And Then There Were Seven! A Story of Adoption.
Peter and Lia came to work with LSMNJ’s Adoption Program in the hopes of growing their family by offering children in need a loving and stable home. The couple had already adopted their 18-month-old daughter as an infant and was working with another agency when they learned of LSMNJ’s Waiting Child Program. Within four months of being approved by LSMNJ, Peter and Lia were matched with not one, but four children – three girls and a boy, ages 3-8. Doubling their family in the blink of an eye!
Adoption is never easy and this match was no exception. The children had come from an abused and severely neglected environment. Each child had significant educational and developmental gaps resulting from poor exposure, lack of care, and multiple placements.
When the children came to live with Peter and Lia, they were challenging to manage, had episodes of aggression, hours-long tantrums, oppositional behaviors, and overall difficulty following rules. Peter and Lia remained patient and worked diligently on bonding and attachment with a therapist and on earning the children’s trust—both were a slow process since the adults in these children’s lives hadn’t been there to meet even their basic needs.
Gradually, the children began to settle into their new family and to feel secure. Most importantly, they began to trust their parents. As a result, significant improvement was visible in their behavior, social interactions, and schooling. The youngest child’s vocabulary began to develop to such a degree that he no longer needed speech therapy. His one sister learned to curb her tantrums by expressing herself verbally, while another learned to regulate her own eating, trusting that food will always be available. Considerable progress was also made when the fourth sibling no longer cried in response to her academic struggles.
It has been a joy to watch Peter and Lia’s new children bond with their youngest sister and embrace being kids again. Their traumatic background and experiences forced them to develop too quickly, disobey rules, and mistrust adults. Once they acclimated to the stable and loving environment provided by Peter and Lia, they began to heal.
Peter and Lia’s children continue to blossom knowing not only that their basic needs are being met, but that they are loved unconditionally, and without reservation. With that security, they now spend carefree hours together playing outdoors, riding bikes, reading books, and camping out in the living room.
Their adoption was finalized in September 2015, and they continue to thrive … thanks to the love and support of their new, forever family.