Ok, before everyone gets excited – we’re doing no such thing!
But if it’s one thing the hubby and I have observed and spoke a lot about during the past six months of lockdown, watching T play by himself at home and in the playground, or seeing T sit by himself in the back seat during the long drives of our recent roadtrip, it’s that we wish he had a full time buddy to play with.
T has often brought up – and whenever we ask him if he’d like a sibling – wanting a younger brother.
The hubby and I are both pragmatic people who like to plan ahead. We already both know where we’re going to be buried, for example.
When raising a child with special needs – no matter how optimistic we are about his future – we want to have a plan in place for all scenarios, like in the event that he is unable to live independently one day.
We also think about and have already established a plan for his care in the event anything happens to both the hubby and I.
We’re not being morbid. We live life with pragmatic positive thinking and this means being prepared for worst case scenarios.
There are so many potential benefits as well as challenges to giving an only child a sibling.
The first and foremost that comes to mind for T is companionship. Sure, there’s a big chance they’ll end up annoying each other, but in T’s case, I see a child with tremendous caring qualities and I think a sibling will bring out the best in him and help him feel less lonely.
When T is older, this sibling could also be there for him, if needed, when the hubby and I are either gone or less able to care for him.
On the flip side, I often think about how this dynamic will change our family.
On private forums we follow, we’ve read horror stories about familial dynamics being thrown off balance. The special needs child ends up harming or causing stress for the younger sibling.
My gut and heart tell me that this will likely not be the case with T – but reading these personal and often gut-wrenching testimonials from struggling parents is sobering.
And let’s be completely frank here, if we end up with another T – and the challenges we have to deal with – I will slit my wrists.
I love T to death, but his challenges consume so much mental, physical and emotional energy.
Thinking about our adoption journey, it took 7 years from start to T. The hubby and I are turning 40 in the next few months. So if we were to make such a decision, time has already flown by.
So we are likely not gonna pursue this – but the thought of it sure is nice.
I also remind myself T has a cousin in another province whom he sees 1-2 times a year and foster siblings – like J pictured above with T from a gathering three years ago. T’s foster mother does a great job of keeping us and the foster siblings all connected.
At the end of the day, this is all about T and what will give him – and our family – the most positive addition of light, love and energy.
I think back to a detour at a playground by the side of the highway that we took during our recent roadtrip.
T approached and played so well with a group of three young sisters – all so blond and beautiful – and I thought to myself how lovely it would be to have a mini-T to play with all the time.
Then he threw a tantrum when I said playtime was over and we had to leave – and that wistful thought quickly evaporated.
2 thoughts on “Finding a Younger Brother for T”
That is an awesome thought. There is so much more that another child can bring. Their own behaviors – good and bad. The ones that will be different and unique that will lighten your day, and sometimes the behaviors that will be just as frustrating (special needs or not). It really is a tough choice. We always saw ourselves as a big family but realized our own limitations. It really is a personal choice. I do have to say, though – I know D and T are two different people but people always told me age was on my side. As D grew, he was going to develop in ways I wasn’t expecting. He did. I prepared all of his supports for the child I knew but he changed as he developed new skills. It really is a wonder to watch. Granted, there is a way to go, but there is a development that I did not expect to see (remember, I grieved when he was diagnosed – I foresaw a much more limited future for D). I am hopeful for the same for T. It is a tough decision. A big transition, but if you choose, I am sure it is one you will master in time.
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Thank you, Robyn. I always appreciate your insight. I thought about your family and how D has two amazing siblings (I realize they have their own unique quirks 🤣).
I’m definitely not looking to pluralize “Lovable Pest” but the thought is so tempting because i believe it will ultimately be a good thing for T, our family and that future child as well. But alas, time is a ticking and this may be a passing thought.
And I really appreciate the honesty around your preparation and actual experience. I see the same with T. That initial grief and then him exceeding expectations. Mind you we are dealing with some tough new challenges around behaviour now – but that’s what keeps us on our toes as parents, special needs or not! 🙂
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