Any Thoughts?

September 10, 2009

Deep In Thought WM
A week or two ago, I mentioned that we are finally starting to think about the changes ahead for this family. We have started talking here and there with Sarah about having a new sister, but at the same time, we are trying to be careful not to talk about it too frequently, just talk about it casually so she is not in shock when this all goes down.

Our initial conversation with her seemed to go pretty well and now when you ask or say anything about a sister, Sarah will reply, "My sister is at China". I think it is the cutest thing, she does not say "in" she says "at". She has also turned her sister into somewhat of an imaginary friend. The other night she was jumping rope...actually she was swinging one end of the rope and gave me the other. I said who is going to do the jumping? Without hesitation, she replied, "My sister......she is a really good jumper, you should see her go"

Over the past few weeks, we have had many conversations like this and it always brings a smile to our faces. She seems to have embraced the idea, and anytime she sees or hears anything related to China, she starts talking about her sister. Thanks to Kai Lan and a few books that we read to her, she is asking about mooncakes, lanterns, and ladybugs and says that we need to have all of these things for her new sister:)

Looking forward, there are two big things that we are trying to decide and I would like to open this up for discussion and get some feed back from those of you who have been this path before.

The first is the trip to China. In the beginning, we felt that when we get our referral and we get on that plane to meet our child for the very first time, it should just be the two of us. In my mind, I felt that we might need that time to bond with the baby and not have to worry about Nick and Sarah. Now, I am not so sure. I am wondering if the kids{especially Sarah}were there with us to experience it all and be part of the process, it might help with the transition. I know there are pros and cons to bringing the kids or leaving them here, but I would like to hear from those who have been there, done that.

Here is the other item up for debate at the moment. Put the girls in one room or two? Right now my kids each have their own rooms and we still have a spare bedroom. My initial thought was to redo the guest bedroom to make it a nursery for the new baby. Then Pat said, what if we keep the girls together in Sarah's room and leave things the way they are now. I am not so sure, I am on board with that, but again, there are probably pros and cons to both scenarios.

I appreciate any feedback and advice that you can provide based on your experiences:)

50 comments:

Jodee Leader said...

Sorry -- I have no personal experience but I will be anxious to see what people say! I do think sharing a room might make the China baby feel more secure. Good luck!

duchess said...

I have a friend, Blair that has adopted two babies from China. I'll get her to stop by & hopefully give you some helpful advice.

Sandra said...

I don't have any advice as far as the room goes, since both my girls have their own room and are happy.

However, I do have some strong feelings about whether or not to bring your kids to China with you. I know this is something that every family needs to decide for themselvesand I don't think there is a right or wrong answer to this, but when we traveled for Tahlia, we left Jazzie at home with my parents and I would that all over again. When we were in China for the first time with Jazzie, we were able to focus all of our attention on her; just her. I felt that Tahlia deserved that same attention. I knew that we would have some jealousy issues and some regression with Jazzie after bringing Tahlia home (she regressed in potty training and she was extremely jealous upon our return). I cannot imagine having to deal with that while in China and while trying to bond with Tahlia. We still had to deal with it, but at least we had two full weeks with Tahlia before I had to worry about Jazzie. Also, the trip itself is exhausting and I don't think the sightseeing and all the other experiences would have been as enjoyable with Jazzie there. Of course, Jazzie was very young at the time and older children might do much better. We are talking being gone for two weeks out of a lifetime together. There will be plenty of time to bond together as a family of five :-)

It's a tough call. I am sure that there are people who brought their other children with them and would do that all over again. I would say to do what is best for your family and to follow your heart. In my heart I knew that I wanted to be able to focus 100% of my attention to Tahlia and only Tahlia and I have never regretted it. Jazzie stayed with my parents and that was a great opportunity for them to have a special time with her.

Good luck with your decision :-)

Michaela said...

Jarod will be coming to China with us-he can't wait to go to HardRock in Beijing :-). It would be great if the trip happens during school vacation, but if not, I'm sure the school will work with us.
I don't know if I would have both girls in the same room right away. I'd have to wait and see what the baby's sleep pattern is.
So, what do you think-next summer? Hugs, Michaela.

Love Letters To China said...

Lisa,

Our daughter was just about to turn 6 when our son came home. We decided very early on not to tell her about the long wait because children have absolutely no concept of time and I didn't want to constantly explain to her why it was taking so long. In the end we decided to switch from NSN to SN and once we had our referral photos we told her about her soon to be brother. The conversation went extremely well and she couldn't wait for the 3 months to go by. We knew right away that our daughter would not be traveling with us because of her very picky eating and need for attention. We felt it would be very stressful for all of us. With modern technology being so awesome we decided to use Skype so she could see her brother each day. To make a LONG story somewhat short, I became very ill a week before we received our TA and ended up not going to China. My mom went in my place. I truly am sad that I wasn't there for Gotcha Day, but that was God's will and everything ended up working out.

Being opposite sex, our children do not share a room. Even if they were the same sex, I think initially having their own room would be the best decision for us. The transition to our time along with adjusting to his new environment meant long evenings of crying and lack of sleep for the three of us. If they shared a room I think both children would have suffer from lack of sleep.

These are difficult decisions but I'm sure you will figure out what works best for your family. It's so exciting to hear all about your journey.

Jo said...

These are tough questions. I know you'll do what is best for you and all three of your children. I'm sorry I can't be of more help, I just don't have any experience in this area.

Jo

Sherri said...

Hi Lisa,
I say bring the kids to China! It's a trip of a lifetime....you are becoming a family and they are just as excited as you and Pat are. It's not an easy 2 weeks but for ever and ever you will have pics and memories of becoming a family. Everything stressful while you are there is forgotten when you are watching videos and looking at pics years later. If you regret bringing them the regret is over after 2 weeks, but if you don't bring them and regret it, it's forever. Does that make sense?!?!

As for rooms, sorry, can't help you there! I have never shared one and my kids don't share either. If you put them together you can always change it later if it doesn't work out.

Tisha said...

Lisa,

We took Sloan with us to China when we traveled two years ago. He is VERY active. We took him because we really didn't have any other choice. We were BLESSED to have been able to take a babysitter with us. Without her it would have been VERY difficult. Having said that, I LOVED having him there and part of the experience. He still talks about China and the Great Wall. I do think that it helped the transition for Sloan to see how Kensie came to be part of our family.

Also, when we got home we were exhausted. It helped that we ALL were exhausted. I kept saying to Chad, can you imagine if we felt like this and Sloan just wanted our attention and was so happy to have us home.

I really think Nick would enjoy the trip. It would probably be more hard on Sarah but you could manage. Nick would probably be a BIG help too! There are pros and cons to both. Either was isn't perfectly right or perfectly wrong. It is hard either way but SO worth it!

I would love for my kids to share a room but it is hard with their gender and age differences. I have TWO scaredy-cats and I think they would prefer to be together. You could always start them out together and then switch if you don't like it. Once you redecorate the guest room, you are more committed. ;)

How wonderful to FINALLY be at the stage where you can start thinking about these things. I can't wait to follow your journey to China and see the exciting changes in store for your family.

Blessings,
Tisha

a Tonggu Momma said...

We plan to bring the Tongginator with us for several reasons, the most important one being that Tonggu Grammy is going to join us on the trip. If we didn't have her - my mom specifically (not just because she's my mom, but because she is the Master of All Things Child-Related and because she's a GREAT traveler, having been on many international missions trips) - then we wouldn't be bringing the Tongginator.

As for rooms, we still have an only child, but I thought I'd weigh in on that since we know so many adopted twins. And... my advice... be flexible, VERY flexible. Your child may find great comfort in sharing a room with Sarah. Then again, your child may have tremendous sleep issues and wake up screaming or crying every night for months and months. (Yes, it happens.) Be flexible in terms of your plans and wait to see what happens while in China and during those first few weeks home.

Jboo said...

Hey Lisa -- our sons were much older and didn't travel with us because they would have missed too much school and in high school, every day counts. If I had a younger child, I probably would take them along as it might make it easier for the baby. It's so hard to say as every situation is different. The trip is tiring and usually somebody gets sick. My agency always stressed that it's not a vacation and it's really not -- it is nice to have two solid weeks with your baby or toddler. Tough decision -- you'll make the right one for your family, I'm sure.
Janet

Ashley and Mike said...

We took our 4 year old son to China and it was AMAZING. I could not go without the kids again unless it was financially impossible. Harrison loved his time in China and loved being with us in the hotel for 3 weeks - we went a little longer to go to HK Disney. I am a working mom so I LOVED my time with my little man and his new wonderful sister. Even my husband said how much he enjoyed our trip. Many people say not to do this, but we really treated it as a vacation. We splurged and had a ball. With two kids it would be nice to have an extra adult, but our favorite travel mates went with their 3 children to get their 4th. We had a blast together and they did not have extra help. If you want more details you can catch me at www.alegacyofhope.blogspot.com or armiller1972@yahoo.com

Also, I would recommend sharing a room. I can just imagine the little girl giggles that you will hear late at night. My kids - boy and girl - would really prefer to be in the same room too at this age so often we are making pallets on the floor for a "guest."

Lisa (Briana's Mom) said...

I wish I had some advice, but it looks like you are getting some great advice from the masses!

If it were me, I am not sure if I would bring Briana to China right now - she is all over the place and sooo active. Every child is different though. If I was adopting again, I'm not sure I would be able to focus on baby #2 in China with Miss B needing my attention so much. I would definitely consider taking her if she were older though.

3 Peanuts said...

These are tough decisions and I know you will make the right choices. Dave took Will to CHina and it changed his life in an amazingly positive way. He was an invaluable help to Dave and Kate really warmed up to him first. BUT I have heard that taking younger children can be a distraction. Your baby will need ALL of your attention and Will was old enough (a month shy of 10-and he s really mature) to get that. So, while it might be great for Nick..it might not be as great for Sarah and I know you probably want to take both or leave both....

As far as the room goes...I would feel Sarah out on her thoughts about sharing....

Best to you as you face these decisions...
Kim

Susie and Gordie said...

That is too cute! Alexia, my almost 3 year old, will also use the term 'at China'. I just love it!

I do have some advice as a BTDT. When we went to pick up Alexia 2 years ago, we brought out then 5.5 year old. Besides the fact that we could not dream of leaving her behind, she had some security issues at the time and not bringing her would have done lots of damage. Having Cara-Li there to be part of the whole experience has in fact helped with her insecurities and has definitely cleared up many questions that she may have had. She kept asking if it was same procedure as when we adopted her. And her being there to receive her Mei Mei was priceless for us as parents and for her as well. Something she will NEVER forget! We did bring along a dear friend of ours in case we had issues but all went super well and our friend had a great trip :)

As to them sharing rooms. I think if you have the space, baby should have her own room especially at first. They will be on differnt sleeping schedules and one will always wake up the other. To me, sleep is super important! Perhaps later on once baby is a little older you can put them together.

Lilly said...

Hi Lisa,

You are getting some great advise already!

In our case, we are bringing Emily with us because we don't have any close friend/family to leave her with that we feel comfortable. Besides, since they are close in age (little boy is only 3 months younger) it will be good transition for both of them, specially little boy that can follow/imitate and be comfortable with another child. It also depends on how your kids will handle China. Its 2 weeks of trotting from here to there, appointments, buses, masses of people that don’t look like you, etc. It can be overwhelming sometimes. The food, living in a hotel and having no routine. Also a good idea, if you can bring a good travel companion to care for Sarah and Nick, while you tent to the baby. It’s worth the expense so your family will all be together.

We also thought about putting them in the same room, at least for a few months until little boy feels comfortable sleeping in his own room. To this day, my daughter does not like to sleep by herself. You just have to go with the flow and have lots of patience. They are this little for just a short time and grow up so fast!

Good luck!

Lori Lynn said...

When we left for China to adopt a 3 year old, we took our 2.5 year old daughter with us. Our younger daughter is a "handful" but in our case it turned out just perfect. The girls got along from day one and now three years later, are the best of friends and rarely ever fight. I think this all just depends upon the personalities of the two kids, and unfortunately, you only know half that equation.

I just couldn't imagine leaving my youngest at home and I didn't really have anyone close enough to leave her with. I think it is so much easier on the first child to be a part of the whole experience and no matter how much attention she needed, we were there for both girls.

When we brought them home, we had two separate rooms for the girls, but I put both beds in the larger room. Our youngest rarely ever slept in that room and still today sleeps with me in my bed. I think my point is, you can plan things for how you would like them to be, but reality may render a different direction. You just need to go with what works for you and your girls.

Best wishes. I am so excited for you.

Rachel said...

Lisa,
Tough decision. We left our boys at home when we went to China. For us, it made the most sense as they wouldn't have done well with the meetings, tours, food, etc. As it turned out, Lily was a tough cookie for the first week and I really don't think having other kids around would have made a difference for her. For her, having the alone time with Jeff and I was definitely a positive for her and her attachment to our family.

At the same time, other families in our group brought their older kids (the youngest was 5 years old) and it was a huge help in their daughters' transitions.

Once again, you have to think about how old Sarah will be and how you think she will cope with sharing you with what may be a needy baby or toddler for a few weeks.

I don't think you can really go wrong either way - you just have to go with your gut.

I'm sure I didn't help you at all!

Can't wait to hear the big news.

jiangxigirls said...

Lisa,

I can tell you that we took Olivia with us to China at just over 2.5 yrs old. We had no choice at the time but I will say that if I had it to do all over she would stay home. It was hard bonding with Sophia because Olivia needed so much of our attention as we did not take any other caregiver with us. Olivia was whiney most of the trip because Sophia was getting so much attention. She is very active and she literally bounced off the walls. By the end of our trip everyone in our travel group knew her whole name as it was said many, many times. That being said -- you have to weigh all the aspects and do what is best for YOUR family as every family is different.

As for the rooms, my 2 have their own rooms.

Hugs,
Becky

Debra said...

Hi Lisa,
Of course you and your husband are the only ones that can truly make this decision...with that said...
It was the hardest thing I ever did in leaving my 3 1/2 year old home when getting DD2. I cried all the way to China and then some. But I knew that it was the best thing for her. She was very active, like Sarah seems to be, and the trip would have just expected too much from her. It would have been a nightmare! It is a hard trip. A wonderful trip, but taxing on everyone. As it turned out, my second daughter was sick and didn't eat for 5 days. We ended up in the Chinese Military hospital for two days. DD1 would not have been able to do that. It was a seriously hard thing to do but I would definately leave DD1 home. Just my 2cents.
Also, I felt that my newest baby deserved to have all the attention on her for once in her life.
My girls have shared a bedroom since day one, and now it is pretty great. I wish I had been able to have them in their own room at the beginning. DD2 was an angel and a great sleeper, but DD1 was so jealous and screamed a lot at night, keeping the baby awake. So, my advice would be to give them seperate rooms at least at the beginning. Feel free to email me if you would like.

Debra said...

Oh yeah, Becky reminded me of another issue, your travel mates.
On my first trip, most of us were first time parents. The whole world revolved around our new babies. Two families had other children. One of them left their first daughter at home with grandparents, the other...geez. Their precious, cough cough, 3 or 4 year old daughter and their teenage son came on the trip. The son was no problem at all. He was probably 17 years old. The daughter however...all of us wanted to strangle her parents for bringing her. She was so disruptive for all of us. It was awful. We tried to avoid that family like the plague.
On my second trip we had a few families that brought their children with them. Two had girls around 7 and one had a boy about the same age. They were wonderful, charming and well behaved. I am very close to my second travel group even now.

Jennifer said...

Lisa, do you know Jonni? I know Debbie knows her. They are about to get their 2nd little girl from China too. They are going to share a room. She might be able to give you some ideas of how it goes once they get settled. I can send you her email if you don't know her.

Jen :)

Anonymous said...

Sarah will be such a sweet big sister - looking forward to seeing photos of the 3 of your kids together. Sorry I can't answer your questions since I don't have the experience of your situation but wanted to say gorgeous photo. How did you get Sarah's skin so perfect without the green cast the grass might have thrown? What camera equipment do you use? Thanks.

Shelly and Family said...

Hey Girl ~ You KNOW my answer to this question already...if you can afford it...TAKE the KIDDOS! Having Francesca there with us when Annabelle "arrived" was truly an experience that she nor I will ever forget. Yes, Francesca had her moments while in China, but nothing that I didn't expect her to have (the time change was the worst). In my opinion, it truly helped Francesca understand how both she, Annabelle, and soon to be Benjamin, came/will come into our lives - our family! Having Pat and I think you should also take Nick....Sarah will be fine. I know many say "it is not a vacation" but in a way it really is ~ what are the changes of you ever going to China again? It is a bonding experience not only for you and Pat and not only for your soon-to-be daughter, but also Sarah & Nick. Now, I know we each have our opinion on this subject and what others do and what you chose is perfectly fine, but for us...there was no other way! Not sure if we will be taking the girls with us this time. We do not have to funds available like last and so far our fund raiser is getting a slow start (I am hoping & praying that if we hit our goal maybe, just maybe the girls would be able to come)....only time will tell but I am keeping my fingers crossed that we'll all be there once again for Benjamin!

BTW - THANK YOU for being there for me when I was down & out. Just talking to you and getting what I had to off my cheat...totally helped! You truly are a beautiful friend inside and out :)

Shelly and Family said...

And as for the rooms, both the girls share one ~ whick they love! Not sure what we are going to do once Benjamin comes home...Francesca getting her own & Annabelle & Benjamin sharing one for now...Benjamin getting his own...and keep Francesca and Annabelle is one...not sure. I will say this, having Francesca & Annabelle only 2 years apart in age, they truly get along very well....

Wanda said...

Oh boy - having only been home from China for 2 weeks...it's still really fresh.

We took our 6 year old Dahlia with us as you know and we had absolutely no choice. Several factors went into that decision. One is I couldn't imagine leaving her for 2 weeks and then arriving back at the airport saying "hi sweetie, here's your new sister". Just couldn't fathom that. We also had no one we could or would leave her with - no family here.

I also wanted Dahlia to experience China and the family making process and I think years down the road that will prove to be very positive.

However, it was not easy....at all. Dahlia went to a weird place and I had my hands so full with Milana, who had completely shut-down. Really, they both shut-down and I so wished we had taken someone who could have helped with Dahlia as Milana really needed all my time and focus. In hindsight, the little one probably enjoyed the company of a 6 year old, especially because they shared a side by side stroller.

The other factor to be considered is the health risks. We were travelling during the H1N1 scare and stories were flying about families being separated because of a quarantine. Hopefully, that will all be gone soon and by the time you travel. But the thought of any one of us being quarantined for a week really worried me.

Sorry if that's all a mish-mosh of thoughts but there's prob. no right answer (at least for me).

As for the bedroom situation. I would set up a temporary nursery in the guest bedroom (as their sleeping patterns will likely not be the same - and you're going to need all you can get!)That way the baby can transition quietly into a pattern and you can have a quiet, private place to be alone with just her for rocking, feeding time and comfort time. That, I have found, is so important for bonding. Having a private place for just her will also eliminate or cut-back on any resentments that Sarah may feel if she is watching you rock,feed and comfort that baby right in her own room. They can always move in together later.

That's just my 2 cents. Good luck. These are important issues and you're smart to be thinking of them now.

Isabella's Mommy and Daddy said...

I can not really say too much.. haven't been there yet.. we were going to take all the kids with us..but as the time goes by I think it will be just John and I.. more so because I have to work.. and I want the bonding time to be just John,Isabella and I for those 2 weeks.. if I didn't have to work I would take all the kids.. as for the room.. well I would ask Sarah.. if she wants too..I would put them together till they are older.. but you will know what is right for you and your family..
Love all the suggestions..
hugs..

The Byrd's Nest said...

Lottie had been with us for over two years before Emma came home from Korea. Although we didn't travel to Korea....Lottie and Emma were inseperable. I think it comforts the new child in the family to have another child there and there is plenty of "down time" for Dad to take Sarah out on his own while you stay at the hotel with your new daughter. Personally....I would take her.

Lisa said...

Wow Lisa, you sure are getting a lot of great advice. When we went to get Ellie we did not take Rudy. My parents live 20 minutes away and they watched him for us. I knew his world was going to be rocked when we got back and I just wanted to focus on Ellie. It worked out for us. I missed him terribly, but I rented a cell phone and spoke to him everyday. Now, with Skype you guys could actually see each other everyday too!

I almost cried when I read your post about Sarah saying that you need to get mooncakes, lanterns, and ladybugs for her new sister! That was just precious! She is going to be such a great big sis! I'm so excited for you!

I was at Target the other day and saw a 19 month old gorgeous little China baby and couldn't resist asking the mom how long her wait was...3 1/2 years...it made me think of you! I am just getting so excited for your family! The wait is almost over! Yippee!

Robin said...

It is so exciting to think about the wonderful blessing you are about to receive!!! We took our whole family on both trips and would do it again. Land LOVED it both times. The first time was to bring Clara Beth home. When we went back one year later, we also took CLara Beth, it was wonderful for Emanuiel, he immediately connected to her.

I found that when CB came home she hated being in a room alone, so I think sharing a room is a great idea. My two little ones are together now in the same room and they wouldn't have it any other way.

I can not even describe how blessed I felt to have my whole family with me on that journey of a lifetime. It wouldn't have been the same without them.

I say by all means take them with you. Nick will learn so much from the trip and Sarah's new sister will know from the very beginning all of her family. To me that was very important for bonding with everyone. So exciting!!!!


Blessings,
Robin

Casey said...

Sarah is so cute!! Sounds like she is READY to be a big sister!!

We did not take Liam with us to China. He was about five at the time. We had a lot of reasons not to take him. I think it just depends on the child and how they deal with change. Liam is not good in new situations. He has a lot of anxiety and I knew things like the water situation would freak him out. Not being able to get water in his eyes when taking a shower or being sure he brushed his teeth in the right way stressed me out... I didn't really want to have to worry about those things with him. I knew he'd have a big adjustment to Em and I wanted to be on our own turf when I dealt with him.

Additionally - and this is a big one for me- I'm David's carry-on luggage b/c I'm so scared of flying. I take a lot of drugs :) And David didn't want to handle three babies by himself :) Liam had never been on a plane either, so I didn't know how he would deal with a 24 hour flight.

There are some regrets I have.... he still talks about how he missed China and he wants to go visit. I feel badly that he wasn't part of that moment... even though I knew he couldn't handle it at the time. I think it is really a personal decision. I was happy to have that one on one time with Em. I figure Liam got five years of that so we could give her those two weeks. But I know a lot of other people feel differently. And the kids that did travel with us did really well and really enjoyed it.

Can't help with the room advice.... except I love to decorate, so I'd put them in a different room for that reason alone :) haha!!

Laura said...

This is a tough question. We traveled to China with 11 families. The families that had other children did bring their children. One family had 3 teenage children and they were a huge help for not only their own family but for us too. Emma did not bond with me and I was in charge of carrying ALL the luggage from here to there and the teenagers were there to help. Not that you want to bring Nick to help with luggage but I think Nick is the perfect age to not only start the bonding with his new sister right away but to also help you and Pat with soome of the other things. I think Sarah will be an awesome big sister and is gonna love her little sister to pieces. Back to your question thought about taking the children or not I think if it were us, we would definately take them. That is just my opinion.

As for sharing a room or not?? This is tough! This will be an adjustment for Sarah and I'm leaning towards her having her own "space".

Whatever you and Pat decide I'm sure everyone will be fine. We always want to make the right choices!!

xoxo,
Laura

Laura said...

This is a tough question. We traveled to China with 11 families. The families that had other children did bring their children. One family had 3 teenage children and they were a huge help for not only their own family but for us too. Emma did not bond with me and I was in charge of carrying ALL the luggage from here to there and the teenagers were there to help. Not that you want to bring Nick to help with luggage but I think Nick is the perfect age to not only start the bonding with his new sister right away but to also help you and Pat with soome of the other things. I think Sarah will be an awesome big sister and is gonna love her little sister to pieces. Back to your question thought about taking the children or not I think if it were us, we would definately take them. That is just my opinion.

As for sharing a room or not?? This is tough! This will be an adjustment for Sarah and I'm leaning towards her having her own "space".

Whatever you and Pat decide I'm sure everyone will be fine. We always want to make the right choices!!

xoxo,
Laura

Kim said...

To be honest I am still stuck on all of these beautiful picutres you take of your kids. Do you have the posted all around your house? How do you choose? :)

Anyway, I have not expeienced what you are going through but I can't wait to find out what you decide. You have a lot of support behind you!

Keisha said...

Oh LISA!!
I get so excited for you guys when you start talking & preparing for that Precious baby girl waiting for you in CHINA! Did you know.. she may already be BORN.. right NOW?!! GOSH,.. it's hard to think about it isn't it? PRAY for that SWEET baby angel EVERYDAY,.. for God's protection, love, care...ETC. That is SO very important!

Okay, this is just my opinion & thoughts from our trip...

First...
Take Sarah and Nick.. with you!! We didn't.. YES, it did give us time to bond.. However, it was a shock to both Faith & McKenna when the 2 little Princess' MET! Let me tell'ya! ;)

They knew about one another.. but didn't KNOW about one another.. like.. sharing toys (which is something McKenna NEVER had to worry about!) sharing a room (Faith had night terrors for awhile where she would be screaming..yet asleep) This made it hard for McKenna.

I will say that.... now.. they completely MISS one another when one is away for the night and not in the room. So, it's all good. But, if we had an extra room.. we would seperate them. Later,.. I think they will want that.

We delt with a lot of anger, jealousy, resentment from McKenna after coming home.. even several MONTHS after being home! It was bad. But,..know that GOD can and WILL heal ALL wounds! Praise the LORD! It is amazing to see the bond that these two sisters share.

Nick .. will be fine. Trust ME! Boys.. are easy come.. easy go! Broughton was fine! He and Faith are two peas in a pod! ;)

Hope this helps!! I know you guys will make the best decision for your family!
Blessings!
Keisha

Dita said...

I wish I knew the answer but I think the answer is that only you and Pat really know the answer because only you two know your children.

All this talk about the trip and the baby coming and names is getting me so darned excited.

I'm so happy that Sarah is adjusting so well with the thought of her baby sister coming soon.

Hoping to catch up soon.

Miss ya,
Dita

Norah said...

I couldn't stand to leave any of my children for that long, so Gene came to Vietnam for Linhsey, and both Gene and Linhsey came to China for Marissa. It was tough at times, but I can't imagine what it would have been like to leave them....plus, how many kids can say they went to those 2 countries?! What an experience it was for them.

I had dreams of L and M sharing a room...sisters.... but that got squashed with M's RAD.

I have butterflies in my stomach thinking about you going to China! Can't wait!

delucchi family said...

Hi Lisa, lovely to catch up on your blog! We left our boys at home when we went to fetch Amy-Li and it gave us precious time to bond with her and for her to understand that we were her primary care givers. Although it meant we were all she had and it was an intense two weeks. Having just been to China with Shawn and our girls - let me tell you, there is ALOT of paperwork and the kids need to wait in lines and be patient while you travel, fly, wait and more wait. the more kids the harder it is and the less time you have to focus on new baby - maybe good practice for home? But, you and hubby need to decide what you want in china, more peace or more kids?? :-)
Love Jules
xxx

paige said...

sweet lisa, so many huge decisions. i applaud your desire to make even the beginning of the journey something that is as smooth as possible. i love that you desire for sarah to feel connected & a vital part of the process.
i have no experience in adoption...my first gut thought is that she should hang here & therefore you can focus everything on the baby.

the room? again, just my first thought not knowing all the details, i think it would help bonding if the new baby had her own space. maybe that would give you special time rocking & holding her in her private world. maybe the seperation of rooms would help sarah not feel competition especially on "her turf".

but ....just take my words with a grain of salt.

you are a blessing & i always appreciate your words when you visit.

much love & praying for ya'll

xo

Sandy Toes said...

I think at first...separate rooms...that is my two sense :)!
sandy toe

Colleen said...

Lisa, you and your husband will know what is right for your family. We took our boys with us without even thinking of not. They were 6 and 8 at the time. Of course we were living overseas at the time and our boys grew up traveling because of the Navy so they were use to it.
I would say that if you can bring the kids (especially your son) do it!!! It is a trip and journey of a lifetime and I know for us it was so special having our entire family together. I also love how the boys experienced China through their eyes and they have those stories to share with their sister.
I have to admit I have read many blogs the past couple years where many do go alone as a couple and am a bit envious of the special time they have alone while traveling and bonding with their new baby. We did not have any of that, but I know we wouldn't have changed a thing. In our travel group of 14 families we had half that took their other children and half that did not so we always had many other children around.
Good luck with all these decisions and oh how exciting just thinking about it!!!!!!

Blair said...

Hey Lisa! My name is Blair and I have two biological children and two adopted from China. The first trip we did not take any children and the second trip we took our son who is 10. He was the biggest help to us, playing and entertaining his new brother. I would not have taken him if he was younger.

My children did not have a hard time bonding to their new sister the first time we traveled even though they were not with us. Either way is good!! Don't stress over it and just go with your heart and what you think is best for your family.

Feel free to email me with any other questions:blair.miller@embarqmail.com

carolinagirl said...

Hi there! I really don't have any advice for you since our programs are so very different. We were told not to bring our children with us on our trips and with all of our traveling back and forth, I am not sure how they would have managed. Plus, they are VERY picky eaters, and sometimes there are just not things available that we even want to eat in Russia. I agree with so many before you. It is an individual decision. I do wish my boys could have had this experience, but I know that are not mature enough to handle the exhaustion from travel that we have endured. I think I would have melted down if they had been with us as well with our crazy travel itineraries. Again, I cannot speak for the Chinese program, but we are thankful that the boys could stay at home and keep up their routines like normal - especially since school has now started back.

Good luck making your decision!

Michal said...

Well, Adopting a sister was initailly mt oldest's idea. Not to sya that we are goign thru an International SN Adoption on the whim of a 5 year old, but let's just say, she got us thinking and then the Universe started pushing so...
Ev is 5 , we plan on taking her. I have ni illusions about the difficulty of the trip. I do know that if she were forced to miss out on China and meeting her sister there - she would NEVER forgive us. She is very involved in this process and I have helped her with the time issue by saying things like "two more Christamses" and that sort of thing. I also can not imagine spending two weeks with out her. I have looked and looked at this situation. She is tough and strong and very mature for her age, very safety conscious and willing to lend a hand so I think that she will be agreat asset to the trip. I know that this means that baby 2 doesn't get full on parent time for 2 weeks but the life of each child within the family is so different anyway- no matter what we do.
As far as rooms? We have decided that eventually they will share a room but for the inital sleep issues and territorial battles that will take place once on home soil- it would be ebst for the baby to have a separate place for awhile. This will help Ev maintain a sense of not being totally invaded by the baby. We say it to her like this "hey, you are a big girl and need a big girl place" this makes her feel the importance of being older and it lets her know that we are thinking of her thru everything. Also Ev is such a "mother" that I know she would have a huge burden on her if the baby were in her room, she would try to handle any little thing on her own. I need to make sure that Ev stays a kid and not become a JR. Mom.
I know that life is different than imaginings and plans....so this ALL may go up in smoke ny the time the referral happens and the baby is home. I am prepared to change things if my kids need that.

Life with Kaishon said...

I think that sharing might be hard since she has always had her own room. After a while though, she might come to you and request to share : ) but what do I know? Only that I LOVE your new header pictures. So lovely! Always a joy to stop over and visit my Pennsylvania friend!

Alyson & Ford said...

I don't have personal experience with your questions, but can offer an opinion on one. I thought having the whole family travel would be best. While we were in China (traveled with 19 other families), there were families who did leave some older siblings behind. The ones who brought children all did fine and were part of the entire experience. I would say to bring them if you have the finances to do so. The families who left children at home seemed to begin their attachment to the new sister right away and seemed to do well too. However, those who went to China had their own experience along with being part of the forever family day. I vote for taking kids with you.

Alyzabeth's Mommy for One Year!

Chris and Deb said...

These are all such tough things that we have been experiencing too, Lisa! We have been planning to take Sophie with us to China ever since we started the adoption process the second time....and then Swine Flu hit! That unfortunately, has totally changed our minds. I could not imagine Sophie being taken away from us if she/we were quarantined....or to give her medication without our consent! I would be hysterical! But hopefully by the time you get your referral...the swine flu will be over or winding down!

As for the room....we had always planned on one room...but as the referral process drug on and we realized the age span was going to be what it is...we decided on separate rooms and at Sophie's age...that is best for her too!

Thanks for the referral well-wishes! It does not even seem "real"! As you well know...nothing has been predictable about this adoption process. Now, I am just waking up each morning wondering if this is THE week?!? Hopefully, things will start speeding up after March 2006 is done!

The Things We Carried said...

If we adopted again I would take Jane. That said, we did not take our older kids to China when we went for Jane and it was good for us and her. we did regret our children missing the experience of getting her in China.

She hates to be alone in her room. A sibling would be a comfort. There were many children in Jane's SWI room. he has never liked bing alone in her room.

jenbusymom said...

Hi Lisa,

Since I've never been in that situation I cannot speak from experience, but my feeling is to do it alone and you and Pat bond with her first. On the room sharing, if Sarah is okay with sharing then I think that would be nice. My girls have their own rooms, and I grew up sharing and then having my own. I liked having my own space and Caitlin seems to like having hers, but Madison is always in Caitlin's room.

I guess time will tell and then you'll know. Good luck!

Ivy said...

Sounds like you have lots advice here, not that you need mine, but as you know many of these babies love the company of other children and adults. I think you can't go wrong either way. Our SW suggested we put a pack and play in our room for a few days (which turned into a few years LOL) for bonding purposes, but then I got so used to her being with me I couldn't take her sad cries when I put her in her crib, and so look at us today, she's still sleeping in my room and thinks hers is a playroom. But I'm sure things will change when we get her a real bed.

Most importantly is that you do what is comfortable for you all. You can try it both ways, have her room with Sarah and then use the extra room for hers (then where will I stay?).

I'm sure things will definitely work out, you house is so full of love!

LaLa said...

We did take Annslee with us to Vietnam and it was definitely the best decision for us. She had just turned 4 and was such a GREAT traveler! I think for her it really helped her bond with him and honestly we have had very little sibling issues so far. Oh, and I couldn't even imagine leaving her behind for that long anyway : )

As to the rooms..well, since we got a boy we didn't do that. We likely wouldn't have done it the first year anyway as I want them both to sleep but had planned on moving them in together later. I shared a room with my sister and loved it most of the time (we are 3 yrs apart)

Of course only you know what is best for your family : )