children will have the potential to have lots of friends. Hopefully for life.


Hollywood617 said...

My husband and I are praying through adopting from Ethiopia. I have read your blog for awhile (found it through another) and am now in a similar situation to where you would have been when you brought your boys home. Would you be willing to answer some questions for me about your experience? My email address is emimoo4334@yahoo.com. Please let me know!
THanks so much,

darci said...

I am just sitting here stunned at God's goodness. More than you can possibly know I needed to read this-
we have had a long and horrible story with our adoption agency, and I have gotten to such a discouraged point-doubts and fears have been really at me in the last little while, and you have addressed them exactly, so perfectly, in your post. Thank you for writing this-I feel like God led me straight to your blog just now-knowing I needed assurance to stay the course, and that He is going to choose to bless our family thru adoption. Thanks. Darci

Rogers Camp said...

I love your family Brianna!

Brianna Heldt said...

Oh Darci I am so sorry to hear that things have been discouraging! I hope and pray that God encourages your heart even in the waiting and amidst the trials of this adoption. Take care sweet friend!

Jamey... said...

My boys are 3 and 1 and our daughter will be 2 when we get her here hopefully by this summer. My boys get along well (mostly) and I love it. We're still a work in progress as the 1 year has suddenly become a bit more of a menace, but we're working on it and are excited to bring a sister into the mix as well. I grew up with three sisters and while we had our highs and lows I can easily say that one of my sisters is my best friend and I'm close with the rest as well. I love siblings!!

Thankfulmom said...

When my oldest children were young (9,7,5) the girls went through a stage of being unkind to their brother. I used to tell them, "Be kind to Noah; one day he will be one of your best friends." That has definitely come to pass and now as young adults, all of my children are the best of friends. I am so blessed.

Mama Mote said...

Beautiful post, Brianna. And it looks like you are helping people through it. Your family is just so beautiful. God is truly blessing you. And I love that they fight over who gets to hold Mary. love you guys

Charity Hildebrand said...

Loved this post, Brianna! Your family rocks :) I am so excited that my kids are getting to the stage that they can actually play together (Colson is 2 1/2 and Vienna is 14 months). It is SO much fun for me to see how much my kids love each other!

Joanie said...

YES!!! Love it. Great pictures- yumm-o.


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