Introducing a new family member.

An eight year old, spirited, determined, smart and sensitive little girl joined our family on 21st July 2012. On this blog I am going to call her Brat Three. [Blogged about Brat One and Brat Two, herehere , hereherehere ....]

We had not planned to adopt an eight year old, all along we were sure a new born or at the most a three or four, or even a five year old would be easier for us to raise. One of the reasons I want to blog about raising Brat Three is to share the surprises that older child adoption brought for us.

The challenges too, but we seem to hear about the challenges all the time. I also feel some of these challenges apply to all parent-child relationships.

We had expected to work at helping an eight year old adjust to a new environment, school, family, food and life, while teaching her new languages. The first surprises were her determination to work at all of the above, and our own lack of unrealistic (or any) expectations. We were just happy to have her as our daughter.

And the first challenge was reassuring her that she didn’t really have to try so hard, that most of it would happen over time and that we were a family, no matter how long she took.

Although all our doubts about adopting an older child vanished once we met Brat 3, I still wanted to be sure we were not romanticising adoption. We wanted to have realistic expectations. So, what could go wrong with something that felt so right to us? We asked friends and family what to expect and what to be prepared for. 

Were we ready, after all these years, to once again deal with home work, tiffin boxes, PTMs and waking up early or missing the school bus? We actually looked forward to most of these.

Were we ready to replace the freedom of watching news hour debates night after night with reading bed time stories?  We quite looked forward to that too.

At first I had planned to home-school her for one year, to bring her to the level of other children her age, but was glad to find the two schools I approached (via friends) willing to work with her, at her pace.

2012-09-04 19.20.19 - Me Mamma, Brat Three, Older Child Adoption, Eight year old

Since our expectations were almost nil, it was difficult to understand, even for me, why it was something we so eagerly looked forward to. Why did we think taking on  the responsibility of raising an eight year old child was going to make us happy? One of my biggest concerns was, being able to raise a happy child, when we knew even our happiest moments were never going to be free from pain. But then, along with happiness, the way we see disappointments has changed too. 

I am grateful to whoever shared this link sometime after August 2010 –  Pain of loss eases with adoption. Reading how Tamara Thomas felt about her loss was like reading my own thoughts; but when I first read this post, I wasn’t sure about adopting a nine year old. There were no doubts about wanting to adopt, only we had a smaller child in mind. After Brat 3 joined us, I spent hours on the internet trying to find Tamara Thomas’ blog, I had forgotten her name, all I remembered was ‘adoption after death of daughter’. When I finally found it, it felt like she was talking about my relationship with Brat three, this strong willed little girl who changed our lives, made us busier, changed our focus, made us happier than we ever hoped to feel.

My mother, who had been unwilling to say anything earlier, pointed out, “Your voice has changed again, it had changed when…  (She never says Tejaswee died, and I still have to keep saying it to believe it.) …but now you sound almost like your old self.”  

So did we adopt because we expected this little girl to make us feel better? All we knew was that we were very sure that we wanted to adopt a child. Once she came home, it felt like she had always been here. I keep marvelling at the wonder of adoption, how it connects total strangers to make happy families.

Brat Three, Older Child Adoption, Eight year old

Also, I do believe that anything one does, one does (and must do) because one expects to feel better. If we didn’t expect to feel good about it why would we have adopted? And yet, I have no idea why it helped so much, it has helped more than I would have ever dared to hope. And it helped each one of us.

It helped Brat Three too. Once when a friend in the orphanage handed her a fallen eye lash to make a wish, she said she had wished for her adoptive family to come soon. Now that that wish has been granted she says, she is waiting to find another fallen eye lash so that she can make a wish to meet Santa. :) (She does suspect it wasn’t Santa but dad who got her a gift hamper on Christmas eve, but wants to keep an open mind ;) )

Brat 3 and Santa, Brat Three, Older Child Adoption, Eight year old

 Sneaked in some pictures of Brat Three in these posts:

Some action shots direct from a recent battle field!!

Guess which one of these Rangoli Portraits is me?

This afternoon.

[Read about Brat One and Two, herehere , herehere, and here]

Links: Older Child Adoption

Pain of loss eases with adoption - Tamara Thomas

Adopting an older child: Is fear holding you back?

Take a Chance on Me

Some adoption parenting resources

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160 thoughts on “Introducing a new family member.

  1. Oh IHM…so so so lucky you to get such a wonderful gift of unlimited love for years to come. The tears that are flowing down my cheeks is kind of making it too blurred to type out my feelings. love to you and hugs to our Brat 3.

  2. You are amazing ! Thing is, so many of those adopting want they youngest possible child, perhaps fearing that an older child will somehow feel less like theirs. But older children whose parents are unable to care for them need good homes too, and so it’s very very good that some wise and kind and all-around-awesome people choose to adopt someone older.

    I look forward to hearing of your adventures in parenting. And I’m really proud of you ! Well done !

  3. Congratulations and many, many hugs for you, IHM. How wonderful! All smiles and truly happy for you. Thank you, for sharing the news with us and wish you all the very best with the latest addition to your family. Children are a gift, a blessing and a challenge all rolled into one and it is so delightful that you have another one. :D

  4. IHM,
    AM SOOO HAPPY FOR YOU! AND FOR THE LITTLE GIRL.
    It takes courage.
    It takes a lot of courage. To open your heart up thus.

    Best news I’ve seen in a while! :)
    Sending ya’all lots of hugs! Esp brat 3 :)

  5. I must admit I choked up after I read this..Big big and super big hugs to you and Brat 3, and Brat 2 and your Husband..and of course Brat 1 will always be remembered :)

  6. I am overwhelmed to write anything but just love your thoughts, especially assuring brat3 that she doesn’t have to try too hard. Reading about this post made my day. Sending you and your family lot of positive vibes

  7. IHM, tight tight hugs! So so so so happy for you! And so wonderful to be introduced to Brat 3, please pass on my hello and hugs to her :)

    Looking forward to reading more and more about her from you!

    All my best wishes to you and your family!

    Love always..

  8. I not only admire but respect you and your family to adopt the beautiful. Hope more parents will do the same and that attitudes towards adopted children change.
    Kudos for that
    Vishal

  9. Welcome,Brat 3..Thanks for introducing her to us,IHM.She is so lucky to have you as a mum and you are so lucky to have her in your life.
    I look forward to reading more about Brat 3 :)

  10. Dear IHM, Could you do a post on the adoption procedure? I want to adopt a child from India ( I am an Indian, but live abroad.)
    Or could you please post the links to necessary info?
    Thanks.

  11. Hugs IHM..Tell Brat 3 that she is so lucky to have you as her mum :)..And the joy of having her in your life reflects in this post..Wish you and your family tonnes of happiness :)

  12. I can tell you that parental love and the love a kid feels for her parents has nothing to do about biology,its sheer chemistry and you two mom-daughter duo seem to have a sizzling one ! god bless her! god bless all our lovely daughters !

  13. Aww, sigh. That’s one big happy family. Congratulations and happy hugs to the new found family – from all angles! Happy sigh!

  14. congratulations ihm! wonderful news. welcome brat 3..my husband too is an adopted son. such children have a strength of their own..

  15. IHM, Many, many congratulations to you and your family on your new daughter. Here’s to many years of happiness together. You are blessed to have her in your life.

    Happy for you.

  16. Reading this post made my day! Though I am all choked up and have tears in my eyes, my heart is full of joy…a little girl found a loving family of her own and you got a wonderful daughter…wishing you all great times ahead. :)

  17. This post made me smile and tear-up at the same time. Such a warm thought and action. I hope to take a leaf out of your book someday :) Very happy for you IHM. I used to linger reading the posts, but for this, I had to comment. Welcome Brat3.

  18. It was an amazing experience to meet her. She seems so positive and ready to embrace the new world. Loved the way she asked questions to quench her thirst of the world unknown. Her ability to notice little things which we might take for granted is what makes her special. Big hugs to the cute kiddo, and to you as well. :)

  19. I am so happy for you IHM! my hubby and I have been thinking of adopting a girl for some time. We have a 9 year old girl and a 3 year old son. I just shared your post with my husband :). I am feeling so happy, there is a big smile on my face right now..

  20. Congratulations IHM family! hello brat3,very happy for you! With a family like this and big sister TJ looking down on you with herangelic smile, you are so totally set for life.

    loved the spirited holi pics your mom posted! keep it up!

  21. I am very very happy to know about the new addition to your family! I somehow missed all the posts you have quoted about her. You have got great heart!

    Our whole hearted love to her and you too IHM! God bless you!

  22. Hi Brat 3– hugs and eager to know more about you…when there is another fallen eyelash–what will you wish for? IHM–thanks for this post. I am inspired in a way…I needed this…

  23. Loved meeting her. She caught my eye at the very first minute ..In fact we kept stealing glances at each other..and then we shook hands..a very playful bubbly girl, we became friends at the very first go! :) we jumped together and even posed together..waiting for those pics too, IHM! :D
    Love to you and to her!

  24. “Love arrives
    and in its train come ecstasies
    old memories of pleasure
    ancient histories of pain.
    Yet if we are bold,
    love strikes away the chains of fear
    from our souls ..”
    Words from one of my favourite poets .. Maya Angelou ..

    Your boldness is inspiring .. wish you a wonderful journey :)

  25. Wishing your family all happiness, IHM.. I was having a bad Monday morning, but this blog post turned it right around. :)

    And even before I reached the end of your post, I was putting two and two together and thinking the feisty Holi soldier must have been your new daughter! I was right, muahahaha!

  26. Congrats, IHM. We look forward to adopting some day (need a little more stability 1st!). Have heard so much how hard it is to do in India (snide relatives etc), that I’m relieved to know adoption is losing the social stigma once attached to it. Is it hard on the older sibling? We have an 8 year old, who’ll be in her teens by the time we can adopt.

  27. Heartiest heartiest congratulations, IHM. You have no idea how happy this post has made me! :)
    I have always felt strongly about adoption and knew I would go for it some day. I know for sure that ‘some day’ will surely arise, and now I have one more source of information about going through the process! Would love to hear your experiences and the practical difficulties face raising an adopted child Vs biological child.
    I am sure the adoption has made both the child and you happier people.
    Lots of hugs to you!
    -Neha

  28. Dear IHM,

    We are happy to read your post on Brat 3. Wishing you all lots of happiness now and always…and to extraordinary mothers and daughters! It was lovey to meet you all some days back and swap life stories.

    Thanks to your encouragement, I finally have set up my blog but am yet to start writing. You are truly inspiring.

    Lots of love to you all,

    S and mom

  29. This is so heartwarming and touching. Thanks for sharing it with us. Very happy for you and family! :)
    This brought to mind a lovely poem directed towards an adopted child, which I had seen on the wall of the orphanage run by SOFOSH, Pune (http://www.sofosh.org) in their old office:

    Once there were two women who never knew each other,

    One you do not remember, the other you call Mother.

    Two different lives shaped to make yours one,

    One became your guiding star, the other one became your sun.

    The first gave you life, the second taught you to live it,

    The first gave you need for love, the second was there to give it.

    One gives you nationality, the other gave you a name,

    One gave you the seed of talent, the other gave you an aim.

    One gave you emotion, the other calmed your fears,

    One saw your first sweet smile, the other dried your tears.

    One gave you up – it was all she could do,

    The other prayed for a child and god led her straight to you.

    And more you ask me through your tears,

    The age old question throughout the years.

    Heredity or environment, which are you the product of?

    Neither my darling – neither. Just two different kinds of love!

  30. I am a rare commenter here but have not missed any of your posts. Words cannot do justice to how I feel now IHM.. So so so happy for you, brats and your husband. Wishing you all to build great moments together in the coming years.. God bless you all.. take care

  31. IHM……………….OMG, so perfect this post, this here and now. Hope the Bratz keep you on your toes and you become a fab ballet dancer. Hugs, Prayers and Blessings.

  32. IHM, I am so happy for you :) I think it is very brave and nice of you to venture out into that area. You are an amazing woman :)

    Just what we need, in view of all the sad news around.

  33. I salute you. Truly.

    You choose to show everything through your actions and lead by example!

    Damn! And to think I nearly visited you last year but got cancelled out at the last moment :( I missed meeting this new member the spunky avatar in your home :) Never mind, next time definitely.

    Warm hugs to you dear. I can feel the joy of a mother’s heart all over this post. I feel a certain sense of peace while reading this.
    I have nothing more to say.

    P.S.: Tejaswee would be proud of you….and very happy for you. Love to you sweetheart.

  34. Congrats IHM ! This is such heartwarming news and such an inspiration.

    Looking forward to hearing more about her in the coming days .

  35. Dear IHM,

    I am back in Bangalore after a six month stay in California.

    I have been busy re-adjusting to life here and setting the house back in order and recovering from ailments which affected me as soon as I set foot in Bangalore.
    The sterile atmosphere, the clean food and water at California to which I had been exposed for the past six months probably made me lose my immunity to local germs/bacteria and I was laid up as soon as I got back.

    During the past two weeks, off and on I would take a peep at indianhomemaker@wordpress.com but just couldn’t be motivated to sit down seriously and pen a comment, like I used to.

    This post was different and I feel compelled to respond in spite of not being in the best of health right now.

    Personally, I am thrilled and feel proud of what you have done.
    I do remember, over six months ago, before leaving for California, I spoke to you over the telephone about my impending visit to California and the reasons, and you had mentioned that you had adopted a child. I had wished you well at that time and was hoping to read about this adoption in a post sooner or later.

    I am glad you finally announced it publicly and I have saved up this post.
    It is necessary reading for any one who is considering adoption, particularly those who who adopt a eight year old child. Nearly all families I know who adopted children, did so when the infant was barely a few months or weeks old. Your experiences will be keenly followed as you are a rare adoptive parent who did not follow the beaten path and tried out something uncommon. I salute your courage and sincerity.

    My choicest blessings on your “brat no 3″.
    Do convey similar blessings to your brat no 2 and I wish him a great career.
    I am also silently praying in fond remembrance of your brat no 1.
    I am sure, from up there, she is smiling and heartily approves of what you have done.

    The post touched a chord in me and I remember about two years ago inquiring from Sangeetha of Bangalore about adoptions. At that time, my daughter was also actively considering adoption. She was 35 and had failed to conceive even after 11 years of marriage.

    Through God’s Grace and also through miracles of modern technology, she finally did manage to conceive and she delivered a baby boy in Oct 2012. My wife and I had gone over to California to be with them and help them as they are a career couple. My son in law’s parents have taken over from us now and are camping at California. My wife and I will be heading back to California in September to relieve them as soon as their visa expires. This cycle will continue indefinitely till the child is old enough to be put in a day care center.

    I am sending you by email a picture of us with the cute little fellow, taken on the eve of our departure from California. You can share this picture with any one you like. We are missing him terribly and eagerly await our next visit to California.

    Sorry for this long comment, but I did feel emotional after reading your post, as I realize we were almost about to do what you did. Since my daughter has now crossed child bearing age, it is very likely that if she decides to have a second child in future, the child will an adopted one. I am confident, you and your readers will be available to me to guide us if and when that day dawns in the future.

    Please convey our blessings on the new arrival.
    I conclude with hearty congratulations and respectful salutes to you, your hubby and son for setting a noble example.

    Regards
    GV

  36. Hi IHM,
    Lots and Lots of love and wishes to you and your family. I am often ashamed of my cynical and resigned attitude and bitterness from losses that are minor compared to yours. You have no idea how much just knowing you through this blog inspires me to rise above petty things and get over small setbacks that I am still hung up with.
    Hope the healing continues. May you and brat three continue to bring each other happiness. And hope you continue to share the journey with us.
    For very selfish reasons, I’d love to hear more about parenting from you. Whenever you wrote about brat one and brat two and their childhood, I always felt you must have done something so right in their formative years and wanted to be just like you with my daughter. I tried doing by how I thought you’d have been…but now you are right there with me. My daughter is just a little younger than your youngest and I’d look to you to tell me what to do when I am clueless.
    Lots of love
    Gazal

  37. I hardly comment here but I have always admired you for your strength! And I really dunno what to write here!! If I say I am happy for you it would be very cliched! If I say I love the positivity of you then I am being repetitive!! So all I will do is give u a tight hug and as far as Brat 3 is concerned she is one spunky girl!!!

  38. Congratulations. She is a lucky girl :)

    IHM: Could you blog a little about the adoption process as well. How difficult/easy it is? I am sure it will be very helpful for others to know your experiences.

  39. Congratulations to all of you…May you have lots and lots of happy times together. And i loved Brat 3′s holi pictures…She is a spirited girl :)
    Lots of love and hugs to both of you….Stay blessed…

  40. Hi IHM
    Congratulations ! So happy for you. I wish that there were more women like you. I am so proud to know you even if it is only through your blog.

  41. congratulations and lots of best wishes to you all. that’s a great step you took. may it bring you all lots of love and laughter for ever.

  42. Congratulations! This is the second piece of good news I’ve read today, and it’s made me see there is plenty of good in the world!

  43. IHM – I started reading you only after TJ was hospitalized (read on a few mommy blogs that I frequent) and you will not believe how much I have grieved over your loss. I have mentally applauded the courage you have shown in moving on and to read this is pure unadulterated joy. It feels like you have come a full circle from when I have been reading you. God bless you and the newest member.

  44. This is a post that made my day. I was wondering today about world, happiness, mental exhaustion and all those navel gazing things you get into mid week. And I read this post and bang: life just seems more positive, healthy and happy.

    IHM you are my hero.

  45. I also think you are one of bestest mums. You remind me of my mum: though she is much older. Same zest for life and maturity and feminism and wise Mumma persona. Ok I think enough of fan girl ness now. But you are the best. Sniff sniff..

  46. Congrats IHM. It is such a great news. You have such a beautiful heart. Wishing all the happiness to you and your family. Brat three is spirited indeed, I saw in those Holi pics.

  47. Very very happy to read this news, IHM! May you all be blessed with the best of times and health. With a family like yours, I’m sure the little girl will do excellent in life! Many blessings to her :)

  48. Congratulations IHM! I found your blog long after Tejaswee had passed away, and did not wish to bring her up in any comment, until today. I am so glad to hear this great news, and very, very happy for you. As someone who has wanted to adopt for the longest time, its nice to hear that you’ve done it and have found joy in it. Hope to hear more about Brat 3! Much love to you and her.

  49. Oh! I have been haunting waiting for you to announce…enjoying the sneak peeks. at her..and I manage to miss your post. Congratulations to your family and Brat 3….your post is so raw and honest…you come across as the mother she needs, and it’s clear that you understand her so well…and have so much patience to let the relationship develop as it will. You are so right…we have children or adopt them…actually raise them…to feel good…why would we choose an experience that will make us feel bad. God bless you and Brat 3. Congrats to the new big brother too…it’s a new role for him, eh? :)

    And I so agree that it feels so right…that adoption connects strangers to make families…and yet, I feel that’s not true…at least with my son, I feel we were not strngers…we were meant to be mother and son…just in a slightly different roundabout way. I believe we have known each other before in past lives…and this is one more life in which we meet, to love and grow with each other. Happy growing and loving with your Brats 2 and 3…Brat 1 is smiling and grinning in Heaven, I know it. Funny…even I think of my first one in heaven as number 1, and these two grey-hair generators as 2 and 3. :)))))))
    (((((((((((((((((((HUGS))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

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  53. Dear Brat Three :)

    You know, you’re a delight; in all senses of the word. Hugs, and blessings!

    IHM, I don’t know if it’s appropriate to say this like I’d like to… but you’re very lucky too. I’m sure you’re counting those blessings, and so is your daughter, and Tejaswee is very much around adding to the delight in welcoming the new member of your family! Her body language in all those pictures is so preciously positive.

    God Bless, always :) Stay blessed.

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  59. Just read this. Haven’t been visiting blogs for a long time now, so completely missed this happy occasion. Realized from your latest post that I just read through, and I had to read this. HUUGGGSSS, IHM. So happy for you. Had tears in my eyes reading about your conversation with your mother that you wrote about.

    And a high five to Brat three. Looking forward to reading more about her. She seems to be a spirited young lady, perfect for your household.

    Congrats, again. :)

  60. Dear IHM, how, how, how, how did I miss this?! I kept seeing mentions of a brat 3 on you blog, but didn’t give it much thought, and occasionally, I even thought it was a pet! Sorry if I sound ridiculous. I can’t tell you how thrilled reading this post made me. I am so happy for you. My best wishes to little brat 3, and hugs to you.

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  67. IHM, looking for a school in India for an older kid (9) and realized this school of Brat 3′s sounds great. She will need to learn a new language and it will be a huge change. Would you send me details please? Thanks!

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