Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Year, New Discoveries

The New Year brings us new things to learn about new people. Wheels Kid's older sister is visiting with us. She is such a sweetie so I will nickname her "Sweetie." I've never seen our son so happy! He loves his sister! Not only that, but I'm learning new things about their childhood from before foster care. It does make things interesting for us. In his birth home, he was the baby of the family. In our home, he is the functional oldest child.
I've followed Dr. Kevin Leman's philosophy for many years regarding the birth order theory as well as his parenting with reality discipline. Last year, we attended one of his conferences at the First Baptist Church of Leesburg. We bought another of his books about early childhood memories. Since fostering the last set of siblings, I have not found the time to read the book. It's been sitting on my shelf for about 7 months upstaged by the RAD parenting books and "Skills Training for Children with Behavior Disorders." It's odd since we were so excited to buy a new book from Dr. Leman. While we stood at the kiosk where he autographed it, I asked him to explain what birth order Wheels Kid was in as an adopted child. He said, "His birth order doesn't change." I chewed on that thought for a while but then it didn't matter as he was then an only child in our home at the time. (My oldest, Bass Boy, had moved out.) Wheels Kid had been with us for about 7 months. Even as the youngest in his birth home, it didn't affect him much to become an only child in our home. Either way, he gets spoiled. Also, he didn't talk much about his birth family. Most of the memories he had were negative. He didn't feel the need to think much about it, because he is so loved and spoiled with us. (Ha, ha, typical last born.)
A couple of months after we bought the book, Dr. Leman spoke on a radio interview regarding the birth order theory. Someone asked him what he thought about people adopting older children. His response was something like this, "I don't think it is a good idea. It messes up the birth order. Also, the kids bring alot of rage into the home and the couple better be prepared for an upheaval of everything they know." He was right about an upheaval! We did discover it later on. Of course, we had no natural born children living in our home to make birth order all that much of an issue at first. At the time, the two other kids had just been placed in our care as well. It was only the beginning--but looking back, I can see how the birth order was affected. We had two "lastborns" constantly bickering and vying for the attention and a middle born who continued in the middle born place but tried to move up to being the functional oldest in position. Although he was a middle born in his birth family, he was the only boy and in ways was treated differently than if he had been a girl. More like a first born. But then, think about the fact each of these kids were like only children while in foster care. Whew! Then you add the RAD issues. What were we thinking? We had good intentions anyway. It's much different now with only the two boys here. Much more peaceful.
Fortunately, the two children who are still in our home seem to get along well enough without the other lastborn, though we all miss her in spite of her rages and violence. Now that I am not breaking up constant, spur-of-the-moment fights or corralling a combatant into her room, I will have time to read more of Dr. Leman's books and hash over what I am learning about my foster/adoptive children as well as my own family of origin. I'll try to share what I am learning.
Leaders in Learning was started as a place to share philosophies of parenting, education (public, private and home), fostering/adoption, life lessons, writing, publishing and more. I want it to continue to be such a place where we can all learn and teach. I would love to invite readers to send their own articles and stories about lessons they are learning.
One of the great things about being in the online community is how much one can learn from others. Though I enjoy teaching or sharing what I learn, there is nothing more exciting to me in blogworld than finding a new blog to read about one of my favorite topics.
I would like to thank my readers who leave comments, providing me a link to their blogs. Of course, I love having readers, even those who remain anonymous, but it is really great to know others who love to write as much as I do.
That being said, I raise my proverbial glass with this comment, "May the new year be filled with times of sharing, blessing and learning together. May we have more opportunities to meet others who are also learning on this journey we call life."

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